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(01 Jan) 170304 Angela Davis - Beginnings: Movements of Possibility

In times of crisis one can simultaneously see danger and opportunity. Today there is nostalgia for an imagined past and a desire to recreate it. It's a seductive tale. Things were better then. The country was unchallenged in the world. Jobs were plentiful. Minorities, women, gays, immigrants knew their place. There was order in the land. But over many decades, as a result of struggle and movements, society evolved and changed. We are at a perilous moment. Do we want to go back or continue to move forward building on hard fought gains? During another perilous time, Martin Luther King Jr., declared, "We've got to massively confront the power structure." We are at a crossroads: the beginning of a brighter or darker future. The choice is ours.

Angela Davis is one of the iconic figures of this era. Acquitted on conspiracy charges in 1970, after one of the most famous trials in U.S. history, she went on to become an internationally renowned writer, scholar and lecturer. She is professor emeritus at the University of California at Santa Cruz. An eloquent and charismatic speaker she is much in demand all over the world and draws huge audiences. She's the author of many books, including Women, Race and Class, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism, Abolition Democracy, and Freedom is a Constant Struggle.

(08 Jan) 170501 Laverne Cox - Transgender Visibility

The LGBTQ, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and queer community have made significant strides in recent years in achieving legal recognition and protection. But some of the gains are being rolled back. The Trump administration revoked federal guidelines specifying that transgender students have the right to use public school restrooms that match their gender identity. Resistance to the edict is coalescing as fast as you can say LGBTQ. An important case will be argued soon before the Supreme Court involving a high school student in Virginia. At stake is whether transgendered persons are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Higher Education Act amendments. At issue is whether they can freely use public rest rooms. The case pits evolving generational attitudes toward gender non-conformism against a longstanding culture of intolerance.

Laverne Cox is an actor, documentary film producer and LGBTQ advocate. She stars in the highly acclaimed Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. Her documentary productions include The T Word and Free CeCe.

(15 Jan) 170502 Laura Secor - Iran:History and Politics

Iran, a country of 80 million people, strategically straddles West and South Asia. Once in Washington's hip pocket, Iran dramatically left the U.S. orbit in 1979 when the Shah was overthrown and the Islamic Republic was established. The "loss" of Iran was a major blow to Washington's policy of dominating the Middle East and controlling its oil. Pretty much, ever since, the countries have been at loggerheads. The nuclear deal of 2015 was a breakthrough. However, there is a new sheriff in town and the rhetoric coming from the White House is belligerent. The President has tweeted, "Iran is playing with fire. They don't appreciate how 'kind' President Obama was to them. Not me!" Calling Iran, "the number one terror state," he put it on the travel ban list. What's going on inside Iran is largely unknown. Most media reports omit context and background.

Laura Secor has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Affairs and other publications. She is the author of Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul Iran.

(22 Jan) 170603 Vandana Shiva - Eco-Social Justice on the Global Frontlines

Despite the position of the Trump administration, which has labeled climate change a "hoax" concocted by China, there is virtual universal unanimity that the Earth's temperature is rising and that human activity is largely responsible. In the face of this crisis Trump is cutting the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency and laying off staff. Is this the kind of response required at this critical juncture? The window for collective action to mitigate the effects of global warming is narrowing. Corporate-driven policies toward the Earth as just a place to extract resources and make money must be reversed if long-term tragic consequences are to be avoided. Sustainable agricultural practices and nutritious food are key to healing ourselves and our planet. Ecological and social justice are inseparable.

Vandana Shiva is an internationally renowned voice for sustainable development and social justice. She's a physicist, scholar, social activist and feminist. She is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi. She's the recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize and of the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Prize. She is the author of many books, including Water Wars, Earth Democracy, Soil Not Oil and Making Peace with the Earth. She is the editor of the book Seed Sovereignty, Food Security

(29 Jan) 170903 Cynthia Kaufman - Capitalism: Getting Past It

The present phase of capitalism is a great success story for the uber rich. Torrents of wealth flow overwhelmingly to a sliver of the population. Millennials in large numbers are seriously questioning the existing economic order. They are even willing to, hold your breath, consider a socialist alternative. The Bernie Sanders campaign made a huge impact on many young people and sparked interest in socialism. When millennials hear the term capitalism they think about Wall Street bailouts, corporate greed, off shore accounts, and a tax code riddled with loopholes for the well connected. For far too many the vaunted invisible hand feels like a death grip. Now is the time to think outside the box. As George Monbiot writes in The Guardian, "It's not enough to oppose a broken system. A coherent alternative has to be proposed."

Cynthia Kaufman is director of the Institute of Community and Civic Engagement at De Anza College in San Francisco, where she also teaches philosophy. She is the author of Getting Past Capitalism.


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Alternative Radio (Aust.) PO Box 687 Cowes VIC 3922 Australia
tel. 61-4-1359 7828