This edition of Forthright Radio was originally broadcast on October 4, 2017, the 60th anniversary of the launching by the Soviet Union of Sputnik 1, the first artificial Earth satellite, which triggered the Space Race.
Our guest today, Professor Alfred McCoy, writes of this and much more about the history for global dominance in his latest book, IN THE SHADOWS OF THE AMERICAN CENTURY: THE RISE AND DECLINE OF US GLOBAL POWER, just published by Haymarket Books.
Alfred McCoy, who holds the Harrington Chair in History at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, has been shaking up our understanding and beliefs about the role of the United States in the world since 1970, when he co-edited LAOS: WAR AND REVOLUTION .
His research led him to publish THE POLITICS OF HEROIN IN SOUTHEAST ASIA, in 1972, which led to his testifying before the foreign operations subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee in June of that year about the role of the CIA in the production and distribution of heroin. Among his numerous other books are POLICING AMERICA’S EMPIRE: THE UNITED STATES, THE PHILIPINES AND THE RISE OF THE SURVEILLANCE STATE; A QUESTION OF TORTURE: CIA INTERROGATION, FROM THE COLD WAR TO THE WAR ON TERROR. In 2012 Yale University awarded him the Wilbur Cross Medal for work as “one of the world’s leading historians of Southeast Asia and an expert on … international political surveillance.”
In this interview, we discuss the geopolitics of global dominance; the covert netherworld of U.S. government agencies colluding with international drug cartels at the same time the military ineffectively attempts to eradicate opium production in Afghanistan; the rapid rise of China as a dominant force; cyberwarfare; the vulnerability of our and much more.
Our guest is Professor Nancy MacLean. We discuss her latest book, DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS: THE DEEP HISTORY OF THE RADICAL RIGHT’S STEALTH PLAN FOR AMERICA, published by Viking Press. It is a thoroughly researched, to my mind shocking, exposé of the man and the ideas behind the billionaire-funded, relentless campaign to suppress voting, privatize everything from education, prisons, social security and Medicare, eliminate unions, curb democratic majority rule and change the US Constitution in order to make democracy safe for capitalism and plutocracy. Most reporting of the rise of the extreme right focuses on the Koch brothers and their money – but who created the blue print for their decades long, stealth campaign that has been all too successful – at least so far? Our guest, Nancy MacLean, has spent a decade investigating the origins, tactics, strategies and goals, of that campaign, that have brought us to this crisis point in our history.
Nancy MacLean is the William Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University. She is the award winning author of BEHIND THE MASK OF CHIVALRY: THE MAKING OF THE SECOND KU KLUX KLAN and FREEDOM IS NOT ENOUGH: THE OPENING OF THE AMERICAN WORKPLACE. Professor MacLean’s scholarship has received more than a dozen prizes and awards. In 2010, she was elected a fellow of the Society of American Historians.
White supremacists clash with counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12, 2017. (Sipa via AP Images)
With us for the hour is Mark Bray, whose book, ANITFA: THE ANTI-FASCIST HANDBOOK, published by Melville House Publishing, came out on August 22, 2017 – one week after the incidents in Charlottesville, VA, in which Neo-Nazis, KKK, and other white supremacists, wreaked havoc, including the death of Heather Heyer and the injury of 19 others, when one of them drove his car into a crowd of counter demonstrators at high speed. White nationalist demonstrators use shields as they guard the entrance to Lee Park in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photograph: Steve Helber/AP
As has been happening since the inauguration of Donald Trump in January, 2017, media attention has been focusing on a formerly obscure network, Anti-fa, or Anti-fascist Action, and in particular their tactics of property damage, physical violence and what some consider un-American interference with free speech on college campuses. But beyond the sound bites, disturbing photos and videos taken out of any meaningful historical context, just what IS Anti-fa?
Neo-Nazis and white supremacists march in Charlottesville on 11 August. The rally and subsequent death of a counter-protester were decried as real-world consequences of far-right online movements. Photograph: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Mark Bray is an historian of human rights, terrorism, and political radicalism in Modern Europe. He completed his PhD in Modern European and Women’s and Gender History at Rutgers University in 2016, and is currently finishing his manuscript “The Anarchist Inquisition: Terrorism and the Ethics of Modernity in Spain, 1893-1909.” “The Anarchist Inquisition” explores the emergence of groundbreaking human rights campaigns across Europe and the Americas in response to the Spanish state’s brutal repression of dissent in the wake of anarchist bombings and assassinations. He teaches at Dartmouth College, where his recent statements about Anti-fa have generated a good deal of controversy, with Dartmouth’s president denouncing them and more than 100 professors denouncing the denouncing. Mark Bray is the author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook (Melville House, 2017) and Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street (Zero Books, 2013), as well as the co-editor of the forthcoming Francisco Ferrer and the Modern School (PM Press, 2018).
From left: Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, Lisa Sharon Harper, Rev. Carlton Smith, Cornel West, and others (including Seth Wispelwey wearing a white robe and red stole) protesting white supremacy in Charlottesville. CREDIT: Heather Wilson, @aNomadPhotog / Dust & Light Photo
BRYAN STEVENSON is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and a professor of law at New York University School of Law. He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the US Supreme Court , and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. He has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.
He will be delivering the Convocation Speech to the incoming Freshman Class at MSU Bozeman on August 24, 2017.
Great-grandson of slaves, he attended “colored” schools. As a young attorney, he created The Equal Justice Initiative to address the hierarchies of inequality in the criminal justice system. He says, “America is a post-genocide society.” “The great evil of American slavery was not the involuntary servitude and forced labor, the great evil was how we created this ideology of white supremacy.”
Professor MARC BEKOFF
Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He has published more than 1000 essays (popular, scientific, and book chapters), 30 books, and has edited three encyclopedias. His latest book is THE ANIMALS’ AGENDA: FREEDOM, COMPASSION AND COEXISTENCE IN THE HUMAN AGE, co-written with Jessica Pierce, and published by Beacon Press (2017). http://www.beacon.org/The-Animals-Agenda-P1250.aspx
This interview was prompted by his recent interview with Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense (predatordefense.org), whose investigative work exposes shocking activity at the US Dept of Agriculture, as well as the complicity of wildlife organizations, such as Defenders of Wildlife and The Humane Society of the US, in the “Administrative Removal”, i.e. killing, of wolves in national forests.
There is a separate posting for our full interview with only Professor Bekoff and more specific citations referenced here:
Jay Riestenberg is Campaigns & States Media Strategist for Common Cause, a nonpartisan grassroots organization founded in 1970 dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. They are opposed to an Article V Constitutional Convention of the States, which has never been convened since 1787. Organizations, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) & the Tea Party, along with billionaires such as the Koch brothers & The Mercer family have already garnered 27 of the 34 state legislatures required for such a convention to be called.
The late Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, had this to say: ” I certainly would not want a constitutional convention. Whoa! Who knows what would come out of it?” …. (it is) “a horrible idea. This is not a good century to write a Constitution.”
Article V of the United States Constitution:
“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”
William Hogeland has written about the American Revolution era in three previous books, THE WHISKEY REBELLION, DECLARATION, AND FOUNDING FINANCE. His latest book, THE AUTUMN OF THE BLACK SNAKE: THE CREATION OF THE U.S. ARMY AND THE INVASION THAT OPENED THE WEST, published by Farrar, Strouse, Giroux in 2017, goes in depth into the history surrounding the American Revolution, and particularly a major defeat of the new United States, in fact the greatest defeat effected by North American indigenous peoples in the history of this continent. But few have heard about it, much less the individuals who made it happen. William Hogeland, is determined to remedy this.
First a bit of history: On this date, July 19th, in 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention was convened. It was the first women’s rights convention, eventually leading after more than 7 decades to, among other things, the 19th Amendment granting women’s right to vote in the U.S.
And on July 19th 1692, 8 people were found guilty of witchcraft and hanged in Salem, Mass., including Rev. George Burroughs, the only minister to be executed.
But now, we’ll fast forward a hundred years to “more enlightened times,” when the American Revolution had been won, and the power elites of that era were looking West across the Appalachian Mountains to so-called “vacant lands” for speculation and expansion. With only one problem, that being the people who had been living there for millennia didn’t agree that it was vacant.
A young George Washington explored, surveyed and speculated in lands west of the Appalachians, in the process becoming one of the causes of the Seven Years War – the first global war, causing over a million casualties – and also enhancing his own career and making his fortune.
The tobacco export business required ever more new lands for planting, due to severe, rapid depletion of the soil, hence the lust for more and more new land to plant.
Thomas Jefferson provided an evolving legal theory of Free Holding, dating back to the Anglo Saxon invasion of England, and disavowing the right of kings to grant tenure of lands, which had begun with the Norman Invasion. He believed anyone could take and hold any land without the permission of a sovereign, i.e Direct Ownership, as long as it was “vacant” .
His advice to farmers concerning tobacco’s soil depletion: “Better to move than manure.”
Blue Jacket, a Shawnee leader, rallied his people to resist American Westward expansion.
Unlike Blue Jacket, Little Turtle believed that without British armaments, the Americans could not be decisively defeated. His efforts to procure them were unsuccessful.
Joseph Brant, a member of the Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy tried to be a diplomat and go-between among the warring factions – American, Indian and British. His efforts only resulted in ever diminishing trust and respect on all sides.
One treaty after another was made and broken by the Americans, although for the most part honored by the Indians. As westward encroachment increased – 10,000 immigrants coming down the Ohio River per month – war was inevitable.
General Arthur St. Clair, who suffered the greatest defeat by Indians in U.S. history, when as many as 1,200 men, women and children – out of 1,500 – were killed, including most of the officers of the U.S. military.
St. Clair’s defeat by the Miami Indians at the Battle of the Wabash River Nov. 4, 1791.
Exact numbers are impossible to determine, but according to David Johnson in Fort Amanda – A Historical Redress (1790-1815):
In a 3 hour battle, of 982 soldiers and 250 civilians, 757 were killed, 413 wounded, 34 unwounded, a Total Casualty Rate of 95%. Placed head to toe, the bodies of those killed at St Clair’s Defeat would measure approximately 4,400 feet.
On July 18, 2017, award winning mystery and Field & Stream writer, Keith McCafferty, gave a lengthy interview, which is divided into two parts here, exploring the often lonely life of a writer – writing novels vs. magazine articles – as well as the ideas for his popular Sean Stranahan mystery series, the latest of which is COLD HEARTED RIVER.
Once again, Madison County, Montana Sheriff, Martha Ettinger, has a string of perplexing deaths – likely homicides – requiring her to pressure artist, and sometime investigator, Sean Stranahan to reluctantly get involved. This time with the added mystery of a trunk once lost or stolen from Ernest Hemingway seeming to be at the center of the deaths.
We began the interview with the psychological impacts of writing novels vs. Field & Stream articles, and his early years in Appalachian Ohio.