Friday, June 7, 2013

The Paterson Silk Strike pageant

Today is the 100th anniversary of a great event in the history of political art in this country: the magnificent Paterson Silk Strike Pageant, organized by the workers and their supporters including, among others, John Reed.

I'd hoped to have time to write a substantive post here about this event, such a stirring and important moment, such a shining example of solidarity, such a beacon to artists who want to serve the class struggle. No surprise, nope don't have the time. So, in hopes this doesn't slip into solipsism, I'll just say that as such a person myself--a writer who aspires to create literature of and for the struggle of the workers and oppressed--I'm using the occasion of this anniversary as a wake-up call, a reminder, a renewal. To set aside the tasks and to-do lists, the applications and submissions that take up too much time and divert my mind from its imaginings, and dive back into the work of creation. That's my summer resolution. To write, and write well. Through a series of twists and turns--waitlisted at one, accepted at one but only for a longer period than I have vacation days available, accepted at another but not for free--it turns out that the idyllic writing residency at an arts colony I'd thought was on the horizon is not to be. So it's all up to me. To sit down at my desk, flip open my laptop, shut out the dirty stinky NYC summertime waft, and get this novel done.

And my muse? Let it be them, the women and men of the Paterson Silk Strike who took to the stage at Madison Square Garden 100 years ago today to tell the world the story of their struggle. That's the spirit to imbue in people's art.