Amina Baraka at the Better World Awards, 2016

Amina Baraka at the Better World Awards, 2016

Good evening comrades and friends. I am happy to be here to say, “I’m back and I’m ready.” And like the woman said, “Ain’t nobody gonna turn me around.” Let’s get it.

You know, Estevan asked me to read a piece from the poem I wrote called, “The Young Communist League.” I brought it, Estevan, but Jayne Cortez wrote a poem that is so apropos of these times because the united front against fascism is something that we cannot dismiss. These people are real, and they’re after us – all of us. It’s not just the CP, they’re after all of us. Some of these people – I ain’t gonna call no names – tried to stop me.

I’m glad I got here. I’m looking for the piece, the Jayne Cortez. Jayne was one of the best friends I had. She must have foreseen this piece. It’s called “there it is.” This is Jayne’s poem.

This is called, “There it is.”

“My friend

they don’t care

if you’re an individualist

a leftist  a rightist

a shithead or a snake

They will try to exploit you

absorb you  confine you

disconnect you  isolate you

or kill you


And you will disappear into your own rage

into your own insanity

into your own poverty

into a word a phrase a slogan a cartoon

and then ashes


The ruling class will tell you that

there is no ruling class

as they organize their liberal supporters into

white supremacist lynch mobs

organize their children into

ku klux klan gangs

organize their police into

killer cops

organize their propaganda into

a device to ossify us with angel dust

preoccupy us with western symbols in

african hair styles

inoculate us with hate

institutionalize us with ignorance

hypnotize us with a monotonous sound designed

to make us evade reality and stomp our lives away

And we are programmed to self-destruct

to fragment

to get buried under covert intelligence operations of

unintelligent committees impulsed toward death

And there it is


The enemies polishing their penises between

oil wells at the pentagon

the bulldozers leaping into demolition dances

the old folks dying of starvation

the informers wearing out shoes looking for crumbs

the life blood of the earth almost dead in

the greedy mouth of imperialism

And my friend

they don’t care

if you’re an individualist

a leftist  a rightist

a shithead or a snake


They will spray you with

a virus of legionnaire’s disease

fill your nostrils with

the swine flu of their arrogance

stuff your body into a tampon of

toxic shock syndrome

try to pump all the resources of the world

into their own veins

and fly off into the wild blue yonder to

pollute another planet


And if we don’t fight

if we don’t resist

if we don’t organize and unify and

get the power to control our own lives

Then we will wear

the exaggerated look of captivity

the stylized look of submission

the bizarre look of suicide

the dehumanized look of fear

and the decomposed look of repression

forever and ever and ever

And there it is”


Isn’t that wonderful? Jayne Cortez is one of the unsung poets, and believe me, she may not have been a card-carrying member, but she was a member.

You know, we don’t have a choice now, do we? Like she said in “There it is.”


Continue to Amina Baraka’s reading of her poem to the Young Communist League