a poem by Talola John
Revolution is messy, but oh, that’s so hard to sell!
The blood spilled on the streets
Is packaged into pretty plastic bottles
And guzzled by those who wish
To position themselves on the Right
Side of History, shilled to us by
corporations wanting to cash in on cultural capital. Calls for change
Are drowned out amid consumers Clamouring
for a slice
of Revolutionary Valour and Vain—
glory; sanitised slogans printed and
reprinted, cries for justice cannibalised
And the cries of the voiceless fall upon deaf ears
While blatant lies of
Are spewed from every orifice of the earth.
Revolutionary rhetoric re-enacted by bad performers
Fuelling not the flames of social change but instead their own egos—
Burn down the theatres!
Set stage and actors alight!
Change comes not
Out of the mouths of clowns and ventriloquists’ dummies.
When will you realise: your performance is meaningless!
Enough with your stupid soliloquies of faux-solidarity! Stop shouting and
- Talola John
This poem was written out of frustration with an outpouring of performative activism, particularly from corporations, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests following George Floyd's unjust death. Many of these individuals and corporations continue to hold and perpetuate harmful prejudices, yet they attempt to express solidarity with the movement in order to seem 'woke' or socially conscious. Instead of engaging in performative activism, we should always be trying to listen to and amplify marginalised voices.
Biography: Talola is an Indian-Australian university student and an aspiring writer, illustrator and comic artist. She is deeply passionate about history, literature and the world she lives in.