As hunger escalates and haunts children and families across the country and around the world, remember that when the people have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.
Episode #8: Under the Tree: A Seminar on Freedom
Reparations for America’s “original sin”—generational slavery—as well as the long and abiding afterlife of chattel slavery, including Black Codes, poll taxes, Jim Crow, the regime of lynching and white terror, pogroms, red-lining, segregation, voter suppression, and mass incarceration, has moved urgently into the forefront of the national agenda. Malik Alim and Bill Ayers focus their conversation on reparations as both a moral imperative and a multi-dimensional practical necessity before turning to Katherine Franke, a leading scholar on law and racial justice and chair of the board of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Her most recent book, Repair: Redeeming the Promise of Abolition, takes a clear-eyed look at what might have saved us a century and a half ago, and what it will take to save us today.
A right-wing form of government that opposes liberal democracy, Marxism, socialism, and anarchism, and attempts to forge national unity under an autocratic leader with a totalitarian program advocating stability, law and order, and more and more centralized power, claiming all of this is necessary in order to defend the homeland from internal as well as external enemies, and to respond effectively to economic instability. The mobilization of a mass base through deliberately constructed fear and hatred as preparation for armed conflict and permanent war. An appeal to patriotic nationalism. The supremacy of military and police power, and the militarizing of all aspects of society. The agitation of “popular” movements in the streets, apparently spontaneous (but in reality well-funded and highly organized) based on bigotry, intolerance, and the threat of violence, all of it fueled by the demonization of targeted, distinct racial, religious, or gendered vulnerable populations and the creation of convenient sacrificial scapegoats who are repeatedly blamed for every social or economic problem people experience. Disdain for the arts, for intellectual life, for science, for reason and evidence, as well as deep contempt for the necessary back and forth of serious argument or discussion. The suppression of labor and the protection of corporate power. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Protectionist and interventionist economic policies as corporations are entangled with the state.
It’s the textbook definition of fascism.
Fifty years ago the socialist senator Salvador Allende was elected president of Chile in a peaceful and democratic election. For 1000 days the people of Chile participated in an experiment in popular democracy, and the lives of workers, women, farmers, families, and students improved. When the Fascist General Pinochet overthrew the popularly elected Allende government under the direction of the US CIA, a reign of terror reversed the peoples’ progress. When Nikki Haley said last week at the Repulsican Convention that socialism has always failed wherever and whenever it has been tried, we might add a footnote: the ruling class and the imperialists never mean their withdrawals; they will concede nothing without a fight.
Under the Tree: A Seminar on Freedom
Societies organize and build schools which are, of course, set up to serve the goals and interests of their hosts. Schools are both mirror and window: authoritarian schools serve authoritarian societies, and authoritarian nations create autocratic schools. We start this episode with a conversation between Malik Alim and Bill Ayers about the schools we need and the schools we deserve. We then welcome Kevin Kumashiro, author of The Seduction of Common Sense, Against Common Sense, and the forthcoming Surrendered, to help us explore the essential dimensions of an education for free people.
Do you feel eerily that we’re living in Kansas, 1859, and that tensions are boiling over, but only years later will people say, “Yes, the Civil War began there and then?”