Interview With Eleanor Goldfield

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(TFC) – Eleanor is a creative activist, singer and writer. She is the founder and lead singer of the political hard rock band, Rooftop Revolutionaries who have shared the stage with the likes of Tom Morello and Immortal Technique at festivals, Occupy events and rock clubs around the country.

She is also the host and writer of the occupy.com, Free Speech TV syndicated show, Act Out! which focuses on creative and grassroots activism. This weekly show gives updates on activism around the country, focusing on artists and creatives, grassroots actions and how people anywhere can get involved, from tweets to marching in the streets.

She is also a free-lance writer and consultant for creative outreach targeting 18-30 year olds via projects aimed at killing apathy through art. In this capacity, she also does various creative work on her own, such as her campaign, Ads for Change.

Sites:

rooftoprevolutionaries.com

occupy.com/actout

artkillingapathy.com

 

John Carico: When did you first start seeing beyond the false dichotomy of our “democracy” and propoganda of corporate news? What initially spurred you toward action?

 

 

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Eleanor Goldfield: It wasn’t a light switch moment or incident for me. It happened over a longer period of time. I’ve been an activist for much of my life and it started with the simple action of being aware. I would pick up trash on my daily runs with the dog, not because I felt it was my job as an environmentalist, but because I didn’t like the way it looked. I sent my savings to an initiative to Save the Tigers because I love tigers and wanted them to be safe. It began as simple as that.

Over time, I began to make deeper connections. What started as environmental activism became anti-war activism when the Iraq war rolled around in 2003. From there, I began to see how war and climate change are connected. I began to follow the thread by reading books like “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” and “Shock Doctrine.”
And then of course, once you make those connections, you realize how blatantly propagandized our media is. I think I probably always knew that Fox News was full of shit but it took me longer to see that all corporate media is about fear and control and has nothing to do with an informed populace.
As to what really spurred me into action, I guess it started as environmentalism and as I mentioned, the more I followed the red thread, the more I realized that the corporate control of our government, the for sale sign on the Capitol Hill lawn – THAT was the real problem. For if you have a government of, for and by the 1%, you can not have a government of, for and by the people.
John Carico: Besides the aforementioned Naomi Klein and John Perkins what other writers and books do you recommend?
Eleanor Goldfield: Ha! I don’t have enough bandwidth on the internet 🙂
Chris Hedges is a must read – he is engaging, incredibly informative and if you don’t feel inspired to go storm the castle after reading his books, you have no central nervous system. No Good Men Among the Living is one I just finished – by Anand Gopal – chronicling our blundering incompetence in Afghanistan as told through the eyes of a burqad widow, a Northern Alliance soldier, a couple of war lords and a member of the Taliban. Eye-opening would be an understatement. It should be required reading for our entire military.
I’ve also been reading more of Thomas Paine lately. I’ll cover a piece of his in this week’s episode – from Rights of Man. Common Sense is also brilliant, of course.
There are several others lurking in my bookshelf right now and I am doing a disservice by not sharing all of them but hopefully this is a good starter kit, so to speak.
I’ll also say that I adore philosophy – Nietzsche is a personal favorite. Politics and Poetics by Aristotle is also a powerful read.
John: How can we help fight sectarianism on the left?
Eleanor: Phew – this is a terribly difficult question to answer. Of course, if there was an easy way to do it, we already would have.
My best advice is look at the people we’re fighting against. They are superbly organized and there is no wavering in their ranks. We need to be honest and realistic about this fight. The system as it stands is built to withstand small counter-attacks and it has created a check list of ways to infiltrate and tear apart uprisings.
In order to be immune to this, we have to work together. The left has a tremendous ability to fall apart, ironically, from a fear of being co-opted or from a fear of leadership. Leadership is not bad – disorganization is. You don’t need a dictator to get shit done, but you need roles, you need streamlined effectiveness.
You need to include people even if they don’t see eye-to-eye with you. The left spends so much time arguing about what the eventual compost heap in egalitarian utopia will look like, it loses significant ground and time trying desperately to get everyone on the same exact page. Fuck that. We don’t need to be on the same page – in fact, we shouldn’t be – in order to write this story of a successful system change, we need to be diverse. The environmental movement needs to work with the black lives matter movement who needs to work with the get money out movement who needs to work with the single payer healthcare movement, so on and so on. We need to recognize the connectivity between all of our issues and organize ourselves accordingly. It isn’t easy but neither is shifting a system firmly rooted in the exploitation of people and planet. Use their organization skills to defeat them. Use their effective planning against them.
John: What advice would you give to people who are interested in getting involved in alternative media?
Eleanor: Tell the truth – that’s the one thing that corporate media doesn’t do. Follow your instinct, your passion and dig.
John: In terms of this election cycle what does it teach us about the following things:
 -Trump and the Rise of Fascism:
Eleanor: Voting for the lesser evil created the environment that gave rise to Trump – and Clinton. It allowed for white supremacy to seep through cracks many thought had been plugged – and onto the political stage, where we allow it to thrive using words like alt-right (which I talk about in this week’s episode) to soften the piercing hate for justice and human rights. This election truly teaches us what apathy and lesser evil voting does in a system that survives off of our stupidity, its own greed, disdain for both people & planet and ever-increasing extractionist policy.
– Hilary and collective ignorance of Neoliberalism’s woes:
Eleanor: Sort of touched on this above – the idea that we can make this all better if we just vote for the lesser of two evils. I have a few spoken word pieces about this topic as well. It’s the desire to make everything better just by voting for one day and then going back to your life, not realizing that your intellectual laziness perpetuates evil. Not to mention the fact that local politics are so much more important to your daily life than federal politics. But specifically this idea that voting for Clinton because she’s a democrat will make everything better not only shows a great intellectual laziness in researching who the fuck the Democrats have become but it also shows your privilege – it shows that you have it good enough to accept 4-8 more years of the status quo and worse. Many don’t. In fact, most don’t, and that number rises as this system continues to extract from all of us life, liberty and well-being.
– Bernie’s raising of awareness:
Eleanor: Bernie was a tour-de-force, that’s undeniable. So many people – particularly young people (18-34 year olds) are so sick and tired of being sick and tired – and poor. Bernie pin-pointed this with a powerful domestic policy platform that engaged and activated thousands, if not millions. He would easily have won the Democratic nomination if it weren’t for extreme fraud. It is our job as citizens, regardless of his new allegiance, to continue that in the occupation of streets and government institutions via running for office.
– Rise of third parties:
Eleanor: The two-party system is fixed – and broken at the same time. People recognize this and those that are not allowing fear to consume their decisions and indeed their lives, are veering off towards third, fourth and fifth parties – as it should be. A friend of mine in Sweden recently commented (Sweden has many political parties and any party with 4% or more popular support gets a seat in Parliament) on the ridiculousness of having two parties in the US saying “you guys are supposed to be this symbol of democracy but you have so many more choices for toilet paper than you do for running your country.”
John: What are your thoughts on the halting of the Dakota Pipeline?
Eleanor: It wasn’t halted at all. I did a piece on that last week: http://bit.ly/2cu5Iux
John: What are your thoughts on the prison strikes?
Eleanor: Also did a piece on that 🙂 http://bit.ly/2ccrBee
John: Any final shout outs?
Eleanor: Ha – always. I guess in a more blanket statement, shout out to all the people on the front lines fighting for justice, whatever your issue is – let’s keep fighting.