A year since the election of Donald Trump, resistance group Raw Power Movement launches with an audio-visual showcase – in partnership with Dazed – featuring a live performance from GAIKA
Today marks exactly one year since the US general election that brought Donald Trump to power – but tonight’s launch of Raw Power Movement aims to channel the unpleasant memories of that night into a force for resistance, grassroots power and protest.
In the words of co-founders Nusrat Faizullah, Carson McColl and Heta Dobrowolski, Raw Power Movement is “a new non-profit and non-party affiliated initiative that aims to challenge social injustice and neutralise the politics of hate.” The movement stands in opposition to what Trump represents. Co-founder Carson McColl – an artist, musician and muse to Gareth Pugh – explains that “Trump is horrendous, but he’s an important emblematic figure.”
McColl continues, “every so often I see that meme on Instagram, ‘This is your daily reminder, Donald Trump is President of the United States,’ and it breaks my fucking heart every time.” Crucially, Trump is emblematic of a failure to contend with the historical structures of oppression: “But this should all come as no surprise. So many of today’s challenges are intertwined with our past, and a legacy that we never seem to address.”
An event, hosted in partnership with Dazed at Somerset House Studios (deliberately chosen as a space that stands in full view of the Houses of Parliament), will invite attendees to enter into a disorientating maze, confronting them with a cacophony of sound and visceral imagery of the quotidian injustices – including xenophobia, white supremacy, sexism and austerity – that we have become normalised or even numbed to. Collaboration is at its heart, and a plethora of creatives will be in attendance, including Michele Lamy, Bobby Gillespie, Nick Knight, Reba and Jess Maybury, and Wolfgang Tillmans.
McColl had some heartfelt words to say about the personal significance of the initiative. In his view, launching this movement, “seemed like the most natural decision ever. Of course we were going to do this. We had been on the street constantly in the wake of Brexit and the election of Trump, at a time when it felt as though some ability to invent the future had been lost.”
As a direct response to these tumultuous conditions, he asserts that “all oppression is interlinked, and if you’re not fighting it, then you’re part of the problem.” The movement aims to “provide people a safe space and the support they need to become more politically engaged… It’s about knowing that someone has your back.”
The communal spirit that the event embodies is a core ethos of the movement itself: “Personally speaking, I can’t see any other way forward other than creative collaboration,” says McColl. “Consider the apparatus of authoritarian power: the government, the police, the military. All we actually have to combat that is culture, community and collective action. We can’t do it alone.”
Having been challenged, distressed and even disturbed, guests will proceed underground into a space of hope to experience a light and soundscape created by London musician GAIKA, interwoven with iconic voices of resistance such as Malcolm X and Angela Davis. The event will culminate in an explosive live performance by GAIKA, a rousing, cathartic call to action made in collaboration with Gareth Pugh and Ruth Hogben.
Tonight’s spectacle marks the beginning of the movement’s ambitious “calendar of innovative events and creative workshops offering a toolkit for practical action.”
McColl has some final words for the youth of today: “We all need to hit the reset button. The old rules no longer apply. We need to be challenging systems of oppression everywhere, in new ways, and in every facet of society.”
Raw Power Movement launches at Somerset House Studios on November 8 with a live performance by GAIKA and drinks by Budweiser