FolkWorld #66 07/2018
© Editorial by David Rovics

 In '68 

Let's mark this date together, lest it pass us by
Let's recall a moment when the powder keg ran dry
When all across the USA cities turned to embers
Anybody old enough vividly remembers
Everything that happened on that date
Fifty years ago in '68

Carpet bombing of the city of Hanoi
Barely two decades after Little Boy
Draft cards burning, police stations on fire
The powers-that-be down to the wire
The naked emperor was the normative state
Fifty years ago in '68

Both ruling parties were exposed, the question of the day
Mr President how many kids did you kill today
If we try to draft more soldiers, said the general, I can't guarantee
That we could maintain domestic tranquility
A society on the brink, the possibilities so great
Fifty years ago in '68

It was a time when people everywhere were rising from their knees
Just outside the halls of power, throughout the colonies
From Oakland to Algiers, from Saigon to Paris
Structures laid bare for all to see
The use of force alone will not determine our fate
Fifty years ago in '68

Soldiers were kept in barracks lest they figure out the score
That love really can be more powerful than war
The ruling class tried desperately to gain the upper hand
Faced with a society they didn't understand
They just about got stuck beneath the historical weight
Fifty years ago in '68

Anyone in power now knows it might not last
At least if they look back to the fairly recent past
When the consent of the governed was for a time withdrawn
When empires were challenged and some of them were gone
When the movement was global and liberation was its freight
Fifty years ago in '68

The F Word

US-American singer-songwriter David Rovics is a history buff. He had to remind us by a song that this year is the 50th anniversary of the year of the Protests of 1968 as well as 170 years since the European Revolutions of 1848. (Guess it is just a matter of time for singing about the Thirty Years War 400 years ago.) David once again made headlines because he had been temporarily banned from Facebook. FolkWorld, being an internet magazine, considers it important to talk about and have a listen to what David has to say about it. Last but not least, he started a musical teaching aid featuring roundabout 200 songs, Exploring World History and Current Events, which he is taking to the road in the autumn of 2018 and spring of 2019.

Life After Facebook -- Ten Suggestions

A lot of people lately are more fully realizing the many down sides to Facebook. Yes, it's only one of many massive corporations dominating much of the globe's online communications, but it's an especially problematic one on many levels. With billions of users, it's so dominant it's almost impossible to ignore, especially for certain people, such as artists who need to be able to communicate with their audiences.

I'm not going to announce here that I'm joining the #deletefacebook movement. It might be good for my mental health if I did so, but I'm not sure if my career would be able to take the hit. And I say that despite the fact that in order for any significant number of people on the platform to hear about things like my tour plans or upcoming gigs, I and other artists like me more often than not have to pay to boost the post, since Facebook changed their News Feed algorithms years ago. Ma Bell also really sucked, but deleting my Facebook account today seems a lot like living life without a phone line in 1980.

However, I've spent most of the past couple weeks being banned by Facebook for old posts related to a satirical London band called the Commie Faggots (mentioning their name is considered hate speech on Facebook, where satire is allowed but unrecognizable by whoever or whatever decides who gets banned on the platform). It's been nice listening to the crickets, though more than a little inconvenient to be unable to respond to Facebook messages, less than two weeks before I embark on a tour of Europe. And the experience has got me thinking about all those folks out there who have just deleted their Facebook accounts and may be wondering how to proceed now.


The famine had affected many people
From Ireland to the shores of the Baltic Sea
The soaring cost of food meant it took most of your earnings
Which meant the shutting down of much of industry
But no one knows for sure why the rebellion began
Or why it quickly spread from state to state
When in the mountains and the plains, from Galway to Ukraine
Came the Rising of 1848

A pitchfork may be no match for a rifle
But there's nothing that will give the king a fright
As when he looks out of the window
And sees his castle burning in the night
But that's just what happened in fifty different countries
Where the landlords oft encountered such a fate
Where from Budapest to Sicily life would never be the same
After the Rising of 1848

Marx and Engels wrote a book which spread as quickly as the flames
From which the feudal barons had to flee
From the workers in the cities, from the peasants in the towns
And even from the petit bourgeoisie
United for a time by a common sense of purpose
To finally throw off the crushing weight
Of the dynastic rule of hereditary Lords
Who owned the Europe of 1848

Tens of thousands died before it all was over
And some say it all ended in defeat
But the landscape was transformed when serfdom was abolished
Which is why we don't see history repeat
And the monarchs long remembered when the peasants with their pitchforks
Came to burn down their estate
And most of them decided the welfare state was better
Than the Rising of 1848

Mainly to all who have left Zuckerberg's corporation behind I say, take heart. You may lose touch with a lot of people you probably didn't want to be in touch with so much in the first place, since so many people never leave Facebook, but you don't have to be like that. And most of the things that Facebook was actually useful for are done better elsewhere on the web. Rather than being a passive recipient of how Facebook's latest redesign or change in algorithms affects your life -- what you read, who you communicate with, what you hear about -- you can spend a little bit of time figuring out what you want to keep track of in life, and do it all without Facebook.

Here are 10 alternative ways to do some of the things you you might have been doing on Facebook, but better:

The Musical History Tour

It seems to me that in order to understand the world we live in now, we have to know how we got here. In order to have any idea of where we’re going, we need to know where we’ve been. We need to know our own history — the history of the social movements, uprisings, invasions, coups, economic bubbles, stock market crashes and other events that have shaped our societies and created the world we live in today. The more we know about key events of the past — often events that the powers-that-be would prefer we forgot about completely — the more the world around us becomes a comprehensible place, existing not just in the three dimensions of the physical world, but in the dimension of time as well.

Musical History Tour poster
Please click to enlarge!

Artist Video David Rovics @ FROG

There are many ways to learn history — ways that can be a lot of fun, as well as educational. I have a Musical History section of my website dedicated to using songs as well as prose to introduce people to important events in world history. With the Musical History Tour, I’ll be taking that act on the road. Concerts (we can still call them concerts even if I’m talking more than usual in between the songs) will be appropriate for any adult or teen audience, and will seek to use historical anecdotes as a means of addressing the present moment.

Some Examples:

I'm doing a lot of planning for the rest of 2018 and into 2019 these days (mainly when the baby is napping). Following is what's in the cooker. Most of this is just the beginnings of a rough outline. Much popular participation is required for any of these plans to actually really happen! The few concrete gigs I have so far lined up can be found on the Musical History Tour page.

David Rovics

I'm trying to think of new ways to promote a tour that's all about learning and remembering our own history. Ways to use the graphic online or in print that might attract attention perhaps? Other promotional ideas unrelated to the graphic? Ways to network with leftwing groups to make it easier for them to organize a stop on such a tour? I'm way open to ideas, to say the least.

That's all for now from me...


Photo Credits: (1)-(4) David Rovics (unknown/website).

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