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Left Forum 2010: Rekindling the radical imagination

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I attended this year's Left Forum in New York, a gathering of thousands of progressive academics and activists held March 19-21. I spoke at a panel co-organized by the Canadian Peace Alliance and the Campaign for Peace and Democracy on the topic of the war in 'Af-Pak'.

The final plenary on March 21 featured a tribute to Howard Zinn, with actor-teacher-activist Brian Jones performing Zinn's Marx in Soho. With the Forum being held at PACE University in Lower Manhattan a stone's throw from Wall Street (and not far from Soho), the play was a joyful reminder that the ideas of both Zinn and Marx will resonate until the global dictatorship of Capital is brought to an end.

Arundhati Roy and Noam Chomsky were the evening's other featured speakers. Roy spoke only briefly, but touched on some of the life and death struggles taking place in India about which she has recently written in depth. Chomsky's speech was full of insights, as always, and painted a dark picture of political life in the United States -- with the left largely in static irrelevance while the far right is mobilizing. Chomsky is not alone in warning in recent months against the rise of fascism in the U.S., and I think the alarm he's sounding should be listened to and considered carefully by all progressive-minded people.

You can watch the tribute to Zinn and Roy and Chomsky's speeches here.

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