I like having options.
I enjoy and celebrate diversity.
I seek out energies that bring out and affirm the best in me.
It has become clear to me that through many divisive tactics, diversity is being manipulated, suppressed and punished. This Presidential Race in America is just another example of giving the appearance of options, while the powers that be seek to silence opposition, leaving us with a mindset that it’s really only about the two major parties. This strategy has played out before us time and time again, and the environment created is quite bleak in my opinion. It has brought out the worst in us: a climate of fear, limitation and brutishness.
Instead of just looking at something terrible and assuming there’s nothing that can be done, some go another route. Some shine a light on disorder for the purpose of transforming it. Often attacked for merely pointing out dysfunctions and seeking greater freedom, we often fight those who are actually doing the good work.
But there is much to be said about the relentless spirit. That determination to be heard, to be counted, to be acknowledged. Obstacles and negativity may be multi-form saying, “there’s nothing wrong here”, “you don’t belong here”, “follow the herd”, “your path doesn’t work”, “you’re too different” or “we won’t let you in”. Despite strong contrasts, individuals come forth to strongly say, “I exist. I belong here. I have something to say. I matter”. In today’s case, I’m talking about U.S. Presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein, VP Candidate and International Human Rights Activist Ajamu Baraka, The Green Party and the Social Movements they are in harmony with. These individuals and groups are pointing out disorder, while also presenting strategies and policies they believe have the highest possibility for positive transformation of the environmental, economic, political, sociological and justice systems in America.
This is encapsulated in the phrase used by Jill and her campaign, “People, Planet & Peace over Profit”. People over profit, such as their commitment to not accepting money from corporations. Such as their commitment to indigenous people’s rights, lands and respecting treaties, most recently at the Dakota Access Pipeline (Bold Alliance Petition). Such as their willingness to address systemic racism, police brutality and mass incarceration in this country (in harmony with Black Lives Matter), pointing out root causes and tracing back this pattern of oppression. Repairing communities, establishing community run police review boards, releasing non-violent drug offenders from prison and demilitarizing the police are a few steps they are ready to enact if elected. There’s also their call for health care as a human right, and their respect of all life regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or any other distinguishing factor. One of their boldest demonstrations of people first, is their call to end student debt in America and free 44 million people from economic slavery. If we can bail out Wall St., we can do it for the students who are being held hostage, unable to fully participate and contribute to the economy and to society with their skills and intelligence. They would demand education as a human right, guarantee tuition-free education from pre-school through university and protect public schools from privatization.
Planet over profit, with their call for a Green New Deal. Transferring us away from fossil-fuels to 100% renewable energy by 2030. This emergency shift is an answer to the myriad of environmental problems that we have brought on ourselves . When 7 species of bees are now on the endangered species list for example (For those in WA: Environment Washington), something is seriously wrong. Anyone whose is capable and willing can receive a full-time job transforming the economy, investing in public transit, developing and protecting sustainable energy systems, food systems, ecosystems and infrastructures under this Green New Deal.
Peace over profit, by having a foreign policy that’s based on international law and human rights. Fighting terrorism with a “Peace Offensive”, including a weapons embargo and halting funds to countries that fund terrorism. They call to cut the military’s budget by 50%, close hundreds of foreign military bases, transitioning those jobs to ones in renewable energy, transportation and green infrastructure development. They also call for the banning of drone use for assassination, bombing and other offensive purposes and leading the charge for nuclear disarmament. These are just a few elements of their Platform that stand out to me.
There are those who would scoff at such talk. But it’s that kind of strength, that kind of teamwork, that kind of intelligence and love, that empowered individuals and organizations to demand change for the better through the ages. When the powers that be say it’s OK to treat black people, brown people, women, LGBTQIA+ or any other minority and/or group as lower than human, it takes stronger collective positive energy to comfort, uplift, empower, inspire, bring justice and raise consciousness above bigotry, hatred and oppression. When the powers that be say it’s OK to treat the environment any which way with little or no regard for respecting Life and delicate balances of ecosystems, it takes the stronger collective positive energy of individuals to raise consciousness above recklessness, ignorance and destruction, towards greater harmony, efficiency and conservation. And when the powers that be say it’s OK in the “land of the free” to restrict the political system to only two sets of party voices, under the guise that they are diverse enough to represent the voices of this country and act on their behalf, it takes the stronger collective positive energy of the People to raise consciousness above limitation, fear and manipulation, towards greater freedom, and diversity of opinion and policy.
I feel Jill and Ajamu have the strongest foundation and platform, with the full backing of their party and finances that don’t come from big money, to begin lifting us out of this mess and into a better, more harmonious age. Tinkering with the system won’t be enough. The system has let us down. And we let ourselves down, when we bow to the powers that be and willingly give up our freedom, voice and power. Cheers to Jill Stein, Ajamu Baraka, The Green Party and all those working towards a brighter future.
**Jill illustration credit: JGENNNillustrations
– Jimi Jaxon
I was stirred with emotions upon viewing this SAM exhibit. I didn’t think leading up I’d be experiencing something like Kehinde Wiley and later proclaim, “It was the greatest art exhibit I may ever see in this lifetime!”. The vibrancy, scale and power emanating from these works just knocked me clean over. I felt empowered, like weights placed on myself and others (subconscious and conscious) for being different were being acknowledged, lifted and transmuted into this majestic “New Republic”.
It’s my understanding that we all perceive from different angles. And Wiley ignites a daunting list of perspectives to analyze. From identity to beauty, class, power, wealth, authority and who “fits” where, to name a few. I’ve taken in words from SAM (Seattle Art Museum, host to Wiley’s “A New Republic”, credits for these photos), the Complex Exchange talk with Cristina Orbe, Karen Toering, and Gabriel Teodros at NAAM, friends and Wiley himself. All have been engaging, weaving an ever more intricate web of energy and reaction.
For me, a recurring word that appears when I view these pieces is “blueprint’. One of Websters definitions states, “a detailed plan or program of action” and I quite like that. When I look at many of the 60+ pieces by Wiley at SAM, I take in this grand presentation of humanity. I’m either viewing people in this kind of ideal, celebrated (and natural in ways) form, or a theme gone awry, such as incarceration/confinement and death by devious means. Overall though, the exhibit leans to the positive side in my eyes. The program initiated in many of these works for humanity is one where individuality, love, self worth, strength and teamwork reign supreme.
For those near Seattle, these are the last few days of the exhibit ending Sunday, May 8th. Tonight (Thursday May 5th) you can get in at half price for the Downtown art walk from 6-9 . Keep your eyes on Wiley online, to see where his galleries will be headed next. And salute to this masterful artist, you and your team have raised the bar.
– Jimi Jaxon
A small handful of individuals have walked this musical path alongside me since near inception, and Null.dll is one of them. I’ve seen many artists friends come and go, both through this site and in my neck of the woods. A small amount have not only continued to create, but have continued to grow in their production quality and individual style. This fellow local producer out of the Seattle area is one of those people, quietly and steadily still on track. Back in January of 2012, my label 7 Deadly Records celebrated it’s second release, a single called “Certainty” by Null.dll. I followed this with a remix, which was the first complete re-imagination of a track I felt confident enough to put out there, as I was just getting the hang of Ableton. Here we are 4 years later, and I receive this new original track from my friend and label mate called “Pace”. It’s a privilege that after all these years, my artistic outlets are still holding to a certain quality level, where artists seek the label and blog for support. You won’t find me writing or posting about anything through these avenues that I don’t 100% love at the time. Friends or not, if I’m not totally down, I don’t lift it up. I’m super pleased with this short new track, and I’ve gotten word there’s an expanded release on the way. Who knows, you may see the finished product on a 7 Deadly release, or through Disco Droppings, who now does free releases when the energy is proper. Cheers to you Null.dll! This is a pleasure.
Image courtesy of the genius, and friend of the site, Beeple
– Jimi Jaxon
It’s been a little over two years since Abby stopped by Disco Droppings for a conversation. I’m very grateful she has returned! I observe so many discussions on subjects like the ones below, and it can be a trip to say the least. When I think about a contribution I can make, a big part is building a space for these ideas and energies to be demonstrated. Where distinct individuals can share, and readers can take it in at their own pace, in a site that isn’t difficult to look at. I aim to keep things clean and minimal. So, in we go with this hard-hitting investigative journalist: Founder of Media Roots, Former host of Breaking The Set, Board of Directors for Project Censored, Founder of The Empire Files and quite the artist as well. I soundtracked this feature to The Prodigy album, The Fat of the Land (very fitting I’d say)..
DD Who and/or what moved you the most this past year of 2015, and what message did they bring?
AM My partner Mike, he made me follow my heart across the country. It took a leap to adventure to NYC with me to partner in our show The Empire Files. His support and intelligence has pushed my vision to a whole other level.
DD I want to go back to a past interview you did a few years ago that could use another look. I especially love your conversation with Alex & Allyson Grey, who are said to be “the most prolific psychedelic artists in the world..” There are discussions of “inner sight” and “turning within”. How does this translate to the lens through which you see the world?
AM They are truly beautiful people. I think the most important human component is empathy. Instead of speaking about the horrors of the world in the abstract, we need to start humanizing others and putting ourselves in their shoes. Whenever I report an issue, I try to report it from the peoples perspective, through the lens of the oppressed and suffering.
DD What internal human imbalances contribute most to the external dysfunctions you witness and report on, in your eyes?
AM I don’t know about internal imbalances so much as external ones that force internal strife. We are living in an economic system that institutionalizes inequality and barbarism. Poverty is deepening at an increasingly rapid rate. The extreme consequences of living under the shadow of militaristic imperialism are playing out all around us, driving desperate people to commit crime, violence and terrorism. The propaganda that maintains US Empire breeds division, hatred and discrimination. Unless people can work together to challenge the power structure in the heart of this country, I fear the dysfunction of the system will lead to its violent collapse.
DD I feel this problem with unification. What’s holding us back from coming together? What veils need to be lifted?
AM Behind the veil is the common humanity that unites us all. From nationalism to “otherism”, myths are the glue that hold society subservient. These myths also work to justify untold unjust and criminal policies. I think most division in America is bred from a manufactured fear of what we don’t know or understand. The propaganda behind the endless ‘War on Terror’ is more convoluted and effective now. Many people I related to ten years ago have since followed an extreme Islamophobic trajectory. It’s scary. In times of strife, people’s fears will take hold and fascists will rise–it’s up to those of us that are awake to support and build each other up.
DD How is life with Telesur, the host of your new show Empire Files? And how would you describe the energy of this show vs. Breaking The Set?
AM Every episode of Breaking the Set was like a punch in the gut of hard truth. For three years I was like a steam engine, with a team of only two people to churn out a daily show. The energy output was insane, and I knew that I couldn’t keep it up. I also knew that I wanted to embark on investigative documentary work, and with The Empire Files, I’m able to invest an entire week’s worth of work to provide important and timeless context to the issues of the day. Although the budget for the show is much less than RT, it’s been an invaluable experience to learn what goes into creating a show from scratch.
DD My favorite art pieces from you are the collages. “Ganesha Nagarani”, “Business Man’s Trip” and “Earth Awakening” really draw me in. There’s this chaotic energy, and at the same time a cohesion and melding together of many elements. How has this outlet been moving for you recently? If you haven’t been focusing on this area recently, are there other visual artists you find especially striking at this time?
AM “Ganesha Nagarani” is my favorite piece! I love creating captivating, psychedelic webs of cultural expression. I still only have a staff of two helping to create the weekly production of The Empire Files, so having free time for art is limited. I’m trying to set up a show while I’m on the east coast, which will force me to produce more. Out of all the art I’ve seen in NYC so far, there is very little cutting political commentary and I hope to inject some before I move on to the next place.
DD About the election and 2-party system. I’m remembering my high hopes for Obama, going with that “choose the lesser of two evils”, and questioning that mindset later. What’s your take on the election this year, Trump, Clinton and Sanders? What is your option for people who may think, “there’s no other way that has a serious chance”? My gut says, why project barriers and give into limitations? But I struggle with what to align myself with.
AM I think this election cycle is fascinating and promising for many reasons. The entire Republican establishment backed a candidate that its voter base totally rejected. Only good things can come from the corporate duopoly splintering like this. On the Democratic side, I think Bernie Sanders’ support is significant. It’s more than just symbolism. Unlike Obama, Sanders has a decades long record of policy votes to stand behind. Hillary’s upset so far is about a visceral rejection of the status quo and shows Americans are hungry for significant change. Unfortunately, Bernie already pledged to endorse corporate criminal Hillary Clinton as the democratic nominee and not run as an independent, which would be disastrous and demoralizing to his supporters. If he loses the nomination, I hope his base rallies behind Green Party candidate Jill Stein. I always advise people to vote with their heart, because any vote for a candidate that doesn’t represent them is a wasted vote, not the other way around. The more we marginalize third parties the more the two-party dictatorship maintains its stranglehold over the already rigged election system.
DD And finally, what is your mission for 2016?
AM To forgive and learn from my mistakes, and to constantly strive to be a better, stronger person.
– Jimi Jaxon