Donald Trump's tweets and divisiveness on Capitol Hill tend to draw the money media in and hold them there, but if progressives and the Left focus only on the beltway and the binary party debate, we'll never escape.
In this episode, Laura interviews organizers about going beyond Trumpism and Trump, with Color of Change director, Rashad Robinson; immigrant rights advocate Kica Thomas, and anti-war activist Medea Benjamin. Why not paper over our differences, if it will result in unity? What's happened to the anti-war movement? Where's the more expansive vision of the Left? And what's it got to do with immigration, trade and sanctuary? Rashad Robinson is the executive director of Color of Change, the nation's largest online racial justice organization (also featured in Ava DuVernay's film "13th." ) Kica Matos is the Director of the Immigrant Rights & Racial Justice program at Center for Community Change | Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of Code Pink, an NGO for peace movement working to challenge militarism, end U.S. funded wars and occupations. Her book, "Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection" is out now. The Laura Flanders Show brings you in-depth interviews with forward-thinking people, working to create radical change and shift power. Donate at www.lauraflanders.com/donate.
With the Trump administration embracing private prisons, and a crackdown on all crimes, how police departments operate will come under scrutiny. We treasure what we measure so why do police metrics count captures and kills but not conflicts resolved? Could a change in metrics change police practice? And is "progressive policing" an oxymoron with no place in a radical agenda?
Laura sits down with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman, and Professor Emerita Judi Komaki to discuss lowered crime rates, a decline in Stop and Frisk policing, and changing practices around drug arrests. A model can exist where there are trusting relationships between the public and police, but it needs data, training, and a change in attitudes -- on both sides, say our guests.
After serving as an NYPD police officer and New York State Senator, Eric Adams became the first Africa-American man to be the Brooklyn Borough President in 2013. | Donna Lieberman has been the executive director of the NYCLU since December 2001, during which time the organization has been a vocal critic of Stop and Frisk. | Judi Komaki is a professor emerita of organizational behavior, whose work focuses on how good data can improve organizations' policies.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is 25 years old, and yet, the shadow of a Trump administration looms over its vision to advance a progressive agenda. In this seemingly discouraging time, what does the CPC offer, and how does it stay progressive? In the ramp-up to the DNC Chair nomination, for which Keith Ellison (D-MN), chair of the CPC, has hotly campaigned, Laura travels to the 2017 Progressive Congress to speak to progressive leaders.
Joining Laura this week are CPC First Vice Chair Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI); CPC Vice Chair Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA); CPC Vice Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY). Pocan and Lee bring to us an optimistic forecast for how progressive organizing will take on authoritarian and isolationist legislation. Jayapal and Clarke echo this sense of confidence in their caucus and constituents ability to organize. And all four celebrated Congresspeople reaffirm their belief in Keith Ellison’s ability to direct the Democratic party further left.
Rep. Mark Pocan was the first to introduce a bill to impeach Trump on the House floor; Rep. Barbara Lee has introduced a bill to protest Steve Bannon’s appointment to the National Security Council; Pramila Jayapal is the first Indian-American woman to serve in the House of Representatives, known for her leadership in FightFor$15 Seattle; Rep. Yvette Clarke has sponsored a bill to prohibit the use of federal funds to support the Muslim Ban executive order.
Trump has been critiqued, among other things, as the troll-in-chief. His presidential win can be credited to the rise of alt-right internet 'trolls,' complex bots, and the online harassment of his opponents. Our guest this week, Thenmozhi Soundararajan, a Dalit organizer, filmmaker, and activist, says the spread of online attacks comes with vast offline risks for communities in danger. When Steve Bannon, an avowed white nationalist, serves on the National Security Council, with access to the largest police and surveillance apparatus in world history, there's a problem we haven't even gauged yet, says Soundararajan. Laura speaks with Thenmozhi about the history of surveillance as a tool for state control and violence. And why, to build an effective resistance against the threat represented by Breitbart and the NSA, resources need to go to counter measures. Although the language of cybersecurity can seem overwhelming, simple tools and training can reduce an average person's risk by 80%, says our guest. For undocumented immigrants, women, and people of color, these practices can make the difference between life and prison. She and her colleagues know first-hand, from their own experience of a hack attack sourced to the extremist Modi government in India. Thenmozhi Soundararajan is the executive director of human rights and security startup Equality Labs, director of the film Dalit Women Fight!, and the first Dalit woman on Facebook. She is a transmedia storyteller, technologist, and journalist who has won countless awards for her versatile work. Find Equality Labs digital security one-sheets at https://www.equalitylabs.org/ #countersurveillance #digitalsecurity
On the night that Donald Trump's Muslim Ban executive order was announced, thousands headed to airports to protest the detention of refugees who had arrived after the order went into effect. The same night, taxi workers across New York City famously went on strike in solidarity with those protesting at airports. In this latest podcast, Laura speaks with Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Worker's Alliance (NYTWA), the union that called for the solidarity strike in the name of the many Muslim, refugee, and immigrant workers who drive the city's taxis. Desai takes on -- amongst other things -- the issue of Uber and Lyft as Trumpian institutions, not just through affiliation, but through their very working model. NYTWA's strike was the first workforce strike against the Trump administration, and against what is, according to Desai, a deeply anti-labor government.
Guest host Bhaskar Sunkara (editor of Jacobin Magazine) engages political voices Kate Aronoff and Jonah Birch in a conversation about the future of the Left: were the election results a testament to the decline of the Left, or is this a moment for a new left movement? When 13 million people in America cast a vote for a self described Democratic Socialist, is there hope to be found in a political movement propelled by the swamp in the White House? Our guests this week discuss how we got to Trump, and where we -- as progressives -- are going. Kate Aronoff is a writing fellow at In These Times, and writes for Truthout, Dissent, and the Guardian, as well as hosting the Dissent podcast. Jonah Birch is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at New York University and a member of the International Socialist Organization, and also writes for Jacobin.
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Under the Trump regime, we’ll certainly have to be on the defense to protect the communities most likely to be attacked -- but we’ll also have to build powerful, alternative models where POC, Muslim, undocumented, disabled, and queer folks have leadership. In this week’s episode, Laura speaks with Aaron Tanaka, founder and director of the Center for Economic Democracy about his longtime advocacy and visionary work for the next system of solidarity economics.
Tanaka wants to know if Trump will make us think think or act differently about extractive capitalism. To change the circumstances of injustice, whether it’s mass incarceration or mass displacement, we have to build our communities’ governance power to take control of their economic resources -- so says Tanaka.
Tanaka and the Center for Economic Democracy are one of the many organizations behind Boston’s Ujima program, which is funneling the discourse of democratic economics into the practice we need. The Ujima project is helping communities of color direct their resources into the ideas they believe in, through a cooperative model of community budgeting.
All this, and an F-Word from Laura on why we’ve got to look beyond personality politics to understand the actual culture that’s driving the nation’s voters.
Capitalism looks different to those who were once commodities, and that has implications for how we build a future not based in domination.