Bill Resnick continues his interview with Historian Bill Smaldone about the German Social Democratic Party. They discuss the split within the party over World War I, the Weimar Republic period of liberal democracy, developments after WW2 when social democrats developed a strong welfare state, with cooperation of more conservative elements who wanted to stave off both communism and fascism, and the more recent attempts of some party leaders to abandon their working-class constituency for the white-collar middle class. Despite the dispersal of working communities because of factory relocations and globalization, the expectation of a strong welfare state remains in Germany today as a counterweight to neoliberalism.
Larry Bowlden reviews the Man Booker prize winning novel The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. While the first part of the book is a fine life story, the second makes it a profound work on the meaning of history as the point "where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation."
Clayton Morgareidge reads an essay by Michal Kalecki from Monthly Review, "Political Aspects of Full Employment," explaining why capitalists object to government support of full employment: without painful consequences to job loss, employers lose a powerful tool for coercing workers.
Iven Hale reads an essay by philosopher Lisa Guenther on
"The Living Death of Solitary Confinement" on how forcible isolation destroys the capacity to understand the world, can lead to prisoners losing touch with reality, and fails to provide the opportunity and obligation to explain oneself to others.
8:33 minutes (3.91 MB)
Bill Resnick talks with Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau, Outreach and Partnerships Coordinator for the Global Movements Program of Why Hunger?. They discuss how the problem of hunger is affected by long-standing issues of commodity speculation, demand for biofuels, so-called free trade, and dismantling of state supports, as well as more recent factors like land sales and increasing production for export. They note that we have enough food to feed the world—the problem is not production but distribution.
Movie Moles Iven Hale and Jan Haaken discuss Samsara by the maker of the film Baraka. They agree the film has beautiful and compelling imagery, and offers a critique of commodity culture. Jan & Iven debate whether Samsara endorses a quietistic response to the dangers of capitalism, exploiting decontextualized images, or highlights the extent to which human suffering is created by capitalism. They conclude that it is worth seeing on the big screen.
Appellate lawyer Mike Snedeker and psychologist Jan Haaken, who recently returned from a Fulbright study of asylum seekers in the UK, discuss the arguments for open borders. They note that although the idea may sound radical, it was the US policy regarding immigration and both northern and southern borders until recently. Libertarians and economic conservatives have argued for the economic benefit of immigration even as social conservatives have opposed open borders. Ironically, there are now more people emigrating out of the US than immigrating in, but there is panic about defending and closing borders, suggesting a narcissistic fantasy that everyone wants to come to the US.
Bill Resnick talks with labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein, Professor of History at the University of California Santa Barbara and author of The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business and editor of Wal-Mart: The Face of Twenty-First-Century Capitalism, among other works. They discuss the Wal-Mart business model, its productive efficiency and success in the USA, the resistance Wal-Mart has faced in other parts of the world, and its strategies for blocking unionization and exploiting just-in-time labor.
Bill Resnick talks with economist David Weiman about the political forces encouraging the growth and maintaining of prisons and punitive policing in the USA. They consider not only media influence and legislators desire to keep jobs in their areas but also the fear-enhancing effects of social isolation and division and the correlation between inequality and incarceration. They discuss the impact of widely available guns and lobbying in support of gun rights. They consider the role of mental health professionals, the use of psychoactive drugs, and the likelihood that mental illness is a consequence of incarceration rather than a cause of crime.
Alan Wieder talks with local singer-songwriter-activist David Rovics about his work, about living in Oregon, where the police have killed more black men per capita than anywhere else, about releasing songs online for free download, and about his new online book Have Guitar Will Travel.
Clayton Morgareidge talks with radical musicologist Brad Duncan about Black Power as the radicalizing of what had been the more integrationist civil rights movement, and about the roots of soul music in gospel and R&B. They discuss the role of music in preserving cultural memory of the Black Power movement, the time it took for the mainstream corporate music industry to accept musicians performing politically radical music, and the courage and importance of Nina Simone.
Joe Clement talks with Jeff Shantz about his book, Green Syndicalism: An Alternative Red / Green Vision. They discuss Shantz's history working for Greenpeace as the organization shifted from direct action to canvassing and lobbying, and the connections he made as an exploited canvasser with exploited workers in industries exploiting the natural world. The book draws on the theoretical work of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, but offers practical considerations of the needs of activist organizers to make connections across groups, and to integrate activism into daily life and workplaces. Part Two of the discussion (not broadcast) will be available soon.
Tom Becker reads from David Graeber's "Work it Out, Slow it Down," exerpted from his Practical Utopians Guide to the Coming Collapse, on the dangers of overproduction and the need to respond differently to economic and environmental crisis.