This past weekend at Left Forum 2011 was nothing short of a whirlwind tour through the inner workings of the political left. As someone who would consider themselves on the left side of the political spectrum, but has never spent time in this sort of forum, it was educational to say the least. I was intrigued, inspired, overwhelmed, frustrated, disappointed, excited and impressed all at the same time. Let's just say by Sunday I was rather exhausted!
The U.S. government denied a travel visa to Afghan women’s and democracy activist, Malalai Joya. In 2005, Joya became the youngest person ever elected to the Afghan parliament. She was suspended in 2007 for her denunciation of warlords and their cronies in government.
In this interview with activist poet Steve Bloom, we discuss the role of the arts and poetry in social justice movements, the trouble with bringing art and culture to the Left, and the issues with bringing poetry to the masses in the United States. Bloom ends the interview with a reading of his poem, "April 10, 2006: New York City."
Valentine "Sphinx" Eben is a leading African media-maker. Sphinx has a long history of activism, media work, and organizing, including three "convergence and training" houses at the World Social Forum. The latest such house was completed in 2010 in Dakar in collaboration with May First/People Link.
Chris Mansour is an independent artist and writer based out of New York. He received is BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and will complete his MFA at Parsons School of Design in the Spring of 2011. Currently he curates shows at the Janus Project, a gallery he founded. His research interests include Critical Theory and the New York Intellectuals of the mid-twentieth century, and he is a regular contributor to the online art journal, 491. Chris was one of the many Platypus Affiliated Society representatives at Left Forum.
In this interview with artist Veru Narula, we discuss his artistic inspirations and the melding of East and West in his artwork. Seven of his paintings from the "All the World's a Stage" series were on display at Left Forum 2011. In this video, Narula gives the audience a tour of two of those pieces.
Nicholas Powers is an assistant professor at SUNY Old Westbury, author of the poetry book Theater of War and freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The Indypendent, Village Voice and Vibe.
Danny Schechter is MediaChannel founder and Executive Editor, VP & Executive Producer of Globalvision, Inc., an award-winning media company formed in 1987. He has been a broadcast & print journalist & is an internationally recognized speaker & writer on media issues. His work has been honored with Emmy awards, the IRIS award, the George Polk Award, the Major Armstrong Award & honors from the Nat. Assn.
John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Beat since 1999 for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. He is a contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times and the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin.
Was lucky enough to listen to a great piece with Cornel West rapping over an instrumental by Mos Def put together by our good friend, Dred S. Keyes, of Pacifica Network at WBAI. Have a listen and hope you enjoy it as much as we did!