Clearing the FOG with co-hosts Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese

We discussed the conference about Syria that is taking place in Montreux, Switzerland. Although the stated goal is peace, the structure of the talks is designed around removal of Assad from power. We will discuss the politics behind the war in Syria with Ajamu Baraka. Baraka writes of the peace talks, “Its main purpose was always to affect their main strategic objective – the removal of President Bashir al-Assad from power and the disappearance of Syria as an independent state.” Baraka calls them “war talks” and states that they are laying the groundwork for an attack on Syria. Alli McCracken of CODEPINK joins us to speak about her recent trip to Geneva with a delegation of women to press for the inclusion of women in the talks. Visit ClearingtheFOGRadio.org for more information.

Direct download: CtF_Show_86_Syria.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 10:36pm EDT

We continue our discussion of building a trans-formative social movement in the United States. On our last program, we looked back at the social movement over the past few years and analyzed it based on the Eight Stages of Successful Social Movements. On this program, speak about the tasks ahead to build consensus and an engaged movement of people pushing for peace, justice and a sustainable way of living. Our guest is David Solnit. For more information, visit ClearingtheFOGRadio.org.

Direct download: CtF_Show__85_David_Solnit.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 9:30pm EDT

We spoke with Ken Butigan about the stages of social transformation, where the US fits in and what the tasks are during this stage. You may be surprised to find out how close we are. Butigan is director of Pace e Bene, a nonprofit organization fostering nonviolent change through education, community and action. He also teaches peace studies at DePaul University and Loyola University in Chicago. He has been involved in numerous ‘people powered’ movements for thirty years. For more information, visit ClearingtheFOGRadio.org.

Direct download: CtF_Show__84_Movement_Mapping.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 4:51pm EDT

We spoke with James Quilligan, who is presently Managing Director of the Centre for Global Negotiations and Chairman for the Secretariat of Global Commons Trust, which develops innovative means of restoring value—beyond business and government—through people’s social, cultural, intellectual, genetic and natural resource commons. He wrote an in-depth series of articles for Kosmos Journal about the transformation from what he calls the Market State to a Commons-based Economy. In the Market State, all resources, goods and services are monetized and privatized so that they are controlled by a few and kept away from some of the public, and the economy is based on debt. In the Commons-Based Economy, the commons which also includes genes, culture and knowledge, the economy is based on credit and on a trust that manages the resources in a way that is sustainable and regenerative. People have more control over the economy as well. For more information, visit ClearingtheFOGRadio.org.

Direct download: CtF_Show__83_Commons_Trust.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 4:03pm EDT

The Presidential election in Honduras took place on November 24. Since the US was involved in the 2009 coup that removed President Manuel Zelaya, Hondurans have lived under a brutal regime in which political activists are harassed and murdered. This year, Zelaya’ wife, Xiomara Castro, ran as the new LIBRE party candidate. The official report is that she came in second, but widespread fraud and repression in the election makes this result questionable and there have been large protests to demand a recount. To discuss this, we will be joined by Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research who writes regularly about Latin America and Chuck Kauffman of the Alliance for Global Justice who was a member of a large delegation of election observers present for this election. For more information, visit ClearingtheFOGRadio.org.

Direct download: CtF_Show_82_Honduras.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 2:22pm EDT

On this week’s show, we hear firsthand about the conditions in Palestine from Ellen Davidson and Tarak Kauff. They and four other Veterans Peace Team members traveled in Palestine for three weeks in November to witness the conditions there and stand in solidarity with the people during their weekly protests. Kauff, who leads the Veterans for Peace Action Network, created the Veterans Peace Team after the Occupy Movement started in order to provide assistance to nonviolent protests. Peace Team members will stand between police and nonviolent protesters upon request. In addition to being a peace team member, Davidson who has traveled to Palestine before is a photographer and blogger. She chronicled the trip on StopTheseWars.org. Davidson and Kauff share what they learned and experienced on their trip. For more information, visit ClearingtheFOGRadio.org.

Direct download: CtF_Show__81_Palestine.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 6:02pm EDT

We spoke about the state of dissent in the United States with Bruce Levine, practicing psychologist who connects the dots between society, politics, culture and mental health. He is also a social commentator and author of Get Up, Stand Up as well as other books. Levine writes about the mental health profession’s increasing trend to treat healthy challenges to authority and a dysfunctional society as abnormal. Psychologists in the US also do not recognize alternative worldviews such as anarchism and so attempt to coerce youth into adopting what are considered to be cultural norms within a hierarchical framework. Levine also writes about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on the mental health profession and even the new DSM-V. For more information, visit ClearingtheFOGRadio.org.

Direct download: CtF_Show80_Mental_Health.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 8:08pm EDT

We spoke with two cultural activists who use arts and culture to educate and empower people to take action in their communities. This follows our conversation last week in which author Rivera Sun described how her novels tell the story of social transformation and educate her readers about nonviolent resistance. Bill Moyer of the Backbone Campaign teaches “Artful Activism” in his community and facilitates direct action training camps throughout the nation. He lectures in nonviolent strategy and tactics. Moyers says, “Our role, as change makers, social movement activists, organizers, and cultural workers is to change the social/political/economic variables and expand the scope of what is politically possible in tune with our principles and aspirations. Simultaneously, we must make politically toxic the world view that we oppose, lessening its appeal, reducing its claim in the territory of the politically possible.” His area of expertise is “Spectacle Actions.” Mic Crenshaw uses Hip Hop to expand the public dialogue about race and class issues in both the United States and Africa. Crenshaw says, “The music is an expression of my creativity but ultimately serves as a tool for a critique on dominant culture that limits and defines the kind of choices folks even imagine under capitalism.” He teaches social justice in Portland, OR, is Executive Director of Education Without Borders, is Political Director of Hip Hop Congress and organizes primarily around housing. He also founded Globalfam to help youth in Africa and organizes the Afrikan Hip Hop Caravan. Visit ClearingtheFOGRadio.org for more information.

Direct download: CtF_Show__79_Arts_and_Activism.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 2:02pm EDT

We live in a time of transition. There is a greater understanding of the interconnections between living beings and the planet. And there is a greater understanding that the current way of life and political system do not function for the majority of people. A nonviolent culture of resistance is growing and alternative systems that are more peaceful, just and sustainable are being created. We explore this transition with Rivera Sun, author of the newly-released book The Dandelion Insurrection. Sun tells the story of building a nonviolent movement to overcome a plutocracy within a highly militarized state. Her novel is both inspiring and instructive. We then spoke with Stephanie Van Hook and Michael Nagler of the Metta Center for Nonviolence. They provide tools and training for nonviolent skills and coordinate the Shanti Sena Network of Peace Teams.

Direct download: CtF_Show_78_1_Building_Nonviolent_Culture_of_Resistance.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 5:48pm EDT

We spoke with Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK and author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. Medea has been a relentless activist to stop the use of drones to terrorize communities and kill civilians. She traveled to Pakistan and Yemen to speak with the families of drone victims and recently attended the briefing in Congress in which family members told their stories. Medea exposed that funds for victims of drones are actually going to US-based NGOs. She is organizing the upcoming drone conference. We also spoke with Naureen Shah of Amnesty International about a new study on drone attacks in Pakistan and David Swanson of War Is a Crime about the legality of drone warfare and whether it should be banned. Visit ClearingtheFOGRadio.org for more information.

Direct download: CtF_Show_78_Drones.mp3
Category:News Commentary -- posted at: 6:09pm EDT