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Subscription October 2018

David Stannard - Native American Holocaust

The barbarity of the onslaught on indigenous people by Euro-Americans settlers can scarcely be believed. Historian David Stannard states the indigenous peoples of North and South America had undergone the "worst human holocaust the world had ever witnessed, roaring across two continents non-stop for four centuries and consuming the lives of countless tens of millions of people." The Native American Holocaust is a historical fact, “but the wreckage that it caused,” Stannard declares, “remains vividly evident among many of its survivor descendants. Today, from the desert southwest of Arizona to the Black Hills of South Dakota many American Indian communities barely survive, mired in poverty and despair that has little equal except in some so-called desperately impoverished Third World countries.” Yet to add insult to injury, Columbus Day is still a federal holiday. But, in defiance, many cities have changed the name to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Recorded at Vanderbilt University.

Chris Hedges - Rise Up and Resist

When is enough enough? In the face of evil what does it take for people to move from passivity to active resistance? Throughout history there have been instances of people defying tyranny. Fighting back no matter what the odds. An example comes from Nazi Germany, often considered the benchmark of evil. Opposition to the regime was highly dangerous. Seventy five years ago, Hans and Sophie Scholl, brother and sister, and others at the University of Munich said, Genug. Enough. They formed the White Rose movement and called on Germans to recognize their moral duty and overthrow the government. They disseminated critical information through flyers and graffiti. One such graffiti said, “Whatever comes out of Hitler's mouth is a lie." In 1943, Hans and Sophie Scholl were arrested and beheaded. Their resistance and courage are honored today. They took risks. Can we? 

Interview by David Barsamian.

Eric Holt-Gimenez - Pushing Back the Corporate Food Regime

Food is the basis of life. We need it to live. It is as simple as that. The UN declares, “the right to adequate food is a long-standing international human right.” But the aim of 21st century capitalism is not primarily to promote our well-being and health, it is to control markets and maximize profits. The production of food is a gigantic global enterprise dominated by a handful of mega-corporations: General Mills, Pepsi, Nestle, Unilever and Coca-Cola. While they do well, hunger and food insecurity effects billions of people around the world including tens of millions in the U.S. Communities are pushing back the corporate food regime by establishing coops. Environmental and food activist Vandana Shiva of India says, “Food has been transformed into a commodity, destroying farmers’ livelihoods, destroying the health of the planet and the health of people.” She calls on us “to become the change we want to see in the food system, so it nourishes the Earth and all beings.”

Haley Pessin - The Radical Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer was a fighter for equality and justice who said, “If I fall, I’ll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom.” Going against entrenched racism she was able to accomplish much in gaining voting rights for African Americans. She died in 1977 at the age of 59. Voting rights remain under attack. In the old days it was poll taxes, literacy tests and KKK terror. Today, racist legislatures suppress voter turnout, gerrymander districts, limit places where you can cast your ballot and crucially impose voter ID laws. A driver’s license is often required. Blacks are the main target of these new restrictions. According to one study, 37 percent of African Americans do not have a valid driver’s license compared to 16 percent of whites. The struggles that Fannie Lou Hamer faced have taken on new shapes and forms.

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