Is your 401(k) plan a personal, individual matter, or is it in fact deeply political, rooted in ideological choices contrary to values of community and solidarity? James Russell talks about the politics of retirement savings and about the rise of what he calls a retirement-industrial complex. Also, Muriel Maffre discusses Igor Stravinsky's antiwar Faustian fable The Soldier's Tale.
The songwriter Joe Hill is one of the most enduring figures of the radical syndicalist Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies. He left a deep mark on protest music in this country, influencing Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs among others. Hill was executed in 1915 for a crime there was little evidence that he committed. Almost a century later, journalist William Adler has delved into charges against him and solved the riddle of the case against Hill. Adler discusses Hill's life, death, and legacy.
Colonialism in both its traditional and contemporary versions is not just about power and coercion: it's about how the "other" is thought and talked about. Aimé Césaire took a radical anticolonial stance inflected with surrealist and Marxist notions. Robin D. G. Kelley discusses Césaire's ideas and their relevance today.
There is a war going on in the tribal heartland of central and eastern India between the Naxalite Maoists and the Indian state, in which -- Arundhati Roy believes -- much is at stake. The award-winning writer discusses her time accompanying a group of Maoists in the forests, and the brutal counterinsurgency effort mounted against them by the Indian government. She also talks about the Occupy Wall Street movement and anticapitalism.
Martin Hart-Landsberg points out that free trade agreements, such as the one the US is poised to conclude with South Korea, are about much more than trade -- they expand the power of big corporations, strip governments of their ability to regulate them, and fuel capitalism's destructive tendencies. According to Hart-Landsberg, the Korea-US trade deal would also fuel the already-disastrous financialization of the US economy.
Moving your money out of the big banks that have helped create the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression may seem like an excellent idea. But leftwing journalist Doug Henwood believes such actions -- along with community currencies and attempts to abolish corporate personhood -- are misguided. Henwod discusses the long, and problematic, history of American populism, and what a radical approach to finance might look like.