Editors' Notes

Maria Damon and Michelle Greenblatt
Jim Leftwich and Michelle Greenblatt
Sheila E. Murphy and Michelle Greenblatt

A Visual Conversation on Michelle Greenblatt's ASHES AND SEEDS with Stephen Harrison, Monika Mori | MOO, Jonathan Penton and Michelle Greenblatt

Letters for Michelle: with work by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Jeffrey Side, Larry Goodell, mark hartenbach, Charles J. Butler, Alexandria Bryan and Brian Kovich

Visual Poetry by Reed Altemus
Poetry by Glen Armstrong
Poetry by Lana Bella
A Eulogic Poem by John M. Bennett
Elegic Poetry by John M. Bennett
Poetry by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
A Eulogy by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Joel Chace
A Spoken Word Poem and Visual Art by K.R. Copeland
A Eulogy by Alan Fyfe
Poetry by Win Harms
Poetry by Carolyn Hembree
Poetry by Cindy Hochman
A Eulogy by Steffen Horstmann
A Eulogic Poem by Dylan Krieger
An Elegic Poem by Dylan Krieger
Visual Art by Donna Kuhn
Poetry by Louise Landes Levi
Poetry by Jim Lineberger
Poetry by Dennis Mahagin
Poetry by Peter Marra
A Eulogy by Frankie Metro
A Song by Alexis Moon and Jonathan Penton
Poetry by Jay Passer
A Eulogy by Jonathan Penton
Visual Poetry by Anne Elezabeth Pluto and Bryson Dean-Gauthier
Visual Art by Marthe Reed
A Eulogy by Gabriel Ricard
Poetry by Alison Ross
A Short Movie by Bernd Sauermann
Poetry by Christopher Shipman
A Spoken Word Poem by Larissa Shmailo
A Eulogic Poem by Jay Sizemore
Elegic Poetry by Jay Sizemore
Poetry by Felino A. Soriano
Visual Art by Jamie Stoneman
Poetry by Ray Succre
Poetry by Yuriy Tarnawsky
A Song by Marc Vincenz

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Mad Dogs and Englishmen
by Rich Wink

I was talking shit with my colleague, it had been a quiet day and we were just running down the clock until the shift ended. Our pleasant chinwag was interrupted by a panicked voice, a young slick haired shop assistant was pointing, he fumbled with his words, but we got the gist of what he was trying to say—Something was kicking off outside. We rushed out to investigate and discovered a greasy haired man lying face down on the floor, straddling him was another man; two others were helping out, pinning legs and arms to the concrete.

The man on top was American, but he was speaking Russian to the guy on the bottom, who was of Eastern European descent. I looked to my right and saw an Indian woman, she looked distraught with tears running down her face; she was the victim, being comforted. Me and my colleague were professional, took control of the situation, made sure the man was safely restrained until the police arrived, then we walked away.

I suppose the point of me retelling this anecdote is because it involves people of many different nationalities and racial types. But what does that matter? Upon a review of CCTV footage a woman gets mugged by a desperate man, a passer-by comes to the aid of the woman and then some people do the right thing and others do what they are paid to do. Where the desperate man comes from raises 'other' issues. You can hear the dissenting voice saying "Oh, those Eastern Europeans, they come here and they commit crimes. They should go back to where they come from".

Only today the Office for National Statistics revealed that one hundred and forty one thousand Romanians and Bulgarians are working in the UK, creating the belief that when current restrictions (at the moment only self-employed or seasonal workers on six month terms from these two countries can work freely in the UK) on working rights are lifted next year, a flood of people will migrate over to Britain. To put the figure in some context, in 1997 there were only two thousand Romanians and Bulgarians working in Britain. The minimum wage for both countries is equivalent to less than a pound, whereas in the UK for those aged 21 and over the minimum wage is six pounds thirty one pence. There is certainly a financial pull, a reason for thousands to come over and seek better opportunities. And you might say—who can blame them? Why would you want to criticize another human being for wanting to better themselves and improve their standard of living?

Ah, but British society doesn't work like that. The natives get restless when foreign bodies appear and begin to shame them with their superior work ethic and willingness to take the jobs that were already available to those born here, only the natives were too lazy, content to collect dole money and wait for entitlements. "But wait, they're taking our jobs" the natives cry, looking for someone to blame for their own predicament.

Britain has always been a melting pot of cultures; it is the diversity which makes the nation so interesting. But we are still and always were—tribal, weary of difference, of the new. It has taken a while for the cultures to integrate and blend, to be tolerated and eventually appreciated. What's most concerning is that there has not always been acceptance. Tension remains in towns and cities divided by race and religion.

Which is why a self-described 'movement' such as the English Defence League has been able to flourish, in a post-broken Britain where the problems are cancerous, and generations will be unfixable; the chaos has proven to be a perfect breeding ground for tribes—people have gotten together to try and correct David Cameron's statement our society is rife with "irresponsibility, selfishness, behaving as if your choices have no consequences, children without fathers, schools without discipline, reward without effort, crime without punishment, rights without responsibilities". The EDL, though largely ignorant in their views, are seeking solutions and pointing their fingers at who they deem to be part of the problem; in a way that I would say, rather reluctantly, is commendable.

It's not necessarily a bad thing to see people protesting, to be passionate in their views, to exercise their right to free speech by saying the kind of things many have probably thought, but were afraid to say, but the EDL has a real image problem in the eyes of Joe and Josephine public. Associated in part to its connections with extreme right wing groups and a thuggish confrontational approach that harks back to the dark days of football hooliganism where firms would travel up and down the country for a meaningless drunken ruck.

Hooliganism was at its worst when the country was up shit creek under a conservative government. It's unsurprising to see such a revival occur in the last couple of years under another Tory government. The EDL mostly appeals to working class males who have nothing better to do with their time. They are alienated and want to be part of something. They desire to be valued. When you think about it, what else can many men afford to do? Football tickets are ridiculously expensive, and unlike in the early nineties men can't lie in fields under the influence of 'E' or flop about it nightclubs because again, it costs too bloody much.

The EDL originated from a man who doesn't even use his own name, a hooligan fanboy (probably obsessed with Nick Love films like 'The Football Factory') who decided to go under the alias 'Tommy Robinson', inspired by the Tommy Robinson who was affiliated with the hooligan firm that represented Luton Town Football Club. Luton, a place full of racial tension, particularly when an Islamist group of around ten people protested against soldiers returning from service in Afghanistan, was where Robinson first assembled a group of like-minded people looking to turn their country around.

The EDL protest against Islamic extremism and at least from the evidence on their website they claim to want to engage in "an open and honest debate about Islamic extremism" Yet the demonstrations they organize regularly turn into screaming matches as anti-fascist groups turn out in opposition. Neither realizes that two opposing yelling voices will never be heard unless one of them listens.

The group were quick to pounce upon several things (1) appeal to young men with time on their hands (2) concern themselves with matters relating to the British Army, whose popularity is arguably at an all-time high this decade since the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. This meant the EDL were instantly able to create some attention. After events in Luton people became curious, and a significant amount of mostly disenfranchised men decided to congregate and go around the country on demonstrations.

When the EDL came to Norwich in late 2012 it was to protest against the city council's banning of Reverend Alan Clifford who distributed anti-Islam leaflets from the Norwich Reform Church's market stall. Clifford's stance was that he should be within his rights to criticize Islam, and he used tabloid terms such as 'the Muslim menace' to speak out against the religion and its ties to extremism. When asked how he would feel if someone was writing such material about his religion, he said that such things "had been said for two thousand years" about Christianity. In the Norwich march about two hundred EDL members accomplished nothing as they were drowned out and heckled by almost ten times as many people who had come out under the banner of 'We Are Norwich'.

On the 21st of July in Birmingham around twenty arrests were made as a crowd of roughly two thousand rowdy EDL members gathered to chant terrace songs lyrically adapted to disrespect Islam. Marches were being held up and down the country, and the turnouts steadily increased. More and more people decided to become part of the action.

When an off duty soldier named Lee Rigby was tragically murdered by two Islamic extremists in May 2013 the EDL were quick to say "We told you this was going to happen". The isolated case provided worrying ammunition to the movement. Though the murderers had converted to Islam and committed the act to avenge all of the Muslims who had been murdered by the British Army in the recent conflicts in Afghanistan it was an isolated incident, and not part of a wider wave of terrorism. The murder was condemned by Muslim leaders, yet still there was a spate of anti-Muslim attacks occurred in the aftermath to Rigby's murder.

Because the Rigby story went viral, it was on everyone's minds. There was shaky footage filmed on a mobile phone by a passer-by of one of the murderers giving reasons why he had killed Rigby. There were people tweeting live from the scene, one of whom, an aspiring musician called Boya Dee said "Ohhhhh myyyy God!!!! I just see a man with his head chopped off right in front of my eyes!" Off the back of witnessing traumatic events Boya Dee proved to be an insightful writer who developed an unlikely media career.

On EDL marches after May's tragedy there were numerous English adored with 'RIP LEE RIGBY', written in the same way a football fan might have scrawled Plymouth Argyle FC across St. George. The EDL were trying to reflect the Great British public's outrage at the tragedy.

Perhaps the EDL are an unfortunate product of a carefully packaged wider government led war against the mysterious 'other' that has slowly mutated after the 7/7 bombings and the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. There has been a sudden clampdown on illegal immigrants over the last couple of months, with the UK Border Agency's unsubtle campaign to send those who shouldn't officially be here back home. Immigration officers took to Walthamstow tube station and proceeded to 'randomly' stop and question people based on skin colour and if they spoke another language. Several UK cities were targeted in the operations.

Immigration has always been an issue to the British public, in the sense that many perceive their home cities and towns are becoming ghettoised by large communities of settlers from far away. Forgetting that when gluts of Brits move abroad to Spain they tend to stick together, eating Full English fry ups and watching Eastenders. In order to settle in a new place it is perhaps best to be with the people you know, and then in time integrate when you become better acquainted with the language and culture as you feel more at home.

The Home Office even sent out mildly amusing ads on vans, mobile hoardings instructing 'illegals' to leave. It was an odd sight, something you perhaps expected to see back in the days when Enoch Powell was ranting and raving. In 2013 we've got two point five million people unemployed, several hundred thousand employed on zero hour contracts, hundreds and thousands of immigrants entering the country looking for work; all this occurs on the bleak back drop of a faltering economy showing the thinnest of green shoots. When you consider issues overhanging the National Health Service, and that in general the welfare system is under increasing strain, as benefits are cut and people's circumstances become increasingly dire. It is no wonder people turn take on extreme viewpoints.

When we talk of multiculturalism, and ethnic diversity, we forget that we a covered by a blanket culture of fear, underneath people are panicking, clawing and scratching out at each other as they look for salvation. Few believe they can turn to their government, or even the opposition. The marginal and the charismatic organisations, those who whine the loudest, are gaining a following. Two years ago in August the streets of major British cities were up in flames during days of widespread looting and rioting. Another spark doesn't seem so far away.

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