Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Confessions of an Ecumenical Leftist

By  David Rovics, Counterpunch

I’m realizing that most people who come across something I wrote don’t seem to have read anything else I’ve ever written, and haven’t listened to my music. This post is going to be especially personal, so it’s important that you have some idea who I am first.

I’m 54 years old, and I’ve been some kind of an activist since I was 12. I learn a little more with each passing year on Earth, but lately the pace has accelerated, along with everything else. I was raised by musicians, and I became one myself early on. When I started writing songs about different social movement activities and notable moments in history from around the US and the world, I started meeting more and more people from everywhere, and touring everywhere, too. As a songwriter and performer I’ve been able to participate in social movements on an ongoing basis in a dozen or so countries, spending most of my adult life on the road, doing that.

When I was a kid, up until my early twenties, I went to protests and participated a very little bit in some actual organizing, but mostly I guess I thought that constantly haranguing people to come around to my worldview was activism. Mostly it just turned people off, and I lost a lot of friends, and didn’t enact any social change in the process either, as far as I could tell. Once, when I guess I was around 22 years old, I shouted from the audience to a couple of my favorite folk musicians, because they said something nice about pacifism. They didn’t know who I was, and they looked frightened. There were many other instances like that.

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