FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Try to Get Published; Try to Be Heard

Want to write nonfiction or fiction with a left bent or left themes and get any attention? Lots of luck in the age of the Internet and giants like Amazon!

The problem is that outside of a few people, left writing does not rise to the level of anything mainline, and if a person is not seen in the cacophony that is the Internet, then he/she doesn’t exist for all intents and purposes. Left sites on the Internet struggle to survive because of the same forces that disempower individual writers.

I recently completed a substantial revision of a work of fiction about a romantic relationship during the tumultuous decade of the 1960s (A Sixties’ Love Story2018). It’s two major characters represent the themes of emerging love, the Vietnam War, the draft, protest, deceit, and how the characters express and react to the tectonic changes in social relationships, romantic relationships, and the reality of war in the decade of the 1960s.

But, as a writer, I can almost guarantee that that writing will go nowhere. Years of work will go nowhere! Try to deal with established publishing houses and the vast, vast majority of writers won’t see the proverbial light of day. And with the constant buzz of information and misinformation on the Internet, both nonfiction and fiction about critical issues will die a premature death.

I have experienced the same anonymity with my work of nonfiction about my resistance to the Vietnam War, Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2018).  Several years ago I appealed to a host of the popular program Democracy Now to interview me about the issues of war and peace and war resistance. I never had the dignity of a reply. Even on the left, those who make decisions about what is heard and what is not would rather have those who have been to war and resisted rather than those who said no at the beginning of the many wars the US fights. When I was a member of the group Veterans for Peace (a group that does nuch excellent antiwar work), the group appealed to its members through what they call an email blitz to try to get some interest to read and review my book at no cost: I did not receive a single offer to read that work. Perhaps it’s similar to what an old friend and neighbor, who also resisted the Vietnam War, said at the beginning of the war in Afghanistan in 2001: “Not many will agree with you about resisting this war.” How true!

Despite a blip in antiwar protest in the run-up to the war in Iraq in 2003, most disembarked from the peace train immediately following that resurgence in protest. With Obama, despite an expansion of the war in Afghanistan, most adhered to the rubric of, in neoliberals we trust.

The recent publishing debacle at Truthdig is instructive (“Truthdig staff laid off amid work stoppage, Salon, March 28, 2020).

I’m considered a writer on the political left, but that doesn’t matter much as the far right and neoliberalism have been in ascendency since Reagan. Both the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic collapse may change the latter reality in some minor ways, but business as usual will be the way the system operates even if there is a temporary reprieve, with the same old social relationships, and the inability to be heard will continue. Except for the few celebrities on the left, most remain invisible in this society.

It’s similar to protest. Without organizing on a large scale and coordination between groups centered on different issues, the effects of protest will ultimately by nil. The forces of reaction and power in this society shut down The Occupy Wall Street movement because it countered the economic, political, and social predatory capitalist system with a real challenge. Will wealth and power do the same with the worldwide movement against racism and police brutality? By ignoring most writers on the left, the system of top-down relationships of wealth, privilege, and power will dominate all facets of life, including the expression of ideas and calls to action.

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer.

More articles by:

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).

Weekend Edition
August 14, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Lights! Camera! Kill! Hollywood, the Pentagon and Imperial Ambitions.
Joseph Grosso
Bloody Chicken: Inside the American Poultry Industry During the Time of COVID
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: It Had to be You
Pete Dolack
Business as Usual Equals Many Extra Deaths from Global Warming
Paul Street
Whispers in the Asylum (Seven Days in August)
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Predatory Capitalism and the Nuclear Threat in the Age of Trump
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
‘Magical Thinking’ has Always Guided the US Role in Afghanistan
Ramzy Baroud
The Politics of War: What is Israel’s Endgame in Lebanon and Syria?
Ron Jacobs
It’s a Sick Country
Eve Ottenberg
Trump’s Plan: Gut Social Security, Bankrupt the States
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s Fake News
Jonathan Cook
How the Guardian Betrayed Not Only Corbyn But the Last Vestiges of British Democracy
Joseph Natoli
What Trump and the Republican Party Teach Us
Robert Fisk
Can Lebanon be Saved?
Brian Cloughley
Will Biden be Less Belligerent Than Trump?
Kenn Orphan
We Do Not Live in the World of Before
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Compromise & the Status Quo
Andrew Bacevich
Biden Wins, Then What?
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
The Criminology of Global Warming
Michael Welton
Toppled Monuments and the Struggle For Symbolic Space
Prabir Purkayastha
Why 5G is the First Stage of a Tech War Between the U.S. and China
Daniel Beaumont
The Reign of Error
Adrian Treves – John Laundré
Science Does Not Support the Claims About Grizzly Hunting, Lethal Removal
David Rosen
A Moment of Social Crisis: Recalling the 1970s
Maximilian Werner
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf: Textual Manipulations in Anti-wolf Rhetoric
Pritha Chandra
Online Education and the Struggle over Disposable Time
Robert Koehler
Learning from the Hibakushas
Seth Sandronsky
Teaching in a Pandemic: an Interview With Mercedes K. Schneider
Dean Baker
Financing Drug Development: What the Pandemic Has Taught Us
Greta Anderson
Blaming Mexican Wolves for Livestock Kills
Dean Baker
Rental Inflation Appears to be Slowing, Especially in High-Priced Cities
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Meaning of the Battle of Salamis
Mel Gurtov
The World Bank’s Poverty Illusion
Paul Gilk
The Great Question
Rev. Susan K. Williams Smith
Trump Doesn’t Want Law and Order
Martin Cherniack
Neo-conservatism: The Seductive Lure of Lying About History
James Haught
White Christian Bigotry
Nicky Reid
Pick a Cold War, Any Cold War!
George Wuerthner
Zombie Legislation: the Latest Misguided Wildfire Bill
Lee Camp
The Execution of Elephants and Americans
Christopher Brauchli
I Read the News Today, Oh Boy…
Tony McKenna
The Truth About Prince Philip
Louis Proyect
MarxMail 2.0
Sidney Miralao
Get Military Recruiters Out of Our High Schools
Jon Hochschartner
Okra of Time
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail