“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.