Wakanda Forever!

August 31, 2020

Under the Tree: A Seminar on Freedom

August 28, 2020

First 6 episodes of this PODCAST available now:

  1. Let’s Talk About Freedom

This inaugural episode dives directly into the wreckage: What do we talk about when we talk about freedom? “Under the Tree” references the Freedom Schools created in Mississippi and throughout the South during the Black Freedom Movement of the 1950s and 1960’s—fugitive spaces where folks gathered to organize an insurgency against Jim Crow and white supremacy. We begin our ongoing reflection on the challenge, the demand, and the meaning of freedom, and then we’re joined by Chesa Boudin, long-time public defender and recently elected District Attorney of San Francisco.

2) We Are Each Other’s Magnitude and Bond

Freedom is a layered, complex, and dynamic concept that defies a Webster’s Dictionary-type definition, and so we continue to explore the meaning of freedom, and we follow it as it makes its twisty way through our lives and our consciousness. We’re joined by Crystal Laura, author of Being Bad: My Baby Brother and the School to Prison Pipeline, and we explore in detail how educators can disrupt the march toward mass incarceration by deploying a pedagogy of joy, love, and justice.

3) In Your Dream of Dreams, What Would Schools for Free People Look Like?

Schools are both window and mirror into any society: authoritarian schools serve repressive regimes; segregated schools mirror  severed societies; a free society builds schools anchored in enlightenment and liberation. David Omotoso Stovall lights up this episode with a conversation about the school to prison nexus, and the provocative possibility that the call for prison abolition link up with a demand to abolish the schools we have in favor of an education for freedom. Professor Stovall is an activist, a scholar, and the author or editor of several texts, including Born Out of Struggle: Critical Race Theory, School Creation, and the Politics of Interruption; From Education to Incarceration: Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline; Handbook of Social Justice in Education; Black, Brown, Bruised: How Racialized STEM Education Stifles Innovation; Teaching Toward Democracy; and Twenty-First-Century Jim Crow Schools: The Impact of Charters on Public Education.

4) Imagine the Angels of Bread.

When Alice asks the Cheshire Cat which way she ought to go, the Cat responds, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” Alice says she doesn’t much care where she goes, to which the Cat says, “Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.” We spend this episode exploring our radical dreams, and imagining where we’d like to go, accompanied by the radical poet, Martin Espada, and legendary activist, Bernardine Dohrn.

5) Defund the Police

Malik Alim and Bill Ayers open with a spirited dialogue on the link between defunding the police, abolition, and a vision of a society free of prisons and armed agents of the state. We then turn to a conversation with Alec Karakatsanis, author of Usual Cruelty a powerful unmasking and reframing of the myths of “the rule of law” and “law enforcement.”

6) Where in the World Are We?

Americans are known across the globe for a singular lack of knowledge about who we are and where we’re located; we collectively have a thin knowledge of both history and geography. Making up less than 5% of the world’s people, we tend toward an exaggerated and narcissistic sense of our place in the larger scheme of things. In this episode we take a closer look at the link between freedom and patriotism, and note the retarding quality of an anemic flag-waving nationalistic loyalty. We’re joined by Prexy Nesbitt, a spirited internationalist and freedom fighter whose efforts over many decades have focused on labor and human rights, Black Freedom and the liberation of Southern Africa.


August 27, 2020


From Bernie (excerpt):

August 27, 2020
If you are a fossil fuel company, whose carbon emissions are destroying the planet, you get billions in government subsidies including special tax breaks, royalty relief, funding for research and development and numerous tax loopholes.
If you are a pharmaceutical company, you make huge profits on patent rights for medicines that were developed with taxpayer-funded research.
If you are a monopoly like Amazon, owned by the wealthiest person in America, you get hundreds of millions of dollars in economic incentives from taxpayers to build warehouses and you end up paying not one penny in federal income taxes.
If you are the Walton family, the wealthiest family in America, you get massive government subsidies because your low-wage workers are forced to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing in order to survive — all paid for by taxpayers.
This is what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. meant when he said that “This country has socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor.”
And that is the difference between Donald Trump and us.
Trump believes in corporate socialism for the rich and powerful.
We believe in a democratic socialism that works for the working families of this country. We believe that in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, economic rights are human rights.
So yes, progressives and even moderate Democrats will face attacks from people who attempt to use the word “socialism” as a slur.
There is nothing new of that.
Like President Harry Truman said, “Socialism is the epithet they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years … Socialism is what they called Social Security … Socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people.”

Prexy Nesbit

August 25, 2020

Episode 6, Under the Tree: A seminar on Freedom

They All Know

August 24, 2020

Q Anon

August 24, 2020

From Peter C:

Whenever I read about QAnon, I think of “Foucault’s Pendulum,” Umberto Eco’s great novel. If you know the story, you know what I mean. Three publishing-company friends decide to invent an occult philosophy, called the “Plan” and loosely based on the Knights Templar, the Cathars, Opus Dei, the Kabbalah, etc., etc. As the Plan gets more detailed and elaborate, it attracts followers (some deranged) as well as attacks (some violent) from already-established cults.

Could QAnon be the same? Some guy decides to start posting as “Q,” a pro-T, high-level, DC insider, to tell people what’s “really” going on – which is that you can understand all recent US history only as the manipulations of an elite, deep-state cabal of Satan-worshipping child molesters, led by the Clintons. If that’s how it began, IMHO, Q could not possibly have imagined how successful he’d be.

I’ve thought of joining one of the Q groups and posting some of my own theories. For instance, I’m convinced that it was an overdose of cocaine and hookers that killed Antonin Scalia in that so-called Arizona “resort.” Also, I’m pretty sure that T and his pal Alan Dershowitz conspired to have Jeremy Epstein killed, to keep him quiet about their involvement with Epstein. Dershowitz called in a favor from OJ, who used his inmate connections to carry out the hit.

Or maybe we could start a new group – “XAnon” – and create our own bats–t crazy analysis of the world today that could compete with QAnon, like the crazy competing cults in Eco’s novel.

Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld, 1897

August 24, 2020

…No government was ever overthrown by the poor, and we have nothing to fear from that source. It is the greedy and powerful that pull down the pillars of the state. Greed, corruption and pharisseeism are today sapping the foundations of government. It is the criminal rich and their hangers-on who are the real anarchists of our time. They rely on fraud and brute force. They use government as a convenience and make justice the handmaid of wrong…

Solid ideas about this moment and remote learning

August 21, 2020


EPISODE # 5: Defund the Police

August 20, 2020

Under the Tree: A Seminar on Freedom (wherever you get podcasts)

Malik Alim and Bill Ayers open with a spirited dialogue on the link between defunding the police, abolition, and a vision of a society free of prisons and armed agents of the state. We then turn to a conversation with Alec Karakatsanis, author of Usual Cruelty a powerful unmasking and reframing of the myths of “the rule of law” and “law enforcement.”