"Go Left:" The Season Has Changed -- Is It Time for an OWS "Spring Offensive?"
By Danny Schechter
For years, in the last century, when I was in School and learning about the early days of journalism, we were taught that author Horace Greeley who founded the New York Herald Tribune, was famous for saying, "Go West Young Man And Grow Up With The Country."
One problem, as we learned recently, he didn't coin the phrase but only popularized it. (Another media mistake involving a top dog in the media!) Indiana newspaper writer John Soule actually gave the advice in 1851 and, it would serve as the mantra for 19th century "action" in the form of Westward migration.
These days, those good and the great men and women who won their struggle stripes in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam war movements have a new mantra for action.
Some, who recently appeared at New York's annual Left Forum, were sharing it with younger people, "Go Left."
They would probably agree with Mitt Romney who said recently he can't think of any reason for any young person to support a Democrat -- but for different reasons.
Those who are going left have left the Democrats behind.
Even Bruce Springsteen who campaigned for President Obama, played at his inauguration is singing a different tune these days
He recently told a Music festival in Texas, " about the first songs he loved. " They were a revelation"the first records of full-blown class consciousness I ever heard," he explained, playing a bit of "We Gotta Get Out of This Place." After reaching the line "there's a better life for me and you" he added, "That's every song I've ever written. That's all of them. I'm not kidding, either. 'Born to Run.' "Born in the USA,' Everything I've done for the past 40 years, including all the new ones"That was the first time I felt I heard something cross the radio that mirrored my home life, my childhood."
Many of today's more conscious young people seem to be gravitating not into traditional radical class consciousness but into the ranks of the Occupy Movement, even as the movement's main tactic seems stuck on liberating public space, not organizing youth or other communities.
Their philosophy of "horizontalism" has been effective in inspiring young activists because of its small d --democratic and participatory ethic.
Yet, this process to many seems more important than the product or result. Propelling an "action faction" or camping as a community is not the same thing as challenging power or remaking it.
Clashes with the police play right into their hands when the story becomes one of confrontation, not pursuing a clear political agenda. The media's love of "when it bleeds, it leads" is well known.
The Occupy Wall Street website reports:
"After the brutal attack on the attempted re-occupation of Liberty Square by NYPD on the 6-month anniversary of #OWS, a number of Occupiers have relocated their base of occupation to Union Square in midtown Manhattan, a point of convergence for several #OWS protests over the past 6 months.
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