Last time, we spent a significant amount of time discussing the importance of talking with people about their lived experiences within capitalism. For instance, we pondered what kinds of narratives the people of Bethlehem might tell about the death of Bethlehem Steel. Thus, this week we have included a few poems and an essay that serve as testimonies of life within capitalism.
First, we ask that you read “A Vocabulary for Feminist Praxis: On War and Radical Critique” by Angela Davis. In this chapter from Feminism and War: Confronting US Imperialism, Davis lays out the importance of thinking critically about war and identifies tools we can use to resist. She argues for the use of feminism to “contest the culture of war” that pervades the U.S. despite our inability to conceptualize it. Her plea centers around the importance of getting involved in movements fighting for transformation.
From the same text, we ask you to read “Prosaic Poem” by Micere Githae Mugo (the last page of the PDF). The poem calls for a transformed world by listing what we may achieve “one day” through collective action. The piece also calls attention to the way that everyday dialogue is a form of poetry. Note: We will not discuss the other two chapters included in the PDF, but you may certainly read them on your own.
Next, we offer a Rolling Stone article, “Punk Poet Eileen Myles on Combating Trump, Capitalism With Art” that addresses the question: can poetry and art wage war against capitalism? It also relates to the questions that Davis asks about the power and limitations of representation. If you find her work interesting, we suggest that you explore her poetry further and bring what speaks to you to the discussion.
Last, we would like you to read “Ghana Calls” by W.E.B Dubois. The poem discusses the life of a black man from boyhood to adulthood which is largely defined by work. At the same time, the poem offers glimpses of a different kind of world through the evocation of Ghana. In several stanzas, the links between war, capitalism, racism, and everyday struggles are evident and extremely relevant to the contemporary moment.