Program Archives

Wed 3.23.11| Tunisia's Unfinished Revolution

Juan Cole, "Labor movement Drives Egypt, Tunisia Protests" Detroit News, February 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faced with soaring food prices, meagre wages, and rampant unemployment, a revolutionary movement in Tunisia emerged late last year and quickly acheived the unthinkable: the toppling the country's longtime autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Three leaders of Tunisia's labor movement who were instrumental in the revolution that shook North Africa -- Abdellatif Hamrouni, Najoua Makhlouf, and Sami Al-Awadi -- discuss the actions that inspired uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, and even the American Midwest.

Tues 3.22.11| Ian Rankin on Crime and the City

Ian Rankin, The Complaints Reagan Arthur Books, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Crime fiction is about social inequality," claims international bestselling Scottish writer Ian Rankin. Does that explain the enormous popularity of the genre, which continues to strike a chord globally? Rankin discusses his life and the social and political context of his work. And he considers the relation between the city as protagonist -- such as Edinburgh -- and how police procedurals can lay bare the dark underbelly of corruption, deceit, and class conflict at the polar ends of society.

Mon 3.21.11| Why Nuclear Power?

Stephanie Cooke, In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age Bloomsbury, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

In one week, Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant has had hydrogen explosions at three reactors, and a radioactive fire at a fourth. It sparked a massive evacuation of the Japanese countryside and the government is already banning crops and dairy products from three surrounding prefectures. Nuclear power plants pose a risk that insurance companies can't quantify, and won't insure -- so how did we wind up with so many of them? Journalist Stephanie Cooke, who's covered the nuclear industry for close to 30 years, provides the long view.

 

Wed 3.16.11| Capitalism and the Internet

John Bellamy Foster & Robert W. McChesney, "The Internet's Unholy Marriage to Capitalism" Monthly Review, March 2011

Free Press

 

 

Two decades into the internet revolution, what's the state of a medium that was supposed to create new, perhaps utopian, relationships between people around the world? Why is it not dominated by collaborative, non-profit efforts like Wikipedia?  Media critic Robert McChesney describes how capitalist interests have managed to enclose the non-commercial promise of the internet -- and argues that it doesn't have to be so. He also considers the state of online journalism.

Tues 3.15.11| Fleecing the Poor

If you don't have the time or inclination to do your taxes, many national tax-preparation outlets are waiting to help. Or, maybe "help" isn't the appropriate word. According to Gary Rivlin, instant tax-prep chains, payday lenders, and a host of other outfits are preying on -- and making billions of dollars off -- the working poor. The veteran journalist discusses the widespread fleecing of low-income people and the desperately poor.

Mon 3.14.11| Class Struggle in Wisconsin, Labor Struggles with Itself

Last Friday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law a bill that strips the state's public workers of most of their collective bargaining rights, following almost a month of mass demonstrations. Where did the protests come from and who sustained them--the national leadership of unions or rank and file members? Labor journalist Steve Early discusses organizing in a time of austerity. And he considers the trajectory of a generation of Sixties activists into the leadership of unions that have gone to war with each other over the last several years.

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