I feel frightened, angry, and helpless. I don’t know what to do about the growing global spread of fascism, and I don’t know what to do about it here, in the United States. I’m largely buffered from it in New Orleans, but the government of the state of Louisiana is always threatening the city of New Orleans, and is now focused on trying to force fascist incursions into the city.
I am miserable and pessimistic, but I have an obligation to do everything I can. I don’t know what I can do, or what my efforts should look like. But I know my fellow editors and I can facilitate art. We’re good at it. So that’s part of what we’ll do.
This issue is a yawp and a scream, a testimony against fascism. Here in the United States, Florida has become the test case (though not the only battlefield) and epicenter of fascism. This is a global “fuck fascism” issue, and submissions were advertised as such. We received many wonderful submissions, had to reject some quite fine ones, and are very proud of the ones we finally accepted and assembled. We are aware that we’d get far more submissions if we called the issue anything other than “Fuck Florida,” but, well, fuck that.
In this issue, you’ll find music, a video, photographs, essays, stories, and a whole lotta poetry, much of which was written by Floridians. You will find direct and indirect discussions of fascism. You will find a diversity of styles and thought; for example, some work specifically decries all violence, other pieces actively call for violent resistance to fascism and white supremacy. We hope you can appreciate the care and thought that went into these complex viewpoints.
We are here because we believe in art as a necessary resistance against fascism. Fascism stands in opposition to beauty, and we believe the creation of beauty is always life-affirming and anti-fascist. That said, art is not enough to fight fascism. Please enjoy this issue. Please take encouragement, and hopefully even power, from it. Please use it as inspiration to create artistic work of your own. But do not let your work be limited to art. Art is like voting: both are necessary, and both are inadequate.
Do what you know to do. Do what you’re good at. And do all you can.
Jonathan Penton founded UnlikelyStories.org in 1998. His own poetry books are Last Chap (Vergin' Press, 2004), Blood and Salsa and Painting Rust (Unlikely Books, 2006), Prosthetic Gods (New Sins Press, 2008), Standards of Sadiddy (Lit Fest Press, 2016), and the electronic chapbook Backstories (Argotist E-books, 2017). He lives in New Orleans, where he is working on a book of ekphrasis and a book of haibun with Cassandra Atherton. Jonathan recommends Keshet.