Friday, December 26, 2014

Marches Continue and Retro: Love me, I'm a liberal --- Phil Ochs

I'm inspired by the movie "Selma". I was thinking of my own ambivalence about the people who continue to march and protest despite the call for a moratorium.

In Selma, MLK was told by LBJ to take a moratorium of sorts and not hold that march. It struck a note in me that there is a broader movement out there to end the protests -- like let's get it settled behind closed doors with a few people and not masses of people in the streets pushing.
UPDATE: NY Times - After Killing of Police Officers, Protest Movement Is at a Crossroads
The movie deals with the conflicts between King and SNCC and Malcolm X. Having a radical wing never hurts - as Malcolm says in the movie shortly before he was killed.

I'm putting the Phil Ochs cutting song up for my own self-criticism and flip-flop on these issues - you know the drill - as I get older I move right- not that some of the actions of people I know on the left doesn't help push me in that direction.
But people I know and respect, like Josmar Trujillo, of New Yorkers Against Bratton, help me see the other side. Josmar is part of a coalition opposing the broken windows theory of policing. I  filmed Josmar, a former Rockaway resident, in an anti stop and frisk march out here in July 2013. And I run into him in the local gym a few times a week. Josmar was on Brian Lehrer the other day. You can listen here.

We should never forget the work of Phil Ochs. We lost our albums in the hurricane. Thanks to Glenn Tepper for reminding us -

İ cried when they shot Medgar Evers
Tears ran down my spine
I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
As though I'd lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X got what was coming
He got what he asked for this time
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I go to civil rights rallies
And I put down the old D.A.R.
I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
I hope every colored boy becomes a star
But don't talk about revolution
That's going a little bit too far
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
My faith in the system restored
I'm glad the commies were thrown out
of the A.F.L. C.I.O. board
I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
as long as they don't move next door
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

The people of old Mississippi
Should all hang their heads in shame
I can't understand how their minds work
What's the matter don't they watch Les Crain?
But if you ask me to bus my children
I hope the cops take down your name
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I read New republic and Nation
I've learned to take every view
You know, I've memorized Lerner and Golden
I feel like I'm almost a Jew
But when it comes to times like Korea
There's no one more red, white and blue
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I vote for the democratic party
They want the U.N. to be strong
I go to all the Pete Seeger concerts
He sure gets me singing those songs
I'll send all the money you ask for
But don't ask me to come on along
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

Once I was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to the socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns
But I've grown older and wiser
And that's why I'm turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal
    • "Love Me I'm A Liberal (Live Version)" by Phil Ochs


  1. So much anger everywhere. Mayors, union presidents and ministers should lead by example and not incite. There's an aura of NYC circa 1992 in the air and it stinks.

  2. Calling for a moratorium was not wrong. It was just a call and not banned. We still have free speech. But it would have been nice if it was honored to show the world that the protests are not about all police, but those that defy civil rights. But that's just me and it has nothing to do with being Liberal or not. The gesture would have done more good in the end because it's all about "public relations" no matter what the cause. And sometimes Liberals, Conservatives etc. forget that hence the closing of the government.
    There is a giant rift in this city and all sides need to be addressed. deBlasio made some huge errors in judgment IMHO, but I feel that way about his broken promises to educators during his campaign. It's his job to bring all sides together rather than enlarge the rift. I doubt he will be re-elected, and not just because of this. He has had an arrogance about him with the press, keeping appointments, and the new teachers' contract. But most of all turning his back on Teachout for Cuomo's sake. And we all know that Cuomo is going to take the NYC school system away and hand it over to Eva because deBlasio easily rolled over during the summer campaign against him and charters. What really stinks is that deBlasio is making it easy for another Republican to take over again. Liberals don't have a chance given the new political climate in NYC. NYC gave Cuomo the win. That says it all!! (And Central Park horses don't vote)
    I for one wish the grand jury process was made available to the public while keeping the jurors identities protected. If so, it would be harder to for prosecutors to be one-sided. Thank you for giving me a chance to air my opinion whether you agree or not. Thankfully we all have the right to free speech and that goes for those who continue to protest. But as a "movement", or any movement, it still needs some sense of public relations and media/marketing savvy if it's going to succeed because the media can easily destroy the message.

  3. Btw, to his credit, LBJ did get the Civil Rights Bill passed and he did it behind doors. But even bad laws are getting passed the same way. Cuomo is a master using behind doors and under the table strategies. One only has to look at Weingarten to see how awful it is.

  4. I think it was Malcolm who used to say Martin couldn't have gotten that seat at the table without men like him agitating. One listen to a Malcolm speech made power much more open to dealing with Martin... or something like that.


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