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Program Archives - 2000

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26 Dec 001101** Jean Ely - Lionel Murphy and Public Education

Consumer choice has become a buzz word among politicians, bureaucrats and the promoters of privatisation. Lower costs, improved services and efficiencies are touted as the benefits of privatising public services. Education has also been transformed into a commodity. Dr. Jean Ely has documented the "ecclesiastical ambition" that she describes as being behind the push to increase funding to some Australia's richest private schools. She notes that despite the Australian constitution's prohibition on the state funding of religious bodies successive governments have concurrently increased funding to private schools while funding to government schools is rolled back.

Dr. Jean Ely is a founding member of the Defence of Government Schools movement (DoGS) and is a regular presenter on 3CR's Public Education program. She is the author of Reality and Rhetoric: An Alternative History of Australian Education. She delivered the Lionel Murphy Lecture on October 26th 2000 at the Nindi Dana Quaranook centre in Morwell. (**CD only)

19 Dec 001006 Howard Zinn - War and Democracy

"Truth is the first casualty of war," a wise politician once said. Since Vietnam, the US has tightly controlled the flow of information to the public. Grenada, Panama, the Gulf War and Yugoslavia were carefully orchestrated Pentagon briefings with high ranking officers in front of maps talking about smart bombs and hard targets. For most of the folks at home all they were getting were official stories. When the war is over, citizens get to hear solemn speeches about sacrifice and how it was all worth it to keep the world safe for democracy.

Howard Zinn, professor emeritus at Boston University, is perhaps this country's premier radical historian. His masterpiece, A People's History of the US continues to sell in huge numbers. Among the many honours he has received are the Eugene Debs Award and the Upton Sinclair Award. His play Marx in Soho is being widely performed.

11 Dec 001005 Winona LaDuke - From Genocide to Resistance

For the indigenous peoples of this hemisphere the Columbian Quincentennial was not an occasion for cheering and parades. The arrival of the Italian-born, Spanish explorer initiated massive death and destruction. Yet native peoples survived and persevered. Today they offer a worldview that is singular and inspiring.

Winona LaDuke is one of the most brilliant and articulate representatives of indigenous perspectives. At the age of 17 she spoke at the UN on behalf of Native Americans. She is a founding member of Women of All Red Nations. She is the first Native American to run for national office.

4 Dec 001004 Paul Loeb - Overcoming Cynicism

Many of us want to participate in tackling social problems, but are too overwhelmed by the enormity of the task to even begin. Those who do become involved often suffer burnout after slogging in the trenches. A vibrant democracy requires participation from all sectors of society, not just politicians and designated experts. Ordinary citizens throughout history have played extraordinary roles in implementing change. How can people get involved and stay healthy and balanced once they do?

Paul Loeb has spent 25 years researching and writing about citizen responsibility and empowerment, asking what makes some people choose lives of social commitment while others abstain. He is an associate scholar at Seattle's center for ethical leadership and author of the book, Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time.

27 Nov 001003 Ben Bagdikian - Media Concentration: Peril to Democracy

"Information is the currency of democracy," said Thomas Jefferson. He and the founding fathers reasoned that an informed citizenry was crucial to the functioning of democracy. A pluralism of views and a multiplicity of perspectives contribute to a diverse and vital civil society. What happens when information is monopolised by a handful of giant corporations? The interests and concerns of Wall Street and Madison Avenue supersede those of the people.

Ben Bagdikian is one of the most respected media critics in the country. A veteran of more than 50 years as a reporter and editor, he is the winner of almost every top prize in journalism, including the Pulitzer. His classic book The Media Monopoly is now in its sixth edition.

20 Nov 001002 Michael Parenti - The Manufacture of History

George Orwell recognised the key role that history plays in perpetuating power when he said, "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." Today progressive historians are challenging conventional notions of mainstream history. They are shaking up the academy and its shibboleths about the past. One such example comes from ancient Rome. We all know the story. Caesar was a tyrant and deserved to be assassinated. The guys that did him in were democrats. A closer look at what went on in 44 B.C. reveals a radically different picture.

Michael Parenti is an independent political analyst who lectures and teaches at major universities in the US and around the world. He is the author of numerous books including Democracy for the Few, Against Empire, and History as Mystery.

13 Nov 000905 Noam Chomsky - US Colombia Policy

The US is dramatically escalating the drug war in Colombia. The billion dollar plus increase in aid will mostly go to the security forces who are implicated in cocaine trafficking and human rights violations. Elite US Special Forces are in Colombia training the military in counterinsurgency tactics. The militarisation of the decades long civil conflict will only further destabilise the country and the Andean region. While Colombia gets chemical weapons and helicopter gunships, US drug prevention and rehab programs are starved for funds.

Noam Chomsky, MIT professor, is known the world over for his trenchant critiques of US foreign policy and the media. For many he is a symbol of resistance to the depredations of private and state power. The Guardian calls him, "One of the radical heroes of our age." He is the author of Power and Terror, Middle East Illusion and Hegemony or Survival." He's done a series of interview books with David Barsamian including The Common Good and Propaganda and the Public Mind.

6 Nov 000904 Ralph Nader - Toward a Green White House

The presidential campaign is in full swing. Many corporations like ATandT and Microsoft give to both to the Democrats and the Republicans. Election 2000 will be the most lavishly funded in history. Citizens are told it's their duty to vote but many find little to choose from. One candidate is a corporate funded scion of a wealthy political family. And so is the other. Over 90 million Americans don't vote at all. Some of it may be attributed to apathy but a lot of people are fed up with the traditional choices and yearn for something different.

Few Americans have accomplished as much as Ralph Nader. For almost 40 years he has battled corporations and government on behalf of ordinary people. He was a spark in the consumer safety and environmental movements. Life magazine ranks him as one of the century's most influential Americans. He is the Green Party candidate for president in 2000.

23 Oct 001001** Shane Elson - A View from Outside the Wire

From September the 11 to 13 this year the World Economic Forum met in Melbourne's Crown Casino. Students, workers, the unemployed, religious groups, environmentalists, alternative lifestylers and politicians from the minor parties gathered under the imposing tower of Crown Casino and over three days partied, danced, sang and shouted their way into the folklore of the anti-globalisation movement. Their final act of defiance was a victory march through the CBD of Melbourne.

This Australian Alternative Radio special produced by Shane Elson, includes a range of material gathered during the S11-13 blockade. Voices include activists, politicians, unionists and activists and S11-13 representatives.

+++Please note+++ This program contains strong language and audio-scapes that may offend or disturb some listeners. (**CD only)

16 Oct 000903 Jello Biafra, Medea Benjamin and Manning Marable - Green Party Politics

The Republicans and Democrats had their corporate paid for coronations in Philadelphia and LA. The network anchors with their golden rolodex of experts chimed in with much gravitas. But somehow the media could not find their way to Denver where the Green Party held its national convention. In stark contrast to the lavish spectacles of the two major parties, hundreds of delegates from all over the US gathered in the Mile High City.

This program brings you some of the highlights from the Green Party convention. Jello Biafra was the leader of the punk rock band Dead Kennedys. He lectures widely on social issues.

Medea Benjamin is co-founder of Global Exchange. She is the Green Party candidate for the US Senate in California.

Manning Marable, Professor of History at Columbia University and a noted author, is a leading African American scholar/activist.

9 Oct 000902 Bill McKibben - Consumerism and Global Climate Change

Summer is coming earlier every year, as global temperatures continue to rise. Ocean levels are rising, too, as polar ice caps melt away. Meanwhile, the US economic model, with its enormous dependence on fossil fuels, proliferates around the globe. Bill McKibben's groundbreaking book, The End of Nature, brought global warming to public attention in 1988. But was anyone listening? US emissions of carbon dioxide--the key culprit in the heating up of the Earth's atmosphere--are higher than ever. So what are the connections between this planetary crisis and hyper-consumerism?

Bill McKibben is one of America's leading journalists on the environment. His other books include The Age of Missing Information and Hope: Human and Wild. His articles appear in many major newspapers and national magazines.

2 Oct 000901 Frances Fox Piven - Labor in a Globalised Economy

The pundits say globalisation is the wave of the future. If you're against it, says Tom Friedman of the New York Times, then you are part of a "Noah's ark of flat earth advocates." Workers are the cogs in the global economy. Yet, when it comes to the media, labor is an afterthought. Programs like Moneyline and Marketplace and whole sections of newspapers are devoted to business. Election campaigns are when workers' concerns are discussed. As soon as they are over, politicians return to their traditional role of keeping labor on a tight leash.

Frances Fox Piven is a leading activist scholar. She is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at CUNY. She is co-author with Richard Cloward of numerous award-winning books including, Regulating the Poor and The Breaking of the American Social Compact.

14 Aug 000605 Vandana Shiva - Stolen Harvest: Hijacking of the Global Food Supply

Multinational corporations are transforming global agriculture. Using the WTO as a wedge, they seek to patent seeds and life forms. Citizens from all over the world are questioning the impact of industrial agriculture and biotechnology on small farmers, the environment, and the quality and safety of food. Perhaps nowhere is resistance to the practices of giant agribusiness as strong as in India where hundreds of thousands protest and demonstrate.

Vandana Shiva of India is a leading voice for sustainable development and social justice. A Renaissance-type woman, she's a physicist, scholar, social activist and feminist. Dr. Shiva is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi. She's the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Prize.

7 Aug 000604 Howard Zinn, Rania Masri et al - Iraq Under Siege

Iraq is under siege. A decade long sanctions regime has caused massive suffering and hundreds of thousands of deaths. While Saddam Hussein and his cohorts live in luxury, the once burgeoning middle class is wiped out. In addition US and UK planes routinely bomb the country. No matter one's view on the horrendous Saddam there is no question that ordinary Iraqis are paying an enormous price. An international movement is calling for the lifting of sanctions.

Howard Zinn is one of America's foremost historians. He played an active role in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. His classic book is A People's History of the US.

Anthony Arnove is the editor of Iraq Under Siege. He writes for Z, Race and Class and other journals. He is an editor at South End Press.

Ali Abunimah is a media analyst and commentator on the Middle East. He is vice-president of the Arab American Action Network based in Chicago.

Rania Masri is the coordinator of the Iraq Action Network. She is the 1999 recipient of the International Human Rights Award of North Carolina.

31 Jul 000603 Frances Fox Piven - The Politics of the Rich and Poor

The political system is largely the captive of special interests and lobbyists who dole out bushels of money. In the old days it used to be called influence peddling. Today it is simply politics as usual. In the din of ringing cash registers the voices of ordinary people cannot be heard. Voters don't vote and democracy atrophies. Among industrialised countries the US has the sharpest levels of income and wealth inequality. Are the times ripe for change?

Frances Fox Piven, founder of the welfare rights movement, is co-author of a number of award-winning books, including Regulating the Poor, The Breaking of the American Social Compact and Why Americans Still Don't Vote. She is Distinguished Professor of political science and sociology at the graduate school of the City University of New York.

24 Jul 000602 Marilyn Young - Vietnam: The Forever War

The Vietnam War was a pivotal event in the 20th century. Although it officially ended in 1975, it never really seems to end. The war brought us 'free fire zones', 'strategic hamlets', 'carpet bombings', 'Agent Orange', 'MIAs' and 'POWs', and the never to be seen lights at the ends of tunnels. For the millions of victims the war was apocalypse then. For many survivors the suffering and anguish continues. Politically and militarily the 'Vietnam Syndrome' is ongoing.

Marilyn Young, a distinguished historian, has carefully studied the Vietnam War. She is professor of history at New York University. She is the author of many books including Transforming Russia and China and The Vietnam Wars.

17 Jul 000601 Njoki Njehu - Breaking the Chains of Debt: Jubilee 2000

Third World countries are reeling under staggering debt. The World Bank and the IMF impose punitive austerity programs that result in massive cuts in vital social services like education and health. Much of the debt was accrued by despots who lined their own pockets. Nearly half of the money due is from 30 destitute African countries. Jubilee 2000, a worldwide movement, is calling for the cancellation of all Third World debt.

Njoki Njehu of Kenya is a grassroots organiser, environmentalist and women's advocate. She is Executive Director of 50 Years is Enough. She is also on the Executive Committee of the Jubilee 2000/USA campaign. The campaign draws its inspiration from Hebrew Scriptures, which describe a Year of Jubilee every 50 years where social inequalities are rectified and all debts are cancelled.

10 Jul 000505 Martin Espada - Zapata's Disciple

What is the relationship between poetry and politics? Martin Espada makes the connection. He says, Progressive politics must be imagined first. And poetry is a great way to do it. Oppressive social conditions, before they can be changed, must be named and condemned in words that persuade by stirring the emotions and awakening the senses. Poets from Whitman to Neruda to Ginsberg have articulated a vision and a language of political transformation.

Martin Espada is a leading and much honoured poet. His collection Imagine the Angels of Bread won the American Book Award. A former tenant lawyer, he now teaches in the Department of English at UMass/Amherst. His book Zapata's Disciple, taking its name from the Mexican revolutionary, is the winner of the 1999 Independent Publisher Book award.

3 Jul 000504 Israel Charny - Genocide Denial

The 20th century is stained by death marches, gas chambers and killing fields. Genocide begins in Armenia, peaks in Europe and ends in Rwanda. It is difficult to refute the enormity of mass murder nevertheless deniers are attempting to do so by revising and falsifying history. The Turkish government has taken denial to a new level. It is funding chairs at universities like Princeton to produce "scholarship" that the genocide of the Armenians never happened.

Israel Charny is a leading historian on genocide. He is Executive Director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Israel. He is chief editor of The Encyclopedia of Genocide.

26 Jun 000503 Howard Zinn - The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti

From New York to Denver immigrants are again the target of xenophobes. US history has been marked by periodic outbursts of super chauvinism. One notorious example was the case of the Italian immigrants Sacco and Vanzetti in the 1920s. Their jailing on trumped up charges and subsequent execution in Massachusetts sparked a huge national and international uproar. On May Day especially they are remembered in story and song all over the world.

No other radical historian has reached so many hearts and minds as Howard Zinn. His masterpiece, A People's History of the US continues to sell in huge numbers. Its mention by Matt Damon in the hit film Good Will Hunting turned on a whole new generation to the Zinn classic.

19 Jun 000502 Ralph Nader - Challenging the Duopoly

Voter turnout in the US continues to plunge. The conventional explanation for the lack of interest is that the citizenry is apathetic. They'd rather be watching "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". A more radical analysis is that people are fed up with choices like Clinton-Dole or Gore-Bush. Many see them as guys in suits representing the interests of other more wealthy guys in suits.

Few Americans have the respect and prestige that Ralph Nader commands. He was influential in the passage of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. He helped create the Environmental Protection Agency. In recent years he has led the struggles around NAFTA, the WTO, and corporate welfare. In 1996 he was the Green Party presidential candidate and he was on the campaign trail again in 2000.

12 Jun 000501 Edward Dorn - Satirical Verses

Satire has long been a favourite device of artists seeking to subvert by making fun of those in power, be it church, state, king or landlord. If they are especially good at it, they can be banished, like cartoonist Thomas Nast, or novelist Salman Rushdie. But poetry has never wielded enough influence to bring down such reprisals in the US.

The satirical and lyric poetry of Edward Dorn has enjoyed a small avid audience since the early 1960s. Abhorrences, and his Defence of Heresy and Heretics continue to excite and incite his readership. His most recent title is a book of translations from Native American languages, The Sun Unwound: Original Texts from Occupied America.

5 Jun 000404 Roy Bourgeois - School of the Assassins

The US-run School of the Americas is a training academy for the Latin American military. It is located at Fort Benning, Georgia. In recent years, SOA has attracted large scale demonstrations and arrests. What brings protesters? It turns out that SOA has produced a string of death squad killers who specialise in the murder of non-combatants including children, priests, nuns and bishops. SOA graduates have distinguished themselves in the arts of homicide and massacre earning their alma mater the sobriquet of School of the Assassins.

Father Roy Bourgeois, a former Vietnam War veteran, has spent many years all over Latin America working with the poor. His current efforts focus on shutting down the School of the Americas.

29 May 000403 Susan Douglas - Talk Radio: Letting Boys Be Boys

Male dominated talk radio is central to the backlash against the feminist movement. The gains of women in the workplace threaten the traditional right wing. Limbaugh, Stern and their imitators fill the airwaves with their defence of male privilege. They yearn for the halcyon days of old where women were wombs and busy little bees in the kitchen. "Feminazis," as Limbaugh calls them, are messing up the natural order of things.

Susan Douglas, Kellogg Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan, is one of America's foremost media critics. Her articles appear in The Progressive, Ms. and The Nation. She is the author of Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination.

22 May 000402 Jeremy Rifkin - Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering is being trumpeted as one of the greatest scientific developments in history. GE is not only revolutionising agriculture but it is unlocking the secrets of life itself. Its proponents predict that it will cure diseases and feed the world. What does it mean when the natural world is replaced by laboratory experiments and corporations control the process?

Jeremy Rifkin is prominent in the movement examining the moral and scientific implications of GE. He is president of the Foundation on Economic Trends and author of Beyond Beef and The Biotech Century.

15 May 000401 Maude Barlow and Chee Yoke Ling - Corporate Designed Food

Promises of green revolutions and record harvests is the justification for genetically modifying crops. A handful of giant global corporations dominate agriculture. They represent, according to Vandana Shiva, the noted Indian environmentalist, the latest form of imperialism. Agribusiness contends it just wants to feed hungry people. What's underneath the plate of genetically engineered food? Wholesome nutritious edibles or a recipe for more profits? Maude Barlow is one of Canada's leading activists on trade issues. She was a leader in the successful struggle to stop the Multilateral Agreement on Investment and the WTO Seattle meeting. She is Director of the Ottawa-based Council of Canadians.

Chee Yoke Ling is a lawyer with the Third World Network in Malaysia. She is an expert in international law and is involved in efforts to prevent transnational corporations from patenting seeds.

8 May 000305 Cornel West - The Legacy of Paul Robeson

Paul Robeson, an enduring and multitalented figure, broke colour barriers in sports, music, film and theatre. He was an internationally famous singer and actor yet in the US he was persecuted and blacklisted for his political beliefs. He died impoverished and in obscurity. His singular life is a model for courage and steadfastness in the face of racial and political prejudice.

Cornel West, professor at Harvard, has been called "the preeminent African American intellectual of his generation." With his preacher-like cadences and passionate delivery, he is much in demand as a speaker. A prolific author, his book Race Matters was a bestseller.

1 May 000304 Sandra Postel - Water and Security: Challenges for the 21st Century

Water. It is essential to all plant and animal life. In developed countries, turn on a faucet and water flows with seemingly unending abundance. For those who have adequate access, water is so basic it's easy to forget its importance. As world populations increase, tensions between nations which share rivers is growing. How to equitably share such a vital yet finite resource? Sandra Postel predicts that the increasing competition for water will prove a major influence in global affairs in this century.

Sandra Postel is Director of the Global Water Policy Project and a senior fellow at the Worldwatch Institute. She is the author of Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last?

24 Apr 000303 Angela Davis - Race, Crime and Punishment

The US has a "love affair with incarceration," says England's respected Guardian newspaper. Spanking new prisons dot the landscape. Prison population has risen 500% since 1972, while the population on the whole only rose 28%. African Americans constitute 50% of all inmates. They receive longer and harsher sentences than whites. In addition, blacks are disproportionately represented on death row.

Angela Davis, a brilliant orator, is internationally renowned as a writer, scholar and activist. She lectures widely on the prison industrial complex. The author of Women, Race and Class and Women, Culture and Politics. She teaches at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

17 April 000302 Christian Parenti - Lockdown America: The Growth of the Police State

The 19th century robber baron Jay Gould once boasted that he could "hire half of the working class to shoot the other half." With the rapid growth of the prison industry in the United States, that comment could be adapted for a future where half of the people are 'guarding' the other half. Billions are spent every year on building new prisons, billions more go to running them. Over half a million people now work in the corrections industry in the U. S, and about two million are behind bars. Laws are passed at the state and federal levels that encourage increased policing and incarceration. The money to pay for it all comes at the expense of social programs.

Christian Parenti offers a compelling description of the reality of police and prisons in the US today. And he examines the social, political and economic issues that are at the root of the growth of the police state over the past three decades. Parenti is the author of Lockdown America. His journalism has appeared in The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times and The Christian Science Monitor. He teaches at the New College of California.

6 Mar 000301 Britt Bailey and Marc Lappe - Frankenfood: Genetically Altered Cuisine

While cloned sheep and biomedical applications of DNA technology make headlines world-wide, the genetic modification and corporate takeover of our food supply is a quiet revolution. In the US, genetically altered foods are exempted from normal FDA and EPA testing of their effects on human health and the environment. Complete labelling is not required. You may know the calorie and fat content of that strawberry you're eating, but does it produce its own pesticides? Does it contain the genetic material of a fish? Around the world, scientists and activists are raising concerns about the threat to our health and the environment this technology may pose. In an independent investigation, Bailey and Lappe concluded that corporate profits are considered before public health, freedom of choice or ecological stability.

Britt Bailey holds a Master's Degree in Environmental Policy. Marc Lappe has a doctorate in Experimental Pathology. Both currently work at the Center for Ethics and Toxics (CETOS ). Their co-written book is Against the Grain: Biotechnology and the Corporate Takeover of Your Food.

28 Feb 000203 Jim Hightower - Election 2000: A Space Odyssey

The 2000 election season is upon us. The campaign coffers are overflowing. The pundits are pontificating and the pollsters are polling. But election 2000 is hardly creating a ripple of interest. Voter turnouts will probably set new lows. Democracy, such as it is, withers. November 11, 1999. Populist Jim Hightower has long been active in Texas politics. He is a witty, no-holds-barred commentator and the host of the Austin-based, nationally syndicated Chat 'N Chew radio show. He has little patience for what he calls "Republicrats" or "Demopublicans". Neither liberal nor conservative, he roots himself in the populist tradition, and he loves to use humour as a political weapon. He is the author of There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos and If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote, They Would Have Given Us Candidates.

21 Feb 000203 Robin Hahnel - Beyond Seattle: What Is to Be Done

The World Trade Organisation meeting in Seattle not only drew trade officials from 135 countries but also tens of thousands of protesters representing non-governmental organisations, labor unions, environmental groups, farmers and citizen activists. The demonstrators shook the streets and rocked the corporate suites. The WTO ministers couldn't decide on anything and the talks collapsed. Was the outpouring of dissent in Seattle a flash in the pan or the nascence of a new movement for social change? Can the energy of the streets be channelled into politics? What is to be done?

Robin Hahnel, professor of economics at American University, is a leading theorist of alternative economic models. He is a regular contributor to Z magazine. He is the author of Panic Rules.

7/14 Feb 000201 / 000202 Ralph Nader, Vandana Shiva, Jagdish Bhagwati et al - Debate on the WTO and Globalisation (Pts. 1 and 2)

The World Trade Organisation ministerial meeting in Seattle in November 1999 generated an enormous amount of media attention, controversy and some of the biggest protests in decades. WTO supporters say that free trade, the unimpeded flow of goods, services and capital, results in broad economic and social benefits. The elimination of trade barriers lifts poor people out of poverty. Opponents say that the WTO undermines democracy, threatens food safety, weakens workers' rights and degrades the environment.

An historic debate took place in Seattle's Town Hall. AR presents the entire event in two special programs. Moderated by Paul Magnusson of Business Week.

31 Jan 000104 Chuck Collins and Holly Sklar - Shifting Fortunes: The Growing Divide

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, "We can have a democratic society or we can have great concentrated wealth in the hands of the few. We cannot have both." What might Brandeis think as he views the current economy? Behind the hoopla of the economic boom, many Americans have actually lost ground. Most households have lower net worth than they did in 1983. To make ends meet workers put in longer hours and have two jobs. Families sink deeper into debt while the top 1% accrue enormous wealth.

Chuck Collins is Co-Director of United for a Fair Economy, the Boston-based organisation which addresses issues of economic inequality. Holly Sklar is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Chaos or Community? Collins and Sklar are co-authors of Shifting Fortunes.

24 Jan 000103 Stuart Ewen - Public Relations: Corporate Spin and Propaganda

Current events are routinely packaged by spin doctors and image consultants. The US has the largest public relations industry in the world. It is a major societal force in influencing and shaping public opinion. The number of PR workers far exceeds journalists. Professional spinmeisters churn out stories that are favourable to the corporations that hire them. These stories are then leaked into the media acquifer and turn up on TV, radio, newspapers and magazines.

Stuart Ewen is professor of media studies at Hunter College. His book All Consuming Images was the basis for the award-winning PBS series, The Public Mind. He also authored PR! A Social History of Spin.

17 Jan 000102 Benjamin Barber - McWorld and the Free Market's Threat to Civic Culture

After hustling to be a responsible employee and a smart consumer, is there any time, money, and energy left each week to be a good citizen? The global free market does a great job creating a world-wide demand and desire for products and services, but does it simultaneously undermine the ability of civic society to meet its vital needs? What are the prospects for democracy when the largest economic power in the world exports a laissez-faire economic model that prioritises marketing goods over meeting growing humanitarian needs? Can the world survive America?

Benjamin Barber directs the Walt Whitman Center for the Culture and Politics of Democracy at Rutgers University. His books include A Place for Us and A Passion for Democracy.

10 Jan 000101 Edward Said - Unresolved Geographies, Embattled Landscapes

Edward Said, internationally renowned Columbia University professor, practically invented the field of post-colonial studies. His great work, Orientalism has been translated into many languages and is widely used in colleges and universities. The New York Times called him, "one of the most influential literary and cultural critics in the world." As one of the few advocates for Palestinian rights in the US, he was the target of vilification, death threats and vandalism. The Economist said he "repudiated terrorism in all its forms and was a passionate, eloquent and persistent advocate for justice for the dispossessed Palestinians." He was a trenchant critic not just of Israeli policies, but also of Arafat, the corrupt coterie around him and the despotic Arab regimes. He felt strongly that intellectuals had a special responsibility to speak out against injustice, challenge power, confront hegemonic thinking and provide alternatives. His memoir Out of Place won the New Yorker Book of the Year Award. Edward Said died in New York on September 25, 2003.

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