Bill Resnick talks with radical economists, Robin Hahnel, about the European debt-crisis, the world economy and the significance of the Greek elections. Robin also considers the Greek Left's electoral program and what it means for us in Portland, Oregon.
When language has been mutilated and drained of meaning how are we to understand democracy? Its mere invocation by politicians and their media echoers generates a chorus of hosannas. The reality is different. Democracy has been reduced to elections, awash in money, where there are marginal choices. Sometimes the candidates are so bad one can say: Pick your poison: cyanide or arsenic. The Great Recession has shaken things up. From the cradle of democracy: Greece, to the self-proclaimed beacon of it today: the U.S., people are asking fundamental questions. Democracy has been off-stage and in the wings for decades as corporations, enabled by political elites, have amassed unprecedented power.
2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the historic Watts Gang Truce in Los Angeles. In April of this year the Watts Community came together to celebrate and discuss what they learned from this important event.
Fifty years ago Rachel Carson wrote “Silent Spring.” It gave birth to the environmental movement. Within a few years there was Earth Day, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Environmental Protection Agency. Those were heady days but that was then. Today, around the world the threat to our environment is acute and growing. The majority of solutions on offer, from driving a hybrid, to recycling plastic, to using efficient light bulbs, focus on individual lifestyle choices of mostly privileged people. Yet the scale of the crisis requires a far deeper and fundamental transformation.
We live "drenched in corporate culture," with our planet, our democracy, and all of us "real people" under assault. But, according to Paul Cienfuegos, "We the people are more powerful than we dare to believe," and the corporate power structure CAN be dismantled. A long-time community organizer and educator, Cienfuegos provides a wealth of information showing how the fictions of "corporate personhood" and "corporate rights" can be challenged and reversed by empowered, informed citizen action. He'll be leading a Portland workshop June 9-10.