Prof. Alex Vitale on Politics and Policing

For many years, black and brown Americans living in cities, towns and rural areas across the nation have rightfully been afraid of uniformed  officers. Far too often, police officers engage in indefensible violence against the very people they are supposed to serve and protect.

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The long arm (and brutal violence) of the law also extends to homeless populations, the mentally ill, sex workers, people facing eviction, protestors, workers on strike and many others. This is a result of the emergence of the new Gilded Age brought on by austerity and ever-widening economic gaps.

We talk with Professor Alex Vitale (@avitale) at Brooklyn College about policing in our current state of affairs. We discuss the need for police, how liberal politicians continue to support the police (as well  large numbers of rank and file Democrats, according to polls) and the influence and role of police unions.  We also get into the “Defund the Police” movement, the backlash against it, the war on drugs, gun control and how the current debate around police is effected by rising homicide rates. Continue reading “Prof. Alex Vitale on Politics and Policing”

Johnny Cash’s Politics, w/ historian Michael Stewart Foley

*Citizen Cash: The Political Life of Johnny Cash* is a fantastic new  book by Michael Stewart Foley, and we sat down and talked to him all about it.  This is a must-listen, must-see episode.

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We talked about Cash’s upbringing in the depression and how the New Deal helped his family and led him to develop a “politics of empathy.”  We  discussed his views on race, and especially his “Blood, Sweat, and  Tears” album. Continue reading “Johnny Cash’s Politics, w/ historian Michael Stewart Foley”

Labor, Direct Action and the Battle in Seattle

We talked with Nancy Haque with the Shutdown WTO Organizers’ History Project about simultaneously organizing the labor march and the mass direct action in 1999.

Continue reading “Labor, Direct Action and the Battle in Seattle”

Celebrating “America’s greatest intellectual” Noam Chomsky

Cited as “America’s greatest intellectual,” Noam Chomsky is know for his deep critique of the ruling class and his role in supporting movements fighting it. As Chris Hedges has said he “makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable.”

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December 7th is Noam’s 93rd birthday and we are celebrating him with this new segment and sharing our past episodes about and with him all week. Continue reading “Celebrating “America’s greatest intellectual” Noam Chomsky”

(Don’t) Play Ball! The MLB Owners Lockout, with Mike Elk of Payday Report

Mike Elk, frequent guest and great friend of Green & Red, sat down with Bob to discuss the Major League Baseball owners lockout of the players amid talks for a new collective bargaining agreement.

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Mike and Bob discussed the history of free agency and the economics of baseball–billionaire owners Continue reading “(Don’t) Play Ball! The MLB Owners Lockout, with Mike Elk of Payday Report”

The Battle in Seattle, 22 Years Later w/ the Shutdown WTO Organizers History Project

It’s the 22nd anniversary of the direct action shutdown of the World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings in Seattle. The WTO is a transnational economic institution created to regulate and facilitate global (corporate) trade.

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Organized by a scrappy group of organizers, the shutdown kicked off an anti-corporate globalization moment in North America which challenged austerity and the capitalist political economy. Globally, those movements had already been fighting austerity and corporate power for decades.

We talk with Nancy Haque, Stephanie Guilloud and David Solnit – three organizers that were all part of Direct Action Network to Stop Corporate Globalization (DAN), the body that organized the shutdown. Continue reading “The Battle in Seattle, 22 Years Later w/ the Shutdown WTO Organizers History Project”

Strike! Mike Elk of “Payday Report” talks about current labor conflicts

Mike Elk of Payday Report joined Bob to talk about the current state of labor conflicts in the U.S. Huntington Steel, a Warren Buffet company, is on strike amid demands for givebacks. UPMC is on strike. IATSE and John Deere just settled.

Listen in here: Continue reading “Strike! Mike Elk of “Payday Report” talks about current labor conflicts”

November 19th: Gratitude for Joe Hill

by Scott Parkin
I’ve been thinking about Joe Hill a lot lately, listening his music, reading a novel about an IWW strike in the early part of the last century and just reflecting on the work that radical labor did 100 years ago.
Today is the 107th anniversary of Joe’s execution by firing squad for a crime he didn’t commit. But really the state killed him because he organized, resisted capitalism and fought fascists.
It’s also the same day that Kyle Rittenhouse has been acquitted of killing two men and wounding a third man at a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI.
I’m outraged and heartbroken by the news of Rittenhouse’s acquittal. But, I’m not surprised and don’t have much expectation from our current system. People who resisted capitalism, police violence and fascism were gunned down by a teenage vigilante and he got away with it.
To me, this moment around Rittenhouse’s acquittal is a moment to fight back and organize. My friend Joshua says that we need to integrate gratitude and connection to historical movements into our organizing work to help sustain us.
In this moment where the far right is on the rise and the capitalist political economy is allowing them to flourish, I feel gratitude to Wobbly organizers like Joe Hill who organized and radicalized labor over 100 years ago and created a cultural identity for the left that persists.
Here’s Joe’s will that he wrote on his last day of life:
“My will is easy to decide,
For there is nothing to divide.
My kin don’t need to fuss and moan —
“Moss does not cling to a rolling stone.”
My body? — Oh! — If I could choose,
I would to ashes it reduce,
And let the merry breezes blow
My dust to where some flowers grow.
Perhaps some fading flower then
Would come to life and bloom again.
This is my last and final will.
Good luck to all of you. [Joe Hill]”