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FlashpointsLOGO19-300x225LUMPENPROLETARIAT—One of the most important daily investigative news magazines on free speech radio in the USA is Flashpoints (KPFA, Pacifica Radio).  Flashpoints is currently presenting an excellent series on one of the most pressing contemporary sociopolitical struggles—the capitalist/neoliberal war against public education.  This is a 15-part series, with a new part being broadcast every Wednesday.  One may listen to Flashpoints archives here or here. [1]  Here’s how Flashpoints’ founder and executive producer has described the series during one radio ad [2]:

Dennis Bernstein:  “This is Dennis Bernstein, executive producer of Flashpoints, heard every weekday at five [PM, PDT] on KPFA.  I’m inviting you to tune in to an exciting new series:  The Battle for Public Education in the 21st Century.  We’ll examine the past, present, and future of public education through a social justice lens.  In this in-depth 15-part series, we’ll explore public education and expose the current corporate-driven education agenda and its negative impact on students and schools and, especially, in the most oppressed communities.  We’ll also explore the most promising movements in education.  So, join us for The Battle for Public Education in the 21st Century on Flashpoints, every Wednesday through June at five pm.  Don’t miss it.”



FLASHPOINTS—Flashpoints examines the past, present & future of public education through a social justice lens.  Broadcasts every Wednesday for 15 weeks, which began March 18, 2015.

This series is produced and hosted by Ken Yale.

Episode 12 (Aired June 3rd 2015)

Another Education Is Possible

We continue to explore alternative educational approaches, focusing on models outside the U.S. public education system.  Featured are the public education system in Finland, internationally recognized as one of the highest achieving and most equitable in the world, and contemporary indigenous learning lodges, which are being developed across North America by the Native American Academy.


Pasi Sahlberg: Visiting professor at Harvard ‘s Graduate School of Education and former Director General in Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture

Rose Von Thater-Braan: Co-founder & Director, Native American Academy.  Former Director of Education at U.C. Berkeley’s Center for Particle Astrophysics

Listen here: Series Part 12

Learn more at FLASHPOINTS.NET.



FLASHPOINTS—(3 JUN 2015) Today, on Flashpoints, hunger, food and politics in America.  We’ll feature an extended conversation with Keith McHenry, co-founder of Food Not Bombs, which just celebrated its 35th Anniversary.  And we feature the next installment of our in-depth, multipart series: The Battle for Education in the 21st Century. with host and producer Ken Yale.  All this straight ahead on Flashpoints.  Stay tuned.”

DENNIS BERNSTEIN:  “In Berkeley [CA], I’m Dennis Bernstein.  You’re listening to Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio.  We turn our attention back to food and hunger in America.  And we’re always delighted to be joined by Keith McHenry.  He’s the co-founder of Food Not Bombs, the organisation, just celebrated its 35th anniversary, giving out free food to some of the hungriest people in the country.  Keith McHenry joins us from Santa Cruz, California.  Keith, welcome back to Flashpoints.”

KEITH McHENRY:  “Thanks for having us.  It’s great.”


[This is an excerpt. Read full transcription of McHenry interview here.]


McHENRY:  [SNIP] (c. 21:24)  “So, [SNIP] we thought, at the very beginning of Food Not Bombs, we would have a literature table at our meals, that would combine issues like the exploitation of animals, but also of racism, sexismhomophobia, all of these issues about the arms race, about the wars, at that time, in El Salvador and Central America, the invasion of Poland by the Soviet Union.

“These issues were all things we were trying to show are, basically, in the same—are all connected.  There’s no, really—what you’re eating as a—in your diet and global politics.  They’re all connected.  And the environment.  These things, you can’t separate these things, we feel, at Food Not Bombs.  And we try to show that.”  (c. 22:15)  [SNIP]


[This is an excerpt. Read full transcription of McHenry interview here.]


McHENRY:  (c. 27:58) “It is heartbreaking.  And, the first times when we saw that, I was shocked.  So, we had to, actually—because we felt responsible, even though it’s—really, the authorities should not come in, of course, and steal people’s food from them.  And we’ve seen real cruelty by the authorities, at times, where they’ll actually throw the food into the gutter in front of hungry people.  You could see them crying and everything.  It’s terrible.

“So, what we did was we created a policy, we actually have in my book, Hungry for Peace.  I have a whole section on how to do this because it was so upsetting.  We decided that we would bring small amounts of food out, at first, knowing that the authorities would arrest us.  So, there would be a little bit of food.  A couple of people would be arrested.  That food would be thrown away.  And then, in a little bit, more food would be brought out.  Those people would be arrested.  And that food would be arrested and confiscated and seized.  And, then, for whatever reason, the police tend not to come back on the third or fourth time.  And, so, we would bring out enough food for every single person to eat because it was just so heartbreaking to see people, like, you know, wait, all day.

“I have to say, in America, the number of times people have come up to me in recent months and said they had not eaten in days.  And this is something, that’s really shocking.  In the wealthiest country, in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, people can go three days, four days, sometimes seven days before finding a meal.  And, sometimes, that’s because they’re new to a town or, in the case of when I was in Orlando and being arrested there, people commonly say they haven’t eaten in days.  And that was because you, frequently, need a Florida, a valid Florida ID to eat at the soup kitchen.  In fact, there’s a whole programme called I Dignity to get people Florida ID’s, so they can eat at Florida’s soup kitchens.  I mean it’s really a crazy policy.

“But in Santa Cruz, California, now, they have said there was a $300,000 cut in funding from HUD for the local shelter.  Over a thousand meals a day will be eliminated, starting July 1st.  They’re also eliminating the showers.  Some of the only showers in the town.  A lot of other services—48 beds are being closed.  The emergency shelter is being shut down.  This is in a very wealthy community of Santa Cruz, California.  And, apparently, similar things are happening in Monterey and in Santa Clara and in San Jose.”

BERNSTEIN:  “Well, I mean isn’t that why it’s happening?  Because it’s, for instance, Santa Cruz, California—for people listening somewhere else—I mean there’s a boardwalk there.  You know?  There is a traditional sort of rides structure.  It’s a gold mine waiting, if you will—in some people’s minds—to really be developed.  Is this, sort of, the move in that direction, where the super rich take a place like Santa Cruz and really pump it up?”  (c. 31:11)

McHENRY: “Yeah, this is why we don’t have, like, you know, the smoking gun.  But it appears to be.  And it’s kinda crazy that they’re doing it right before the summer when so many people are gonna show up in Santa Cruz to enjoy the boardwalk on all the sights here.  You’re gonna see this visible increase in poverty at exactly the same time.  It seems kind of insane that even the rich would come up with such a plot.  Why don’t they, you know, do this in the winter when less people are coming here?  But that’s what they’re doing.

“And we expect that there’s, actually, going to be an increased number of suicides.  There’s actually been people at the shelter, that said they can’t go back out on the street again.  They’re just gonna take their own lives.  And we are very concerned about that.

“And we’ve had several really passionate letters from residents of the shelter, you know, saying that they’re very, very worried that people are just not going to be able to take it, out on the streets.  And we’re already seen a huge problem with the shelter already, as it is.  (c. 32:20)

“You know.  We had our anniversary celebration on Sunday, the 24th of May.  We provided showers.  We had six or eight people take showers in an outdoor, you know, solar shower arrangement, that we placed there.  We had over 20 people get haircuts at the celebration.  And we had hundreds of people that came, not just for the celebration, but, really, because they needed to eat because the 24th was getting close to the end of the month.  And people were getting desperate for food.  And we see that is increasing already, without a thousand more meals being cut.  Breakfast and dinner at the shelter is gonna be eliminated.  And it’s going to be—it’s already a crisis now—but this will be even more intense.

“And I’m sure that they’ve started making anti-Sit-Lie laws down in Monterey.  And they’re gonna be cutting homeless services there.  And I think you’re right.  The idea is to drive these people, the people that were in many cases born and raised in these communities out of the area.  But the reality is, you know, people will not move out of the area.  You know their social—their friends are here.  The things that they know are here.  And, besides, people don’t have the resources to go move to some other place and start over.  (c. 33:40)

“So, you know.  This is a very strange thing that it’s a very wealthy community and we got—the federal government cut $300,000 out of the homeless services, but provided roughly $300,000 for an armoured Bearcat vehicle for the local police department.  And, apparently, the police are getting even larger amounts of money, in some cases, grants of nearly a million dollars and so on for, you know, more policing of Santa Cruz, while they’re forcing all these people into even more dire needs.”  (c. 34:24)

BERNSTEIN:  “Alright.  Well, that’s not a good sign.  But we just have a minute left.  And, in that regard, why don’t you talk just very briefly?  Again, part of your struggle now is the fact that there is intensified police power.  We’ve seen all kinds of brutality across the country


[This is an excerpt. Read full transcription of McHenry interview here.]


[Transcript by Messina]


[1]  Included in this article is a rush transcript of Part 12 of the 15-part series.  We will try to cross-post and archive here the entire series.

  • Flashpoints Presents: The Battle for Education in the 21st Century
    • Part One, broadast on March 18, 2015  [cf. Flashpoints.net]
    • Part Two, broadcast on March 25, 2015  [KPFA.org lists “Flashpoints  – June 17, 2004” under broadcast date March 25, 2015]
    • Part Three, broadcast on April 1, 2015
    • Part Four, broadcast April 8, 2015
    • Part Five, broadcast April 15, 2015 [cf. Flashpoints.net]
      • Criminalizing Our Children“:  Explores the impact of the corporate education agenda on students.  Focuses on how the corporate education agenda incentivizes harsh student discipline policies, pushing students out of school and fueling school-to-confinement pipelines.  Highlights the disproportionately negative impact on low income students of color.  GuestsDavid Muhammad (Director, National Justice Programs, National Council on Crime and Delinquency); Monique Morris (Social justice scholar, college professor, author, and the co-founder of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute); George Galvis (Executive Director & Co-Founder, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice); Donte Clark and Molly Raynor (Co-Founders of RAW Talent, a spoken word and performing arts group from the RYSE Center in Richmond, California)
    • Part Six, broadcast on April 22, 2015
    • Part Seven, broadcast on April 29, 2015
    • Part Eight, broadcast on May 6, 2015
    • Part Nine, broadcast on May 13, 2015
    • Part Ten, broadcast on May 20, 2015  (cf. Flashpoints.net)
    • Part Eleven, broadcast on May 27, 2015
    • Part Twelve, broadcast June 3, 2015 [cf. Flashpoints.net]

It seems, in past years, Flashpoints’ radio broadcast archives could be found reliably at KFPA.org:  https://kpfa.org/program/flashpoints/  Now, as noted at the official Flashpoints website, Flashpoints.net, some or all audio archives are deleted by free speech radio KPFA:  http://www.flashpoints.net/  Much important radical analysis is lost to the people.  Yet, we affirm:  All power to the people.  (Thus, Lumpenproletariat.org will work to archive as much news, knowledge, and information from radical, critical perpsectives as possible, given time and resource constraints.  Contact us here to find out how you can help contribute to the people’s free flow of information and common stock of knowledge at Lumpenproletariat.org.)

With important radical radio archives being deleted, the people’s grassroots historical memory is seriously impaired.  So much for the free flow of information, which used to be one of KPFA’s primary objectives.  However, an ongoing internal conflict between pro-Democrat liberals and the rest of KPFA, mostly radical grassroots activists, has led the moneyed pro-Democrats to pursue an agenda of slowly NPR-ising KPFA (and the entire national Pacifica Radio network and its democratic governance structure.)  For example, KPFA’s official nickname used to be “Free Speech Radio KPFA”.  Today, it’s been watered down to “Community Powered Radio.”  This is a very subtle, but insidious, move to de-emphasise free speech and dissent.

[2]  Ad was aired at the end of KPFA’s Letters and Politics broadcast for Wednesday, June 3, 2015.  The ad, or cart, may be heard at the end of the Letters and Politics archive.


[Last modified 22:27 PDT 6 JUN 2015]