Saturday, March 10, 2007

Left Forlorn

This weekend I set up a table at the Left Forum. It has been a tradition since my daughter Molly was five or six and used to run around with Nadja Miller-Larsen urging people (it was then called the Socialists Scholars Conference) to buy a Paper Tiger tape. The annual conference has been an important way to connect with people to be interviewed for our programs or professors who might have budgets which enable their schools or libraries to purchase programs. Those "institutional sales" have been an important "income stream" for both Paper Tiger and Deep Dish. Mara from Paper Tiger and Brian from Deep Dish helped set the monitor and tapes up, but it is a lot of schlepping. Yesterday we took in around $300--which is what the table costs. But the best thing is connecting with the crowd. Many people at the conference appreciate the work of both Paper Tiger and Deep Dish and have used our programs for years in their classes and organizations. There were many old friends. This is Victor Wallis and Hobart Spaulding at the Socialism and Democracy table. times between panels the tables had many visiters. But our slot was in a corner off the beaten track, so we didn't get much traffic.Johanna Lawrenson and Danny Schecter stopped by. Johanna was Abby Hoffman's "running partner" and is the guardian of the enormous archive which he left. Danny is the "media dissector" and author of the first blog I ever read. It took me about five years to catch up and do a blog of my own. One of the specials Paper Tiger is offering is "Gone But Not Forgotten", a DVD with four Paper Tiger programs of great leftists of the past. I realized looking at the list of Paper Tiger shows that many of the "readers' have passed on. So a celebratory DVD is one way to pay tribute to their memory. This is Conrad Lynn, who made a program about the magazine Commentary in 1983.The only panel I had time to attend was one which was billed as a tribute to Brad Will. I'm sure that Brad Will would never have sat through that panel. Not that the people weren't saying anything interesting. It's just that the whole format of the conference lacks the sort of poetry, spontaneity, energy and action that he embodied. Kat's blog has a piece on it: There are certain people, and Brad is one, Abby Hoffman is another, and even Conrad Lynn, whose loss makes those of us who remain realize our need to break the strictures of conformity which bind even a "Left Forum".


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm not sure what brad would have thought of that panel (i didn't attend it), but he did attend the conference last year (and i think in years before as well), and i had a conversation with him in which he expressed displeasure that more young people did not attend the conference, and encouraged us to publicize it more heavily amongst the younger activist crowd.

11:10 PM  
Blogger DeeDee Halleck said...

I think I was just a bit jaded with my comments. I too wish more young people would go to that and I have in the past seen some really thoughtful and informative discussions at these conferences. But there is an overall atmosphere that really needs some poetry and energy. Having more young people there would help that alot!

12:54 AM  
Blogger Bill Tabb said...

It is my understanding that DeeDee was only one of more than a half dozen media people who was asked to PLEASE do a media panel at Left Forum. Is this wrong or did we not ask nicely or what?
Bill Tabb, member of the board of Left Forum

4:45 PM  
Blogger DeeDee Halleck said...

I was never contacted by the Left Forum.
But I hope to intervene next year and make sure there are some panels addressing media activism.

7:03 PM  

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