The ruling FOG (Forces of Greed) spin news stories in their favor and keep the masses distracted with celebrity gossip and reality shows. Each week on Clearing The Fog, we feature guests who are working to expose the truth and offer real solutions to the current crises faced by our nation and the world. Knowledge is power, and with this knowledge you will be empowered to act to shift power to the people and weaken the corporate stranglehold on our lives. Our podcast is brought to you each week without advertising.

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Do You Know You Are A Wage Slave?

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

The majority of people in the United States are in a position of wage slavery, in which they depend on their boss for the ability to survive, but it has been so normalized that many do not question this arrangement. We bring back an interview with John Curl, author of “For All the People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements and Communalism in America.” He writes about the long history, that isn’t often taught, of people who created cooperative structures to counter the power of industry and finance. Cooperative movements often parallel social movements. We discuss why this matters today.

 

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Guest:
John Curl has been a member of Heartwood Cooperative Woodshop in Berkeley for over thirty years, and has belonged to numerous other cooperatives and collectives. His historical writings includes History of Work Cooperation in America (1980). Memories of Drop City (2007) is his memoir of the 1960s commune movement. He is a translator and biographer of Inca, Maya and Aztec poets in Ancient American Poets (2006). His seven books of poetry include Scorched BirthColumbus in the Bay of Pigs, and Decade: the 1990s. He is a longtime boardmember of PEN, chair of West Berkeley Artisans and Industrial Companies, a social activist, and has served as a city planning commissioner. He is a professional woodworker, and resides in Berkeley, CA.

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We Can Stop Rigged Corporate Trade, If We Act Now

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

On November 30, leaders of the United States, Mexico and Canada signed the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) at the G20 in Argentina. The new NAFTA is an updated version of rigged corporate trade that sells out workers and endangers the environment for profits. We speak with Arthur Stamoulis of Citizens Trade about what is in the new NAFTA and the politics around it. We have an opportunity to stop this model of rigged corporate trade, which began in the 1990s with NAFTA, and replace it with a trade model that protects people and the planet. Learn what you can do.

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Guest:

Arthur Stamoulis is Executive Director of Citizens Trade Campaign.

Song:

Global Economy” by Ryan Harvey.

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The Decline Of Empire And Rise Of Trumps

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

In his new book, “America: The Farewell Tour,” based on his travels around the United States, Chris Hedges describes the decline of society and how that brought President Trump into power. Trump is a symptom of failing systems, and there will be more Trumps until things change. We speak with Hedges in depth about the basis for what is happening, what he has learned while covering other countries that went through similar transitions and what we must do if we are to weather the current crises.

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Guest:

Chris Hedges is a Truthdig columnist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a New York Times best-selling author, a professor in the college degree program offered to New Jersey state prisoners by Rutgers University, and an ordained Presbyterian minister. He has written 12 books, including the New York Times best-seller “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” (2012), which he co-authored with the cartoonist Joe Sacco. His other books include “Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt,” (2015) “Death of the Liberal Class” (2010), “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (2009), “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (2008) and the best-selling “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” (2008). His latest book is “America: The Farewell Tour” (2018). His book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and has sold over 400,000 copies. He writes a weekly column for the website Truthdig and hosts a show, “On Contact,” on RT America.

Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries during his work for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

Hedges was part of a New York Times team of reporters awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for coverage of global terrorism. He also received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002. 

Hedges speaks Arabic, French and Spanish and studied classics, including ancient Greek and Latin, at Harvard University. 

Hedges has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and the University of Toronto. He currently teaches a class through Princeton University at a state prison in New Jersey in which half of the students are Princeton undergraduates and half are prisoners.

Hedges began his career reporting on the Falklands War from Argentina for National Public Radio. He went on to cover the wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua for five years, first for The Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio and later The Dallas Morning News. After six years in Latin America, he took time off to study Arabic. He spent seven years in the Middle East, most of them as the bureau chief for The New York Times. He left the Middle East in 1995 for Sarajevo to cover the war in Bosnia and later reported the war in Kosovo. Afterward, he was based in Paris as part of the team covering al-Qaida and global terrorism. He left the Times after receiving a formal reprimand from the newspaper for publicly denouncing the George W. Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq.

In 2012, Hedges successfully sued President Barack Obama over Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, which overturned the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act along with its prohibitions against the military acting as a domestic police force. (Section 1021 gives the military the authority to indefinitely detain and deny due process to U.S. citizens who are branded as terrorists by the state.) The decision was overturned on appeal by the Obama administration. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the ruling, known as Hedges v. Obama, in 2014.

Hedges holds a B.A. in English literature from Colgate University and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University. He spent a year studying classics at Harvard as a Nieman Fellow. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, Calif. In 2014 he was ordained as a minister for social witness in a ceremony at the Second Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth, N.J. The theologian James Cone, the father of Black Liberation Theology, preached the sermon along with Cornel West. The ordination was approved for his work in New Jersey prisons, where Hedges has taught college credit courses for nearly a decade. 

Hedges, who was born in St. Johnsbury, Vt., and grew up in a small farm town in upstate New York where his father served as a Presbyterian minister, lives in Princeton, N.J. He is married to the Canadian actress Eunice Wong, with whom he has two children. He has two children from a previous marriage.

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Understanding U.S. Fascism: Past And Present

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

People often think that fascism began with Hitler and Mussolini, but fascism actually has its roots in the United States and was exported to other countries. In this extended interview, we speak with Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report about various types of fascism, its history and how it is manifested in the United States today. In fact, the very people who claim to be “the resistance” to fascism right now are actually supporting it.

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Guest:

Glen Ford is executive editor of Black Agenda Report.Historic “firsts,” “mosts,” and “onlys” are the hallmarks of Glen Ford’s long career.

The son of famed disc jockey Rudy “The Deuce” Rutherford, the first Black man to host a non-gospel television show in the Deep South – Columbus, Georgia, 1958 – Glen was reading newswire copy on-the-air at age eleven. Glen’s first full-time broadcast news job was at James Brown’s Augusta, Georgia radio station WRDW, in 1970 – where ‘The Godfather of Soul” shortened Glen’s surname to “Ford.”

Glen Ford  worked as a newsperson at four more local stations: in Columbus, Georgia, Atlanta, Baltimore – where he created his first radio syndication, a half-hour weekly news magazine called “Black World Report” – and Washington, DC. In 1974, Ford joined the Mutual Black Network (88 stations), where he served as Capitol Hill, State Department and White House correspondent, and Washington Bureau Chief, while also producing a daily radio commentary. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted “America’s Black Forum” (ABF), the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television.

ABF made Black broadcast history. For the next four years, the program generated national and international headlines nearly every week. Never before – and never since – had a Black news entity commanded the weekly attention of the news services (AP, UPI, Reuters, Agence France-Presse – even Tass, the Soviet news agency) and the broadcast networks.

While still host and co-owner of ABF, Ford in 1979 created “Black Agenda Reports,” which provided five programs each day on Black Women, History, Business, Sports and Entertainment to 66 radio stations. The syndication produced more short-form programming than the two existing Black radio networks, combined.

Ford also produced the McDonald’s-sponsored radio series “Black History Through Music,” aired on 50 stations, nationwide.

In 1987, Ford launched “Rap It Up,” the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. During its six years of operations, “Rap It Up” allowed Ford to play an important role in the maturation of a new African American musical genre. He organized three national rap music conventions, and wrote the Hip Hop column for Jack The Rapper’s Black radio trade magazine.

Ford co-founded BlackCommentator.com (BC) in 2002. The weekly journal quickly became the most influential Black political site on the Net. In October, 2006, Ford and the entire writing team left BC to launch BlackAgendaReport.com (BAR).

In addition to his broadcast and Internet experience, Glen Ford was national political columnist for Encore American & Worldwide News magazine; founded The Black Commentator and Africana Policies magazines; authored The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion (IOJ, 1985); voiced over 1000 radio commercials (half of which he also produced) and scores of television commercials; and served as reporter and editor for three newspapers (two daily, one weekly).

Ford was a founding member of the Washington chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ); executive board member of the National Alliance of Third World Journalists (NATWJ); media specialist for the National Minority Purchasing Council; and has spoken at scores of colleges and universities.

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New Movement Arises To Force Action On Climate Change

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a conservative body, estimates that humans have twelve years to take effective action to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Given the lack of response by most governments to do what is necessary, a new movement has arisen in the United Kingdom targeting the House of Parliament to force significant policy changes. Called the Extinction Rebellion, this movement needs to go global. We spoke with Marijn Van de Geer about what the Extinction Rebellion is doing, their model of change and how to get involved.

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Guest:
Marijn Van de Geer is a member of the Extinction Rebellion. See www.ExtinctionRebellion.org.

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To Change The World, Treat Your Rebels Well

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

Throughout history, there has been tension between those who desire obedience to authority and those who question authority. It is those who question authority that contribute to positive social change, but our culture does not treat them well. We speak with psychologist Bruce E. Levine about his latest book, “Resisting Illegitimate Authority: A Thinking Person’s Guide to being an Anti-Authoritarian – Strategies, Tools and Models” and the lessons it teaches for the political moment in which we find ourselves, how anti-authoritarianism is being suppressed and what we must do.

 

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Guest:

Bruce E. Levine writes and speaks widely on how society, culture, politics and psychology intersect. His latest book is Resisting Illegitimate Authority: A Thinking Person’s Guide to Being an Anti-Authoritarian―Strategies, Tools, and Models (2018). Earlier books include: Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite (2011); Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic: How to Find Morale, Energy, and Community in a World Gone Crazy (2007); and Commonsense Rebellion: Taking Back Your Life from Drugs, Shrinks, Corporations, and a World Gone Crazy (2003).

A practicing clinical psychologist often at odds with the mainstream of his profession, he is a regular contributor to Salon, CounterPunch, AlterNet, Truthout, TakePart, Z Magazine, OpEdNews, and the Huffington Post. His articles and interviews have been published in the New York Times, Skeptic, Adbusters, The Ecologist, High Times, and numerous other magazines, and he has contributed chapters to The Military Industrial Complex at 50 (2011), Writing without Formula (2009), Perspectives on Diseases and Disorders: Depression (2009), and Alternatives beyond Psychiatry (2007).

Dr. Levine is on the editorial advisory board of the journal Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, and he is on the medical and scientific advisory board of the National Center for Youth Law. He is also an editorial advisor for the Icarus Project/Freedom Center Harm Reduction Guide to Coming off Psychiatric Drugs. A longtime activist in the mental health treatment reform movement, he is a member of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, the International Society for Ethical Psychology & Psychiatry, and MindFreedom. Dr. Levine has presented talks and workshops to diverse organizations throughout North America.

Bruce E. Levine was born in 1956, grew up in Rockaway in New York City, graduated from Queens College of the City University of New York, and received his PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Cincinnati. He currently lives in Cincinnati.

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At The Border; When Survival Becomes A Crime

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

For decades, US policies have created economic crises and violence that drive people from their homes in search of a place where they can work and live. Rather than recognizing that US imperialism causes migration and changing US foreign policy, the US has increasingly militarized its borders to keep people out. We speak with Dévora González, an organizer with School of Americas Watch, who is the daughter of migrants and lives in the border lands, about what it is like to live in a low intensity war zone and the criminalization of migrants who are trying to survive.

 

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Guest:

Dévora González is a mother to a wonderful little human named Tlecuiani. She is a Salvadoran-Guatemalan, descendent of Pipil and Mayan peoples, woman and mother that was born and raised in Los Angeles to migrant parents that found refuge in the city. Being raised in a Central American community, the political and historical knowledge she gathered stemmed from oral history and narratives of migration from her family, friends, and community. The gaps in her understanding led her to California State University, Northridge where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Central American Studies and Psychology and felt empowered to create positive change in her community.

Aware of the anti-migrant sentiment, structural border conditions that fueled deaths at the desert, and feeling a strong connection to the communities forced to migrate to the United States, she relocated to Tucson, Arizona in 2012. Since, she has been part of the Missing Migrant Crisis Hotline that was a project of the Coalición de Derechos Humanos and No More Deaths, has helped with abuse documentation for the report Deprivation, Not Deterrence by the Guatemala Acupuncture and Medical Aid Project (GUAMAP), and has been active in migrant rights work, resistance, and resilience of Border Communities in the face of militarization.

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Why We Need To Understand U.S. Imperialism

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

The United States has been at war or involved in military aggression for all but a few years since its founding. This is not surprising when we understand that the US is the largest empire in the history of the world. We speak with Ajamu Baraka, national organizer for Black Alliance for Peace, about imperialism and its connections to colonialism, racism and white supremacy. Without an understanding of imperialism, people in the US who believe they are for peace wind up supporting war and intervention. This is why it is critical that peace advocates are also against imperialism in all of its forms.

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Guest:
Ajamu Baraka is a human rights defender whose experience spans four decades of domestic and international education and activism, Ajamu Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles. He is currently the national organizer for Black Alliance for Peace.

Baraka is an internationally recognized leader of the emerging human rights movement in the U.S. and has been at the forefront of efforts to apply the international human rights framework to social justice advocacy in the U.S. for more than 25 years. As such, he has provided human rights trainings for grassroots activists across the country, briefings on human rights to the U.S. Congress, and appeared before and provided statements to various United Nations agencies, including the UN Human Rights Commission (precursor to the current UN Human Rights Council).

As a co-convener with Jaribu Hill of the Mississippi Worker Center for Human Rights, Baraka played an instrumental role in developing the series of bi-annual Southern Human Rights Organizers’ conferences (SHROC) that began in 1996. These gatherings represented some of the first post-Cold War human rights training opportunities for grassroots activists in the country.

Baraka played an important role in bringing a human rights perspective to the preparatory meetings for the World Conference on Racism (WCAR) that took place in Geneva and in Santiago, Chile as part of the Latin American Preparatory process, as well as the actual conference that he attended as a delegate in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

Ajamu Baraka was the Founding Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network (USHRN) from July 2004 until June 2011. The USHRN was the first domestic human rights formation in the United States explicitly committed to the application of international human rights standards to the U.S. Under Baraka, the Network grew from a core membership of 60 organizations to more than 300 U.S.-based member organizations and 1,500 individual members who worked on the full spectrum of human rights concerns in the U.S. During Baraka’s tenure, the Network initiated the Katrina Campaign on Internal Displacement, after Baraka was the first to formally identify the victims of Hurricane Katrina as internally displaced people (IDPs).

Also while at the Network, Baraka ensured that the Network spearheaded efforts to raise human rights abuses taking place in the U.S. with United Nations human rights processes and structures, including the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Human Rights Council, through its Universal Periodic Review process. By coordinating the production of non-governmental reports on human rights and organizing activist delegations to UN sites in Geneva and New York, the Network gave voice to victims of human rights abuses and provided opportunities for activists to engage in direct advocacy. These efforts resulted in specific criticisms of the U.S. human rights record and recommendations for corrective actions.

Prior to leading the USHRN, Baraka served in various leadership capacities with Amnesty International USA (AIUSA).  As AIUSA’s Southern Regional Director, he played a key role in developing the organization’s 1998 campaign to expose human rights violations in the U.S. Baraka also directed Amnesty’s National Program to Abolish the Death Penalty, during which time he was involved in most of the major death penalty cases in the U.S.

In 1998, Baraka was one of 300 human rights defenders from around the world who were brought together at the first International Summit of Human Rights Defenders commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  In 2001, Baraka received the “Abolitionist of the Year” award from the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. The following year, Baraka received the “Human Rights Guardian” award from the National Center for Human Rights Education.

Baraka has also served on the boards of various national and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International (USA), the Center for Constitutional Rights, Africa Action, and the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights.

Baraka has taught political science at various universities and has been a guest lecturer at academic institutions in the U.S. and abroad. A commentator on a number of criminal justice and international human rights issues, Baraka has appeared on and been covered in a wide-range of print, broadcast, and digital media outlets such as CNN, BBC, the Tavis Smiley Show, Telemundo,  ABC’s World News Tonight, Black Commentator, Russia Today, the Washington Post and the New York Times.  He is also a contributing writer for various publications including Black Commentator, Commondreams, Pambazaka, and Dissident Voice.

He is currently an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report and a writer for Counterpunch.

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The United States Is More Socialist Than You Know

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

Compared to other wealthy countries, large sectors of the US economy are more socialized than is realized. From energy to water to transportation, land and more, and from cities and states to the nation, there is public ownership and control. The neo-liberal era of privatization is winding down. This has particularly accelerated following the 2008 financial crash. We speak with Thomas Hanna, author of “Our Common Wealth: The Return of Public Ownership in the United States,” about reclaiming public goods and how to prepare for the next financial crash. Plus, we put the current news in the context of the bigger picture.

 

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Guest:
Thomas M. Hanna joined The Democracy Collaborative in 2010 as a research assistant to Gar Alperovitz and became Research Director in 2015. He received his M.A. and B.A. degrees in History from Virginia Commonwealth University. Thomas’ areas of expertise include public ownership, privatization, local government, democratic ownership, and banking, among others. He is the author of Our Common Wealth: The Return of Public Ownership in the United States (Manchester University Press, 2018), co-editor the e-book Scaling Up the Cooperative Movement, and has published articles in popular and academic journals including The New York TimesThe NationTruthoutYes! MagazineAlternetOpenDemocracyRenewalIPPR Progressive ReviewThe Independent, and The Good Society. He has provided research support for various Democracy Collaborative and Next System Project reports as well as the 2011 second edition of America Beyond Capitalism and 2013’s What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution

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Ever Wonder Who “They” Are? We Name Names And Explain How The Global Elites Operate

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

In 2017, eight men controlled half of the world’s wealth and 70% of the world controls 5% of the wealth. Global elites, the 1%, are consolidating their fortunes without regard for the remaining 99% or the welfare of the planet. It is important to understand how this small number of people control the world and who they are so that we know what we’re up against and whom to hold accountable. We speak with Peter Phillips, author of “Giants: The Global Power Elite,” about his decades of work tracking the power holders and what we do to create a more just and sustainable world.

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Guest:

Peter Phillips is a Professor of Political Sociology at Sonoma State University since 1994, former Director of Project Censored 1996 to 2010 and President of Media Freedom Foundation 2003 to 2017. He has been editor or co-editor of fourteen editions of Censored, co-editor with Dennis Loo of Impeach the President: The Case Against Bush and Cheney (2006), editor of two editions of Progressive Guide to Alternative Media and Activism (1999 & 2004). His most recent book is Giants: The Global Power Elite. He was a co-host of the weekly Project Censored show on Pacifica Radio with Mickey Huff from 2010 to 2017, originating from KPFA in Berkeley and airing on forty stations nationwide. He teaches courses in Political Sociology, Sociology of Power, Sociological of Media, Sociology of Conspiracies and Investigative Sociology. He was winner of the Firecracker Alternative Book Award in 1997 for Best Political Book, PEN Censorship Award 2008, Dallas Smythe Award from the Union for Democratic Communications 2009, and the Pillar Human Rights Award from the National Associations of Whistleblowers 2014. He lives in a redwood forest near Bodega, California with his wife Mary Lia.

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Beyond Laughing At Trump, What Happened At The United Nations Last Week

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

The 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly is taking place right now. President Trump spoke before the General Assembly and chaired a session of the Security Council last week. While the media has mostly focused on the laughter that arose when Trump claimed his administration has done the most of any president, there is much more going on both openly and behind the scenes. We speak with James Paul, who has monitored the UN for two decades, about the current meeting, the state of the world and what we must do.

Paul’s new book, “Of Foxes and Chickens: Oligarchy and Power in the United Nations Security Council,” is available online.

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Guest:

James A. Paul served as Global Policy Form Executive Director from its foundation in late 1993 through the end of 2012. As Executive Director, he was a prominent figure in the NGO advocacy community at the United Nations and a well-known speaker and writer on the UN and global policy issues.

Born in New York City, he earned a B.A. from Harvard College in 1963 (cum laude), his M.A. from Oxford University in 1968 and his Ph.D. from New York University in 1975 with a specialty in comparative politics. Paul was awarded various fellowships during his graduate studies including the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship and the Book Prize for academic excellence at Christ Church College in Oxford.

In his early career, from 1972 to 1976, Paul was Lecturer and then Assistant Professor of Political Science at Empire State College of the State University of New York. In 1976, he took a position with the Middle East Research & Information Project (MERIP) as a member of the Editorial Committee of Middle East Report magazine. Paul later served on the MERIP Board and was appointed Executive Director of the organization. From 1989-1993 he worked full-time as a writer and consultant with projects for Human Rights Watch, Oxford University Press, Physicians for Human Rights, and Hill & Wang publishers, among others.

Paul has served on more than a dozen boards and committees. He was Chair of the Board of Trustees of the World Fellowship Center. Other past affiliations include the Committee for an Exploratory Study of Graduate Education in Political Science of the American Political Science Association and the Editorial Committee of Peuples Méditérranéens. From 1995-1999, Paul was the representative of the International Federation of Human Rights at UN headquarters. Between 1995 and 2010, he frequently served as Chair or Vice Chair of the NGO Working Group on the Security Council. He was the founding Convener of the NGO working Group on Food & Hunger from 2008 through 2012.  He is a member of the Academic Council on the UN System and he is currently board Chair of the Repast Baroque Ensemble, a New York City based classical music performance group. He is also Co-Chair of the Trinity House Tenants Association. His honors include the World Hunger Media Award and a “Peacemaker” award by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

Paul has given many lectures and speeches at venues including UN conferences, college and university events, professional society gatherings, and political meetings. He has also given hundreds of interviews to print and broadcast media. He has authored well over a hundred articles and reviews in academic journals, magazines and other print media, and he has written dozens of policy papers for Global Policy Forum. He has served as an editor of the Oxford Companion to Politics of the World (1989-2006). His most recent book is Humanity Comes of Age.

He has traveled to 25 countries and, in addition to English, he speaks (with different degrees of proficiency) French, Spanish, German and Arabic. Among his early employment, he was a boatyard worker, a river raft guide in the wilderness area of Idaho, and a cowboy in Venezuela. He enjoys offshore sailing, skiing and stargazing. He is married, has two grown sons, and lives in Manhattan.

Above photo: AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

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The National Prison Strike Isn’t Over

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

From August 21 to September 9, prisoners in 17 states went on strike to protest inhuman living and working conditions and to promote ten basic demands. Although the formal strike is over, some prisoners are being retaliated against and others are continuing to strike. We speak with Amani Sawari, a prisoner’s rights activist, about the strike, the demands and how we can all provide support to finally end legalized slavery in the United States.

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Amani Sawari was born and raised in Michigan. She graduated from the University of Washington in 2016 with degrees in Media and Communications and Law, Economics and Public Policy. She is a writer, poet, composer and musician. She serves as an organizer and spokesperson for the National Prison Strike. Her website is sawarimi.org. Follow her @sawarimi.

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Surviving In A Post-Crash Economy

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

The current generation is the first one in history that will have a lower standard of living than its predecessors and a shorter life expectancy. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash, where there are more people in part-time jobs with lower wages, fewer benefits and massive debt, people are forced to find ways to make  a living. In his new book, “Everything for Everyone: The Radical Traditions that are Shaping the New Economy,” Nathan Schneider explains how his generation is incorporating old traditions, such as worker ownership, with new technology in creative ways to form a new economy that ends exploitation and nurtures fairness and democracy.

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For an in-depth discussion of the political impacts of the 2008 financial crash and where we’re headed, subscribe to Clearing the FOG on Patreon and receive our bonus show, Thinking it Through. Visit Patreon.com/ClearingtheFOG.

Guest:

Nathan Schneider is a journalist and an assistant professor of media studies at the University of Colorado Boulder who writes about economy, technology, and religion. His most recent book is Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition that Is Shaping the Next Economy, published by Nation Books, and two previous books, God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet and Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse, were both published in 2013 by University of California Press. His articles have appeared in publications including Harper’sThe NationThe New RepublicThe Chronicle of Higher EducationThe New York TimesThe New Yorker, The Catholic Worker, and others. He writes regular columns for America, a national Catholic weekly, and he is a contributing editor for YES! Magazine. In 2015, he co-organized “Platform Cooperativism,” a pioneering conference on democratic online platforms at The New School, and co-edited the subsequent book, Ours to Hack and to Own: The Rise of Platform Cooperativism, a New Vision for the Future of Work and a Fairer Internet. Follow his work on social media at @ntnsndr or at his website, nathanschneider.info.

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So, You Want To End Capitalism? Here’s How.

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG Radio. -

There is a rising awareness that capitalism is at the root of many of the crises that we face, from the economy to the environment and climate change to the absence of democracy. We need to end capitalism to solve these crises. We speak with Emily Kawano, coordinator of the United States Solidarity Economy Network, about how we are changing the economy right now, what the end of capitalism (as a dominant part of the economy) would look like and how to answer those who worry that it can’t or shouldn’t be done. Plus, we cover current news.

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For an in-depth discussion of why we can no longer afford a fossil fuel economy, subscribe to Clearing the FOG on Patreon and receive our bonus show, Thinking it Through. Visit Patreon.com/ClearingtheFOG.

Guest:
Emily Kawano is Co-Director of the Wellspring Cooperative Corporation, which is seeking to create an engine for new, community-based job creation in Springfield, Massachusetts. Wellspring’s goal is to use anchor institution purchases to create a network of worker-owned businesses located in the inner city that will provide job training and entry-level jobs to unemployed and underemployed residents through worker-owned cooperatives. Kawano also serves as Coordinator of the United States Solidarity Economy Network. An economist by training, Kawano served as the Director of the Center for Popular Economics from 2004 to 2013. Prior to that, Kawano taught economics at Smith College, worked as the National Economic Justice Representative for the American Friends Service Committee and, in Northern Ireland, founded a popular economics program with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

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What You Need To Know About Yemen

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

We speak with Medea Benjamin, who has traveled to and written about US conflicts in the Middle East, about the war on Yemen, the origins, the extent of US involvement and how it connects to other conflicts. Yemen is a current center of failed US foreign policy. We also discuss what we can do about it, as well as Labor Day and current news.

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For an in-depth discussion on the tenth anniversary of the financial crisis of why the banks got bailed out and why we didn’t, plus what we can do differently next time, subscribe to Clearing the FOG on Patreon and receive our bonus show, Thinking it Through. Visit Patreon.com/ClearingtheFOG.

Above photo: Medea Benjamin (C), and other activists hold signs during a rally against U.S. drone attacks in front of the White House in Washington, Nov. 15, 2013. GETTY

Guest:

Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of the women-led peace group CODEPINK and the co-founder of the human rights group Global Exchange. She has been an advocate for social justice for more than 40 years. Described as “one of America’s most committed — and most effective — fighters for human rights” by New York Newsday, and “one of the high profile leaders of the peace movement” by the Los Angeles Times, she was one of 1,000 exemplary women from 140 countries nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the millions of women who do the essential work of peace worldwide. She received numerous prizes, including: the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize from the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Peace Prize by the US Peace Memorial, the Gandhi Peace Award, and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Award. She is a former economist and nutritionist with the United Nations and World Health Organization.

In 2000, she was a Green Party candidate for the California Senate. During the 1990s, Medea focused her efforts on tackling the problem of unfair trade as promoted by the World Trade Organization. Widely credited as the woman who brought Nike to its knees and helped place the issue of sweatshops on the national agenda, Medea was a key player in the campaign that won a $20 million settlement from 27 US clothing retailers for the use of sweatshop labor in Saipan. She also pushed Starbucks and other companies to start carrying fair trade coffee.

Since the September 11, 2001 tragedy, Medea has been working to promote a U.S. foreign policy that would respect human rights and gain us allies instead of contributing to violence and undermining our international reputation. Medea has also been on the forefront of the anti-drone movement, publishing Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control in 2013. She organized the first-ever International Drone Summit, led delegations to Pakistan and Yemen to meet with drone strike victims, and directly questioned President Obama during his 2013 foreign policy address. The campaign against weaponized drones has helped reduce the number of civilian casualties and force the government to compensate the families of innocent victims.

Medea’s work for justice in Israel/Palestine includes taking numerous delegations to Gaza, organizing the Gaza Freedom March in 2010, participating in the Freedom Flotillas and opposing the policies of the Israel lobby group AIPAC. In 2011 she was in Tahrir Square during the Egyptian uprising and in 2014 she was detained, beaten and deported by the Egyptian security forces. In 2012 she was part of a human rights delegation to Bahrain in support of democracy activists; she was tear-gassed, arrested and deported by the Bahraini government. In 2015 and 2018 she participated in Women Cross the DMZ, an international delegation of women calling for peace in Korea.

Her groundbreaking work on the negative consequences of the US-Saudi alliance include the 2016 book Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connectionand the 2016 International Summit on Saudi Arabia. Her latest book, Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is part of a campaign to prevent a war with Iran and instead promote normal trade and diplomatic relations.

Medea is the author of ten books.  Her articles appear regularly in outlets such as The Guardian, The Huffington Post, CommonDreams, Alternet, and The Hill. Medea can be reached at: medea@codepink.org or @medeabenjamin.

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