Masters of Educating & Agitating: Politiku & Dissenryuteering as Pamphle

Jerome Berglund

Masters of Educating & Agitating: Politiku & Dissenryu as Pamphleteering

Setu Bilingual Journal’s Masters Series Part VI

guest edited by Jerome Berglund



In our age of creeping oligarchy, deep state monopolies of policy predilections predicated upon dark financing, quid pro quo which translates frighteningly into insidious initiatives such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, through a time of widespread well-founded concerns over voting’s compromise, where the ostensible left party selects its candidates for the highest office via an undemocratic backroom arrangement and primaries or caucusing, popular vote has no bearing upon ultimately designated leadership in the executive branch and consequent Supreme Court appointments, when there are no feasible means for ensuring election integrity thoroughly on a large scale as recounts and exit polls have quietly been discontinued or made exorbitantly unaffordable to implement, where no paper trail verifying purported results of crucial regions, dubious gerrymandering, disenfranchisement, electoral colleges & superdelegate systems intercede to tip the scales between anointed options where any doubt in narrative exists, it is entirely reasonable for citizens in the United States and across the world to doubt the promised participatory element in our supposed republics, to feel interests are unrepresented by career politicians, duopoly grifters, that due to deep-seated corruptions personal and institutional it is guaranteed critical changes and improvements those empowered with the alleged capacity to reform are unable, and more commonly unwilling to enact or even seriously consider.

As progressively minded individuals grow increasingly jaded by systemic vulnerabilities and duplicitous promises offered, and then immediately reneged upon and rescinded after entering office (in recent administrations including such prominent bait and switches as universal healthcare, closure of Guantanamo, widespread student loan relief, protecting abortion access, robust stewardship for the environment and de-escalation of military interventionism across the globe, objectives which could be readily accomplished in theory through executive actions, a stroke of the pen might realize each day, and each day a choice is made to permit our egregious status quos to persist) time and time again by bought and paid for charlatans using tragedies opportunistically to secure votes and donations, exploiting victimized populations (endangered women coerced into carrying unwanted pregnancies to term at the behest of patriarchy and human resources, demands for hegemony and priorities of consumption; desperate refugees created by regime changing tumult and widespread destabilizing/expropriating patterns transformed by tragic circumstances into compliant sources of inexpensive labor for predatory captains of industry, dire conditions ensuring compliance and draconian dominion over, dependence and subjugation sabotaging collective bargaining and enabling wage stagnation or erosion) as hostages and bargaining chips to virtue signal and argue for lesser evil positioning in various framings and races, this vile and unacceptable state of affairs only seeming to worsen each day thanks to the ratchet effect and continuing consolidation of capital, ownership/control of media platforms, all these factors coalesce into a highly discouraging and impractical juggernaut the average person has little hope of standing against single-handedly in isolation, however expert they can become with stone and sling.

The disengaged rebel is hence behooved to explore alternative solutions for enacting the people’s will, and study lessons from past generations who succeeded at achieving monumental advances across sectors of civil rights, labor regulating, self-determination, in the face of great opposition. There is much wisdom in Martin Luther King Jr.’s comments upon the ‘language of the unheard’, and the IWW’s familiar slogan and assertion that direct action gets the desirable goods. Voltaire famously quipped that ‘Twenty-volume folios will never make a revolution…It’s the little pocket pamphlets that are to be feared’. Indeed, in the history of contemporary Japanese poetry the New Rising Haiku movement, their interests in what Secret Police describe as “promoting anti-capitalism and anti-fascism”, “attempt[ing] to attain their aims through…anti-war haiku” and “proletariat realism” provoked highly combative responses and retaliations from the nation’s social architects.  (See “The Evolution of Modern Japanese Haiku and the Haiku Persecution Incidents” Itô Yûki) Today there exists what amounts to widespread tacit censorship, permitted through acceptance of terms & conditions of theoretically private, non-state managed platforms, mirrored in carefully orchestrated relaying of heavily redacted and perverted perspectives through print and news channels owned by the same handful of accreted powerhouses. One can presume a predominant assurance the truth and genuine samplings of public opinion, reports of experiences and realities must be located outside of the twisted hallways of mainstream popular discourse, the gagged and muted, co-opted seats of pundits and selectively focus-grouped, severely vetted subjects permitted before a microphone, on a record or canvas or bookshelf.

While they persevere social media channels, independently produced publications, podcasts, blog posts pluckily represent our last bastions of potential integrity and transparency, where individuals may still call attention to our emperors’ new fashion choices, a live-streaming cellular telephone recording can disprove the false reports and testimonies, vindicate afflicted and witnesses’ realities. As Albert Camus warned us in the Plague, ‘dar[ing] to say that two and two make four’ can be one of the most hazardous, bravest and imperative activities a person may execute for their country and planet, neighbors and society at any given time. I applaud our valiant participants in this thoughtful showcase for having the courage, tenacity, stick-to-itiveness to focus their capable pens and caring minds upon these integral concerns, for raising awareness and encouraging positive growth and development, rejecting flawed logic and harmful philosophies which generate hate, injury, and fragmentation of our species and earth. The international writing and arts communities, and their haikai offshoots, provide stunning opportunities for sharing viewpoints and unique insights, organizing across borders and languages, rejecting divisions and forging solidarity and fellowship, mobilizing to achieve common goals and articulate shared interests via invaluable tools accessible conveniently and instantaneously, connecting east and west, north and south, with impressive possibilities and immediacy, offering promising instruments for facilitating humanitarian designs presenting vast unrealized potentiality.

As you navigate these poignant pieces composed from the most distant and diverse locales, by haijin hailing from America, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and the United Kingdom, I encourage you to bask in this most laudable aspect of our electronic age, and feel a little closer to our neighbors and friends at opposite ends of the maps, who share corresponding kindness, cooperation, dreams of a better future, desires for the pursuit of safety and comfort, who crave peace and respect and dignity for themselves and others, want to preserve this world for future generations, to continue refining our civilizations to usher in ages of newfound empathy and sustainability, prosperity and goodwill. As we look up at the same stars each night let us do so with compassion and awareness, wishing health and success to our brothers and sisters of every nation, and with each action we take I hope we can nudge things another millimeter the better direction. Each of our writers has made some profound contributions toward the greater common goods in crafting these activist verses, and our readers perform a critical service investing your valuable time and attention to learning, considering and absorbing fresh information, theory and points of view, particularly from outside your immediate insular setting, spheres of collective and personal self-interest. I thank you, one and all, for being a part of the solutions, and acting out the change we want to see in this era. Each person is absolutely essential to the future’s realizing. Posterity will remember, testify to and be deeply grateful for every tiny flap of those delicate wings, which cause the rains allowing gardens to grow. Yours sincerely with the utmost respect and encouragement from our land of 10,000 lakes.  m(_ _)m

Three microchapbooks and two fliers demonstrating political poems, which can be printed and folded or plastered prominently for display purposes!

February 5, 2024

Jerome Berglund has published book reviews and essays on poetry and poetics in Fireflies’ Light, Frogpond, Haiku Canada, Hooghly Review, the Mamba, North of Oxford, Setu, Valley Voices, also frequently exhibits poetry, short stories, plays, and fine art photography in print magazines, online journals, and anthologies.

Masters Series Part IV: Politiku & Dissenryu as Pamphleteering

No comments :

Post a Comment

We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।