Mixtape 010 Protest and Survive is brought to us by Brandon Bauer. Brandon is an artist based in Wisconsin. His Euromissiles Crisis print series critically examines the nuclear abolition movement in the 1980s. The series references cultural, political, and activist events of the era, and serves as an allegory of citizen involvement, as well as the power of everyday people within the political process. The Euromissiles Crisis print series was installed as part of his exhibition titled: A Call To Halt, which included a reenactment of the 1982 Nuclear Freeze Referenda, in which Wisconsin was the first in the nation to put multilateral nuclear disarmament policy to a popular vote.
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Protest And Survive!
A 1980s Punk Rock Nuclear Abolition Movement Mix by Brandon Bauer
The nuclear abolition movement in the 1980s, a movement that inspired the largest single-issue political demonstration in American history, is an inspiring example of ordinary people confronting the prospect of annihilation. As a Gallup Poll conducted in September of 1981 found, 70% of American people felt nuclear war between the US and Russia was a real possibility, and the remaining 30% of those polled were split between those who felt the prospect of nuclear confrontation was either “good” or “certain”. This sheds light on the outlook of the time; no one polled discounted the possibility of nuclear war. The nuclear abolition movement brought the issue of arms control to the forefront of the political agenda within a contentious period dominated by national leadership focused upon the opposite, and actively engaged in a renewed arms race between the US and Russia. This movement set into motion the treaties and reductions in nuclear weapon stockpiles that brought the number of stockpiled weapons in the US from over 24,000 in 1980 to a reduced total of below 5,000 today, and the task of disarmament set in place by those treaties continues. Punk was a critical voice in this struggle, and this mixtape demonstrates the range of biting analysis, cynicism, gallows humor, passion, and urgency those in the punk subculture contributed when addressing the issue of nuclear disarmament and abolition. Within these songs there are also a couple of surprising references to the Nuclear Freeze Campaign, which was a US campaign to put multilateral nuclear disarmament policy to a popular vote across the country. This is surprising because punk’s anti-authoritarian stance rarely endorsed the electoral process as a means for change, but it does demonstrate the broad appeal of the Nuclear Freeze Campaign among activists in this era. One thing punk has been particularly adept at is boiling down an incisive critique into a simple yet powerful lyrical phrases and slogans, and there are some great examples in these songs: “Our governments must cease / Building arms to “keep the peace” / Even though the people want a Freeze / They keep building all the arms they please…” – “Stop the Arms Race not the Human Race!” – “Protest and Survive!”