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 interviews Kristian Williams about policing in Ferguson. Williams is the author of several books on state violence, including Our Enemies in Blue , which argues that the role of the police is to enforce social inequality. Noting that Michael Brown's killing by a police officer is sadly typical, Williams traces to the social protests of the 1960s both the the militarization of the police and the corollary development of community policing, meant to develop networks in neighborhoods so as to rely less on violence and more on alliances with community leaders. He notes that the military now looks at domestic policing as a model for counterinsurgency overseas. He describes the broken windows theory of policing, which assumes small infractions are precursors to more serious crime or social disorder, and treats them as opportunities for police to assert their full authority. In practice this creates in disempowered communities a reservoir of underlying grievances and resentment of police and what they stand for, but authorities find it easier to police those who are less likely to fight back with lawsuits. Thus policing preserves inequality through structural as well as ideological racism and class power. They discuss Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's essay "The Coming Race War Won't Be About Race," and consider the usefulness for the ruling class to divide the oppressed, pitting the middle class against the poor, and in other ways fracturing the potential solidarity of dominated groups.
This episode is hosted by Tom Becker, and features reflections on class war, police violence, challenging capitalism, and addressing depression and suicide.
Tom reads from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's controversial comments on the role of class in Ferguson.
Bill Resnick interviews Kristian Williams about the events in Ferguson.
Clayton Morgareidge discusses Unmaking Capitalism.
In light of the recent death of Robin Williams, Iven Hale reflects on depression and suicide.
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- Title: OldMole25August2014
- Length: 56:57 minutes (26.07 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 64Kbps (CBR)
Tom Becker reads from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's "The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race" on events in Ferguson and the problem of inequality.
Clayton Morgareidge discusses the kind of movement needed to challenge inequality and save the environment. Noting that neoliberalism rationalizes plutocracy and the security apparatus needed to put down rebellions against the elites, Clayton draws on an essay by Sam Gindin in Jacobin . He stresses that austerity and environmental catastrophism do not motivate organizing for change, and highlights the importance of reckoning with state power--not just protesting, but remaking the state. Although we need to appreciate the differences that led to the development of identity politics, he argues that only by forging alliances based on class can we successfully address the tasks before us.
In light of the recent death of Robin Williams, Iven Hale reflects on depression and suicide. Statistics indicate a global epidemic of depression, although those figures work in the interests of the pharmaceutical industry. While medication can be life changing and life saving for those suffering this genuine and physical as well as mental illness, Iven questions the risk that the Western medical model poses to alternative cultural and political traditions of suicide. Sharing stories drawn from personal and familial experience as well as from her work as a mental health professional and social worker, Iven raises questions about the obligation of mental health professionals to stop people who are suffering from killing themselves, and about whether those who end their lives are never in their right minds. She challenges the social criticism of both depression and suicide, and emphasizes sufferers' resiliency and dignity.
Bill Resnick talks about Honduras with historian Dana Frank, who teaches at UC Santa Cruz, and has published a number of books on labor history, Latin America, and economic nationalism, as well as many articles in journals including the Nation, Foreign Affairs, and Politico .
They discuss how the results of the latest US-backed coup in Honduras is driving children to emigrate northwards, and they consider the problems of corruption, the interconnections of the government and drug organizations, and the violence of military and police when they are not held responsible for their acts. Frank notes that children are not similarly fleeing from Nicaragua, where the Sandinista legacy means that state power is held more responsible to community needs. Similarly, the new government in El Salvador offers hope. But the purported immigration crisis in the US is being used to justify further funding for the Honduran military and police.
Frank recommends that listeners contact their US Senators and representatives, many of whom have been responsive to voter demands to end funding for the Honduran military. She also suggests listeners can get involved with groups in the Honduras Solidarity Network, which in Portland include PCASC.
Frann Michel shares selections from left commentary on the militarization of policing in light of the police killing of the unarmed young African-American Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the ensuing protests and police riots. A version of her comments, with links to sources, can be found here.
Jan Haaken talks with volunteer and board member Robert Adams and co-manager Kris Soebroto of the non-profit Sisters of the Road Cafe in Old Town, which for nearly 35 years has been serving immediate needs and seeking systemic change. The Cafe offers hot meals in exchange for $1.50 cash, for work barter, or for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Work credits earned at Sisters can also be used at Portland Farmers' Markets, and field trips from Sisters introduce the farmer-vendors and explain how to use the foods they offer. Sisters also partners with the Sauvie Island Organics farm Food Works program, which teaches teenagers about farming. Jan, Robert, and Kris also discuss the central role of volunteers at Sisters of the Road: the organization recognizes that nourishment is about not just food but also community, and provides opportunities for people to come together.
Frann Michel hosts this episode, with segments on police violence in Honduras, Ferguson, and Palestine, and on a local non-profit nourishing bodies and communities in Portland. Musical selections: Sound of da Police by KRS One; Call the Cops by Rob Hustle ft. Liv; Tired of Being Stepped On by the Click; and Revolution by Nina Simone.
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To hear the whole show (including the music), use the play button below. To hear individual pieces, follow these links:
Bill Resnick talks with Dana Frank about Honduras
Frann Michel shares left commentary on the militarizing of policing
Joe Clement and Jan Haaken review the Palestinian film Omar
Jan talks with Kris Soebroto and Robert Adams about Sisters of the Road Cafe
- Title: aug182014omvh.m4a
- Length: 57:31 minutes (26.33 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 64Kbps (CBR)