World War Civ 1: The Intro

How to think about WW1?

The Scramble for Africa is over. Greedy European powers can now only expand at one another’s expense. Du Bois and Lenin both thought this made a big European war inevitable. But others at the time thought it impossible. After two years we are ready to begin the 20th century with something your history classes never fail to discuss – the causes of World War 1. And so we begin the new series, World War Civ, which will include WW1, the Interwar period, WW2, and the aftermath, which will be followed by our Civilizations:Decolonization series – but that will be a while, so relax and get ready for World War Civ.

AER 114: Why Democracy (TM) Fails the Global South

Does democracy deliver development?

Democracy means “the people rule”. But do the people rule in the “democratic” systems that form governments all over the world? Are these democratic governments less repressive or authoritarian than those without the democratic certification? And does the democratic system of frequent multiparty elections deliver the developmental goods?

Talking to Vik Sohonie, former journalist who runs the grammy-award nominated Ostinato Records, about why Democracy (TM) fails the Global South.

AER 113: Pakistan government threatens to arrest Imran Khan

Imran Khan is under threat of arrest

An update on the unfolding post-coup in Pakistan. Talking to Waqas Ahmad again about the threat to arrest Imran Khan, the remarkable result of the election in Punjab where PTI won 15/20 seats, the arrest and torture of Shehbaz Gill and many others, the articles in the NYT and Time Magazine about how the coup government’s repression might be backfiring, and more.

Scramble for Oceania 3: Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia

The scramble for Oceania, concluded

At the peak of global colonialism no island however small was exempted from European greed. We conclude our Scramble for Oceania series with the scrambles for the many islands in the Pacific. Many of these are still colonies today, given names like “special overseas territory” to hide the fact. ALSO: I’m trying to do loudness normalization so hopefully the listening experience is improved.

In Real Time with Stan Cox 5: On the Inflation Reduction Bill and on Optimism

Stan Cox on the Inflation Reduction Bill

Our August 2022 dispatch with Stan Cox. Stan presents us this month with a discussion of the “Inflation Reduction Bill” – is climate change solved? Can Stan finally relax? We also get into a discussion of optimism and pessimism and which one is called for at this moment.

Scramble for Oceania 2: The Land Wars of New Zealand

The Land Wars of New Zealand

We take advantage of some new scholarship of New Zealand history (Keenan, Wars Without End; Belch, New Zealand Wars; Simons, Soldiers, Scouts and Spies) to give you a hopefully fresh look at the 19th century scramble for colonies in New Zealand, which took the form of British wars against the Maori. Also featured – comparisons between New Zealand and Canada, and the idea that Parihaka may be considered a failure of nonviolence.

In Real Time with Stan Cox 4: A discussion of violence and policy murder

The fourth discussion with Stan Cox about his latest dispatch, “They’ll Show Up Armed – Countering Policy Murder and the Rising Violence of the Right”. We talk about a nonviolent march Stan participated in and a few of the historic movement debates about violence and nonviolence that we’ve seen over the decades. And we conclude with the question: will it be necessary for there to be more guns out there, to get gun control back on the agenda?

Countering violence with Stan Cox

Scramble for Oceania 1: The theft of Australia

The theft of Australia

At the same time that the European empires were scrambling for Africa, they held a scramble in the Pacific. For the British Empire the base was Australia, and we begin with the scramble for Australia, the story of the theft of (another) continent beginning in 1788. Always was, always will be, aboriginal land.

Scramble for Africa 21: mini-scramblers Portugal, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark…

The mini-scramblers

The biggest player in the Scramble for Africa was England. Second place to France, third to Germany. But there were many other European powers at the Berlin Conference in 1884 and the plunder of Africa was shared among even the smallest of European countries. Who and how, in this episode of the Scramble for Africa.

AER 112: BDS Boston makes a map and chaos ensues

On the Mapping Project at mapliberation.org

In June 2022 a small activist group in Boston created mapliberation.org, a project mapping primarily policing institutions in Massechussetts and their connections to corporations, organizations, and politicians who are implicated in the prison-industry complex, in throwing people out of their homes to create investment opportunities, in grabbing Indigenous land, in colonizing Palestinian land, and other harms. When the website came out, the very institutions discussed in the mapping project unleashed a storm of criticism, bullied them off of two servers, and hurled a wide ranging set of ridiculous accusations. A roundup of the mapping project and the “freakout” about it.