BOSTON/Jamaica Plain – Yes, the headline is meant to evoke Douglas Adams, the late British writer who summed up life’s mysteries with a single number: 42.
I’m not saying author, philosopher and activist Charles Eisenstein offers a magic number or a magic bullet for the planet’s ills. But after hearing his presentation at the Jamaica Plain Forum on Sunday, I think I can summarize his thesis succinctly.
“You're playing into the hands of imperialism! We need to support Iran against the USA!”
Anyone who has been around certain sections of the radical left has encountered this attitude at one time or another. For some on the left, it is not enough to oppose US imperialism or its wars, but we need to do more and 'support' every government targeted by the United States. And that 'support' winds up being uncritical support to any government opposed to the United States, no matter how repressive or reactionary it may be.
After almost six years of doing nuts-and-bolts journalism about the activities of local progressive non-profits, unions, campaigns, parties, and movements, the Open Media Boston staff and I have been feeling like it's time to broaden our mandate beyond the kind of straight "this happened" reportage that we specialize in. Don't get me wrong, OMB was founded to do precisely that for a number of good reasons that I've discussed in the past (e.g., contemporary left publications allow far too much spewing of opinion, and do far too little hard journalism in my estimation). And we obviously don't plan to stop our coverage of pickets, strikes, lobby days, teach-ins, occupations and the like. Quite the reverse. More regular coverage of such activity is needed, and we're still working to find ways to fund that expanded coverage. However, we feel that the social movements that we care about will never succeed in their mission to build a more just and democratic society unless there are more public platforms where deeper discussion and debate about matters political economic, social and cultural is the order of the day.