Excerpt: Restore, Renew and Reparations w Adaku Utah and J Bob Alotta

This week, Adaku Utah and J Bob Alotta speak to the urgency of centering healing in a world that doesn't care about our survival. They discuss the intellectual distance many activists feel from the prospect of healing, and challenge the racist and classist logic at play in mainstream determinations of what bodies are worthy of care. Together, they make a powerful case that care is a central component of broader liberation struggles.

Laura Flanders:All right, let's talk about healing. I have to say, when this was first proposed to me that we discuss healing, I was like, healing? That's a classic kind of white, leftist, even queer response that healing is some kind of individual solution. Isn't it?

Adaku Utah: So, it is an individual solution, and it's also collective. We know that our movements, moving towards justice does not only rely on one person, or couple of people, that it actually requires all of us. And our systems come from a long legacy of violence that has impacts on our physical, emotional and spiritual selves. From what we're seeing in gentrification, to the education system, to the high and increasing rates of depression and suicidality within our communities.

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Join Our #NO54BILLIONFORWAR Campaign

Our environmental and human needs are desperate and urgent. We need to transform our economy, our politics, our policies and our priorities to reflect that reality. That means reversing the flow of our tax dollars, away from war and militarism, and towards funding human and environmental needs, and demanding support for that reversal from all our political leaders at the local, state and national levels.

We and the movements we are part of face multiple crises. Military and climate wars are destroying lives and environments, threatening the planet and creating enormous flows of desperate refugees. Violent racism, Islamophobia, misogyny, homophobia and other hatreds are rising, encouraged by the most powerful voices in Washington DC.

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Policy with a Conscience: Angela Glover Blackwell

A movement is not a flash of light, it's a flame, a torch passed from one generation to the next, so wrote the poet Maya del Valle. They're words treasured and lived by our next guest, Angela Glover Blackwell. Throughout a career in philanthropy, research and advocacy, Blackwell's been dedicated to using public policy to change communities and lives. Under President Obama, she served on the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. She started Policy Link in 1999, something she calls a research and action institute. It works with policy makers especially in the areas of health, housing, transportation, education and infrastructure. In 2013, with Policy Link, she collaborated with the Center for American Progress to write and release All In Nation, an America That Works For All.

Angela Blackwell:Thank you, happy to be here.

Laura Flanders:Just reading that introduction, the Obama Administration already feels like a very long time ago.

Angela Blackwell:Yeah, a planet in a distant place.

Laura Flanders:Can you compare what you were working on then with what you feel you're working on now?

Angela Blackwell:It is hard to compare. Under the Obama Administration, we were struggling and fighting to try to make progress but we had a partnership with the White House, lots of people who were in it. There were initiatives that we had been fighting to get for years that were finally beginning to take hold. Now, everything is closed off. If it's not closed off, I find that I and my colleagues are afraid to even touch it because we don't think anything good is going to come out of it. The contrast is just completely stark. We move from an administration that was trying to overcome decades of neglect in local communities and struggling with inadequate resources to partner with people in local communities who felt they had wisdom about what needed to happen to now, an administration that is at odds with everything that we believe in. Shutting down, taking away the safety net, it is awful.

Laura Flanders:Is all lost?

Angela Blackwell:All is never lost. All is never lost. You started off talking about our moment. This is our moment. It is going to be our moment. The good news is that we actually had found each other across the spectrum of those who were working for social change and inclusion before this administration came in. We are having to step back from the things that kept us from being completely united because we were nuancing this or we had a priority that was slightly more important. We now see that we have to get behind those who are being attacked at the moment. We have to get behind a few common ideas and so, it is our moment but we're going to have to struggle to make this moment about progress and not just resistance. We've got to be in a resistance mode but if all we do is resist for a number of years, we will have slipped far back.


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Putin's alleged crimes are a distraction from the GOP's real ones

Two months into the first Trump term, top Democrats and the money media seem obsessed with the administration’s putative ties to Vladimir Putin.

And here was I, thinking the White House ties to mad misogynists and the KKK were going to be their problem!

Two Trump staffers have already been dropped for having conversations with Russians, rather than being utterly unqualified — and Jeff Sessions was under scrutiny for lying in his confirmation hearing. Perjury’s bad, but being a pathological racist, redbaiter, xenophobe and opponent of the Voting Rights Act should have been more than enough to disqualify anyone from becoming Attorney General.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s compared alleged Russian hacking to 9–11 and Pearl Harbor, even though, as he himself told NBC the other day, there’s no actual evidence. He wants Congress to go looking for it. That’ll set a good precedent.

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Trump’s Budget is Socialism for the Rich

Slashing social safety nets, cutting people’s programs, shrinking life chances and everyone’s chance of enjoying clean water… My incoming emails have begun to read like a horror movie script, with non stop terror and round the clock slashing.


The reason: Democrats and their pals are up alarmed about the administration’s budget.  Sure enough it’s scary. The GOP White House wants to strip $54 billion from spending on all things human and ecological while they increase already massive military spending.


The president’s plan would boost spending on so-called defense to well over 60 cents of every discretionary dollar. It’s largest budget share in decades. That’s even as Donald Trump himself admits that years of multi trillion dollar spending have left the Middle East "far worse than it was 16, 17 years ago” and none of us any safer.

Let’s not forget, that when it comes right down to it, the US already spends more than the next eight countries combined. That’s China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, the UK, India, Germany and Japan - combined.  The US military is in 150 countries. Just how many countries are there?

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Cheat, Lie, and Steal: Michael Hudson on the Capitalist Way

We’re living in a time of economic babble, where politicians and economists throw out words like “reform,” “privatize,” and “austerity” to prop up corrupt capitalist opportunists. So says our guest this week, economist Michael Hudson, author of J is for Junk Economics.

Laura Flanders:Okay. We're going to start. The intro is about the book. The book is a wonderful thing. We're really glad to be here talking about it. I'm really excited to have you back on the program, Michael. It's great to see you.

Michael:It's good to be back.

Laura Flanders:This book was 10 years in the making. In that period, have you seen any new, exciting, or terrifying obfuscations, lies, and ways of talking about the economy?

Michael:Fortunately, things got worse and worse since 2008. As a result, I greatly expanded it, made it a completely different book. Also, it made the whole focus on the vocabulary because economics has turned into an Orwellian vocabulary where words mean exactly the opposite of what they used to mean.

Laura Flanders:Give us an example.

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The Roots of International Working Women’s Day

It’s exciting. At last, US women are getting in on the act. Celebrating International Working Women’s Day -- after all, it was an event in the US that helped give it its start.

It was 1909, in the crowded Great Hall at New York’s Cooper Union; a big union boss was talking about talks. Things were moving slowly when a 16-year-old girl shouted out from the back: “WALK OUT.”

More than 30,000 shirtwaist factory workers walked off their jobs after that. The biggest worker walk out in New YOrk history up to taht point. The leaders were mostly young, immigrant women like that 16-year-old -- Clara Lemlich. Seven hundred women were arrested, many more beaten and spat on for being “On strike against God.”

They struck for 11 weeks.  And inspired the European socialists who later resolved to mark International Working Women’s Day.

Appreciation’s nice. But it doesn’t in itself save lives. In 1911, two years later,  a fire broke out in New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory  - a fire of exactly the sort the 09 strikers had been fearing. It killed 146 workers, again women and girls, mostly immigrants, several of whom leapt from upper floor windows to escape .

All these years on, more people remember the fire, and name the the dead.

But what fewer people remember are the demands these women and girls made...not just for wage increases, but for the ability to have a say in the conditions of their workplace— workplaces that should not  kill them. Those are the rights that will be taken from American workers if the GOP Trump agenda goes ahead.

Imagine, a century ago, if the rest of New York had stood with the women of the factories. Imagine if instead of 20,000, it had been 2 million workers marching. Or if it were to be today.

Celebration’s nice. Listening is even better. And it’s never to too late to get to started.  

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What Intersectionality Really Means for Movements: Prof. Kimberlé W. Crenshaw

As the need for strong movement infrastructure goes, so does the urgency for us to understand -- in very clear terms -- the language we use to describe this moment, and our politics. Laura is joined this week by celebrated academic, organizer, and advocate Professor Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, who is perhaps best known for coining the term intersectionality.



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Women's Solidarity Strikes Back

When feminism has come so far, how do modern day strikes, marches, and protest reflect the evolving and complex aspects of the movement, as well as its radical herstory?

On March 8, thousands of women went on strike for a Day Without Women around the world, and in the United States, to demonstrate the collective power of trans, Brown, Black, cis, immigrant, Latinx, queer, and every kind of woman. Along with the rise of these immense shows of democratic and intersectional feminist power comes the advent of one-percenter, patriarchal, white supremacist rape culture. In this episode, Laura seeks varied perspectives from women working in intersectional feminist activism, on what contradictions, if any, exist in the way feminism moves forward.

In the first conversation, Jodeen Olguín-Tayler (Demos) and Sarah Leonard (Dissent Magazine) consider the global lessons learned from a history of women’s strike. Wages for house work, for example, is one of the most radical aspects of a women’s agenda, and continues to be a demand today, say our guests.

Then, a discussion with Cinzia Arruzza (New School) and Nelini Stamp (Working Families’ Family) on the tangles of socialism and feminism in Europe. In America and Europe alike, a rise of Islamophobic sentiment faces the new wave of feminist resistance that is embedded in worker, immigrant, and LGBTQ rights.

Jodeen Olguín-Tayler serves as the Vice President, Policy and Strategic Partnerships for Demos, a social justice based public policy organization. Sarah Leonard is a senior editor at The Nation and co-editor of The Future We Want: Radical Ideas for a New Century. Cinzia Arruzza is a national organizer for the International Women's Strike US and an associate professor of philosophy at the New School. Nelini Stamp is the National Membership Director at the Working Families Party.

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The F-Word: The Merit in Merit-Based Immigration Policy is Political

In his first speech to a joint session of congress Donald Trump announced a shift in his approach to immigration policy.  Switching away from what he called a system of “lower skilled immigration, he called for a policy based on merit and his supporters praised his new found compassion. But the merits of a so-called “merit based”immigration policy, have always had more to do with politics than compassion.


For one thing, US Immigration policy already favors those with wealth and skills. What Trump’s saying out loud is what Democrats have long hush-hushed, namely that the US immigration system is not only  chaotic and open to abuse, but also massively discretionary, which is to say, someone’s sorting “desirables” from others. 


It tends to work; not to help the economy, or refugees, or human rights, of course, but to solidify a new voting base for whichever party’s in power.


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