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Archives for December, 2015


Law and Disorder December 28, 2015


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Mumia Abu-Jamal Lawsuit Update

Mumia Abu-Jamal has gone to federal court in Scranton, Pennsylvania to get an order compelling the state of Pennsylvania to provide him with medical care for Hepatitis C.  Mumia has suffered symptoms of slurred words, elephants skin, scales and bloody cracks in his skin on 90 percent of his body. Other symptoms include extreme weakness, swelling of his limbs and loss of mental acuity. Mumia Abu-Jamal is being represented by Bret Grote of the Abolitionist Law Center and by Robert Boyle a National Lawyers Guild lawyer and prisoner’s rights advocate.

Guest – David Lindorff, is an American investigative reporter, a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, Extra! and Salon.com. His work was highlighted by Project Censored 2004, 2011 and 2012. Born in 1949, Lindorff lives just outside Philadelphia. He currently writes for ThisCantBeHappening.

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The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine

Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and activist living in the US. He was born and raised in Jerusalem. His father was the late Israeli General Matti Peled. Driven by a personal family tragedy to explore Palestine, its people and their narrative. He has written a book about his journey from the sphere of the privileged Israeli to that of the oppressed Palestinians. Peled speaks nationally and internationally on the issue of Palestine. He supports the creation of a single democratic state in all of Palestine, and a firm supporter of BDS.

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Trotskyists on Trial: Free Speech and Political Persecution Since the Age of FDR

The American war against Iraq, originally called Operation Iraqi liberation, (O.I.L.) was not fought, as we can clearly see now, to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq. But what about World War II, often called “the good war”?  There were socialists indicted tried and convicted for opposing the American government’s aims in World War II, which they said was an imperialist war for markets and territories. They were falsely accused of conspiracy to overthrow the American government by force and violence,  a thought crime,  and imprisoned in Minnesota before the American government got involved in the war, that is, during peacetime.  This was accomplished by the Roosevelt government, urged on by J Edgar Hoover and the FBI.  The indictments and convictions were secured under the recently passed alien and registration act, known as the Smith Act, named after its sponsor Howard K Smith, a southern anti-labor racist democratic senator.  Back then in 1941 fear was marshaled against socialists union liters who were called subversives just as fear is used now against Muslims and terrorists.

Guest – Professor Donna Haverty-Stacke, is an Associate Professor of History and Roosevelt House Faculty Associate at Hunter College, CUNY where she teaches courses in U.S. cultural, urban and labor history.  She received her BA in American Studies from Georgetown University in May 1994.  As the recipient of the Joseph L. Allbritton Scholarship she studied at Brasenose College, Oxford University where she earned an MSt in Historical Research in 1995 and an MLitt in Modern History in 1997.  She then attended Cornell University, where she graduated with a PhD in History in May 2003.

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Law and Disorder December 21, 2015


Updates:

  • Co-host Attorney Michael Smith Reflects On The Anti-Union Oppression In Detroit And Wisconsin In The Late 50s

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Trumbo

In the late 1930s and early 40s, many artists, writers, and intellectuals who sympathized with the poor, the labor movement, and the fights against racism and fascism aligned themselves with the Communist Party – which was then following the Stalinist policy of the “popular front”.  Hence, when the governments anti-Communist witch-hunt got underway soon after the end of the second world war in 1946, many in Hollywood were placed under suspicion. Lists of names were drawn up, and those named were subpoenaed by the house committee on un-American activities (HUAC). Novelist and screenwriter Dalton Trumbo had joined the Communist Party in 1943, and he was on that list. In 1947, when called to testify before the HUAC, Trumbo refused to testify on the basis of freedom of association and freedom of thought, both supposedly guaranteed by the First Amendment to the constitution known as the Bill of Rights.  Trumbo spent 11 months in federal prison in Kentucky. He was blacklisted and couldn’t get a job in Hollywood for 13 years, but won Oscars is for two movies that came out under other names. The movie Trumbo starring Bryan Cranston does an effective job of showing the fear of communism that was generated in those dark times and how it decimated Hollywood and was used for thought control.

Guest – Zachary Sklar, Oscar-nominated co-screenwriter of Oliver Stone’s film JFK, and author of the book JFK: The Book of the Film. He’s a journalist, and a professor at the Columbia School of Journalism. He was also a contributor to The Lies of Our Times, a monthly journal dedicated to exposing the truth behind the mainstream media. Zach collaborated with director Oliver Stone on the screenplay of the movie “JFK” and was editor of Jim Garrison’s book “On the Trail of the Assassins.”

Outgoing song – “Nothing” by the Fugs, performed by the Down Hill Strugglers

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Climate Change Conference COP21

The meeting on controlling climate change by reducing greenhouse gases produced by fossil fuels concluded in Paris last week and involved representatives from every nation in the world. The agreement that came out a Paris is widely believed by climate change activists to be not nearly enough; That we need more reductions or our very existence is threatened. Critics of the talks say that it fell short because there were no timetables and no targets and no binding commitments.

Guest – Eleanor Stein, teaches a course called the Law of Climate Change: Domestic and Transnational at Albany Law School and SUNY Albany, in conjunction with the Environmental  and Atmospheric Sciences Department at SUNY. Eleanor Stein is teaching transnational  environmental law with a focus on catastrophic climate change. For ten years she served as an Administrative Law Judge at the New York State Public Service Commission in Albany, New York, where she presided over and mediated New York’s Renewable Portfolio Standard proceeding, a collaboration and litigation of over 150 parties, authoring in June 2004 a comprehensive decision recommending a landmark state environmental initiative to combat global warming with incentives for renewable resource-fueled power generation.

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Law and Disorder December 14, 2015


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Drug Policy Alliance Looking Forward

In slow yet incremental steps, progress is being made toward establishing more sensible and humane drug policies in the United States.

The past half century has been characterized by politically-motivated hysteria around the so-called War on Drugs, resulting in harsh sentencing laws, and a subsequent soaring of mass incarceration rates. Half of the federal prison population is in for drug offenses, and the result has been highly detrimental to families and communities.

Two years ago former Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department would begin to reassess the draconian mandatory minimum sentences on non-violent drug offenders that disproportionately target young African American and Latino males. Such public pronouncements, along with continued grassroots organizing, and heightened public awareness that the War on Drugs has been an abysmal failure, are helping to shift the tide in drug policies. The Drug Policy Alliance has made measurable strides in criminal justice reforms such as in helping to  decriminalize marijuana in Colorado and Washington.

Guest – Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. Nadelmann received his B.A., J.D., and Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard as well as a Masters’ degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics, and taught at Princeton University for seven years. He has authored two books – Cops Across Borders and (with Peter Andreas) Policing The Globe – and his writings have appeared in most major media outlets in the U.S. as well as top academic journals.

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Radicals In America: The US Left Since The Second World War

Radicals in the United States, often controversial and frequently dismissed by the status quo, have nonetheless played a significant role in mobilizing social justice movements.  In the recently published book “Radicals in America: The U.S. Left since the Second World War,” authors Christopher Phelps and Howard Brick have compiled
a comprehensive history of radicalism that includes the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle through the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The list of accomplishments by the Left is significant, including: racial integration, desegregation of the armed forces, the maintenance of labor unions for nearly 50 years until the election of President Ronald Reagan, the rise of feminism, abortion-rights, and the American withdrawal from Vietnam. The authors of Radicals in America explain how successive generations join movements of dissent, face political setbacks and repression and yet still have succeeded in sparking the imagination among mass movements.

Guest – Christopher Phelps, historian of modern American political and intellectual life. Born near Washington, D.C., he has taught at universities in five countries: Britain, the United States, Poland, Hungary, and Canada. He is author of the intellectual biography Young Sidney Hook (Cornell, 1997; 2d ed., Michigan, 2005) and Radicals in America (Cambridge, 2015), a comprehensive history of the American left since the Second World War co-authored with Howard Brick.

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Law and Disorder December 7, 2015


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Release Aging People in Prison Campaign

Mujahid Farid spent 33 years in prison where he was a successful jailhouse lawyer. He is now involved with RAPP(Release Aging People in Prison, RAPPCampaign.com) and has been the organizer of much of the legal response to parole board intransigence. RAPP activists are pushing the parole board to apply the law regarding their hearings, using recognized standards to measure whether an applicant would be a risk to public safety if they were released, rather than their current practice of simply reciting “you have to stay in prison because of the nature of your crime.”

Guest – Laura Whitehorn is a former political prisoner and native New Yorker, who was active in supporting groups such as the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Movement and was active with Students for a Democratic Society and the Weather Underground. Laura worked to help expose the FBI’s Counter Intelligence programs.

Guest – Mujahid Farid co-founded the Prisoners AIDS Counseling and Education program and helped design prison-based sociology and theology courses that allowed others to earn college-credited in prison. He also earned four college degrees and other certifications while incarcerated, including his paralegal certificate, NYS Department of Labor Certificate in Human Development Counseling, and NYC Department of Health Certificate in HIV/AIDS Counseling.

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Raymond Nat Turner : New York City Poet

Raymond Nat Turner is an acclaimed New York City poet whose words–both on the page and stage–are powerful, political and timely. Artistic Director of the JazzPoetry Ensemble UpSurge, Turner is a member of the National Writer’s Union’s New York Local Steering Committee who recently read at the Harriet Tubman Centennial Symposium.  He has appeared at numerous festivals and venues around the globe, from the Monterey Jazz Festival to Panafest in Ghana West Africa.

Guest – Raymond Nat Turner, currently Poet-in-Residence at Black Agenda Report, Turner has been the opening act for such people as James Baldwin, Cynthia McKinney, radical sportswriter Dave Zirin and Congresswoman Barbara Lee after her lone vote against attacking Afghanistan.

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Chicago Mayor Fires Police Superintendent After Massive Public Pressure

Attorney Flint Taylor co-founder of the People’s Law Office in Chicago gives a perspective on the Chicago police shooting of Laquan McDonald. As listeners may know the footage of this shooting was caught on tape and released 13 months later. Last week, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he asked for Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy’s resignation after massive public protests. The community protests also demanded the resignation of the mayor, the state’s attorney general and other leadership positions.

Guest – Attorney G.Flint Taylor, a graduate of Brown University and Northwestern Law School, is a  founding partner of the People’s Law Office in Chicago, an office which has been dedicated to litigating civil rights, police violence, government misconduct, and death penalty cases for more than 40 years.

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