09/02/17Words As WeaponsBe invisible to be effective
Words As Weapons

Fighting fascism is being labelled as “domestic terrorism”. Someone somewhere must have had the biggest “aha” moment of the decade during Charlottesville that THIS was the opportunity to brand antifa negatively as protestors clashed in the streets with actual nazis. Frame it as a freedom of speech issue, with the anti fascist activists branded as anti First Amendment and therefore anti-American, and you just won the public opinion against them.

To capitalize on fear has been shown again and again in studies to cause even left leaning thinkers to desire leadership which promises a strong hand and social control (google “terror management theory voting”).

Two options for activists:

1. Continue on the same path, with the same tactics, and thus fall into the hands of those who brand anti-nazi work as terrorism. This includes arguing online about antifa and its effectiveness / tactics / approaches / reasons to be…because to do so is to give time (our most valuable resource) away for free, as a gift, to one’s opposition.

OR

2. Work in small groups. Get far more creative, strategic, smart and elusive. Even invisible. This doesn’t mean disappear. It means appear in new ways.

When, amidst a dramatic rise in anti-semitism and xenophobia, to be anti-facist is to be seen as a terrorist, the only solution is to suddenly no longer be seen.

The struggle is not over. It assumes new forms.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/01/antifa-charlottesville-violence-fbi-242235

08/19/17Words As WeaponsSupport for Allie – injured in Charlottesville
Words As Weapons

I just got word that my friend Allie was one of the people run over in Charlottesville by the white supremacist, and seriously injured as a result. I had no idea up until she wrote me just now from her hospital bed.

Please check out her GoFundMe and support her if you can.

Even if you can’t help financially, please spread the word about her situation with posts (including the link to her GoFundMe) about how white supremacy, nazism, and racial hatred must not be tolerated, lest it destroy lives everywhere in its path.

She showed up. She tried to help. And now while she heals, we can support her for being selfless in the face of violence.

GoFundMe support link for ALLIE

08/15/17Words As WeaponsOn Trump, this week’s headlines, and chaos…
Words As Weapons

Stay on target. Hate Trump’s stupid Nazi-loving, fascist-supporting guts, but stay on target in terms of remembering that a proven mechanism of control is chaos.

We won’t have time to recover from the shock and confusion from today’s meltdown press conference before something else happens, before he says something even worse (as if that is even possible), or before a new news story takes over.

In the last week, we’ve dealt with the threat of nuclear war, the rise of Nazism, seeking leadership from a man who has never been and will never be one. This puts us at a disadvantage as we desperately seek clarity and guidance at the same time. This is always a very bad combination.

Beware exhaustion. Beware confusion. Beware succumbing to the chaos.

Stay focused. Be razor sharp. And be a better adversary than they could ever anticipate.

07/24/17Words As WeaponsBUDAPEST Hungary: spoken show JUST added for 07.28
Words As Weapons

I a stoked to be back in Budapest! Thanks to Phoenix Music Hungary for putting on the show!

2017.07.28. (Péntek) – Dürer Kert, Room 041

EVENT LINK is HERE

Listener [USA]
https://www.facebook.com/listener
http://iamlistener.com/

Greg Bennick [USA] – Spoken Word
http://wordsasweapons.com/

The Devil’s Trade [HU]
https://www.facebook.com/TheDevilsTrade
https://thedevilstrade.bandcamp.com/

JEGYEK:
Limitált elővétel: 2000 HUF [Tixa, Dürer Kert, Musicland]
Helyszíni: 2500 HUF

A Dürer Kertet 16 év alatti személyek csak szülői vagy hivatalos gondviselői felügyelettel látogathatják!

07/23/17Words As WeaponsTHANK YOU FLUFF FEST!
Words As Weapons

Fluff Fest, always and forever!

04/13/17Words As Weapons“Cautiously Pessimistic” Thoughts from South Korea by Chris Tharp
Words As Weapons

CAUTIOUSLY PESSIMISTIC
(by Chris Tharp)

When I moved to South Korea in 2004, I was fully aware that this particular rocky outcropping of Asia was a dangerous place to call home. Sure, on the surface, day-to-day, this country is one of the safest places I could possibly be, but I knew well that the war—which never technically ended—could blast back up at any moment. Still, it had been fifty years of relative peace since that meat grinder of a conflict, so I was willing to roll the dice.

Since that time there have been numerous rumblings and outright incidents that have pushed things to the edge. There have been exchanges of live fire across the DMZ; in 2008 a South Korean tourist was shot and killed by a Northern soldier after she wandered into a “restricted area” at a mountain resort just over the border; in 2010, a North Korean sub sank the Southern naval vessel “Cheonan,” killing 46 sailors; later that year the North launched an artillery attack on the South’s Yeonpyeong Island, killing four, with the South returning fire and taking out a few North Korean soldiers of their own.

On all of these occasions things came perilously close to truly kicking off, but each time things simmered down and things went back to business as usual. I suspect that, here in the South at least, there is just too much to lose. This is a rich country where a lot of people are gorging on the fruits of prosperity. Who wants to risk it all over a few face-losing incidents? It’s just the price of doing business.

Each time things boil up here I am faced with the same questions from folks back home. They ask me if I’m worried. I tell them that I’m “cautiously pessimistic,” but not overly concerned. They wonder about the locals, how the actual South Koreans I know feel about things. I tell them that over the decades most people have inured themselves to the bellicosity of the North, that despite some shocking flare-ups, people tend to carry on as if nothing out of the ordinary is happening. And even if they are panicking inside, they tend not to show it. When asking my wife about the situation just yesterday, she shrugged, sighed and said, “What can I do about it? I’ll just live my life.”

A few days ago I awoke to the news that President Donald Trump has ordered an “armada” (his word) of U.S. warships, including the carrier USS Carl Vinson, to turn around and head straight for the waters off of Korea. This comes on the eve of what most think will be North Korea’s sixth nuclear test. This comes just days after a US missile attack on Syria that seemingly reversed every policy pronouncement he had made regarding that country. This comes on the heels of several of his disturbingly hawkish tweets such as this:

“North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”

How does he plan, exactly, to “solve the problem?”

This is what has me more concerned than I ever have been in a decade plus of living here. Donald Trump, the lightweight–the complete rube unschooled in even the junior high basics of East Asia policy and history—is making wild threats and pronouncements, backed up with the most formidable arsenal on the planet. Trump is sloppily dog paddling in waters well over his head, and is endangering the lives of all of us who live here on the peninsula. The situation in Korea is a swimming pool filled with gasoline, and he’s a drunken frat boy fucking around with a lit Roman candle.

The only good news out of this bowl of bees is that there are signs that Trump may actually have started to listen to Xi Jinping of China, who sadly seems to be on the only adult in the room. In a recent meeting, Xi had to patiently explain to Trump the history of China and Korea, how China can’t just snap its fingers and make North Korea do its bidding, how it’s a complicated situation. This seemed to open Trump’s dull toad eyes, at least for the time being.

“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal. “I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power [over] North Korea. … But it’s not what you would think.”

Can we breathe a sigh of relief? Perhaps. I have no illusions about North Korea. They are a criminal regime and among the worst human rights abusers on the planet, but any kind of unilateral attack by the United States will only result in catastrophic bloodshed here in Korea and perhaps beyond. Containment is the only way, and working with China is the best way to achieve this. Their patience with their “ally” in the North wore thin a long time ago. If North Korea tests another nuclear device it will only serve to drive the Chinese away.

Still, I don’t trust a US president who is so obviously unprepared for the job. I just don’t think the guy gets the real world implications of his actions, or more likely, in his gold-plated narcissistic world, he just doesn’t care.

As for me, this is my home. This is my life. I would hate to see it reduced to radioactive ruin because a mentally unbalanced man-child woke up in a pissy mood and decided to attack. And I’m not talking about Kim Jong-eun.

(Follow Chris on Facebook)

03/13/17Words As WeaponsMy mind is my worst dumb enemy…
Words As Weapons

The definition of irony and a perfect example of how our brains can be our worst enemies…

 
Last night in Calgary I spoke at The Good Life Bike Shop about how we get into our heads about a certain self identity (usually in hardcore/punk its something having to do with anger/rage/etc and how those qualities are essential to our character, or about something disconnected from reality). I tried to make the point that we’d do better to tap into our vulnerability, because thats a far more common and deeper thread between people. I talked about how the ripple affect of being vulnerable can reach far further than our rage. 
 
I thought my spoken set was all over the place. A disjointed and scattered mess. I didn’t connect nearly as much as I should to the space we were in. (The Good Life Community Bicycle Shop is a nonprofit education and resource centre founded on the values of: mutual aid, equality, inclusion, anti-oppression, and connection to and care for the environment. We use bicycles as a vehicle to empowering individuals and communities in becoming increasingly resourceful, resilient, responsible, and caring.)  I shared a story here and one there with a tie in through them all, but it was far from clear and concise.  I usually like to have a solid and clear takeaway message that could be easily distilled in one sentence or less.  And a set length on a tour like this when I am not headlining, of about thirty minutes max. I spoke for nearly 45 minutes last night.  Afterwards, I spent the entire night in my head about it, deconstructing it, trying to figure out how I could have made it better, frustrated with myself about not being more clear for the audience so that they had the takeaway I had hoped for. Wishing I had tied it all in more to what the collective who hosted us had as their core values. It could have been better. I thought and thought and twisted it around for hours in my mind.
 
I just got a message from someone at the show which said “Last night was was my friends first show and he said he was anxious at first but after hearing you speak, he understood and respected the scene more then he ever had before.”
 
And I spent the night tearing myself apart for what I didn’t do, rather than thinking about the potential ripple effect – as was my core message – about what I actually might have done with what I did say.  We cut ourselves down way too often like complete idiots. 

Humans are ridiculous and I am at the top of the list.  

Thanks for the reality check, Calgary.  I will see you again sometime soon.

03/09/17Words As WeaponsInternational Women’s Day
Words As Weapons

I spent my International Women’s Day speaking at two shows in Fargo North Dakota about the most important woman in my life: my mom.

I told the story of how my parents met as a result of my mother being a renegade as a teenager and breaking rules at a dance. And then years later, when she was disrespected by a principal while working as a schoolteacher, she decided to get pregnant, quit her job, and have a child instead of continuing to work for an oppressive school administration. Cue little Greg being conceived and brought into this world in an act of defiance against authority.

My mom is a woman of strength, creativity, empathy and courage. She has always been an example for me of what is possible when you combine heart, voice, and passion. She inspires people in all walks of her life, me especially.

When I think of International Women’s Day, I think of powerful leaders, inspired mothers, devoted daughters, dear friends, sensitive healers, allied comrades and clear visionaries.

My mom is all those things and more, and tonight I send love to her from across the country in Fargo ND.

03/04/17Words As WeaponsWhether ten people or a thousand
Words As Weapons

It’s hardcore. And this means that you turn it on and give it everything you’ve got, whether you’re playing or speaking to ten people or a thousand. And so often the nights with ten people yield some of the strongest connections and lasting friendships in the long run. People want connection. They want meaning. That’s why they are here. And they can smell from a mile away the bullshit of someone just going through the motions.

If, and it’s the huge if, regardless of the number of people in the room, you’ve played it like it was the last show of your life, then the night is going to resonate no matter what.

Being on tour with bands that just get it feels like we’re a collective force of passion and intensity which is unbreakable. Tonight was Franklin Indiana, just outside of Indianapolis. Maybe fifteen people at the show. In a huge empty space. And it was perfect. This was a night that’s echoing for me all the way into the morning now.

It’s hardcore. And when it’s right, whether ten people or a thousand, it feels like the world is ours. It shakes us down to our bones.

(Great Reversals onstage here killing it, followed by my spoken word set, followed by my dear friends Steven Muczynski, Mike Moynihan, and their immense band Hollow Earth to close out the night)

 

03/01/17Words As WeaponsSpoken word tour with Hollow Earth!
Words As Weapons

Tour starts tomorrow in Chicago!  I will be doing the first two weeks of this tour, up until the Seattle show, with the exception of Kelowna (which I am working on rescheduling for myself for April or May) and Vancouver (same deal there).  I had to fly away from tour due to a commercial speaking engagement coming up for me.

STOKED to see friends!

 

 

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