Why is the Left so boring?

Emma Goldman
“If I can’t dance I don’t want to be in your revolution”
Emma Goldman

Musician Dave Rovics wonders why Left antiwar protests are so boring. Endless speeches with little if any music, humor, or entertainment seem almost counter productive.

Radical culture needs to be fostered and promoted, front and center, not sidelined as people are gathering, or when the radio stations are doing station ID’s. Because if the point is to inspire people to action, a song is worth a hundred speeches. If the point is to educate people, a three-minute ballad is easily equal to any book. (They’ll read the book after they hear the song, not the other way around.)

Absolutely, music can inspire and motivate when mere speeches fall flat (or don’t get heard at all except by the true believers.) IWW member Joe Hill wrote songs that inspired millions during the union battles of the early 20th Century. Woody Guthrie’s populist songs are known worldwide. “We Shall Overcome” was the anthem of the Civil Rights movement as was “Fixin’ to Die” for the Vietnam War protests.

Dave is quite right. They will read the book and listen to you after they hear the song… The Left needs some anthems and it needs to start dancing again.


  1. In other words, Rovics doesn’t think he is getting enough gigs for his whiny voice and third-rate liberal protest songs, so he decides to score some cheap points with his target audience by blaming the bad commies and promoting himself and his music as the solution, for a small negotiable fee of course.

  2. As one who has helped organize mass protests, some of which did have music, none of the performers (or speakers) get paid. The bands often truck in their own equipment at their own expense.

    And I was one of those commies.

  3. Resistance — socialist youth group — here in Australia are the main organizers for Fossil Fools Day next Tuesday — April 1st of course.
    Video and local flyer  with the leadup being a series of clowning workshops.

    I used to run street theatre groups and have penned my share of political satire but I also point out that the Dutch Socialist Party (an outfit to watch) describes their advocacy like this:”Instead of telling the electorate to vote SP for a better society – worthy ideals for a distant future – the party chose a more rational and better thought out position: that of radical and effective opposition.“Vote against, vote SP” became the provocative slogan. The message being: if you don’t agree with current politics, vote for us. Then we can voice your dissent in Parliament. You don’t need a majority for that, even one person would do. The new strategy is symbolized by a tomato. Full of healthy vitamins, but also a feared weapon against bad political theatre.”

    Ha. Ha.

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