This week Eric welcomes to the show Boris Kagarlitsky: Marxist theoretician, sociologist, political dissident, and chief editor of the Russian-language online journal Rabkor.ru (The Worker). Boris provides his analysis of the current political landscape in Russia including the recent upsurge in protests around pension reform and other economic and social issues. He also explains how Russia in 2019 is not like the Soviet Union but Mexico in the 1970s; how Putin’s Russia is free but not democratic; and how there may be an opening for left politics in Russian political life as Putin’s popularity and control begin to slip. The second half of the show features a discussion of Ukraine’s recent election, how Russian propaganda around Ukraine is both accurate and also distorts the reality of the country, and how the contradictions at the heart of Ukraine remain at the heart of the conflict in the East. You’ll find this level of analysis on Russia, Ukraine and many other issues nowhere else but CounterPunch!
Music: Max Romeo – “Socialism Is Love”
This week Eric welcomes to the show author and economist Mark Weisbrot who serves as Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Mark comes on the show discuss his recent study co-authored with Jeffrey Sachs entitled Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment: The Case of Venezuela which details the real-world consequences of the US sanctions. Mark explains some of the data and methodology behind the study, and what the results reveal about the nature of the crisis. From there, Eric and Mark discuss some of the motivations behind Trump, Bolton & Co.’s actions, and how Venezuela is paying a price for a cynical political game. Is war on the table? What’s next? Listen to CounterPunch Radio this week to hear Mark Weisbrot’s take.
This week Eric welcomes to the show Brian Mier. Brian is a Brazil-based journalist, editor of BrasilWire, and author of the new book “Year of Lead: Washington, Wall Street, and the New Imperialism in Brazil.” Eric and Brian begin by discussing the changes on the streets and in institutions of power since the election of the far right President Jair Bolsonaro. Brian highlights some of the disturbing trends, and provides insights into the escalating war on LGBTQ, Afro-Brazilian, and indigenous communities. The conversation also touches on Trump, Bannon, and the connection between Bolsonaro’s power and the rise of the far right all over the Global North. The second half of the show touches on the failure of analysis from much of the western left, the importance of the movements to free former president Lula and oppose the neoliberal austerity measures and attacks on pensions, the rise of the Marielles, the role of commodity price collapse in ushering in the political instability in Brazil and so much more. Don’t miss this informative discussion about the state of Brazil today with one of the leading experts on the subject.
Music: Chumbawamba – Bella Ciao
This week Eric welcomes to the show Dave Zirin: sports editor at The Nation, host of the Edge of Sports podcast, author of numerous books including the recent “Things that Make White People Uncomfortable,” co-authored with football star and activist Michael Bennett. Eric and Dave begin with a discussion of Colin Kaepernick’s impact on the NFL and society, as well as what his story says about America in the Trump era. From there the conversation focuses on brain injuries and football’s existential crisis, among other issues. The second half of the interview explores a racially charged incident in baseball, the plight of deeply exploited minor league players, the growing movement to break the NCAA’s exploitative monopoly over young players, and so much more. This was a fun, enlightening chat whether you love sports or not.
Music: Mission of Burma “That’s When I Reach For My Revolver”
This week Eric welcomes to the show consumer advocate, progressive leader, and author of the new book How the Rats Re-formed the Congress, Ralph Nader. Listen to Ralph talk about his idea for the fiction book, how he intended it to be received, and why he thinks it’s so important in this moment. Eric and Ralph then discuss the argument that Clinton-Bush-Obama paved the way for Trump. From there, the conversation turns to the Boeing 737 Max 8 and Ralph’s personal connection to the tragedies. The great consumer advocate explains why significant reforms AND criminal charges must come in the wake of these preventable disasters. Eric manages to sneak in a question about the 2000 election and the concept of “spoiler” in left politics in the US, because of course he did. Ralph is cool, as always.
This time on CounterPunch Radio, Eric chats with political analyst and media critic JP Sottile about the fallout from the Mueller Report, how Russiagate may or may not fit into the 2020 election, what the hell happened in the Jussie Smollett case, and a lot more. The conversation begins with a discussion about the Mueller Report and Russiagate, and how the media has exploited our current politics for profits. Eric and JP discuss if/how Russiagate and “NO COLLUSION!” fit into the narrative of the 2020 campaign, and whether it helps or hurts both Trump and the Democrats. JP gives his astute analysis of the Democratic candidates, the electoral map, and changes in American politics that he foresees. The last portion of the discussion focuses on the Smollett case, and how it relates to broader sociopolitical questions of America in 2019.
Music: Nouvelle Vague – “Guns of Brixton”
“Writing is a type of sorcery.” So says author, poet, and educator Lesley-Ann Brown on this week’s CounterPunch Radio. Listen to hear Lesley-Ann discuss her book “Decolonial Daughter: Letters from a Black Woman to Her European Son” and some of the important political, cultural, and spiritual themes that weave the text together. Eric and Lesley-Ann explore memory, the role of mothers and women in indigenous cultures, how capitalism robs people of their histories, what colonization looked like from the beaches rather than the ships, the stories written upon our skin, and so much more.
Music: Max Romeo – “Socialism Is Love”
This week Eric welcomes to the show journalist, author, and host of The Infinite Inning podcast, Steven Goldman, to talk a little baseball, engage in a little sociology, explore the decline of journalism and rational thought in America…oh and talk some New York Mets, Mike Trout, and Shohei Ohtani.
Eric and Steven discuss how baseball reflects American society at any given point in its history, and why the place of baseball in modern American culture has changed so dramatically. The conversation explores some of the political aspects of the game in 2019, including what a racist controversy in Milwaukee might tell us about America in the Age of Trump and about the collapse of real sports journalism. From there, Eric and Steven touch on everything from the baseball players union to Mike Trout’s status as a living god. Don’t miss this fun conversation on CounterPunch Radio.
Music: “Devo – “Freedom of Choice”
Note: Interview recorded on January 18, 2019
This time Eric welcomes to the show author and journalist Liza Featherstone to discuss some of her recent writings on feminism and progressive politics, the 2019 Women’s March, and her new book “Divining Desire: Focus Groups and the Culture of Consultation.” The conversation begins with a discussion of contemporary feminist politics, and how recent political developments may call into question the hegemony of elite white feminism and corporate entryism for women. From there, Eric and Liza explore some of the political context surrounding January’s Women’s March, and how it all dovetails with the progressive movement, and especially the Bernie 2020 campaign. The second half of the interview explores Featherstone’s new book, and how the history and development of the focus group is intimately connected with the development of post-war capitalism and the modern, consumer-centered economy of today.
Music: Jackson Browne – “Lawyers in Love”
This week CounterPunch Radio continues its coverage of the attempted US-backed coup in Venezuela by chatting with author and attorney Eva Golinger. Eva was a close adviser and confidante of Hugo Chavez, and had a front row seat for the development of the Bolivarian Revolution. Eric and Eva discuss the situation unfolding in Venezuela today and examine how it got to this point. Eva provides her analysis of the domestic and international issues that have led to the crisis, including mismanagement and corruption on the part of the Maduro government, as well as the ongoing US attempts to undermine, destabilize, and ultimately overthrow Maduro and destroy the Bolivarian Revolution. Eric and Eva explore the impact of sanctions on the Venezuelan economy, how the collapse of oil prices impacted the country, Chavez’s vision versus today’s reality, and the ignorance of the Trump administration as to the level of resistance of the Venezuelan people. This in-depth discussion provides the sort of analysis on Venezuela you’re unlikely to find anywhere else!