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.
In 2014, a 12 year old Georgia girl faced expulsion and criminal charges after writing on a locker room wall of her Middle School. A Detroit honors student was suspended for her entire senior year for bringing a pocket knife to a football game. In 2013, an 8 year-old girl was arrested for acting out. A 12 year old girl was threatened with expulsion unless she changed her hairstyle. Those are just some of the stories told in a shocking report released this year by the African American Policy Forum whose director joins us to talk about Black girls and the school to prison pipeline. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw is a Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia Law School, and is a leading authority on the overlapping contours of racial and gender bias. She is the Executive Director of the African American Policy Forum and the Center for Intersectionality - a term she coined - at Columbia Law School. Also in this episode: We go from the fate of our future generations to the fate of our parents and grandparents, with excerpts from CARE, a new documentary about the crisis of elder care, and those trying to do something about it. All this, and Laura discusses who's missing from all the talk about incarceration.
Many people know of Mumia Abu-Jamal as a journalist and political prisoner. But did you know he’s also a Star Trek fan? That’s one of the many revelations in the new book Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, a collection of visionary fiction from Walidah Imarisha and Adrienne Maree Brown. Adrienne Maree Brown is a writer, organizational healer, facilitator, pleasure activist, and Science Fiction scholar, among many other roles. Walidah Imarisha is an educator, writer, organizer, filmmaker, spoken word artist, prison abolitionist and activist. In addition to editing Octavia’s Brood, she has written two books of poetry, Scars/Stars and the upcoming Angels with Dirty Faces: Dreaming Beyond Bars. They explain that for them, social change and science fiction are the same thing. Also in this episode: journalist and US political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal calls in via Prison Radio to read his essay for Octavia's Brood about what the film Star Wars has to say about US empire. Also, Laura discusses the Age of Acquiescence.
This week is US tax week, a good time to ask what will it take before we have a mass movement in the US offering economic alternatives. We explore this question with two guests who are in the trenches of the new economy movement. Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its Community-Scaled Economy Initiative. She is the author of Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses. Esteban Kelly is the Co-Executive Director of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and a member of AORTA: The Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance, a worker-owned cooperative devoted to strengthening movements for social justice and a solidarity economy. Also in this episode: it's five years since BP caused the largest environmental disaster in US history, and we show scenes from the devastation on the US Gulf Coast, and from private gatherings of oil company executives. Also in this episode, Laura talks about corporate crime, taxes, and the cost of doing business, big business's way.
Where do art and social justice meet? From early roles in films like Bob Roberts and Five Corners to her award winning roles in plays including Wit and Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, to her current starring role in the award-winning Showtime series The Affair, Kathleen Chalfant is one of the most acclaimed actresses in the US. She has also been an outspoken advocate on issues like Middle East peace and incarceration. This episode also looks at Stanley Cohen, a radical lawyer who has represented Hamas and other official US enemies. Cohen is going to jail in a case seen as payback from the US government for his unpopular cases.
Jesse Hagopian is part of a movement challenging the regime of high stakes testing in U.S. schools. Global Warming, war, poverty, violence against women, disease... None of these problems can be solved by A B C or D thinking, he writes in a new book, so why do we continue to sink hundreds of millions of dollars into just that sort of test? Jesse Hagopian teaches history and is the Black Student Union adviser at Garfield High School in Seattle which made history when teachers, parents and students there chose to boycott the standard test in 2013. He's also editor of the new book More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing. This episode also looks at ground zero in the school reform movement with a short film about the privatization of schools in New Orleans.
Alicia Garza is the co-creator of Black Lives Matter, and also Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance. She helped start "Black Lives Matter" as a call to action for Black people after the killing of 17 year old Trayvon Martin. Women are at the heart of this movement. Specifically young Black women - many of them calling themselves queer. We talk about what this movement wants and where it's going. From there, we look at other systemic issues facing Black communities in the US, through Even The Walls, a short documentary about the members of a public-housing neighborhood in Seattle grappling with the forces of gentrification.
With marijuana legalization passing around the US, are we finally entering the last days of the War on Drugs? Johann Hari had an early start as an op-ed columnist for The Independent at 23. Since then, he has written for the New York Times, the LA Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, Slate, the New Republic and The Nation among others. His new book, Chasing The Scream, is a bracing look inside the War on Drugs. This episode also looks at what resisting the war on drugs looks like at the grassroots, with a profile of Reverend Kenneth Glasgow and his organization T.O.P.S. - The Ordinary People Society. T.O.P.S. is an extraordinary criminal justice reform organization run by former prisoners in Dothan, Alabama.
In celebration of International Women's Day, GRITtv featuring leaders of the global women's movement, Agnes Pareyio and Monique Wilson plus a look at women of color's fight for rights with Standing on My Sister's Shoulders and Hillary Clinton's White Feminism with Laura's F-Word.
Ai-jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and Co-director of the Caring Across Generations campaign, has been organizing immigrant women workers since 1996. In 2000 she co-founded Domestic Workers United, the New York organization that spearheaded the successful passage of the state’s historic Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in 2010. As Co-director of Caring Across Generations, Ai-jen leads a movement that is reshaping labor and inspiring thousands of careworkers, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, and lawmakers. She received a 2014 MacArthur genius grant and was named to TIME’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World and Newsweek’s 150 Fearless Women list.
The US media has been breathlessly reporting the spin about Uber, the $40 billion dollar car service that until recently was called "ride-sharing" by the AP. Bhairavi Desai, co-founder and Director of the Taxi Workers Alliance, presents the other side - including Uber and similar services' effects on the California cab industry, and workers' rights and the changing face of "work" in the US. Plus, Esther Cooper Jackson, creator of Freedomways, on fighting for equal rights for almost a century.
A short documentary in partnership with Toolbox for Education and Social Action. Watch as we go through concrete steps for building economic alternatives by creating worker-owned cooperatives. Featuring conversations with worker-owners from Union Cab; Ginger Moon; Arizmendi Bakery, Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance (AORTA); New Era Windows; and more.
For supplementary materials from Toolbox for Education and Social Education, visit store.toolboxfored.org/own-the-change/
Is the economy recovering, or is the system itself the problem? Economist and philosopher David Harvey on money; which he calls "the great corrupter". Professor David Harvey is one of the world’s leading Marxist thinkers and most prolific writers on class warfare, capitalism, crisis and how we find our way out. Harvey has also coined key social movement concepts, such as the idea of "the right to the city". His latest book is Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism. Also on the show: a look at a meeting of movements as activists from Black Lives Matter travel to Palestine.
Why is it so hard to invest your money locally? Grassroots activists trying to build economic alternatives in the US encourage investing in the businesses in your neighborhood, instead of in far-off corporations. However, it turns out that it’s not so easy to move your money; there are even laws against it in the US. Laura Flanders talks with local finance expert Michael Shuman, and profiles a grassroots success story, CERO Group, that’s funding its start-up without deep pockets or Wall St cash. Find out more at grittv.org.
What is the fallout from Obamacare on the movement for universal healthcare, and is there any hope for change in the US electoral system? A discussion on organizing within the system with Chuck Pennacchio, Executive Director of Health Care 4 All Pennsylvania and founder of Citizen Solutions for Pennsylvania. He was also a 2006 US Senate candidate. He’s a longtime advocate of publicly-financed, privately-provided universal healthcare, and an organizing veteran of 34 years. Then, from the US to Greece, we speak with Yiannis Bournous, a leader of theGreek leftist political party Syriza, which is poised to win the January 25 elections. We ask him how they did it ad what their plan is. And, in commentary, Laura talks about Boko Haram, and asks why much of the media is silent...
The Laura Flanders Show on GRITtv is a weekly interview show with new movement leaders, unheard activists and commentary from Laura Flanders. Subscribe for more content and visit us at grittv.org.