This time Eric welcomes back to the show CounterPunch contributor Paul Street to discuss capitalism and the pandemic, the Orange Antichrist, Bernie’s flame-out, and the shocking collapse of Truthdig. First, Eric and Paul go in depth on how the pandemic is a direct result of capitalist development and ecocide, and the fact that Trump’s base is only interested in white nationalism and authoritarianism. The second half of the show is a post-mortem of the Bernie Sanders campaign as Eric and Paul discuss what went wrong, and whether or not Bernie represents the final nail in the coffin of the “transforming the Democratic Party” mantra. Finally, Paul gives his inside perspective on what happened at Truthdig and why independent left media is so critical in these crazy times.
Music: The Mekons – “Simone”
This time Eric welcomes back to the show Marxist economist and author Michael Roberts to discuss the prospects for the global economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Eric and Michael begin by discussing whether the virus was an exogenous calamity or merely the tipping point for much deeper structural problems with global production and profitability. From there, Michael explains why Keynesians are wrong in describing “demand crises” when really it’s supply crises that drive economic downturns, and why comparisons of 2020 and 1987 fall flat. The second half of the episode explores the role of oil price collapse and corporate debt in exacerbating the coming depression, and the material reality of life for workers under the dire economic conditions we now face. Lots of ground covered with one of the best economists working today. Don’t miss it!
Music: Dean Wareham – Wayfaring Stranger
Counterpunch Radio returns with a conversation with philosopher Jason Stanley, author of “How Fascism Works” (2018). Eric and Jason explore the nature of contemporary fascism, its historical roots, and the connection between the politics and culture. They examine fascism as defined by Marxists versus that defined by liberal democrats and explore whether a single interpretation is insufficient. From there the interview touches on how Trump and fascists use language, the precarity of truth in a fascist era, and the question of whether Trump represents a unique threat or simply the removal of the white supremacist mask. Lots of ground covered in this great conversation.
Music: Audiobinger – Pumpkin Spice
This week Eric welcomes to the show activist and author Eric Blanc whose book Red State Revolt (Verso, 2019) documented the teachers strike wave across the country in 2018-2019. The conversation begins with a discussion of the nature of the strikes, the political context in which they happened, and the juxtaposition of labor activism in red versus blue states. From there, Eric explains how standardized testing, charter schools, and privatization broadly has decimated the teaching profession in recent decades, and how the recent labor uprising from teachers and education professionals is a backlash to those trends. The final part of the conversation focuses on the Bernie 2020 campaign, and the specifics of Bernie’s proposals on education and rolling back the Wall Street-financed privatization movement.
Music: Max Romeo – “Socialism Is Love”
This week Eric welcomes to the show investigative journalist and founder of Forensic News, Scott Stedman, along with Deutsche Bank whistleblower Val Broeksmit, to discuss the bombshell report from Forensic News confirming a direct link between Trump’s Deutsche Bank loans and the Russian bank VTB. The conversation begins with a deep dive into the story and Val’s background, including his father, a former Deutsche Bank executive who committed suicide in 2014. Val and Scott help lay out the connections between Trump, the US subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, and the Russian oligarch bank VTB. The conversation touches on numerous angles to this story including Val’s cooperation with the FBI, the main pieces of evidence, and a macro-level view of how this revelation fits into the broader Trump-Russia puzzle. Whether you’re a Russiagate enthusiast, skeptic, or somewhere in between, this week’s show is all about the evidence.
Music: Constantines – “Young Lions”
This week Eric welcomes to the show Iraq war veteran, antiwar activist, and filmmaker Mike Prysner to help us understand what’s going on in the minds of soldiers with the US on the brink of another war. Mike tells us about his journey from enlisting to finding himself on the ground in Iraq to coming home and organizing against the war and US imperialism. Eric and Mike discuss the reasons young people join, the myth versus reality, and the coercive nature of military recruitment. Mike also reminds us the history of war resisting, from the Philippines to Vietnam, and the historical tradition from which he comes. As we careen over the cliff into another war, it’s all the more important to listen to voices like Mike Prysner. Don’t miss this conversation.
Music: Minutemen – “The Big Stick”
After a hiatus, Counterpunch Radio returns with an urgent new episode on the crisis with Iran. Joining Eric this time is Oxford senior researcher and founder of Hands Off the People of Iran, Yassamine Mather. Eric and Yassamine discuss the assassination of Soleimani and the crisis it has sparked, the internal politics and protests in Iran, the complicated regional picture, and more.
Recorded January 8, 2020
Music: Devendra Banhart – Heard Somebody Say
This week Eric welcomes to the show Marxist economist and blogger Michael Roberts to discuss the latest global economic issues. The conversation begins with the interesting moves by the US Federal Reserve in late September and what they might mean for the US domestic, and ultimately global, economic outlook. From there the conversation shifts to macroeconomic trends and how Trump’s trade war with China might impact the depressed global situation, including laying the groundwork for a technology and supply chain war. The second half of the show focuses on the oil price and global oil markets, and how they are impacting the geopolitics and economic interests of the world’s power blocs. Finally, Eric and Michael discuss financialization and the rentier economy, and explore whether these are sufficient to explaining the current economic crisis.
Music: Lee Scratch Perry & Errol Walker – “In These Times”
This week Eric welcomes to the show investigative journalist and editor of Sludge, Alex Kotch, to talk Trump, Ukraine, campaign finance violations, and much more. Naturally, the conversation begins with a discussion of the latest in Trumplandia, including the opening of the impeachment inquiry and what that might mean for Trump and the Democrats. From there, Alex discusses his latest investigation into Facebook’s profiting from far-right propaganda, including the broader implications of social media as a platform for such politics. Finally, Eric and Alex discuss the death of David Koch and the legacy of the Koch Brothers’ insidious, decades-long right wing project. Don’t miss this week’s show!
Music: Mission of Burma – “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver”
This week Eric welcomes back to the show political analyst and all around news vandal, JP Sottile, curator of the Newsvandal daily newsletter. Eric and JP discuss oil, oil, and more oil; how global politics and economics are being shaped by it, and what the future may hold. JP explains why he refers to this period as “Donald Trump’s Oily Presidency” and what the rule of Big Oil has meant for the geopolitical chessboard in the Middle East and beyond. Eric and JP discuss the recent drone strike against Saudi oil facilities, who might have been involved, how the war in Yemen is related and so much more. The second half of the show features an in depth discussion of Russia, the strategic calculus in the era of late stage oil, and much more. A quick episode summary won’t do this discussion justice. Don’t miss it!
Music: John Mayall – “Gasoline Blues”