“The young people tagged as Millennials have been called entitled, lazy, narcissistic, snow flakes and so on—but are those stereotypes the real deal? In his book, Kids These Days: The Making of Millennials, author Malcolm Harris investigates the political and economic forces that are squeezing and shaping his generation. In so doing, he also reveals some of the unique features of this stage of late capitalism.”
Now you can hear Part Two of my eye-opening interview with Harris as broadcast yesterday on radio station WBAI 99.5 FM NYC. The first part of the interview covered the life of millennials up to college; in this week’s Part Two, Harris focuses on the world of work, and why all of us, millennials or not, are headed in the same direction.
The young people tagged as Millennials have been called entitled, lazy, narcissistic, snow flakes and so on—but are those stereotypes the real deal? In his book, Kids These Days: The Making of Millennials, author Malcolm Harris investigates the political and economic forces that are squeezing and shaping his generation. In so doing, he also reveals some of the unique features of this stage of late capitalism.
You can listen to the first part of the interview I did with Harris as broadcast yesterday on Arts Express on radio station WBAI 99.5 FM NYC. Click on the grey triangle to listen.
This parody debate of Trump vs. Sanders was done on the @midnight television show in 2016, but it looks like we may be experiencing Groundhog Day soon. James Adomian does a nice job of capturing Bernie, but Anthony Atamanuik’s Trump is uncanny. It’s way beyond Alec Baldwin’s very good impersonation; it captures something more sinister.
In a world gone crazy, we might need to put the entire planet on the couch. Bruce Levine, a practicing clinical psychologist often at odds with the mainstream of his profession, argues in his newest book, Resisting Illegitimate Authority: A Thinking Person’s Guide to Being an Anti-Authoritarian, for the essential value of anti-authoritarians in a democracy, and questions their treatment by the medical establishment. He also dishes a few pro-tips on how resisters can survive the slings and arrows of an authoritarian society.
You can listen to my interview with Bruce Levine as broadcast this week on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI 99.5 FM NYC, by clicking on the grey triangle above.
Once in a while, we here at Shalblog Industries® allow ourselves a political post. In the spirit of Shalblog Industries®’ policy of being all things to all people, however, this post will be merely descriptive rather than prescriptive.
The one incontrovertible fact about life in the United States is this: the standard of living that capitalism allows is built on the misery, torture, destruction, exploitation, and killing of millions of people around the world.
That one simple fact is really the centerpiece of our existence.
It’s a fairly impossible fact to live with.
How could we wake up every morning and function with that on our shoulders? The Shalblog Industries® Theory of American Political Ideology is simply a catalogue of the various strategies used to cope with this central fact of our existence. The style of denial a person chooses determines whether one is a conservative, fascist, neo-liberal, liberal, socialist, pacifist, anarchist, etc., or combination thereof. (And yes, certainly vice-versa is true as well—one’s political stance determines one’s denial technique.)
Why one person chooses one strategy and another person chooses another strategy is not something Shalblog Industries® is authorized to discuss right now. Our aim here is much more circumscribed. In this post we will merely catalogue the varieties of coping.
Without further ado: A Child’s Garden of Denial
1) Outright Rejection. “You’re lying. No one’s dying. At least not to make my life better.”
2) The New World Order Acceptance. “Yes it’s absolutely true–and that’s the way it must be. It’s right that people—my inferiors—should live to serve me, their superior.”
3) Life is a Game. “It’s unfortunate, but that’s life. There are winners and losers, and the losers haven’t done enough to become winners.”
4) Family Is Everything. “Life is hard enough as it is; I can’t worry about others, only myself and my family.”
5) As The World Turns. “Things will turn out all right in the end. The world is evolving slowly in the right direction. Patience.”
6) Poor Little Me. “Yes there is much injustice in the world, but I do not have the power to change things.”
7) I’m On It. “Yes, there is so much injustice in the world, and I am working to change it.”
8) It’s So Confusing. “Yes, there is so much injustice in the world, but what happens away from these shores is murky and vague to me.”
9) Not My Department. “Yes, it may be that people are not being treated well, but I’m not a political person.”
10) Pretty Please. “I see that there are injustices in the world, and if only we can get some people to be nicer, the world could be better.”
11) It Is What It Is. “This is what life is, unfortunately. No one said that life is fair.”
12) Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There. “Yes, it’s all terrible, but I have no idea what to do about it.”
13) The Beard Stroker. “Yes, it’s terrible, and if we study long enough and deeply enough to try to understand, then we can change things.”
14) God is Good.“The way things are right now is all going according to God’s will.”
15) Counter-Insurgency. “There are bad people who are spreading rumors that are just untrue. We must stop those people who are saying such things.”
16) I Gotta Be Me. “It may be true, but no one can function in everyday life with that knowledge in one’s rear-view mirror all the time.”
17) You Talkin’ To Me? “I am not the victimizer, I am the victim.”
18) The Artiste. “I’ll write a blog post about it.”
A socialist revolution in the United States in 2044? In activist Mike Albert’s new fictional journalistic account, RPS/2044, you can learn how it happened. This is the second part of the interview with Albert that I produced for the Arts Express radio program. Mike talks about what a Revolutionary Participatory Society might look like, why it’s important for present-day activists to lay out a vision for the future, and how we might get from here to there.
It’s the year 2044, and praise to the goddesses, a socialist revolution in the United States is well in progress. How did it happen? Fortunately we have an account of the 2044 revolution in this set of oral histories that journalist Miguel Guevera has conducted with many of the heroes of the revolution. Guevera (aka 2018 activist Mike Albert) talks about the workings of a Revolutionary Participatory Society and economy in this interview I produced, broadcast yesterday for the Arts Express radio program on WBAI 99.5 FM NY.
Yesterday, WBAI’s Arts Express radio show broadcast my interview with Noliwe Rooks, author of the new book, Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and The End of Public Education.
Ms. Rooks argues that the current charter school movement is just one more scheme in a long history of school hustles which go back to the 19th century. What these schemes have in common, she says, is the transfer of education and tax dollars from minority and oppressed groups to the pockets of white entrepreneurs, in a process she calls segrenomics.
You can listen to the interview with Noliwe Rooks by clicking on the grey triangle above.
Yesterday, WBAI-FM radio’s Arts Express broadcast part two of my interview with Peter Frase, author of the new book Four Futures.
Frase has an intriguing set of ideas about what the future might look like after capitalism destructs, given the ecological constraints of abundance/scarcity and the political constraints of equality/inequality. In this final segment we talk about what might happen if the world’s resources turn out to be strictly limited.
Now, here is Part Two, the second half of my interview, which was broadcast on WBAI radio’s Arts Express program yesterday.In this part, Jodi Dean talks about the problems with The New Left and Identity Politics; the anarchist/socialist split; the various critiques of the party formation and the rebuttal of those critiques; and why she thinks parties are the only way forward for those who would seek to upend capitalism.
Click on the grey triangle above to hear Part Two.
Crowds and Party by Jodi Dean is a fascinating must read for anyone interested in how political change happens, and what the left must do now. In this book, Professor Dean talks about those “beautiful moments” that have happened throughout history—think The Paris Commune and Occupy Wall Street—where The Crowd has created a disruption in the usual fabric of capitalist society. But those “beautiful moments” are short-lived, ephemeral, and seem to disappear into forgotten hope. How can a movement hold onto and build on these precious historical moments? Jodi Dean tackles crowd theory and the concept of a working people’s political party, reviews the relevant literature, and presents her analysis in her new book, Crowds and Party.
The book is not always easy reading, so I was happy to have the opportunity to engage in a spirited conversation with Professor Dean, broadcast on WBAI 99.5 FM NY radio yesterday on the Arts Express program. Dean was so interesting that we decided to do two parts to the interview, broadcast one week after the other.
You can listen to Part One by clicking on the grey triangle above.
Among the political left, there has long been a tradition of the radical folk song masked as a patriotic ditty. Paul Robeson sung “The House I Live In” and “Ballad for Americans”; Woody Guthrie sung “This Land Is Your Land”; Pete Seeger sung “If I Had a Hammer,” and so on.
Phil Ochs, who died 39 years ago last week, continued that tradition. “The Power and the Glory” was Phil’s stirring contribution to the genre. He was clever enough in constructing the song that it was covered by arch-conservative songbird Anita Bryant.
Phil’s anthem gets you out of bed Monday morning, saluting the flag, and stuffing The Communist Manifesto in your back pocket en route to the demo.
Click on the video for the song, and the words in English and Spanish, and an additional unrecorded final verse reportedly written by Theo Bikel.