On Sunday March 13, I sat down with Seth Adler, the coordinator of Left Fourm, an annual gathering in North America of the U.S. and international Left. Continuing a tradition begun in the 1960s, Left Forum brings together intellectuals and organizers to share perspectives, strategies, experience, and vision. Last year, The Mantle provided more coverage of the conference than any other media outlet.
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?
Audio interview with JK Fowler and Shaun Randol. Left Forum 2010 was an amazing event and experience. There were too many panels, speakers, themes, ideas, and reactions to really speak about in a single blog or essay, so I won't even try. Reporting from LF was an insane adventure in itself.
Following the closing event featuring Arundhati Roy and Noam Chomsky, I sat down with two Mantlers to get their opinions on their speeches and on Left Forum 2010 as a whole.
This is the moment Left Forum 2010 had been building up to for three days. It began with Jesse Jackson, it ended with Noam Chomsky, quite nice bookends for your Left Forum bookshelf.
Frances Fox Piven provided introductory remarks for the closing plenary. She paid homage to the late historian and truth-teller, Howard Zinn. Piven also indicated that record crowds and a record number of younger attendees came to the conference. Audio follows...
Seen on nametags at Let Forum 2010—Places: Brooklyn, NY; Oak Park, IL; Essex, CT; Bloomington, IL; Boise, ID; Washington, DC; Philadelphia; Canada… Affiliations: Socialist Appeal, WBAI, Hive Radio, Brecht Forum, Dissent, Verso, Haymarket Books, Revolution, AK Press, The World Can’t Wait, The Mantle (of course!), Z Magazine.
Seen: Democracy Now cameras. A man in hospital gown and fake plastic butt handing out fliers for a rally for free health care. Pamphleteers galore. Jazz musician Abby Smith.
Heard: Danny Schechter telling me of an interview he conducted with Jon Lennon, with the microphone unplugged.
Audio interview with Greg Palast, author of the two New York Times bestsellers, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse. When Palast, an investigator of corporate fraud and racketeering, turned his skills to journalism, he was quickly recognized as, "The most important investigative reporter of our time" (Tribune Magazine) in Britain, where his reports first appeared in The Guardian newspapers and on BBC television.
Audio interview with Brian Tokar, an ecological activist and author, director of the Institute for Social Ecology, and a lecturer at the University of Vermont. He is the author of The Green Alternative and Earth for Sale, edited two books on the politics of biotechnology and co-edited the forthcoming collection, Crisis in Food and Agriculture: Conflict, Resistence and Renewal (Monthly Review Press).
Audio interview with Muhammad Ahmad, the former Field Chairman of the Revolutionary Action Movement and founder of African People's Party in the 1970's. Muhammad worked closely with Malcolm X, Amiri Baraka, James and Grace Lee Boggs and Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael). He is the author of We Will Return in the Whirlwind, African Americans Since 1900, and Selected Writings, Volume 1. He is a member of the Philadelphia Community Institute of Africana Studies and of N'COBRA.
Audio interview with Jeremy Glick, the co-editor of Another World is Possible: Conversations in a Time of Terror, Professor of English at Hunter College, and currently working on a book on dramatic and operatic representations of the Haitian Revolution.