As Jello Biafra, former leader of the Dead Kennedys, walked on stage at the Northridge Center on Wednesday, he was greeted by nearly 200 people who called out “Hello Jello!”
His speech, titled “Spoken Word,” was the last in an event to commemorate Earth Celebrations Supershow, which was put on by the Green Party and Associated Students.
Biafra’s monologue ranged in ideas from the war in Iraq to fast food, as he informed the audience of the things that need to be done in today’s society.
Biafra held nothing back from the audience as he cried out, “Oh my god, why isn’t Dick Cheney in jail?” referring to the vice president’s military and personal actions.
Biafra reiterated a point by Maria Armoudian, radio host on KPFK 90.7 and commissioner for the city of Los Angeles, who introduced him, in stating, “Don’t hate the media; become the media.”
Biafra encouraged everyone to not buy commercial products and to support local businesses, as he stated that was one of the ways they could make a difference.
He yelled about the greed for oil and called people who drive SUVs “Hummerheads.” In regards to chain corporations, he stated, “I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s in 30 years. I have yet to give one penny of my money to Wal-Mart – EVER!”
A member of the Green Party, Biafra ran for mayor of San Francisco in 1979 and also briefly ran for president in 2000 before supporting Ralph Nader. He came in fourth in the mayoral campaign, according to his record label Alternative Tentacles’ Web site.
Biafra encouraged his listeners to maintain an active role in the anti-corporate movement. He mentioned sabotage at the workplace, finding fulfilling work that can pay bills and not purchasing anything that comes from a chain store or restaurant.
“Doing something is better than doing nothing every time,” Biafra said. “They can’t have me.”
With his rapid-fire stream of consciousness, Biafra also asked the audience to continue to pressure the government and to oppose the War on Terror.
“Don’t believe the hype that the anti-war movement has failed? Blow torch up the ass the whole time,” Biafra said.
Local elections are the starting point to make changes in the government, Biafra said. He encouraged people to vote and stated, “I’d rather vote for something I want and not get it than vote for something I don’t want and get it.”
Biafra encouraged a maximum wage for everyone, talked about squatters’ rights and the need for dialogue between differing ideologies.
“Don’t argue, communicate,” Biafra said. ” You’re planting seeds.”
He drove home the point to the audience that they were responsible for creating change and reminded them that they have helped to create a turnaround in the perception of the war in Iraq faster than was done with the Vietnam War.
Nativo Lopez, president of Mexican American Political Association, focused in a speech on the need for incoming immigrants from Mexico to only to be allowed into the U.S., but for them to be given the opportunity to be part of the U.S. population.
Maria Armoudian spoke to the audience about the need for reform in the areas of media, elections and corporations. She asked the audience to “never sacrifice your principles.”
The event also included music by Chotto Ghetto and Blood on the Stereo.