Friday, May 31, 2013

Marvin X Speaks at the University of California, Merced 5/30/2013

University of California, Merced Students view the writings and archives of Black Arts Movement poet, playwright, philosopher Marvin X.

Marvin spoke on a variety of topics in a two hour dialogue with students in Kim McMillon's class on Theatre and Social Responsibility. Students questioned him about his plays Flowers for the Trashman, One Day in the Life and the Ed Bullins' script (Marvin now listed as co-author) Salaam, Huey Newton, Salaam. Marvin read from his court speech after being convicted of draft related charges, see Black Scholar Magazine, April-May, 1971, page 8.

Regarding the father-son relationship described in his first play Flowers for the Trashman (Black Fire, 1968), Marvin said he may have been a failure with his own sons, one committed suicide, Darrel, and he is alienated from
the other, Marvin X. He told the students there is no guarantee your children will like you or that you will like them. And how can we expect to have true love between parents and children or between husbands and wives in a white supremacy society that his hostile and toxic to everything that is true and real. Is America prepared to dismantle all the racist institutions, marriage, education, political, economic, religious? Will America ever give up its trillion dollar military budget and close the 800 bases around the world; will she stop being the number one arms merchant of the world; will she close the prison system wherein 80% of the inmates are dual diagnosed, i.e., suffer from drug addictions and mental illness?

When students asked his views on gun control, he replied: There must be a level playing field, everyone should pack or everyone must be disarmed, and more than likely the former will happen before the latter.

On the subject of rape in the military, Marvin said he didn't understand how a soldier with a gun can be raped until an ex-military female who had been raped told him soldiers are trained not to shoot their comrades under any circumstances.

He said rape is pandemic due to the patriarchal mythology that men own women, even in war the captured women are called booty and are the prize of war, so they can be raped or whatever--it is the nature of war, kill the men, rape the women, this idea is pervasive globally. Until the patriarchal mythology is destroyed little will change regarding the physical, emotional and verbal abuse of women. He noted that France has a new law against the emotional and verbal abuse of partners.

Students asked why he has not departed America, given his views of the nature of the American beast? I have no desire to be an expatriate. I lived in exile during the Vietnam war, and it is a most horrible fate to be apart from your people. No matter what, no matter how terrible they are in their negrocities (Baraka term), I love these deaf, dumb and blind negroes. He told the story of a sister who went to Africa but soon started looking for American Negroes, she missed them soon after arriving in Africa and discovering she was a North American African, this was her tribe, no matter the notion of Pan Africanism, after all, the Africans described her as a "Black American slave"!

Marvin gave students copies of his books, DVDs and CDs, including his controversial pamphlet The Mythology of Pussy and Dick, which nearly all of them asked him to autograph.

The class treated Marvin X with a birthday cake and the song Happy Birthday, Marvin X (69, May 29).

Professor Kim McMillon is planning a conference on the Black Arts Movement for February, 2014. Marvin X is the keynote speaker.

To invite Marvin X to your campus, call 510-200-4164 or email

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