Bruce Sterling comments in his usual acerbic yet insightful manner on U.S. Social Forum in Detroit as reported by Amy Goodman. The comments inside triple parentheses are his, the rest is hers.
Far larger than any tea party convention, it has gotten very little mainstream-media coverage.
Not a tightly scripted, staged political convention, or a multiday music festival, the U.S. Social Forum defines itself as “an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences.” (((That’s WHY it gets no mainstream coverage – there’s nothing to write about.)))
Indeed, another solidarity statement or declaration of principles just isn’t going to help Detroit much, nor further the aims of the left. He’s right, covering such an event would be a real snoozer with little to report about. How do we change this?
Carried within this dystopic, urban disaster, though, are the seeds of Detroit’s potential rebirth. Legendary Detroit organizer/philosopher Grace Lee Boggs helped organize the 1963 King march in Detroit. She turns 95 this week, and will be celebrated here at the U.S. Social Forum. (((You can see that the Left is full of innovative electricity because they’re so keen to celebrate centenarians.)))
This is like some of the endless conversations you read on leftist listservs, deeply concerned with parsing events that happened decades ago back in the glory days of socialism in the US, like in the 30’s, when they really did fill the streets with hundreds of thousands of marching socialists.
In some ways, the far left is deeply conservative, clinging to ideas first set forth in the 1800’s, without analyzing them much in terms of today. In Karl Marx’s time, class differences were obvious and clear – factory owner vs. factory worker. But it’s not nearly as obvious now, and in the US especially, people often don’t want to be labeled as working class. Then there’s the bedraggled idea that only the working class can lead a revolution when a study of history shows revolutions are invariably led by members of the upper middle or upper class. Ditto for labor unions being a major progressive force. They may have been so once, but for the most part in the US, no longer are.
There’s so much good, enthusiasm, and organizing ability on the left, but in my opinion, it’s being smothered by old ideas about what needs to be done. We live in an era where people, organizations, and corporations often reinvent themselves. Maybe it’s time for the left to do the same.
Because the powers-that-be are terrified of the mass awakening taking place worldwide, as witness the words of Zbigniew Brzezinski as assembled by Zero Hedge. Yes, they are worried.
The people of the world are waking up to the reality of what is happening. If we wake up fast enough, we can reclaim our power and dignity, and shake off those who would steal everything we have, including our money, opportunity and freedom.
What better organizing opportunity could there be?