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LUMPENPROLETARIAT—At a recent presentation in support of Dr. Bill Ayers‘ new book, Demand the Impossible, Dr. Bernardine Dohrn encouraged everyone to attend an upcoming SF Bay Area presentation by radical scholar Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an associate professor at Princeton University and the author of a new book entitled From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (2016), “an examination of the history and politics of Black America and the development of the social movement Black Lives Matter in response to police violence in the United States.  [Dr.] Taylor has received the Lannan Foundation’s Cultural Freedom Award for an Especially Notable Book.”  Dr. Cornel West has described her as “the most sophisticated and courageous radical intellectual of her generation.”

For those, who were unable to attend, free speech radio’s Women’s Magazine as well as Davey D, co-host of Hard Knock Radio, broadcast excerpts of the presentation, which was delivered before at Impact Hub in Oakland, California on December 5, 2016 by Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.  This KPFA benefit was hosted by Hard Knock Radio co-host Anita Johnson. [1]  (Working draft transcripts below.)  Listen (and/or download) here [2]; and here [3]; and here [4].

Messina

***

KPFA BENEFIT—[5 DEC 2016]

Monday, December 5, 2016 – 7:30 pm
Impact Hub Oakland, 2323 Broadway (near Grand), Oakland
Advance tickets: $12 : brownpapertickets.com :: T: 800-838- 3006
or Books Inc (Berkeley), Marcus Books, Pegasus (3 sites), Moe’s, Walden Pond Bookstore,Diesel a Bookstore, Mrs. Dalloway’s
$15 door

Winner of the 2016 Lannan Cultural Freedom Award for an Especially Notable Book

The eruption of mass protests in the wake of the police murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City have challenged the impunity with which officers of the law carry out violence against Black people and punctured the illusion of a postracial America. The Black Lives Matter movement has awakened a new generation of activists. In this stirring and insightful analysis, activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor surveys the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and persistence of structural inequality such as mass incarceration and Black unemployment. In this context, she argues that this new struggle against police violence holds the potential to reignite a broader push for Black liberation.

“Ultimately, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation is an essential read for anyone following the movement for Black Lives. The text chronicles a portion of history we rarely ever see, while also bringing together data and deep primary source research in a way that lucidly explains the origins of the current moment.”  —Los Angeles Review of Books

“This brilliant book is the best analysis we have of the #BlackLivesMatter moment of the long struggle for freedom in America. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor has emerged as the most sophisticated and courageous radical intellectual of her generation.”  Dr. Cornel West

“Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s searching examination of the social, political and economic dimensions of the prevailing racial order offers important context for understanding the necessity of the emerging movement for black liberation.”  Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s writings on Black politics, social movements, and racial inequality in the United States have been published in Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, Jacobin, New Politics, the Guardian, In These Times, Black Agenda Report, Ms., International Socialist Review, Al Jazeera America, and other publications.  She is assistant professor in the department of African American Studies at Princeton University.

Anita Johnson began her journalistic career at Youth Radio in 1994.  She was the senior producer for YR’s weekly talk show on WILD 94.9, and served as senior producer for 106.1 KMEL’s Street Knowledge, hosted by Davey D.  By 1997, she was submitting national segments to Marketplace and NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.  In 2000, Anita co-founded KPFA’s Hard Knock Radio, a public affairs program covering news, views and Hip-Hop.  In 2009, with the assistance of The Association of Independents in Radio, she founded Beyond The Odds, a multimedia arts project created to illuminate the impact of HIV and AIDS on low-income and minority young adults (under 25), through the use of the Web.  In 2010, she co-produced the documentary film CoInTelPro 101.  A well-respected Hip Hop artist as well, she has performed with singer/guitarist Carlos Santana.

KPFA benefit

Learn more at KPFA.

***

WOMEN’S MAGAZINE—[12 DEC 2016]  (synopsis)

““Deeply rooted in Black radical, feminist and socialist traditions, Taylor’s book is an outstanding example of the type of analysis that is needed to build movements for freedom and self-determination in a far more complicated terrain than that confronted by the activists of the 20th century.”  —Michael C. Dawson, author of Blacks In and Out of the Left

Keeanga-Yamahtta is assistant professor in the department of African American Studies at Princeton University.  Her book, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, won the 2016 Lannan Cultural Freedom Award for an Especially Notable Book.

Taylor spoke on Monday, December 5, at Impact Hub in Oakland. She addressed the current crisis as well as the historical entwining of race and class in American politics, and possible ways forward for a multiracial working class-oriented social justice movement.”

[Women’s Magazine intro audio collage]

KATE RAPHAEL:  “Good afternoon.  Welcome to Women’s Magazine.  I’m Kate Raphael.  Even before the catastrophe of the elections, I was feeling pretty demoralised about the state of politics on the left in this country.  And I felt like I needed to understand more about Black Lives Matter and the movement building around that, and how it relates to movements, that have been bubbling up, like the Fight for $15 and climate justice.

“And one of the books, I picked up to help me understand those movements and the context in which they’re operating, was called From Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation” by Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor.  I found it to be one of the most nuanced and thoughtful accounts and analyses of the moment we’re in, that I’ve read in a very long time.

“So, I was super excited when I saw that Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor was gonna be speaking in Oakland last week.  And I was even more excited to realise that this was a KPFA-sponsored event.  And, so, I would be able to bring you her talk as well as offer the chance to get her book or a copy of her talk as a thank-you gift for your pledge to KPFA this holiday season.

“Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is associate professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University.  She received the Lannan Foundation‘s Cultural Freedom Award for an Especially Notable Book for her book From Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation.

“Feminist historian Barbara Ransby calls the book “a must-read for everyone who’s serious about the ongoing praxis of freedom.

“We are going to listen to a good bit of Taylor’s talk on Monday night, which focuses a lot on the election and its aftermath, but also touches on the themes, she explores much more deeply in her book.  Before we get to that, I just want to let you know that you can get a copy of her complete talk on CD for a pledge of $75 dollars to KPFA.  You can get the book, itself, for $80 dollars.  Or you can get, both, the book and the CD for just $130 dollars, which is only about 35 cents a day.  And I really can’t recommend it highly enough.

“I know a lot of people are having potlucks and listening groups, meetings to talk about what’s going on.  This CD would make a great conversation-starter for one of those discussions.  Your book group would definitely love to read this book and discuss it.  You don’t need to wait until the end of the show to call and pledge your support for this radio station and this programme.  Help keep us on the air.  The numbers to call:  510.848-5372 or 1.800.439-5732, 1.800.HEY-KPFA.  Or you can pledge securely online at kpfa.org.  We deeply appreciate whatever support you could give us.

“Here is Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor speaking at Impact Hub in Oakland last Monday night [December 5th] at an event hosted by Hard Knock Radio‘s Anita Johnson.”  (c. 4:33)

DR. KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR:  “I’m gonna talk about some of the themes in my book.  But I’m gonna try to do so within the context, um, of the catastrophethe election of Donald Trump[snip (Women’s Magazine edited the following bit out of this broadcast.)  So, um, so, I’m gonna try to combine both of these things.  And we can talk more specifically about the book in the discussion.  But I feel like, you know, given the issues, that I’ve written about, that actually this—the whole Trump thing, really, is something, that we have to try to engage with and understand.  So, that’s some of the context behind the talk.  Uh, okay.  [Audience Member:  “Yes!”]  Okay. [chuckles] 

“Um,] it’s difficult to comprehend how eight years ago, after the election of Barack Obama, the national conversation was whether or not the U.S. was going to become a post-racial society.  Forbes magazine ran an editorial with the headline, Racism In America Is Over.  Eight years later, any fantasy about the United States being a post-racial society has gone up in flames with the ascendance of Donald Trump to the highest office in the country.

[snip: see Hard Knock Radio transcript below for the full text of this speech excerpt]

In other words, the lesser evil always cuts the path for the greater evil.  Where Obama used the machinery and logic of deportations to banish 2.5 million people from the United States, it has set the stage for Trump to do this in an even larger way.  Where the Obama administration embraced the values of so-called choice and privatisation and gutting public education, Trump will do it in an even more fantastical way, that finishes the job of attempting to kill public education in this country.  Obama’s failure to deliver any significant reforms for working class and poor people made a mockery of his attempts to tell people to vote for him in order to secure his legacy. (c. 16:40)

“And the insistence of liberals to defend this agenda, the thin gruel of the Obama agenda, with only the most scant whiff of criticism leads to their own paralysis when the right does the same thing, but just on a larger scale.”

KATE RAPHAEL:  “You’re listening to Women’s Magazine here on KPFA, 94.1 FM and online at kpfa.org.  I’m Kate Raphael.

“We’re listening to talk by Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor, that was at the Impact Hub in Oakland.  Taylor is the author of a wonderful book called From #Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation.  And we’re offering this book to you along with her talk as a thank-you gift for your pledge to KPFA of just $130 dollars, which is just about 35 cents a day. (c. 18:44)  [snip]  ”  (c. 23:34)

DR. KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR:  “But there are other ways to measure discontent beyond polls and election results.  We saw the first wave of discontent with Obama’s role with the emergence of Occupy Movement in 2011, and, then, the eruption of Black Lives Matter in the summer of 2014.  Both were products of the widening gap of inequality in the United States.  That inequality was at the heart of the Occupy Movement and its popularisation of class inequality in the U.S. though the slogan of the 99% versus the 1%.  (c. 22:54)

“But this inequality was also important in how we understand the emergence of Black Lives Matter.  Black Americans, of course, took the brunt of the economic crisis in 2008.  It was, in part, how we understand the deep wells of support, that existed for Obama and his campaign’s ability to tap into the anger with the federal government’s abject disregard for what was happening in black communities.

“We cannot understand, for example, the social catastrophe happening across black Chicago, where it was just announced last week that there will be 700 homicides in that city, the vast majority of which affect young black people.  You cannot understand that social catastrophe in Chicago without understanding the persisting effects of the economic crisis, that never really ended in many black communities.  (c. 23:53)

“Chicago has the third-highest black unemployment rate of any major city in this country.  It has the third-highest poverty rate of a large city in the United States.  Its black middle class is being gutted because of municipal, state, federal budget cuts, that have wiped out public sector jobs in postal work, teaching, and other positions, that have historically been the bedrock of black economic stability.  The breakdown of this civic infrastructure, in combination with the existing crisis of mass incarceration and what Michelle Alexander has called The New Jim Crow, the persistence of unemployment and underemployment and of under-resourced public services and institutions has created the pretext for deepening police presence in black communities and, as a result, is exacerbating all of the conditions, that justify the presence of the police in the first place.  (c. 24:53)

“As living conditions in black communities have become harder, the police have been given license to respond with arrests and brutality.  And, while the emergence of Black Lives Matter has exposed the extent to which violent policing is institutionalised in this country, it nevertheless continues.  The police are on pace to kill 1,200 people this year, more than last year, when newspapers first began to count, and, substantively more than the 928 a year, the FBI had been suggesting as an average two years earlier.

“If you want to understand why the black vote was depressed compared to 2008 and 2012, it can be found in the inability of the American government to aggressively intervene and prevent the murder of black citizens by the state, whether it’s with the policing of black communities or the water crisis in Flint, the expectation that black Americans would be a firewall for Clinton was as offensive, as it was reflective of a kind of liberal contempt for the daily struggles of working class and poor people. (c. 26:09)

“There is just the expectation that, no matter what is happening in your life and how terrible things might be, and no matter how unresponsive the Democratic Party may be, you still have to vote for them.

“And, then, the bitterness directed at people when they don’t respond in such a way is even more contemptuous.  This is true when liberals blame depressed black voter turnout for the election results.  But it is also the case when they blame working class whites for, quote, ‘voting against their interests’, as if, somehow, voting for the neoliberal, yet civil, politics of the Democratic Party are in the interest of the working class.  And, as an aside—[audience finally starts to respond with faint applause; it seems the audience consists of mostly nonplussed registered Democrats.] [5]

Working class interests are never on the ballot in bourgeois elections. [scant applause and at least one cheer; the biggest audience reaction thus far] 

“But, when it comes to the fate of ordinary white people, who, despite the media and academic fascination with it for the moment, these are people, who are also regularly ignored.  We have heard all sorts of dime-store psychology about the so-called white working class, most of it thinly-veiled elitism.  White workers feel entitledThey’re only interested in themselvesThey are privilegedThey are racist scumThey are just bad.  (c. 27:30)

“In total, it reflects the political establishment’s contempt for the struggles of regular people.  If you only read these reports or assessments, you would think there was no inequality experienced by white working class people, or that ordinary white people were just living the high life.

“But, when we consider the experiences of white working class people within the context of the attacks on working class standards, in general, we get a different picture.  And what would happen, if we told the story of black Chicago and other black communities across this country?  It’s part of the same story of what’s happening to ordinary white people.

“For example, there is the continuing crisis of opioid, or narcotic, addiction in this country.  While people are quick to point out how differently it is received compared to the War On Drugs directed at black communities in the 1980s and ’90s, which is undoubtedly true, what does this crisis at this particular moment tell us about the conditions of working class life and working class people?

“There are two million people, addicted to opioids in the U.S.  Half of those people are addicted to heroin.  From 2009 to 2014, almost half a million people have died from opioid overdoses, a fourfold increase from 1999.  Earlier this year, it was reported that their had been a decline in the life expectancy for white women and a plateauing of life expectancy for white men.  In fact, it is unprecedented for life expectancy to reverse in a so-called first world country. (c. 29:20)

“In the United States peer countries, life expectancy is growing.  Why is life expectancy for white women in decline in this country?  Drug overdose, suicide, and alcohol abuse.

On transcending race (phenotype), or identity politics, and confronting class struggle

“So, if we told the stories of the destruction of working class black life alongside the stories of the destruction of working class white life, it could allow us to see that the anxieties, stresses, confusions, and frustrations about life in the world today are not owned by one group, but are shared by many.  It would not tell us that everyone suffers the same oppression or exploitation.  But it would allow us to see that, even if we don’t experience a particular kind of oppression, every working person in this country is going through something.  Everyone is trying to figure out how to survive.  And many are failing.  (c. 30:23)

“If we put these stories together, we would gain more insight into how the white working class and poor have as much stake in the fight for a different kind of society as anyone else.  We wouldn’t so casually dismiss their suffering as privileged because they do not suffer as much as black and brown people in this country.

“The privileges of white skin run very thin in a country where 19 million white people languish in poverty.  Apparently, the wages of whiteness are not so great to stop millions of ordinary white people from, literally, drinking and drugging themselves to death to escape the despair of living in this so-called greatest country on Earth.

“If we put these separate stories together into a single story, we could make better sense of why socialism is rising in popularity.  White people have taken to the streets over the last five years to protest the growing racial and economic inequality in this country.  13 million people voted for an open socialist.  And many believe that if Sanders ran against Trump, he very well could have beaten him.  51% of 18- to 29-year olds say they are against capitalism.  Even if they are not fully convinced of what should replace it, 48% of millennials support health insurance as a, quote, ‘right for all people’.  And 47% agree that basic necessities, such as food and shelter are, quote, ‘a right, that the government should provide to those unable to afford them’. (c. 32:10)

“In the 1970s, 61% of Americans fell into that vague, but stable, category of the middle class.  Today, that number has fallen to 50%.  It is driven by the growing wealth inequality, that exists here.  In the last year alone, the 1% saw their income rise by 7%.  The 0.1% saw their income rise by 9%.  In general, the richest 20% of households in the U.S. owned 84% of the wealth in this country, while the bottom 40% owned less than 1%.  In other words, there are 400 billionaires in this country.  They are the reason why there are 47 million poor people in this country.  You cannot have untold obscene wealth, unless you have untold obscene poverty.  That is the law of the market. (c. 33:06)

“And how does such a tiny percent of the population unjustly hold on to their wealth, even when millions agree that it should be redistributed?  Racism, immigrant-bashing, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, nationalism.  They get us to fight each other, while they horde their wealth.

“Our stories are not all the same.  We do not have the same experiences.  But our hardships often emanate from the same source—a market-based economy, that privileges the wealthy over the welfare and lives of the people who create that wealth.  And they keep our stories separate from each other, so that we never understand the entire story, only our particular part of it.

“But, even with great effort to keep our side divided and confused, millions of people are coming to grips with the harsh reality of an economic system, that guarantees them nothing but a future of hardship and an inability to ever get ahead.  But the knowledge, alone, of the existence of racism, inequality, poverty, and injustice does not necessarily equip our side with the political tools needed to fight the battles of today or to fight for a socialist future. (c. 34:32)

“We need struggle.  We also need politics because we must contend with the political establishment, that wants to lower our expectations to believe that the existing society is the best that we can expect from humanity, that we dare not think beyond the existing parameters of electing a Democrat or Republican to change the world we live in.

“Clinton lost, in part, ‘cos she ran a campaign of low expectations, a campaign cynically pivoted around the notion that ordinary people shouldn’t ask for too much, and that we must be realistic about the possibilities.  Donald Trump promised to change the world.  And Hillary Clinton promised to make the trains run on time.  Bernie Sanders, for all of the excitement, that his campaign generated for rightly demanding more, his commitment to remaining in the Democratic Party has effectively neutered his political revolution.  Expecting the Democratic Party to fight for the democratic redistribution of wealth and resources in this country is like expecting to squeeze orange juice out of an apple.” (c. 35:50)

[host cuts into the playback of the audio recording to appeal for listener sponsorship of free speech radio KPFA]

KATE RAPHAEL:  ” [snip]”  (c. 41:31)

[host returns to the playback of the audio recording of the speech, but fast-forwarding to the Q&A portion of the presentation with Anita Johnson]

ANITA JOHNSON:  “My first question is this.  This past October marked the 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party.  And the former chairperson of the Black Panther Party, Elaine Brown had an interesting, interesting perspective about Black Lives Matter in contrast, or in comparison, to the Black Panther Party.  To quote her directly, it says:

I don’t know what Black Lives Matter does, so, I can’t tell you how it compares to what the Black Panther Party was.  I know that the Black Panther Party was.  I know that lives were lost, the struggle we put into place, the efforts we made, the assaults on us by the police and government.  I know all that.  I don’t know what Black Lives matter does.  So, if you can tell me, I can give you my thoughts. 

“End quote.  Um, how would you articulate what Black Lives Matter does and, then, how does it also fit into the history of Black Resistance?” (c. 42:25)

DR. KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR:  “Well, I mean [transcription pending]

[snip]

[PLEASE CHECK BACK LATER.  THIS TRANSCRIPT IS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION.]

[snip] (c. 59:59)

Learn more at WOMEN’S MAGAZINE.

[This transcript will be expanded as time constraints, and/or demand or resources, allow.  Email us, if you would like to volunteer any transcription labour to the common stock of knowledge for the betterment of society.]

***

[Working draft transcript of actual radio broadcast by Messina for Lumpenproletariat and Hard Knock Radio.]

HARD KNOCK RADIO—[12 DEC 2016]  (synopsis)  “Hard Knock Radio is a drive-time Hip-Hop talk show on KPFA (94.1 @ 4-5 pm Monday-Friday), a community radio station without corporate underwriting, hosted by Davey D and Anita Johnson.”

[Erica Bridgeman(sp?):  “—and 89.3 KPFB in Berkeley; 88.1 KFCF in Fresno; 97.5 K2ABR in Santa Cruz; and online at kpfa.org.  The time is 4pm.  Up next, Hard Knock Radio.”]

[Hard Knock Radio introduction audio collage]

DAVEY D:  “Wutup, everybody?  Welcome to another edition of Hard Knock Radio.  Davey D, hangin’ out with you this afternoon.  On today’s show, we’re gonna hear activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta talking about the police murders, the Donald Trump election, and the challenges, that wait before us.  All that and more, coming up after the afternoon [news] headlines.”

[KPFA News Headlines (read by Max Pringle) omitted by scribe]

DAVEY D:  “Wussup, everybody?  Davey D, hangin’ out wit’ you this afternoon.  You know?  Being in the [SF] Bay Area, we are very fortunate because we have—we’re, we’re a hub.  A lot of people from all walks of life, um, especially of the progressive persuasion, make it a point to roll through here and share their wisdom and insights, as to the happenings of the day.

“And, um, you know, a few days ago, we were blessed to have, um, activist, scholar, assistant professor of African American Studies over at Princeton University, Keeanga-Yamahtta.  (c. 7:39)

“She came through and talked about the new book, From #Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation—a political analysis of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the history of policing and race in the United States—and, during the conversation, got into Donald Trump and the collapse of the Democratic Party—that’s right, the collapse of the Democratic Party—and, even more insightful, the failings of the Obama administration.  A lot was covered in this incredible conversation, took place last week at the Impact Hub, here, in Oakland. (c. 8:21)

“I wanted to share that with you this afternoon, as we continue on in Week Two of our [free speech radio KPFA] Holiday Fund Drive.  I want you all to pull up a seat.  I want you all to open up your ears and your hearts and your minds and take in some of this information and, really, as you do that, appreciate the fact that in many places we don’t have the opportunity to accommodate the array of voices, that exist out in our community.  You know; if we were on one of the corporate entities, it would be, like: Well, I’ve never heard of this person. But, if it’s Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, then we can hear that.  And that can be good and bad, depending on where you sit.

“But there are so many young, brilliant, minds, that are out there, that are on the rise, that are making moves, um, and have shrewd political analyses of the situations at hand.  And we need to make space for them.  And these airwaves have been able to do just that.  (c. 9:23)

“And, so, without further ado, let’s check out Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta speaking about black liberation, Black Lives Matter, the rise of Donald Trump, the failings of Obama, and the collapse of the Democratic Party, right here, KPFA, Hard Knock Radio, KPFA.  Here we go.”  (c. 9:43)

[Broadcast cut to audio from presentation by Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor at a KPFA benefit at Impact Hub in Oakland, CA, on 5 DEC 2016.]

DR. KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR:  “I’m gonna talk about some of the themes in my book.  But I’m gonna try to do so within the context, um, of the catastrophethe election of Donald Trump.  So, um, so, I’m gonna try to combine both of these things.  And we can talk more specifically about the book in the discussion.  But I feel like, you know, given the issues, that I’ve written about, that actually this—the whole Trump thing, really, is something, that we have to try to engage with and understand.  So, that’s some of the context behind the talk.  Uh, okay.  [Audience Member:  “Yes!”]  Okay. [chuckles]  (c. 10:36)

“Um, it’s difficult to comprehend how eight years ago, after the election of Barack Obama, the national conversation was whether or not the U.S. was going to become a post-racial society.  Forbes magazine ran an editorial with the headline, ‘Racism In America Is Over’.  Eight years later, any fantasy about the United States being a post-racial society has gone up in flames with the ascendance of Donald Trump to the highest office in the country.  (c. 11:09)

“Trump ran his campaign on a vile mix of fake economic populism with the worst and most naked race-baiting and demonisation of oppressed people seen in a presidential election, probably, since Goldwater—Barry Goldwater—in 1964.  He referred to Mexican immigrants as rapists, drug dealers, and criminals.  He seamlessly conflated Islam with terrorism, at one point, favourably retelling a false story about an American general dipping bullets in pig’s blood before murdering Muslim soldiers, as a worthy strategy in the ongoing and misnamed War On Terror.  He has defended the use of racial profiling and advocated it as a national policing strategy.

371px-steve_bannon_2010-wiki

Steve Bannon, alt-right (i.e., white supremacist) ideologue

“When you take these statements and include, at least some of the people he is nominating to be included in his cabinet, then what we are talking about is a dramatic shift from the optics of the nation’s first black president and a black family living in the White House to an administration, that will be openly hostile to the most basic aspirations of black people.  Trump’s first act, as president-elect, for example, was to hire Steve Bannon, who has bragged about his associations with the so-called alt-right, or as we used to say, white supremacists, as his chief strategist.

“So, we are about as far from post-racial, as you can possibly be in this country.  And it is reasonable to expect that, if, and when, Trump cannot deliver on his promises to bring jobs back to the United States, or when massive tax breaks to the rich don’t equate into a higher standard of living for ordinary people, that he and his cabal of racist rogues and reactionaries will double down on racism as an explanation. (c. 13:07)

It’s not only the alt-right, or white supremacists, but liberals, too

vanjonesberkeley050312-kpfa“And, so, how did this happen, that we have gone from the nation’s first black president to an openly racist billionaire, who is surrounded by bigots?  Many people have described it in a way, that I would describe as simplistic.  The best example of this, I think, is Van Jones, who has described Trump’s victory as a, quote, ‘whitelash against black voters’, almost characterising Trump’s victory as revenge for the election of Obama in 2008. (c. 13:38)

“A related version of this assessment is expressed when people, as an article in Huffington Post did last week, compare the rise of Trump to the end of Reconstruction, the reemergence of Republicans, as a period of redemption, when white supremacy became the actual law of the land and Jim Crow was imposed.  There is a lot of history to unpack there.  But it really is a simple rendering of a more recent history, that conveniently leaves the Democratic Party unscathed, while dramatically overstating the depths of conservatism, racism, and reaction in the country.

“The first problem with this narrative is that it promotes a mistaken story that African-Americans, somehow, have benefited from the presence of Barack Obama in the White House and those benefits have come at the expense of ordinary white people.  (c. 14:34)

“This is a story, that has no basis in reality.  African-Americans continue to experience unemployment at twice the rate of whites.  38% of black children continue to live in poverty.  And a shocking 55% of black workers, mostly black women, make under $15 dollars an hour.

“It was precisely the inability of the Obama administration to improve the conditions of ordinary black people, that gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.  This is the thin gruel, working class and poor black Americans have received from two terms of Obama. (c. 15:18)

“The second problem with the whitelash story is that it overstates the depths of white racism and conservatism, while simultaneously underestimating the white opposition to the Trump agenda.  We certainly don’t want to downplay the extent to which racism played a critical role in Trump’s success.  We have seen how Trump’s rise has unleashed violent white supremacists and given them the confidence to organise out in the open.  There have been well over a thousand cases of hate crimes reported since the election, a number higher than even in the aftermath of 9/11.  So, it cannot be underestimated.  But it should not also be overstated.  (c. 16:01)

“For example, there are numbers, that disrupt the narrative of a generalised right-wing sweep across the United States with white people universally lining up behind Trump waiting to receive their marching orders. [audience silence]

“58% of Americans, all Americans, think Obamacare should be replaced with federally-funded health care for all.  Most Americans support raising the minimum wage.  61% support, at least, a $10 dollar minimum wage.  59% support a $12 dollar minimum wage.  And 48% support a $15 dollar minimum wage, which has been demonised by Democrats and Republicans, alike. [audience silence]

“61% of Americans say the rich pay too little in taxes.  This is an increase from 52%, who said that a year ago.  69% of Americans believe that providing affordable housing is important.  63% of Americans say money and wealth distribution is unfair.  53% of white people think the country still has work to do for, quote, ‘blacks to achieve equal rights with whites.’  50% of whites say, quote, ‘blacks are treated less fairly by the police than whites’.  64% of white Democrats support Black Lives Matter; and 29% of them, say they, quote, ‘strongly support the Black Lives Matter movement’.

“Even 20% of Republicans think that the movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, will help achieve racial equality in the United States.  So, how do we square this with the election, itself?

“We must begin with the fact that tens of millions of Americans didn’t vote at all.  There are 238 million eligible voters in the United States.  And, of that number, only 60 million voted for Trump.  Now, on its own, yes, that is 60 million people, who voted for a vile, racist, and sexual predator.  And, even within that number, five percent of people, who voted for Trump—something like 12 million people—said he was unfit to be president[faint audience reaction]

“But, in the larger scope of things, it means that only one in four eligible voters chose Trump.  This is hardly representative of what, quote, white people think.  And it’s hardly representative of a right-wing sweep across the country.

On the two-party dictatorship of Democrats and Republicans

But when your political choices are constrained within the parameters of the existing two-party system, voter discontent can go in one of three places:  your party, the other party, or no party.  American politics is always a dance between the three.

“In this case, the line of reasoning, that blames the loss of the Democratic Party solely on Fox News, FBI letters, race-baiting, bad messaging, um, or the, the evil Russians, means that there is no accounting or reckoning with the political shortcomings of the party.  None of those explanations actually address how the party failed to connect with the basic ideas of fairness and justice, that are at the core of those statistics, that I read off.

“Instead, the Democrats ran on the idea that Trump was just too negativehe wouldn’t be a good role model, when in fact, according to Hillary Clinton, America is already great.  It was a message, that was, and remains, completely out of touch with the reality experienced by millions of Americans. (c. 19:50)

“But when it’s the Democrats, who have been in power for eight years, overseeing the numbing inequity and injustice of the status quo, it made it difficult for them to argue for a radically different political agenda.  Clinton promised to be the third term of Obama, failing to realise that, for millions of voters, two terms was enough.

“Eight years ago, Obama ran on the promise of hope and change.  But, from the beginning, he seemed to be more interested in cultivating an image of bipartisan agreement with, uh, the Republicans.  Instead of using his mandate to push an agenda based around the demands and needs of black and Latino working class voters, all who were responsible for putting him into office.

“For his first full year in office, Obama had a supermajority in Congress and squandered it.  That’s exactly the reason why Democrats lost control of Congress in the first place.  (c. 20:50)

“So, with big expectations and big hope come even bigger disappointment when you fail to deliver.  Embedded inside of every right-wing backlash is the failure of the liberal establishment to deliver an alternative or a better way.  You cannot understand the emergence of Richard Nixon without understanding the failures of the Johnson administration.  From the incompleteness and inadequacy of the War On Poverty and the Great Society to the debacle of the Vietnam War, you cannot understand the rise of Ronald Reagan without understanding the failure of the Carter administration to address rising inflation, cripplingly high interest rates, and the erosion of working class living standards in general. (c. 21:40)

In other words, the lesser evil always cuts the path for the greater evil.  Where Obama used the machinery and logic of deportations to banish 2.5 million people from the United States, it has set the stage for Trump to do this in an even larger way.  Where the Obama administration embraced the values of so-called choice and privatisation and gutting public education, Trump will do it in an even more fantastical way, that finishes the job of attempting to kill public education in this country.  Obama’s failure to deliver any significant reforms for working class and poor people made a mockery of his attempts to tell people to vote for him in order to secure his legacy.  (c. 22:31)  [Note: The Women’s Magazine broadcast (see above) featured an edit, which cuts to a different part of the speech:  “And the insistence of liberals to defend this agenda, the thin gruel of the Obama agenda, with only the most scant whiff of criticism, leads to their own paralysis when the right does the same thing, just on a larger scale.”]

“But there are other ways to measure discontent beyond polls and election results.  We saw the first wave of discontent with Obama’s role with the emergence of Occupy Movement in 2011, and, then, the eruption of Black Lives Matter in the summer of 2014.  Both were products of the widening gap of inequality in the United States.  That inequality was at the heart of the Occupy Movement and its popularisation of class inequality in the U.S. through the slogan of the 99% versus the 1%.

“But this inequality was also important in how we understand the emergence of Black Lives Matter.  Black Americans, of course, took the brunt of the economic crisis in 2007 and 2008.  It was, in part, how we understand the deep wells of support, that existed for Obama and his campaign’s ability to tap into the anger with the federal government’s abject disregard for what was happening in black communities. [6]

“We cannot understand, for example, the social catastrophe happening across black Chicago, where it was just announced last week that there will be 700 homicides in that city, the vast majority of which affect young black people.  You cannot understand that social catastrophe in Chicago without understanding the persisting effects of the economic crisis, that never really ended in many black communities. (c. 24:03)

“Chicago has the third-highest black unemployment rate of any major city in this country.  It has the third-highest poverty rate of a large city in the United States.  Its black middle class is being gutted because of municipal, state, federal budget cuts, that have wiped out public sector jobs in postal work, teaching, and other positions, that have historically been the bedrock of black economic stability.  The breakdown of this civic infrastructure, in combination with the existing crisis of mass incarceration and what Michelle Alexander has called The New Jim Crow, the persistence of unemployment and underemployment and of under-resourced public services and institutions has created the pretext for deepening police presence in black communities and, as a result, is exacerbating all the conditions, that justify the presence of the police in the first place. (c. 25:02)

“As living conditions in black communities have become harder, the police have been given license to respond with arrests and brutality.  And, while the emergence of Black Lives Matter has exposed the extent to which violent policing is institutionalised in this country, it nevertheless continues.  The police are on pace to kill 1,200 people this year, more than last year, when newspapers first began to count, and, substantively more than the 928 a year, the FBI had been suggesting as an average two years earlier.

“If you want to understand why the black vote was depressed compared to 2008 and 2012, it can be found in the inability of the American government to aggressively intervene and prevent the murder of black citizens by the state, whether it’s with the policing of black communities or the water crisis in Flint, the expectation that black Americans would be a firewall for Clinton was as offensive, as it was reflective of a kind of liberal contempt for the daily struggles of working class and poor people. [Davey D cut into the speech to appeal for listener sponsorship of free speech radio; the Women’s Magazine broadcast an extended portion of this particular speech excerpt.  (See above.)]” (c. 26:15)

DAVEY D:  “Wow.  Wow!  And bravo!  Bravo!  Bravo!  Bravo!  That is the voice of Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta, assistant professor of African American Studies at Princeton Univeristy, speaking at the Impact Hub last week, talking about her new book, From Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation and addressing the election of Donald Trump and his rise, the collapse of the Democratic Party, and the failings of the Obama administration.

“I have said similar things over and over again.  It’s hard for people to wrap their heads around it.  But, so help me gawd, the folks from Ferguson were just in town last week.  They were in town last week.  And they had long said, they had long said, there was deep, deep dissatisfaction with what was going on in the White House.  And they were saying this back before Mike Brown.  And, when you went to those places, when you went to the Midwest and you went down south, you heard it over and over again.  But it was something, that many people said:  What choice do they have?  Who else they gonna go for?  It can’t be true.  It’s an exaggeration.  Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

“Now, the facts are comin’ out.  The numbers are being shown.  The analysis is being put forth.  And those voices, that have often been suppressed, usually, by corporate media, who had a punditry and consultant class, speaking on behalf of people, whose real thoughts and real sentiments were never being reflected.  How could it, when you’re making a hundred thousand dollars a year sitting on MSNBC speaking to folks?  You’re not really in the cuts with people day in and day out to really pick up where they’re comin’ from.  (c. 28:23)

“But anybody who’s listening right now, who’s livin’ paycheck to paycheck, anybody out here, who is living on the margins, understands pretty clearly that it wasn’t all joy in Mudville.  And I’m glad Dr. Yamahtta is really breaking this down. (c. 28:43)

[Davey D continues with his remarks, focusing on appeals for listener sponsorship of free speech radio KPFA, the world’s original listener-sponsored free speech radio station, which PBS and NPR later copied, but in a non-free speech manner with corporate underwriting.]  (c. 29:21)

“We also have Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s entire speech, included in a robust package, KPFA Prayer and Protest Pack, which includes Ralph Nader, Chris Hedges, Bill Ayers, Eve Ensler, Ayesha Curry—that’s right, the wife of, uh, Steph Curry—and the sister, who you’re hearin’ now, Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.  We’re asking for a $180 pledge for that.  All this you can break up into easy installment monthly payments.  Let me give out the phone number, folks.  1.800.439-5732.  1.800.439-5732.  1.800.HEY-KPFA.  Or donate online at kpfa.org.  Again, 1.800.439-5732.  1.800.HEY-KPFA.  Or donate online at kpfa.org. (c. 30:35)

“And, before we go right back into the, um, another excerpt from this incredible speech, I wanna give a shout out to William in Fresno, who put up $600 dollars and said if we can get people to pledge and it comes up to a total of $600 dollars, collectively speaking, we get to keep his money from Fresno.  And we wanna do that.  In other words, we can double our efforts.  1.800.439-5732.  1.800.HEY-KPFA.  Or pledge online at kpfa.org.  A $75 dollar pledge gets you the [complete] speech, that you are listening to [excerpts of] right now.  You can get this speech in a package, which includes Ralph Nader, Chris Hedges, Bill Ayers, Eve Ensler, Ayesha Curry, and many others for a $180 pledge.

[snip]  (c. 31:39)

“Let’s go back and listen to another excerpt from Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, speaking at the Impact Hub about Black Lives Matter, black liberation, the rise of Trump, the collapse of the Democratic Party and the failures of Barack Hussein Obama.  We’ll be right back.”  (c. 32:00)

DR. KEEANGA YAMAHTTA-TAYLOR:  “There is just the expectation that, no matter what is happening in your life and how terrible things might be, and no matter how unresponsive the Democratic Party may be, you still have to vote for them.

“And, then, the bitterness directed at people when they don’t respond in such a way is even more contemptuous.  This is true when liberals blame depressed black voter turnout for the election results.  But it is also the case when they blame working class whites for, quote, ‘voting against their interests’, as if, somehow, voting for the neoliberal, yet civil, politics of the Democratic Party are in the interest of the working class.  And, as an aside—[audience finally starts to respond with faint applause; it seems the audience is mostly nonplussed registered Democrats.] [4]

Working class interests are never on the ballot in bourgeois elections. [scant applause and at least one cheer; the biggest audience reaction thus far] 

“But, when it comes to the fate of ordinary white people, who, despite the media and academic fascination with them for the moment, these are people, who are also regularly ignored.  We have heard all sorts of dime-store psychology about the so-called white working class, most of it thinly-veiled elitism.  White workers feel entitledThey’re only interested in themselvesThey are privilegedThey are racist scumThey are just bad. (c. 33:26)

“In total, it reflects the political establishment’s contempt for the struggles of regular people.  If you only read these reports or assessments, you would think there was no inequality experienced by white working class people, or that ordinary white people were just living the high life.

“But, when we consider the experiences of white working class people within the context of the attacks on working class standards, in general, we get a different picture.  And what would happen, if we told the story of black Chicago and other black communities across this country?  It’s part of the same story of what is happening to ordinary white people.

“For example, there is the continuing crisis of opioid, or narcotic, addiction in this country.  While people are quick to point out how differently it is received compared to the War On Drugs directed at black communities in the 1980s and ’90s, which is undoubtedly true, what does this crisis at this particular moment tell us about the conditions of working class life and working class people? (c. 34:37)

“There are two million people, addicted to opioids in the U.S.  Half of those people are addicted to heroin.  From 2009 to 2014, almost half a million people have died from opioid overdoses, a fourfold increase since 1999.  Earlier this year, it was reported that their had been a decline in the life expectancy for white women and a plateauing of life expectancy for white men.  In fact, it is unprecedented for life expectancy to reverse in a so-called first world country.

“In the United States peer countries, life expectancy is growing.  Why is life expectancy for white women in decline in this country?  Drug overdose, suicide, and alcohol abuse.

On transcending race (phenotype), or identity politics, and confronting class struggle

“So, if we told the stories of the destruction of working class black life alongside the stories of the destruction of working class white life, it could allow us to see that the anxieties, stresses, confusions, and frustrations about life in the world today are not owned by one group, but are shared by many.  It would not tell us that everyone suffers the same oppression or exploitation.  But it would allow us to see that, even if we don’t experience a particular kind of oppression, every working person in this country is going through something.  Everyone is trying to figure out how to survive.  And many are failing. (c. 36:18)

“If we put these stories together, we would gain more insight into how the white working class and poor have as much stake in the fight for a different kind of society as anyone else.  We wouldn’t so casually dismiss their suffering as privileged because they do not suffer as much as black and brown people in this country.

“The privileges of white skin run very thin in a country where 19 million white people languish in poverty.  Apparently, the wages of whiteness are not so great to stop millions of ordinary white people from, literally, drinking and drugging themselves to death to escape the despair of living in this so-called greatest country on Earth.

“If we put these separate stories together into a single story, we could make better sense of why socialism is rising in popularity.  White people have taken to the streets over the last five years to protest the growing racial and economic inequality in this country.  13 million people voted for an open socialist.  And many believe that if Sanders ran against Trump, he very well could have beaten him.  51% of 18- to 29-year olds say they are against capitalism, even if they are not fully convinced of what should replace it, 48% of millennials support health insurance as a, quote, ‘right for all people’.  And 47% agree that basic necessities, such as food and shelter are, quote, ‘a right, that the government should provide to those unable to afford them’. (c. 38:03)

“In the 1970s, 61% of Americans fell into that vague, but stable, category of middle class.  Today, that number has fallen to 50%.  It is driven by the growing wealth inequality, that exists here.  In the last year alone, the 1% saw their income rise by 7%.  The 0.1% saw their income rise by 9%.  In general, the richest 20% of households in the U.S. own 84% of the wealth in this country, while the bottom 40% own less than 1%.  In other words, there are 400 billionaires in this country.  They are the reason why there are 47 million poor people.  You cannot have untold obscene wealth, unless you have untold obscene poverty.  That is the law of the market. (c. 39:01)

“And how does such a tiny percent of the population unjustly hold on to their wealth[, even when millions agree that it should be redistributed]?  Racism, immigrant-bashing, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, nationalism.  They get us to fight each other, while they horde their wealth.” (c. 39:21)

DAVEY D:  “Phew!  I just want those words to simmer with folks for a minute.  It’s 94.1 KPFA, Hard Knock Radio.  That’s some raw truth this afternoon.  Dr. Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor bringing heat, sobering heat, reflecting an anger, that so many people have right now, speaking and giving voice to folks, who have seen their voices, uh, ridiculed, marginalised, and not allowed to see the light of day because of a punditry class; there’s a consultancy class.  There are stormtroopers for a 1%, that have blocked any sort of dissent from seeing the light of day.

“And I’m glad that she was able to come to the City of Oakland, to speak at the Impact Hub to a packed house and speak this truth.  And we have these [free speech radio] airwaves to put it out there so folks can understand that they’re not alone in what they were feeling.  (c. 40:35)

“A lot of people were made to feel bad, as they said:  You know, I’m not really feelin’ what’s goin’ on with the choices.  And how many of you all were browbeaten to death?  Oh, what are you gon’ do?  You have no choice.  You’re an idiot.  How many people heard that?  Raise your hand, if people said that to you and looked down their nose and made you feel like was a piece of crap ‘cos you had a political analysis, that didn’t see the light of day, but, nevertheless, was something, that was true.  And it was true for millions of people out there.  The key to it: many people just stayed the hell on home.  (c. 41:13)

“And it’s important that we understand that truth.  It’s important that we start to listen to some of those voices and make the change, make the necessary adjustments.

“We’re just gettin’ started with the speech, folks.  You ain’t heard nothin’ yet.  It goes better.  It gets deeper.  It gets heated—it gets hotter.  We have it for you.  (c. 41:39)

[Davey D continued with his remarks, focusing on appeals for listener sponsorship of free speech radio KPFA, the world’s original listener-sponsored free speech radio station, which PBS and NPR later copied, but in a non-free speech manner with corporate underwriting.]  (c. 41:50)

“Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, assistant professor over at Princeton University, putting out a new book called Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation.  The key to her speech, here, this afternoon is talking about the rise of the Occupy Movement, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement were reflections of people not having their interests addressed and this widening gap of inequality.  (c. 42:20)

“No, it wasn’t just a bunch of hippies wanting to, uh, pitch tents in the middle of your city.  That wouldn’t have been allowed because in many of those places you had a homeless population and a marginalised population, that would have ran them out, if that was the case, if it wasn’t really resonating with the folks, that were in existence there.

“What you think Occupy Oakland was able to have a foothold in downtown Oakland, which is crime-ridden, had it not been for the population there?  That was:  Man, I feel what you sayin’.  But that was something that we were gonna ignore—that mass inequality.  (c. 43:03)

“And I’m glad this sister’s connecting the dots.  I saw this when I was in the midwest.  Folks are living in poverty. [7]  We saw that in the crack era.  People, that really studied the crack era, knew that there was a whole lotta folks across the board, that was addicted to crack.  But they painted it as a black thing only and ignored that there was a lot of places, like in Cheyenne, Wyoming and, uh—what is that city up there in Idaho? I’m gonna remember the city, that’s right there, um—Boise, Idaho.  It’s a lot of folks smokin’ that dope there.

“20 years later, you have people hooked up on heroin and opiates and all that.  She’s breakin’ it down this afternoon.  I want us to sit with that raw truth.  And we have the opportunity to present it to you on these airwaves. (c. 43:53)

[Davey D continued with his remarks, focusing on appeals for listener sponsorship of free speech radio KPFA, the world’s original listener-sponsored free speech radio station, which PBS and NPR later copied, but in a non-free speech manner with corporate underwriting.]  (c. 45:27)

“We’re gonna have to do that.  We’re at this crossroads now.  We can’t go down this same path anymore.  There’s a lot of people, that want us to stay exactly where we’re at.  I think the time has changed.  The time has come for this change [of progressives and others finally rejecting the anti-working class Democratic Party and the two-party dictatorship].

“And, so, one of the things, that we’re committed to doing here is providing those critical voices, providing that space for these conversations, making sure that these issues see the light of day.  So, 1.800.439-5732.  1.800.HEY-KPFA.  Or donate online at kpfa.org, as we—this is holiday season.  All this is tax-deductible.  You want your money going into the coffers of the military-industrial complex?  Or maybe into an entity, that will speak out against it?  I would encourage you to follow the latter.  (c. 46:22)

“Let’s listen to a little bit more from Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.  And I’ll come back and talk to you some more.”  (c. 46:29)

DR. KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR:  “[Our stories are not all the same.  We do not have the same experiences.  But our hardships often emanate from the same source—a market-based economy, that privileges the wealthy over the welfare and lives of the people who create that wealth.  And they keep our stories separate from each other, so that we never understand the entire story, only our particular part of it.]

“But, even with great effort to keep our side divided and confused, millions of people are coming to grips with the harsh reality of an economic system, that guarantees them nothing but a future of hardship and an inability to ever get ahead.  But the knowledge, alone, of the existence of racism, inequality, poverty, and injustice does not necessarily equip our side with the political tools needed to fight the battles of today or to fight for a socialist future.

“We need struggle.  We also need politics because we must contend with the political establishment, that wants to lower our expectations to believe that the existing society is the best that we can expect from humanity, that we dare not think beyond the existing parameters of electing a Democrat or Republican to change the world we live in. (c. 47:29)

“Clinton lost, in part because she ran a campaign of low expectations, a campaign cynically pivoted around the notion that ordinary people shouldn’t ask for too much, and that we must be realistic about the possibilities.  Donald Trump promised to change the world.  And Hillary Clinton promised to make the trains run on time.  Bernie Sanders, for all of the excitement, that his campaign generated for rightly demanding more, his commitment to remaining in the Democratic Party has effectively neutered his political revolution.  Expecting the Democratic Party to fight for the democratic redistribution of wealth and resources in this country is like expecting to squeeze orange juice out of an apple.  (c. 48:23)

“No, we must build independent organisations and political parties, that are not connected to the Democratic Party, that don’t rise and fall with the electoral cycle.  We have to build organisations, that are democratic, multiracial, and militant with a foundation in solidarity—solidarity, meaning that, even if you don’t experience a particular oppression, it doesn’t matter because you understand that, as ordinary people, our fates are connected and that one group’s liberation is dependent on the liberation of all of the oppressed and exploited.

“And there are so many good examples of this happening now.  And that’s important because an emboldened right, when we look at the intense political polarisation, that exists, we can see what an emboldened right can do.  It becomes a source of attraction for people, who are frustrated about the conditions, that they face and the uncertainty, that exists in the world.  But it also produces a certain response from the left.  It is not an overstatement to say that in the last month tens of thousands of ordinary people took to the streets—black people, Muslims, Latinos, Arabs, Asians, Native people, and white people—to reject the [2016 presidential] election, to reject Trump, and to reject racism. (c. 49:45)

“At high schools and college campuses across the country, students walked out of classes and began to organise to declare their campuses sanctuaries for undocumented students and others, that Trump has threatened to use the power of the state to abuse.”  (c. 50:04)

DAVEY D:  “She’s still just getting started.  Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, speaking at the Impact Hub.  We have less than ten minutes in this show.

[Davey D continued with his remarks, focusing on appeals for listener sponsorship of free speech radio KPFA, the world’s original listener-sponsored free speech radio station, which PBS and NPR later copied, but in a non-free speech manner with corporate underwriting.]  (c. 51:02)

“It is so important that we have these types of conversations ‘cos it is what this show is about.  It is what this station is about, ultimately and ideally—to give voice to the voiceless [i.e., the silenced and the censored].  To allow this space and allow these words to resonate with so many folks, that are listening.  And some of these people, that are calling right now—thank you.  (c. 51:30)

[Davey D continued with his remarks, focusing on appeals for listener sponsorship of free speech radio KPFA]  (c. 51:50)

“We have to talk about the collapse and the failures of those we entrusted to do our bidding, who didn’t do our bidding, but used us and, then, pivoted, and then danced with the devil, literally, danced with Wall Street, danced with developers, danced with big pharma, danced with big agribusiness, danced with everybody but us.  Now, culturally, they can communicate to us.  I like that Obama, for example, might have rappers in the White House.  That’s a cool thing.  But it ain’t cool, if the policies, that the communities, which those rappers come from aren’t really being reflected in what gets pushed out.  And you can’t give the excuse that he was being blocked by Congress ‘cos he didn’t do it when he had a supermajority the first two years.  He didn’t do it.  Remember, police brutality was on the docket then.  Have we forgotten Oscar Grant was shot [by police] before [Obama] even got into office?  And there was a robust movement.  And that Andreas Grimes [sic] was shot in, in New Orleans?  And there was a movement down there.  And Robert Taylor, um—I’m gonna forget his name, Taylor—Tolan, Robbie Tolan was shot in Houston in front of his mom when the police thought that Robbie’s car was stolen.  All those movements were kinda squelched down, in terms of how the pundits talk about what we know in those communities.  They were out there.  And people were demanding redress.  This is when there was a [Democratic] supermajority in Congress and the Senate.

“Did we see any movement on that?  No, we did not.  (c. 53:30)

“And this is what the sister is talking about.  This was simmering for a lot of people.  But people went along, tried to figure it out.  They even bought into the argument that chess, not checkers, was being played.  And here we are.  It looks like the chess game wasn’t in our favour, huh?  (c. 53:48)

[Davey D continued with his remarks, focusing on appeals for listener sponsorship of free speech radio KPFA]  (c. 54:00)

“We have to have these conversations.  We should arm ourselves with the information, that will spark this.  Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is giving us the language, is giving us a framework in which we can broach these conversations.  It’s so important.  (c. 54:17)

[Davey D continued with his remarks, focusing on appeals for listener sponsorship of free speech radio KPFA]  (c. 55:01)

“[Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s] book is the winner of the 2016 Lannan Cultural Freedom Award.  Her book is praised by everybody, from Cornel West on down.  Michelle Alexander sees it as, like, this is what we need.  In fact, I would say it’s like a continuation of where Michelle jumps off, in terms of just giving us framework.

“But we have to invest.  So, it’s not just pledging to the station, but making an investment, so we can have these airwaves.  In the upcoming months, it’s gonna be important for all of us.  It’s going to be important for all of us to have access to some sort of media apparatus where we can speak truth to power.

“Do you know Donald Trump has talked about putting two new people in the FCC?  And he wants to overturn net nuetrality protections, meaning that when we go online we’re not gonna have a free and clear internet.  The thing, that people, that we were fighting against for five years is gonna be gone.  These airwaves is going to be real important.  The voices of folks, who have these political analyses—and more importantly, as in the case with Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.  She’s giving you solutions.  She’s talking about:  Look, you gots to look at the poor folks, that live in Appalachia. You got to look at those poor folks, that live in the Pinoles, in the Sacramentos, rider’s[sp?] side, around that area. You gotta look at the folks in those poor, rural communities. And you have to marry the stories of inequality, that exists in the inner cities. Then, find out that you have the same string, or purse-holder, making life miserable for everybody.

“You can call them 1%.  You can call them oligarchs.  You can call them tyrants.  But we’re gonna have to deal with that.  There’s no getting around that. (c. 57:00)

“So, 1.800.439-5732.  1.800.HEY-KPFA.  Thank you, Lily from Pittsburg.  Thank you, Ellen from Alameda.  Thank you, Margaret out of Bolinas.  Thank you Judas from Lambertville, New Jersey.  A lot of people are calling in.  There’s too many names to read off.  (c. 57:20)

[Davey D continued with his remarks, focusing on appeals for listener sponsorship of free speech radio KPFA]  (c. 58:59)

“And I want to thank everybody from the bottom of my heart for calling this afternoon.  You understand the importance of having the voiceless be given voice.  These airwaves will do that.  And we promise to do that forever and ever and ever and ever, to quote Outkast.  Mike [Biggs], Big Mike is smiling.

“1.800.439-5732.  1.800.HEY-KPFA.  Pledge online at kpfa.org.  I’ll say the words one last time.  1.800.439-5732.  1.800.HEY-KPFA.  Pledge online at kpfa.org.  I wanna thank everybody calling in.  Thank you, Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor for your speech.  Thank you, Impact Hub.  Thank you for everybody listening.  Flashpoints, you take it away.”  (c. 59:48)

Learn more at HARD KNOCK RADIO.

***

[1]  Impact Hub, 2323 Broadway (near Grand), Oakland, California.

[2]  Terrestrial radio transmission, 94.1 FM (KPFA, Berkeley, CA) with online simulcast and digital archiving:  Women’s Magazine, this one-hour broadcast hosted by co-host Kate Raphael, Monday, 12 DEC 2016, 13:00 PST.

[3]  Terrestrial radio transmission, 94.1 FM (KPFA, Berkeley, CA) with online simulcast and digital archiving:  Hard Knock Radio, this one-hour broadcast hosted by co-host Davey D, Monday, 12 DEC 2016, 16:00 PST.  [N.B.:  For some unfortunate reason, Hard Knock Radio usually removes their audio archives from public access two weeks after the initial broadcast date.]

[4]  Terrestrial radio transmission, 94.1 FM (KPFA, Berkeley, CA) with online simulcast and digital archiving:  Special Programming,  this one-hour broadcast hosted by co-host Kate Raphael, Wednesday, 14 DEC 2016, 15:00 PST.  [From listening to bits of the live broadcast, (c. 37:00) this sounded identical to the Women’s Magazine broadcast from 12 DEC 2016.]

[5]   This is a KPFA benefit, which was likely attended by the usual aging Berkeley Baby Boomer demographic of gentle silver-haired souls, who lived through the 1960s and remain true to the spirit of social justice.  But, being KPFA listeners, most accept the status quo two-party system.  This particular audience demographic is typically much more enthusiastic when the speakers are far less (or non-) critical of their Democratic Party apologism.

Since at least 1999, the KPFA News Department has been dominated by a faction, which is aligned with the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club.  So, their reform-the-Democratic-Party-from-within ideology has resulted in KPFA and Pacifica’s News Departments filtering the news through a Democratic Party apologist lens, discouraging many free speech radio listeners from thinking of alternatives to the two-party dictatorship or the unresponsive Democratic Party.

Political commentators have correctly observed that Trump, actually, succeeded in usurping the language of working class populism, which Bernie Sanders had championed during the 2016 presidential primary elections.  Obviously, it’s incorrect to say this is why Hillary Clinton lost the election, as she did receive millions more votes from American voters than Trump.  Clinton lost the election because of the electoral college system, which can reject the national will of the American people, or rather they redefine the will of the people through the antidemocratic scheme of the electoral college.

But, certainly, Clinton’s failure to even pay lip service to working class populism further narrowed the already narrow two-party presidential contest, such that Trump was able to win the electoral college election, despite losing the popular vote (i.e., the real vote).

And, of course, Obama talked a good game during the 2008 election cycle.  But, as many of us anticipated, he immediately turned his back on his constituency.  Once in office, the Obama administration turned his energetic movement for hope and change into a private political action committee (PAC) with an email list, which never met again.  Many liberals and Democratic Party apologists, such as Norman Solomon and Robert Reich, argued that the movement slacked off, that the people no longer pushed Obama in the right direction once he was in office.  But that argument falls apart when we recall that by 2011, there was mass discontent with the status quo, even under the ostensibly progressive Obama administration, which coordinated a brutal nationwide crackdown against the Occupy Movement, which by late 2011 was going global.  When Obama came into office in 2009, he did everything he could to cover for Wall Street.  Not one white collar criminal went to prison, unlike during the 1980s with the Savings & Loan crisis under Reagan.  But the Occupy Movement was never able to pierce the veil of the two-party dictatorship.  They struggled with defining any political objectives and shunned the notion of allowing any spokespersons to emerge with a focused agenda.  They were attacked, beaten, and their encampments obliterated by the Obama administration.  Then, some weeks later, most of those same people, either, acquiesced in (or voted for) another four years of Obama and his antidemocratic, anti-working class Democratic Party.  They were unable to imagine alternatives, or to call for opening up the presidential debates, or for ranked-choice voting, or proportional representation in Congress.  In short, the Occupy Movement squandered its political power.  It was important for many reasons.  But this was an object lesson, which few activists or scholars (outside of the Green Party and other alternative political parties, such as the Peace and Freedom Party) have pointed out publicly until now by Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.

[6]  Indeed, as a student of heterodox economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, I lived on the Troost line, Waldo Heights Apartments nearby the Presidential Gardens housing complex.  And the poverty along Troost Avenue and to the east of the Troost line, the historically-dividing line of racial residential segregation was extreme.  Many homes to the east of Troost were boarded up and abandoned.  And many families living in the impoverished apartment buildings, multiple generations with their parents and grandparents all mired in intergenerational poverty and with the younger generations being given much opportunity to break out.

My spouse is an educator; and she worked in the Kansas City schools for a period of time, which showed her the most stressed classrooms with strained teachers barely able to contain the neediest children, even in early childhood education with extreme behavioural problems and needs.  She doubted that, if she continued to work in that environment, she would be able to avoid changing and becoming as callous toward the kids as the overextended teachers with whom she was working had become.  I don’t think all the teachers were like that.  I also saw some of the warmest and loving teachers at my son’s elementary school, which was just west of the Troost line.  But, as Davey D points out, there is extreme poverty in the midwest, which we too often ignore.  The Democratic Party does not care about this poverty.  Democrat politicians never even use the word poverty or poor in their speeches.  Instead, they make vague references to the middle class.

***

[Steve Bannon image by Don Irvine, used via fair use and creative commons (CC BY-SA 2.0).]

[13 DEC 2016]

[Last modified at 12:18 PST on 22 DEC 2016]

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