the louderARTS Project

Kenny Mostern

Kenny Mostern is a performance poet/dramatic monologuist who has been heavily involved in the National Slam Scene since 1996. He was on the Knoxville, Tennessee Poetry slam teams in 1998 and 1999, and his poem "Strike!" was the highest scoring poem at the 1999 Southern Fried Regional Slam, which Knoxville won. He was on the Santa Cruz, California team in 2000.

Best known for his controversial "Feminists Are Sexy!" and his homicidal "Finance Theory 101," Mostern mixes hardcore left politics with humor and a sense of detail about the places he has lived, including New York, Washington DC, Oakland, Knoxville Tennessee, and Taipei, Taiwan.

He is cohost of the Oakland Poetry Slam with Sonia Whittle and Yaddos, and he performs regularly at slams and open mics in the San Francisco Bay Area.

k@emergencybroadcastsystem.net
emergencybroadcastsystem.net




FREE TRADE (or, Finance Theory 102: Macroeconomics)

Now
if the shirt you're wearing is made of sixty percent cotton grown in South Africa and marketed at fifty one cents per pound and forty percent polyester made in India by a Japanese-owned chemical company and woven in China by women earning twenty-six cents an hour and dyed blue from synthetic indigo manufactured from naphthalene in Germany through a process which according to the website I got this information off of (and I quote) produces a large number of products which are harmful to the environment and thus difficult to dispose of and finally sown into a shirt in Tijuana before entering California,

then
why can't the South African farmworker who grew the cotton and the Indian chemical worker who made the polyester and the Chinese weaver who wove the cloth and the German factory worker who processed the dye and the Mexican garment worker who sewed your shirt get visas to meet in California to discuss their wages?

and
if tomorrow in San Francisco I can see an exhibition of Andean indiginous art buy novels translated from the Gikuyu by exiled Kenyan authors eat green beans in panang curry with Singha beer imported from Thailand in a neighborhood where the Mexicans still haven't been gentrified out all before dancing to the rhythms of the English, Spanish and French speaking black Caribbean and drinking shots of Russian vodka that no one can afford anymore on the streets of Saint Petersburg,

then
why can't this glorious multicultural experience be shared by young Peruvian artists aspiring Kenyan novelists Bangkok-based chefs Mexican auto mechanics Haitian Dominican and Jamaican musicians and Russian schoolteachers whose salaries have lost ninety percent of their value in the last decade unless they have half a million dollars to invest or are lucky enough to have the right family connections to get a green card?

and
if the North American Free Trade Agreement guarantees my right to own a business in Mexico and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade protects my patent on triple therapy drugs for HIV positive patients preventing them from being manufactured cheaply in Brazil and the International Monetary Fund forces the Korean government to prioritize paying off US bank loans before educating a whole generation of its own citizens,

then
why does it take a passport, a visa, evidence of tens of thousands of dollars in the bank, a wait of up to nine years, the possibility of permanent rejection with no chance of ever having an application looked at again, for a mere human being to enter the United States?

If Thomas Jefferson had written NAFTA, would it sound like this:

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all currencies are created equal, that they are endowed by their central reserve bank with certain unalienable Rights, that among them are liquidity, frictionlessness and the pursuit of the highest profit margin. That to secure these rights, contracts are instituted among owners of capital, deriving their just powers from the consent of the police they pay well to enforce their ownership. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of their ends, it is the Right of the American military to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles as to them shall seem most likely to keep the cash flowing, and the people in their place.

Do schoolchildren in Mexico recite the preamble to NAFTA, and hang fake parchment versions of its thousands of pages of bureaucratese on their walls? Do HIV positive Brazilians celebrate the freedom GATT has brought them? It's [state time of night] -- do you know where your shirt was made?



© Kenny Mostern



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