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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Indigenous Peoples’ Victory: Largest Dam Removal In The World

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

After nearly two decades, Indigenous Peoples win an agreement for the largest dam removal in the world. Four of the six dams on the Klamath River in California and Oregon will be taken down, allowing the water to flow freely again and the salmon to spawn. This is a powerful story of how four tribes put aside their past conflicts to work together and environmental groups participated in an indigenous-led campaign that took on two of the wealthiest men in the world, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. And this is an example of why, if we want to succeed in restoring our relationship with the earth, Indigenous Peoples must be at the forefront.

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Guest:

Regina Chichizola is the Policy Director of Save California’s Salmon, the Salmon and Water Policy Analyst for the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Associations and the 2017 winner of the Anthony Grassroots Prize.  Regina has lived on the Klamath River for twenty years, and is a long-term advocate for tribal water rights, clean water, wild salmon, prescribed fire, and environmental justice.

 

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Nigerian Government Revealing Its True Character In Response To Youth Protests

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

Youth protests against police violence in Nigeria, the #EndSARS movement, gained international attention with solidarity protests around the world. To understand those protests and the context of the political, economic and social environment in Nigeria, I speak with Comrade Abiodun Aremu, the general secretary of the Joint Action Front and the co-coordinator of the Amil Cabral Ideological School Movement. Aremu speaks about the failure of the government to fulfill the 1999 Constitutional obligations, the extent and role of police and military repression, especially of the youth, and the ties between the United States and Nigeria.

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Guest: 

Comrade Abiodun Aremu is the general secretary of the Joint Action Force (JAF), a pro-labour platform, and the co-coordinator of the Amilcar Cabral Ideological Movement (ACIS) Movement, a pan-Africanist, socialist and revolutionary movement. The JAF is a long time partner of the Nigeria Labour Congress.

Transcript: 

Margaret Flowers: You’re listening to Clearing the FOG, speaking truth to expose the forces of greed with Margaret flowers. And now I turn to my guest, comrade Abiodun Aremu, who is the secretary of the Joint Action Front, a pro-labor platform, and co-coordinator of the Amilcar Cabral Ideological School Movement, a pan-africanist, socialist and revolutionary movement. And the Joint Action Front is a longtime partner in the Nigerian Labour Congress. Thank you for taking time to join me today.

Abiodun Aremu: It is a pleasure. I’m joining you from Lagos, Nigeria.

MF: To begin with, can you tell our listeners about these organizations that you’re involved with?

AA: Yeah, the Joint Action Front is the product of the long-standing relationship between labor, the radical student movement and also the ideological civil society organizations. We used to have in the 40s 50s up to the 90s what we know as the labor and the oppressed movement in the society, not necessarily then as civil society because this whole things about CSO became a future of Nigerian struggle with the ascendancy of the neoliberal order when you have human rights organizations. So, when we talk about pro-labor, we talk about organizations with ideological commitment to the agenda of the working class. So it’s not just every civil society. Is civil society that have commitment to struggle on the terms of Labor ideological positions. So in the year 2005, following a series of resistance struggle particularly against the hike in fuel prices, the relationship between labor and the CSO transformed into a partnership of having the centers of labor, organized labor, and that we talk then about the Nigerian Labor Congress the Trade union Congress as an arm of the partner. Then we talk of all the other groups, some socialist, some not socialist and some human rights, classified as pro-labor organization and that which we have groups like Democratic Socialist Movement, Campaign for Workers Alternative, the Amilcar Cabral Ideological School Movement, Movement for Socialist Alternative, Center for Popular Education and several of those groups that are formed into the pro-labor Joint Action Front since 2005 and which labor we have struggled together on the basis of resistance particularly against hikes in fuel prices and against neoliberal policies. At the level of the Amilcar Cabral Ideological School, it started as an ideological movement to address the challenges of non-ideological kidders in the struggle. It is to position the struggle on the basis of class and on the basis of anti-imperialism. So I am the co-coordinator of that movement. So it is a Pan-Africanist movement, a socialist movement and the revolutionary movement with the goal of the socialist transformations of society.

MF: Wonderful. And of course that political education is fundamental towards building a revolutionary movement. Let’s talk about the current protests that are going on in Nigeria starting on October 8th after the police murder of a young man. There was a video that circulated widely has some parallels to what we are experiencing in the United States with our current Uprising that began after the murder of George Floyd, but also some other very high-profile murders of black and brown men and women in the United States. Can you talk about why at this moment there’s such a large Uprising in Nigeria?

AA: Yeah, there are more causes to the uprising because the issue of police brutality in Nigeria, particularly against the young Nigerians and students dated as far back as 1971 when the first student activist was killed at University of Ibadan, that’s Kunle Adepeju. But a much more wider dimension of the police repressions of student protests, of their brutality of Nigerian youth coincided with the impositions of World Bank policies in Nigeria in 1978. When the Olusẹgun Ọbasanjọ regime decided to withdraw tuition, introduce tuition into the universities and withdrawal of the subsidized feeding system and that led to that nationwide popular protests in which seven Nigerians were killed on the street. In fact, that’s what we can call the ascendancy of a police brutality. But also against the background that there is a deep-seated economic crisis in the country particularly since the 80s with the imposition of IMF policies and structural adjustment policies that put Nigerians out of jobs. As of today, we have a 40 million Nigerians that are out of a job and this is coupled with the fact that the neoliberal policies provide opportunity for the government to infiltrate the student movement, criminalize the student movement and promote on campus violence and brigandage. And by the time you have the political transitions coming up, some of the youth, students and non-students, became a mercenary for recruitment for violence, hostage-taking or fighting to secure the property rights. The campus now becomes environment that were no longer conducive for academic learning. So now with the deepness of the crisis at the political level because of the election rigging and others, you have a portion of youth that are always available to be recruited as mercenary to foment trouble and violence and coupled with the fact that the young ones also have to fend for themselves in an economy where there are no social welfare provisioning for the majority of Nigerian citizens. So the police in particular took advantage of the deepening economic crisis to harass and brutalize several young ones who could not on the face value explain their sort of existence. So that was the excuse that the police used. So the Special Anti-Robbery Squad had become suddenly curious that beyond the young ones everyone had become victims you see of their harassment, of distortions and even the barefaced robbery. Most Nigerian youth have had to survive on whatever is possible, odd jobs. And in a country without a national record in terms of even data as to not speak of national identity is non-existent in Nigeria. Yes, for the past 40 years there has been a project on national identity so the young ones that has no job but have to fend for themselves you want them to explain their source of income, the identity because identity becomes relevant in Nigeria. You are either in school or in the working places. So when you cannot provide an identity within the context of which authority, you become victims of police harassment, arrest and brutality that are taking place. So what happened on October 8 was just part of the smokescreen over what has been happening and what about the national revolution. Also, less than two weeks after that we had the struggle where we were protesting the hike in fuel prices and the fact that the labor leadership decided to capitulate in the face of that struggle also became a point of relevance in what happened about the spontaneous crisis of October. So it’s like the NLC leadership, the TUC leadership, particularly in labor, have for long provided leadership in times of struggle in Nigeria. So what was clear was that without an organized leadership, what happened from October 8 to 20 was expected in Nigeria that there as going to be spontaneous outbursts and the youth really demonstrated their strength and that commitment to recover the country in terms of that protest.

MF: Yes, and in fact The Joint Action Front had called for, you were talking about this, actions on September 16th because of the increase in the prices of fuel and energy. So that kind of what I’m hearing is that kind of fed into people were already mobilizing and upset about that and then this police violence, you know was another level but the fact that the people in Nigeria have been fighting for years against this particular branch of the police force called SARS, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad which was formed in 1992, can you talk about that squad in particular and why that’s being targeted? And I know the government has tried on face value to say they’re doing some things but are they really taking any action on this police brutality?

AA: Yeah, you see the issue we have is much more deeper you see that what we had occurring in October is part of the real occurrence of police brutality against Nigerian citizens. You can cite several examples of how notorious the Special Anti-Robbery Squad has inflicted maximum damage, violence, death on several Nigerians, some on premeditate charges that are non-existent because why do you have a Special Anti-Robbery Squad? As a matter of fact, there is no no evidence, or there is no record in recent time of people who have been tried for crimes committed and the SARS in particular are notorious that innocent people have become victims of their recklessness and brutality. It’s almost 20 years now, that you can talk about a successfully-prosecuted armed robbery case, which is what they are supposed to have done because what we have in the Nigerian experience is that those who are charged for robbery are tried and when tried and sentenced, they are subject to death either by hanging or by firing squad. So and that it formed in the late eighties and early nineties a campaign to put the firing squad as a matter of the past, to get rid of it for a life sentence but in the past 20 or 25 years, there is no evidence of any successfully prosecuted case of armed robbery. In fact what you have had is more extrajudicial killing that have been committed day in and day out and year in and year out. And we have a further corrupted you see the policing in the county. The Special Anti-Robbery Squad is supposed to be a unit of the police but the issue of the brutality by the police falls squarely you see on the head of every police person because for all the protest, many of us have been involved, almost all those protests are always repressed when it has been cleared that you don’t need any permission to legitimately protest. So the act of brutality itself beyond what happened in the particular of the harassment and killing in October, goes beyond. It is almost a daily occurrence. And that is why I said beginning from 1978, the young Nigerians have been victims of police harassment and police brutality. So it is almost at the point, similar as the youth, because in a country that is not responsible in providing jobs, providing an environment for the young to exist you see. Moreso, part of the challenges in Nigeria is that it needs to have tuition-free tertiary education. So, in the absence of which many of the students or prospective students are out of schools. So and the youth become the direct target you see by the policing system because it is believed that once you are not in school, once you are not in job, you must be doing something that they classify as unlawful. And that becomes the basis for the Special. So that is the order that you are having where the youth become that direct victim, most especially the youth that find their way out of the country to try to survive and once they come back to the country, right from the airport, they become target of harassment, target of violence by the police. So, it’s not by accident that you have the kind of response that you have. You see we have the issue of extrajudicial killing. You have several cases of people who are even innocent being charged with crimes. So you have those incidences and in the past civil liberty organizations, committees for human rights, who try to document some of these things in their annual reports. They’re uncomfortable of those assessments. So, it’s not by accident that you have that kind of reactions, an uprising, that the youth came up with for those two or three weeks. For it was clear that they have become that direct victims and the have to be very resistant. So that is why it was like an end SARS struggle but you see it goes beyond end SARS because the SARS is just a unit. The culture of police  brutality goes beyond even the end SARS, you have the joint patrol of the military and police that have been going on for two decades now. So they are combined in the harassment and the violence being meted on the citizens.

MF: Yeah in some ways does it does it feel similar? I mean Nigeria was under military rule for several decades which ended in 1999 and there was very severe repression then. People didn’t have a right to protest during that time. Are there similarities between what’s happening now and what was happening in that period?

AA: There is nothing significantly different. What is different is that because you are operating within a civilian regime, it has been assumed that there’s some civility. Not really the possibility for the student movement. You see every major protest of the student movement were repressed. I was a student in early 1986 when protesting within the campus at Ahmadu Bello University some of their students were killed and that informed the nationwide struggle then that was called “The Ango Must Go.” Ango Abdullahi was the Vice Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University and for that protest, which was national because we were all out in solidarity under the leadership of our platform then, the National Association of Nigerian Students, all the campuses throughout the country went to those solidarity struggles and the police repressed that. As a matter of fact, the Nigerian Labor Congress had to declare the day of June 4 a day of national solidarity. The leadership also was arrested on the account of that solidarity support. And that informed why student demonstrations were banned since then at all campuses. And if you look through, all through the struggles, the police and the military were always out at every protest was repressed. That has been the order for any dissent you see against the unpopular policies of the government all will be challenged. On September 16, the Joint Action Front was also arrested because it had become the order of the police that protest should be declared an illegal gathering. That is what they tried to demonstrate. So repression cannot be quantified in terms of whether there is more repression under the military or civilian rule. As a matter of fact, they are much more repressions you see in the context of the civilian era because there were protests between 2000 and 2005. At one of the protests, I think that was in June, that lasted seven days, right in front of, close to the Nigerian Labor Congress. People were killed in fact one of the corpses was brought to the premises of the Nigerian Labor Congress. So it’s like the philosophy of policing is violence. That is what it has been. And that is why the actions of October had to have that national psychology in terms of the responses that enough of this. But much more beyond that is that people can now link the acts of the police, their aggressions of violence on the people, to the rot and the depth of the crisis in the economy. The crisis of failures of political leadership. The crisis of the irresponsibility of the state. Most importantly, right from the positions of the IMF, World Bank and the structural adjustment programs that are in every way unconstitutional because the Nigerian Constitution is very clear, section 16, talks in terms of the objective of government is due to ensure the happiness of the citizen, you see, and conduct the economy in such a way that wealth is not concentrated in a few hands at the expense of the majority. So in 2007, ?? was being asked about his greatest achievement and it was said that his hope was to make a true billionaire out of Nigeria as part of the economic objective. So you can imagine the aspect of looting, the aspect of underdevelopment of the country is a philosophy that has been espoused in line with the neoliberal agenda. None of them are different. It is the same policies that they have implemented and the same policies that is deepening the crisis politically, economically and in every phase of life in Nigeria. And that is why that fighting the policing system, the violent policing system, is just a manifestation, is just a reaction, to the deep-seated problems that we have in our country.

MF: Right and in fact the new constitution in 1999, if I understand correctly, required that the economy be developed in a way that would create greater economic equality.

AA: As a matter of fact, neoliberal policies is unknown to the Nigerian Constitution because it is clear that government shall manage the major sectors of the economy. The oil industry is a major sector of the Nigerian economy. The electricity industry is a major sector of the Nigerian economy. And it is as clear as day in the constitution. You see running a program of privatization, monetization, deregulation is not in our constitution. The objective is very clear in terms of what governments should do about the economy. So everything that have been run on the basis of privatization is unacceptable to the Nigerian Constitution.

MF: Can you talk a little bit about the current repression against the protesters? I understand that there have been murders, arrests. Now, the government is stopping access to money for people involved in the protests and trying to control social media. Can you talk about some of that?

AA: Yeah, what is happening currently is expected with our experience in the struggle. If you look at the conduct of the struggle itself and the responses of the state because in the first place the government or its agents were at no time in support of that protest. They are against it. So the fact that you have some governors, some agents of the government, tried to commend the protest is to profile the protests for the purpose of their violent interventions. That is the point, you see because in Nigeria already there are three categories of youth, you have the ideological youth, those youths who have been part of the struggle in the student movement and those youth that the government has used as their agents in the student movement to repress and deny independent unionism. So those categories of youth are youth who for every protest of the working people of the poor people who they have always been involved and make their demands about what should be the current direction of Nigeria, what should be the political direction of Nigeria. So you have those youth. You have the other categories of youth that government ha criminalized from time to time both inside the student movement and outside the student movement. They are the youth that they are used to commit violence at elections. They are the youth that have become vulnerable for hostage-taking, brigandage that take place in the country. Then you have the new generation of youth that I call the Twitter Generation who have become who have become victims of police harassment and violence. They are like those who are in the leadership of the End SARS protests. So these other categories of youth that the government has used to foment violence were the category of youth that were first introduced after a week of the End SARS protests to attack those other two categories of youth. They are the ones used to create confusion and destabilize that movement . And the same youth are the ones used after the violence of October 20 by the military to move them in the streets into looting, into attack and destruction of private property. So used by one class against the other as to discredit the criminal act. That’s exactly what happened,.

MF: Right. It’s a common tactic.

AA: Yeah. So the government is now reeling out its true portrait and that is why all those processions, expressions that have been done by the youth. The government was busy using its intelligence and doing infiltrators into that movement to assess information about those who play a critical role in that uprising. So it is those who play a critical role in that uprising that are now subject for that victimization. That is what is happening. The government is not truly revealing its character as a repressive, vindictive and irresponsible government who want to kill its youth for expressing their dissent.

MF: Can you talk about some of the connections between the United States’ police and military and the Nigerian police and military? What is that relationship?

AA: Yeah. There is a neo-colonial relationship right from independence about the Nigerian military and Britain and the United States because most of the security forces are trained at either the US or Britain or at the recommendations of the US military establishment. So that is clear because shortly after Independence the first step to make Nigerian military outposts of Britain was taken and Nigeria was to be committed to sign the Anglo-defense pact in 1961. It took the Nigerian students, national students, to protest, you see, it moved to the day National Assembly, to put a stop to that legislation and stop Nigeria from being a military outpost of Britain. So this whole thing is about the African command that the US has now imposed on Africa, first from the point of Gulf of Guinea because the whole idea of that discussion was to make Nigeria play a central role, you see, in the African command as a puppet of the US. You see and there are resistance to that, which not entirely succeeded because our level of military pact, military relationship, Nigeria has some covert and possibly overt arrangement with the United States of America. As of today, we have the first industrial corporations in Nigeria. Twenty five percent of the Nigerian budget are going to security. There is no single arm that that defense industrial corporation has produced. So almost everything that is needed in terms of security, gadgets, arms and ammunitions have been imported. The implication being that 25% of Nigerian budget goes into capital flight every year right from the Obasanjo regime to this current regime. Secondly, you see, and that is question that everyone was asked: how come a military and the former military head of State who rejected taking IMF between 84 and 85 could now accept IMF conditionality. How come the agreement between Buhari and President Trump on Boko Haram, on fighting the insurgency? So these are all relationships that draw out of the same coercive impositions of militarism also that we are experiencing in Nigeria. And that is why the political economy of the war against Boko Haram is more from capital flight, more from exploitations because the issues in that territory goes beyond an armed fight. It is not an armed fight. It is political, social and economic issues and requires political, social and economic solutions. Imagine all young Nigerians of age 5 to 21 in the four walls of the school whether the primary, the secondary and at the tertiary level. Imagine what their philosophy about life will be. There will be no Nigerian child hawking things on the road. They ill be no Nigerian child rendered homeless on the road because they will be in the four walls of the primary, secondary, the universities and the polytechnics you see and their world outlook definitely will change and will not be available as machinery to recruit. You see for Boko Haram or any other disorder that you have in the country. So instead of putting those resources to arms and ammunitions, those social resources will be channeled for social and economic development. Imagine that Nigerian resources are used for public interest. So that is the issue. So you cannot end Boko Haram when you are disconnected in terms of national planning, economic planning, political planning. The majority of the young ones you see have now instituted a philosophy of suffering, a philosophy of begging, a philosophy of being available as vulnerable materials for creating social disorders and crisis in the country. That is exactly what is happening. Those who profit from the crisis when you pursue a program of social and human economic development. So that the context and that’s why we insist that the question to resolve in Nigeria is not about elections. The first question to resolve in Nigeria is who controls the economy and for what purpose. Because when you determine the economy for public interest, you can determine the kind of parliament that we should have. whether we just need a 50 member parliament, not a parliament that is available for the purpose of looting and mismanaging the resources of the country. Who can determine the kind of political system that we want to run and what is more primary to us. The university lecturers have been on strike  since February now. Many are without several months, five months, eight months salaries. The major issues of adequate funding of the universities is not addressed. So there is no way a country can make progress. So it is ready to run a military program, a program of looting into the pockets of a few. The universities have signed an agreement with the federal government since 2009, eleven years ago. The signed agreement is $1.3 trillion Naira is to revamp over 74 universities across the country to get them to have up-to-date facilities. That is the essence of that fund. As we speak now 20% of that agreement eleven years running has not been implemented. So how do you move forward in such a country? Yet, you have a country that we invest for turnaround maintainers into the power sector about three hundred billion naira. And that serves the same turnaround power sector. Four hundred billion. And as of today you again have invested for things you claim you privatized 1.7 trillion. So who is deceiving who? That is the challenge because the electrical resources have now become an avenue to loot the country, to ruin the country. And that is why it is more primary than the challenge to end SARS today is that the young ones needs to define clearly that the problems in the country goes beyond end SARS. The answers they should be talking about is to end that government, is to define public interests in government, is to reflect a clear agenda of transforming the society on the part of human development. That is the challenge. And so that is why I said elections are not primary because they will always rig the election. They will always loot the money for running the election. So because the public fund has become an avenue for looting and to further sustain yourself in power because once you have looted the resources you create an instrument of violence to force yourself into offices. So that is what is happening.

MF: Thank you. So finally, can you just say to our listeners is there something in the United States that we can be doing to show solidarity or to support the Nigerian struggle?

AA: Yeah, I think the first major thing about solidarity between Nigerians and the people of the US is to first understand that we have some common problem. Common problem in the sense that there is a difference, like I tell people, between the American establishment that I stamp racist and the American people, the American are great people, you see. So for Nigerians who always thinks about everything is settled in America, they will also be able to understand that the way you have repression here, there’s much more also repressions in America. There’s also much more suffering in America and that the Americans who have to struggle to survive, to have the kind of freedom, the kind of leverages that they’re having. And I think that is the first thing. You see, that first is exchanges in terms of correct information as against the disinformation order to say about the reality of the American people. It’s very important. So that exchanges is important. Two, there is a need for change in our level of political education and to see the international dimensions of the struggle because our struggle in Nigeria is meaningless if you are not concerned about the fate of our pan-African brothers across the world, you are not concerned about the working class people across the world, because the interests of the working class in Washington, the same interest in Cuba, it is same interest in Nigeria. So our struggle will be meaningful if Cuba is under blockade, when Venezuela is under a blockade, if Nicaragua is being harassed by the United States of America how can we not lend our voice into that? Our concern is about the new humanity, you see that’s the lesson that the people in America who is suffering, the exploited people in America, are the same exploited people that we have in Nigeria, you have everywhere in Africa. And that there is the unity, you see, at the level of those who are being exploited, have been oppressed to fight the common enemy that happen across our several nation-state has to move forward. So that is the kind of solidarity that we expect, you see, beyond that because when you talk in terms of support, there has been much more support into Africa to de-ideologize Africa in the name of funding, in the name of non-governmental organizational work that are not addressing the fundamental basis of our under-development, the fundamental basis of our suffering. So much more the kind of support that is required is how to develop our capacity as humans, to think as universal humans, to fight together as humans, to liberate the humans in Nigeria, the humans in Africa and humans all over the world. I think for us that has much more impact that you can make. Material resources are meaningless in the absence of a qualitative human resources. So the kind of support we want is how do we do some kind of changes that can develop us as humans so to be able to overcome some of those challenges that we are having.

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Shahid Buttar: The Crisis Is Constitutional

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

The presidential election has been called for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I speak with Constitutional lawyer and activist Shahid Buttar about what that means for our work on issues of social justice, his campaign to challenge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her congressional seat, and critical issues of the day such as the media, democracy, militarization and mass surveillance. Buttar points out that the crises we face are more than political. The United States is in a Constitutional crisis and legislators such as California’s Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein are at the helm.

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Guest:

Shahid Buttar: Since graduating from Stanford Law School in 2003, Shahid has worked in both San Francisco and Washington as a legal advocate, a non-profit leader, a grassroots organizer, and a poet & musician.

His wide-ranging work reflects a commitment to intersectional feminism, democratic socialism, and international human rights. His passions have long aligned around a common purpose: building the movement to put human rights and human needs before corporate profits.

An early advocate for marriage equality for same-sex couples and a prolific organizer in the movement to end warrantless government surveillance, Shahid most recently built a national grassroots network for the Electronic Frontier Foundation as the organization’s Director of Grassroots Advocacy.

In addition to LGBTQ rights, privacy, and the right to encryption, Shahid’s work has also advanced immigrant rights, campaign finance reform, government transparency, international human rights, and police accountability. His writing has explored issues from the right-wing attack on reproductive freedom to the erosion of voting rights, and from effective counter-terrorism strategies to examples of counter-cultural activism promoting progressive politics at the intersection of art and organizing. Read more about Shahid Buttar here.

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Trump FCC Turned The Internet Into A ‘Wild West’ For The Telecoms

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

Five years ago, the movement for internet freedom won an important victory when the Federal Communications Commission reclassified the internet as a common carrier, making it like a utility that everyone should have equal access to without discrimination. That was quickly reversed in 2017 under the new chair of the FCC, Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, who deregulated the internet giving the government no authority to oversee the internet service providers like Comcast and AT&T. I speak with Josh Stager of the Open Technology Institute about the ongoing fight to protect the internet and what we need to do next.

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Guest:

Joshua Stager is the senior policy counsel and government affairs lead at the Open Technology Institute. He specializes in telecommunications law and policy, including OTI’s efforts to protect net neutrality and promote broadband competition.

Prior to New America, Stager was Sen. Al Franken’s law fellow on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he focused on antitrust, consumer privacy, and surveillance law. He was previously a law clerk at the Department of Justice, a legislative aide in the House of Representatives, and an assistant editor at Congressional Quarterly.

Stager earned a J.D. from New York University and a B.A. in political communication and geography from George Washington University.

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Why We Need To End Capitalism To Defeat Fascism

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

With the presidential election coming up, there is a lot of focus on how the election will go and who will win. One thing is certain, no matter which corporate candidate wins, the people and the planet will lose. To understand where we are and how we got here, I speak with Gabriel Rockhill, a philosopher, author and activist. He explains the connections between our governance structure and capitalism and how both liberal democracy and fascism in a sort of good cop/bad cop relationship  are used to protect the profits of the few while exploiting the many.

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Guest:

Gabriel Rockhill is the Founding Director of the Critical Theory Workshop / Atelier de Théorie Critique, Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University, and the author or editor of nine books. Read his work at GabrielRockhill.com

The articles mentioned in the interview are listed here:

Fascism: Now You See It, Now You Don’t!

Liberalism and Fascism: Partners in Crime

The U.S. Did Not Defeat Fascism in WWII, It Discretely Internationalized It

Liberalism & Fascism: The Good Cop & Bad Cop of Capitalism

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Bolivia: People Power Prevails Over US-Backed Coup

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

Last October, following the re-election of indigenous president Evo Morales in Bolivia, the United States backed a coup that successfully forced him out of power. The coup regime reversed many of the gains made under Morales and waged violent and austerity policies against the people. A new presidential election was held this past weekend largely because of massive popular mobilizations over the summer that demanded them. I speak with Camila Escalante of Telesur English and Kawsachun News about the coup, the protests and the recent election.

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Guest:

Camila Escalante is a TV news producer and presenter for Telesur English and works with Kawsachun News in Bolivia.

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Changing To An Ecological Way Of Valuing National Economies

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

The Global South is adversely impacted by the many crises that exist in this world – the climate crisis, pandemic, recession, war to name a few. Although the Global South is wealthy in terms of culture, biodiversity, knowledge and more, the way the Global North defines what is valuable contributes to economic inequality between the North and South and exploitation of peoples and the planet. Now, my guests Arnie Saiki and Chanzo Greenidge are challenging that paradigm with a new concept of intemerate accounting. The idea is receiving growing support by Pacific Island nations. They explain what it is and how social movements can adopt it to transition to a more ecological economic system.

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Resources:

Ecological-Economic Accounts: Towards Intemerate Values:

https://issuu.com/wordsbydesign/docs/ecological-economic_accounts_final_version

PIF Secretary-General Dame Meg Taylor keynote speech (and video)

https://www.forumsec.org/2020/09/18/keynote-address-by-the-secretary-general-of-the-pacific-islands-forum-dame-meg-taylor-at-the-reweaving-the-ecological-mat-project-launching-of-publications/

https://youtu.be/XVaSUu_GUCY

Arnie presentation  (5 min)   

https://youtu.be/7WzE81yksy0

Guests:

Arnie Saiki has been broadly focusing on regional economic and geopolitical themes in the Asia and Pacific regions. He was the coordinator of the Moana Nui conferences, a partnership between the International Forum on Globalization and Pua Mohala I Ka Po, and has been researching and writing on issues around trade and globalization for many years. He has been vigorously researching national accounting systems and his publication, “Ecological-Economic Accounts: Towards Intemerate Values,” addresses the intersections between trade, globalization and national accounting. He is from Hawai’i and resides in Los Angeles with his wife and children.

Chanzo Greenidge is an International Political Economy specialist with a focus on Critical Territorialities, Identities and Mobilities. A graduate of UWI-IIR and the University of Toronto, he has taught advanced methodology, international politics and history, international migration and development, diaspora theory, world dance forms, global cultural literacy and social science theory at undergraduate, professional training and graduate programmes at the University of the West Indies, Miriam College (Philippines) and the University of Trinidad and Tobago, using tools of Critical Journalism and Critical Realism to develop theory, strategic thinking, and practical frameworks as a scholar and consultant. As a migration expert, he has contributed to the development of Trinidad and Tobago’s labour migration policy, Haiti’s national migration policy (2015-2030) and regional policy frameworks for skills mobility in Southeastern Africa. He has worked as co-facilitator for Migration and Mobilities at the 2016 World Social Forum and continues to lead cross-cultural dialogue around migration, technology, innovation and network identities as a cross-cultural consultant (Cartus, Dean Foster). His academic background in IR-IPE, Hispanic Literature, and International Political Economy allows him to share his research interests in global history, science and technology studies, media studies, migration studies, trade and competition policy, cultural studies and ethnography. His current research touches on migration and geopolitics, media and structural power, global sport, and national accounting methods as part of the Working Group on Data and Statistics. A third-generation entrepreneur, he runs two small businesses, Bravo Language Services (2000-) and 50 Stories Publishing (2012-), and serves as Co-Chairman at game design and development firm Coded Arts Limited (2015-). A father of three and resident of Nunavik, QC since 2016, he also works in the area of monitoring and evaluation design, early-childhood education, physical and health education and leadership training as a volunteer coach, coordinator and educator. He enjoys working with educators, organizers and scholars who are committed to community development and entrepreneurship in North America and the Global South.

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Shutting Down AFRICOM, International Solidarity And The US Elections

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

October 1, 2020, marked the twelfth anniversary of AFRICOM, the United States military’s presence in Africa. An international day of action was organized to call for AFRICOM to be shut down and for the US to stop interfering in Africa. Ajamu Baraka, a human rights defender and the national organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace, which coordinated the day of action, speaks about the history of AFRICOM and its impact on the continent. He also discusses why it’s necessary to be anti-imperialist and to have an internationalist perspective, the changing power dynamics in the world, the upcoming elections in the United States, and where activists should focus their time and energies to achieve the changes we need.

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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.

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). Read more at AjamuBaraka.com.

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Selling Ourselves For Safety: A Look At The Migration Industrial Complex

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

The climate crisis, wars, violent states and economic crashes are driving migration around the world and in this capitalist global environment, it is no surprise that a profiteering industrial complex has evolved. I speak with Siobhan McGuirk and Adrienne Pine, co-authors of “Asylum for Sale: Profit and protest in the migration industry,” about the ways capitalism both drives migration and benefits from it. They discuss who has the resources to migrate, the problem with how asylum-seeking is framed in the public discourse and courts and the diverse international resistance that is forming to demand universal access to asylum.

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Guests:

Siobhan McGuirk – In addition to her academic publications addressing gender and sexuality, migration, and social justice movements, McGuirk is an award-winning filmmaker, curator and editor for Red Pepper magazine. Her writing has appeared in Teen VogueRewire News, and Australian Options. She received her Doctorate in Anthropology from American University in 2016 and holds a Masters in Visual Anthropology from the University of Manchester. She is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. 

Adrienne Pine is a critical medical anthropologist whose work has explored the embodiment of structural violence and imperialism in Honduras, cross-cultural approaches to revolutionary nursing, and neoliberal fascism. She has served as an expert country conditions witness in around 100 asylum cases over the past fifteen years. Adrienne is an assistant professor at the American University and author of Working Hard, Drinking Hard: On Violence and Survival in Honduras

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Portland Protests, The Fire And Organizing Eviction Defense

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

Portland, Oregon is one of the epicenters of the rebellion against police violence that broke out after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Portland has a long history of racism and abusive police. David Rovics, a composer, performer, organizer and activist, joins Clearing the FOG to speak about the history of Oregon as a “Whites Only” state, the resistance there, the murder of Michael Reinoehl, the current fires and his work to develop Eviction Defense Squads. Eleanor Goldfield joins Margaret in the first half of the show to discuss current news.

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Guests:

Eleanor Goldfield is the founder and host of the show, Act Out! which aired on Free Speech TV as well as in podcast form. (The podcast is still going and will pick up again April 17, 2020)! I’m also the co-host of the podcast Common Censored along with Lee Camp. Her current work focuses on more long-form and in-depth pieces, the first iteration of these being a film on West Virginia’s coal and fracking country, as well as their radical past that folks are working to uncover – so that it might inform a radical present and radically just future. As a journalist, her articles and photographs cover people and topics which are censored or misrepresented. Artistically, Eleanor works in a variety of mediums and my performances blend music, spoken word and visual projections. Visit ArtKillingApathy.com for more and check out her podcasts, Common Censored and Silver Threads.

David Rovics is a songwriter, blogger and activist who lives in Portland, OR. You can learn more about him and find his blog and music at DavidRovics.com. He is featured in Americans Who Tell the Truth.

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Cutting Through Western Imperialist Propaganda About China, Plus A Tribute To Kevin Zeese

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

As US empire wanes and China’s economy and global reach grow, the United States has entered a Cold War with China that includes economic warfare, military antagonism, and a misinformation campaign. Western imperialist media promote myths designed to build public opposition to China and support for this US aggression. This leaves even those on the left confused. Rarely do we hear from Chinese people who would provide clarity about their country. To fill that gap, the new Qiao Collective, composed of Chinese analysts and scholars, was created this year. We speak with collective member Elias Tchen. This is the last interview recorded before Kevin’s sudden death on September 6. Ralph Nader joins Margaret in the first half of the show to remember the life and work of Kevin Zeese.

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Guests:

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, author and presidential candidate who heads the Center for Responsive Law.

Elias Tchen is an analyst and member of the Qiao Collective based in Washington, DC.

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Chris Hedges: ‘We Are In A Dangerous Time’

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

When we last interviewed Chris Hedges in December, we spoke about the coming uprising and whether the left was ready for it. Now we are in the midst of a nationwide rebellion against police violence and lack of protection for workers, right wing violence is on the rise and an election is nearing. We speak to Hedges about the ways the liberal class protects the status quo, his experiences studying the Christian Right and the times in which we live. Hedges covered wars and revolutions in Latin America, the Middle East and the former Yugoslavia so he has seen what the United States is currently experiencing.

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Guest:

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He writes a weekly column for the online magazine Truthdig out of Los Angeles and is host of the Emmy Award­–winning RT America show On Contact. Hedges, who holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard University, is the author of the bestsellers American Fascists, Days of Destruction­, Days of Revolt, and was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University, and the University of Toronto. He currently teaches college credit courses in the New Jersey prison system.

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The Banal Evil Of US Imperialism: A View From Inside The CIA

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

As the US Empire falls, the US government continues its regime change attempts around the world in an effort to hang onto power. We see the same tactics applied over and over again. We speak with John Kiriakou, a former CIA analyst and case officer, about what regime change looks like from inside the CIA, which he describes as similar to the Bansky painting, “The Banality of the Banality of Evil.” He reveals the tension between those who ignore the illegality of what the US is doing and those who believe in the rule of law, how the process of deciding to intervene in a country works, and then how it is carried out. He provides specific examples from his own experience, plus his thoughts on what is happening in Belarus and Hong Kong, and the current state of US politics.

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Guest:

John Kiriakou is a former CIA analyst and case officer, former senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and former counterterrorism consultant. While employed by the CIA, he was involved in critical counterterrorism missions following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but refused to be trained in so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” and Kiriakou never authorized or engaged in these techniques:

After leaving the CIA, Kiriakou appeared on ABC News in an interview with Brian Ross, during which he became the first former CIA officer to confirm that the agency waterboarded detainees and label waterboarding as torture. Kiriakou’s interview revealed that this practice was not just the result of a few rogue agents, but was official U.S. policy approved at the highest levels of the government.

The government started investigating Kiriakou immediately after his media appearance. Five years later, the government finally succeeded in piecing together enough information to criminally prosecute him. He became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act – a law designed to punish spies, not whistleblowers.

When Kiriakou came to GAP for help, we began acting as his legal counsel on whistleblower issues and started a public advocacy campaign on his case. Eventually, in order to avoid a trial that could have resulted in separation from his wife and five children for up to 45 years, he opted to plead guilty to one count (not Espionage) in exchange for a 30-month sentence.

Kiriakou is the sole CIA agent to go to jail in connection with the U.S. torture program, despite the fact that he never tortured anyone. Rather, he blew the whistle on this horrific wrongdoing. Read more here. Visit his website here.

 

 

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Beirut Explosion, Western Imperialism And Media Misinformation

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

On August 4, 2020, an explosion of tons of ammonium nitrate being stored at the port of Beirut Lebanon ripped through the city killing 0ver 170 people and injuring 6,000 people. This happened at a time when Beirut was already suffering an economic collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic. We speak with Rania Khalek, a Lebanese-American independent journalist who was in Beirut, about what it was like during and after the explosion, the protests that followed and the complicated political situation in Lebanon. Khalek explains how the United States and other Western and Gulf States are interfering and causing more harm and why much of what we hear in the Western media about Lebanon is false.

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Guest:

Rania Khalek is a Lebanese-American independent journalist. She is the producer and host of Soapbox and the co-host of Unauthorized Disclosure.

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After 300 Years, It’s Time To End Capitalism, Not Reform It

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

The United States is facing multiple crises with no signs of improvement on the horizon – a deep recession, high unemployment, millions of people soon to be displaced from their homes, a failed healthcare system in the midst of a pandemic, the climate crisis and more. We speak with Professor Richard Wolff, an economist and the author of “Democracy at Work”, about the history of capitalism and how it is inherently unstable. Prof. Wolff posits that the United States is now in a situation where capitalism is unlikely to survive. He describes why that is and the lessons we must learn from the fatal mistakes made when the US was in a similar situation one hundred years ago.

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Our Guest:

Professor Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City. Earlier he taught economics at Yale University (1967-1969) and at the City College of the City University of New York (1969-1973). In 1994, he was a Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Paris (France), I (Sorbonne). Wolff was also regular lecturer at the Brecht Forum in New York City. Read more here. Follow his work at Democracyatwork.info and on Twitter at @profwolff.

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