The Humanities in Opposition World League (HOWL) is an international collective of practitioners in the humanities: artists, poets, historians, social scientists, psychologists, actors, scholars of all disciplines, linguists, critics, journalists, and others. We believe in vibrant truth-telling, inclusiveness, racial and gender equality, right to love, environmental healing, economic justice, and freedom of the press for all writers and readers. We believe that we can improve political conditions and individual lives by sharing the information and art we have culled and created.
The nations of the world experienced a change of life in November 2016, but not a natural development, part of maturation as an international community. Rather, we experienced the very unnatural transition in the United States from a democracy to a country led by an unstable alt-right-wing president, threatening a path of isolationism, racism, environmental destruction, censorship, and oligarchic rule. This affects the entire globe.
What role do the humanities and its practitioners play in this? A major one. How we share information now can affect global politics, and the lives of individuals in a profound way.
In the humanities and the arts, we are always cool. Decorative, interesting, informative, entertaining, moving. But as Toni Morrison says, these are the times we really earn our keep. That said, we must go to work.
We seek to work now in the spirit of Frankl, Akhmatova, Anthony, Fromm, Ginsberg, Pasternak, Sartre, Levi, Brecht, Wiesel, Gramsci, DuBois, Douglass, Barthes, Genet, Baldwin, Brodsky, Chopin, Wollstonecraft, the Mills, Pavese, Pushkin, Shelley, King, Malcolm X, Angelou, Fenoglio, Stowe, Murrow, Serling, Dickinson, Pasolini, Brooks, Myers, Merini, Davis, L. Scalapino and thousands of others in the humanities, our many role models and heroes.
We signatories to this manifesto vow to fight fascism at every turn, with ideas, analysis, images. And we promise not to tell one another how that must be done. We agree to share information that is inspiring, entertaining, and/or educational. We will contribute to political freedom, whether we discuss politics directly or “tell it slant.” We vow to reach across the aisle; that said, we will have no tolerance for views predicated upon the diminution of other people. And we will bring the breath of democracy, inclusion, freedom, and human decency to our discourse.
We promise to use our brains, talents, and humor to subvert Trumpism and promote the human, and we so here sign.
Dean Kostos Michael T.Young Laura Hinton