Old Mole Variety Hour
The Old Mole burrows down to the roots of the great issues of our time – the struggles of ordinary people for democratic and sustainable ways of life. The Mole goes where corporate media fear to tread, supporting grassroots challenges to top-down authority and giving voice to movements that shake the foundations of an unjust society. The Moles' perspective is democratic, broadly socialist, and feminist. (We count Karl Marx as a friend).
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Bill Resnick hosts this episode of the Old Mole as we explore climate change, solar energy, rape and the criminal justice system, and a novel about orphans being sent west to work. We also hear fine, politically intelligent music from local singer - songwriter Dave Rovics.
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1. Bill Resnick talks with Pat Oherron about the solar panels on the Musicians Union Hall and the party this Sunday to celebrate.
2. Physicist John Perlin talks with Bill about the long history and the promising future of solar energy.
3. Tom Becker reads Dady Chery's article on where current energy production is taking us.
4. The Left and the Law takes up "rape kits" as a tool for convicting the real perpetrator of rape.
5. Book Mole Larry Bowlden reviews Orphan Train, a new novel based on history, by Christina Baker Kline.
Clayton Morgareidge argues for why we need to "learn to see passed liberalism" and why "we must join and form and nurture political organizations that aim at transforming the capitalist and militarist system of power, which now governs our lives." He does this after admitting the many points of agreement between socialists, anti-capitalists, and liberals about poverty, inequality, war, racism, sexism, etc. He explains the problems of liberalism in terms of fetishizing moral persuasion before the power structures of state and corporate capital.
Loosely based on a French graphic novel of the same title, and co-written by Kelly Masterson and director Bong Joon-ho, Snowpiercer is the first (mostly) English-language film directed by South Korean Bong, whose earlier films include the 2006 monster movie The Host.
The premise of Snowpiercer is that an attempted technological fix for global warming has led to a massive ice age, and the only survivors are those on a perpetually moving train that circumnavigates the globe. The first-class passengers are in the front cars, while the tail section is filled with the poor who jumped on without tickets. Guards arrive at intervals to provide protein blocks for subsistence and sometimes take away children, or adults with useful skills.
The latest in a series of rebellions is led by Curtis, played by Chris Evans, and the rebels move forward several cars to the prison section where they free Namgoong Minsu, the man who built the doors dividing each car, and Namgoong frees his daughter Yona. (They are played by Song Kang-ho and Go Ah-sung, respectively, who also played father and daughter in he Host). By bribing Nam with the drug Kronol, and by fighting their way through variously defended and variously decorated sections of the train, the rebels manage to approach the engine. . . .
They discuss the film as an allegory of capitalism, and as addressing inequality more obviously than exploitation, how the film portrays the crisis inherent to capitalism, whether there is an alternative, and the figurative way the film's ending offers
They note it has a great cast but is another instance of characters of color relegated to secondary roles, and it
barely passes the Bechdel test.
It seems more optimistic with a figurative reading, or if you fancy the end of humanity.
But it's great visually, and worth seeing.
Joe Clement hosts this episode. Musical selections were from: Dead Prez "Police State", Mischief Brew "Free Radical Radio Fever", Killing Capitalism with Kindness "Lost Train", and Beastie Boys "Sabotage". The following links are to the individual segments. The whole show can be accessed further down this page.
- Bill Resnick talks with Kristian Williams about police infiltration/surveillance of social movements and strategies for reducing paranoia.
- Clayton Morgareidge comments on what makes socialists and liberals different despite sharing commitments.
- Movie Moles Frann Michel and Iven Hale review Snowpiercer.
- Joe and Peter Frase talk about social anxieties around technology in Kurt Vonnegut's first novel, Player Piano.
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The originally aired interview was 10 minutes long. This version adds 15 minutes of conversation.
Peter Frase is a co-editor of Jacobin Magazine, has been on the Old Mole before to talk about the politics of work, and is currently working on a book that expands on his Four Futures article for Jacobin
- Title: PlayerPiano
- Length: 25:19 minutes (23.19 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
Laurie Mercier interviews Juan Cole about Gaza
Bill Resnick continues his conversation with Gwen Sullivan and Elizabeth Thiel of the Portland Association of Teachers
Joe Clement and Frann Michel discuss Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (this version of review with bonus web content)
To hear the whole show, click below; to hear individual segments (and for prequels, follow-ups, and more links), follow the links above.
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- Title: omvh28july
- Length: 54:11 minutes (24.81 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 64Kbps (CBR)
Bill Resnick continues his conversation with Gwen Sullivan and Elizabeth Thiel of the Portland Association of Teachers. They discuss the importance of teachers' academic freedom to design classes tailored to the needs of their diverse students, as well as the importance of making sure that funding allocated to education is actually spent on classroom learning. They dispel common misconceptions about charter schools and public schools, and describe what professional development should mean, and what it often means in practice. The discussion concludes with the recognition that to improve education we need to end poverty and inequality, and that this will entail teachers coordinating with other unions and other movements.
You can listen here to part one of this discussion, broadcast 7/21/14.
- Title: Gwen & Eliz Part2
- Length: 17:47 minutes (8.14 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 64Kbps (CBR)
Movie Moles Joe Clement and Frann Michel discuss Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014). They consider the film's representations of war and peace, human nature and technology, gender and race, and offer some contrasts with the earlier series of Planet of the Apes films. They also comment on Dr. Susan Block's critique of the film on counterpunch. The first part of this discussion was broadcast on the Old Mole Variety Hour on 7/28/14; the second part is web-only content.
- Title: DotPotApesreview longversion
- Length: 22:08 minutes (10.14 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 64Kbps (CBR)