Sunday, November 22, 2015

Rooted in capitalist system ideology?

GUEST: Kaya Weidman, co-founder of Kite’s Nest, an organization that runs the Social Justice Leadership Academy's five week workshop for teenagers in Hudson, NY, talks about teaching community organizing and self expression to Black and Latino students through youth produced radio, music, poetry and public speaking.

This very interesting interview was done well over a month ago. I never thought that I would have a backload of excellent guests, but that is what has happened. We only interview one guest for each show. Perhaps we should expand this and cut back on Fantasy Land Media and our history section. Eli and I are going to review our mix in the coming weeks to see what needs to be changed.

One of the reasons we have so many thought provoking guests is that Gail Leondar-Wright, a book publicist, is sending me such great choices. And she sends me the books well before each show so that I can read them first. In fact, Activist Radio could rely completely on Gail and Just World Books for left oriented writers to interview. But that would leave out local connections to students and progressive community activists. 

Kaya is firmly in the community activist category. What she does in Hudson, NY, would go unnoticed without a local radio station like WVKR. Not completely unnoticed because there are other independent stations in the Mid Hudson area, and because Kaya is a good writer and gets articles published in progressive media. In fact, that is where I found Kaya. 

If you listened to our interview, we talk a lot about community organizing. Do whites have a role in teaching African Americans how to resist the oppression and racism that seems to be part of the fabric of our society? Back we go to Myles Horton and the Highlander Center, such an important part of the Civil Rights Movement. 

Myles considered himself an outsider who was thoroughly committed to overthrowing the status quo. He told us during a short visit I made to the Highlander Center that his type of activism came from an anti-authority streak rooted deeply in Southern consciousness. Early on, Myles had grown up outside the system, reading the Bible and Marx. He put a world view together for himself, free from miccle class influences. I feel that his teaching was equally free from white, middle class moralizing about how Blacks should better themselves. One of his books, We Make the Road by Walking, highlights this method of pedagogy. Myles was a traveler on the road, not a person with all the answers, and his rebellion extended all the way to how we learn in a capitalist society. Do we actually learn, or are we taught what to say and think? And can a person rooted in capitalist system ideology ever value human rights and economic justice for others? 

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