The tables were turned — David Rovics interviewed me in a wide-ranging, tangentially themed hour a few days ago. Here is what one Dissident Voice article has to say about Portland, OR-based Rovics.
He is not one to wait for his turn to talk. He listens intently and when I’m finished asks another question. After all that Rovics has seen and heard during more than 20 years as a singer-song writer who has performed all over the world, he has yet to act like a self-proclaimed expert on anything. — “The Social Significance of David Rovics” by Jasmin Ramsey, July 25th, 2009
David and I have talked, exchanged emails, and alas, we are a few 110 miles away from each other, he in my old haunts, Portland, and me on the Central Oregon Coast.
Lyrics by Rovics strike me hard since I was a social services activist and practitioner in Portland for people who were homeless, civilians, youth, ex-military and former prisoners.
Each couch by the street has a story
I wonder what this one maybe
Did they leave their home and move into a car
Or find a sofa to sleep on at a friend’s house
Did they stay near, or go far away
Disappear without a trace […]
When they come to evict your neighbor, what will you do?
— “Each Couch by the Street” song by David Rovics
We both feel the sting of parasitic capitalism as artists and writers (we are artists) in this predatory and war capitalism, pre- and during-the-plandemic.
Here’s what I stated:
Rovics is acutely aware that most of the thriving artists who might weather economic tsunamis are white artists, but there are thousands upon thousands of BIPOC artists who continue working but do not have those “safety nets” underneath them. The mainstream and commercial art scene will continue to be a white wave.
This gentrification is now coupled with lack of income(s), Rovics says, as artists who used to be able to show and sell their work (and bar-tend and wait tables), and in the case of musicians, perform and then peddle “merch” at venues, have zero options for in-person engagement.
Mounting debt, continuing eviction threats, and increasing vulnerability to disease and illness also are additional factors to the mental health stress of artists. David knows of artists who just have shut down, and can’t work. Others are manic, going through sleepless periods but producing a lot. For Rovics, he fits this latter category, but he admits he is not immune to GAD – general anxiety disorder. He told me he watches a lot more news feeds than he did before the pandemic, and doesn’t sleep through the night. — “On the Streets, In Union Halls, On the Frontlines: Have Guitar, Will Travel” by Paul Haeder, November 25th, 2020
Listen to the interview. Yes, we covered a lot of topics, and the kernel of the interview is around my own newspaper journalist roots, and the many jobs I have had in communications — as a faculty at colleges and universities teaching writing, composition, literature and creative writing. And as a writer who happens to need a 9 to 5 job to continue writing in this exploitative and dead-end celebrity culture.
I do this sort of writing to promote where I work, and for now, it’s with adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Job developer, coach, life skills mentor, and more: “When the going gets tough, Shangri-La comes to the rescue”
I’ve written about this many times, and many of the pieces have ended up in Dissident Voice, which is a semi-safe harbor in the sea of chaotic blogs, aggregating news sites, and specialty discussion boards and Zeens.
2 thoughts on “Rumble Inside the Chaos of Capitalism”
Hi Paul Haeder, Finally got to see and hear you “in real life” in your David Rovics interview! A treat! Thank you for the link… watched the whole interview, and listened to Rovics’ “Has the Bombing Begun?” performance afterwards… which brought me to tears… moving as hell… Interesting observation David made, regarding those of us who have spent appreciable amounts of time outside of the United States: we tend to gravitate towards each other… This must be why—for years—I’ve been so drawn to your writing and work…. Loved the discussion on the lack of nuance (and, basically, sanity) in American discourse today! On the college/university classes you once taught: I wish I could have been a student in ANY of them! “Sixteen weeks with Haeder, researching the good, the bad, and the ugly of your prospective careers…” If I’d been fortunate to gave an instructor like you, I’d have switched my major from nursing to political science A LOT sooner! I love the passion artists—such as you and David—bring to the world. Desperately NEEDED are more good examples of righteously angry, amazingly intelligent, well-traveled, educated, richly-experienced, GOOD rebels like you… especially as things continue to get darker… I have to thank you again, Paul Haeder, for sharing this incredibly rich and fascinating interview! Love, Cindy Cindy Conaway
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Well, mighty kind, mighty kind. You see, Cindy, I have been sacked from jobs, and even never got to second base because of my solidarity for workers, for the underdogs, for the 80 percent. Yeah, we know how despicable this country’s roots are after the white lower species invaded Turtle Island. We know all of that, all the killing, stealing, raping, polluting, maiming. But, young minds, and many times the nontraditional student minds, are lacking in any sense of history. How and why there is the 8-8-8 — 8 hours sleep, 8 hours in the community, 8 hours work. We have brothers and sisters whose blood was spilled to fight against the greedy demon capitalists, the elite, the rich,, the bankers, and now that class (sic) has been stretched to the limits. Little Eichmann, Big Eichmann, and that Faustian Bargain, and, here we are, literally, a country with 160 million plus with chronic illnesses, co-morbities, and the amount of mental illness, and the bad eating and mental hygiene, and it is, alas, PLANNED to put people into learned, forced, slow helplessness. Work for shitty wages and shitty health care? While the rich and the CEOs and politicians dance the night away? Truly, the lack of capacity of so-called educated people to understand that a revolution, rolling strikes, rolling revolutions, and hijacking the systems, from the local 7-11 to JP Morgan Chase or Walmart or Raytheon, all of that should be our will and our way.
The fact that even writing this, let alone thinking it, can get my ass in trouble wherever I go, teach, interact with the public, that also says a ton about how broken Capitalism is. I have had grown men and women, Marines, tattletale on me for teaching them the hard political lessons of the world in the composition and literature classes they enrolled in. This is America — big, strapping punks with guns, missiles and tanks, rolling over because of some ratty haired lefty forcing them to think!
Pussies abound — cops, administrators, governors, captains, generals, CEOs, students, principals, even the “beautiful people” who laugh all the way to the millionaires’ bank at the scum of the earth. Those elites and chosen people owning and running the media, culture, the narratives, using the 80 percent, the poor, the “hillbillies and skanks and druggies and wet backs and pregnant teens and criminals and gang-bangers” and, well, just watch Netflix or any other elite showtime shit and see how they depict the other people.
I know that is one portion of the recipe that has turned Americans into colonized slugs. But mass and public education has done a lot. The stripping away of safety nets, well, that too. Until the average person can’t think two let alone oppositional things at once.
Of course it is planned. And not some conspiracy of the tin foil hat variety.
I have lost friends, man, people who just can’t take the reality of the disease that is capitalism and USA and war machines we sell to the world. Can’t take it that Israel is Apartheid, and that UK is a demon racist country, still White civilization, as Susan Sontag stated, is a cancer on the world.
There are cures, there are preventions, there are ways to live or work around that cancer. My job is to penetrate that and more. But too bad the powers have ripped away my ability to reach young and old, or many on a single stage. The elites and the Controllers are in the driver’s seat, so having some scurfy punk like me throw eggs at them or Molotov’s while they drive 80 miles into us, well, that indeed is a nice image for me.
Cheers, really, and happy year of that Ox!
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