Richard Serra, Television Delivers People,1973
Produced in collaboration with Carlotta Schoolman, Richard Serra’s 1973 short film Television Delivers People functions as a critique of broadcast television and mass advertisement.
Recently, Dave Andrews, Community Activist, Writer, Speaker, Peacemaker and Australian (in no particular order) visited the UK on a speaking tour.
Dave was kind enough to give us a quick interview.
Manwakesup: Dave, you recently did a speaking tour of the UK. Where did you get the best cup of tea?
Dave Andrews: As always, the best cup of tea was a cup of tea with friends.
Manwakesup: What was the general response from the Brits to your ideas?
Dave Andrews: I found that people resonated with what I was saying because a lot of what I was saying was merely articulating what they were already thinking and feeling.
Manwakesup: Who would you say are the top three people who have influenced your life?
Dave Andrews: My dad, my mum and my wife.
Manwakesup: What is your view on the Occupy movement currently sweeping the globe?
Dave Andrews: I think it’s a sign there is profound dissatisfaction with the status quo. The challenge is for us to move on from critiquing what is to creating what it should be – to be the change we want to see.
Manwakesup: How would you respond to critics who might accuse you of being naive in a world of realpolitik?
Dave Andrews: Naivety is belief without doubt. Maturity is belief and doubt held together in creative tension. Doubt without belief is not scepticism, but cynicism, and cynicism is the cancer of the soul.
Manwakesup: You have talked a lot about open-set church, where people might move towards Christ from different and distant places rather than closed set, where you are either in or out. Where does a personal encounter with Christ which is seen as so central to evangelical Christianity fit in your opinion?
Dave Andrews: I believe we are called to follow Christ because Christ represents the best to which all good points. I believe people can encounter Christ anywhere, anytime, through his Spirit which is seeking to lead us towards the truth.
Manwakesup: Some Christians can get quite hot under the collar when you start to talk about Christ’s non-violent stance. Why do you think that is?
Dave Andrews: I think that violence makes us feel powerful. Many of us feel the call to nonviolence is a call to engage the world in weakness, not in strength, which is doomed to fail in the face of violence. If only people would realise the only way to succeed in breaking cycles of violence is by refusing to return evil for evil, and steadfastly, courageously, consistently, meekly returning good for evil.
Manwakesup: Have you any plans to get your book Christi-anarchy republished? Copies are currently going for £37.00 on Amazon at the moment!
Dave Andrews: The Tafina edition of Christi-Anarchy and Not Religion But Love are in print and available from www.lastfirst.net for $25 plus postage. Wipf and Stock will issue a new edition in the new year.
Manwakesup: When are you next back in the UK?
Dave Andrews: Maybe 2013 for Greenbelt.
Manwakesup: Many thanks, Dave
Dave Andrews: Cheers
Antonio Gramsci, an Italian writer, politician and political theorist at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, is best known for his ideas about cultural hegemony. For Gramsci, the elites maintain their control in society, and in the world, not just through military power, violence and political and economic coercion, but also ideologically, through a hegemonic culture in which the values of the bourgeoisie became the ‘common sense’ values of all. Thus a consensus culture developed in which people in the working-class identified their own good with the good of the bourgeoisie, and helped to maintain the status quo rather than revolting. For Gramsci, hegemonic dominance ultimately relied on a “consented” coercion.
This autumn,what with the ceremonial renaming of ‘Royal’ Wooton Bassett, celebrity ‘pimped’ poppies, and the highest ever poppy sales, and now the Military Wives Choir and its show-business backing for the Christmas Number One slot, I’m beginning to wonder whether war is not so bad after all, and whether Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount “blessed are the peacemakers etc…” was mistaken.
*Apologies for the mix of metaphor.
Rachel Mariner has definitely captured something with her proposal for a Winter Carnival and touring occupation around the Cathedrals of the country.
This sounds like a genius idea, but just a minute, how did we get from the intention to occupy Paternoster Square outside the London Stock Exchange to a tour of Britain’s finest ecclesiastical heritage? Is this a sign of the end of the road for the protest or is it a journey right into the heart of the problem –one which will challenge the very idea of who holds the power in this country?
But first, a quick review of how the St Paul’s protest began as an accident. Legal action by the private owners of Paternoster Square, aided by the Metropolitan Police kept the protestors out of Square but left St Pauls as the next best location. (see Andy Worthington’s eye-witness account of its start)
For those of you who are sticklers for detail, Paternoster Square and St Paul’s Cathedral are neighbours – here’s the map…
I do believe that this protest outside St Pauls (and others to come, it sounds) has located itself as a piece of grit in the eye of a sleeping giant. Those who make their fortunes as a result of Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand may just have scored a Maradona-style own goal which goes on to stir up a protest which will challenge all the rules of how the power game is played.
I liked Paul Mason’s comment on the St Paul’s protest, when he tweeted, “it might not have started a revolution, but it does seem to be kick-starting a second Reformation”.
Hopefully, it will go further than that.
The challenge to the church (of all denominations) will not stop with the resignations we have seen so far. I believe that there is a profound challenge on its way to the church’s door. 75 tents on its doorstep or even some troublesome candlelit marchers on tour (although these are to be applauded and appreciated) are just the start. On its way, one hopes, is the indisputable revelation and the church’s own startling realisation that it is addicted to power, wealth and status and over the centuries has built itself a complex web of alliances with those powers which its founder came specifically to disarm.
Man Wakes Up is about sharing ideas about how we can wake up, find inspiration to live lives that count, discuss ways we might try to make a difference, and defend each other from getting picked off by those powerful groups who view the world, its inhabitants, its nature and its resources as simply stuff they can buy.
Will Durst says, “Looking round at the world, if you are not confused – then you’re not paying attention”. Why that is so funny is that its true. At the moment, the world economy, the Arab Spring, is baffling to most of us.
This blog will point to inspirational writers and thinkers and communities who are starting to make some sense of this and as Gandhi encouraged us to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’.
Anyway, enough to start with.