In the spring of 2011, Wisconsinites took to the streets in what became the largest and liveliest labor demonstrations in modern American history. Protesters in the Middle East sent greetings-and pizzas-to the thousands occupying the Capitol building in Madison, and 150,000 demonstrators converged on the city.
In a year that has seen a revival of protest in America, here is a riveting account of the first great wave of grassroots resistance to the corporate restructuring of the Great Recession.
It Started in Wisconsin includes eyewitness reports by striking teachers, students, and others (such as Wisconsin-born musician Tom Morello), as well as essays explaining Wisconsin's progressive legacy by acclaimed historians. The book lays bare the national corporate campaign that crafted Wisconsin's anti-union legislation and similar laws across the country, and it conveys the infectious esprit de corps that pervaded the protests with original pictures and comics.
Call (217) 333-9455 or (800) 222-9455 Sunday at 1pm during our live show to join the conversation.
Thomas Frank is an American author, journalist and columnist for Harper's Magazine. He is a former columnist for the Wall Street Journal, authoring "The Tilting Yard" from 2008 to 2010. Frank is a historian of culture and ideas and analyzes trends in American electoral politics and propaganda, advertising, popular culture, mainstream journalism and economics. With his writing, he explores the rhetoric and impact of the 'Culture Wars' in American political life, and the relationship between politics and culture in the United States.
His new book, Pity the Billionaire, Frank examines the peculiar mechanism by which dire economic circumstances have delivered wildly unexpected political results. Using firsthand reporting, a deep knowledge of the American Right, and a wicked sense of humor, he gives the first full diagnosis of the cultural malady that has transformed collapse into profit, reconceived the Founding Fathers as heroes from an Ayn Rand novel, and enlisted the powerless in a fan club for the prosperous. The understanding Frank reaches is at once startling, original, and profound.
This week, Bob is joined by Katrina vanden Heuvel. Katrina is the editor, publisher and co-owner of The Nation magazine and has authored several books about American politics. A weekly columnist for WashingtonPost.com, she is a frequent commentator in the media on American and international politics.
She has received awards for public service from numerous groups, including The Liberty Hill Foundation, The Correctional Association and The Association for American-Russian Women. In 2003, she received the New York Civil Liberties Union's Callaway Prize for the Defense of the Right of Privacy. She is also the recipient of The American-Arab Anti-discrimination Committee's 2003 "Voices of Peace" award. Katrina is a member of The Council on Foreign Relations, and she also serves on the board of The Institute for Women's Policy Research, The Institute for Policy Studies, The World Policy Institute, The Correctional Association of New York and The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute.
Her newest book, "The Change I Believe In: Fighting for Progress in the Age of Obama," was released in October 2011.
This episode's maiden broadcast will be aired this Sunday, January 1, 2012, although it was previously recorded in December of 2011. As this is a pre-recorded episode, no calls with be taken from listeners this week.
Noam Chomsky is a US political theorist and activist, and institute professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Besides his work in linguistics, Chomsky is internationally recognized as one of the most critically engaged public intellectuals alive today. Chomsky continues to be an unapologetic critic of both American foreign policy and its ambitions for geopolitical hegemony and the neoliberal turn of global capitalism, which he identifies in terms of class warfare waged from above against the needs and interests of the great majority.
Chomsky is also an incisive critic of the ideological role of the mainstream corporate mass media, which, he maintains, "manufactures consent" toward the desirability of capitalism and the political powers supportive of it. On the role of the mass media, Chomsky argues that the vested corporate interests controlling newspapers, television, and radio, no less than the content of what these outlets offer, form what he and Edward Hermann in their seminal study Manufacturing Consent call a "propaganda model" supine in the service of power.
Chomsky's bibliography consists of over one hundred titles, spanning over sixty year's worth of work and research, vastly contributing to the public dialogue of both linguistics and politics. His most recent publication is a second edition of a collection of essays and interviews entitled, 9-11: Was There an Alternative?, available now.
Call (217) 222-9455 or (800) 222-9455 Sunday from 1-2pm during our live show to ask a question.
Join Bob and his guest Ralph Nader Sunday at 1pm central on Illinois Public Media's WILL-AM 580. Nader's latest book is "Only the Super-Rich can Save Us." Ralph Nader is one of America's most effective social critics. Named by The Atlantic as one of the 100 most influential figures in American history, and by Time and Life magazines as one of the hundred most influential Americans of the twentieth century, his documented criticism of government and industry has had widespread effect on public awareness and bureaucratic power. He is the "U.S.'s toughest customer" says Time magazine. His inspiration and example have galvanized a whole population of consumer advocates, citizen activists, and public interest lawyers who in turn have established their own organizations throughout the country.
For over four decades, Nader has exposed problems and organized millions of citizens into more than 100 public interest groups to advocate for solutions. His efforts have helped create a framework of laws, regulatory agencies, and federal standards that have improved the quality of life for two generations of Americans. Because of Ralph Nader we drive safer cars, eat healthier food, breathe better air, drink cleaner water, and work in safer environments. Call and speak with Bob McChesney and Ralph Nader.
Morris Berman is well known as an innovative cultural historian and social critic. He has taught at a number of universities in Europe and North America, and has held visiting endowed chairs at Incarnate Word College (San Antonio), the University of New Mexico, and Weber State University. During 1982-88 he was the Lansdowne Professor in the History of Science at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Berman won the Governor's Writers Award for Washington State in 1990, and was the first recipient of the annual Rollo May Center Grant for Humanistic Studies in 1992. He is the author of a trilogy on the evolution of human consciousness-The Reenchantment of the World (1981), Coming to Our Senses (1989), and Wandering God: A Study in Nomadic Spirituality (2000)-and in 2000 his Twilight of American Culture was named a "Notable Book" by the New York Times Book Review. During 2003-6 he was Visiting Professor in Sociology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Dr. Berman relocated to Mexico in 2006, and during 2008-9 was a Visiting Professor at the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico City. Call and comment during this live show - (800)244-9455.
Bob's guests are Juan Gonzalez and Joseph Torres, authors of News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media, a sweeping account of the class and racial conflicts in American news media, from the first colonial newspaper to the internet age. It chronicles key government decisions that created our nation's system of news, major political battles over the role of the press, and the rise of media conglomerates and epoch-defining technologies. The book reveals how racial segregation in the media distorted the news and unearths numerous examples of how publishers and broadcasters actually fomented racial violence through their coverage. And it illuminates how Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American journalists fought to create a vibrant yet little-known alternative and democratic press and then, beginning in the 1970s, forced open the doors of the major media companies.
The writing is fast-paced, story-driven and replete with portraits of individual journalists and media executives, both famous and obscure, the heroes and the villains. It weaves back and forth between the corporate battles and government policies that built our segregated media system- as when Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover gave a radio license to a notorious KKK organization in the nation's capital-and those who rebelled against that system, such as Pittsburgh Courier publisher Robert L. Vann, who led a national campaign to get the black-face comedy Amos 'n' Andy off the air. www.VersoBooks.com
Join Bob and Professor Lawrence Lessig on Sunday at 1pm for a live show. Call and comment. Lawrence Lessig is the Director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Prior to returning to Harvard, Lessig was a Professor of Law at Stanford Law School (where he was founder of Stanford's Center for Internet and Society), Harvard Law School (1997-2000), and the University of Chicago Law School. Lessig clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. For much of his academic career, Lessig has focused on law and technology, especially as it affects copyright. He is the author of five books on the subject - Remix (2008), Code v2 (2007), Free Culture (2004), The Future of Ideas (2001) and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (1999) - and has served as lead counsel in a number of important cases marking the boundaries of copyright law in a digital age, including Eldred v. Ashcroft, a challenge to the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, and Golan v. Holder. His current academic work addresses the question of "institutional corruption" - roughly, influences within an economy of influence that weaken the effectiveness of an institution, or weaken public trust. His current work at the EJ Safra Lab oversees a 5 year research project addressing institutional corruption in a number of institutional contexts. www.lessig.org
Glenn Greenwald is a former Constitutional and civil rights litigator and is the author of two New York Times Bestselling books on the Bush administration's executive power and foreign policy abuses. His just-released book, With Liberty and Justice for Some, is an indictment of America's two-tiered system of justice, which vests political and financial elites with immunity even for egregious crimes while subjecting ordinary Americans to the world's largest and most merciless penal state. Greenwald was named by The Atlantic as one of the 25 most influential political commentators in the nation. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, and is the winner of the 2010 Online Journalism Association Award for his investigative work on the arrest and oppressive detention of Bradley Manning. www.salon.com
The son of a union miner and activist, Gerard went to work at a nickel smelter in his hometown of Sudbury, Ontario, at age 18. As a young man, he studied economics and political science at Laurentian University, where he later received an honorary doctorate of laws degree. Gerard was awarded a second honorary doctorate of laws degree, this one from the University of Guelph in Canada, in recognition of his contributions to social justice. Gerard was appointed International President on Feb. 28, 2001 by the USW's International Executive Board to succeed the late George Becker, who had retired. That November, Gerard was elected by acclamation in union-wide elections. Previously, Gerard was the union's International Secretary-Treasurer (1994-2001), the National Director for Canada (1991-1994) and Director of District 6 in Ontario (1986-1991). In 2005, Gerard led a ticket of International Officers and District Directors who, for the first time in the union's history, were elected without opposition. He was again re-elected by acclamation in 2009 and was installed in his current term on March 1, 2010. Call and Comment during this Live Program www.usw.org
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