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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  October 8, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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10/08/15 10/08/15 . amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> i have always counseled people when they called me a museum. skillsy do not have the of a musician. i really don't think like a musician, though i love music and i perform and sing, i can't really play anything. but the music that i do have within because directly through the word. amy: in a democracy now! special, the legendary singer, poet, and author patti smith joins us in our studio.
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she will talk about her new memoir, "m train," obama's -- and "just kids" and also talk about president obama's failure animal, performing at the vatican, and her upcoming concert during the u.n. climate talks. plus, she performs live here. ♪ amy: patti smith for the hour. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president obama has personally apologized to doctors without borders for the u.s. airstrike
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that struck its hospital in kunduz, afghanistan, killing 12 staff members and 10 patients, including three children, on saturday. white house spokesperson josh earnest announced the apology. >> president obama spoke by telephone with doctors without borders international president to apologize and express his condolences for the msf staff and patients who were killed and injured when a u.s. military airstrike mistakenly struck and uz, field hospital in kund afghanistan over the weekend. amy: in response, doctors without borders repeated its demand for an independent investigation under the geneva conventions. msf said they knew the accordance of the hospital and continued the attack for half an hour after being informed a hospital had been hit. russia has escalated its military campaign in syria, saying it has launched more than two dozen cruise missile attacks from naval vessels in the caspian sea. this comes as russian air strikes reportedly destroyed the
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weapons depot of a u.s.-trained syrian rebel group. russia said wednesday it was willing to coordinate with the u.s. in the military campaign against isil and offer the u.s. state department rejected citing russia "flawed strategy." in yemen, a u.s.-backed saudi-led airstrike has killed at least 23 people attending a wedding party south of the capital sanaa wednesday. another saudi-led airstrike killed at least 70 people attending a wedding last week. the united nations says the u.s.-backed saudi-led bombing campaign in yemen has killed more than 1100 civilians in the past six months. called international has them to halt or be complicit in war crimes. the u.s. coast guard has called off the search for surviving crewmembers from the cargo ship el faro, which sank off the bahamas after being battered by hurricane joaquin over the weekend. 33 people were on board, most of them american. scientists have linked stronger hurricanes to climate change.
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in california, governor jerry brown has signed a new law requiring the state to produce half of all of its electricity using renewable energy by 2030. brown said the bill was a step forward toward a de-carbonized future. volkswagen ceo michael horn will testify to u.s. congress today that he knew of the auto giant's emissions cheating devices as early as spring 2014. this comes as volkswagen says it will launch a massive recall in january of diesel cars that were illegally installed with devices that used to cheat epa emissions rules. a "new york times" analysis estimates the extra pollution may have caused more than 100 deaths in the united states alone. house republicans have launched their latest attack on planned parenthood, establishing a select committee with the power to subpoena documents and testimony. the move follows the release by an anti-choice group of heavily edited undercover videos showing planned parenthood employees discussing the sharing of fetal tissue with researchers.
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republican utah congressmember jason chaffetz, who is seeking the post of house speaker and presided over a five-hour hearing grilling planned parenthood ceo cecile richards, acknowledged to cnn, "i'm not suggesting that planned parenthood broke the law." he is seeking to become the next big of the house. senate democrats are launching a renewed push for gun control legislation in the wake of the mass shooting which killed nine people at a community college in oregon last week. the package includes expanded background checks for gun purchases. while the proposal is likely to tell them is republican opposition, -- likely to fail and minced republican opposition democrats reportedly plan to , block other measures until gun control receives a vote. the university of washington has sued the cia over the agency's withholding of documents about the u.s.-trained retired salvadoran army officer sigifredo ochoa pérez. he is currently under investigation in el salvador for his role in the 1981 santa cruz massacre, in which dozens of
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civilians were killed by soldiers under his command. longtime fifa president sepp blatter has been suspended for 90 days as swiss authorities investigate his involvement in the growing corruption scandal that has thrown the world soccer governing body into turmoil. this comes after fifa's second-ranking official was placed on leave last month. blatter's suspension takes effect immediately. democratic presidential candidate hillary clinton has come out against the transpacific partnership days after the u.s. and 11 other pacific rim nations reached an agreement on the deal monday. congress now has at least 90 -- she spoke on pbs "newshour." >> i'm not in favor of what i've learned about it. there's one other element i want to make because it is important, trade agreements don't happen in a vacuum and in order for us to have a competitive economy in the global marketplace, there are things we need to do here at
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home that help raise wages and the republicans have blocked everything president obama tried to do on that front. so for the larger issues, and then what i know -- again, i don't have -- we don't yet have all the details, i don't believe it is going to meet the high bar i have set. amy: vermont senator bernie sanders has long opposed the tpp. rupert murdoch is facing a torrent of criticism on social media after posting a tweet suggesting president obama is not a "real black president." murdoch expressed support for african-american republican presidential candidate ben carson, tweeting -- "what about a real black president who can properly address the racial divide?" in new york city, a police review board has recommended disciplining officer james frascatore for using excessive force when he slammed retired african american tennis star james blake to the ground last month. the officer will now face internal new york police department proceedings that
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could lead to his dismissal. he has a pattern of excessive force complaints against him. and the nobel prize in literature has been awarded to svetlana alexievich, a belarussian journalist and writer. she is best known for giving voice to survivors of world war ii, the soviet occupation of afghanistan, and the chernobyl nuclear disaster. she becomes the 14th woman to win the nobel prize in literature. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. in a democracy now! special, we spend the hour with the legendary poet, singer, author , and activist patti smith. she has just published a new memoir titled, "m train." it is a follow-up to her best-selling memoir, "just kids," which won a national book award in 2010. patti smith is also celebrating the 40th anniversary of "horses," her landmark debut album which has been hailed as one of the top albums of all
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100 time by "rolling stone." the album was widely praised for its mix of poetry and rock 'n roll. she cowrote a song with bruce springsteen. call me close, try and understand the fire a brief love is the banquet on which we feast come on now -- amy: it has helped earn her the title "the queen of punk." her son has become an anthem of protests across the globe. she has also been a longtime activist from performing regularly at antiwar rallies and
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political benefits. in december, she will perform at the pathway to paris concert which will coincide with the un which will coincide with the un climate change conference. , pathway to paris was co-founded by her daughter jesse paris smith. nermeen: we turn now to our interview with patti smith. amy: great to haves you here. you are here to cannot break the studios a few years ago. you won a national book award for "just kids," and we will get to that, but we want to start with a new book, "m train." a lot of people in new york ride the m train, but that is not what you're talking about. m not really, mine is the train that i perpetually right, more for mental train, mind train. and we all have it, our continual train of thought. amy: people think of you as a musician. when you write -- which you
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actually have to do for lyrics as well, but when you write, do you sit down to write? how do you compose a book like ?just kids" or "m train" writing.lways i always council people when they call me a musician, i skills ofnot have the a musician. i really don't think like a musician, though i love music and i perform and sing. i can't really play anything. but the music that i do have within me goes directly through the word. and when i am writing lyrics, i am writing in regard and in respect to the composers of the music. sometimes myself, but usually someone like lenny kaye or tony shanahan or my daughter, so i am
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really infusing my words with their music.into but when i'm writing a book, i don't have any responsibility to anyone. i'm solitary. i'm writing on my own. i write by hand. day.te every it is part of my daily discipline. but i think that my love of music and my love of poetry somehow finds its rhythms in my prose, hopefully, i think. nermeen: it is striking about "m train" in the opening of the book you say you are writing about nothing. and it is also, in terms of it's narrative, is different from "just kids." can you talk about what you intended with one and the other? >> when i say "nothing," it is
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because i had no agenda. no plot, no outline, i had no idea where i was going. it was literally, i got on the train, i did not have a ticket, i not have a destination, i just kept going. with "just kids," i had tremendous amount of verynsibility and a classic agenda. robert mapplethorpe asked me to write our story the day before he died. i had never written a book of almostion, so it took me two decades to write that book. that was thinking, gathering my diaries, material, going through a period of mourning and finding my voice. and the whole time, feeling very responsible to robert, to the people in the book. i would say, most of them who new york city,o
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which has gone through a vast amount of changes since the 1960's and 1970's. so my -- my responsibility was , chronologically, to make sure that people were represented properly -- even people that i did not like, i had to find a way to treat them respectfully. and so it was -- amy: for the uninitiated, can you explain to robert mapplethorpe is, was, and also your relationship with him? >> robert mapplethorpe i met in 1967. ,e was a student at pratt though, even as a student, fully formed artist. we went through many things in our life together. he became my loved one, then my best friend, and robert became his famous posthumously for -- some of his more difficult hisect matters, especially
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s&m photography. but all of the work that robert did, especially the work one could say when he was treating difficult subject matter, was done to elevate his subject to the realm of art will step so robert was really the artist of my life. it is funny because i still consider him with me. it is very hard for me still to talk about robert in past tense, but -- we were so close. and at the end of his life, he did want to be remembered. he was on the cusp of notoriety. and he knew that -- he trusted me and he knew that i would represent him well. nermeen: you mention it took two decades free to write "just kids," and you went through a period of mourning.
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i never people have pointed out your work seems to be focused on loss and morning. can you talk about your artistic creation and loss? >> i don't feel that my work is haunted. i don't feel haunted. i feel i walk with the people i have lost and i would be sad not to have them with me. i would rather feel the sorrow that sometimes i have of not having my husband or my brother are robert or other friends, then not feeling them at all. -- than not feeling them at all. with writing, it is almost like you make these people flesh again. you bring them back in a way that other people can know them and know them as a human being. writing "justow, kids," i did not write it to be cathartic -- is that the right word?
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for me. i wrote it because robert asked me to. but i also wrote it so people would know robert as a human being and not merely a young man who took notorious pictures who died of aids. nothing wrong with that description, but there was -- there was a lot of back story, a lot of the story of what he sacrificed to be an artist, you know, and i wanted people to know him. amy: what did he sacrifice? >> i think all artist sacrifice a certain amount of just daily life, unfettered. i can't imagine what it would be like not to spend a large portion of my day writing, transforming. i can never relax. i think that is what artists
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sacrifice in a certain way. when i go to the opera, i am rewriting the opera. listening to a big -- beautiful passage and i'm writing lyrics to my head. sometimes i wish i could just, you know, be, you know, just a person who could one-to-one appreciate things as they are. but always, the artist is seeking to transform and to create new ways of looking at something. amy: patti smith for the hour, talking about her new book "m train "m train," and also "just kids," for which she won a national book award about her relationship with her photographer robert mapplethorpe. her evaluation of the obama administration,, change, and much more. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: as we spend the hour with a great poet, writer, activist, musician, patti smith. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: we continue our conversation with patti smith, the legendary poet, singer, author and activist. she has just published a new memoir titled, "m train." it is a follow-up to her best-selling memoir, "just kids," which won a national book award in 2010. "just kids" is about you and robert mapplethorpe. did you start "m train" to talk
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about your husband, fred, or to talk -- focus more on him? you lost him and your dear brother in the same year, within weeks. >> no, i never -- i'm doing another book, my next book which i know what it is when to be already, will greatly focus on fred and my brother. i never planned to write about my brother and fred in this book. i really wanted to be free of any expectation. i wanted -- i knew i wanted to write about the process of writing. i wanted it to be sort of a more humorous book and just write about daily life and they kept seeping in. fred kept -- he just kept injuring -- i mean, i never wrote so much about fred since he passed away. he is always with me, but i
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haven't been able to write about him. i just could not bear it. he just found his way in this book. what is unusual is the next book was not going to speak of this period of our life, so i just -- it just happened. it happened so many times. i would write and even shelled something and then later he would come back, so i thought, well, he wants to be within the pages. amy: can you tell us about fred? how you met? >> i met fred at lafayette, cohen yellen, were they so hot dogs in detroit. 9, 276, and aarch through a party -- i did not like parties much when i was younger. i used to feel confined at them and i was posting, don't only some party. so they lured me because i like
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hot dogs, by having an afternoon party in detroit. i thought, ok, i will get some hot dogs. in all of the local musicians were there. so i ate my hot dog and i was just about to leave. i was with the nikkei and his fellow was standing with the blue overcoat on and he was just standing against the radiator right near the door. i looked at him and did not know who he was. he looked at me and i swear to you, i thought, that is the fellow i'm going to marry. i don't know why that happened. it was an instant moment about me. and i did marry him. amy: who was this fellow? >> well, his name was fred. his nickname was fred sonic smith. he was on the mc5, one of the most political bands to come out of detroit. and inayed in chicago
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1968 -- they were involved in a lot of different, a lot of protests against the vietnam war. but i did not know much about them. i did not know he was that fellow. i just knew that this human being in front of me was the person for me. lenny kaye introduced us and he said, patti smith, fred smith. fred smith, patti smith. amy: and neither one of you would have had to change her names when you got married. >> no. s of people said, the monogrammed towels did not have to be -- as if either one of us had monogrammed towels. but we had a long courtship, long-distance courtship. he lived in detroit, i lived in new york. and finally a 1979, i thought -- from not want to be parted
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him anymore, so i went and lived in detroit. amy: is it true he said to you, i will take you anywhere in the world if you just have my baby? >> he actually said -- he wanted a son. democratic, "to be i said child, but he asked for a son. and i said, ok. where i chose to and i had a son and a little tome and finally said, now, i would like a daughter. and i said, ok. it took a little longer, but we had our daughter. asked, too, he because my children are the most precious thing that i have. amy: could you tell us about why you chose guiana and what you did there? >> well, i think when fred said
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he would take many were in the world, figured i would want to go to paris or -- amy: riviera? >> well, not the riviera. but he knew i would pick something slightly eccentric or go visit a grave in short or something. but i had done that, so i chose french guiana because i really love to nate and i think g&a -- i think it is the journal or a can't remember which. amy: explain who that is. cooks one of the great french writers of the 20th century who really -- who was not a very good thief, but a great poet and prose writer and wrote of marginalized society in the 20th
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century in the 40's and 50's and a great playwright. johnson a always wanted to go to san laurent prison. all of the murderers and the pimps and the worst of the thieves went there and was a terrible place. everyone died of malaria or prana -- per anna, but he wanted to go because he was a great romantic and he wanted to go with the worst criminals. it just as he was sent to thievery,r life for they close the prison down and he never got there. and he mourned that. amy: he stole for nothing? said, i have been shorn of my infamy, because he could never go. and i knew he was ill and i had not met him, but i have course
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new william burroughs and alan ginsberg, i knew his friends. i thought, i was going to go to french guiana and get something earth of french guiana for him, bring him back some of the soil, bring him back some .tones so he would have that and then i thought, well, william or someone could give them to him. so i told fred this. and fred did not mock me. he did not protest. he was a man true to his word will stop any said, all right, we will go to french guiana. amy: you went to prison? >> yes. nermeen: in one of the books, he published -- it was published posthumously in which he wrote about his meetings with the black panthers in the u.s. and his visits to palestinian refugee camps in jordan. could you talk about that book and also more broadly what you see as the relationship between
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that kind of art and politics? >> well, i think jean in his early life, he mixed his sexual encounters, his homosexual anduasion,, thieves murderers. he melded all of that into art. characters inese his work. older, he got very, very involved in political causes. you -- he was especially concerned with the plight of the palestinians. and i think toward the end of his life, he wanted to do the same with these people, elevate orm, not as outlaws marginalized people, but people that had a true cause and people
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that needed to be represented and spoken for. and so he worked on this look at the end of his life. when he died, he is just love."d "the prisoner of he died and a little paris hotel and the manuscript was sitting on the bed stand. book, is a very beautiful not just because of the political element, but it is beautiful because was never want to sympathize much with women -- genet was never want to sympathize much with women. the strongest characters -- i should not say characters, because it is a nonfiction book, but the people that emerged the strongest in this book are the women, the women are left behind in war, the women who wind up taking care of the children and the grandmothers taking care of
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know, thehildren, you strength and resilience of the women. and i thought that was quite beautiful for him to do at the end of his life. , talkou also, patti smith about in your songs in your andry, you wrote about performed about rachel corrie who died march 16, 2003 right before the u.s. invasion of iraq, when she was standing before an israeli military bulldozer trying to prevent the destruction of a palestinian family's home who she knew well. >> well, you know, again, it is the other thing -- when you cite me as an activist -- this always humbles me in the same way when people call me a musician. i can't, self a real activist. donee never really anything. i never put my life on the line.
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i admire these people so much -- all i can do really is that is not my calling in life. i'm not really a deeply political person. i am more of a "i hope, a humanist. but what i can do is to remember these people and to sing of them i wrote of a fellow in guantanamo bay. i wrote -- i write of these people and sing of them so their names are not forgotten. rachel corrie, such a lovely girl, who, you know, i am sure she did not want to give her life. she stood up for what she believed in. and i think she believed, like "i believe that people are good at heart." and i think that she never forght that she would die this cause. i don't think she wanted to die, but she did. and i wanted her to be remembered. all of my songs are in that
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sense, they try to take the humanist view. like in "radio baghdad." after the iraq war -- not really a war, invasion, and moral butsion, i was heartbroken, what could i do? i wanted to say something, but i did not want to go on a political rant. so what do i know best? i am a mother. i would shut my eyes, imagined how i would feel if i was trying to, you know, comfort my daughter jesse while bombs were falling on the city. and i took it from that mother's point of view, and she tells of the history of her people and what is happening, you know, with bombs falling and how the infrastructure of her country is going to be destroyed.
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nermeen: let's go to a clip from "radio baghdad." nermeen: that is a clip from patti smith's song "radio baghdad." amy: you also talked about baghdad. abu ghraib,ons of the wars in afghanistan and iraq. your song in 2006 "without chains" about the turkish citizen in guantánamo, and you ended up writing the introduction to his book "five years of my life." >> well, i wrote about him
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because i read an article -- claim tocan't really be doing all the groundwork that others do. so many other people, including vanessa redgrave, work so hard to get him out of prison. i wasn't part of that. but when i read about it and read how he could hardly walk to meet his family, he kept buckling because he had been in chains for so long that his legs -- he had lost a lot of muscular in his legs. and oh so moved by that and so angered, that i wrote the song. and later, his lawyer played the song to him as an expression of how people had not forgotten him, that there were somebody he did not even know, this girl that writes songs had written a song for him.
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and i did meet him. and now he is doing very well. he speaks against social injustice. he has children. it is very heartening. amy: let's go to "without chains." years i wasn't a man chains with a vest on. with nothing to ay on and i'm learning to walk without hains
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chains hout without chains without chains ♪ nermeen: you campaign for barack obama in 2008. about that ask them your concerts and now your website, how would you evaluate his presidency now as we near the end of his second term? >> well, i can't say that i so heavily campaigned -- i mean, once he was running, you know, he was our choice. i thought it would be a beautiful and healing thing for openness and to iect a black president, but was worried -- my concern about obama was that he had a good
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sense of community and knew how .o gather young people and i thought that was a beautiful thing. but i was concerned he might be green within the political -- i just, you know, the last eight years have been so frustrating, i can't imagine how frustrating for him, but also as a citizen who has certain hopes. i hoped he would close guantánamo bay. i hoped he would not just pull back troops, but also bring us into a different kind of consciousness. but i feel in the last eight years, not only by necessity, but by design, we have become even more military, more involved in so many different wars and skirmishes that i don't -- i amerstand, and
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actually the wrong person to talk to because i'm not politically articulate. i feel that actually talking on this show where i watch to really find out from you what is happening. but i will say, as a citizen, i found him -- he is so likable. i love his family. i was proud to have him as president, but i don't -- i have to say, i don't really understand him. i understand him now when he speaks about the need for gun control. i understand when he is really speaking from his heart, but so know,hings have been, you cloaked. why are we doing all of these strikes, with these drones, all these things? we're not being informed. that is probably the best way i
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can say it, i don't feel informed by the obama administration. amy: patti smith, the legendary poet, author, and singer. we will return to our conversation with her in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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amy: patti smith performing. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: as we spend the hour with patti smith, we asked her to explain what led her to write a song inspired by william blake come in the late 18th, early 19th century poet. >> is a song i wrote myself. the reason i'm singing songs i wrote myself, they're the only ones i can play because they only have a few chords. it because i was in
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-- ificult time and i felt hate to say it, but i felt sorry for myself. it was like another thing where i was sitting -- i was sitting in my room and then i thought of william blake. i felt very unappreciated or something. i don't know why, but i was thinking of william blake who was such a great artist, poet, printer, philosopher, activist who died in poverty, was ridiculed in his time, who was almost forgotten. but in his lifetime, and also such a true visionary, he never let go of his visionary powers. he did his work even of the
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industrial revolution sort of white them out in terms of -- wiped him out in terms of being a printer in public artist. he got in a lot of trouble because of his political views. he championed women. he was against women and laboring. they did not have labor laws in place at that time. and he did his work. and he did it unapologetically, and he also did it without remorse or feeling sorry for himself, and just accepted, you know, his particular lot and just kept working. anyway, sorry that took so long to say, but basically, the -- other that people i knowin the world really suffer strife. they really no strife. they have to deal with war.
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they have to do with disease, poverty, displacement. when i look at everyone around me, i have to really council and scold myself when i feel, you know, a little sorry for myself. and so this song is to remind me of that. but also remember -- when you take on the mantle of the artist or an activist, you know that you are going to have a lot of derision, so you have to meet that derision almost with pride. you have to be, you know, happy warrior. nermeen: i would like to turn to singingf patti smith "the tiger." >> ♪ tiger tiger burning bright in the forest of the night.
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hand or i, good friend symmetry. -- hat this and what shoulder and what art could twist the sinews of the heart beganen thy hand andwhat dread what dread feet. nermeen: patti smith, could you talk about the performance of william blake's: "the tiger" and
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in particular the phrase you spoke of, fearful symmetry? >> all, i found a lot of fearful symmetry in my life. most fearfule, the piece of symmetry, for instance -- it is even hard to talk about. ofhusband died in november 1994, and my brother, who really expressed that he would help me raise my children, comforted my children and who i deeply counted on, died suddenly from a faulty heart valve a month later , november 4 and december 4. that was a bit of fearful symmetry. i husband died on robert mapplethorpe plus birthday, which was a bit of fearful symmetry.
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robert died on my husband and my anniversary. these things happen to everyone, but you look at them and gas because they have a certain kind of perfection. but that perfection is just bleeding sorrow. so that, for me, is what fearful symmetry is. but i performed -- i don't really remember. i do a lot of things off-the-cuff. i was supposed to -- i think i was asked to read "tiger, tiger" at a museum performance, and i often find reading poetry, quite beautiful poetry is, but i always seem to want to take it to the next level, something within me was to sing poetry, which is really how i wound up
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having a rock 'n roll band, just singing poetry. singing i wound up "tiger tiger" because whenever i hear it, i see the music. at william blake was known for his singing voice tonight. and i'm sure he sang these homes, but we don't have any record of it. it is music is infused in his words because where else would i have gotten it? so i hope that answers your question. amy: i want to ask you about art and resistance. --i think we are in a very if you would have asked me this question in the 1960's or 1970's, i would have given a different answer because there was such a strong coalition of artists who were working in one mind against the war in vietnam.
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it is a little harder now because our people are so spread out. even with so-called social media and technology that is supposed to bring us together, we seem so spread out. we don't seem all connected and our numbers, to me, have diminished. and we really -- you know, i look at, who are stepping out in the arts? often, it is the people in hollywood. yet angelina jolie and george clooney and sean penn. they are really doing things hands on. they go to the countries that are in strife. they do groundwork. they go and lobby. inspiring to see what they are doing. all a bitat we are
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disconnected, and what we need is one common cause. and we have it. it is our environment -- i think i should be our greatest -- our biggest global concern over everything. i know our government would like us to think it is terrorism, and i know that all of these things -- you know, it is so complicated and all of these things are important, but environmental terrorism is something that we are all committing. it is an opportunity for a lot of us to come together. i am very proud of my daughter. you mentioned her in the beginning. jesse arranged with a friend of hers, pathway to paris. withs very, very concerned climate change. and she has drawn a lot of
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musician -- i don't know how she did it. i have no organizational skills. she has gotten thom yorke and jane fonda and several other people that want to come and help. i think leonardo dicaprio. there are a lot of people from different walks of life. and of course, 360 -- amy: 350. >> 350. she is the one. she would be so mad at me right now. she is very connected with 350. how our newample of generation, how young people are finding a way to use social media for their advantage, for something positive, for bringing people together. amy: let's end on the issue of climate change, where we are headed, this pathway to paris
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where you will be performing. but you have also performed at the vatican and you have met pope francis. can you talk about those experiences and what he means to you, this latest pope? studyingi -- i was francis of assisi for quite some time when benedict was still be pope. i was studying it for a song i did for my last album, and i was so taken with the life of st. francis and i thought, this would -- was truly the environmentalist saint because he called upon the people, even in the 12th century to have appreciation and respect mother nature. and i thought it would be so beautiful if there was a pope named francis who could embrace the idea of disseminating material things and -- becoming
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close to mother nature and understanding how important it is to respect the earth and i met the monks in assisi and they said, this will never happen. i was doing research. we will never have a pope francis because st. francis was too rebellious. we will never have a jesuit or franciscan. and i said, well, you know, let's hope. and then when benedict step down, i was watching television with my daughter and the white smoke had come up. so we were waiting to see who would be pope. and we had to wait a long time, like 45 minutes. and in those 45 minutes, i told jesse how much i wanted a pope named francis and why. and i told her the story of st.
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francis. and she was saying, oh, mommy, i hope you get a pope francis. i'm not a catholic, but i still wanted a pope francis. and we are watching and watching and then they came out. lo and behold, they announced the new pope and it is pope francis. we were jumping up and down as if we were at the kentucky derby and our horse came in. i was quite happy because i knew anyone who took on this name was taking on a great mantle of responsibility. and i think pope francis is doing his best within a very intense structure to do that. all theeally simplified pomp and circumstance of the church. he is gone into the vatican bank. account forng in the violations against young
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and he hasally -- written such beautiful lessons and letters to us all. and recently, and concern or with concern about climate change and our environment. ? mean, i saying at the vatican? >> christmas concert. i think i was the only american. amy: what did you sing "o holy night" and also a lullaby that william blake wrote. nermeen: what was it called? >> the cradle song. a beautiful poem. power" dide have the
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it make its way in their? yes, because they requested it. it was a christmas concert, so i but theying to do that really wanted it. i have done it for two years. and i did the last one with my daughter jesse. people have the power
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powerle have the people have the power amy: patti smith performing "people have the power" at the vatican. her new memoir, "m train" has
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just been published. we will play more of her interview next week. that does it for our show. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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laura: hi, i'm laura flanders, are we heading towards utopia or distopia. today's most popular science fiction says we're headed for collapse, the sort seen in the walking dead or terminator. but today's guests have a more positive view. today on the "laura flander's show" we talk with jacobin writer, peter frase and musician, boots riley. about the better world's they say are possible. well that and a few words from me on cheney and his vacation homes. it's all coming up, stay tuned. (music)


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