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.

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The United States Empire Is Falling. What Does That Mean?

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

In his latest book, “In the Shadow of the American Century: The rise and decline of US global power,” Alfred McCoy writes about the tools used by the United States to maintain global domination and how its status is declining. McCoy predicts that China will replace the US as the dominant global power holder by 2030. We speak with him about US Empire, what the decline will look like and how it will impact people in the US and around the world.

 

Listen here:


Relevant articles and websites:

The World According to Trump; or how to build a wall and lose an empire by Alfred McCoy

In the Shadows of the American Century by Alfred McCoy

A book review of In the Shadows of the American Century by Paul Street

Ensuring Justice in the Era of Transformation by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

 

Guest:

Alfred McCoy is the Harrington Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and the author of many books on the global opium trade, the CIA and its use of torture, surveillance and the Philippines. Here is his bio from the UW website:

After earning a Ph.D. in Southeast Asian history at Yale, my writing on this region has focused on two topics — Philippine political history and global opium trafficking. My first book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York, 1972), sparked controversy when the CIA tried to block publication. But after three English editions and translation into nine foreign languages, this study is now regarded as the “classic” work on the global drug traffic.

My more recent work on covert operations, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (New York, 2006), explores the agency’s half-century history of psychological torture. A film based in part on that book, “Taxi to the Darkside,” won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2008. My latest study of this topic, Torture and Impunity (Madison, 2012), explores the political and cultural dynamics of America’s post 9/11 debate over interrogation.

The Philippines remains the major focus of my research. An investigation of President Marcos’s “fake medals,” published on page one of the New York Times (January 23, 1986) just weeks before the country’s presidential elections, contributed to the country’s transition from authoritarian rule. Analyzing the many coup attempts that followed, my book Closer Than Brothers (New Haven, 1999) documents the corrosive impact of torture upon the Philippine military.

Three of my edited volumes on Philippine historiography have won that country’s National Book Award. In 2001, the Association for Asian Studies awarded me the Goodman Prize for a “deep and enduring impact on Philippine historical studies.”

My recent book, Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State (Madison, 2009), draws together these two strands in my research — covert operations and modern Philippine history — to explore the transformative power of police, information, and scandal in shaping both the modern Philippine state and the U.S. internal security apparatus. In 2011, the Association for Asian Studies awarded Policing America’s Empire the George McT. Kahin Prize, describing the work as “a passionate, elegantly written book that owes its mastery to McCoy’s narrative and analytical gifts, his years of painstaking research and his sure sense of the ominous global implications of his story.”

In 2012, the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association awarded me the Wilbur Cross Medal which is presented annually to “a small number of outstanding alumni” to recognize “distinguished achievements in scholarship, teaching, academic administration, and public service.” Simultaneously, the University of Wisconsin-Madison gave me the Hilldale Award for Arts & Humanities for 2012.

My most recent book, In the Shadow of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, focuses on the key instruments in its exercise of this hegemony—including, geopolitical dominion, control of subordinate states, covert operations, worldwide surveillance, torture, and military technology. The work concludes by analyzing China’s challenge and the complex of forces that will likely lead to an eclipse of U.S. hegemony by 2030.

My teaching interests include: Modern Philippine social and political history; U.S. foreign policy; colonial empires in Southeast Asia; global illicit drug trafficking; and CIA covert operations.

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Special Report: Are Long-Term US Regime Change Efforts Behind Iran Protests?

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance -

This is our first Special Report recorded in the new Popular Resistance Studio.


We talked to Mostafa Afzalzadeh from Tehran about what the current protests in Iran are about and where they are going. Mostafa has been an independent journalist in Iran for 15 years and a documentary filmmaker. One of his documentaries is Manufacturing Dissent, about the US, UK and their western and Gulf State allies that launched a covert war in Syria in early 2011, dressed up by the media as a “revolution,” to remove Assad from power and the role of western media in creating support for the war.

Mostafa said the US has been trying to change the Iranian government since the 1979 Iranian revolution. He described how the Bush administration and former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, created the Office of Iranian Affairs (OIA) which had offices not only in Tehran but also in many European Cities. Iran hardliners were appointed to run the office which reported to Elizabeth Cheney, vice president Dick Cheney’s daughter. The office is tied to other US regime change agencies, e.g. the National Republican Institute, National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House. Related to the OIA was the Iran Democracy Fund of the Bush era, followed by the Near East Regional Democracy Fund in the Obama era, and the US Agency for International Development. There is no transparency in these programs, so we cannot report where US funding of opposition groups is going.

The OIA was used to organize and build the Iranian opposition to the government, a tactic the US has used in many countries. One of the roles of the office, reportedly, was to be “part of an effort to channel funds to groups that could aid opposition factions within Iran.”  Rice testified in February 2006 about the State Department budget for Iran before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, saying:

“I want to thank the Congress for giving us $10 million to support the cause of freedom and human rights in Iran this year. We will use this money to develop support networks for Iranian reformers, political dissidents and human rights activists. We also plan to request $75 million in supplemental funding for the year 2006 to support democracy in Iran. That money would enable us to increase our support for democracy and improve our radio broadcasting, begin satellite television broadcasts, increase the contacts between our peoples through expanded fellowships and scholarships for Iranian students, and to bolster our public diplomacy efforts.

“In addition, I will be notifying that we plan to reprogram funds in 2007 to support the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people.”

Mostafa told us that the OIA was also involved in the mass protests in 2009, the so-called “Green Revolution”, that occurred after the election. The US hoped to replace hard line conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a more US-friendly leader. The protests were against the re-election of Ahmadinejad, which protesters claimed were based on fraud.

Mostafa explained why the current protests began outside of Tehran in smaller cities near the border, telling us that this made it easier to smuggle weapons and people into Iran to infiltrate in the protests. Groups using social media to promote the protests, like the MEK, now known as the People’s Mojahedin of Iran, have no support in Iran and primarily exist on social media. After the 1979 revolution, the MEK was involved in assassinations of Iranian officials, was labeled a terrorist organization and lost political support. While the western media made the 2018 protests look much bigger than they were, the reality is the protests had small numbers of 50, 100 or 200 people.

The protests began around economic issues due to rising prices and high unemployment. Mostafa discussed the impact of sanctions on the Iranian economy as making it harder to sell oil and invest in economic development. As other commentators have pointed out “. . . Washington blocked international clearing for every Iranian bank, froze $100 billion in Iranian assets overseas, and curtailed Tehran’s potential to export oil.  The consequence was a severe bout of inflation in Iran that debilitated the currency.” Mostafa said that in this new era  “tanks have been replaced by banks” in US foreign policy. He predicted that sanctions will build independence and self sufficiency in Iran as well as create new alliances with other countries, making the US less relevant.

Mostafa was concerned that infiltrators allied with outside powers were changing the messaging of the protest to suit their agenda. After a few days, the messages of the protests were against Iranian support for Palestinians, as well as people in Yemen, Lebanon and Syria, which are not consistent with the views of the Iranian people. Mostafa says people in the Iran are proud their country supports revolutionary movements against imperialism and proud they were part of defeating the US and its allies in Syria.

The protests seemed to have died down and were dwarfed by much larger protests organized in support of the Iranian revolution. While the protests have finished, Mostafa does not think that the United States and its allies will stop trying to undermine the government. These protests may have served the purpose of giving the United States an excuse to pursue more sanctions. The US knows that a war with Iran would be impossible and regime change from within is the better strategy for changing the government, but is still unlikely. Mostafa sees significant differences between Iran and Syria and does not expect a Syrian scenario to occur in Iran. One major difference is that since the 1979 revolution, the Iranian people have been educated and organized against imperialism.

He warned to be careful who people in the US listen to as spokespersons for the Iranian people. He specifically mentioning the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), the largest Iranian-American group. He claimed that NIAC was started by funding from Congress and some of its members had ties to government or regime change organizations. When we said we did not know that NIAC had received US government funding and that Trita Parsi, the executive director of NIAC, is a widely respected Iranian commentator (indeed, he recently appeared on Democracy Now and Real News Network), he said, “You should research it for yourself. I’m just alerting you.”

We researched NIAC and  found on NIAC’s website that they received money from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). NED is a private organization primarly funded by an annual allocation from US government and Wall Street interests and has been involved in US regime change operations in the Middle East and around the world. In their More Myths and Facts section NIAC acknowledges receiving funding from NED but claims that was different from the Bush administration’s democracy program, the Democracy Fund, designed for regime change. NIAC also says it does not receive funding from the US or Iranian governments on its site.

NIAC research director, Reza Marashi, mentioned by Mostafa, worked at the State Department’s Office of Iranian Affairs for four years prior to joining NIAC. And, field organizer Dornaz Memarzia, worked at Freedom House before joining NIAC, an organization also involved in US regime change operations, tied to the CIA and State Department. Trita Parsa has written award winning books on Iran and foreign policy and received his Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced Economic Studies under Francis Fukuyama, the well known neocon and advocate for “free market” capitalism (we put free market in quotes because there has been no free market since modern economies have developed and because this is a marketing term describing transnational corporate capitalism).

Mostafa had two suggestions for US peace and justice movements. First, he urged US movements to work together because they need to be coordinated and unified to be effective. At Popular Resistance we call this creating a “movement of movements.”  Second, he urged activists to seek out information on Iran and share it because Iranians do not have a strong voice in the media and most reporting comes from US and western media sources.

We hope to bring you a variety of voices from Iran so that we can better understand what is happening in this pivotal country.

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Movement Strategy For Our Times

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, ClearingTheFOGRadio.org -

In 2017, more people became activated for social justice. At the same time, white supremacist groups became more visible, marching with torches and chanting words of hatred. There were conflicts between people who disagreed over what tactics would be most effective in stopping the rise of white supremacy and fascism and achieving greater equality and justice. We speak with Rivera Sun about her novels, which use fiction to teach lessons of movement strategy, and about organizing for social change in our times. Her newest book is “The Roots of Resistance: Book Two of the Dandelion Trilogy.”

 

Listen here:

 

Relevant articles and websites:

RiveraSun.com

Love (and Revolution) Radio

Review of the Roots of Resistance by Tom Hastings

Ensuring Justice in the Era of Transformation by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

Infiltration to Divide, Disrupt and Mis-direct are Widespread in Occupy by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

Infiltration of Political Movements is the Norm, Not the Exception, in the United States by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

 

Guest:

Rivera Sun is the author of three novels and many essays, plays, and poems. Most of her essays are archived on this website. Her writings have appeared in Truthout.org, Popular Resistance.org, Dandelion Salad.org, the Fayetteville Free Zone, Occupy.com, and many others. All of Rivera Sun’s published novels (including Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shootings Stars and The Dandelion InsurrectionBillionaire Buddha), as well as her  plays, and poetry can be found here.

Rivera Sun travels nationwide, and offers workshops in writing, and making change through nonviolent action. Please visit her upcoming workshops page to find an event near you or contact her.

Rivera Sun is the cofounder of the Love-In-Action Network, a nationwide set of nonviolent study and action groups. She is also a graduate of the James Lawson Institute on Strategic Civil Resistance and has written many essays on the subject of nonviolent action. Learn more about how ordinary people can make extraordinary changes in our world! Here. 

Using collaborative social media approach, Rivera Sun and her partner, Dariel Garner, work to grow organizations’ social media outreach, allowing these groups to unite, connect, and inspire their participants and allies. In 2014, they expanded the social media outreach of the Metta Center for Nonviolence, and currently they serve Pace e Bene’s rapidly growing Campaign Nonviolence project, working with their organizers, staff, endorsing groups, and participants to develop social media skills, support and uplift the movement, and build sincere relationships through the medium of social media. For more information about our approach, or to bring these techniques to your organization, please contact us!

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Issues that Drive the Coming Transformation

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, clearingthefogradio.org -

The year 2017 has been another active year for people fighting on a wide range of fronts. The Trump administration has brought many issues that have existed for years out into the open where they are more difficult to deny – racism, colonialism, imperialism, capitalism and patriarchy and the crises they create. There will be a backlash against overreach by the power holders on a number of issues, including wealth inequality, health care, Internet freedom, militarization at home and abroad, mass incarceration, climate change and human rights abuses. This backlash provides an opportunity to organize a broader movement of movements and clarify our demands so that we are well-positioned to demand transformative policies. We discuss two of these areas today in greater depth: US imperialism and the fight against fossil fuel infrastructure.

 

Listen here:

 

Relevant articles and websites:

Preparing for the Coming Transformation by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

New Campaign: Close All US Military Bases on Foreign Soil by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

NoForeignBases.org

Another Pipeline Affecting Tribal Communities Heads Toward Final Approval by Indianz

North Carolina Hits the Brakes on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline by Johnathan Hahn

Eco-Robeson.com

Groups Take Legal Action Against FERC on Atlantic Coast Pipeline by Southern Environmental Law Center

Clean Water for NC

Flawed Environmental Justice Analysis by Dr. Ryan Emanuel: emanuel2017 (click on link to view and download)

Native Environment (blog by Dr. Emanuel)

 

Guests:

Leah Bolger serves as the Chair of the Coordinating Committee of  World Beyond War. She retired from the U.S. Navy at the rank of Commander after twenty years of active duty service. She was elected as the first female President of Veterans For Peace (VFP) in 2012, and in 2013 was selected to present the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Memorial Peace Lecture at Oregon State University. She is the Chair of the VFP working group on drones, and is the Coordinator of the Drones Quilt Project. She founded the Corvallis Branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) in January 2014. She is also a Board member of the War Prevention Initiative.

 

Dr. Ryan Emanuel is a member of the Lumbee Tribe and an Associate Professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources and a University Faculty Scholar at North Carolina State University.  His research team uses fieldwork, geospatial analysis and numerical models to study ecohydrology in both natural and human-modified ecosystems. Ryan also works on environmental issues that have disproportionate impacts on American Indian communities. Examples of geoanalytical research within his group include studies of plant water use in the northern Rocky Mountains, runoff generation in the southern Appalachian Mountains, salinization of coastal environments of North Carolina, and climate change impacts on waters of cultural significance to the Lumbee Tribe. Ryan collaborates with teams of other scientists to study geospatial dynamics of processes such as the spread of mountain pine beetle and the distribution of soil microbes involved in methane cycling. Follow him on Twitter @WaterPotential.

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Organizing For Our Rights To Internet Equality

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, ClearingtheFOGRadio.org -

On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), lead by chairman Ajit Pai, voted to dismantle the hard-won net neutrality rules, going against widespread public support for those rules. The public organized in a massive effort to stop the vote, and now organizations, states and people are taking action to revoke and challenge the FCC’s decision. This decision and the public activation around it provide an opportunity to build power not only to win net neutrality, but also to put laws and structures into place that go much farther to create the universal right to high quality, affordable Internet access and equality.

Listen here:

Relevant articles and websites:

Popular Resistance Newsletter: Creating the 21st Century Internet by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese

Net Neutrality: What’s Next and How We Win the Fight by Collette Watson

Speech on Broadband as a Public Utility by Harold Feld

Five Fundamentals for the Phone Network Transition by Harold Feld

Free Press

Public Knowledge

Wet Machine (Harold Feld’s Blog)

Guests:

Jessica Gonzalez is deputy director and senior counsel for Free Press. She works closely with the executive team and key stakeholders to develop and execute strategies to advance Free Press’ mission. Jessica has been a key voice in the fights for Net Neutrality, affordable internet service and media diversity. Previously, she was the executive vice president and general counsel at the National Hispanic Media Coalition, where she led the policy shop and helped coordinate campaigns against racist and xenophobic media programming. Prior to that she was a staff attorney and teaching fellow at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Public Representation, where she represented public interest and civil rights groups before the FCC, the NTIA and in the courts of appeal. Jessica has testified before Congress on multiple occasions, including once before the House to support Net Neutrality while suffering from acute morning sickness, and another time before the Senate while eight months pregnant to support affordable internet access for low-income people. Follow her on Twitter @JGo4Justice.

Harold Feld is senior vice president of Public Knowledge. Before becoming Senior Vice President at Public Knowledge, Harold worked as Senior Vice President of Media Access Project, advocating for the public interest in media, telecommunications, and technology policy for almost 10 years. Prior to joining MAP, Harold was an associate at Covington & Burling, worked on Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act, and accountability issues at the Department of Energy, and clerked for the D.C. Court of Appeals. He received his B.A. from Princeton University, and his J.D. from Boston University Law School. Harold also writes Tales of the Sausage Factory, a progressive blog on media and telecom policy. In 2007, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin praised him and his blog for “[doing] a lot of great work helping people understand how FCC decisions affect people and communities on the ground.”

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Corporate Assaults on Our Rights and the Environment

We discuss two of the many assaults on our communities by corporations that put their profits above the health and safety of people. The first is the re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by the Trump administration. Bill Waren of Friends of the Earth explains how this process is more secretive than the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. The corporations and Wall Street financiers are using the NAFTA negotiations to slip in the worst of the TPP and TTIP. Then Peggy Chase of the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation describes how Nestle is taking public water in Michigan and other states and other efforts at water privatization.

 

Listen here:

 

Relevant articles and websites:

Ten Ways that Trumps New NAFTA Threatens People and the Planet by Bill Waren

Friends of the Earth

Trade for People and Planet

How Michigan Water becomes a Product inside Nestle’s Ice Mountain Plant by Garrett Ellison

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation

 

Guests:

Bill Waren is a senior analyst at Friends of the Earth.

Peggy Case is the President of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation.

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Korea at a Crossroads

Mainstream media in the US are complicit in drumming up support for US aggression against North Korea. They fail to place North Korea’s actions in the context of the long history of US hostility and interference in North and South Korea. As both the US and North Korea prepare for war, and a successful sociopolitical movement in South Korea has ousted President Park Geun-hye, there is a critical need for clarity about North and South Korea. We speak with Tim Shorrock, an independent journalist who grew up in and has written extensively about Korea, and Hyun Lee, managing editor of Zoom in Korea.

 

Listen here:

 

Relevant articles and websites:

North Korea and the United States: Will the Real Aggressor Please Stand Down? by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

America is not an Innocent Bystander in Korea by Tim Shorrock

Seongju Residents Prepare to block THAAD Deployment by Zoom in Korea

Tillerson in South Korea to find ‘New Approach’ in North Korea by Al Jazeera

It’s Time for the US to Negotiate a Peace Treaty with North Korea by Ann Wright

TimShorrock.com

Zoom in Korea

 

Guests:


Tim Shorrock photoTim Shorrock 
is a journalist who grew up in Japan and South Korea. He’s been writing about the region and the US military and economic ties to Japan and Korea for over 30 years. In 2015 he was named an honorary citizen of the city of Gwangju, South Korea, in recognition of his ground-breaking articles that uncovered the previously hidden role of the US government in the 1980 military coup that precipitated the Gwangju Citizens Uprising of May 1980. He will be in Korea this April and May.

 

 

 

 

1hlHyun Lee is a New York City-based writer and activist.  She is a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea. She is also a Korea Policy Institute fellow and a member of Nodutdol for Korean Community Development.

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Maryland’s Jim Crow Higher Education System

Kevin Zeese interviews two alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Rashad Staton of Morgan State University and DeJuan Patterson of Bowie State University, about an ongoing situation. Since the early 1970’s, Maryland has been found to be in violation of its constitutional requirement to desegregate higher education by significantly under-funding its four HBCUs and duplicating their flagship programs (rather than investing in the HBCUs) at other schools, drawing students and faculty away. In what is the most significant federal court case since Brown v The Board of Education, Maryland was found again in violation in 2013 and the struggle over remediation of this continues. This is not being covered well in the commercial media. This interview was pre-recorded for the Baltimore Green Party Education Series.

 

Listen here:

 

Relevant articles and websites:

The Rich History and Current Relevance of America’s HBCUs by Andrew Hairston, JD

Baltimore Rally Draws Hundreds in Support of MD HBCU Equality Lawsuit by Deborah Bailey

Timeline of the Maryland Equality HBCU Lawsuit by Deborah Bailey

Maryland HBCUs Fight Almost 50 Years of Discrimination by Popular Resistance

DeJuanPatterson.com

 

Guests:

1rsRashad Staton is a recent graduate of Morgan State University with a B.A in Political Science. Mr. Staton now serves in the capacity of an educator in Baltimore City Public School. Known for servicing to the community, Rashad held several student leadership roles as Vice President of Morgan State’s Student Government 2013-2014, past Basilues of Pi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Inc., and President of the National Pan- Hellenic Council. More recently, Mr. Staton has been engaged in social advocacy working as a grassroots organizer, art curator for local art exhibitions, and has been seen nationwide speaking public as an oratorical speaker and making appearances for BET Network, WHUTV, WOLB Radio One, speaking on social injustice and youth advocacy. Mr. Staton is an active member of many local organizations, including Peace By Peace, Male Enterprise Network, Justice Or Else Local Organizing Committee, and Baltimore City Youth Commissioner.

 

1djp1DeJuan Patterson is a businessman, public servant, and community organizer. He received both his Bachelors in Psychology and his MPA in Public Policy from Bowie State University. He is currently the Executive Director of The BeMore Group.

Patterson deems himself a “social impact consultant” for Baltimore, where he uses strategic planning and economic development as channels to highlight and solve the challenges in the community. Economic Empowerment is dear to his mission of education, he has led and contributed his expertise to programs within under-served communities. His professional interests include societal issues in education, public policy, equity, economic empowerment and ethnic/racial studies.

DeJuan has held voter registration drives, toy drives for youth, workforce development forums, job recruitment seminars, art exhibits, and more. As a result, he has been granted several opportunities from Baltimore City Hall to Capitol Hill to consult with various stakeholders on developing progressive solutions for socioeconomic equality and criminal justice reform. Motivated by his own life experience, DeJuan aims to bring about workable, tangible solutions for. “Because it’s not about me, it’s about all of us.”  Dejuan is working diligently to be a voice for the unheard and unnoticed.

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Building the Alternative to Neo-liberalism at the Municipal Level

Last week we discussed the ongoing push towards privatization and commodification of everything. We are in a disastrous cycle: As wealth inequality grows and the rich successfully avoid taxes, the funds for necessary programs and projects is shrinking. This is driving privatization of basic needs like water systems, transportation, schools and more. Some cities are taking action to oppose this trend by developing the commons, putting control and benefit into the hands of the people. David Bollier joins us to discuss the municipal commons movement.

 

Listen here:


Relevant articles and websites:

Building the Commons as an Antidote to the Predatory Market Economy by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

Bologna: Collaboration between citizens and the city for the care and regeneration of urban commons

Rome’s rebel lake is a parody of the contemporary commons by Jamie Mackay

The City as Commons: A policy reader

The Greek Left takes stock of the Commons by David Bollier

Bollier.org (News and perspectives on the commons)

P2P Foundation

 

Guest:

1dbDavid Bollier is an author, activist, blogger and consultant who spends a lot of time exploring the commons as a new paradigm of economics, politics and culture. I’ve been on this trail for about fifteen years, working with a variety of international and domestic partners. In 2010, I co-founded the Commons Strategies Group, a consulting project that works to promote the commons internationally.

My work on the commons takes many forms — as an author and blogger; frequent international speaker; conference and workshop organizer; contributor to book anthologies; designer of courses on the commons; and advisor and strategist. I have hosted an educational film, This Land Is Our Land: The Fight to Reclaim the Commons; taught “The Rise of the Commons” course at Amherst College as the Croxton Lecturer in 2010; and served an expert witness for the “design commons” in a trademark lawsuit.

I was Founding Editor of Onthecommons.org and a Fellow of On the Commons from 2004 to 2010. I have written, co-authored or co-edited twelve books.  My first book on the commons was Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Commons Wealth (2002), a far-ranging survey of market enclosures of shared resources, from public lands and the airwaves to creativity and knowledge. Then I extended this analysis in my 2005 book, Brand Name Bullies: The Quest to Own and Control Culture, which documents the vast expansion of copyright and trademark law over the past generation that has enclosed our cultural commons. In 2009, I published Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own, which describes the rise of free software, free culture, and the movements behind open business models, open science, open educational resources and new modes of Internet-enabled citizenship.

The book that most encapsulates my thinking on the commons is my 2014 book, Think Like a Commoner:  A Short Introduction to the Commons, which has the virtue of being relatively short as well.  Two other fairly recent books on the commons include The Wealth of the Commons:  A World Beyond Market and State (September 2012, Levellers Press), which I co-edited with Silke Helfrich; and Green Governance:  Ecological Survival, Human Rights and the Commons (early 2013, Cambridge University Press), which I co-authored with Professor Burns H. Weston.

In 2014, I also co-edited, with John Henry Clippinger, From Bitcoin to Burning Man and Beyond:  The Quest for Identity and Autonomy in a Digital Society (ID3 and Off the Commons Books)  The anthology of 15 essays describes new tech developments that are enabling new forms of self-organized governance, secure digital identity and user control over personal data.

From 1984 to 2010, I worked with American television writer/producer Norman Lear on a variety of non-television, public affairs projects.  For many years, also, I was Senior Fellow at the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and co-founder and board member (2001-2011) of Public Knowledge, a Washington policy advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the information commons. In 2012, I won the Bosch Berlin Prize in Public Policy for my commons work from the American Academy in Berlin. This entailed a residential fellowship and travel in Europe.

I live in Amherst, Massachusetts, a place that knows a lot about commoning and so inspires a passionate hometown loyalty.

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Understanding the Privatization Wave

For decades, the neo-liberal agenda, first tested outside of the United States and then brought home, has driven waves of privatization. Today, it is proceeding in an unchecked way and without regard for the suffering that it leaves in its wake. We’ll discuss some of the vehicles for privatization and commodification of everything and how we fight back. We’ll cover the Trade in Services Agreement, public private partnerships and the attack on the commons, such as the Internet. This boils down to corporate power versus popular power.

 

Listen here:

 

Relevant articles and websites:

Decoding the Doublespeak of Chairman Pai by Timothy Karr

The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships by Pete Dolack

TPP is not Dead: It’s now called the Trade in Services Agreement by Pete Dolack

Free Press

Systemic Disorder

 

Guests:

1craigCraig Aaron has led Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund since 2011. For more than a decade, he has been a leader in major campaigns to safeguard Net Neutrality, stop media mergers and consolidation, oppose unchecked surveillance, defend public media and sustain quality journalism. He works in Washington and speaks often to the press and the public on media and technology issues. He has written for The Daily Beast, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Hill, MSNBC, Politico, The Progressive, The Seattle Times, Slate and many other outlets. Before joining Free Press, he was an investigative reporter for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch and the managing editor of In These Times magazine. He is the editor of two books, Appeal to Reason: 25 Years of In These Times and Changing Media: Public Interest Policies for the Digital Age. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter @notaaroncraig.

 

1petePeter Dolack has extensive experience as an activist, having been a local chapter coordinator for Amnesty International in the early 1990s and subsequently working with a variety of groups, including Trade Justice New York Metro, the National People’s Campaign, New York Workers Against Fascism, the Brooklyn Greens/Green Party of New York and the No Spray Coalition (an anti-pesticide environmental group, of which he was a co-founder, that forced New York City to stop mass spraying of pesticides). He also served for two years as editor of the Green Party of New York’s newspaper.

Pete has been published on a variety of political and literary topics, mostly pertaining to contemporary issues. He has been published multiple times in the peer-reviewed academic journal Working USA: The Journal of Labor & Society, and currently is published regularly by the online popular magazines CounterPunch and ZNet. He has written a well-received pamphlet on fascism (www.eastwaterfront.com) and currently writes a weekly blog on the economic crisis and the political and environmental issues connected to it, Systemic Disorder (https://systemicdisorder.wordpress.com), that has attracted a sizable international following.

Among the publications to have run articles written by Pete are The Ecologist, Z Magazine, Climate & Capitalism, The New Jurist, Portside, World War 4 Report, Green Social Thought and Green Left Weekly. Online literary magazines in which he has had multiple articles published in recent years include BigCityLit, Mad Hatters’ Review and Pemmican Press.

Pete has spent many years debating, thinking and writing about the failures of capitalism and the need to bring into being a better world, one based on human need. Toward these ends, he is particularly interested in the unity of theory and practice.

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Uniting in the Fight for Immigrant Rights

The Trump administration has taken the attack on immigrants in the United States to a higher level, and people are responding in some areas with escalated fight back. From Sanctuary Cities to Rapid Response Teams to days of mass actions, communities are organizing to disobey stricter enforcement of deportations and to pressure the Trump administration to back down. Our guests will describe the history of immigrant struggles in the US in recent decades and what we can all do to protect our families, neighbors and communities.

 

Listen here:

 

Relevant articles and websites:

Rising Up in the Trump Moment: We are the ones we have been waiting for by Dawn Phillips

Following Today’s ‘Day Without Immigrants’, The Movement Must Escalate to a General Strike on May 1.

Voces de la Frontera

Causa Justa/Just Cause

 

Guests:

Alejandra Gonzalez is 28 years old. She is studying health education at Alverno College in Milwaukee. She has Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.

Dawn Phillips is Co-Director of Programs at Causa Justa :: Just Cause and Executive Director at Right to the City Alliance

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What Next For Education?

Last week, the US Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as the new head of the Department of Education. DeVos, who has no experience in public education, is a wealthy Republican donor and proponent of vouchers and charter schools. There was widespread opposition to her appointment by teachers and the public. Public schools and the rights of teachers have been under attack under the past two presidents, and DeVos is surely to continue that trend. We will discuss the struggle for education in the US, its connections to other struggles and what people can do to strengthen and protect education with two academics and activists, Denisha Jones and Robert Helfenbein.

 

Listen here:

 

Relevant articles and websites:

Teachers don all black to protest DeVos confirmation by Allison Nielsen

BadAssTeachers.org

Save Our Schools

United Opt Out

National Education Policy Center

 

Guests:

profileImage-60Robert Helfenbein earned his Ph.D. and B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Helfenbein has offered courses in Teaching Secondary Social Studies, Middle School Methods, and graduate level courses in curriculum theory, qualitative research methods, social foundations, and urban education.

Dr. Helfenbein has published and edited numerous research articles and book chapters about contemporary education analysis in urban contexts in journals such as Curriculum Inquiry, the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, Educational Studies, The Urban Review, the Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, and co-edited the books Unsettling Beliefs: Teaching Theory to Teachers (2008) and Ethics and International Curriculum Work: The Challenges of Culture and Context (2012).

In 2008, Dr. Helfenbein served as the Section Chair for Critical Perspectives and Practices of AERA Division B-Curriculum Studies followed by serving as overall Program Chair for Division B in 2009 and was nominated into the Professors of Curriculum at AERA 2011. He is currently serving as Editor of the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing and organizer of the annual Bergamo Conference on Curriculum Theory and Classroom Practice in Dayton, Ohio.

His current research interests include curriculum theorizing in urban contexts, ethics and international education work, cultural studies of education, and the impact of globalization on the lived experience of schools.

Denisha JonesDenisha Jones is an Assistant Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Trinity Washington University. She is a former early childhood teacher and preschool director. She received her Ph.D. from Indiana University in 2013. She has been active in the fight to stop the corporate takeover of public education since 2011. She is a board member for the Badass Teachers Association, Inc., United Opt Out National, and Defending the Early Years. Her research interests include teachers and public policy, the effects of school reform mandates on low-income children, preparing culturally competent teachers, and youth civic engagement. In 2015 she was the recipient of the Bammy Award for College Professor of the Year from the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences.

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Escalating US Failed Foreign Policy in the Middle East and Asia

In his first few weeks in office, the Trump administration has escalated US aggression towards both Syria and Iran. He is asking for more US military presence on the ground in Syria, which may increase tension with Russia, and signed an Executive Order for more sanctions against Iran, which received bipartisan support in Congress. Trump’s National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, stated last week that Iran has been “put on notice” and that the US would consider military action in response to Iran’s legal test of a non-nuclear missile. We speak with foreign correspondent Reese Erlich and retired Colonel Ann Wright about the current situation between the United States and countries in the Middle East and Asia.

 

Listen here:

 

Relevant articles and websites:

The Six Most Common Middle East Conspiracy Theories by Reese Erlich

ReeseErlich.com

Democrats back Trump Administration’s New Sanctions Against Iran by Joseph Kishore

Field of Fright: The Terror Inside Trump’s White House by Ira Chernus

What, Exactly, is Going on in Syria by Vijay Prashad

Trump has Already Blown It by Stephen Walt

 

Guests:

Reese Erlich is an award-winning journalist and the author of several books on foreign policy. A full-time freelance journalist and special correspondent, he recently reported for both CBS Radio and GlobalPost from the Kurdish Region of Iraq, interviewing Yazidis and Kurdish peshmerga and analyzing the US bombing campaign. Erlich also reports regularly for National Public Radio and Radio Deutsche Welle. His articles on the Middle East have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Atlantic Online, Foreign Policy, VICE News, and Vanity Fair Online. In 2012, the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California, gave Erlich an Explanatory Journalism Award for his radio documentary titled “Inside the Syrian Uprising.” In 2006 he shared a prestigious Peabody Award. He is on tour now for his new book, “Inside Syria.” For more information visit www.ReeseErlich.com.

Col. Ann Wright grew up in Bentonville, Arkansas, and attended the University of Arkansas, where she received a master’s and a law degree. She also has a master’s degree in national security affairs from the U.S. Naval War College. After college, she spent thirteen years in the U.S. Army and sixteen additional years in the Army Reserves, retiring as a Colonel. She is airborne-qualified.

In 1987, Col.Wright joined the Foreign Service and served as U.S. Deputy Ambassador in Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan, and Mongolia. She received the State Department’s Award for Heroism for her actions during the evacuation of 2,500 people from the civil war in Sierra Leone, the largest evacuation since Saigon. She was on the first State Department team to go to Afghanistan and helped reopen the Embassy there in December 2001. Her other overseas assignments include Somalia, Kyrgyzstan, Grenada, Micronesia, and Nicaragua. On March 19, 2003, the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Ann Wright cabled a letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin Powell, stating that without the authorization of the UN Security Council, the invasion and occupation of a Muslim, Arab, oil-rich country would be a violation of international law.

Since then, she has been writing and speaking out for peace. In 2007, she co-authored “Dissent, Voices of Conscience.” She fasted for a month, picketed at Guantánamo, served as a juror in impeachment hearings, traveled to Iran as a citizen diplomat, and has been arrested numerous times for peaceful, nonviolent protest of Bush’s policies, particularly the war on Iraq. She has been on delegations to Iran and was in Gaza three times in 2009, following the Israeli attack on Gaza that killed 1,440 and wounded 5,000. She was an organizer for the Gaza Freedom March that brought 1,350 persons from 44 countries to Cairo, Egypt, in solidarity with the people of Gaza. She was on the May, 2010 Gaza flotilla that was attacked by the Israeli military and was an organizer for the US Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, in the July, 2011 Gaza flotilla. She lives in Honolulu.

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New Coalition to Win National Improved Medicare for All

A group of doctors protest against individual mandate in President Obama's health care reform in front of U.S. Supreme Court in Washington June 25, 2012. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST HEALTH)

A group of doctors protest against individual mandate in President Obama’s health care reform in front of U.S. Supreme Court in Washington June 25, 2012. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

As President Trump and Congress repeal the failing “Affordable Care Act” it becomes even more critical that people organize to make National Improved Medicare for All the only politically viable replacement. To that end, a new coalition called Health Over Profit for Everyone (HOPE) has formed to use all of the tools necessary to finally solve the healthcare crisis in the United States. Our guests are Dr. Carol Paris, the current president of Physicians for a National Health Program, and Russell Mokhiber of Single Payer Action. The four of us were part of the National Mobilization for Healthcare Reform, which organized national days of protest for Medicare for All in 2009-10.

 

Listen here:

 

Relevant articles and websites:

How We Win National Improved Medicare for All by Margaret Flowers

Repeal and Replace with Single Payer by Russell Mokhiber

Beyond the Affordable Care Act: A Physicians’ Proposal for Single Payer Health Care Reform

HealthOverProfit.org

Health Over Profit for Everyone on Facebook

PNHP.org

SinglePayerAction.org

 

Guests:

Dr. Carol Paris is a recently retired psychiatrist who worked for more than 25 years in private practice, community mental health, prison psychiatry, and academia. In the course of her experience, much of which was in Maryland, she became an outspoken critic of the private-insurance-based U.S. health care system.

In May 2009, she and seven others stood up, one by one, at a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing on health care reform chaired by Sen. Max Baucus to ask why there wasn’t a single advocate for single-payer health care on the 41-member panel. In an action that received national media attention, Baucus had all eight peaceful protesters, including Dr. Paris, arrested. (Charges were eventually reduced, requiring only community service.)

Dr. Paris subsequently toured the country as part of the “Mad as Hell Doctors” campaign for single payer, and spent a year as a consultant psychiatrist in New Zealand, where she experienced a single-payer system firsthand. She currently resides in Nashville, Tenn., where her primary interests include strategic activism, recruiting and mentoring medical students and early career physicians for leadership positions within PNHP, and building coalitions to strengthen the single-payer movement’s impact on the national health care debate. Dr. Paris obtained her medical degree from West Virginia University School of Medicine.

Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, DC-based Corporate Crime Reporter and a founder of Single Payer Action. He is one of the Baucus 8 who were arrested in the Senate Finance Committee in May, 2009 for questioning the exclusion of single payer from the national healthcare debate.

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Propaganda and Silencing Political Dissent

The outgoing President Obama, who used the Espionage Law more times than all other presidents combined to go after whistleblowers and the media, hurled a final blow at political dissent when he signed the newest version of the National Defense Authorization Act into law (on the Friday before Christmas when people weren’t paying attention). Within the new NDAA is a provision to create and fund a “Global Engagement Center” to counter so-called propaganda. Chris Hedges, who sued President Obama over a previous version of the NDAA and has reported in countries that experienced similar silencing of dissent, and Rick Sterling, an independent journalist, who has been investigating the new NDAA, will explain what is going on, what we can expect and what we can do about it.

 

Listen here:

 

Relevant articles and websites:

Allegations of Russian Hacking Cover Up Larger Issue: Attacks on independent Journalism by Chris Hedges

The NDAA and the Death of the Democratic State by Chris Hedges

Revolt is the Only Barrier to a Fascist Amerca by Chris Hedges

Strategies of Resistance with Michael Gecan

On Contact

The War Against Alternative Information by Rick Sterling

Consortium News

True Publica

The Duran

 

Guests:

1chrisChris Hedges, whose column is published weekly on Truthdig, has written 11 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 “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 book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.

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. The Los Angeles Press Club honored Hedges’ original columns in Truthdig by naming him the Online Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011. The press club also granted him the Best Online Column award in 2010 for his Truthdig essay “One Day We’ll All Be Terrorists.” In 2012 Hedges won the Southern California Journalism Award for the Online Journalist of the Year.

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

He is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and the University of Toronto. He currently teaches prisoners at a maximum-security prison in New Jersey.

Hedges has a show, “On Contact,” on the RT America network, and interviews from the program frequently appear on Truthdig. Earlier, he had a similar program, “Days of Revolt,” on the TeleSUR network.

Hedges began his career reporting on the Falkland 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 in challenging the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives the federal government the authority to indefinitely detain people without habeas corpus. The decision was overturned on appeal, and in 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the ruling, known as Hedges v. Obama.

Hedges holds a B.A. in English literature from Colgate University and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, Calif. In 2014 he was ordained as a minister in a ceremony at the Second Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth, N.J.

Chris Hedges lives in Princeton, N.J., and is married to the Canadian actress Eunice Wong, with whom he has two children. He has two children from a previous marriage.

RickSterling2Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist who previously worked 25 years in the high tech and aerospace industry. Over the past five years he has researched and written about local issues such as the political attacks on City College San Francisco and international issues including Russia, the Olympics and especially the war on Syria. He traveled in Syria in Spring 2014 and Fall 2015. Rick grew up in Vancouver Canada but has lived in the East Bay Area for many years. He can be contacted at Rsterling1@gmail.com

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