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Law and Disorder April 25, 2016


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Speaking In Turkish: Denying the Armenian Genocide

To commemorate this, the first genocide of the 20th century, Law and Disorder co-host Heidi Boghosian presents a 60-minute documentary special titled “Speaking In Turkish: Denying the Armenian Genocide.”

Around the world, April 24 marks the observance of the Armenian Genocide. On that day in 1915 the Interior Minister of the Ottoman Empire ordered the arrest and hangings of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. It was the beginning of a systematic and well-documented plan to eliminate the Armenians, who were Christian, and who had been under Ottoman rule and treated as second class citizens since the 15th century.

The unspeakable and gruesome nature of the killings—beheadings of groups of babies, dismemberments, mass burnings, mass drownings, use of toxic gas, lethal injections of morphine or injections with the blood of typhoid fever patients—render oral histories particularly difficult for survivors of the victims.

Why did this happen? Despite being deemed inferior to Turkish Muslims, the Armenian community had attained a prestigious position in the Ottoman Empire and the central authorities there grew apprehensive of their power and longing for a homeland. The concerted plan of deportation and extermination was effected, in large part, because World War I demanded the involvement and concern of potential allied countries. As the writer Grigoris Balakian wrote, the war provided the Turkish government “their sole opportunity, one unprecedented” to exploit the chaos of war in order to carry out their extermination plan.

As Armenians escaped to several countries, including the United States, a number came to New Britain, Connecticut in 1892 to work in the factories of what was then known as the hardware capital of the world. By 1940 nearly 3,000 Armenians lived there in a tight-knit community.

Pope Frances calls it a duty not to forget “the senseless slaughter” of an estimated one and a half million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks from 1915 to 1923. “Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it,” the Pope said just two weeks before the 100th anniversary of the systematic implementation of a plan to exterminate the Armenian race.

Special thanks to Jennie Garabedian, Arthur Sheverdian, Ruth Swisher, Harry Mazadoorian, and Roxie Maljanian. Produced and written by Heidi Boghosian and Geoff Brady.

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Law and Disorder April 18, 2016


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Dallas 6 Trial: No Conviction, Ends In Mistrial

In April of 2014 we spoke with Chandre Delaney, an activist and the mother of Carrington Keys, one of the Dallas 6. The Dallas 6 are a group of inmates who in April 2010 protested the ongoing abuse from prison guards while locked in solitary confinement known as the Restrictive Housing Unit at SCI Dallas prison in Pennsylvannia. Abuse included tasering genitals, being hog tied, cutting off clothes and leaving inmates in cages for hours. The inmates protested by placing bedding over the window of their cell doors to attract attention of the prison administrators. Instead of receiving assistance, the inmates were brought up on riot charges.

The Dallas 6 are Andre Jacobs, Anthony Kelly, Anthony Locke, Dwayne Peters, Derek Stanley and Carrington Keys and were forced to stay in solitary confinement for up to 10 years.They presented testimony in December of 2013 describing the details of their abuse in solitary confinement. The trial for the remaining 3 of the Dallas 6 ended in a mistrial.

Guest – Attorney Michael Wiseman who is representing Dwayne Peters of the Dallas 6. Michael is a criminal defense litigator focusing on criminal and capital defense at trial, on appeal and in post conviction proceedings in state and federal court.

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21 States Introduce Anti-BDS Legislation

Israel advocacy groups and state law makers who support them have introduced anti-BDS legislation in New York California Florida and 19 other states across the United States of America, including the US Congress.

BDS – boycott , divestment, and sanction – is a peaceful tactic to pressure Israel to comply with international law and to influence public opinion and policy in the U.S. in favor of respecting the human rights of Palestinians.

The demands of the BDS movement are : Israels’ withdrawal from the territories of the West Bank which they have occupied since 1967 and the right of Palestinians expelled by the Israelis in 1948 and 1967 to return to their homes and equal rights for Palestinians who are citizens of Israel.

Support for BDS is now more widely rooted and impactful than ever before.  Israel and its supporters in the USA are failing to slow down their gradually intensified isolation.
As a result we are seeing well-funded campaigns to silence Israel’s critics.  Journalist Glenn Greenwald has called this “the greatest threat to free speech in the west.”

Guest – Attorney Rahul Saksena with Palestine legal, a group formed by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild to defend the civil rights and civil liberties of critics of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
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Humanitarian and Economic Crisis in Puerto Rico

There is a humanitarian and economic crisis in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has been a colony of the United States since it was invaded in 1898. Puerto Ricans are unable to vote for president or Congress, enter into trade agreements, control their own borders, issue tariffs, or, unlike any other state or city or corporation, they are unable to take advantage of a bankruptcy laws to restructure their debt. There are 3 million people living in Puerto Rico and their government owes $72 billion in bonds bought up by American citizens and corporations. For the last seven years there’s been a fire sale of Puerto Rican assets, including the sale to private interests of the largest airport on the island and the largest highway. Forty percent of the population are unemployed. Three weeks ago Puerto Rican governor Alejandro Padilla signed into law an emergency bill that would allow him to suspend the counties debt repayment. $422 million is due on May 1, 2016.

Guest – Attorney Linda Backiel – long-term National Lawyers Guild member. Linda practices law in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
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Law and Disorder April 11, 2016


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From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation

Cornel West calls it the best analysis we have of the Black Lives Matter moment of the long struggle for freedom in America. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s new book, “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation,” explores how a new generation of Black radicals–in challenging abusive policing practices, over-imprisonment of Black persons, deeply ingrained stereotypes of African Americans as especially dangerous and devoid of humanity, along with other forms of racist state oppression–is carrying on the fight for Black liberation through renewed activist uprisings. Combining historical accounts with insightful analysis, she demonstrates the interconnection between institutional racism and class oppression, reminding us how inequality and racialized state violence are byproducts of capitalism.

Guest – Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is assistant professor in the department of African American Studies at Princeton University. She writes on Black politics, social movements and racial inequality in the United States.
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Black Movement-Law Project

Several attorneys and legal activists involved in Ferguson, Baltimore and Cleveland protests have formed the Black Movement-Law Project. The Project provides legal support to local communities across the nation as they take to the streets to protest police misconduct, and systemic racism.

Their approach to community activism is itself community based: they offer legal and technical assistance based on the premise that local mass movements frequently lack legal expertise. They help arrange rapid responses to support activists on the ground by providing legal observers, know your rights trainings, and jail support. Their national network of human and civil rights attorneys offer assistance to local communities in the form of legal representation and long-term impact litigation.

Guests -Black Movement-Law Project co-founder Abi Hassen. Abi Hassen is an attorney, consultant and cofounder of the Black Movement-Law Project. He was formerly the mass defense coordinator at the National Lawyers Guild. He has a J.D. from New York University School of Law, and an undergraduate degree in computer science from The Evergreen State College. With his extensive background in labor, political and community organizing, Abi has been active at the intersection of law, technology and organizing for social justice for over a decade.

Guest – Black Movement-Law Project co-founder Nathan (Nash) Sheard, is a legal activist and organizer with the BMLP.

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Law and Disorder April 4, 2016


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Urban Word: NYC

Spoken word—it’s the oral art of word play, intonation and inflection. From hip-hop, to poetry slams, to prose monologues, it came into popularity in the 1970s around the time Gil Scott-Heron recorded “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior, Booker T. Washington and others in the civil rights movement incorporated elements of oration. In the 1980s, spoken word poetry competitions emerged. In New York, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe on East Third Street was founded in 1973, and is one of the country’s oldest venues for spoken word poetry.

Spoken word is also engaging thousands of young people across the country in expressing themselves and developing leadership skills. One of the nation’s top rated literary arts programs is the nonprofit organization Urban Word NYC, which has ranked among the top 5 slam poetry teams in the nation for each of the past 11 years. They showcase the voices of New York City youth by providing platforms for leadership and teaching critical literacy skills through uncensored writing, college prep and performance opportunities. They’re getting ready for the 18th Annual NYC Teen Poetry Grand Slam on April 16 at the Apollo Theater.

Guests – Urban Word’s chief operating officer Adam Falkner, and Willy Luperon, a young poet and program alum who is currently serving as the organization’s media coordinator.

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Coddling Of The American Mind: Attorney Greg Lukianoff

Coddling of the American Mind is the title of an article in the recent Atlantic Magazine by attorney Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. It examines a particular movement arising that’s been described as “undirected” and driven largely by students that essentially scrubs campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense. Law and Disorder hosts also take a look at the legal cases being brought by students.

Guest – Greg Lukianoff, President and CEO of FIRE, The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. He’s the author of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate  and Freedom From Speech  and has published articles in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, TIME, The Boston Globe, Forbes, the New York Post, U.S. News & World Report, The Stanford Technology Law Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Reason, CNET, The Daily Caller, Congressional Quarterly, The Charleston Law Review, and numerous other publications. He is a blogger for The Huffington Post and Ricochet.com.

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Law and Disorder February 22, 2016


Updates:

Co-hosts Heidi Boghosian And Katherine Franke Discuss Past Decisions By The Late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

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An Evening of Solidarity: PAROLE FOR THE MOVE 9

We hear select presentations from the many speakers and performances at the Parole For The Move 9 event. In the summer of 2015 supporters of The Move Organization initiated a petition for United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch . The goal of the petition is to push the United States Attorney General to investigate the wrongful and ongoing imprisonment of The  Move 9 who have been imprisoned since August 8th 1978. Last May marked 30 years since the unconscionable bombing and murder of the MOVE family by the U.S. government. Live Stream of the MOVE9 event.

Speakers:

Johanna Fernandez, Campaign to Bring Mumia Home  
Civil Rights Attorney Lynne Stewart
Amina Baraka, Poet/NJ Activist/Movement Leader
James McIntosh, CEMOTAP
Imam Al-Hajj Talib, Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, Inc.
Harabic Tubman, Existence is Resistance
Calib Maupin, Press TV
Pam Africa, MOVE as Master of Ceremonies

Sponsored by: The MOVE Organization; Resistance in Brooklyn; NYC Leonard Peltier Support Committee; Pro Libertad Freedom Campaign; NYC Coalition to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal; Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network; Universal Zulu Nation; and many more.

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Law and Disorder February 8, 2016


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Public Water Crisis Flint Michigan: Attorney Bill Goodman

We take another look at the public water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The legal cases being brought are being litigated at the intersection of environmental racism and capitalist austerity. Flint, a predominantly impoverished African-American city north of Detroit, had an emergency manager imposed on it by Tea Party Governor Rick Snyder. The emergency manager, acting outside of democratic controls, switched the clean water supplied to the city from the Detroit water system to the polluted Flint River claiming this would save money. Chemicals added to the filthy Flint River water caused lead from the supply pipes to leech into the drinking water.  This caused lead poisoning to thousands of children in Flint. Lead poisoning is known to cause irreversible brain damage. FlintWaterClassAction.com

Guest – Bill Goodman is the attorney for a number of victims of water poisoning in Flint, Michigan. He’s a leading civil rights attorney in Michigan and the former Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

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Remembering Attorney Michael Kennedy

We speak today with Bernadine Dohrn about the late Attorney Michael Kennedy. Kennedy died two weeks ago in New York City from cancer at the age of 78.  He was one of the great civil rights in criminal law defense attorneys of his generation. Kennedy graduated from law school in California and began his career representing Cesar Chavez and the migrant farm workers. He also represented Black Panther leader Huey Newton and SDS leaders Rennie Davis and Bernadine Dohrn and Native American protesters at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. He later moved to New York and became staff counsel for the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee where he represented opponents of the war in Vietnam and supporters of the Irish freedom struggle.

Guest – Bernadine Dohrn, former leader of SDS and longtime member of the National Lawyers Guild where she served a student organizer in the late 60s.  Until recently Bernadine Dorh taught law at Northwestern University Law School supporting justice for juveniles.

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Law and Disorder January 25, 2016


Updates:

  • Co-host Michael Smith Makes Presidential Election Prediction

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Mumia Abu-Jamal Health Lawsuit Update

For three days in late December, the 3rd Circuit Federal District Court heard Mumia Abu-Jamal’s lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for refusal to provide him treatment for Hepatitis C.  Testimony from Dr. Paul Noel, Chief Medical Officer of the Pennsylvania DOC revealed that under the DOC’s new protocols only 5 out of an estimated 5,000 prisoners with chronic Hepatitis C were being treated with the new anti-viral drug beginning this fall – less than 1/10th of one percent.

The trial ended with a stunning revelation that the lawyer representing the DOC had knowingly introduced false evidence. Dr. Noel was the final witness; he stated that an affidavit introduced by defense attorney Laura Neal bearing his signature was NOT his actual testimony. It quickly became evident that the DOC attorney had ignored Dr. Noel’s repeated requests not to insert an erroneous paragraph into the document–in other words, she tampered with the evidence.  This same altered affidavit had been a key piece of evidence used by a PA magistrate judge in September to deny Mumia’s injunction against the DOC.

Guest – Bob Boyle, one of Mumia’s attorneys and a long time National Lawyers Guild member.

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Guantanamo Bay Prison: 14 years

As of January 2016 more than 100 men remain at the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. While our own Michael Ratner was president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a network of hundreds of lawyers were at the forefront of the legal battle against indefinite detention and torture at Guantanamo. After the Center won landmark Supreme Court cases that established U.S. court jurisdiction over the prison and affirming detainee rights to habeas corpus review, hundreds of Muslim men and boys were gradually released from the offshore prison. Keep in mind the majority of the men at that prison weren’t charged with a crime. Many have been cleared for release yet remain trapped by political inaction or other bureaucracy. The pressure from concerned activist groups, organizations and citizens calling on the president of the United States to close Guantanamo has gained momentum.

Guest – Aliya Hussain, the Advocacy Program Manager for the Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

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Drinking Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan

A severe water crisis in the city of Flint, Michigan is attracting mounting concern from around the country. Politicians, celebrities and even presidential candidates are focusing on the toxic tap water in one of Michigan’s biggest and most troubled cities. When the state took charge of the City’s budget during a financial emergency, it decided to temporarily switch Flint’s water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River to save money until a new supply line to Lake Huron was finished. After the April 2014 changeover, residents complained about water looking, smelling, and tasting odd. Virginia Tech researchers revealed that the water was highly corrosive. A class-action lawsuit alleges the state Department of Environmental Quality failed to treat the water for corrosion, as federal law requires, and because so many service lines to Flint are made of lead, the toxic element leached into the water of the city’s homes. Although the city switched back to the Lake Huron water supply in October, the damage was already done to the lead pipes. The state is now handing out filters and bottled water with the National Guard.

Guest – Sheila Foster, the Albert A. Wash Professor of Law at Fordham Law School and Faculty Co-Director of the Urban Law center at Fordham University.

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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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