Patti Smith’s rioting pussy in 1978


 
Patti Smith’s pussy has been rioting for 4 decades now and this clip from 1978 is a reminder of just much of a rock warrior she was and has always been.

This all-too-brief clip is from a 1978 PBS television fundraiser, The Night Of The Empty Chairs, organized by Leonard Bernstein in support of Amnesty International and in protest of political oppression across the globe.

Patti began her performance by reading a poetic declaration from Czech band Plastic People Of The Universe, who had for many years experienced unrelenting oppression in their homeland.

In the sixties there was a piece called HUNDRED PER CENT that the Plastic People of the Universe writ.  After a decade of harassment, censorship, mace, lice - they were arrested in the Spring of 1977.  All their work - the technology of their work - everything built on blood and sweat, was confiscated, which brought another blow in the face, which mouths the tongue of love. Rock ‘n’ roll: the universal language of freedom.

In the harsh light of recent events involving Pussy Riot, these words have never seemed more timely or more true.

A HUNDRED PER CENT - REVISITED

They’re afraid of the old for their memory. 
They’re afraid of the young for their ideas - ideals.
They’re afraid of funerals - of flowers - of workers -
of churches - of party members - of good times.
They’re afraid of art - they’re afraid of art.
They’re afraid of language - communication.
They’re afraid of theater.
They’re afraid of film - of Pasolini - of God/dard.
of painters - of musicians - of stones and sculptors.

They’re afraid.
They’re afraid of radio stations.
They’re afraid of technology, free float form of
information. Paris Match - Telex - Guttenburg - Xerox
- IBM - wave lengths.
They’re afraid of telephones.
They’re afraid.
They’re afraid to let the people in. 
They’re afraid to let the people out.
They’re afraid of the left.
They’re afraid of the right.
They’re afraid of the sudden departure of Soviet
troops - of change in Moscow - of facing the strange -
of spies - of counterspies.
They’re afraid.
They’re afraid of their own police.
They’re afraid of guitar players.
They’re afraid of athletes - of Olympics - of the
Olympic spirit - of saints - of the innocence of
children. 
They’re afraid. 
They’re afraid of political prisoners. 
They’re afraid of prisoners families - of conscience -
of science.
They’re afraid of the future.
They’re afraid of tomorrow’s morning.
They’re afraid of tomorrow’s evening.
They’re afraid of tomorrow.
They’re afraid of the future.
They’re afraid of stratocasters - of telecasters.
They’re afraid of rock ‘n’ roll.
What does he mean, even rock bands?  Even rock bands?
Rock bands more than anybody else suffer from
political repression. 
They’re afraid.
They’re afraid of rock ‘n’ roll - of telecasters - of
stratocasters - of old age - in the streets - behind
the locked doors.
They’re afraid of what they’ve written - of what
they’ve said - of fire - of water - of wind - of slow
- of snow - of love - excretion.
They’re afraid of noise - of peace - of silence - of
grief - of joy - of language - of laughter - of
pornography - of honest and upright - they’re uptight.

They’re afraid of lone and learn and learned people.
They’re afraid of human rights and Karl Marx and raw
power.
They’re afraid of socialism. 
They’re afraid of rock ‘n’ roll.
They’re afraid of rock ‘n’ roll.
They’re afraid of rock ‘n’ roll.
They’re afraid of rock ‘n’ roll.

AND WHY THE HELL ARE WE AFRAID OF THEM?

Patti Smith Group guitarist Ivan Kral, who is Czech, provides some vocal back-up.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell

 

 

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