For Immediate Release
Secretary Speaks to Armed Artists of America
Remarks by the Secretary to Armed Artists of America (AAA) announcing
WASHINGTON, DC - On June 12, 7:00 PM (EST/GMT +5 hours) Secretary Randall M. Packer of the US Department of Art & Technology delivered a speech to the Armed Artists of America at Studio 84 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, announcing "10,000 Acts of Artistic Mediation at the 2004 Republication Convention in New York City.
The following is the transcript:
Speech by Randall M. Packer
THE SECRETARY: Sergeant Lee Wells, Armed Artists of America, distinguished guests, officers, cadets, and your families: Thank you for the warm welcome. (Applause.) And thank you for the honor to visit those of you on Active Duty at Studio 84 as we announce the launch of “10,000 Acts of Artistic Mediation” at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City. (Applause.)
You've worked hard to get to this moment. You survived the Patriot Act, spent months creating your work while on Active Duty, carried canvases and art supplies from Manhattan, and endured countless hours training in your studios. In this time you've been transformed from "basics" and "smacks" -- (laughter) -- to proud artists and activists. Congratulations on a great achievement. (Applause.)
Now tonight, I am here at Studio 84 to thank each of you who carry the hopes of free people everywhere. (Applause.) Armed with ideas and the tools to create a rapid response agenda to stop the global progression towards World War III, your generation assumes its duties during a conflict that will define your careers as artists – you will be called upon to take brave action and serve with honor. In some ways, this struggle we're in is unique. In other ways, it resembles the great clashes of the last century -- between those who put their trust in tyrants and those who put their trust in liberty. Our goal, the goal of this generation, is the same: We will secure our nation from tyranny, the tyranny of the Republicans, and defend the peace through the forward march of 10,000 Acts of Artistic Mediation. (Applause)
Like the murderous ideologies of the 20th century, their ideology of pre-emptive war reaches across borders, and encourages terrorism in every country. So we're fighting the President and his shadow government wherever they may hide in their bunkers.
Like other totalitarian movements, the Republicans seek to impose a grim vision in which dissent is crushed, and every man and woman must think and live in colorless conformity. We offer to the oppressed peoples of our nation and around the world, the great alternative of human liberty through creative expression.
Like the enemies of the past, the Republicans underestimate the strength of the artist. They believe that artists are essentially corrupt and decadent, and with a few hard blows will collapse in weakness and in panic. But they are now learning that we are strong and determined, because of the steady resolve of artists, and because of our skill and strength in carrying out acts of artistic mediation, we will prevail. (Applause.)
We bring more than a vision to this conflict -- we bring a strategy that will lead to victory. And that strategy has three commitments:
First, we are using every available tool to dismantle, counter, and disrupt the Republican National Convention – a battle for ground zero. With all the skill of our artistic resources, all the stealth of our special forces, and all the global reach of our information technologies, we will strike the Republicans before they can strike us. The best way to protect America is to stay on the offensive. We will challenge the prevailing fear culture and dissolve the Republican’s stranglehold on democracy to ensure all Americans the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of reveling! All Revelers will mount the Staton Island Ferry and stage a heroic “Crossing of New York Harbor” to liberate Manhattan from the Bush Loyalists. (Applause.)
Secondly, we are denying Republicans a place of sanctuary behind the spectacle of the image. The power of the Republicans is multiplied when the media harbors them, creating safe haven to gather and train recruits to make theater with 9/11, to use a conquered New York as their propaganda. We are going to fight them by subverting their propaganda with our own techniques of media and illusion. The US Department of Art & Technology welcomes all Republican Convention delegates to its 2004 (Un)Convention and (Dis)Information Center, a convention intervention, where we will inform, transform, and redirect their way of thinking. We are thrilled to bring truth, justice, and the American Way to the Republican Party and the political process.
Third and finally, we will follow the mythic storyline of our great nation, we will celebrate our nation’s history and its democratic process by reclaiming our government from its current ruling special interests and bring it back to the people. We will join Jonny America who will suit up in Colonial garb and charge down Lexington Ave. – on horseback – to declare “The Republicans are coming! “The Republicans are coming!”
Free and experimental societies inspire young men and women to create temporary autonomous zones where we can experience a little piece of a world that we’d like to be our everyday reality. We will create a nation of radical self-expression through spontaneous theatrics and creative political play. As life artists, we revel in sculpting transformative moments for ourselves and for the world around us. And in the long run, I have great faith that the power of artistic mediation is stronger than the lure of war profiteering and political cover-up.
We can hear the echoes of other enemies in other times -- that same swagger and demented logic of the fanatic – the self-fulfilling curse of fundamentalist apocalypticism, the toxic manipulations and corrosive greed of right-wing financiers, media moguls and corporate criminals, and the abysmal corruption and insanity of an Orwellian political culture. Like their kind in the past, the Republicans have left scars and suffering. And like their kind in the past, they will flame and fail and suffer defeat by free men and women. (Applause.) This is a monumental crisis that calls for the sublime power of art to tell profound truths beyond the capacity of words.
The Republicans must be overthrown, they must be expelled from American lands, and the most daring practice of the artist must be carried out to achieve this objective. In this vision, I call upon the Axis of Eve, a coalition of brazen women on a mission to expose and depose President Select George W. Bush and his unspeakably deceitful administration to create a media spectacle bearing messages of truth and accountability. Convinced that effective political action can be irreverent and risqué, they are launching a titillating campaign of “Truth-Flashing” coordinated around their provocative line of protest panties. The Eves are gearing up for a shameless spectacle of panty-flashing to lay bare the shameful tactics of the Bush administration and boldly demand an end to political cover-up.
We are using a variety of tactics to deny Bush the economic, biological and religious weapons he seeks. Because the economic threat requires a feminist response, we are working with Missile Dick Chicks, a posse of pissed-off housewives from Crawford, Texas charged with opposing consumerism by singing songs like “Shop! In the Name of War.” Billionaires for Bush, who strive for grassroots participation of the moneyed class, believe they’re only one Presidency away from winning the long battle to ensure that America will always be a place where corporations come first, where no billionaire is left behind, where social services are a freak of history.
We are working with regional artists such as Girls Gone Wild to counter the Republican biological threat, whose inspired Boobs Against Bush Campaign promises message like “More Cleavage, Less Tax Cuts on their Breasts.” On the religious front, our country must never allow the Republicans to preach religious extremism with 9/11, to use New York City and Ground Zero as the pulpit for its sermon. In the words of Reverend Billy, “we have to match that theater, to supplant it, and the RNC is going to be our 9th Symphony.” (Applause.)
Our coalition is determined: Ring down the curtain on the GOP’s undemocratic and irresponsible politics. Circle the wagons! Rend the air! Ringout invites us to toll the Iraqi dead; they invite ministers to lead a giant prayer circle around the World Trade Center; fire departments to raise the alarm; bell-ringing bikers to speed around Madison Square Garden; graffiti artists to paint giant rings on streets and walls, poets to recite Martin Luther King’s Let Freedom Ring; they call on all citizens to join at the end of the convention in a big pulsating ring around all of Manhattan.
At every stage of this process, before and after the transition to artistic sovereignty, the Republicans are likely to be active and brutal. They know the stakes as well as we do. But our coalition is prepared, our will is strong, and we will not be intimidated by the neo-con insurgents.
For those of you on Active Duty, you have trained and studied and worked for this moment. And now it has come. You are the ones who will lead our war against war. Your country is depending on your courage and your dedication to duty. The eyes of the world are upon you. You will lead the coalition of the willing to stage 10,000 Acts of Artistic Mediation at the 2004 Republican National Convention.
You embark on this challenge at a historic time, and you enter this struggle ahead with the full confidence of your Secretary. I thank each of you for accepting the hardships and high honor of service and I congratulate every member of the Armed Artists of America. (Applause.)
In the words of Marshall McLuhan, “To prevent undue wreckage in society, the artist tends now to move from the ivory to the control tower of society."
Thank you. (Applause.)
END 7:20 P.M. EST
Press Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology
U.S. Department of Art and Technology, Washington, DC, USA