Dave Marsh’s Dream
A world where everybody has a place to live and nobody has to stay up at night trying to figure out how to pay for it. Same with food. Same with education.
A world where health care is dispensed rationally, not to the highest bidder.
A world where everyone has some kind of productive work, everybody shares in the scut work at some level and nobody capable has to or gets to not have a job.
A world where being child-centered is something more than rhetoric, where no child is left behind because no child is pushed forward by circumstances of birth.
A world where decisions about important things (not just who's going to decide about the important things) are made by a broad, educated consensus.
A world where a major goal is to keep technology, resources and the environment in balance.
A world where everybody is free to exhibit their differences so long as the aim is not harming others.
A world where the consequences of misbehavior are the same for everybody—and so are the incentives for misbehavior.
A world where creativity is nurtured, inquiry is supported and encouraged, and rules are made to be broken but only with care.
A world where there is peace, and when there can't be, nobody makes a profit or gets to bully others as a result of it.
This is a world that would require tremendous gains in education; rather than the liberal “nanny state” it requires the utmost in personal accountability: a world where the government serves but doesn't control. A world where freedom is more than an abstraction.
Do I believe there are ways to accomplish this? Absolutely. Every bit of it, and as I say, more that I can’t even imagine right now. Because with freedom, as with everything else, quantity changes quality.
Do I think that this stuff is easily realizable? From the top down, sort of--meaning, I think we could almost overnight solve the problems of homelessness, hunger and lack of education and training. I think it would take a great deal more time before peace could be achieved—for one thing, the real capitalists , the guys that own the guys that loaned your restaurant owner the money to start his joint, would rather die. (I think.) For another, we all think in ways that are pointlessly competitive, uncooperative, selfish in all the wrong ways. ALL of us do this, to some degree, and really, it can hardly be helped—we have never lived in a world where a lot of advantage didn't accrue to competitiveness and selfishness didn't confer great advantages. For a third, we need to develop our sense of each other as worthy of trust and respect.
Andrew Vachss wrote a book about child abuse that has my favorite title, I think ever, for anything. It is called Another Chance to Get It Right. What Andrew means is, every child is another chance to get it right, to raise a human free of the burdens predatory adults bring with them. But you know, we humans as a species are children for an extremely long time—far longer than any other animal on Earth. It may well be that we are always children, in some respects. And that is a good thing. Because the quality that, all children, except for those seriously impaired, possess is the ability to learn. In fact, the quality that almost all children possess before this ruthless world begins its extremely strenuous effort to dissuade them is the DESIRE to learn.
As adults, we lose that quality at our peril. Because we lose the chance to get OURSELVES right. I'd die to create a world where that chance came home more often. But I'd rather live for it.
Email to Strat email group, 8/15/03
Suggested readings: "Patti Smith: Her Horses Got Wings," Rolling Stone, 1/1/76; "Rolling Stones: I Call and Call and Call on Mick," Rolling Stone, 9/11/75; "MC5 Back On Shakin' Street," Creem, October 1971.
Suggested reading: “Lesley Gore: They Don’t Own Her,” Let It Rock, (1975); “Big (Fleetwood) Mac: The Cover Story,” Rolling Stone (1978); “Perils of Rock Criticism,” Rock & Rap Confidential, (1994)
Suggested reading: “Introduction,” “The Lonesome Death of Florence Thompson,” Fortunate Son, Dave Marsh (1985);“I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” “Reach Out, I’ll Be There,” “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling” from The Heart of Rock and Soul, Dave Marsh (1989)
Suggested reading: “The Great Levi Stubbs,” Rock & Rap Confidential, (2008, reprinted in Counterpunch)
Suggested reading: Sun City, Dave Marsh (1985)
Suggested reading: “Wanted for Attitude: The FBI Hates This Band” Dave Marsh and Phyllis Pollack, Village Voice (1989); “The Politics of File Sharing,” Counterpunch (2002)
Suggested reading: “Back in Black” (on rock censorship and war), Rock & Rap Confidential (1990); “Wanted for Attitude: The FBI Hates This Band” Dave Marsh and Phyllis Pollack, Village Voice (1989);
Suggested reading: “Epilog” from Trapped: Michael Jackson and the Crossover Dream, Dave Marsh (1985); “Perils of Rock Criticism,” Rock & Rap Confidential, 1994.
Suggested reading: Sun City, Dave Marsh (1985)
Suggested reading: “Nemachtilli: The Spirit of Learning, The Spirit of Teaching,” “Monsters of Our Own Making,” Louis J. Rodriguez
Suggested reading: “The Lonesome Death of Florence Thompson,” Fortunate Son, Dave Marsh (1985) ; Brian DePalma in Two Hearts, Dave Marsh (2003)