By Erik Luna
In an attempt to evoke critical thinking, the Collective Revolutionary Association of Students in Solidarity (CRASS) asked people to submit material for their zine in response to the prompt “What is American Culture?”
This is the second volume of CRASS’s zine and, according to members, it will be created by using strictly student submissions as opposed to their first volume, which was created using material by CRASS members.
“We decided to use this as a tool and a platform to show a different side of ourselves from a political view and a personal view,” member Luz Juan said.
Juan, who recently took a trip to Europe, took some copies of the first volume and started asking friends and locals what they thought about American culture.
Juan recalled from her trip. that they said there is a common misconception that Americans like to play with and feel like they are in control.
“I said ‘don’t worry, because some of us back home think the same thing,’” said Juan
After having had this experience, Juan and other members of the group decided that the theme for their next volume should focus on what students thought about American culture.
The club is planning on having an official zine release next Wednesday, during a CRASS event at East Los Angeles College where they will host guest speaker Alice Bagg of the punk band The Baggs.
CRASS is accepting work in all types of genres from poetry, essays, drawings or whatever else students can create for publication. Unlike other magazines or literary works, CRASS members say that they will not be editing the material they receive.
According to member Dario Serrano, plans for a third volume of the zine are in the works that will use submissions from local high schools and even elementary schools.
The club has been busy building a connection with teachers at Esteban Torres High School in East Los Angeles in order to have workshops with the students according to Cuautemoc Negrete, who first brought the idea of publishing a zine to members of the club.
“We will publish the material however they turn it in. It’s all about getting all of our voices heard,” Negrete said.
ELAC students are not the only ones participating in the zine. Along with ELAC, students from California State University, Los Angeles and Humboldt University have also submitted work for the second issue of the zine.
The general concept of the zine was created from an art movement called Dadaism, which originated in Switzerland in the early 20th century by artists like Samuel Rosenstock, otherwise known as Tristin Tzara, to oppose the World War I.
Yet, CRASS members say that students shouldn’t feel restricted and create whatever they feel like contributing.
“Although we claim to be Dada affiliated and Dada centered, we don’t necessarily impose this perspective on other students. We ask students to contribute and we’re not giving them guidelines to abide by. We’re just offering them a way to express their own perspective on what they think American culture is,” Ehecatl Negrete said.
The zine, which is paid for by members of CRASS as well as donations, is published as a hard copy and passed around by members.
Member Kristen Huizar says that the idea behind the zine is simple.
“Somebody is going to see the zine and the ideas in the zine are going to be implanted into their head. At least that’s what keeps me going, people are going to be thinking about something you did maybe for an hour or maybe for a day,” Huizar said.
According to Serrano, the ultimate goal for the club would be to have a zine section in the Helen Miller Bailey Library.
“It’ll help get students to think and ask questions and get their voices out there – all while thinking and being creative,” Serrano said.