The Invisible Web

Your Trip Into the Chapel Perilous

Fight the Power~!

Posted by invizweb on July 4, 2008

As MACYS fireworks burst mid air a few miles from where I am, I am brought back to 1989 when I was 7 years old. Before I continue on with my story about the late 1990s, let me reminisce to folks about the setting of late 80s USA. In 1989 Common Era , Ronald Reagan’s reign ended and Sr George Bush would be sworn in as President, with William John Bennett (who would later suggest on his own radio show in 1995 that crime may decrease if Black babies were aborted) becoming the first National Drug Control Policy Director. A race riot broke out in Miami that same month. However, there was progress as the National Organization of Women lead the 1989 March for Women’s Lives in April garnering 600,000 in Washington to demand Pro-Choice legalization. Also, Ani DiFranco, a queer Folk musical artist formed what would be Righteous Babe Records in Buffalo, New York, to help promote progressive independent musical talent, with only $50.

On June 30 1989, less than a week before ID4, Spike Lee’s US Library of Congress recognized film, Do the Right Thing, was released in theatres nationwide after a debut at Cannes earlier that spring. The film revolved around protagonist Mookie, played by Spike, and his day to day life living in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Mookie on this day would encounter racism, police brutality, and ethnic unrest. All the while, Public Enemy’s song “Fight the Power” would blare in the background no less than a dozen times., with the debutant Rosie Perez dancing to it one of the scenes.

As much as the film is recognized for the influence it would have, that particular song is lauded as one of the defining songs in the history of Hip Hop by some such as Hip Hop historian Nelson George (1), and launched the genre of Political Rap. What was the message behind the song? It was for people to be informed about current events and geopolitical history and question the power establishment in this country. Angst as it can be argued isn’t enough to cause change in the hierarchy alone. People need to look at the world macrocosmically and then get involved in the Process one way or another.

Even if one living in the USA does not believe in its administration or your “fellow Americans” you should believe in the myth of the Bill of Rights, and more importantly in yourself and your resolve. Nothing in this world is perfect. One can argue that the “Founding Fathers” found religious freedom in the Netherlands but did not want to live in a nation where they had to tolerate other religions, and were tempted by the lure of converting others. George Washington owned slaves and supported the dispatching of Shay’s Rebellion in 1786[1]. So maybe you do not want to invoke the “spirit” of the “Founding Fathers” in your activism. However, “the rebel” archetype these patriots represent in the myths about them should spur one into action especially in light of events such as the possible invasion of Iran.

Inactivity will only lead to stagnation, and that will lead to you cursing at yourself as you sit there unhappy asking yourself why doesn’t anybody do anything. Whether you are Chinese-American, Black or any Person of Color, Queer, a member of a non-mainstream religion, or in any other way nonconforming to popular society, you owe it to yourself to make the world you live in a place bearable to you and those you are closest with.

That’s my humble opinion. But what do I know? I am just some kid from the South Bronx.

(1) Mickey Z. 50 American Revolutions You’re Not Supposed to Know. The Disinformation Company Ltd. 2005.

For more information about the American tradition for striving for Social Justice please read the above book as it was a very fun and educational read. To learn more about the cultural significance of the song, please refer to this Salon article. And remember, FIGHT THE POWER~!

Maybe this is a good start in regards to awareness:

The Business Plot (1933-1935)

The Burning of Wilhelm Reich’s Books (1956)

1968 Chicago 8’s Bobby Seale Chained

Fred Hampton’s Murder (1969)

COINTELPRO (1956-1971)

Tuskegee Experiments (1932-1972)

Project MKULTRA (1953-1973)

Operation Condor (1969-1977)

The founding of the National Endowment for Democracy (1983)

The Iran-Contra Scandal (1983-1986)

Ruby Ridge (1993)

WTO Seattle (1999)

MLK Assassination Conspiracy Trial (1968-1999)

The 2004 Republican National Convention

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