Journalists are getting fired from San Jose to Atlanta
When they write about reality, not a fluff piece for Fanta
A death threat every week and sometimes life is short
When the truth is too dangerous for someone to report
Who will tell the people that free speech is a ruse
The corporations run the country and then they make the news
Is it media or mind control, heroic victories or crimes
Who will tell the people that we’re living in these times?
—Who Will Tell the People by David Rovics
This article is not a fluff piece for Fanta. While it is about the Global Justice Action Summit (GlobalJAS), this piece shouldn’t be too threatening to any corporations, since it’s all about the entertainment.
Then again, to say anything positive about David Rovics—a singer/songwriter/guitarist performing Saturday evening in Caras Park—is to endorse his scathing musical critiques of corporate globalization. And I have nothing but good things to say about David Rovics.
Rovics has become something of a fixture in the North American protest scene. His music is intended not only to entertain audiences, but to inspire and inform as well. Rovics wants people to pay attention to the injustices that make an event like GlobalJAS necessary, and to become active in movements working to alleviate the rampant abuse of poor people and the world’s ecosystems. In short, Rovics, like the organizers of GlobalJAS, wants people to work towards global justice.
The musical component of GlobalJAS begins Friday at 2 p.m. with a “Solstice Celebration” in Caras Park. The afternoon’s entertainment begins with Missoula’s Unity Dance and Drum showering Missoula with their African influences. The next set will be by local blues artists Rough Draught, followed by the sweet harmonies of Cherry Pie.
The Solstice Celebration continues with a 6 p.m. talk by Walden Bello, who will “Focus on the Global South.” He’ll be followed by the lighting of a Solstice bonfire, and then a set by Missoula’s activist folk diva, Amy Martin. The next act is a preview of Saturday Night’s “Global Elements” Concert, featuring Ancestor Radio and The Providers of the Vibe, a collection of Seattle-based artists with an international flavor.
Friday night’s events wrap up with a performance of “Hueso y Bone” a Solstice dance performance composed for GlobalJAS by local dance artists Human Family Daylight Theatre.
“I’m really excited about the lineup for the Global Justice Action Summit Festival, mixing local talent with national and international musicians who all share a positive vision for the prospect of a better world,” says Christophe Olsen, one of the event organizers.
Saturday’s lineup also features a blend of artists from Missoula and elsewhere. The day’s entertainment begins at 11 a.m. in Caras Park with Missoula’s Neato Bandido Frito and includes poetry by Tiffany Smith (11:50 a.m.) and Brett Axel (4 p.m.), belly dancing by Tangled Origins (2:30 p.m.), Afro-Cuban drum and dance by Omo Oddara (4:30 p.m.), and music by Gigi Quartet (noon), Warren Worth & the North Country Blues Band (1 p.m.), Lori Skyrud (2 p.m.), the Bader Blues Band (3 p.m.), Velcro Sheep (5 p.m.), Ancestor Radio (6 p.m.), and Zoe Wood (7:30 p.m.).
If you’re smart, you’ll pace yourself and not burn out by the time David Rovics takes the stage at 9 p.m. on Saturday. If you’ve made it that far, then Rovics will energize you enough to slide into the third and final musical event of the GlobalJAS lineup: The Global Elements show.
Global Elements features Ancestor Radio and the Providers of the Vibe and starts at 10:30 p.m. in the Governor’s Room of the Florence Building. Ancestor Radio is an upbeat, world-music influenced six-piece band that includes former Missoula resident and funk-master Josef Ravenwood on bass.
The musical performances throughout GlobalJAS should provide a heartfelt, refreshing lift to serve as a counterpoint to the heavier informational sessions, panels, and speakers that make up the bulk of the summit. It’s only appropriate that the festival will be infused with music not only from Missoula, but from far afield.
Working towards global justice is not something that can be done in isolation. To borrow a metaphor from the field of conservation biology, populations of species must have a large number of individuals in order to sustain themselves indefinitely. But each population need not have the requisite number of individuals if the different populations are connected to one other through biological corridors.
Likewise, Missoula’s population of global justice activists doesn’t have to be big enough to sustain a global movement all by itself. But it does need to connect periodically with activists from elsewhere to keep the movement vibrant, engaged, and growing.