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Zimmerman verdict sends harsh message to youth, Harvard sends harsh message to its workers

22 Jul

 

Rebecca Jackson  of Trinity Boston Foundation

Rebecca Jackson of Trinity Boston Foundation

On “Banned in Boston” last week we welcomed Rebecca Jackson to talk about the Zimmerman verdict’s frightening implications for young men of color. In the second half of the program, Geoff Carens and Le Le Lechat joined us to discuss the ongoing struggle against shady labor practices at Harvard University.

Rebecca Jackson on the Zimmerman verdict

Rebecca Jackson is a social worker with Trinity Boston Foundation  and is involved with B-SAFE, a program in Boston designed to keep young people learning, growing, and out of harm’s way during the summer months. The program helps kids of different ages, but Rebecca’s role within it brings her in particular contact with young men of color who have been trouble with the law and, because of that, might be regarded with less sympathy from the general public than Travyon Martin has received. Speaking on this point, she said:

I felt like how can I go to work on Monday…and try to work with these young men, and tell them that their lives are valuable, and that they have meaning, and that they mean something not just to me but, sort of, to the greater society when a man has been let free for killing one of them? And my boys are in some ways much more actually threatening than Trayvon Martin was…He did not have any of those risk factors. So how much more painful is it? How much more of a clear message is it, that’s being sent, that they really don’t matter?

Geoff Carens and Le Le Lechat on unfair labor practices at Harvard

In the second half of the show, we talked to union organizers Geoff Carens and Genevieve alias Le Le Lechat as they described unfair firing and other shady labor practices taking place at Harvard University. There’s a shocking contrast between Harvard’s altruistic facade and the grim reality of how workers there are sometimes treated. The day after the interview, Geoff and Genevieve braved a heatwave to protest on behalf of mailroom coordinator Nassim Kerkache and other Harvard employees. For more details, see the articles posted by “The Harvard Crimson” and the Boston IWW.

Rebecca, Geoff and Genevieve were great guests with important things to say. The entire July 18, 2013 episode is available for streaming or downloading. Click here.

“Banned in Boston,” a weekly radio show that delivers radicalism with a local accent, is broadcast live every Thursday night, 8 pm on UNregular Radio and as repeats on Metacomet Radio. John Stephen Dwyer, author of this blog, is one of the hosts.

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Can a card-carrying socialist get elected to Boston City Council?

18 Jul
Terra Friedrichs and Seamus Whelan in the studio on July 11, 2013.

Terra Friedrichs and Seamus Whelan in the studio on July 11, 2013.

Seamus Whelan, our first guest on “Banned in Boston” last week, is running for a seat on Boston City Council.  He’s also a member of Socialist Alternative who often mentions the Occupy movement and its ideals.  Seamus, a native of Ireland, had some good things to say and his accent was a nice change from what we usually hear in the studio.

Terra Friedrichs, our second guest, was every bit as interesting.  She wants to amend the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts so that it clearly states corporations are not people and money should not equal political power.  What’s better, she’s identified a specific process that can force such a proposal to come before legislature.  It’s an exciting idea.

To listen, click here.

“Banned in Boston,” a weekly radio show that delivers radicalism with a local accent, is broadcast live every Thursday night, 8 pm on UNregular Radio and as repeats on Metacomet Radio.  John Stephen Dwyer, author of this blog, is one of the hosts.

Jill Stein on running to lose, being too political, and whether justice is possible under capitalism

14 Jun

Marisa Egerstrom, Jill Stein and Rene Perez in the space shared by UNregular Radio and DigBoston

Our guest on “Banned in Boston” last night was Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate in 2012. We discussed the protests in Turkey this month centered in Gezi Park and what Stein calls “a general outbreak of justice and democracy.” Then, addressing the question “how do we turn public will into political will?” Stein described being excluded from a recent rally against tar sands in which she was deemed “too political” too speak. After that, we turned to a statement by Slavoj Žižek, perhaps the most high-profile philosopher of our time, in which he alleges far-left candidates run to lose. Before wrapping up, we wrestled out an answer for the big question, “are peace and justice are possible under a capitalist system?”

Along the way we touched upon austerity, the Black Agenda Report, breaking up the banks, eviction blockades, the Economic Bill of Rights, fair trade, the Forward on Climate rally, Greece and Latin America, fracking, the Green Shadow Cabinet, the Green New Deal, Left Forum, lesser evils, Noam Chomsky, Occupy Wall Street, parliamentarianism, police brutality and intimidation, predator politics, presidential elections, suppression of free speech, tar sands blockades against TransCanada, tree hugging, wars for oil, unions and the labor movement, Barack Obama, local Socialist candidate Seamus Whelan (misidentified as “Sean Whelan”), Chuck Turner of the Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts, Elizabeth May of the Green Party of Canada, the perceived lack of ethnic diversity in the Green Party, and even FDR’s New Deal.

This episode was co-hosted by Marisa Egerstrom of the Protest Chaplains, Rene Perez who is known to some as the “man in the Yellow Hat,” and me, John Stephen Dwyer. Thanks to Noah Evans, Chris Faraone, Liam Leahey, and Jeff Nunes for submitting questions , Evan Greer (our guest on next week’s show) for the music, and to Occupy Boston for their support . To stream or download the mp3 file for this episode click here.

“Banned in Boston,” a weekly radio show that delivers radicalism with a local accent, is broadcast live every Thursday night, 8 pm on UNregular Radio and as repeats on Metacomet Radio. John Stephen Dwyer, author of this blog, is one of the hosts.

“Tonight the President said he would end the drone wars”

13 Feb
2010 photo by John Stephen Dwyer

2010 photo by John Stephen Dwyer

Last night, Barack Obama gave a State of the Union address that began with a quote from John F. Kennedy telling us that his task as president was “to report the State of the Union.  To improve it is the task of us all.”

What came next might surprise some people.  Keegan O’Brien, a student and activist in Boston, encapsulated it as follows:

Tonight the President said he would end the drone wars, repeal any law that indefinitely detains Americans, repeal any law that gives our government the right to kill someone on suspicion on anything, tax the rich their fair share, propose a single payer health care plan, decriminalize drugs and fund rehabilitation centers, enact a plan to phase out all oil and gas drilling, reunite families torn apart by immigration raids, dramatically reduce the military budget, guarantee housing as a human right, and work hard to pass inclusive non-discrimination policies across the board. #NOT

Obama did actually say some good things he plans to do, like improve education and fight to raise minimum wage to $9 per hour.  Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure he was lying.  A transcript of Obama’s speech is posted at the Washington Post.