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Subscription April 2018

Michael Parenti - Democracy

Discussions about democracy probably start in Athens about 2500 years ago. A truism is society is democratic to the extent that its citizens play a meaningful role in managing public affairs. Democracy is located within the capitalist economic system infamous for producing colossal inequality. There's no level playing field as great income and wealth translate into political power for the haves at the expense of the have nots. We have procedural democracy: elections, broadcast debates, primaries, etc. Citizens are largely marginalized, overwhelmed by big money and powerful lobbies. Look at the widespread demand to ban assault weapons of war or for universal single payer health care or protecting the environment or affordable housing. People want those things but elites have a simple message. Vote. Then go home and leave everything to us. Actual democracy is hollowed out. A Davos-type class rules.

Ramzy Baroud - Palestine: After the Last Sky

Mahmoud Darwish, the national poet of Palestine in a famous couplet asks, Where should we go after the last frontiers, where should the birds fly after the last sky? For many displaced Palestinians Darwish speaks to their dilemma. Where should they go? The role of the U.S. in the conflict is enormous. It is heavily biased in favor of Israel. No matter who is in the White House support for Tel Aviv is unwavering. Witness Washington’s defying international law by moving its embassy to Jerusalem. The Palestinian narrative is rarely heard and when it is it is muted and represented by non-Palestinians. Yet, despite more and more settlements, collective punishment, housing demolitions, walls and barriers Palestinians still resist being occupied. One State? Two State? No State? Can Palestinians and Israelis find a viable path to genuine peace based on justice?

Bobby Seale - The Real Black Panther 

Black Panther is a blockbuster superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character. But back in the 1960s the Black Panther Party represented an African-American political and social welfare organization. Why the name? As Huey Newton, one of its leaders said, because the black panther doesn't strike first, “but if the aggressor strikes first, then he'll attack.” It was formed to challenge police brutality against African Americans. Dressed in black berets and black leather jackets, the Black Panthers organized armed citizen patrols in Oakland and elsewhere. At its peak in 1968, the Party had roughly several thousand members and branches all over the U.S. The organization later declined as a result of internal tensions and police and FBI counterintelligence activities including infiltration and assassinations. By the late 70s it was basically defunct. However, its memory continues to inspire today.

David Swanson & Pete Kilner - Is War Ever Justifiable?

In 1970, at the height of the U.S. wars in Indochina Edwin Starr came out with his classic song: “War.” In it he asks, “War, what is good for?” And he answers: “Absolutely nothing.” Well, for the giant weapons manufacturing corporations, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, General Dynamics and all the rest, war pays off big time. They make money hand over fist especially with their cost-plus contracts. And then there are the delays in delivery and technical problems. Whether they are F-35 fighter jets, stealth destroyers, Trident submarines or aircraft carriers, the Pentagon gets what it wants. And taxpayers foot the bill. Policy makers in Washington always come up with rationales to engage in war. Since 2001 the U.S. has been continually at war and it has greatly expanded the number of countries it is attacking. Is war ever justifiable?

 

This program features a debate between David Swanson and Pete Kilner. Swanson answers no to the question, is war ever justifiable. Kilner argues ye

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