Joe Emersberger and I discuss some questions about Afghanistan after the Taliban take over the country and the US leaves. Was this really a defeat or a controlled handover for the US? What is Pakistan’s role? China’s? What is with the mystique around the late Ahmad Shah Massoud, whose UK-trained son is now claiming to lead the #Resistance? And a few other questions.
I talk to Nora Loreto – podcaster, journalist, and author of Take Back the Fight: Organizing Feminism for the Digital Age and Spin Doctors: How Media and Politicians Misdiagnosed the COVID-19 Epidemic. We talk about Nora’s journalism on COVID-19, about anti-feminist backlashes of various kinds, about contemporary feminism and the continuing relevance of organizing in the movement, and more.
A year and a half ago I approached my high school history teacher with the idea of launching a podcast with a massively expanded version of the content of the “Modern Western Civilization” course he taught me in high school in the 1990s, to include the whole world and the people’s histories.
We’re just about to reach the 20th century so we thought we would debrief and go over some of what we’ve learned. We read things like EH Carr’s What is History?; Dave discusses the limitations of podcasting and of high school teaching; we talk about where the history we do fits into current debates about Critical Race Theory; and we set up for the next two series to come – the Scramble for Africa, and the Three World Wars (WWI, WWII, and the Cold War).
Joe and I answer some questions listeners sent in about our new book about Venezuela, Extraordinary Threat, from Monthly Review. Questions include: Was Venezuela “once-prosperous” before Chavez? Has Maduro been true to Chavez’s vision? What’s the COVID vaccination situation? Can we comment on Hong Kong? What is the internal social base of US imperialism in Venezuela? Can all the problems of Venezuela be placed at the feet of US imperialism? And more.
Another episode of Kung Fu Yoga with Carl Zha, where we talk about the Indian and Chinese angles on world events. With the US withdrawing from Afghanistan like thieves in the night, the greatest agent of chaos may be gone (or mostly gone, for now) and country’s neighbours (Iran, Russia, the Central Asian republics, Pakistan, India, and China) will be playing a bigger role in the future, and so, evidently, will the Taliban. We talk about the differences we see between the Taliban of today and the Taliban of 2001 in terms of the movement’s apparent support in rural areas and ability to win many of them over without fighting; in terms of the Taliban’s perhaps independence from Pakistan; and in terms of the Taliban’s diplomatic agenda in the region. With the US panic about China taking up where the US left off, we consider China’s relationship with Pakistan (eg., the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) and whether that has any insight to offer about what the China-Afghanistan relationship might look like in terms of priorities like infrastructure, the Belt & Road initiative, and China’s concerns with stability and terrorism on the border with Xinjiang. As well as India’s seeming irrelevance to the situation.
General Jacob Smith was reprimanded for his order to commit atrocities in the war against the Philippine Republic, but he was not alone in giving such orders. The US war in the Philippines set the stage for more than a century of counterinsurgency, atrocities, and pretexts like the civilizing mission and the responsibility to protect. Using Renato Constantino’s work, also talk about some of the amazing characters on the Filipino side, like Bonifacio and Aguinaldo.
Joe Emersberger and I talk to Reed Lindsay, journalist and filmmaker with Belly of the Beast, a media organization focusing on Cuba and Cuba-US relations. Among their films is a 3-part series called the War on Cuba available on YouTube. Reed was at the recent demonstrations and counter-demonstrations in Havana and talks about how the scarcities and difficulties of life have everything to do with the 60-year, ever-intensifying economic blockade against Cuba imposed by the United States.
Kim Ives from Haiti Liberte joins me and Joe Emersberger to analyze Haiti two days after the assassination of President Jovenal Moise by Colombian and Haitian-American mercenaries. We talk about the new details that have emerged about their Nissan vehicles (from whose dealership?), the class antagonisms inside Haiti, and US interests in re-occupying the country. Kim talks about his meeting with Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, the former police officer who announced a revolution from the poor neighbourhoods. We also spend some time debriefing Kim’s recent appearance on Democracy Now! and the ideological differences within the solidarity movement, which we try to unpack.
On June 30, 2021, I was honored to be among the speakers on a panel for educators called “Say Palestine”. The entire panel, which was moderated by the wonderful Javier Davila (who I address directly at the beginning of the talk), is available on YouTube. I talk about the dilemmas faced by educators who want to teach about Palestine and who want to #SayPalestine.
An emergency joint broadcast with The East is a Podcast about the assassination of Haiti’s president Jovenal Moise on July 7, 2021.
Chris Bernadel is on the Haiti Committee of the Black Alliance for Peace. We talk a little bit about the assassination and the background of protests and massacres in Haiti that have gone on for years now.