Old Mole Variety Hour
The Old Mole burrows down to the roots of the great issues of our time – the struggles of ordinary people for democratic and sustainable ways of life. The Mole goes where corporate media fear to tread, supporting grassroots challenges to top-down authority and giving voice to movements that shake the foundations of an unjust society. The Moles' perspective is democratic, broadly socialist, and feminist. (We count Karl Marx as a friend).
For individual segments and information about episodes, click the "audio" tab.
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What are the most fundamental causes of the current economic crisis? Radical anthropologist David Harvey provides a lucid account of how this crisis and others are the result of capitalism’s inevitable compulsion to expand itself into a state of collapse, and argues that the only sane thing to do is to join an anti-capitalist movement. In this piece, Joe Clement introduces and presents parts of a lecture of Harvey's that explains in Marxist terms how we got into the mess we're in now.
Check out the animated video that accompanies the lecture on Harvey's website, where you can also find a whole course devoted to Marx's Capital.
David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY), Director of The Center for Place, Culture and Politics, and author of numerous books. He has been teaching Karl Marx's Capital for nearly 40 years.
Movie Moles Frann Michel and Jan Haaken give you the real and radical viewing of Toy Story 3: it's about the great recession, the fear of unemployment, and the fear of being tossed in the dump when you're no longer new. It even shows the way forward towards a world of cooperation and solidarity.
Read Frann's blog with links to similar readings of the film.
This show, hosted by Clayton Morgareidge, responds to the insane drive to cut social spending by governments at a time when people have been left high and dry, or homeless and hungry, by the absurd situation that capital has created: vast wealth that cannot be invested, millions of people with no jobs, and lots of work that needs to be done to keep our communities and our planet together. We look at the shortfall in the Oregon state budget and the cuts that are coming, and what should be done instead. We hear a lucid historical account of how the world has been led to this point by capitalist growth. And we learn how to see Toy Story 3 as a depiction of depression and hope in these hard times.
For more discussion of the recession from the Mole's point of view, see Marty Hart-Landsberg's blog.
Also on the show is music from hard times, past and present, selected for us by our radical musicologist Brad Duncan. We hear parts of Blind Alfred Reed's "How Can a Man Stand Such Times and Live;" "The Hustle is On" by T-Bone Walker; Young Jeezey singing "Circulate"; and "I'm Broke and Proud" by Rugged 'N Proud, featuring Hasan Salaam.
Services that we used to count on from the US Postal Service have been increasingly taken over by private companies such as UPS and FedEx. Jim Cook, a long time postal worker and President of the Portland branch of the Letter Carriers Union, discusses what we lose as a result (Saturday deliveries are on the chopping block!) and how the Postal Service could be brought into the age of electronic communication.
Get involved: There will be an informational picket on Thursday, July 1, from 2:30 to 6:30 pm in front of the main Post Office at NW Broadway and Hoyt.
Is it easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism? British blogger and theorist Mark Fisher explores this question in his book Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? Old Mole blogger and theorist Frann Michel reviews and comments on his work in this commentary. You can read the text of her remarks here.
The British blogger and theorist Mark Fisher recently published a slim little volume from Zer0 books titled Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? By "Capitalist Realism" he means, roughly, the notion that, as Margaret Thatcher famously asserted, there is no alternative to capitalism. But Fisher is also interested in questioning and exploring the implications of this view that, as it is sometimes put, it has become easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.
English novelist Pat Barker is known for several novels about World War I, but Book Mole Larry Bowlden has discovered her first two books, Union Street and Blow Your House Down. They are about poor, working class, Northern English women and girls. Larry praises their articulate depth and insight.
Zaratha Young is with Transition PDX organizing Portland neighborhood committees to reduce energy use and build an environmental ethic. Bill Resnick talks with her about the work. Read all about it at their website.
Denise Morris hosts this program about the future of the US Postal Service, whether capitalism has a future, building sustainable neighborhoods in Portland, and the lives of British working class women.
Event: Bushra Kaliq, General Secretary of the Pakistan Women's Workers Help Line, speaks on "War and Resistance in Pakistan" at PSU tonight (June 29). Here is more info.
There is no crisis for Social Security funding, in spite of what we hear from politicians and news media. Nancy Altman of Social Security Works explains why we keep hearing about this phony crisis in this conversation with the Old Mole's Bill Resnick. Altman has been studying Social Security for thirty years and is the author of The Battle for Social Security: From FDR’s Vision to Bush’s Gamble.
(The graph shows that by 2023, the Social Security surplus is estimated to grow to $4.3 trillion.)
Both the attack on the flotilla and the siege of Gaza are illegal, argues George Bisharat in this succinct article from Counterpunch, read here by Old Mole Tom Becker.