Saturday, January 13, 2018

Protectors of peace


Take my blood. Take my death shroud and
The remnants of my body.
Take photographs of my corpse at the grave, lonely. 
Send them to the world, To the judges and
To the people of conscience,
Send them to the principled men and the fair-minded. 
And let them bear the guilty burden, before the world,
Of this innocent soul.
Let them bear the burden, before their children and before history,
Of this wasted, sinless soul,
Of this soul which has suffered at the hands of the "protectors of peace." 

-Jumah al Dossari, who was brutally tortured, sexually assaulted, and held three and a half years in solitary confinement. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 with no charges against him.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Vets are the canaries in the coal mine

GUEST: Ken Churchill, creator of the American Homeless Land Model campaign to set aside public land for citizens and US veterans without shelter, will talk about some of his recent successes in small towns across the country.

Good ideas about helping our nation's homeless population are hard to find. There are so many people without any resources, especially in our major cities. America has become accustomed to seeing them, as we have become accustomed to so many other of our society's failures.

Ken's idea is to grant them land where they can build small homes for themselves and create functioning communities. It is worth a try, of course. Like Occupy however, these communities will have some basic problems. The homeless are often mentally ill, and not able to function in a working system. Many times homeless people are also addicted, further complicating life in such an encampment. 

Perhaps Occupy would have run its course, if it hadn't been violently dismantled by Obama and the fascist police he unleashed. We just don't know how resistance communities do over the long haul.

Maybe the problem isn't just a lack of buildable land. The distribution of wealth within our society is the most unequal of any developed country in the world. Perhaps the fault lies in the fact that marginalized people are often the ones fighting the empire's wars. When they return home, they don't have the skills or the contacts to keep them off the streets. In addition, vets are often traumatized by their experiences killing civilians in the Third World to protect US profits. Depression and addiction often follow. 

So is it the $700 billion we spend on war each year that puts tens of thousands of vets on the street? If our country gave them what it did returning vets in 1945, homelessness would be much less on an issue. Moreover, if our country decided to return to being a democracy, perhaps the rest would follow.  We have an empire, controlled by greedy billionaires who have learned how to squeeze the last bit of money from those in our country who are not filth rich. Maybe homeless vets are the canaries in the coal mine.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Rainbow Race

GUEST: Rivera Sun, author of The Dandelion Insurrection and other novels, cohost of Love and Revolution Radio, and trainer in nonviolent campaigns, talks about applying Gandhi's ideas to the fight for Net Neutrality. 
Love (and Revolution) Radio

Rivera Sun offered our listeners some interesting alternatives to the two corporate party rule that we have now. One party gives the corporations all they want, while mouthing support for the working class. The other party gives corporation all they want, while using racism to stir up support from its white, Christian base.

Corporations are very happy, as are the people who own them. The 1% got close to 80% of the huge tax breaks just passed, meaning that so many of the programs that benefit middle America will be cut or done away with. Think Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education, healthcare for tens of millions.

All the Democrats in power can talk about is the Russian conspiracy. That's just fine for their corporate backers. In fact, the system works very well for the billionaires, while the rest of us get robbed.

Enter people like Rivera Sun, whose ideas go back to the 1960's. Establish resistance communities, create movements that defy the corporate parties, and don't be afraid to think big. We are all coming to realize that the system we have now is not only grossly unfair, but is suicidal for our very future on this earth. Time to think big, and join the resistance. At this point, what do we have to lose?

I did this program in a snowstorm. The radio studio at Vassar College was empty. It was just me and the blizzard winds I could see from the third floor window. It made me think about the many ideas for social justice. Our species is endlessly creative. In the dead of winter, we can think about the birth of a new social movement that puts humanity above greed and violence. We will evolve in time to save our Rainbow Race.

One blue sky above us
One ocean lapping all our shore
One earth so green and round
Who could ask for more
And because I love you
I'll give it one more try
To show my rainbow race
It's too soon to die.
- Pete Seeger

Friday, January 5, 2018

In memory of Pia Alexander

In memory of our dear friend and fellow activist, Pia Alexander, who passed away this week. From your trip to the deep South during the Civil Rights Era to your journey to Cairo as part of the 2009 Gaza Freedom March, you always stood up for those who were being oppressed. You were never afraid to speak truth, nor to portray truth in your art. 

You will always be with us ... Presente.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Practice runs in overthrowing the tyranny of Wall Street

GUEST: Jack, member of the Hudson Valley Antifascist Network, talks about the influence of Occupy and Black Lives Matter on ANTIFA, and of the organization's efforts in defending our communities through direct action, education and protest.

Jack didn't give his last name, and I understand why. ANTIFA has been criminalized by our media, ever eager to demonize organizations that have a real potential for social change.

ANTIFA isn't filled with Ivy League graduates. It resembles Occupy in that most of its younger participants are community college students or dropouts, a population that has felt America's economic decline more than the children of the rich elite. Occupy and ANTIFA are dangerous to our current kleptocracy simply because they represent the working class. 

Trump's biggest achievement has been to turn working class people into racists. How else to continue robbing them? If Trump can blame the thievery of the elite on Blacks, Muslims and immigrants, why then the ruling class can continue fleecing all the rest of us.

Occupy was made up of the sons and daughters of middle America. The alternative communities they tried to form were a working class revolution, virtually free from sexism, racism, homophobia and all the other contrived hatreds that the ruling class uses to keep us apart. Obama recognized the danger and worked secretly to have occupy torn apart.

Real change (not the hype of Obama's "change you can believe in" public relations campaign) will come when workers take power. Occupy and ANTIFA are practice runs in overthrowing the tyranny of Wall Street and the filthy rich. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Off With Their Heads

Sadly and disturbingly the billionaires have won again, taking a trillion dollars over the next ten years for their obscene tax cuts.

We all know who will be hurt by their greed: children, students, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid recipients, those without healthcare, etc. In short, the richest are once again robbing the rest of us.

But why don't we call this by what it really is, murder. Those who can't afford medication and treatment will be killed because people like the Koch Brothers want more mansions and yachts. Billionaires are psychopaths; no amount is ever enough, and they are willing to murder any number of the poor to get more.

A sane society would lock people like this up. They are a mortal danger to millions of Americans. In fact, incarcerating them would protect them from the next parent who watches a child die for lack of adequate medical treatment, or from the next enraged spouse whose husband or wife couldn't afford insulin. Someday, people may go gunning for those who murder for limitless greed.

Whole societies have turned on their filthy rich when life became unbearable. The French Revolution beheaded a whole class of people who lived in vast palaces while millions starved. Perhaps it is only a matter of time before people in this country start shouting "off with their heads." Just three billionaires now own more than half of the entire population. When will a destitute and infuriated American populace finally march them to the guillotine?

Fred Nagel

He Will Make Us Great Again

"Drain the swamp" has been with us longer than Trump. Bill Clinton ran as an agent of change, the "Man From Hope" who would stand up to Washington insiders. Obama worked the reformist angle even better, convincing a new generation of voters that he would produce "Change We Can Believe In."

Clinton and Obama were clever charlatans, praying on the frustration of the majority at the outright corruption of the few. Once in office, they did the bidding of these same elites, enriching themselves in the process.

Trump's message was virtually the same, but with racist overtones. Once in office, he blamed the powerless for the corruption in Washington and the lack of economic progress for most of Americans. He attacked gays, immigrants, Blacks, and Muslims, and allied himself with white supremacists. The failure of both major parties to change the economic inequities in our society had created the opening for a demagogue.   

The most dangerous of demagogues have spoken to inner needs of the lower classes, and Trump is no exception. He creates a fable of white America and promises to restore its ethnic, racial and sexual purity. He will make us great again. 

By 1928, many industrialist in Germany had cast their lot with Adolf Hitler. So too have many billionaire corporate leaders given their support to Trump. He, like Hitler, personifies the end point of corporate corruption and its dominance of the political process. 

We the people must fight to save our democracy while there is still time. 

Fred Nagel