By: Ms. Art

"A small band of religious zealots and right-wing political opportunists is trying to show the world that America is an intolerant Puritan country, contemptuous of artists," writes columnist Anthony Lewis in a recent New York Times. Asking, "Are the rest of us going to take that in silence, or are we going to stand up and fight?" Lewis declared, "There is no reason for grown-ups to be cowed by Rev. Wildmon, Senator Helms and their like. It is time for the rest of us to fight back against the know-nothings."

When a New York Times column starts sounding like a ROC editorial, you know there's something brewing. A "backlash to the backlash" perhaps. The social pendulum's long overdue to swing back (to social & cultural freedoms) but first someone's gotta PUSH IT! It's the ROC's vision that a grass roots coalition of Rockers, Rappers, Jazzers, Punkers, bands & fans can play a crucial role in sending the censors back under their rocks. I would like, additionally to suggest a DOUBLE PRONGED assault: the ROC'ers together with the Arts Community, organized as painters, photographers, graphic artists, writers, poets, videographers, film makers, sculpters and dancers into a UNITED FRONT AGAINST CENSORSHIP.

S.F. FIGHTS BACK! One recently formed group working to unite the Arts Community in and around San Francisco is the AVANT GARDE SOCIETY. Founded by Juse Pinto to "deal with issues of the NEA, pornography and the Right Wing Moral Minority, and also Galleries who self-censor and refuse to recognize the struggles of unknown artists." ROC has been in contact with Maria Pinto who reports the group is off to a great start with a great response, with plans to "use Boycotts, verbal and marching protest as our weapons...we will be heard!" For info on getting involved, write: THE AVANT GARDE SOCIETY, 50 LINDA, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94110 or call (415) 621-1337.

Artists themselves must play a decisive role in the current assault upon their right to self expression. We want to know of any and all efforts out there on the part of the Creative Community to combat the censorship plague. Also, anyone looking to INITIATE such efforts (within galleries, art schools, groups, etc.) but wanting ideas, resources, ROC in bulk, etc., please write me, MS. ART c/o THE ROC. THIS IS WAR!

(Ms. Art has written for Cleveland's ALTERNATIVE PRESS, Akron's NOOZ and other Ohio publications.)

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