Speak Out - Drive Out the Bush Regime

Statements from a wide array of individuals and organizations about why they are taking up the Call for November 2nd.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

An Open Call To Poets, Authors, and Academics

“Everywhere an alchemy of resistance transmutes your flowering name.”
— Thomas McGrath, “A Warrant for Pablo Neruda”

It is a moment of unprecedented urgency. Never before in the history of this nation has any administration pushed so avidly for an agenda of such unmasked hatred, suppression, and expansionism. Never before has a religious literalism been placed on footing so equal with – or, in many cases, superior to – that of empirical science. Never before has political prerogative been equated so baldly or totally with race and economic class. Never before have so many been asked to kill and die for the narrow privilege of so very few. Never before has the call to action rung so loudly, clearly, or eloquently as it does now.

Across the world, the simple facts ask little elaboration. America, rather than a friend, potential ally, or even mere bully, increasingly is seen as a juggernaut, blithely rolling with cold-blooded deliberation over all that stands between the ever-narrower band of ideological and economic thugs at the helm and the objects of their avarice. Internationally our government seeks loyalty through intimidation, exemption from basic codes of decency through a hollow rhetoric of siege and emergency, material profit through the most egregious and horrific kinds of violence. The Bush administration has publicly declared a chilling new state of perpetual exception, in which its authority can render foreign nationals stateless, wage illegal wars without due international process, criticize human rights abuses abroad while fostering a climate of repression and torture domestically.

For the academic and literary community at home, the urgency of this situation is articulated with especial clarity, as with stultifying efficiency of mind the administration seeks to marginalize or silence all voices of dissent domestically. At stake are not merely the perspectives and inclinations of a few – nor even those of the majority – but rather the intellectual and aesthetic freedom of pursuit that are the very life and blood of scholarly exchange: fundamentally of issue is our very ability to disagree. This administration in its attacks on the viability and integrity of the American intellectual has been relentless: our journalists are vilified and imprisoned for doing their jobs, ideas that have endured centuries as keystones of our scientific understanding are declared invalid on the authority of religious texts, poets and authors are asked to subordinate their consciences to the sick will of a maddened state.

It is the ample testimony of history that not to act, not to intercede on behalf of reason, compassion – in short, on behalf of our very humanity – would amount to the worst kind of treason against the entire world community: complacency in a rapid, perhaps ineradicable shift toward fascism. Around this nation and the world, a broad movement is coalescing from all corners that exists to dispute the phony consensus evinced, and reverse the vicious agenda pursued, by the Bush regime. We must stand within this movement. If ever poetry were necessary, if ever the world were crying out for the dignified voice of reason, if ever the world needed us, surely, unequivocally, urgently, it needs us now.