responded by mastering regulatory and bioethical language and engaging the FDA, not to wrest away its power, but to exert pressure to protect the lives of the sick.
In the end, the Watkins Commission made 576 recommendations, some of them mirroring act up
's demands--like tripling the money for research and reforming the FDA, where it usually took seven to ten years to get a drug approved and "into bodies." Not one recommendation was carried out.
There's something so visceral about the way that ACT UP
agitated that still feels very powerful.
In the second section, riveting interviews with Sarah Schulman, founder of ACT UP
's clone, Lesbian Avengers, and with veteran civil rights activist Bob Kohler, and with Liddell Jackson, founder of Jacks of Color, are included with several mesmerizing essays on sex, social justice, and new queer organizing.
This is particularly true for ACT UP
Philadelphia, half of whose current members are people of color and people with AIDS.
If the US government will not responsibly deal with the AIDS crisis, then ACT UP
will force them to by performing on the streets and disrupting quotidian life.
Of course, ACT UP
was part of a long line of artist-activist groups.
There's a reason ACT UP
never incorporated, never sought to build a staff.
Termed ATAC (AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition), the conference included a meeting between front-line AIDS activists and CAN-ACT, a nascent political advocacy group of cancer survivors that is modeling itself after ACT UP
to demand better cancer treatments.
AF: This is the way ACT UP
functioned on every level.
Graphic art plays a much more crucial role in ACT UP
's tactics of informing and mobilizing the American public than it does in any other recent social movement (to such an extent that the loose federation of so-called "affinity" groups comprises several artists' cooperatives that effectively function as freelance ministries of propaganda).
From the very first ACT up
demonstration in New York to the triumphal storming of the FDA headquarters outside Washington, DC, he deployed his art in the battle against AIDS.
Mark Harrington is a member of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP
), the organization that has spearheaded the attack on the Bush initiative and the F.D.A.
This story is doubly significant, as the zenith of ACT up
's organizational strength is already ancient history to at least two generations of younger lesbians and gay men who have come out since the early-'90s heyday of the activist group.
Before his death from AIDS in 1990, he becomes an AIDS activist, contributing artwork to fund ACT UP