KPFA: Letters and Politics [Program Feed]


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  • A Counter Narrative of Native American History
    A conversation with Ojibwe author and anthropologist David Treuer about the alternative narratives he has uncovered on the struggles of his people.  Treuer presents a counter narrative to the history we have been told about Native Americans. He points out about native life: “…we are not dead, life is not awful, it’s also not wonderful, it’s complicated” Guest: David Treuer is Ojibwe from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. He teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California. And is author of several novels and non-fiction books including his latest The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present.
  • A History of the Grand Jury Process and the Chelsea Manning Case. Then, The Aftermath of the New Zealand Massacre
    As Chelsea Manning spends her second week in prison for her refusal to testify to a grand jury for a case that seems to be about Wikileaks Julian Assange over the release of top secret documents back in 2010. These cables were leaked by Chelsea manning when she was in the military. Manning was granted clemency after serving several years in a military prison by former president Obama.  It appears she has been subpoena to a grand jury to testify whether Assange assisted her in any way to obtain those documents. Manning has called the grand jury, morally objectionable that works in secret. A process that historically has been used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech. We talk to professor Marjorie Cohn about what a grand jury is, how it operates and its history. Then, we are joined by Dr. Hatem Bazian to talk about the aftermath of the New Zealand massacre and also the debate on Ilhan Omar’s comments concerning U.S.-Israeli relations. Guest: Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California. She is a former president of the National Lawyers Guild.  Her articles can be found at marjoriecohn.com [1] Hatem Bazian is a co-founder and Professor of Islamic Law and Theology at Zaytuna College, the 1st Accredited Muslim Liberal Arts College in the United States. In addition, Prof. Bazian is a lecturer in the Departments of Near Eastern and Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.     [1] https://marjoriecohn.com/
  • The White Power Movement and The Christchurch Massacre
    A conversation on the transnational white power movement and its history behind the massacre in New Zealand last week with Professor Kathleen Belew. Guest: Kathleen Belew is Professor of History at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America.  Her latest piece (Dissent Magazine) can be found here [1] The Christchurch Massacre and the White Power Movement [2].           [1] https://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/the-christchurch-massacre-and-the-white-power-movement [2] https://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/the-christchurch-massacre-and-the-white-power-movement
  • The History and Constitutionality of The Veto. Then, Lessons from a Dark Time
    A conversation on the history and constitutionality of the veto. And Donald Trump using a national emergency declaration in order to achieve a policy outcome of what it may mean for the future. Guest: Michael J. Gerhardt is the scholar-in-residence at the National Constitution Center.  He is also the Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill. And a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He is author of such books as The Power of Precedent (2008); The Forgotten Presidents: Their Untold Constitutional Legacy (2013); Impeachment: What Everyone Needs to Know (2018) among others. Then, A conversation with Adam Hochschild about his book Lessons from a Dark Time and Other Essays.    
  • Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone
    A conversation on  democracy with writer and filmmaker Astra Taylor author of the new book Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone. Guest: Astra Taylor is the author of The People’s Platform:  Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age (winner of the American Book Award) and made two documentary films, Zizek! and Examined Life. Taylor’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, n+1, and The Baffler, where she is a contributing editor.  
  • The Ebb of the Pink Tide: The Decline of the Left in Latin America
    Today, we are in conversation with Professor Mike Gonzalez about how left-wing elected governments in Latin America have been under assault from reactionary forces and the U.S. government.  We also discuss how the so called Pink Tide has come short in its socialist promises and what are the prospects for Latin American politics. Guest: Mike Gonzalez is Emeritus Professor of Latin American Studies at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of such books as Hugo Chavez: Socialist for the Twenty-first Century (Pluto, 2014); The Last Drop: The Politics of Water (Pluto, 2015);  and his latest The Ebb of the Pink Tide: The Decline of the Left in Latin America (Pluto, 2018).
  • The Monroe Doctrine and the Justification of U.S. Current Involvement in Venezuela
    National Security adviser John Bolton invokes the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 to justify the United States meddling in Venezuelan affairs. Today we are in conversation about the history of the Monroe Doctrine, what it is, and how it has changed throughout the years. Guest: Grace Livingstone [1] is a journalist and academic, specializing in Latin American affairs and history.  She has covered Venezuela closely for several outlets including the Guardian, and The Observer  among others. Dr. Livingston is a lecturer at the Centre of Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge and a visiting research fellow at the Institute of Latin American Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is the author of such books as America’s Backyard: The United States and Latin America from the Monroe Doctrine to the War on Terror; Britain and the Dictatorships of Argentina and Chile; I [2]nside Colombia: Drugs, Democracy, and War America’s Backyard  reveals the US role in the darkest periods of Latin American history, including Pinochet’s coup in Chile, the Contra War in Nicaragua and the death squads in El Salvador.  It shows how George W. Bush’s administration used the War on Terror as a new pretext for intervention; how it tried to destabilize left wing governments and push back the ‘pink tide’ washing across the Americas     [1] https://grace-livingstone.com [2] https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0813534429/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i1
  • Fukushima And The Fatal Flows of Nuclear Power
    Marking the eight anniversary of the devastating earthquake that rocked Japan and subsequent tsunami that created a disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, we are in conversation with Gregory Jackzo, head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at the time the Fukushima disaster occurred. He recounts the role he played in the American government’s response to the nuclear accident in Japan and how the devastation changed his mind about nuclear power. Guest: Gregory Jackzo is an adjunct professor at Princeton University and Georgetown University, and an entrepreneur with a clean energy development company.  He served as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 2009-2012, and a commissioner from 2005-2009.  Gregory Jackzo is the author of Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator.
  • Fund Drive Special- The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic
    A conversation with Mike Duncan about his book The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic. He explains how the accumulation of inequalities, social prejudice and corruption led the Roman Republic to its fall. Guest: Mike Duncan is one of the foremost history podcasters in the world. His award winning series The History of Rome chronologically narrated the entire history of the Roman Empire over 189 weekly episodes. Running from 2007-2012, it generated more than 56 million downloads and remains one of the most popular history podcasts on the internet.  Currently, Duncan has continued to produce his ongoing series Revolutions [1], -now exploring the great political revolutions of the world. The latest English, American, French, and Haitian Revolutions generating more than 12 million downloads.   [1] https://www.revolutionspodcast.com/
  • Fund Drive Special: Gilgamesh, The Oldest Written Story on Earth
    A conversation on the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest complete story that we have in the planet, it dates nearly back 5,000 years.  It is from Sumer, the southernmost region of ancient Mesopotamia, or modern Iraq today.  We talk to Kent H. Dixon about how the stories of Gilgamesh can be found in the old testament and the ancient stories of Homer. Guest: Kent H. Dixon [1] is a translator, a writer, and Emeritus Professor of English, at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Translated into English and presented as a graphic novel, this version of The Epic Of Gilgamesh is a father/son project by scholar and translator Kent H. Dixon and his son, the comix artist Kevin H. Dixon, who bring a fresh take on this great work. Support KPFA, [2] Donate  today! [3] [1] http://www.kenthdixon.com/ [2] https://secure.kpfa.org/support/ [3] https://secure.kpfa.org/support/
  • Fund Drive Special: Henry David Thoreau: A Life
    Today we bring you a conversation on the life of Henry David Thoreau and his essay on civil disobedience and how he inspired the life of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.  He was an ardent naturalist, a manual laborer and inventor, a radical political activist who urged for non-violent political resistance and the principled withholding of taxes, and more. We talk about all this and about a seemingly contradictory support for John Brown’s raid on Harper Ferry. Guest: Laura Dassow Walls is the William P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of several books including, Emerson’s Life in Science: The Culture of Truth. most recently, Henry David Thoreau: A Life. 
  • Fund Drive Special: The Life and Words of Frederick Douglass
    A conversation about the legacy of the most important African American of the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass.  He escaped slavery and became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era. Guest: David W. Blight is Professor of American History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University.  He is the author or editor of several books inclu ding American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era; and Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory.  He has worked extensively on Douglass legacy, and been awarded the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize, among others. His latest book is Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. Support KPFA Today!!! [1]   [1] https://secure.kpfa.org/support/
  • Fund Drive Special: Impeaching the President
    A conversation on the two presidential impeachments in U.S. history. The first on Andrew Johnson in 1868, and the second on Bill Clinton in the late 1990’s with legal scholar Alan Hirsch. Guest: Alan Hirsch is the chair of the Justice and Law Studies program at Williams College, Massachusetts.  He is the author or co-author of several books, including For The People: What the Constitution Really Says About Your Rights, A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment, and his latest,  Impeaching the President: Past, Present and Future. Support your Radio Station! Donate to KPFA Today!
  • Fund Drive Special: Michael Cohen Testifies Before Congress
    A look at burning political issues and debates and their historical context within the US and worldwide, hosted by Mitch Jeserich.
  • Fund Drive Special: A People’s History of the Russian Revolution
    A conversation on the history of the Russian revolution with historian Neil Faulkner.  Seeking to rescue the democratic essence of the revolution from its detractors and deniers, Faulkner laced with first-hand testimony this history. Guest: Neil Faulkner is a historian and archaeologist and the author of numerous books, including A Radical History of the World and most recently, A People’s History of the Russian Revolution.  Neil Faulkner argues that the Russian Revolution was an explosion of democracy and creativity – and that it was crushed by bloody counter-revolution and replaced with a monstrous form of bureaucratic state-capitalism.         History is a weapon. The powerful have their version of events, the people have another. And if we understand how the past was forged, we arm ourselves to change the future.

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