December 21, 2012

Loving beyond ourselves

Guest: We go live to the Candlelight Vigil for Peace and Social Justice in downtown Poughkeepsie. 

We weren't sure how this live connection would work, but it did. We got some great interview on what people on the vigil thought about social justice in our society.

Among others I would like to thank are Rabbi Paul Golomb of Vassar Temple, long-time community activist Mae Parker-Harris of Smith Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church, Larry Freedman, and Joel Tyner (who set the interviews up.

I love the Capitalist Pyramid on the left. It shows the piggishness at the top and the suffering of the people at the bottom. The role of religion doesn't fare to well either, being classified at the "We Fool You."

But the interviews on this show portray a different ethos, one of justice and fairness as part of our common religious experience. Of course, it is always easy to preach this stuff, and I am sure it's done in every church, mosque and temple during this season. But there is also this compelling narrative just waiting for selfless people to stand up for what is right in our society. And people have done so, generation after generation, sometimes at great costs. Maybe the God in us is our ability to love beyond ourselves. 

December 15, 2012

Will they want to forget the whole thing?

Guest: Tarak Kauff, member of Veterans for Peace Board of Directors, talks about his arrest in NYC for reading the names of war dead at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
It was great to have Tarak back in the studio, talking about vets resisting the war machine. The action was compelling, veterans reading the names of he dead at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in NYC. Their arrest proves once again that veterans are used in empire's dirty wars abroad, only to be cast aside and disrespected once they come back home. 
Who else can tell the story about the true costs of US wars abroad? As Chris Hedges said that evening, vets carry the wounds of war around for the rest of their lives.
The monument is made of of translucent blocks, inscribed with GI letters sent back home. Someone received and read each one of these letters. Some of the writers returned home and some did not. The letters spoke to me about the relationships that are strained and sometimes broken by war, all part of the real cost of American's wars for empire.

"One thing that worries me... Will people believe me? 
Will they want to hear about it, or will they want
to forget the whole thing ever happened?" 

Lt. J.G. Richard W. Strandberg 
River Patrol Section 522 
U.S. Navy Mekong Delta

December 9, 2012

Inferior and dangerous?

Guest: Dr. Alice Green, former Executive Director of The Center for Law and Justice and past candidate for Lieutenant Governor on the Green Party line, talks about why our country's mass incarceration is racism. (prerecorded)
Dr. Green's talk is from the End the New Jim Crow workshop that was given in Poughkeepsie. While incarceration rates in America are astounding compared to other countries, there is even more going on.

Mass incarceration is a moneymaker for private corporations, and we have seen how effective the weapons makers have been in pushing for endless wars. America is a corporate ruled state, so that policies about energy, foreign relations, healthcare, and media communications are all written by corporate lobbyists. Why would our prison system be any different? A chart of US wars in the last decade would look very much like the one above. So would the cost of healthcare and the percentage of our population denied health coverage.

There was a point in Dr. Green's presentation, however, that went beyond the terrible costs of America's corporatism. She told the audience that African Americans are considered two things by the white majority: mentally inferior and dangerous. So will the mass incarceration of black men end when the corporate state is democratized? Or is there an underlying racism in our society that must be addressed before all races and ethnic groups are given their equal rights?

November 30, 2012

The rest of the world gets it

Guest: Mohammed Musabeh, a Palestinian working as an electrical engineer in the Hudson Valley, talks about life for his family still living in east Gaza boarding Israel.

I think Gary and I were successful in personalizing the intense suffering being endured by the Palestinians in Gaza. Our guest was remarkable, and his intimate accounts of his family took the siege of Gaza beyond the usual statistics. What if our families didn't have clean water or enough to eat every day? What if some of our relatives were so traumatized by Israeli military actions that they were incapable of functioning?

The American people have stood by for so many years while this genocidal process created so much suffering. Is it a national failure of empathy, or a sinister manipulation of our news media to hide the realities from our citizens? 

Why does the rest of the world "get it" and the United States doesn't?

November 8, 2012

The same kind of thinking

Guests: Kira Woodworth (End the New Jim Crow Action Committee) and Paul Bermanzohn (Two Row Wampum Campaign) talk about how their local organizations challenge the mainstream media's support of US foreign and domestic policy. 

Both guests represent groups involved with minority rights in America. The End the New Jim Crow Action Committee fights the institutional racism of our criminal justice system, while the Two Row Wampum Campaign attempts to protect the rights of indigenous peoples.

There is more going on here than meets the eye, however. Exposing the criminal justice system helps us understand the gross race and class inequities in our society. Supporting the treaties made with First Nations helps us come up with better solutions to our rapidly warming planet.

Paul reminded me of Albert Einstein's quote on solutions. "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

Having created this capitalistic and imperialistic society, can we use this same type of thinking to preserve our existence on earth? 

October 18, 2012

I fear for them

Guest: Tim Koch, local political activist and member of the International Socialist Organization (ISO), talks about alternatives to the capitalist system. 

What has made socialism acceptable for those under 30 years old? Of course, I have always hoped for a capitalist system with a heart for my country, like the more enlightened democracies of Europe. And I realized that most of these countries were not given egalitarian societies, but had to earn them through class struggle. So I have always been for struggle and resistance. No justice, no peace.

Now, I am not so sure about any of this. Does the capitalist system eventually destroy workers and then destroy itself? The last thirty years has not shown any slow "bend towards justice," in MLK's words. The very rich in America have behaved like Marx and Engels said they would a hundred and fifty years ago. The prosperity the elites have shared with the middle class since World War II has been replaced by something very different. The billionaires have forced everyone else into ever more desperate poverty. The children of the middle class are now burdened with debt even before they start their first jobs. 

"But as long as you continue to produce in the present unconscious, thoughtless manner, at the mercy of chance--for just so long trade crises will remain; and each successive crisis is bound to become more universal and therefore worse than the preceding one; is bound to impoverish a larger body of small capitalists, and to augment in increasing proportion the numbers of the class who live by labour alone, thus considerably enlarging the mass of labour to be employed (the major problem of our economists) and finally causing a social revolution such as has never been dreamt of in the philosophy of the economists" -Engels

Maybe sharing isn't the point any more. The rich won't share anyway, as they grow ever more powerful and greedy. And our very earth is threatened in ways that Marx and Engels couldn't have imagined. Perhaps the radicalism we see in a younger generation is the first step in a necessary evolution of our species. We must either evolve quickly or become extinct. Which will it be?

My grandchildren may know the answer, and I fear for them.

October 14, 2012

Anna Baltzer at the New School

Guest: Anna Baltzer, author of "A Witness in Palestine" and head of US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, spoke at the New School on "The Jewish American Relationship with Israel at a Crossroads."
The Russell Tribunal was a very good event. Several of the speakers were somewhat dry, but that may reflect what this was supposed to be, a judicial exploration and ruling on the plight of the Palestinians.
For something to stir one's passion, I recommend Saleh Hamayel on Palestinian Sociocide. Also, the film on Operation Cast Lead that was shown during the break on Sunday was hard to get through, but ultimately effective in making one realize the carnage that goes hand in hand with Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.
Anna Baltzer and Norman Finkelstein at the Center for Art and Politics (New School) was also well worth attending. Anna was very straightforward and convincing as usual. Finkelstein was just terribly insulting (particularly to Anna), a man on his way to a nervous breakdown. I don't think he is a credible spokesperson for Palestinian rights. His heart is in the preservation of Israel as a Jewish state, and all the rest seems to be a way of somehow achieving that end. He is so against BDS that he insinuated that Anna was an intellectual lightweight and a liar for advocating it. I don't see his usefulness in the movement, although the discussion clarified the trauma that is confronting many Jewish Americans.

September 28, 2012

The Courage to Stand on the Sidewalk

Guest: Martin Baumgold, farmer and community activist, talks about Hudson's long running peace vigil and how the group partnered with the Rotary Club to put up a peace pole.

We had a good time comparing notes about the Hudson and Rhinebeck peace vigils. There have been very funny, as well as very moving times standing on the sidewalk each week for peace.

We have been called fascists, socialists, Communists, and Muslims. For the last several years, however, most people just thank us for being there. 

Is advocating for peace naive? Is it silly to stand in a snowbank with a sign urging our government to bring the troops home? You take your risks by appearing in public with a message so foreign to the corporate consensus. Yet, in America, we are the counter message. And it is one of hope, compassion, and fairness in a wasteland of empire, profit and environmental destruction. 

Whatever the outcome of the current presidential election, we know that neither of the corporate controlled parties will bring sanity to our national debate about war and social justice. Only groups with the courage to stand on the sidewalk can do that.  

September 21, 2012

Paying the Price for Peace

Guest: Brian Willson, Vietnam Veteran and long time peace activist, talks about Bo Boudart's new documentary "Paying the Price for Peace," which is based on Brian's life.

As a vet and a peace activist who traveled to Nicaragua in the 1980's, I have always felt a connection with Brian. Maybe it's because we are both from rural, upstate New York (I was raised on a farm). 

I have always wondered what makes some activists take chances with their lives, and marveled at how important such sacrifices are for the movement to end wars and preserve the human race. Preserve the race in two ways, of course. The first way is straightforward. Will there be a place on this planet for humankind after nuclear war or runaway global climate change? The second preservation is more subtile, but none the less important. Is there an innate morality that is part of our existence on earth? I want to keep my faith in that, and don't know how I could really live without it. 

Here is the poem I wrote for Brian after he lost his legs trying to stop weapons shipments to Central America.

For Brian Wilson

This stops a trainload of bullets,
Destined for Central American hearts.

Now there is blood on the heavy wheels,
And a man gives his legs for peace.
Oh shame for those who stand upright,
And pay for murders out of sight.

September 14, 2012

Support WVKR

PLEDGE DRIVE: Thanks to everyone who called in pledges to support Activist Radio and WVKR. We are part of independent radio, and love doing our anti-corporate program every Thursday. And you can still support Activist Radio if you haven't already by donating on-line.
Doing the pledge drive is painful, not only because you have to ask for money the whole hour, but also because the experience reminds you that you live in a very closed society where the major media is essentially all there is. 
Activist Radio is a tiny enterprise, floating on a sea of corporate propaganda. Even independent media is tiny if you look at how people really get their news. TV has been the biggest ally of totalitarianism in the Empire. It provides millions with a world view, full of danger, but with the comforting assurance of American idealism and perseverance. On and speaking to us all day long, it is a wise and trusted member of each household. It also defines each family's link to the broader social structures of our country. TV defines us, explains our motives, and provides those feelings of mass exhilaration and grief that we all need in our lives. It provides an artificial reality so necessary for the empire to commit its atrocities abroad and its wholesale  swindling of the American worker at home. Only about 1% of families don't have a television in at least one room. It is the perfect vehicle of control in the empire of lies. 

September 6, 2012

Green is the New Red

Guest: Will Potter, journalist and author of the book entitled "Green is the New Red," talks about the revival of McCarthyism in the Justice Department's targeting of environmentalists.

It is surprising to me that authors like Will Potter seem unafraid of the FBI, even though they know the agency's troubled history. 

Will simply assumes that the FBI will try to intimidate, discredit, and entrap activists who try to nonviolently change the system. It is always good to read what was done to Martin Luther King, who J. Edgar Hover referred to as "Burrhead." Can there be any question that at least one of the primary duties of the FBI in this country has been the suppression of political dissent?

According to Will, the only way to counter FBI dirty tricks is to expose them to the public. Americans can't believe that an agency of the federal government would conspire to rob people of their free speech rights. Once enough citizens catch on, the FBI often retreats out of the glare of publicity. Read "Green is the New Red" and discuss the book with your friends. Help shine a light on political repression in America.

August 31, 2012

Indefinite Detention of US Citizens

Guest: Raymond Lotta, Marxist writer and scholar who is the author of the 1984 book, America in Decline, talks about our government's new censorship of leftist ideas.

The National Defense Authorization Act may be the last curtain call of our democratic form of government. The law places domestic terror investigations and interrogations into the hands of the military, leading to indefinite detention of anyone, including American citizens, as long as the government calls them terrorists.

Most empires eventually cannibalize their country's form of democracy, as did Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. As did Athens and Rome. Why would our empire be different?

All this ends, of course, when the "War on Terror" end. But for empires, the wars never end, and the terror becomes an integral part of invading and occupying other sovereign nations. 

All we can do is resist this destruction of our basic rights, not really knowing when our time will come to be swept up by some overzealous storm trooper. Even having the Revolutionary Communist Party as a radio guest talking about the loss of free speech in America makes us vulnerable to some FBI agent deciding that we are part of some ill defined "problem." Yes, we all have the same common problem, the loss of our Constitutional rights under a military state.

August 23, 2012

Women's Rights and the Cancer of Empire

Guest: Donna Goodman, local peace activist and member of Peace & Social Progress Now!, talks about the "War on Women" in our current ultra conservative political climate.

Like free speech, no victory lasts forever. The gains women have made in the last half century now appear to be in jeopardy. Of course, the Democrats will make the "War on Women" a campaign issue, as if one party were solely responsible for this rollback of women's rights. The truth is that women and their allies must fight this battle again, and against the intrenched interests of both parties. 

Perhaps the cancer of empire affects all human relations within the United States. Routinely denying human rights abroad comes home in the form of racism, sexism, and violence. The militarization of our society is itself an assault against woman's values. We must make common cause against the forces of war for profit in America.

August 16, 2012

Cultures of Resistance Network

GUEST: Iara Lee, activist, filmmaker, and founder of the Cultures of Resistance Network, talks about her recent film entitled "The Suffering Grasses," which explores the Syrian conflict.

Iara is a forceful personality. Her take on Syria will please few people. Of course, she discounts US human rights posturing as blatant propaganda. But she also refuses to endorse the views of some on the left who describe the current regime in Syria as acceptable. How refreshing not to be lied to. 

Iara has an interesting history of putting her life on the line to get the real story. Here is a photo she took in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan. 

We hope to have her back on the show at some time.

August 2, 2012

Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign

GUEST: Evan Pritchard, descendant of the Micmac people, founder of The Center for Algonquin Culture, and Professor of Native American history at Marist College, talks about the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign: Honoring Native Treaties/Protecting the Earth.

We actually had two guests on today. Evan was there in the studio and Andy Mager, project coordinator for the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, called in.

So much Native American history that I didn't know. Some of the ideas from these cultures may prove to be essential for our very survival on earth. We must come to accept the sacredness of our environment if we expect our grandchildren to live long and fruitful lives.

The Onondaga's early role in resisting fracking in New York State is a testament to their wisdom, and to our need to reorder our basic values.

July 27, 2012

Freedom Socialist Party

GUEST: Stephen Durham, New York City based activist and the Freedom Socialist Party nominee for President of the United States in 2012, talks about the need for alternative voices in America.

Stephen and I had a long talk about what might be prompting people to take another look at alternative parties. Our two major parties are dead in the water as far as American workers go. Both parties are completely dependent on money from the very rich and the multinational corporations. The interests of ordinary people don't exist.

Is this an extreme form of capitalism, or is it an inevitable result of the gross income disparity between the rich and poor? How have more enlightened capitalist countries avoided America's plutocracy? 

I would like to interview the Green Party candidate for President next and will be trying to set this up in the coming weeks. Are third party candidates the answer? Just listening to alternative ideas helps us understand the gross hypocrisy of our present corporate controlled, two party system. 

July 19, 2012

End Jim Crow Action Network

GUEST: Odell Winfield, co-founder and Director of the Sadie Peterson Delaney African Roots Library, talked about Occupy Poughkeepsie and its offshoot, The End New Jim Crow Action Network.

Wel started with the Civil Rights movement. Today was the anniversary of the first lunch counter sit-in, which occurred in Wichita, Kansas on  July 19, 1958.

While African Americans no longer face that type of obvious racism in 2012, our courts and prison system still work together in denying basic rights to people of color.

We are on the brink of a new awakening about racial justice in this country. Our combined awareness will help us achieve social and economic justice for all citizens who are not in the 1%. No longer will we let the richest of Americans divide us by stirring up prejudice and fear.

July 6, 2012

The Privilege To Do the Right Thing

GUEST: David Swanson, press secretary for Kucinich's 2004 presidential run, co-founder of After Downing Street, and author of War is a Lie, talked about media and social activism.

We started with a heavy discussion: why keep working when the system is set up to resist any real change? David expressed something that I had heard Daniel Berrigan say in Dutchess County 15 years ago. When asked by a minister about why he worked so hard when the chances of success were so small, he answered, "I have been given the privilege to do the right thing in my life."

Perhaps outcomes are a tyranny imposed by our neoliberal world on all political strivings, as if the ends always justified the efforts. But in creating a better world, our everyday efforts are all we have to give our lives meaning. And as the world faces the catastrophe of global warming, is there really another choice for someone who isn't a psychopath? Get filthy rich and kiss your grandchildren goodby?

June 28, 2012

America's Secret Police

Carlos Montes at the NATO
protests in Chicago.
Carlos was a co-founder of the
Brown Berets in 1967.
It was an honor talking with Carlos. He described the 5:00 am raid on his house last fall by an FBI led swat team that broke down his door and pointed guns at his head.

His crime? He had a conviction for supposedly throwing a can at a policeman during a Chicano rights march back in 1969. That meant that a registered firearm he kept in his house was actually illegal.

Break down someone's door and threaten his life over something that happened 40 years ago? There have been times when I have been ashamed of my country, and this was to be one of them.

Carlos was more sanguine. He told us about a book he was reading on the Palmer Raids, commenting that the FBI has been doing this for a long time. In fact he had expected it, especially when his name was found on FBI papers left at another activist's house that had been raided. The "can incident" was a frame up as well. He had never done it.

It is just difficult living in a country that preaches free speech while its secret police are running around trying to intimidate those who exercise their right to dissent. It goes against everything we have ever learned about America. The ugly truth at the bottom of a pile of lies.

Carlos has seen the beast up close, and it has never stopped him from speaking out about Chicano rights or about the plight of the Palestinians. We must give up our fantasies about the benevolence of our leaders and learn, like Carlos, to resist.

June 22, 2012

When the Bankers are the Crooks

Jonathan Bix and Schuyler Kempton talked to us about how social change will happen in America. Jonathan is a student at Vassar and Schuyler is still in high school. We had them discuss the issues together because we were eager to hear what the next generation was thinking about social change. 
Jonathan, representing the foreclosure movement in Occupy Poughkeepsie, thought that getting involved in the two party system was counterproductive, although there were some differences between candidates. Schuyler was less optimistic; he rejected the capitalist system that had created the two party monster.
I was struck by our discussion of values and morality. Both students had rejected the notion of following the laws as dictated by the major corporations. Throwing families out of their houses isn't moral even though the banks, the courts, and the media contend that it is. Of course, the banks are anything but legal themselves, pushing bad mortgages on the poor, and then forging paperwork to throw families out on the street. The revolution will come from exposing and confronting the criminal system that we have now, one based on profit rather than on human needs.

June 14, 2012

Is It Possible Without Corporate Cash?

Joel has the right ideas about labor and the environment, and he believes what he says.

Obama says the right things but every time you turn around, he is doing the exact opposite. He transcends lying; he is simply a well paid actor, ready to try any role to stay in power.

So is our system broken when such candidates succeed? And does that mean Joel Tyner has no chance at all? He has no cash, and doesn't take donations from corporations. Can he be successfully in what America has become, a cesspool of the greedy and well connected.

Vote for Joel, and let's see.

June 7, 2012

Life Affirming Kindness

My guest today was Ron VanWarmer, Associate Director of the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley. He was pretty careful not to talk about things like the hundreds of billions wasted on wars in the Middle East. Or about bailing out rich people's banks.

His job is to feed an awfully lot of hungry people in the Hudson Valley, and I could tell that he didn't want politics getting in the way of corporate donors. To me it was an indication of why the nation's food banks should be supported by our government and not have to rely on corporate generosity. Like everything, the corporations give a little while subtly controlling the message. Here the message should be the obscenity of families going hungry while the filthy rich shake down the rest of us. Once dependent of corporate giving, however, the message becomes how we can all pitch in together to solve this horrendous problem. Whose fault is that problem? The Food Banks can't really say on the radio.

In the end, I apologized to Ron for pushing him to talk about politics. And I can see his point. "Giving food," he said, "is a worthy act in itself." The bigger picture often excludes small acts of kindness. And working for the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley is such a kindness, a life affirming giving of oneself.

May 31, 2012

Obama, Wilson, and the Fascist State

I am sorry that Joel Tyner could not call in, but we finally got to play some of Chris Hedges, recorded at Bard College. Each time I listen to him, I understand more of what he is saying to the people of America. The usurpation of democracy by the wealthy and powerful has been a long time coming, and Hedges loves talking about President Wilson and the First World War.

What I learned in history class about Wilson has slowly unravelled over the decades. He is always presented as an "idealist" who loved peace but was forced into war. The reality is that Wilson talked incessantly about peace before he was elected, but then pushed the US into war for the benefit of Wall Street. His fascist laws about those speaking out against the war were a new low for freedom of speech in America and resulted in hundreds of people locked up for expressing their views in public. He also fought child labor reforms and the Suffrage movement.

Hedges makes the argument that Obama will harm this country much like Wilson did. A Democrat advocating for war, the destruction of labor rights, and the protection of Wall Street can do much more damage than a Republican with the same views. I believe that if Obama is elected again, he will finally destroy Social Security, giving a bonanza to his Wall Street funders. Bush tried to do this but was opposed by too many Democrats. The beauty for Wall Street of owning a Democratic president is that there will be no resistance.

With this ascendency of corporate control, our country will again risk becoming a fascist state.

May 24, 2012

Report Back From Chicago

 I was honored to be part of the Vets for Peace contingent that escorted Iraq and Afghan vets to the final stage of their Anti-NATO march. We then gathered below the stage and listened to them denounce the war, one by one, and throw their medals to the street behind.

How they struggled with what they had done in the Middle East. How they fought to recover their basic humanity. They denounced the patriotic lies that they had been taught. One said simply, "I didn't do my homework."

Some ended in fury, grabbing at the medals pinned to their chests and throwing them as far as they could. The most moving of all, however, were those who said their were sorry for what they had done. Many in the audience simply cried through these parts, especially those older vets who have spent a lifetime seeking forgiveness. Killing another removes one from the human race, and many war vets spend their lives trying recover. That is the infinite sadness of war; it is heartbreaking.

I have included a few shots of Amy Goodman, on stage and walking with the young vets. She was the only journalist whom they trusted to be with them the whole way, right up to the stage at the end. Of course, Jesse Jackson was also there, having walked with them too.

I must say that Amy is also the only nationally known American journalist whom I trust. Her show, Democracy Now!, is an inspiration to anyone trying to report what is really happening in the empire.

May 17, 2012

The story of the the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a troubling one. Our guest, Brendan Fischer, walked us through the process corporations use in buying influence and writing legislation.

But is it ALEC and the Republican Party that is to blame for our loss of representational democracy? Where is the media when it comes to legislation written by ALEC? Is one to believe that only one party is in on the take? There must be many organizations like ALEC; it is just a piece of the puzzle.

Our current president is one of the most corrupted politicians that has ever held that office. No organization like ALEC is behind his cynical betrayal of the American worker to Wall Street interests. Exposing Obama as a sham is the only way to liberate ourselves from the two party, corporate grip on our democracy. How the corporations manipulate politicians is interesting enough. However, we need a way to finally free ourselves from this corrupt system.

May 10, 2012

Listening to Jo Salas describe the playback requests made by the Palestinian children of Jenin was itself a moving experience. I could see the children in the audience. I could imagine their lives being played out before them by the actors. Their suffering was suddenly real to me, and I could see that the telling of the story was affecting Jo as well.

It is hard to open yourself up to the suffering that you read about in occupied Palestine. So many robbed of their homes, so many waiting in the checkpoint lines, so many young people in prison. But understanding them through their stories somehow restores one's faith in all humanity. Palestine will one day be free.

May 3, 2012

We interviewed Laurie Arbeiter this week and had a little difficulty describing all the aspects of the  May 26 event. It is certainly an ambitious walk, twenty two miles. I would have liked to get into the use of the term human rights. Are they legal rights that have been fought over and won in the past? Are they rights that each one of us can demand that others recognize? Too bad we only had about 15 minutes.

Here is the event description:

Saturday, May 26 from 8:00 am to 11 pm
The Village Green
12 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY 12498
Twenty two mile walk for Human Rights and Social & Economic Justice. Wall Street to Occupy Main Street in Catskill, NY. A collaboration between Masters on Main Street and Occupy With Art. The Walk will raise money for the WGXC Community Radio & Greene County Council on the Arts. Participants will gather pledges for every mile they walk. See us off in Woodstock at 8:00 am, meet us in Saugerties, greet us at the finish, or join us for a Community Dinner in Catskill, NY at 7:00 pm. Walk or Pledge...every step we take together counts.

Facebook event page: OCCUPY THE LANDSCAPE
917 915-6115

April 26, 2012

Max Fraad Wolff swears like a trooper, which involves a lot of work on my part cutting out those little expletives. Too bad, because there is real obscenity in the robbery of the middle class and the destruction of the American Dream. 

I liked the cartoon because it implies the possibility of righteous  anger. Where is the outrage in real life? Thirty years of being screwed and the American worker still can't come to grips with what has happened. 

It is easy to become contemptuous of class war's victims, the huge underclass with its foolish dreams of success. But cynicism is the enemy of social movements. We must learn from each other how to resist the current institutional plutocracy.

April 20, 2012

Harold Miller and Protecting Communities

GUEST: Harold Miller, community organizer and Upstate Director of New York Communities for Change, talks about his divestment campaign aimed at JP Morgan Chase

In talking to Harold, I realized that New York Communities for Change was more interested in protecting communities than going after the big banks for criminal behavior. Divestment is being used to force the banks to do the right thing, help homeowners restructure their debts and stay in their homes.

And it seems to be working. By going to local town boards and county legislatures to divest from JP Morgan Chase, Communities for Change is putting the pressure on. Why can't we do that locally? We have a responsive and hard working county legislator named Joel Tyner. It seems like more people should be calling Joel and volunteering to make the big banks accountable. Have you seen the city of Poughkeepsie foreclosure map? Hundreds of families are in danger.

April 12, 2012

Predatory Capitalism

GUEST: Danny Schechter, television producer, independent filmmaker, blogger, and media critic, talks about his role in dissecting the news.
Those who listen to the show know that Danny Schechter did not make an appearance. We will try to reschedule. I thought we would play a recent Chomsky interview, but Gary and I got so wound up about local issues, we didn't have time.

I listened to Gary on the way home (he took the next hour because the original DJ was not available), and he was still going strong about wage inequities since the late 1970's. That is when the America we had such high hopes for took a wrong tern. From then on, it was empire abroad and growing social injustice at home.

Makes one wonder what the 1950's and 1960's had that protected workers from the type of predatory capitalism that we suffer from today.


April 5, 2012

A community to turn the tide...

Listening to the interview with William Parry that I had recorded when he was in the Hudson Valley recently, I was struck by how deeply committed some writers and artists are to the cause of Palestinian rights. William Parry's book comes out of his determination to make a difference in the Middle East. And just as he reenforces our hopes for Palestinian freedom, we reenforce his.

Maybe that is what book tours are all about. There will always be some people who have never given the plight of the Palestinians a second thought. But then there are the groups of committed activists who work very hard, year after year, to end apartheid. Maybe this community will eventually turn the tide of public opinion in the United States.

March 22, 2012

The American Spring in DC

Margaret Flowers didn't disappoint. As one of the initiators of the Occupy DC movement this fall, Margaret described the following event this Spring.

The American Spring: A Time for Occupy To Blossom

National Occupation of Washington, DC Will Bring Occupiers Together to Share Experiences, Educate Each Other and Build an Independent Movement to Shift Power from Concentrated Wealth.
It is certainly a tall order against an entrenched and increasingly violent state opposition. But it is all we have to restore democracy to the United States. And sometimes mass movements can create magical changes.

March 15, 2012

Just how long do we have to pack up and escape a nuclear meltdown from Indian Point. Manna Jo, Environmental Action Director for the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, said it just depends on the wind that day. If it is blowing in your direction, look at the wind speed and your distance from the plant. Within 20 to 50 miles, you are risking your life by not evacuating before the wind gets to where you and your family are.

Was it greed or ignorance that resulted in these plants being built in the first place? Maybe greed breeds ignorance.

March 1, 2012

GUEST: Dalit Baum, co-founder of Who Profits from the Occupation, a research initiative of the Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel, speaks to us about using boycotts to win human rights.

I got to know Dalit when she posted the following to a BDS website. That was lucky for the listeners of Activist Radio, as she turned out to be a wonderful guest.

Dear Fred

As you might know, we have a 5-year research project in Israel called "who Profits" - where we publish a database of companies involved in the occupation. We have a complete mapping of all settlement products and we have put a lot of effort into investigating dead sea products such as Ahava. It is crucial for our work to be very precise with our facts, and not to fall into exaggerations and all sorts of false information on the web, which can discredit our campaigns.

Check out our new whoprofits website:

On your website I see this quote: "CVS should stop selling Ahava, as well as other products made in Israel's illegal settlements. These include L'Oreal's Natural Sea Beauty, Dead Sea Salt Foot Soak, and Swisa Beauty Esensuals." This is not precise. Of these, only Ahava is a settlement product, it is produced in a settlement and partially owned by two settlements. Also, the mud they sell (as mud, not extracts) is excavated in the occupied area, in contradiction with international law (forbidding pillage of natural resources). The dead sea minerals used by Ahava as well as by other companies are excavated in the south of the dead sea by Dead Sea Works, which is officially in 1948 Israel.

I would also encourage you to look for sales of SodaStream in your area, as it seems that they are gaining momentum in the US. This is also a settlement product, and now, for the first time, the is a cheap alternative we can offer to this product. See where they sell near you:

Good luck in all and let me know if you need anything... Dalit

February 16, 2012

I was thinking during our interview with Karen Charman how much we resist stories like this about the catastrophic danger of a nuclear plant like Indian Point. I full meltdown would destroy the southern part of New York State. We might never be able to return to our homes, that is if we were able to get out in time.

"Few of us," Arthur Miller once wrote, "can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that the State has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied."

We are all too busy trusting the state and the corporations that run it. Indian Point is that time bomb in our midst that is just too troubling to consider.

February 7, 2012

Olympia Food Co-op

The Olympia Food Co-op is boycotting Israeli goods to protest that country's apartheid policies. The lawsuit against the Olympia Food Co-op is part of a growing attack against Palestinian rights organizations in the US. The "Irvine 11" found guilty of "conspiring to disrupt" a campus speech of Israeli ambassador Michael Oren is another example.

Perhaps the most blatant example, however, is the FBI searches and grand jury hearings targeting Palestinian rights activists.


23 anti-war and international solidarity activists have been subpoenaed to appear in front of a Grand Jury in Chicago, headed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. They have done nothing wrong. They have educated and organized against U.S. wars around the world. And they have stood in solidarity with the peoples of Palestine and Colombia.

All 23 of the targeted activists said that they will not cooperate with this witch hunt against the movements so many of us have worked to build. The U.S. attorney is working to put these activists in prison. Whether some of them are indicted, or others are jailed for refusing to testify, the threat is very real.

We pledge...

-We will carry forward the fight for our right to speak out, organize and to stand in solidarity with those who want freedom;
-We will stand up to any escalation of the attacks on anti-war and international solidarity activists;
-We will join the national day of protest when anti-war and international solidarity activists are ordered to appear in front of the Chicago Grand Jury or indicted.

February 2, 2012

Barbara Harvey interview

I was glad we were able to convince Barbara Harvey, lawyer for the Olympic BDS movement, to be on this Thursday. Her court case was postponed, and she had wanted to wait until the hearing was finished to be on Activist Radio. But our talk covered a range of BDS topics, including the very important TIAA/CREF divestment campaign headed by Jewish Voice for Peace. I had not known that Barbara was very involved in that campaign. We will have to have her back on Activist Radio in the spring.

January 26, 2012

Common Fire Interview

Sean Ritchey from The Common Fire Foundation was great. I had wondered about the connection between the occupy movement and the creation of intentional communities. Sean said at the end of the interview that it takes community to build a progressive movement. We were talking about Zuccotti Park, of course. But his words reminded me of what Daniel Berrigan had said at a talk in Dutchess County several years ago. When asked about his courage to do the right thing, he said it had to be done in a community to have real strength. 

Great progressive media list from a listener...

Daily radio/TV news programs / podcasts on peace and justice topics (thanks, Rick Kissell) 

Citizen Radio is a weekday internet radio show for young people disillusioned with corporate media and a political system that doesn't speak to them.  It is hosted by Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein.
Democracy Now! is a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program hosted by journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. Pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the U.S., Democracy Now! is broadcast on Pacifica, NPR, community, and college radio stations; on public access, PBS, satellite television (DISH network: Free Speech TV ch. 9415 and Link TV ch. 9410; DIRECTV: Free Speech TV ch. 348 and Link TV ch. 375); and on the internet. DN! podcast is one of the most popular on the web.
Free Speech Radio News is an independently produced half hour daily national and international radio news program focusing on peace and social justice issues in the US and around the world. FSRN is collectively run by its workers and reporters. It is a non-profit organization, with funding from the Pacifica Radio Network, as well as community radio stations across the US and listener-donors. The newscast is hosted by Dorian Merina, and is independently distributed by FSRN, as well as by the Pacifica radio network.
Majority Report started on Air America as a daily radio program co-hosted by Janeane Garafolo and Sam Seder.  In November 2010 it was relaunched by Seder as a self-produced online podcast.
The Rick Smith Show In 2005, The Rick Smith Show stepped into a local radio world devoid of progressive talk. On a small country & western station, Rick took his Teamster-member outlook to the air and started mixing it up with conservatives from one of the reddest areas north of the Mason Dixon line. His show grew steadily, attracting listeners starved for a voice that spoke to working stiffs who felt the economic floor crumbling beneath them.
Uprising [daily edition] Uprising Radio was founded in July 2003 by Sonali Kolhatkar, host and lead producer of Uprising. Uprising emphasizes connecting global issues with local ones. Simply informing listeners of the problems in the world and our communities is not enough ‚Äì we hope to motivate our listeners to take an active role in their communities.  Uprising airs daily on KPFK, Pacifica in Southern California from 8-9 am on weekdays, Pacific Standard Time (If you live outside the Southern California area, you can listen to Uprising live every day by clicking here).  Uprising also has a Weekly Edition that uses the best of our national and international programming from the daily show.
Workers‚Äô Independent News A nationwide news service focusing on issues that affect the daily lives of working people and their communities. News by and about working people. WIN producers gather news from labor unions and activists from across the country. WIN then packages the material for distribution to radio stations and for print publication.  Our producers and reporters come from a diverse background encompassing all fields of media journalism, from print to radio, video to the Web. We share one common goal: to create media that puts people over profits and empowers citizens to become journalists in their own right.
The Young Turks is an Internet talk show distributed via live-stream and You Tube.  Hosted by Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, it previously aired on Air America and Sirius Satellite Radio.
Weekly radio news programs / podcasts
Activist Radio is a weekly program for all Americans who are not in the wealthiest one percent of the US population.  Activist Radio attempts to show how the wealthy few lie to the rest of us to expand their power and wealth.
Alternative Radio is a weekly one-hour public affairs program featuring speakers like Chip Berlet, Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Barbara Ehrenreich, Robert Fisk, Bill Fletcher, Glenn Greenwald, William Greider, Chris Hedges, Seymour Hersh, Jonathan Kozol, Naomi Klein, George Lakoff, Manning Marable, Bill Moyers, Greg Palast, Michael Parenti, Kevin Phillips, Frances Fox Piven, Jeremy Scahill, Robert Scheer, Cornel West, and Howard Zinn.  Alternative Radio  provides information, analyses and views that are frequently ignored or distorted in other media. 
Behind the News: Economics from a Left perspective is an hour-long, weekly program aired on KPFA.  It has been hosted since 1996 by Doug Henwood, the editor of the Left Business ObserverBehind the News covers the worlds of economics and politics and their complex interactions, from the local to the global. Shows typically consist of some opening comments by host Doug Henwood on the recent news, followed by two or three interviews with authors, activists, academics, and other knowledgeable sorts. Since mystification is one of the tricks that power uses to maintain itself, emphasis is always placed on clarifying the complex.
Topics covered include the broad economy and the financial markets, trade and globalization, income distribution and poverty, political candidates (with an emphasis on their general bogosity), Latin American resistance to neoliberalism, crime and imprisonment, financing health care, environmental economics, and the culture of money. Of course, that list will evolve as circumstances warrant.
Between the Lines Since 1991, non-commercial, listener-supported WPKN Radio in Bridgeport, Connecticut, has produced a weekly, award-winning public affairs show called Between the Lines. A four-time winner of the Connecticut Associated Press Broadcast Award for Best Feature in the non-commercial category, this syndicated, half-hour program provides a platform for individuals and spokespersons from progressive organizations generally ignored or marginalized by the mainstream media. Between the Lines covers a wide range of political, economic and social topics.
Each program begins with a five-minute summary of some of the week's under-reported news stories gathered from the alternative press. This summary is followed by three five-minute interview segments focusing on significant international, national and regional issues.
Building Bridges: Your Community Labor Report  Our beat is the labor front, broadly defined, both geographically and conceptually. We examine the world of work and workers on the job as well as where they live. We examine the issues that affect their everyday lives, with a particular sensitivity towards human rights abuses, environmental concerns and the U.S. drive for global domination. We record their global struggles and provide analysis of their efforts to empower themselves and transform society to provide greater democratic, human, social, political and economic rights. Each program consists of feature stories, generally interviews, within a historical context, often accompanied by sound from demonstrations, rallies or conferences, and complemented and enhanced by poetry and instrumental or vocal -- people's culture.
CounterSpin is a weekly radio show hosted by Janine Jackson, Steve Rendall and Peter Hart.  It is a project of FAIR, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.
CounterSpin provides a critical examination of the major stories every week, and exposes what the mainstream media might have missed in their own coverage. CounterSpin exposes and highlights biased and inaccurate news; censored stories; sexism, racism and homophobia in the news; the power of corporate influence; gaffes and goofs by leading TV pundits; TV news' narrow political spectrum; attacks on free speech; and more.
Flashpoints is an award-winning daily investigative newsmagazine broadcast on the national Pacifica Radio network. Through original reports and some of the key investigative reporters of our time, Flashpoints goes to the frontlines and to the core of the stories in the areas of government and corporate criminality, human rights, and economic justice.

Freethought Radio is a weekly radio show produced by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.  It airs live every Saturday on The Mic 92.1 in Madison, Wis. and (as of Saturday 6 October 2007) on Air America, streamed online, and available as a podcast.
Green Revolution  The Green Revolution radio show focuses on the world of green products, services, lifestyles and issues.  The program's goal is to facilitate ecological balance, and is intended for individuals that wish to do the same.  The host is Jon McLane, an expert in clean water systems.  Guests are professionals in sustainability, resource conservation, and quality green products and services.
Guns and Butter: The Economics of Politics  is a weekly hour-long program hosted by Bonnie Faulker and broadcast on KPFA in Los Angeles.  It investigates the relationships among capitalism, militarism and politics. Maintaining a radical perspective in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, Guns & Butter reports on who wins and who loses when the economic resources of civil society are diverted toward global corporatization, war, and the furtherance of a national security state.
The Heartland Labor Forum  is a weekly hour-long program on workplace and economic issues produced by the Institute for Labor Studies at the University of Missouri ‚Äì Kansas City.
Labor Express is a production of the Chicago Committee for Labor Access that airs weekly on WLUW.  It covers the labor movement locally, nationally, and internationally, including living wage campaigns, health care, education, immigrants‚Äô rights, the environment, and issues of race and gender.
Law and Disorder  is a weekly, independent radio program airing on several stations across the United States and podcasting on the web.  The program gives listeners access to rare legal perspectives on issues concerning civil liberties, privacy, right to dissent and the horrendous practices of torture exercised by the US government. This program examines the political forces and legislation that are moving the United States into a police state.
Making Contact is a weekly radio program of the National Radio Project that focusses on criminal justice and prisons, the environment, globalization, labor issues, and women issues.
Media Matters with Bob McChesney  Robert W. McChesney is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "The media are central to all our lives," he says. "Yet the media are the most frequently misunderstood parts of our lives. We want to help people understand the role of media in society."
New World Notes is both a blog and a weekly radio program. Each examines political & social issues from a progressive perspective and with humor. The content includes commentary from the program's creator, Kenneth Dowst ... recorded talk from others ... stories from the alternative press read aloud ... graphics ... and music with a message.
The Progressive Radio is a weekly half-hour radio show hosted by Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive magazine.  Since 2003, Rothschild has been interviewing activists, scholars, and artists who are making the world a better place.
Radio Ecoshock
Uprising [weekly national edition]  Uprising Radio was founded in July 2003 by Sonali Kolhatkar, host and lead producer of Uprising. Uprising emphasizes connecting global issues with local ones. Simply informing listeners of the problems in the world and our communities is not enough ‚Äì we hope to motivate our listeners to take an active role in their communities.  Uprising also has a weekly edition that uses the best of our national and international programming from the daily show. The Weekly Edition is syndicated nationally.
War News Radio is a weekly, 29-minute program established in 2005 by students at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.  It seeks to fill the gaps in the media coverage by airing new perspectives, both personal and historical, in a balanced and in-depth manner.