Cameron Orr’s remarks to the Better World Awards, 2016

Cameron Orr’s remarks to the Better World Awards on December 11th, 2016

Thanks for being here tonight. This movement definitely keeps me on my toes. That’s why I’m waiting for the thing I just wrote out to say. Lou, can you – anyway

So, I’m actually up here without any shoes for a very good reason which you are about to discover.

I’m not about to ask you for a new pair of shoes, but I do hope in another way I can drive home the point that this movement, like everything else, costs money. It costs time, it costs labor, it costs resources, things which, as an organization of, by, and for the multi-racial, multi-gendered, and multi-generational working class, are not yet immediately at hand.

The music I am about to play for you evolved out of a lack of decent work. I started busking, playing on the subways ideas I had been experimenting with at home. It turned out people liked it, and a project was born.

I play without shoes for a very practical purpose, but it also harkens back to my rural upbringing, where was taught much about fascism. The city taught me much about racism and segregation, which is ultimately what led me here tonight

Since this project was born in our ailing public transport, part of a larger failing infrastructure, lack of decent paying work, and a lack of free time for working people that is necessary for the full development of working-class culture, I hope this will encourage you to give what resources you can to the movement that is fighting to rectify these problems.

There are many sides to this movement and culture is an important part of it. We have recently been working to build up a series of cultural events with John Pietaro who is playing here tonight called New Masses Nights. We need greater resources to develop the many sides of this movement. So, on a more personal note, I look forward the time when our movement, its newspaper, and its Party, the Communist Party USA, will be able to give a lot more time to the development of the cultural aspect.

So as I sit over here, playing with nothing by my socks protecting your eyes from the visage of my bare toes, imagine me on the subway, because I will be in a similar frame of mind: “Please open your hearts and open your wallets!”

Help build this movement. The 99% needs everything we can give to it.

Musical interlude from Cameron Orr and Lou Miller.