Last night, I had the honor of performing for a reception at the United Association for Labor Education conference at the Bedlam Theater in Minneapolis. It was a blast. It was great to be surrounded by some of the best and brightest labor organizers and educators in the country. And, the crowd was raucous, as labor crowds tend to be.
Last fall, a man who is now a friend of mine, the fantastic poet Emanuel Xavier, came to Minneapolis and did a reading, and I had the privilege of opening for him. He performed his "America" poem stating that every poet has an America poem. I did not, and my pal Jesus suggested that I write one. So I did. The crowd loved it last night, and I am tickled to death by it.
Since this is an election year, and we are forced to endure stump speech after stump speech...I decided to write my own. Thanks to Emanuel and Jesus for your encouragement and your words.
by W. Brandon Lacy Campos
Dedicated to Jesus Urbina and Emmanuel Xavier
I don't believe in America
I don't believe in the Constitution or the lies my teacher told me
about Washington, Jefferson, the Boston Tea Party, or the American Revolution
I don't believe in the Declaration of Independence
because it wasn't just all white, straight, rich, gender conforming, racist, misogynist, sexist men that were created equal
I don't believe in America maps that put Indians in green and brown boxes
legend calls them reservations
history will call them concentration camps
labels call them Indian Country
Rand McNally fucked up
this whole hemisphere is Indian Country
I don't believe in preemptive wars for oil or oil to feed our hunger
or hungry people when there is enough of everything for everyone
I don't believe America gives a shit
about aching bellies or dying babies or street walking crazies
driven to insanity by crude priorities that emphasize refineries over health care
bombers over rehab, night sticks over a place to sleep at night
I don't believe that corporations are people or that people should be slaves to corporate interests
or that the interest of corporations is in the best interest of anyone but themselves
I don't believe the business of America is business or exporting democracy or that America is a democracy or that democracy is voting or that there is a a Lesser of Two Evils: Evil is evil.
I don't believe in America because it had a name before Columbus, it had a name before Amerigo Vespucci, Cortes, de Soto, John Smith, and Lewis and Clark, it had a name before Roanoke Island, Jamestown, Santa Fe, Miami, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, Milwaukee, and New Orleans
I don't believe that New Orleans was a victim of a natural disaster, it was a human disaster, global warming, White House ignoring the writing on the levy and the Kyoto Protocol, black lives, black faces, racist policies that paid more attention to a Minneapolis bridge collapsing than the collapse of an entire city
I don't believe in CAFTA, NAFTA or maquiladoras, national borders, border fences or illegal immigration: the border crossed us, and we are coming home to Aztlán, rebuilding Teotihuacan, Tenochtitlan, Turtle Island, the Iriqouis Confederation, the Mississippi civilizations, Diné, Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Cherokee, Shoshone, Creek, Blackfoot, Mohawk, Sonomish, Yupik, Inuit, Choctaw, Seminole, and Anishinabeg, First Nations still fighting the Indian Wars
I don't believe in colonization or the annexation of Puerto Rico, Hawai'i, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, or Guam, I don't believe in forced sterilization, or tying tubes for toaster ovens or toaster ovens as a bribe to give up self-determination or the right to give birth to revolutionaries
I don't believe that we have put up with the KKK, Ronald Reagan, the CIA, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, Wound Knee (the first or the second one), the Iraq invasion or the invasion of our phone conversations, emails, text messages, bedrooms, high schools or library selections
I don't believe America has a right to tell me who to fuck, how to fuck, when to fuck, what to fuck or where to fuck. I am fucking tired of hearing about which President or Senator or Governor got caught fucking in a stall, with a prostitute, or intern. I don't believe that loving someone has ever fucked with the moral foundation of the institution of marriage or the family. I don't believe America understands the fucking irony. Fucking get over it
I don't believe a social safety network, welfare, food, clothing, housing, quality education, health care, clean water, clean air, dignity, job security, affirmative action, reparations, the right to organize, the right to unionize, or the Bill of Rights is asking too much
For the record it's not enough.
Arundhati Roy said, “Not only is a new world possible, she is coming. And on a quiet day. I can hear her breathing.”
I don't believe that, I believe a new world is coming and that she is on her way, but she is screaming, she is calling to the poor, the downtrodden, the wretched masses of this teeming shore, and she is organizing them into an army. Prostitute Generals and Faggot Commandos. AIDS babies in the artillery and Dykes on Humvees. She is on her way, and she is pissed off, and she doesn't believe in America either.
And so I stand here in front you, with my disbelief, with my rage, with my anger, with my hunger, and I say it is time to stop believing that America is a dream. America is a nightmare, and it is time to wake her up.
No Justice, No Peace
No Justice, No Peace
No Justice, No Peace
Blow up the ballot box, it's time for revolution.
-Minneapolis, MN, USA
-20 March 2008