This week Eric sits down with education and labor activist and Green Party candidate for Lt. Governor of New York, Jia Lee. Eric and Jia explore everything from the neoliberal assault on education to the disaster capitalism at work in Puerto Rico. The conversation begins with a discussion about the ways in which Wall Street and billion-dollar corporations are privatizing and capitalizing public education while undermining teachers unions and destroying teaching as a profession. From there, Jia discusses her experiences this past summer in Puerto Rico, and how the devastation post Hurricane Maria mirrors what we’ve seen in New Orleans and elsewhere. The last part of the interview focuses on the campaign, the relevance of an issue-centered “activist” campaign, and the need for unity in the face of this right wing attack. All this and so much more on the latest CounterPunch Radio.
Music: The Orwells – “Who Needs You”
This week Eric welcomes to the show Israeli dissident, activist, and co-founder of Boycott from Within, Ronnie Barkan, to discuss the current situation in Palestine, some of the important history that has led to the current moment, and various forms of resistance to Israeli oppression and apartheid. The conversation begins with an exploration of Jewish society and the distinctions between liberal Zionists and the right-wing Zionists, the importance of the Israeli legal system in upholding apartheid, and much more. Ronnie provides some critical insights into nuances of Israeli law and society to highlight how deep the brainwashing and propaganda of the Israeli state has penetrated. Eric and Ronnie discuss the recent passage of the Israeli “Nationality Law” and what it means for the future of Arab-Israelis and, especially, Palestinians both in Palestine and the diaspora. Ronnie also explores the importance of Ahed Tamimi, and how her heroic resistance has led to a crisis in Israeli social discourse. Finally, Ronnie provides an update on the current state of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and how it is impacting the situation in Palestine. All this and so much more in this wide-ranging discussion.
Music: Devo – “Freedom of Choice”
This week Eric welcomes author and Yale professor Jason Stanley to discuss his brand new book How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them. The conversation opens with a discussion of the motivation for writing the book, and what “Us” and “Them” means for understanding fascist politics of the past and today. From there, Eric and Jason touch on some of the key elements of fascism discussed in the book while providing examples of how those ideas are being expressed in the context of Trumpism and the global march to the far right. The second half of the conversation touches on other examples internationally, from Salvini in Italy to Orban in Hungary to Netanyahu in Israel, fascism is here and must be understood. From nostalgia and mythology to the notion of shared, collective oppression, fascism is rearing its ugly head all over the world. This in depth interview and new book should provide the tools we need to understand and fight it.
Music: Chumbawamba – “Bella Ciao”
This week Eric welcomes to the show award-wining journalist Barrett Brown to discuss his recent and very public falling out with Julian Assange, his perspective on Wikileaks and the role of Assange within it, and his exciting new Pursuance Project. The first half of the conversation explores Brown’s work, his relationship to Assange/Wikileaks, and the circumstances that led to Brown’s serving four years in prison. Barrett explains how his conflict with Assange developed, and provides insights into some of the internal conflicts roiling Wikileaks now, and in the recent past. The second half of the show provides a detailed exploration of Pursuance: what the project is, why it’s critically important, and how it could fundamentally transform journalism, among other things, in the 21st Century. This is an explosive, jam-packed show…don’t miss it!
Music: The Coup – “Laugh/Love/Fuck”
Warning: this interview between Louisa Willcox and actress and activist Margot Kidder could change your life. Margot was a brilliant spokesperson for the underdog and the dispossessed, who cared deeply about wilderness and the fate of the planet. Margie was also my friend, and one of the most generous, hilarious, smart and beautiful people I have ever met. Margie enjoyed a successful career acting, known, in particular, for her role as Lois Lane in the Superman Series alongside Christopher Reeves.
This interview was done in December, 2016, shortly after Margie returned from unprecedented protests at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, aimed at stopping a pipeline from being built under the Missouri River. Within a week of this interview, the Trump administration ordered the razing of the protest site, forcible removal of all remaining protesters, and completion of the pipeline.
The time then did not seem ripe to publish this piece, but Margie passed in May, 2018, and I feel that others could be empowered and inspired by her perspectives and experience at the protest. She offers insights here that have not been covered in the press. Margie shares a powerful and clear vision for improving our relations with each other, and the importance of challenging the dominant role of the extractive energy industry and tackling perhaps the most important problem of our time: climate change.
This week Eric welcomes back to the show author and journalist Arun Gupta to discuss everything from being a journalist in the Trump era to immigration, trade wars, and the sorry state of analysis on the left today. The show begins with a discussion of the Trump news cycle, the importance of sticking to issues, and some banter about Russia and what is, or isn’t, important to our political reality. From there, Eric and Arun discuss Trump’s trade wars, and whether it’s a brilliant move from a position of strength, or a dangerous play that could harm his political fortunes. The second half of the show focuses on immigration, and how the Trump Administration has used immigration “enforcement” as a form of ethnic cleansing. Also, Eric and Arun explore the obsession in some quarters of the left with Obama, and the new mantra of whataboutism that Obama has come to represent. So much covered in this wide-ranging interview. Don’t miss it.
*Note: Some minor audio issues just before the break, which last a few minutes.
Music: Constantines – “Young Lions”
This week Eric welcomes to the show author and academic Stan Malinowitz to discuss the recent elections in Colombia, among other important developments. The conversation begins with a rundown and analysis of the elections, including a profile of the two main candidates from the left and far right. Eric and Stan then discuss the recent wave of political assassinations, and what this means for the incoming administration and the people of Colombia. Additionally, Stan explains how neoliberalism manifests in Colombia, and how the economic situation will likely evolve under a far right wing government. The second half of the show focuses on Colombia’s role in regional and international issues, including the news that Colombia will be an observer-member of NATO. Eric and Stan also compare and contrast the right wing victory in Colombia with the victory of left-populist AMLO in Mexico. From Venezuela and Brazil to Nicaragua and Mexico, Colombia is a central actor in nearly every regional issue, and as such, commands our attention this week.
Music: Nouvelle Vague – “Guns of Brixton”
This week Eric welcomes to the show author and academic Rob Larson to discuss his latest book “Capitalism vs. Freedom: The Toll Road to Serfdom” and the ideologies and politics that inspired it. Rob explains why he felt it was important to combat the pernicious influence of right wing economic ideas, and the discourse by which it is spread. Eric and Rob examine the origins of neoliberalism and modern far right economics, and how they were translated into policy, both domestically and internationally. The conversation explores ideas about the nature of freedom, the ruthless efficiency of capitalism and privatization, and the need for dictatorships to carry out right wing Friedmanite economic policies. The second half of the show discusses some contemporary political questions, whether the Trump administration is truly neoliberal, how anarcho-capitalists and neoliberals explain away the glaring holes in their theories, and so much more. Don’t miss this wide-ranging discussion.
Music: Max Romeo – “Socialism Is Love”
This week Eric welcomes to the show undocumented activist and organizer Aly Wane to discuss refugees and migration, the Trump Administration’s policies at the border, and the political trajectory that brought us here. Aly and Eric discuss everything from the horrific, fascistic enforcement policy of the Orange Beast to the complicity of Democrats and liberals in creating the infrastructure that Trump now employs. The conversation explores the connection between the refugee/migration issue and US imperialism, and how that understanding is critical to building a true resistance movement. Aly provides valuable insights from his many years of activism, urging listeners and aspiring activists to mobilize and show true solidarity with the victims of the deportation machine. This wide-ranging interview should be heard by everyone who truly wants to learn from the experiences of our brothers and sisters most affected by this.
Music: Linton Kwesi Johnson – “Fite Dem Back”
This time Eric welcomes to the show researcher and activist John Ackerman to discuss the upcoming Mexican elections, the issues at play, and the significance of these elections for the country and the region as a whole. The conversation begins with an in depth examination of the front-runner, left wing candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), his policy proposals, and the challenges he’ll face as president. Eric and John discuss where big capital fits into this, whether they’re united in their support of a candidate, and what a prospective AMLO presidency means for Mexico’s corporate elites. The second half of the show focuses on the regional political dynamics, and the importance of these elections for the whole of Latin America. From taming the dotard Trump to addressing endemic corruption, AMLO will have his hands full. And yet, he may very well be the hope of a resurgent left in Latin America. Don’t miss this informative discussion on CounterPunch Radio
Music: The Coup – “Ride the Fence”