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!
This week CounterPunch Radio is co-hosted by CounterPunch’s Managing Editor, Joshua Frank, who turns the tables on Eric as interviewer becomes interviewee. Eric provides his analysis of the situation in Venezuela: How we got here, what’s happening, and what comes next. The conversation begins with some background on Venezuela’s recent history, Eric and Josh’s experiences in Venezuela, and the general political and economic context for the current crisis. From there, Eric and Josh discuss some of the international angles of the story, including how Venezuela is a geopolitical battleground in the global conflict between the US and Russia (and China), and the role of oil and other natural resources. The conversation touches on a wide variety of other topics including the political culture in Venezuela, the importance of Bolivarian idealism over personality cults, and the importance of regional and international solidarity. Eric finishes this episode with an important plea to the rest of the Left in the US and beyond.
This week Eric welcomes to the show Billie Winner-Davis, mother of whistleblower Reality Winner. Billie explains the circumstances that led to her daughter’s arrest, conviction under the Espionage Act, and current incarceration…but that’s only the beginning of the story. Eric and Billie explore the political context within which Reality’s case must be understood, the monumental and deliberate failure of corporate media to cover Reality’s story, and the struggle Reality’s friends and family have gone through to defend her. While the news is dominated each and every day by endless stories related to Russiagate, somehow Reality’s story has been made taboo, something not worthy of attention. Well, not here on CounterPunch Radio.
In the final episode of 2018, Eric welcomes back to the show economist, author, and former finance minister of Greece, Yanis Varoufakis, to discuss the state of global politics today. Eric and Yanis begin with an examination of how the financial crisis that began in 2008 has reshaped political affairs over the last ten years, and the role of austerity in fomenting many of these changes including the ascendance of far right politics. From there, the conversation moves swiftly to an analysis of Trump, his base, and how the politics he represents should be understood. Eric then asks Yanis to provide his perspective on Brexit, why and how the European Union should be transformed, Bernie Sanders and the international progressive movement, a Green new Deal, and so much more. This is a wide-ranging conversation with one of the leading voices of left politics in the world today. Don’t miss it!
Follow @yanisvaroufakis on twitter
This time Eric sits down with veteran activist and organizer L.A. Kauffman to discuss her new book “How to Read a Protest: The Art of Organizing and Resistance.” Kauffman, who was the mobilizing coordinator for the massive Iraq War protests of 2003-2004, discusses her experiences as an organizer, and why mass protests are important. Eric and L.A.explore the relevance of protest, and how to evaluate its effectiveness. They discuss the 1963 March on Washington, and how history has remebered and, in some ways, distorted, its impact. From there, the conversation touches on everything from the role of the media in amplifying messages, to the human connections developed in organizing such mass actions, to the contrasts between large and small protests. Kauffman’s book is a primer for activists, and this conversation is an introduction to some of those ideas.
Music: Lee “Scratch” Perry & Errol Walker – In These Times
This week Eric welcomes to the show author and academic Bradley Hart to discuss his important new book “Hitler’s American Friends: The Third Reich’s Supporters in the United States” and the contemporary events it informs. The conversation begins with a discussion of some of the findings in the book regarding pro-Nazi sentiment in the US during the 1930s, how it manifested, and who/what was behind it. From there, Eric and Bradley discuss everything from the discourse of isolationism to the clear parallels between Nazi race laws and their Jim Crow models, as well as other similarities between the two countries. The second half of the discussion focuses on politics in the Age of Trump, and how understanding pro-fascist sentiment in the US historically informs our understanding of the rise of fascism today. How does Big Capital fit in? What was the role of communism and trade unions in fighting fascism in America? These and so many other questions all addressed in this wide-ranging discussion.
Music: Devendra Banhart – “Heard Somebody Say”
This week Eric sits down with Brazil-based multimedia journalist Michael Fox for an in-depth discussion on the exceedingly dangerous political situation in Brazil as a fascist prepares to assume the presidency. Michael provides an overview of the current conditions and provides background on Jair Bolsonaro, the Trump-like far-right candidate widely expected to win the second round of the election at the end of October. Eric and Michael examine everything from the use of fake news to bolster Bolsonaro and the support he’s received from big capital to the responses from the social movements and Brazilian left. The second half of the podcast focuses on victories on the Left, the importance of the social movements, and the insidious role of Steve Bannon and the growing fascist international in backing Bolosonaro. Naturally, there is also discussion of how Bolsonaro truly is a Brazilian Trump. All this and so much more in this special report from Brazil exclusively on CounterPunch Radio! #elenao
Music: Linton Kwesi Johnson – “Fite Dem Back”
This week Eric welcomes author and journalist David Dayen to the show to discuss his recent investigation into ICE contractors and his coverage of the anti-ICE activist groups around the country. Eric and David discuss the privatized detention and deportation system, and how corporate profits and impunity are driving the child separation and domestic removal policies. From there, David provides some insights into the courageous and determined activist groups and local movements that are fighting back against Trump and the entire immigration machine. The second half of the conversation takes a look back 10 years after the subprime housing crisis. David, who literally wrote the book on the human costs of that crisis, explains how little has changed since 2008. Eric and David discuss everything from those impacted in 2008 to the changing nature of the housing market post-2008 which has shut out millions in favor of Wall Street. All this and a lot more in this week’s CounterPunch Radio. Don’t miss it!