Organ of Alliance Marxist-Leninist (North America)
                                Volume 1, Issue 2; February 2003 $1.00

A L L I A N C E ! A Revolutionary Communist Monthly

 A Singer of Our Times — David Rovics.
Reviewed by Hari Kumar.


    Being bombarded with rhythms and lyrics that entail a shrieking white electronic noise – has never been to my taste. So perhaps I am especially attuned to the words and music of Rovics. He is of the genre of Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie, and even of some of the crusading days of Joan Baez. Perhaps, if he were living in an older time he would have been an heir to  Walt Whitman.

    Why is it worth listening to him? Because he is indeed a voice of “Our Times”. As an American, he has the pulse of America and he can put it to music.

    There are no ‘artiste’ pretension with Rovics. This for example is what he says about copyright:
 “ Second, my statement on copying music: FEEL FREE. NO GUILT! I certainly appreciate your CD purchases and all that, but the main thing is to get the music out there. You are hereby encouraged not only to buy CDs, but to COPY THEM in part or whole, download and distribute MP3's, sing the songs, photocopy part or all of the songbooks, etc. If you know a radio programmer or other such person who you'd like to give a CD to, just ask and I'll send you one, or feel free to copy one you have and give it to them. Have I made my point

    Regrettably, I did not see his words at his web-site, until after I had tried madly to scribble down the words of some of his songs!

    For me one of the most haunting on a new CD of his – called Hang A Flag In The Window [with Allie Rosenblatt, price $14.00] - is Jenin.
    Jenin it will be readily recalled was that horror where the world – and the UN – sat and watched the Israeli army systematically destroy a city and murder its inhabitants. What did that create other than even firmer hatred of Israeli fascism?

    As Rovics puts it:

    Well – Sharon – one of the ‘fat men in mansions’ of the song -  won’t buy this CD, so perhaps someone should send that song
Continued on page twelve.

song to him. Rovics couples this penetrating analysis of the underlying causes of individual terrorism, with a haunting solo guitar tune that I found impossible to get out of my mind. This song fits right into the general themes that are associated with singer-songwriters of the left. But it is done so movingly that it immediately places Rovics into a class of his own.

    But he isn’t all “Left-PC.” Listen to his scathing attack on parties of ‘One’ and sectarianism entitled “Vanguard”. It is gratifying that Alliance ML is not mentioned there – but hell – that may be because we are so small he has not heard of us! However, his sarcastic lines cuts through the insulation of the years and reminds me of some of my earlier rr-rr-r-rr-rr-revolutionary years! He has certainly got the measure of all Left Sectarians who posture – and he has clearly met and studied many of the “in” groups - & in my opinion characterizes their politics pretty spot on in this first stanza below:

    The word “petty bourgeoisie” is sort of shouted out in such a manner that it is a good bet that Rovics has had that line tossed at him.  Is his outlook “petty-bourgeois”? I don’t think so.
Buy or download or borrow this CD. Order it via your public library – I think it is worth it.  The public should know that the Left still has its poets.