Capitalism, Raced & Gendered: Farah Tanis and Rick Wolf


Laura: Hi, I'm Laura Flanders. Capitalism's crisis deepens. To many people, it looks more ascendant than ever. The coming to power of a billionaire without even the façade of public service backed by hedge funders and war profiteers. To a lot of people, the rise of Donald Trump and Trump-ism represents the ascendancy galore of capitalism, not its crisis. Economics professor Richard Wolff respectfully disagrees. Wolff is the founder of Democracy at Work, and the host of Economic Update, a weekly podcast, as well as the author of many books, most recently, Capitalism's Crisis Deepens.

In this week's conversation, he's joining Farah Tanis who also believes in building authentic, alternative livelihoods. It's the only way that many communities, especially communities of color, have every survived periods of repression, and it's the way to build the world we want to live in in the future, regardless of who is in the White House. Farah is the co-founder and executive director of Black Women's Blueprint, which recently chaired the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission of black women and sexual assault in the United States. Welcome, both. I couldn't be happier than to be sharing the beginning of this challenging year with the two of you.

Richard Wolff:    Thank you.

Laura Flanders:    Let's start with some descriptions. Farah, how do you describe the situation that we're in? How do you see it?

Farah Tanis:   I can only speak with the hundreds and the thousands, if not the millions, of voices of people of African descent throughout this country who are fearful. Extremely fearful. Fearful about their own present, their economic security, fearful about whether or not their right to make a living, their right to have access to education, their right to not be burdened by debt, you know, even this dream or any vision that they had for themselves, there is this dissipation, there is this disappearing of this hope that we had before, that we could ever, ever get anywhere, even under the Obama presidency. The loss of jobs, it's become more real than ever. The student loan debt has become more real than ever. The lack of access to healthcare, even under Obamacare, has become more real than ever. Whatever little bits that we had, we now feel that we're going to lose. There is, I will be honest in saying this, sheer panic.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Facing Race

The Facing Race conference, convened by Race Forward this November in Atlanta, brought together some of the most noteworthy names in progressive organizing just days after the 2016 election.
In this episode, Laura speaks with Tarso Luís Ramos, executive director of Political Research Associates about the ominous emergence of the far Right across the world; Kim Diehl of the National Employment Law Project, on strategy for progressive movements; Cara Shufelt and Jessica Campbell, of the Rural Organizing Project, on supporting rural mobilizations like theirs, which has been fighting Oregon’s Patriot militia movement for years, and Esha Pandit, from the Center for Advancing Innovative Policy, on the lessons for organizers that can be drawn from this year’s victories in Texas. To watch the excerpt with Judith LeBlanc, of the Native Organizers Alliance,  from the conference go here.
For more on these organizations, check out our website at

@TarsoLuisRamos (@PRAEyesRight), @oregoneducation, @occupyportland, @CaraMShufelt, @EeshaP, @nelpaction, @nelpnews, @kim_diehl

Add your reaction Share

Independent Media Vs. Donald Trump: #GivingTuesday

"I'm not like other people. We're going to have people sue you like you never got sued before."

With words like those uttered in February this year, Donald Trump set fear into the hearts of the Fourth Estate. "We're in for the fight of our lives over press freedom," said the president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation the day after election day. The threats are very real on the campaign. Trump bullied and blacklisted reporters he didn't like. From the stage, the candidate egged on his crowd to hiss the press corps, and a long list of untrustworthy reporters were famously barred from the scene. Not satisfied with blacklists and bully tactics, Trump threatened lawsuits. It's pretty clear he hasn't the slightest grasp of the constitution, which come January 20th next year, he'll be pledging to uphold. It's real. Donald Trump's disdain for the first amendment spurts from his lips, his eyes, his everywhere.

Still, while others profit off rumors of a press-White House war, I say bring it on. We need relations between the press and the powerful to be as cantankerous as possible. It's media coziness with power that brought us to this place. The Washington Post and The New York Times were suppressing pictures of dead and tortured Iraqis and holding back stories about illegal state spying long before Donald Trump came to power. More frightening to me than a new chill in press-presidential relations was the picture of Trump's secretary of state contender, Rudolph Giuliani, with Rupert Murdoch of News Corp recently. To get real, lawsuits cost money. If media corporations are to fight for their rights and defend their reportings, they're going to need real cash.

It is great that readers are stepping up to the plate signing up in droves for new subscriptions to The Times, The Post, and magazines. The New Yorker says it signed up 10,000 new subscribers in a matter of hours. Sign up. Subscribe. We need you more than ever, but put your money where the courage has been. Who has best had your back? The crony corporate press, or the independent media who've never held anything back and never had two pennies to rub together?

Donate Today!

Add your reaction Share

We Have Everything to Gain

We at the Laura Flanders Show are grieving. The results of this election confirmed our fears and dashed our hopes. Although we are afraid, we are not defeated.

We may not feel our bravest today, but we are gathering courage from our communities and holding our loved ones close. We're reaching out to them and offering words of protection, empowerment, and radical kindness. We are centering the voices and feelings of POC, femme,indigenous, immigrant, queer, undocumented people.

And as ever, we are preparing to continue our mission of bringing to you, our most important community, a progressive vision of the future. You may receive some solace from our episode this week, featuring this very same vision, as echoed by ten incredible activists. Today, we mourn. Tomorrow, we organize.

Read more
1 reaction Share

Never Again

Knowing everything I know about Hillary Clinton and the Clintons and voting for her anyway feels like the nadir of my political life.


I never want to be here again.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Chateau Hough and Hip Chick Farms

2016 is an exciting -- and precarious -- time to be an entrepreneur, particularly when you’re queer women. Serafina Palandech and her wife Jennifer Johnson, the founders of organic food startup, Hip Chick Farms, had to deal with a lot when they wanted to start their business.  Now they’ve been able to secure an investment from Whole Foods (and Johnson’s cooked at the White House). But it hasn’t been easy, more like a misogynist gauntlet, in fact.

Also in this episode: a visit with Mansfield Frazier, manager and founder of Chateau Hough, an award-winning vineyard in inner-city Cleveland. Chateau Hough employs local residents, formerly incarcerated workers, and youth as part of its project to invigorate the local community.  Then, an F Word from Laura on Political Animals, a film about the marriage equality act and the California Assemblywomen who made it happen -- why collaboration and toil get things done.

1 reaction Share

Special Report: The Day After The Election


This week, American voters come to end of a long national "nightmare," as Laura has called it. This electoral seasons has left many of us battered and jaded, resigned to hit the polls for a less than satisfying ballot. And yet, this is the same election season that has seen the urgent rise of bombastic movements such as Fight for $15, #NoDAPL, and Movement4BlackLives. So what happens #AfterTheElection?

How will we resist post-election complacency and the four-year cycle of civic engagement? How should we continue to mobilize against empire, capitalism, racism, and oppression when it’s not just the presidency at stake?

Our guests this week might have a few answers. They explain why it’s necessary that people continue to raise their voices against injustice - especially at the point that most of us will clue out of politics.  Organizing communities on a range of issues, including gentrification and LGBTQI advocacy, our guests understand one thing well: the problems aren’t going to go away with a new president, no matter who it is.

Featuring words from a radical motley: Mab Segrest (Southerners on New Ground), Imani Henry (Equality for Flatbush), Cindy Weisner (Grassroots Global Justice), Pamela Brown (WBAI), Emma Yorra (Center for Family Life), William Brownotter Jr. (Intl Indigenous Youth Council), Agunda Okeyo, Brigid Flaherty (#GOPHandsOffMe), Jodeen Olguin(Movement Strategy Center), and Richard Seymour (Salvage Magazine).


Plus, an F-word from Laura on why she never wants to be faced with this kind of political choice again.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

LFExcerpt: Hip Chick Farms

From this week's episode with organic food entrepreneurs Serafina Palandech and Jennifer Johnson. Donors of $10 or more receive open access to our transcript archives.

Laura: I don't suppose it came up at that dinner because you were probably being very polite. But there are policy changes that would help businesses like yours. Can you talk about some of them? Because some of the people who might be watching might be people who are in government or who are in position to actually make some policy change. Rush Limbaugh wasn't right in saying there's money flowing to lesbian farmers.

Serafina: No.

Laura: But there could be.

Serafina: There could be, yes. Certainly. I think that our experience is limited. We've only been in the industry for 3 and a half years. I can't speak to it as an expert by any means.

Laura: But there are presumably things that could've been easier for you.

Serafina: Access to capital for rural businesses. That's where we actually did access our, the VC money came through a program that Secretary Vilsack created. We're very fortunate to have that access stream. There's a lot of people in rural communities, in agricultural communities that don't have access to those kinds of resources that's greatly needed.

Just even some of the regulations around the access to kill facilities and poultry processing and how that's ... Folks want to do things locally, and there's not an ability to do it. There's a huge need for changes and shifts for how people can create meat and poultry products on a local basis. It's kind of a globalized industry right now. It's very expensive to get into it.

When we started, we were like well how hard can it be, we'll make some chicken fingers. Then we learned about the USDA ...

Jen: We did a Kickstarter for $25,000. That's it. We're good. We're done.

Serafina: No. We needed millions.

Jen: That was less than a drop in the bucket.

Serafina: You need a huge access to capital to get into this particular industry.

Jen: Owning your own meat company is extremely expensive. We didn't know, and I'm shocked we're still here today.

Laura: Talk a little bit more about the sexism in the business. I think we all, clearly, if this election has taught us anything, need to talk more about the sexism that we're up against.

Read more
1 reaction Share

Movement Building Politics: Pramila Jayapal and Chase Iron Eyes


At the Laura Flanders Show, we say we talk with “tomorrow’s heroes today.”  One of those could well be forward-thinker Pramila Jayapal, Washington State Senator, now running for Congress. If elected, Jayapal be the first south Asian woman in the House of Representatives.  Jayapal describes herself as a “proud immigrant from India.” She founded Hate Free Zone (now OneAmerica) in response to hate and discrimination after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack and played a big role in the push for a $15 minimum wage. Hear how Islamophobic racism, has shaped her campaign and why she believes politicians must address institutional racism head-on. Pramila Jayapal is running for Washington, U.S. House of Representatives, District 7.


Also running for Congress is Chase Iron Eyes, a populist candidate for indigenous voters and a leading organizer for the #NoDAPL fight. We talk with Iron Eyes about lifting up in the face of oppression. Chase Iron Eyes is a Native activist and attorney, and a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

All this, and Laura’s F Word on opening highways not gates.

Add your reaction Share


Are we stuck in a two-party gridlock, or is there still room for democracy? Ralph Nader, former presidential candidate and famed political maverick, joins us to discuss what really constitutes “people power” when it comes to this election. Known for his lifetime advocacy for electoral reform and corporate accountability, Nader talks about what the 2016 election’s taught us about the need for a government overhaul. For Nader, the choice between what he calls a “warmonger” and an  “empty suit,” is no choice at all. But that doesn’t mean voters can’t make a difference, especially on Congress.

Nader is the author a new book, Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think.”  Also in this episode, a look at those most integral to this election: the voters, with a retrospective from the Democratic National Convention, more from the fight at Standing Rock and an F Word from Laura on winner-take-all media coverage.

From the F-Word, a link to Arun Gupta's bombastic article on what stakes the Left has in this election.



Add your reaction Share