After a short absence, Eric returns with another episode of CounterPunch Radio, this time welcoming to the show author and frequent CounterPunch contributor Rob Urie to discuss his new book Zen Economics published by CounterPunch. Eric and Rob discuss capitalism and the question of it being natural or unnatural, as well as the historical/anti-historical dichotomy, a theme running throughout the book. The conversation explores everything from the western understanding of time to Lenin and the formulation of imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism. Eric and Rob also question the very meanings of wealth, choice, and freedom under the conditions of capitalism and the modern world. These any many other issues come together for a fascinating conversation on CounterPunch Radio this week.
Musical Interlude: Boukman Eksperyans - "Jou Nou Revolte"
This week Eric welcomes back to the show writer, activist, and now US Vice Presidential candidate from the Green Party, Ajamu Baraka. The conversation gives some insight into Ajamu's background, and the experiences that shaped his politics and worldview, making into the renowned human rights leader that he is. Eric does not shy away from the smear campaign being waged by liberal corporate media against Ajamu, instead taking the opportunity to discuss with him the mental illness of contemporary liberalism - or is it corporate imperialism? Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. They also explore the development of the Green Party in a radical direction, the importance of non-electoral community-based programs and networks, the existential crises facing all of us today, and the necessity of developing a true political resistance immediately. Another great conversation with the inimitable Ajamu Baraka.
This week Eric sits down with author Nicholas Schou to discuss his new book Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood. Eric and Nick explore the history of CIA manipulation of the media going back decades, and how it has evolved into the propaganda consensus we see today. The conversation touches on everything from Nicaragua and the Reagan counter-revolution to the sycophantic relationship between Hollywood and Langley. From Robert Parry to Robert Kagan, from South Vietnam to Baghdad, the story of CIA information warfare is a long and sordid one, and Schou's new book is an important contribution in telling it.
Musical Interlude: Wire - I Am the Fly
This week Eric sits down with economist, and former Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis to discuss the shifts in the political landscape of both Europe and the US, and what they mean for political activism and progressive politics. Eric and Yanis discuss the nature of the EU and whether it can be reformed or democratized, as well as the forces at play within it. The conversation also touches on the US election as Yanis and Eric debate the utility of "lesser evil" politics, while also examining the ascendance of the fascist right in Europe and the US, with particular attention to the Brexit vote and its implications. The bond bubble and potential economic collapse, the long view of the 2008 crisis, the importance of addressing climate change, the necessity of internationalism, and many other topics are discussed in this wide-ranging interview with one of the best economic minds in the world today.
Music: Errol Walker & Lee "Scratch" Perry - "In These Times"
This week Eric welcomes to the show activist and scholar Dr. Anthony Monteiro to discuss his recent trip to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention, and what he learned about the Trump movement. The conversation touches on the class character of the Trumpen Proletariat, and whether or not this represents a transformation of the Republican Party, and potentially US politics as a whole. Eric and Tony examine the nature of fascism, how it has manifested in the US today, and what the future may hold. They go into everything from the ascendance of the far right in Europe, to the potential for substantive solutions and movement-building here in the US. All this and so so much more in this lively chat between two friends on the radical left.
Musical Interlude: The Doors - "Strange Days"
This week Eric welcomes to the show writer and sociologist Andrew Smolski to discuss the latest devevlopments in Mexico, and to place them in the context of neoliberal privatization and the US-backed militarization that goes along with it. Eric and Andy examine the strike actions by Mexico's teachers, including the recent upsurge in Oaxaca, and connect that to the other issues at play in Mexico. They also discuss the role of the cartels and US drug policy in shaping the current chaos both in Mexico, and throughout Latin America. In the final part of the show, Eric and Andy also discuss the nonsense of "lesser evil" voting as espoused by Noam Chomsky and others. Shall we go with the guillotine or the hemlock? Tune in to CP Radio this week to find out.
Musical Interlude: Chumbawamba - "Bella Ciao"
This week Eric sits down with presumptive presidential nominee of the Green Party, Dr. Jill Stein. Eric and Jill discuss everything from the rot and criminality at the heart of US politics, to the need for grassroots organizing beyond just the election seasons. The conversation opens with an examination of the odious record of Hillary Clinton, and the destruction that Clintonism has wrought on the working class in the US, and on innocents around the world. The conversation also touches on Donald Trump as the terrible boogeyman giving liberals the excuse to support Clinton. Dr. Stein also utters the unutterable: US as imperial state. Eric and Jill then talk organization, the necessity of a "Green Panther Party" with community-based survivial programs and so much more.
This week Eric welcomes back to the show author and filmmaker John Pilger to discuss the specter haunting Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America: Hillary Clinton. Eric and John discuss how Hillary represents a mortal danger to the world, and why Donald Trump has provided a very convenient bogeyman to hide the Democrat monster under our collective bed. The conversation also touches on the pernicious influence of the corporate media, the danger of liberal delusions and lesser evilism, the disastrous implications of a Hillary Clinton presidency for the poor and marginalized in the United States, and, of course, everyone's favorite subject: nuclear war. It's an uplifting hour with one of the leading anti-war, anti-imperialist voices of today.
This week Eric welcomes Jason Moore to the program to discuss his fascinating new book Capitalism in the Web of Life. Eric and Jason explore the concepts of nature and society, the interrelation between the two, and why Jason argues that we need to reevaluate how we think about both. The conversation explores some of the central themes of the book including the notion of "world-ecology," the crisis of capitalism as the era of cheapness comes to an end, as well as the dangers of dualistic thinking in our politics. Just in case any listeners got too despondent, Eric and Jason also explore ways in which the arguments in the book can inform activism and the political work of building a new and better society integrated with the web of life. Lots of ground is covered in this in depth conversation.
Musical interlude: I See Hawks in LA - Raised by Hippies
This week Eric welcomes back to the show CounterPunch Editor Jeffrey St. Clair to discuss the passion of Bernie Sanders, and the sorrow and/or pity of the Sandernistas. Eric and Jeff begin with an analysis of Sanders's campaign, the mistakes and shortcomings, and the positive developments to be taken from it. While neither #FeelTheBern, Eric and Jeff examine what this "movement" means for the future of activism and socialism in the US. In the second half of the show, Eric and Jeff discuss how a real grassroots movement can emerge in the US, the important lessons for the Sandernistas, the Green Party and its own shortcomings, and much more. It may sound all negative, but there is much to be hopeful about, even after listening to Jeff and Eric, we promise.
Musical Interlude: Parliament - Mothership Connection (Star Child)
This week Eric Draitser chats with journalist and activist Carmelo Ruiz about the situation in Puerto Rico, and why this small US colony is so relevant to contemporary issues. Eric and Carmelo begin with a discussion of Puerto Rico's debt crisis, and the policies and actions that have made it into Latin America's Greece, with specific attention paid to the role of Wall Street and neoliberal finance capital in creating the crisis. In the second half of the program, Eric and Carmelo discuss the ongoing agriculatural activism in Puerto Rico as peasants and concerned citizens join together to stop Monsanto, Bayer, and the chemical and agribusiness corporations. The conversation also touches on Bernie Sanders, the role of Puerto Rico in hosting US-backed right wing counter-revolutionaries, and the importance of understanding Puerto Rico in context of the right-wing ascendance in Latin America.
Musical Interlude: The Mekons - "Last Night on Earth"
This week Eric welcomes to the show UK-based Kurdish activist and organizer Elif Sarican to discuss the situation of the Kurds in the midst of the war in Syria, as well as the onslaught by the Turkish government. Eric and Elif begin by discussing the current military and political situation with particular attention to the brutal actions of the Turkish military, in addition to the changing reality on the ground on the Syrian side of the border. The conversation also touches on the geopolitical conflicts at play, alliances with the US and Russia, Israel's position, and much more.. The second half of the program delves into the ideological orientation and practice of the Kurds of Rojava, the political evolution of the region, and the role of western leftists in solidarity with Kurds.
Musical Interlude: Chumbawamba - "Bella Ciao"
This week Eric welcomes back to the program Laura Carlsen, director of the Americas Program at the Center for International Policy, to discuss the ongoing disappearances of activists in Mexico, the reassertion of US hegemony in Latin America, and how militarization and free trade are the cornerstones of US imperial power in the region. Eric and Laura begin with an analysis of the recent kidnappings of Mexican activists and the frightening similarities with the infamous Ayotzinapa disappearances of 2014. The conversation then shifts to Central America and Honduras, and the role of Hillary Clinton and the US in that country. Eric and Laura also discuss how the Trans-Pacific Partnership and privatization are at the heart of much of the negative developments in the Americas, and how this drive is connected to geopolitical and strategic considerations. All this and much more in this wide-ranging conversation.
This week Eric chats with political scientist Immanuel Ness about his new book Southern Insurgency: The Coming of the Global Working Class, and the implications of the shift in industrial production to the Global South. Eric and Immanuel explore the themes of the book which include the changing nature of labor struggle, in depth analyses of working class resistance in the "Third World," and how these struggles must shape and inform the discussion of solidarity on the Left, particulalry in the developed world. The conversation also touches on the nature of contemporary imperialism, the evolution of non-western capital as a quasi-alternative to western capital's hegemony, the role of organized labor, and much much more.
Musical Interlude: Billy Bragg - "There Is Power in a Union"
This week Eric sits down with economist Richard Wolff to discuss capitalism, its inefficiencies, and its discontents. They examine how the US and European economies have evolved in the era of neoliberalism, how financialization has pervaded every aspect of our economic lives, and how debt has become the central pillar of modern capitalism's house of cards. Eric and Richard also focus on solutions to the crisis of capitalism including the need for cooperative, worker self-directed enterprises and the democratization of the workplace. Putting the means of production in the hands of workers is no fantasy, but rather increasingly seems to be an absolute necessity.
Musical interlude: Ali Farka Toure - "Soya"
This week Eric Draitser welcomes to the program Vice Presidential candidate from the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) Eugene Puryear to discuss the future of socialism in the US, the role of leftist activism at the grassroots level, and the importance of connecting issues of capitalism, imperialism, and identity. While millions still #FeelTheBern, there are many like Eugene Puryear on the streets trying to unite young people, workers, and marginalized communities for the long-term struggle that will continue well after the election is over. It's not enough to complain, we must build! Eric and Eugene explore just how that might be done.
Musical Interlude: Marcel Cartier - "I'm a Socialist"
This week Eric welcomes investigative journalist Steve Horn to the show to discuss a little known energy lobbying organization, the connections between the Clinton and Trump campaigns and Big Energy, and some of the geopolitical issues surrounding Israel-Palestine and energy extraction. Steve outlines his investigation of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) and how it operates as both a lobbying group and a shaper of energy policy at the state and federal levels while it works to undermine environmental legislation. Eric and Steve also touch on Hillary Clinton and the Big Oil-Israel connection in her political machine, while also examining Donald Trump, whose energy policy advisers are likeiwse focused on Israel and the energy question. All this and much more in this week's CounterPunch Radio.
Musical interlude:Wire - "I Am the Fly"
This week Eric welcomes author and columnist Paul Street, and radical envrionmentalist and political activist Kevin Hester to CounterPunch Radio. First, Eric chats with America's leading ultra-sectarian ideological criminal Paul Street about why he's having second thoughts about Bernie Sanders, and why the ruling elites might be as well. Eric and Paul discuss the Sanders campaign, what it means for grassroots activism, and whether or not it's a dead end for those seeking radical change. They also touch on The Donald, the trumpen proletariat, and the danger of a fascist state in a post-President Trump scenario.
In the second part of the show Eric connects with Kevin Hester out on his isolated island in New Zealand to discuss the looming climate catastrophe and the unraveling of the biosphere. Eric and Kevin discuss the bleak, dystopian future of abrupt climate change, the latest report from James Hansen, and why everyone should be conscious of what is to come. Also, they examine the connection between climate change, the environment, and imperialism. Not exactly the rosiest picture, but an important reality.
I See Hawks in LA - Raised by Hippies
Gospel Beach - California Steamer
Freedom: Sove Peyi Mwen
Beachwood Sparks - Talk About Lonesome
This week Eric welcomes to the show author and activist Alexander Reid Ross to discuss the history and contemporary landscape of fascism in Europe and the US. Eric and Alexander discuss his latest book Against the Fascist Creep, going into detail about the long and sordid history of fascism from its earliest manifestations in pre-WWI Europe, to its modern form after Mussolini, to the current trends in fascism today. And then, of course, the obligatory "Is Trump a Fascist?" portion of the conversation gets quite interesting. Does Alexander Reid Ross make a case for fedualism? Tune in to CounterPunch Radio this week to find out!
Interlude: Billy Bragg & Wilco - "All You Fascists"
This week Eric chats with lawyer, social media strategist, and podcaster Alice Backer about the political situation in Haiti today, the insidious role of the Clintons, and the historical importance of the island nation as the leading edge of anti-colonial resistance. Eric and Alice explore the electoral drama unfolding in Haiti, and what it means for the future of the country. Of course, no discussion of the issue would be complete without an accounting of Hillary and Bill's criminal exploitation of the island over the last 25 years, up to and including today. The conversation also explores just why Haiti has been repeatedly subjected to the kind of repression and subjugation it has these last two centuries. All this and so much more in this wide-ranging discussion.
Musical interlude: Boukman Eksperyans - Jou Nou Revolte
This week Eric sits down with author Douglas Lain to discuss his new book After the Saucers Landed, and a veritable menagerie of mostly related topics including identity and subjectivity, authenticity, the overlap between politics and art, and so much more. Science fiction nerds and avant-garde art geeks rejoice! There's much to salivate over in this wide-ranging discussion where Philip K. Dick is elevated to the status of demigod, and Soviet Suprematism and Constructivism are discussed pretentiously *AND* unpretentiously. Also, both bearded and unbearded philosophers may hold hands in prayer as reference is made to everyone from Descartes to Derrida, from Barthes to Baudrillard. So much more to tell, just listen already!
Be sure to also check out Douglas Lain's podcast Zero Squared.
Parliament - Mothership Connection (Star Child)
This week Eric discusses threats to the planet and human civilization with regular CounterPunch contributors Robert Hunziker and John LaForge. First, Eric welcomes back to the show environmental journalist Robert Hunziker to discuss climate change, the latest research from the Arctic, and ways of reorienting our thinking to tackle these immense problems. The discussion touches on the record warmth of January and February, the melting Arctic and Antarctic ice, and the interconnected nature of the global ecosystem. Eric and Robert also discuss lifestyle modifications, new technology, and the importance of these issues to millennials as they have families of their own.
In the second part of the show Eric sits down with John LaForge to talk about Fukushima five years later, and the active threat of nuclear power to the environment, and life on this planet. They talk the conspiracy of silence over Fukushima, the "ticking time-bomb" at Indian Point (New York), and the political and economic obstacles to shutting down the nuclear facilities. John and Eric also discuss potential solutions, and the state of the anti-nuke movement.
Gospel Beach - "California Steamer"
Ali Farka Toure - "Soya"
Chumbawamba - "Enough is Enough"
This week Eric welcomes two great guests to the program. First, Eric sits down with the inimitable George Galloway to talk war, betrayal, and the Empire's ceaseless adventures in regime change. They discuss the culpability of the US, UK, and Europe in the death and destruction in the Middle East, the use of terrorism as a potent weapon of war, as well as the refugee crisis and the rise of racist and fascist sentiment in Europe. George also briefly touches on his campaign for mayor of London against both the Conservative and Labour candidates.
In the second part of the show Eric welcomes writer and political analyst Daniel Patrick Welch to the show. Eric and Dan go back and forth on racism, white supremacy and the necolonial attitudes bubbling to the surface in light of the refugee crisis. With references ranging from "Blazing Saddles" to "Seinfeld," they manage to have a little fun while exploring an issue that is of the utmost importance to contemporary politics and activism.
Intro & Outtro: David Vest - "Freight Train Rollin'"
Interlude: Billy Bragg & Wilco - "All You Fascists"
This week Eric sits down with philosopher, filmmaker, and author of the new book Exposing Lies of the Empire, Andre Vltchek, for a colorful discussion on culture and politics, imperialism, and the reality of the Global South. The conversation opens with an exploration of the role of art and literature in shaping politics and ideology, and how that has increasingly become lost in an ever more commodified and compartmentalized political culture. Eric and Andre then discuss the nature of contemporary imperialism and how it manifests itself in today's world. They go into many examples of Global South resistance to the Empire, why it's important to support independent peoples and nations, and the necessity of maintaining an international perspective without falling into the trap of neocolonial arrogance so often exhibited by the "first world left." These and many other topics in this week's CounterPunch Radio.
Intro and Outtro: David Vest - "Freight Train Rollin'"
Interlude: Wire - "I Am the Fly"
This week Eric sits down with journalist Diana Johnstone, author of the new book Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton available from CounterPunch Books. Eric and Diana discuss the myriad ways in which Hiillary Clinton has made herself into the embodiment of the military-industrial complex and the Empire, including her unabashed warmongering, shameless love affairs with Saudi Arabia and Israel, and continued belligerence toward Russia. Johnstone argues that Clinton represents an imminent threat to not just the United States, but the entire world, and that her worldview is as insidious as it is incompatible with peace. The conversation touches on Yugoslavia, Libya, and Honduras in order to illustrate Clinton's cynicism, pathological lying, and complete disregard for human suffering. All this and much more in this wide-ranging interview.
Intro and outtro: David Vest - Freight Train Rollin'
Interlude: The Mekons - Last Night on Earth
This week Eric sits down with political analyst and writer Pascal Robert to discuss author Ta-Nehisi Coates' recent attacks on Bernie Sanders and what they tell us both about Coates and the presidential election. Eric and Pascal discuss the issues of race and class, and why interrogating those issues is critical to examining Coates' recent writings, as well his individual social position in relation to the power structure. The second half of the show is an in depth dialogue about a variety of issues related to the 2016 campaign including whether Bernie Sanders actually has a chance to win, the outcome the political and financial establishment are pushing for, Hillary's scandal-plagued campaign, and any potential unexpected developments between now and primary season. All this and much more on CounterPunch Radio this week.
Intro and outtro: David Vest - Freight Train Rollin'
Interlude: Marcel Cartier - I'm a Socialist
This week Eric sits down with Steven Donziger, the US spokesman and legal adviser for the Ecuadorian communities suing Chevron over its gross environmental pollution since the 1960s. The case has made international headlines as it is the first of its kind to see indigenous communities winning a judgment against an oil company for environmental degradation. Eric and Steven discuss the specifics of the case and the ways in which Chevron has attempted to use legal maneuvering and trickery to avoid paying a massive settlement to those affected. The conversation also touches on the parallels between this case and others, as well as the long-term effects of the damage caused by Texaco/Chevron. All this and much more in this important episode of CounterPunch Radio.
Intro and outtro by David Vest.
Eric is back from Venezuela this week and oh, the places he's gone, the stories he'll tell. Eric welcomes his fellow traveler, activist and political analyst Caleb Maupin, to discuss their experiences in Venezuela during the all-important legislative elections. Eric and Caleb talk about their impressions of the country and the economic crisis afflicting it, as well as recounting their various conversations with ordinary Venezuelans. The discussion touches on everything from geopolitics to the mentality of Venezuelans on Election Day, examining the role of the economic and psychological war waged by the US against the Bolivarian government. Eric and Caleb also provide their analysis of the future for the country with a right wing National Assembly, the potential for open conflict in Venezuela and throughout South America, and much much more in this wide-ranging conversation.
Intro and outtro - "Freight Train Rollin'" by David Vest
Musical Interlude - "Work Like Chavez" by Rebel Diaz
This week Eric welcomes to CounterPunch Radio author, political analyst, and regular CounterPunch contributor John Wight to discuss recent developments in Syria, and the regional geopolitics that inform all events in the Middle East. Eric and John go in depth on the downing of the Russian jet by Turkey, and what that means for the ongoing war in Syria. They address a wide range of issues from the interplay between Wahhabi extremism and the Muslim Brotherhood, to the political development, and regional significance, of Egypt. The conversation also touches on the economic motivations of the interested parties, the role of Israel, Obama vs the Neocons, British politics as related to the war on Syria, and much much more. This far-ranging interview is yet another example of the kind of thing you just don't find outside CounterPunch.
Intro/Outtro: "Freight Train Rollin'" by David Vest
Interlude: "Where Were You" by The Mekons
This week Eric welcomes back to the show political analyst and human rights activist Ajamu Baraka to discuss Turkey's recent downing of a Russian jet in Syria. Eric and Ajamu examine the details of the incident and the political fallout from it. They discuss how Russia might respond and how this changes (if at all) the ongoing war in Syria, including Russia's active involvement. Ajamu also explains his reading on the larger political and geopolitical issues stemming from the downing of the jet. All this and much much more this week on CounterPunch Radio.
Intro/Outtro: "Freight Train Rollin'" by David Vest
Interlude: "I'm a Socialist" by Marcel Cartier