September 20, 2019

Teaching us how

September 19

GUEST: Lisa Fithian, nonviolent trainer for the Battle of Seattle, the resistance after Hurricane Katrina, Occupy Wall Street, Standing Rock, and Ferguson, explores her fascinating career, and explains why Mother Jones describes her as “the nation’s best-known protest consultant." 

Oct 4 at 6:30 pm. Talk and Book Signing by Lisa Fithian
Oct 5 at 6:00 pm. Talk and Book Signing by Lisa Fithian
Shut It Down: Stories From a Fierce, Loving Resistance

Lisa is an idealist with a mind like a general. She knows her troops for justice and shares their suffering as well as their occasional sweet taste of victory. She is a details person, and recounts her many campaigns in this moving book, Shut It Down.

There is more than a little Abbie Hoffman in her outrageous plans and her sly sense of humor. She has never been afraid to try for the big one, to shut down entire events in the very fortresses of the rich and powerful.

Raphaelle and I had a delightful time reading her book and then getting a chance to interview her. In the end, the hope of Occupy lingers in her writing. We can change the world if we think we can, and are willing to take some risks. Lisa teaches us how. 

Our own place in the American Empire

September 12

GUEST: Ramatu Ahmed, Executive Director of the African Life Center, Bronx, committee member of the U.S. National Council of Women and the Harlem Hospital’s Medina Clinic, talks about the Ghanaian community in New York City and the need for higher education for girls and adult women.

A Celebration of African Women

Ramatu is a very good spokesperson for her people. She is Muslim, an immigrant from Africa and a woman, making her the target of America's new wave of xenophobic, racist and misogynist poison. Trump didn't invent this poison; it has been here since we wiped out the land's indigenous peoples, brought in slaves to make us rich, and then relentlessly oppressed them once they were technically "free."

Ramatu doesn't really want to talk about America this way. Like so many immigrants to our land, she just wants a chance for a better life. We learn courage from Ramatu's advocacy for her people. We don't learn too much about our own place in the American Empire. 

We Thank You

September 5

Once a year our host station, WVKR, has its fund drive. We aired a previous interview while we asked listeners to call 845 437-7178 and make a donation. Our guest was Krystal Two Bulls talking about Standing Rock and her experiences in the US military. I am glad we got to air it again; she is that good. So thanks to Krystal Two Bulls and to all the listeners who called in to support Activist Radio. 

Krystal Two Bulls
WVKR 91.3 FM

September 3, 2019

More dangerous than either nuclear war or climate change

August 29

GUEST: Jasmine Banks, civil rights activist and Executive Director of the UnKoch My Campus campaign, talks about how the Koch brothers buy their way into college campuses to spread their right wing, racist ideology.

Why the Koch Brothers find higher education worth their money

Jasmin talked about how a country with such potential let it all slip away. It was money from the very top that did it. Millions poured into Congressional elections. Millions more into colleges and think tanks. All to promote a value system much like the Koch Brother's father, one of the founders of the John Birch Society.

In the Neoliberal age, everything is for sale. That is the John Birch Society's vision of freedom: the freedom of the very rich to run our country for their own immense profits. As it turns out, the very rich hate immigrants, Blacks, women and gays. Many of them are singleminded misanthropes, eager to turn our world into a system of slaves and overmasters. As citizens of the late empire, we know what such a world has brought to vulnerable populations in our own country. We don't yet fully realize the devastation that such ideas have produced in the Third World.

Brazil is such a nation. Bolsonaro was funded by the Kochs, and we see what a murderer can do on the streets of Brasília and in the rainforests of the Amazon. The destruction of the Amazon brings us to consider what to do with our nation's filthy rich misanthropes. They are more dangerous than either nuclear war or climate change. They are the embodiment of the death of our species. 

Achieving the will of the people

August 22

GUEST: David Heap, peace activist, teacher at University of Western Ontario, and co-founder of the Canadian Boat to Gaza campaign, talks about his visit to Gaza with Noam Chomsky, and about the continuing efforts to bring the suffering of two million Palestinians to a world audience.

Be Part Of The 2019 Freedom Flotilla For Gaza

David and I come from a similar background in the 1980s. We both went to Nicaragua to thwart US imperialism. And we both came back more determined then ever to spread the sweet freedom of the Sandinista revolution.

We both saw the Contras as part of the US killing machine, determined to annihilate anything in its way. And we felt responsible. We paid the taxes used to manufacture bullets for Nicaraguan hearts. We stood by while yet another country succumbed to torture and death squads.

In the end, we both realized that our country's leaders have no mercy or morality. The forty years that have passed since the Sandinista revolution show a similar criminality when it comes to the Third World. I held onto the hope during the 1980s that US imperialism was an aberration. By 1990, I was convinced that my country had always been that way. I started reading all the history I could get about Native Americans, African Americans, and the Vietnamese. If I was going to make a difference, I had to know my facts.

So David Heap and I share a common message: don't give up, resist and educate. That's is what this blog tries to do, by the way. And the fact that you have read this posting to the last line is a good sign for you. And maybe even for our democracy. We must reject our empire if we hope to achieve the will of the people. 

August 16, 2019

Leading us into climate extinction

August 15

GUEST: Chuck Kaufman, long time activist and editor of NicaNotes, a blog for those interested in Nicaragua, published by the Nicaragua Network/Alliance for Global Justice, talks about how the US suppresses popular movements for democracy in Latin America.

NicaNotes is a blog for Nicaragua activists

Chuck and I have a lot in common. We both spent time in Nicaragua during the Contra War, and will never forgive our government for what it did to the Sandinista revolution. In those days, the US media was captured by the Pentagon, much the same as it is today. The New York Times shuffled its reporters until each and every one of them parroted government talking points: that the Sandinistas were Communists and a danger to democracy.

Those years helped both of us in understanding how a false narrative is created and then sold to the American public. If a Latin American leader supports US big business interests, why anything goes no matter how many are tortured and killed. If a leader supports equality and true democracy, why it is time for the CIA assassins.

We both knew about the School of the Americas, even though our government has changed its name to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. That is where dictators and death squad assassins have been learning their trade for the last 40 years. Of course, that truth is not part of the accepted story being so skillfully fed to us.

When it comes to empire, the truth never dares raise its head in the nation's schoolbooks or newspapers. Like a nation of sheep, millions of Americans don't really want to spend time researching a different narrative. And there is always a price to pay for truth telling that runs counter to what is red, white and blue.

Maybe that is how empires have always been. The Germans cheered while a racist madman led them into a disastrous and unwinnable war. Our own madman president is leading us into climate extinction, another unwinnable conflict with our life supporting mother earth. Isn't it time we created a new narrative of what our country is, and what is should be?

August 10, 2019

The CIA is not a consequence

August 8

GUEST: Moss Robeson, activist, political researcher and recent panelist at the Left Forum, talks about the CIA's legacy in Ukraine, and about the 5th anniversary of the House of Trade Unions Massacre.The World Banderite Council

Looking into any complex political movement can be disorienting. And in fact, most movements contain many often contradictory forces. Added to this complexity is the censorship of our nation's media, ever willing to present coups and uprisings through the prism of the Pentagon.

Ukraine is a perfect example: a US inspired coup involved thugs from various far right nationalist groups including the Nazi Party. The CIA working with Neo-Nazis? That is where the empire's media is at its weakest. Why most Americans don't know that the CIA has been working with such groups since the end of World War II.

Moss takes us down the rabbit hole of Neo-Nazi groups and the CIA. Yes, the CIA has a history of favoring Nazi sympathizers in Greece, Italy and other countries. After the war, the CIA immediately sided with the Nazi collaborators in hunting down and killing thousands of Greek patriots who had resisted the German occupation. If you do find that in our nation's history books, it will be categorized as one of the unfortunate consequences of the Cold War.

The CIA is not a consequence. It is the tool of empire, ever willing to torture and kill in the service of our nation's disastrous ambition to control the world. Empires have always behaved in that way, and we the people will ultimately pay the price for ours.