Thursday, 1 February 2001


Serving up a heaping pile of patriotism? 

There’s always room for Jello!
Bovine intervention: Biafra picks the lock on Stock’s stockade

Saturday, February 3, 2001
MacEwan Hall Ballroom (U of C)

Part punk rock legend, part political zealot, Jello Biafra (the man who’s brought us the Dead Kennedys, LARD, Tumour Circus and Grow More Pot!) never fails to provoke a response. On his current spoken word tour, in support of his newly released CD, Become the Media, he promises to expound on "a lot of subversive ideas." Topics, according to Biafra, such as "the events of the past fiscal year of protest starting with Seattle" and "the comedy of errors that was the U.S. national election." If that’s not enough to whet your appetite, he has plenty to say about the eerie familiarity of the rising political currents in our own country.

"I was in Vancouver when the national election took place. Some of the fresh buzz words and sound bites that the Canadian Alliance in particular are using are, of course, mined from far right-wing religious extremist groups in the United States. And it’s not always obvious from the way they present it what their agenda really is. As much as people rightly complain that Ontario controls the national elections because it’s more populous, I hope they stop and think that at least Ontario did Canada a favour this time by not putting the whole country in Stockwell’s stockade!"

Reflecting on our fair city here in the heart of the stockade, and our anticlimactic hosting of the World Petroleum Congress in July, Jello muses:

"Would ‘Normal Joe’ walk anywhere in Calgary these days? The shock for me the last time I was there was the unplanned suburbs outside just go on mile after mile, strip mall after strip mall. The best way for authorities to shut down protests at that conference would have been to change a few street signs, so everybody trying to get into downtown would get lost. Wouldn’t be that hard."

Misinformation of the masses by the authorities has always been a tool for maintaining power and controlling public opinion. It has therefore become Biafra’s passion to turn the tables, pull off the blindfolds and let these spin doctors reap what they have sown. Become the Media does just that.

"I think it’s so important to pay attention to independent and alternative media. The corporate media will go on and on about something like Survivor, when a lot of us are more concerned about surviving! Deliberate omission of important news stories in the corporate media is the worst form of censorship going on in either of our countries today."

Despite being embroiled in legal battles over the past year, Jello was not content to sit on the sidelines for the U.S. elections. The Green Party in New York State drafted him, and indications are that having his name on the ballot attracted some voters who had never considered, or heard of, Ralph Nader and the Green Party before.

"I joined the Green Party and voted for Nader for a reason. A lot of the middle-of-the-road liberals are bitching and moaning that ‘Nader cost Gore the election.’ Sorry, that’s crap! Gore cost Gore the election.

"There’s a growing number of us who absolutely will not vote for anyone who’s pro-drug war, pro-death penalty, pro-WTO or NAFTA, pro-destruction of the welfare system, doesn’t give a shit about the environment, etc. There are non-negotiable issues that Gore was on the wrong side of. As is the upper echelon corporate-c
ontrolled structure of the not-so-Democratic Party. So to hell with them!"

Well enough said, but can the average citizen really make a difference, and have their opinion heard by the powers that be? Can we truly "monkey wrench the New World Order?" Do we even stand a chance against big government and even bigger business? Jello seems to think so.

"The independent media centre and the whole burst of that movement may be one of the best things that happened in Seattle. Even a small Green wedge present in a legislature or on the national scene, especially in a parliamentary system like Canada, can work wonders."

Christine Leonard

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