The title of this piece is ripped from Eric Alterman’s book of the same name (Basic, 2003), but it speaks to an issue that’s been gnawing at me for the past couple of weeks. And this is thanks to Danny Schechter, a.k.a., The News Dissector, and a recent discussion we had on his radio program (listen below). I wonder: where is the left, progressive media? Or, more acutely, what is the hydra-headed progressive media in this country, and how do liberals leverage its many assets and ambitions into a cohesive, message-making machine?
Another stunningly beautiful day in New York City. The NYC half-marathon is being run, and you would think Left Forum attendees are participants: with the café closed until 10am there’s nonstop sprinting back and forth to Starbucks for that morning jolt. With my giant iced coffee and crumb cake in hand, I head to the morning heavyweight panel, Critical Theory and Social Movements. Breakfast for my stomach and my mind.
Verso hosts this panel. Boris Groys and Todd May hold court. Simon Critchley, expected to be on the panel, is decidedly absent(!). Perhaps he’s still waiting in line for his coffee…
Audio interview with Hilary Wainwright, a leading researcher and writer on the emergence of new forms of democractic accountability within parties, movements and the state. She is also editor of Red Pepper, a British new left magazine. An updated edition of her book, Reclaim the State: Adventures in Popular Democracy was published in December of 2009.
Left Forum 2010 is off to an insanely, if not chaotic, positive start. It’s a beautiful day in downtown New York City. The bright sunshine outside is apparent in the bright ideas echoing through the halls of Pace University, and on the bright and cheery attidues of the many attendees.
I haven’t done a count, but the heft of the printed program indicates there are dozens upon dozens of panels happening throughout the weekend, stacked with hundreds of panelists, as well as a book fair, exhibition hall, art show, theater performances and the requisite motley crew of pamphleteers.
One of my earliest memories of foreign affairs from my childhood was the brief war between Argentina and Great Britain over the small, wind-swept Falkland Islands in 1982. In response to the Argentine seizure of the islands, which they call Islas Malvinas and claim as their own, the British sent a naval flotilla halfway around the world to retake them. Without GPS, YouTube, broadband satellite uplinks or any of the other tools of modern journalism, I remember watching the progress of the British fleet on the nightly news as a red dot on a map slowly, very slowly, making its way down the length of the Atlantic Ocean towards the Falklands.
For policymakers seeking an entry-point to engage the Middle East in dialogue, there may be an opening created by the apparent disillusionment of many ME societies with both Islamist groups and Muslim leaders.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev covered a lot of ground in his annual state-of-the-nation address on Thursday, but the after-speech reports were dominated by talk of time zones, YouTube clips and the body language of Vladimir Putin.
It was all suppose to turn out so differently. The Orange Revolution, was suppose to be the birth of a true and lasting democracy in Ukraine, a peaceful uprising in late 2004 against what were widely seen as rigged presidential elections. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians took to Kiev’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (“Independence Square”) and in similar places around the country with a simple demand – to have their votes fairly counted. A young, Western-leaning president was swept into office in what has held up as an example of people power to all the pseudo-democracies o