Today on The Laura Flanders Show: Naomi Murakawa indicts liberals for growing the system of mass incarceration, and we take a look back at our coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement. All that and a few words from me on mandatory minimums in 1790 and since.
The Laura Flanders Show in in Los Angeles talking about women and work. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas shares about her work with the Black Workers Center, and we visit with domestic workers who marched to Washington to meet with the pope. All that and a few words from me on the surprisingly low-cost emergency that can throw almost half of all Americans into a crisis.
Eric Mann from The Los Angeles Bus Riders Union talks about why working people from LA are attending the climate talks in Paris. And Ecuador's former Finance Minister Pedro Páez on when they renegotiated loans, cut debt payments and reinvested in the local economy. Plus a commentary from Laura on lessons learned from a 19th century African statue.
Land and food has been used as a weapon to keep people of color in second class status, in this episode Laura looks at the ways it can be used as a tool for liberation. Laura speaks with Jalal Sabur & Raymond Figueroa, who are using fresh food to rebalance the scale and dig up the school to prison pipeline. Jalal Sabur is the co-founder of the Freedom Food Alliance, a collective of farmers, political prisoners, and organizers in upstate New York, and Raymond Figueroa, Jr. works with the Friends of Brook Farm, an alternatives-to-incarceration program that works with young people affected by the prison system. Also in this episode, fisherman Bren Smith is modeling a future for fishing after fish - with Kelp Farming. All that and a few words from Laura on giving thanks and food power.
The “surveillance-industrial complex” has profound, but poorly understood impacts on our political, structural, economic, and cultural lives, says Hamid Khan, director of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, board member of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Political Research Associates, and Youth Justice Coalition. Also in this episode, we meet the students that forced Columbia University to divest from private prisons. And Laura on US government spying on Black Lives Matter movement activists.
Can one of the founders of the craft website Etsy.com - valued in the billions of dollars - lead a change in the way we do business? Etsy.com is the world’s largest certified socially responsible business, and they have now launched Etsy.org, a business education program for businesspeople who want to make a better world. Laura speaks with Matthew Stinchcomb, the Vice President of Values and Impact for Etsy.com, and the founder of Etsy.org; and Donna Schaper, Senior Minister for Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village and author of several books, including the upcoming The Time Famine, as well as a collaborator on Etsy.org. Also in this episode: The WORX Printing Cooperative gives a short history of unjust trade, and Laura discusses New Economy Week.
Like all men held at Guantanamo Bay, Mohammed el Gharani, who was imprisoned at the age of 14, is barred from entering the USA. But American artist Laurie Anderson found a way to bring him to the states, via telepresence. Laura talks with Anderson about presence, absence and the questions raised in Anderson’s latest attention-getting performance, Habeas Corpus. We also hear from el Gharani, who was held at Guantanamo from 2002 until his release in 2009, about prison-camp solidarity, the prisoner who is his hero, and his thoughts on slavery and the Middle Passage - then and now. All that and an F Word from Laura on a long, 40 second delay.
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The climate crisis is our best chance to build a better world - and the people most affected by the destruction are in the forefront of coming up with alternatives. We'd better listen to them. That's the message of a new film from this week's guest, Avi Lewis, director of the new film This Changes Everything, inspired by the bestselling book by his wife Naomi Klein. Avi Lewis co-created and hosted the award-winning Al Jazeera documentary series Fault Lines, and The Big Picture on CBC Television. His first documentary, The Take, followed Argentina’s legendary movement of worker-run businesses. Also: Laura discusses women leading the charge for change around the world.
Mercy - more and more people are talking about it in the context of the masses of Americans incarcerated. but is mercy enough? Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, has done a lot to push this debate to the front. Also in the show - how you can be a part of EJI's history marking project. Plus a few words from Laura on the high cost of giving a cold shoulder to the poor in Hillary Clinton's neighborhood.
How does race and racism affect in your life? Anti-racist activist and writer Tim Wise is the author of six books, most notably his highly acclaimed memoir: White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son. His latest book, Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America is out this month. Also, New Orleans youth discuss how racism affects their lives. All that and a few words from Laura on security forces that stink.
Professor and author Greg Grandin talks about the enduring influence of Henry Kissinger's bloody and brutal foreign policy. Greg Grandin has been examining Empire in all its forms across seven books, including his latest, Kissinger’s Shadow, out this month. A professor of history at NYU and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Grandin writes on US foreign policy, Latin America, genocide, and human rights. He also served as a consultant to the United Nations truth commission on Guatemala. And Laura discusses war criminals in Guatemala and in the US.
Will the future be better or worse for workers? Peter Frase says with more tech tools, there's more leisure in our future, as there should be. He also is convinced that capitalism will end. Peter Frase is an editor of the magazine Jacobin, and has a book coming out next year from Verso Press, Four Futures. Also on this episode: Part two of our interview with Boots Riley, a poet, lyricist, MC, screenwriter, activist, organizer, radical, and founder and frontman of Oakland-based hip hop group The Coup. Boots Riley was also one of the most influential voices and leaders of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and is the only known musical artist whose surveillance by intelligence agents has been exposed due to Wikileaks documents. All this, and Laura discusses war, refugees and Dick Cheney's second home.
How do we break America's addiction to guns and gun violence? We talk with a young man who served ten years in prison on a gun-related crime and hear from cultural critic Jeff Chang about the cultural changes that have and haven't transformed America. Marlon Peterson spent his entire 20s in prison, charged with second degree murder, and convicted of attempted robbery and assault. Five years after his release, he's now a Soros Foundation Justice Fellow, working to end gun violence and increase community safety in New York City through the creation of zones where no one will need to carry a gun—not even police officers. Jeff Chang is an author, historian and cultural critic. He is the author of Can't Stop Won't Stop, A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, and Who We Be: The Colorization of America. Also in this episode, Laura discusses a prison-free state.
A look at the historical and present-day connections between democracy, land, housing and economic development. The history of the US is packed with people of color and poor people who’ve been stripped of their rights - to vote, to wages, to housing or even just the right to stay in the country - through incarceration, segregation, slavery and deportation. For just as long, black communities have created safety, and won a say in democracy, through buying and keeping land cooperatively. It’s not just history, either. Mark Scott is an organizer of #blacklandmatters, a group working today, and Tia Powell Harris is the director of the Weeksville Heritage Center, Brooklyn’s largest African-American cultural institution, which is dedicated to preserving the history of the 19th century African American community of Weeksville - one of America’s first free black communities. This episode also features an exclusive report, Cooperation vs. Gentrification: Bed Stuy Strives to Stay Local, which explores ways people in the Bed Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn are using co-ops to find ways to benefit local communities and prevent the displacement caused by gentrification.
Will labor endorse Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or someone else? Larry Hanley began driving a bus in 1978, at age 21, in Brooklyn, NY, and attended his first union meeting soon after. He’s now international president of the Amalgamated Transit Union which represents some 200,000 bus drivers, rail operators, mechanic and station attendants across the US and Canada. Since his election in 2010, he has been outspoken on everything from greening the economy to outsourcing of public sector jobs and racism. He was also the first union president to speak up about the 2016 US presidential election, and he was supportive of Bernie Sanders. Also in the show, Morrigan Phillips tells us about how to bring science fiction and fantasy into social change and direct action.
Ten years since the flooding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, we look at the recovery, what worked and what didn't, with an extended interview with a former insider turned outsider. Oliver Thomas was city council president at the time of Hurricane Katrina, and was on his way to becoming the city's next mayor. Within a few years, he serving time in a federal prison, having pled guilty to taking a bribe related to permits on a parking lot. Now, he's a radio show commentator and activist, and discusses what went right and what went wrong in the recovery. We then hear another view on the recovery from New Orleans poet Sunni Patterson.
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What might a global Black Lives Matter movement look like? A discussion with Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi, a Black feminist writer, communications strategist, cultural organizer, and co-founder of the BlackLivesMatter Network. She is also executive director of the US' leading Black organization for immigrant rights, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Also, we look at Chicago's successful campaign for reparations for the Jon Burge police torture. All that and a few words from Laura on patriarchal pretexts for racist killing, and how she isn't Dylann Roof's woman.
A conversation about capitalism with two brilliant minds, Cornel West and Richard D. Wolff, together in a rare joint appearance. Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, and author most recently of Capitalism’s Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown 2010- 2014/ Dr. Cornel West has written or edited dozens of books, including classics like Race Matters, and Democracy Matters. His most recent is Black Prophetic Fire, written in conversation with Christa Buschendorf. Also in the show, activist Manju Rajendran tells us about a small business that is successfully operating under an anti-capitalist economic paradigm. And Laura raises questions about the record-setting settlement with BP over drilling disaster in the Gulf Coast.
This week's episode focuses on modern warfare and US imperialism. Is drone warfare here to stay? It’s one of the few things Republicans and Democrats agree on. Andrew Cockburn has been a rare critical voice on the subject. He is the Washington editor of Harper’s magazine and the author of several nonfiction books on war and international politics. His new book is Kill Chain: The Rise of High-Tech Assassins. And later in the show, an excerpt from a new film about a young man held in the US prison at Guantanamo - Fahd Ghazy.
How do we shape our future, right now? Author and architect Keller Easterling discusses the role architects should take to shape a better world, and the invisible systems used by corporate power to exert control over populations. Also in this episode, we speak to scientist Helen Caldicott about facing the nuclear threat. All that, and a few words from Laura on police and women in crisis: the real vs the "seemingly violent".
Safety: every law enforcement officer and every politician tells us that they're for it. And yet for many, police are a problem in their communities, and today's policies are only making things worse. If what we're doing isn't the answer. What is? We explore this issue, and what we all need to learn from the disability justice movement, with this week's guest. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled writer, performer, poet, healer and teacher, inspired by poets and authors June Jordan, Suheir Hammad and Audre Lorde. She is the author of several books of poetry, including Consensual Genocide and the Lambda-award winning Love Cake. She has a new book of poetry called Bodymap, and a memoir, Dirty River. out this year. She also co-founded the performance group Mangos With Chili and is an editor of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities, a book that grapples with the difficult idea of addressing violence without police. All this, and Laura discusses the roads less traveled.
Protests against police violence continue across the US, and this week's episode continues our exclusive reporting on the movement behind the protests. How are the legacies of the eras of slavery, reconstruction, and Jim Crow still with us today? Laura talks to civil rights lawyer, advocate, and legal scholar Michelle Alexander about citizenship and the prison industrial complex. Michelle Alexander is author of the best-selling book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, a book which has taken on even more urgency in the current protest moment. This episode also features an exclusive new report from Baltimore, with a look at the issues behind the recent uprising, from housing to education to jobs, and Laura connects the issue of lead paint in Baltimore homes to the death of Freddie Gray.
How is the Black Lives Matter movement reshaping models of social movement leadership? We continue our ongoing conversation on Black Lives Matter with another of the movements cofounders, Patrisse Cullors. Patrisse is an artist, organizer and freedom fighter. She is also the founder and executive director of Dignity and Power Now, based in Los Angeles. Among her projects are the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence, and she recently directed a theatrical piece titled POWER: From the Mouths of the Occupied, based on community stories of police violence. Also in this episode, artist and revolutionary Kai Lumumba Barrow discusses her new "visual opera," set to premiere in New Orleans on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and Laura explores the links between police violence in the US and internationally.
The two state solution has been declared dead too many times to count. But have we turned a corner? In the last Israeli elections, Prime Minister Netanyahu raised alarm about Palestinian citizens voting, and declared his opposition to a two state solution. This week's episode airs 67 years after the founding of the state of Israel, known to Palestinians as the Nakba, or tragedy. To mark the occasion, we speak to both Israeli and Palestinian activists.
Ronnie Barkan is an Israeli activist, a conscientious objector and co-founder of Boycott from Within - a group of conscientious Israelis who support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. He represented the Popular Struggle Coordination Committees at the European Parliament in Brussels, where he challenged EU institutional complicity in Israeli violations. Then we go to Gaza for an exclusive conversation with Dr. Haidar Eid, a Professor of Postcolonial and Postmodern Literature at Gaza's al-Aqsa University. Dr. Eid is a leader in the Palestinian movement for one democratic state, and a member of the steering committee of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. All this, and Laura discusses Gaza's missing millions.