THE WRITER AS REVOLUTIONARY: Literary Resistance, Past and Present

Host/Sponsor: 
John Pietaro/New Masses Media
Room: 
3.81
Timeslot: 
SATURDAY June 3rd Session 3: 3:30pm - 5:15pm
Abstract: 
This discussion will concern the role of the writer as not only an activist but within a directly revolutionary role. The speakers will present historic and contemporary writers movements as well as a vision for a revolutionary writers coalition to engage in literary, performance and street-heat activism against the hard-Right agenda of the Trump Administration and the neo-fascist, global capital movement associated with it.
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker First Name: 
John
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Last Name: 
Pietaro
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Affiliation: 
New Masses Media
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Biography: 
John Pietaro is a revolutionary writer, percussionist and cultural organizer. A native of Brooklyn, his latest book “On the Creative Front: Essays on the Culture of Liberation” is currently under review for publication. He is a Staff Writer of the NYC Jazz Record newspaper and has written for Z, the Nation, CounterPunch, People's World, the Industrial Worker, Struggle (UK) and many other progressive journals. In 2013, Pietaro self-published a collection of contemporary proletarian fiction, “Night People and Other Tales of Working New York”. He also wrote a chapter in Paul Buhle and Harvey Pekar’s “SDS: A Graphic History” (Hill & Wang 2007) and is currently working on a novel. His blog the Cultural Worker can be found at theCulturalWorker.blogspot.com. Each August, Pietaro produces the Dissident Arts Festival (www.DissidentArts.com); he also curates the monthly performance series New Masses Nights. As a musician Pietaro has performed with Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger, Karl Berger, Ras Moshe’s Music Now!, and Amina Baraka, among others. He is the leader of spoken word/improvisational music ensemble the Red Microphone which accompanied Amina Baraka on her debut CD (ESP-Disk 2017). He is a member of PEN America, the National Writers Union and the Jazz Journslists Association.
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator First Name: 
Amina
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Last Name: 
Baraka
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Affiliation: 
Poetry Foundation, Communist Party USA
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Biography: 
Poet, singer, actor, and activist Amina Baraka was born Sylvia Robinson in Charlotte, North Carolina, and raised in Newark, New Jersey. She is the widow of celebrated poet/journalist/activist Amiri Baraka. In January of this year, Amina recorded her debut album as a solo artist, 'Amina Baraka and the Red Microphone' to be released June 2017. The works included are a compendium of her writing between the 1960s and today. In her poems, Baraka engages themes of social justice, family, and feminism. Her debut poetry collection is Blues in All Hues (2014), and her work has been featured in the anthologies Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry (1994) and Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (2001). With her late husband, the writer and activist Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), she coedited Confirmation: An Anthology of African American Women (1983), The Music: Reflections on Jazz and Blues (1987), and 5 Boptrees (1992). She has also been a journalist for the People's World newspaper. Baraka performed onscreen in the films Strange Fruit (2002, directed by Joel Katz), The Pact (2006, directed by Andrea Kalin), and Keep It Clean (2007, directed by Jeanette Mühlmann) and onstage in Amiri Baraka’s plays Black Mass, Slave Ship, Mad Heart, and Home on the Range. She can be heard on the CD recording Variations in Time: A Jazz Perspective (2008). With Amiri Baraka, she directed the word-music ensemble Blue Ark: The Word Ship. In 1992, the couple founded Kimako’s Blues People, a community art space in Newark. As a community activist, Amina has managed the Women’s Division of the Community for a Unified NewArk and organized women’s conferences for the Congress of Afrikan People and for the Revolutionary Communist League.
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator First Name: 
Raymond Nat
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Last Name: 
Turner
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Affiliation: 
UpSurge! NYC
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Biography: 
Raymond Nat Turner is a NYC poet privileged to have read at the Harriet Tubman Centennial Symposium. He is a Steering Committee Member of the New York Chapter of the National Writers Union (NWU). He's also Artistic Director of the stalwart JazzPoetry Ensemble UpSurgeNYC and has appeared at numerous festivals and venues including the Monterey Jazz Festival and Panafest in Ghana West Africa. He currently is Poet-in-Residence at Black Agenda Report, and a frequent contributor to Dissident Voice, Struggle and aaduna. Turner has opened for such people as James Baldwin, People’s Advocate Cynthia McKinney, progressive sportswriter Dave Zirin and CA Congresswoman Barbara Lee following her lone vote against attacking Afghanistan.
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator First Name: 
Hank
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Last Name: 
Williams
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Affiliation: 
Lehman College CUNY
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Biography: 
Henry (Hank) Williams is a professor of Africana Studies at Lehman College, CUNY. He has also taught at Hunter College, and written and spoken extensively on the Black Arts and Black Liberation Movements with a special focus on jazz and hip hop as music of change. His doctoral dissertation was a cultural history of the 1960s Black Arts Movement and the impact of the Last Poets as a force. Williams is s member of the Association for Scholars of Classical African Civilizations, the National Council for Black Studies and the Jazz Journalists Association among other professional affiliations. He is also a producer of WBAI-FM's popular jazz program "Sugah in My Bowl".
Speaker 4/Fifth Facilitator First Name: 
TBA
Speaker 5/Sixth Facilitator First Name: 
TBA
Panel/Workshop Organizer First Name: 
John
Panel/Workshop Organizer Last Name: 
Pietaro
Panel/Workshop Organizer Affiliation: 
New Masses Media, National Writers Union, PEN America
 

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