The Petition to PEN is for writers, by working to open up an organization which is supposed to represent our interests. For most of those reading this, the Petition is for YOU.
This Petition is one step in opening up the instruments of exclusion which have constricted the expression and dissemination of literature in this country; which have kept literature bottled-up as a societal force.
I've been told that I'm not good enough to be represented by PEN; or more absurdly, that I'm not even a writer. (The same attitude is held toward all outsider writers.) Remember that I began writing as a zine-maker; as part of a movement that says anyone can be a writer; that EVERYONE has the right of expression through the art.
We live within the context of a vast and mighty hierarchical civilization in which the Popular Voice is skewed, co-opted, or overwhelmed by mighty machines of noise-- global publicity engines-- controlled by a relative few. The objective of the few is simple: the retention of power.
The art of literature will become healthy again when all writers are allowed to flow through the literary bloodstream; when unnecessary and arbitrary clots which kill the art are broken apart.