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!
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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!
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”