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transnationalcapitalistclasswilliamkcarrollamazonLUMPENPROLETARIAT—On this week’s edition of free speech radio’s Project Censored, Dr. William K. Carroll discussed his classic and influential book, The Making of a Transnational Capitalist Class: Corporate Power in the 21st Century, on the capitalist imperialism of Euro-North American hegemony, represented by interlocking directorates, corporate power, and resisted by various social movements. [1]

Leslie Sklair (London School of Economics), author of The Transnational Capitalist Class (2001), called Professor Carroll‘s The Making of a Transnational Capitalist Class, “the most significant recent contribution on the transnational capitalist class.”  Listen (and/or download) here. [2]

Messina

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[Working draft transcript of actual radio broadcast by Messina for Lumpenproletariat and Project Censored.]

ProjectCensoredPROJECT CENSORED—[6 JAN 2017]  [KPFA station ID by Erica Bridgeman(sp?)]

[Project Censored theme music:  “We Want” by Junkyard Empire]

“Welcome to the Project Censored show on Pacifica Radio.  I’m Mickey Huff with Peter Phillips.

“On today’s programme, we discuss The Making of a Transnational Capitalist Class: Corporate Power in the 21st Century.  We’ll be joined for the first segment by Professor William Carroll to speak about his book on the topic of the transnational capitalist class.  Later in the programme, we’re joined by journalist Sunsara Taylor and activist Rafael Kadaris, of RefuseFascism.org, to talk about the growing resistance against the incoming Trump administration. [3]  Please stay with us. (c. 1:25)

[brief musical interlude]

“Welcome to the Project Censored show.  I’m Mickey Huff, with Peter Phillips.  On today’s programme, for the first segment, we’ll be talking about an ongoing theme we’ve dealt with on the programme, and certainly a theme, that has been researched and we’ve published about [in the annual Project Censored book].  Peter Phillips has written about the transnational capitalist class in the last several of the Project Censored books in varying degrees.

“And, today, we are going to be in conversation with William Carroll, who is an expert on the matter.  And here is Peter to properly introduce our guest to you.  Peter?” (c. 2:04)

DR. PETER PHILLIPS:  “Bill Carroll is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Victoria, where he directs the Social Justice Studies programme.  His research interests are political economy and corporate capitalism, various social justice movements, associated with social justice and critical social theory.

“His most recent book is The Making of the Transnational Capitalist Class.  And a recent article he wrote was ‘Neoliberalism and the Transnational Capitalist Class‘.

“So, Bill, welcome.”

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “Thanks very much.  Thanks for having me.”

DR. PETER PHILLIPS:  “What is your definition of, or overall understanding of, the transnational capitalist class?” (c. 2:38)

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “There’s a lot of discussion of that—you know?—exactly how to bound the transnational capitalist class.  Who is in it?  And who isn’t in it?  For example, Donald Trump.  The man’s a transnational capitalist.  In some respects, he certainly is, in terms of the reach of his investments; although, they expand beyond it.  And that’s often the case these days.  And, so, it does depend on how you bound it.  (c. 3:00)

“My own research has really looked at, sort of, what I call the leading edge of the transnational capitalist class.  And those are the people, who are really engaged in pretty high level global corporate elite relations and practices.  They might be involved in transnational policy groups, you know, like the World Economic Forum or the Trilateral Commission.  But they sit on corporate boards.  I guess, in terms—you might—it’s just a basic sort of nuts and bolts criterion for it.

“They will be sitting on multiple corporate boards, that span across national borders.  So, they’re involved in, really, transnational corporate business in a networked way.  At the top of the power structure, as directors and executives of the largest corporations.”

DR. PETER PHILLIPS:  “And these policy groups, that these folks are involved in, like the International Chamber of Commerce, the Bilderberger, the Trilateral Commission—” (c. 3:53)

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “M-hm.”

DR. PETER PHILLIPS:  “—the World Economic Forum?  Are you saying, then, that those are setting global policies, in terms of monetary policy or other agendas for various nation states?” (c. 4:05)

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “They’re definitely part of the policy planning process.  There’s no question that they have influence.  It’s not as if they dictate policy.  But they have influence; and, of course, the influence is more than just the kind of policy positions, that they’re taking and communicating to state officials and the lobbying processes and that kind of thing.” (c. 4:24)

“But it’s structurally underpinned by the power of the corporations themselves and the structural power of transnational capital, which is a power to invest or divest, to move one’s capital somewhere else, especially, in an era of financialisation, you know, where a lot of capital exists in financial forms.  So, it’s very easy to move it around and to desert, let’s say, a currency, if a particular government moves too far from the neoliberal framework, that’s hegemonic globally these days—although, somewhat tattered; I would say.  In some ways, discredited by the [Global Financial] Crisis of, uh, 2008-2009 [sic]. (c. 5:01)

“And, yet, enjoying a kind of second life, you know, in a weird way through the various austerity programmes, that came in after all the bank bailouts and everything to sort of pay for those bank bailouts.

“So, it’s a bit of a long-winded answer.  But I think the policy groups definitely have influence.  And, you know, if you look at some of these groups, they’re quite strategic.  For example, the transatlantic business dialogue, which has a board comprised of, you know, the major transatlantic capitalists.  They, basically, they shadow the international meetings of state leaders and so forth in the mid-Atlantic region.  And they prepare briefings papers, that they submit before each summit and so on and so forth.

“So, they’re, sort of, in a sense, in the background of the whole policy formation process.”  (c. 5:44)

MICKEY HUFF:  “Bill Carroll, Mickey Huff, here.  This is Project Censored show, Pacifica Radio.  I have two questions.

“One of them just came up because you mentioned the north atlantic.  And I couldn’t help but think of NATO.  And Peter Phillips has certainly written about the transnational capitalist class, in terms of its connections to military companies and contractors and these types of things.

“But how do you see any kind of relationship between this groups of individuals and some of the powers of NATO and how that might help direct policy?”

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “Definitely.  There are points of contact, informally at least.  This isn’t something I’ve really researched.  But, for example, the Bilderberg conferences generally involve transnational capitalists as well as various state officials.  And the Bilderberg group line has generally been pro-NATO, you know, from its conception in the early ’50s.  So, it’s, sort of, unscripted and undocumented elite discussion, that takes place annually.  And I’m sure that, in those discussions, if, you know, if we were flies on the wall or something, we’d probably hear people talking about specific issues, including NATO.

“NATO’s interesting, again, in terms of thinking about Trump and Trumpism, whatever that might turn out to be.  It’s a bit hard to say at this point.  But, you know, he certainly created a certain panic among European elites, in terms of some of his statements and cosying up to Russia.

“So, you know, the kind of status quo geopolitical power arrangements are, I would say, distinct from the transnational capitalist class has influence in, uh, in geopolitics and, generally, has an interest in open borders and open investment, political stability, which often means the use of force against local left movements and dissident groups and so on and so forth to try to really secure stable conditions for capital accumulation in various countries throughout the world.” (c. 7:34)

MICKEY HUFF:  “And that, surely, goes back to at least Smedley Butler, uh, going way back over, uh, up to a hundred years, even, and certainly in the first two decades of the 20th Century.

“That leads to the second part of what I wanted to ask you about.  But I wanted to know if you could somehow, maybe, encapsulate or give listeners kind of a brief history of the rise of what you are calling the transnational capitalist class.

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “My research is, really, sort of looking at the leading edge, or the top tier, of the transnational capitalist class.  I mean capitalism has been sort of transnational and kind of a globalising force for, you know, five centuries.

“But you begin to trace these power structures coming into being and being consolidated in the 20th Century, and progressively more so in the Post-WWII era, where you really have a new American leadership, or hegemony, a global economy opening up under the U.S. Open Door policy.

“And, so, the former structure, if you like, of imperialism, which involved competing states and states trying to secure spheres of influence through colonisation processes, or things resembling that, that begins to break down.  And, instead, you get development over a long period of time, from the ’40s into the ’70s and ’80s, of this less and less enclosed world, in a sense, of political borders to capital mobility. (c. 8:53)

“And, with that, you have transnational corporations, of course, developing an increasingly internationalised financial system.  And, at the top of that power structure, you have the executives and directors of those largest corporations of those financial institutions.  And, as they’re investing more and more globally, they begin to cohere into a transnational corporate elite.  My colleague Meindert Fennema, really, did the path-breaking work on this sociologically, in terms of networks of the transnational capitalist class in the early 1970s.  He was able to trace it, at that point.

“But, basically, the structure has been very, very much Euro-North American, in terms of the major participants and the way the network of elite relations, these [inaudible] who are sort of sitting on each other’s boards. that that is really a structure, that is very strongly developed in Europe and North America.  And the whole EU integration process has actually deepened that process in Europe.  But the rest of the world is rather peripheral to the network. (c. 9:53)

“So, Japan has some connections into the transnational corporate elite network, but not that many.  And the global south is, larglely, out of the picture.  But, in the past 20 years, there has been some increase in that, you know, with the development of the so-called BRICS and so on.  The high rates of capital accumulation in very large corporations developing in countries, like Brazil; obviously, China; India—that these corporate directors and executives of the really large corporations in the global south are beginning to hook into the transnational corporate elite.  But they still occupy quite a marginal position compared to the European and North American capitalists.” (c. 10:31)

DR. PETER PHILLIPS:  “Bill Carroll, you have done research showing the interlocks of major corporations, particularly in Canada, but also around the world.  And one of the things, since the [Global] Financial Crisis of 2007-08, you say there has been a thinning, so to speak, of interlocks between major corporations worldwide.  Does that play into the further establishment of these policy groups, the Trilateral Commission and others, that kind of cement opportunities for corporations and CEOs to talk to each other?” (c. 11:05)

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “Yeah.  I do think so.  I think the policy groups have been proliferating.  And that corporate policy elite network is a very important apparatus, if you like—again, informal.  It’s not as if there’s someone formally directing all of this.  It’s, really, a matter of, sort of, powerful people being recruited to the boards of these policy groups because they are powerful people, and they have connections and insights about how the world works and so on and so forth.  What we end up with is a pretty dense network of corporate executives and directors, who are connected through their participation in the transnational policy groups.

“And, then, at the same time, there has been a thinning of the interlocks among corporations themselves.  This is an uneven process.  But, in some countries, these corporate elite networks have been quite dramatically.  Japan would be an example of that.  And it has to do with a number of factors.  And one of the main ones is corporate governance reforms coming out of various financial scandals in the 1980s and in the 1990s, so that by the mid-1990s the OECD, for example, had adopted best practice guidelines for how corporate boards should be structured and tried to, basically, reign in the tendency toward a kind of very hierarchical, closed kind of old boys club, and tried to make boards more efficient, so that they could be better generators of corporate profit by making the boards smaller and limiting the involvements of corporate directors on other boards.

“So, there’s still plenty of interlocking happening.  But it’s at a lower rate than it used to be before some of these governance reforms came in.” (c. 12:45)

MICKEY HUFF:  “This is the Project Censored show on Pacifica Radio.  I’m Mickey Huff, with Peter Phillips.  We’re in conversation with Professor Bill Carroll.  The topic is the transnational capitalist class.”

DR. PETER PHILLIPS:  “Bill, I would like you to talk about neoliberalism and how that seems to be a continually core philosophy for the transnational capitalist class.”

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “Neoliberalism really has a long history, a deeper history than we often think.  We often identify it with Margaret Thatcher, which is fair enough, in terms of the political mobilisation of neoliberalism in the 1970s in the global north.  But we can take it back to Augusto Pinochet and the coup in Chile in 1973 because, really, Pinochet implemented the first neoliberal project.

“And, before that, there was the development of neoliberal thinking and policy frameworks within the Mont Pelerin Society, beginning in the 1940s, led by the famous economist-philosopher Hayak.  And, really, from Hayak’s writings forward, neoliberalism through Milton Friedman and so on and so forth involves a kind of policy framework, if you like, that recognises capital as the source of wealth and growth and prosperity.  And states are burdens on capital.

“Basically, the philosophy is one of trying to free investment to, basically, seek the highest profits in unregulated markets, trying to privatise public assets because public assets are, again, a drain on wealth creation.  And, so, it’s a philosophy, that really centers the world around the market.  But, of course, in our era, which is an era of very large corporations, not free competition, when you do that, what you’re actually doing is accentuating corporate power.  So, the more capital is deregulated, the more public assets are privatised, and so on and so forth, which are basic to neoliberalism as a framework, the greater the power of capitalists and, especially, the capitalist, that control the very major corporations and financial institutions, the more power they have to move things around, to make the decisions, that they think will maximise their profits.  (c. 15:00)

“And, I guess, in my view, the problem with neoliberalism is that it doesn’t recognise the way capital is actually a parasitic phenomenon, in the sense that it really is generated out of people’s work.  And, so, the labour, that people are doing in factories or in the service sector, whatever, gets turned into capital and turned into profit, some of which goes back to workers as wages.  But the basic system is one of accumulating private wealth in the hands of a very small class of people.

“And neoliberalism is, really, in that sense, I would agree with David Harvey, it’s very much a part of class warfare.  It’s a kind of reassertion of the power of capital in every day life, in the public sphere, in the private sphere, and certainly vis-à-vis the state.”  (c. 15:50)

DR. PETER PHILLIPS:  “Certainly, Bill, you’ve written about the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, which supports, and is closely involved with, over 400 think tanks worldwide, that support neoliberal policies.  That’s a massive network.  And huge amounts of money go into that.  They, of course, influence the media and push that agenda.

“Do you see Donald Trump, with his sort of neoliberal privatisation policies supporting this globally?  Or is going to be more in isolating the United States economically?”  (c. 16:28)

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “Yeah.  I think Trump is a very interesting phenomenon.  I mean, when Thatcher came to power in the, uh, ’70s, and through the ’80s when she was in power and, really, effecting the transformations, that became neoliberalism and were generalised beyond Britain, of course.  You know?  And Reagan was doing the same thing at the same time.

“When all of that happened, a term that came into parlance, at least among academics, is authoritarian populism.  And, you know, I think Thatcher, certainly, was an authoritarian populist.  But, in a sense, Donald Trump takes that to a new level, in terms of the combination of, kind of, white nationalism, that is in some ways in tension with neoliberalism—at least, they say, Hillary Clinton-style neoliberalism.

“And, on the other hand, he is, himself, a well-placed billionaire capitalist with all sorts of investments and so on and so forth—and, certainly, is a neoliberal in a very basic sense that he believes in the logic of capital.  So, for example, his public works programme is going to be a kind of programme, that privileges corporations and to some extent may be a kind of crony capitalist operation.  It’s hard to say at this point.  We don’t know.  He’s not yet president.  (c. 17:39)

“But, in any case, he is in some ways, I think, a neoliberal.  And, in some ways, his nationalism runs against the grain of neoliberalism, which is why right now there’s so much questioning and tension, I think around the phenomenon and what it might mean for what has been a fairly settled neoliberal hegemony in the world, despite the 2008 [Global] Financial Crisis, that I mentioned earlier.”  (c. 18:02)

MICKEY HUFF:  “Bill Carroll, taking a look at some of the characters, that have begun populating the incoming Trump administration, these are pretty establishment characters, however.  I mean, certainly, we could riff on the authoritarian populism.  That was certainly a component to the campaigning and the rhetoric, that we saw here in the U.S.

“But what about the actual people, that are being put in cabinet positions?  I mean these are Wall Street insiders.  You’ve mentioned crony capitalism.  In many ways, is this not business as usual?”

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “I agree.  I think it’s hard to read at this point, I would say.  Like, his cabinet—his cabinet is looks to me like a combination of corporate boardroom and a military junta.  But—”

MICKEY HUFF:  “Sounds like fascism.”

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “But I think the people in the cabinet, a lot of them, are pretty mainstream people.  Who knows if Hillary Clinton, uh—she, actually, did win the election.  But she, you know—if she were the president-elect assembling a cabinet, she might have chosen some of the same people—” [Mickey Huff overlapping]

MICKEY HUFF:  “Well, that’s the issue.  Right?”

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “Yeah—”

MICKEY HUFF:  “Which is back to business as usual.”  (c. 19:06)

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “Yeah—”

MICKEY HUFF:  “For neoliberalism, at any rate.

“What do you see in the strain here, maybe, that is a shot across the bow of neoliberalism, outside of ire and angst in the electorate?  You know.  We don’t have time to bring Brexit in it, and all these other things into the discussion, perhaps.

“But I mean what are some signals you see here in, uh, perhaps, that—what might be different in Trump?”

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “Well, I think the signals so far have been sort of Tweets and—”

MICKEY HUFF:  “[laughs]  Yeah.  Okay.  Yeah.”

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “—and right through his term in office.  But—”

MICKEY HUFF:  ” [laughs]

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “You know.  Things, you know—how much of this was prearranged or exactly how it took place, we don’t really know.

“But, for example, the pressure put on Ford to invest in the United States and to, in fact, divest or not do a project in Mexico, that it was planning to do.  It’s, um, I think maybe the idea of scrapping NAFTA—I mean I don’t think NAFTA will be scrapped—but the renegotiation, which could happen, um, that I think it certainly has people, neoliberals, concerned because NAFTA is sort of the, you know, it’s the template for so much of what has happened, in terms of these investor rights agreements.

“But I agree with you.  I don’t think we’re looking at a massive shift with Trump, except that he does have this authoritarian populist or semi-fascist—however we wanna describe it—aspect to his thinking and to his politick.  And we just have to wait and see how that plays out, I guess.

“But some of his cabinet appointments and some of his advisors, like his chief advisor are, really, far-right activists.  And that’s a bit different.”  (c. 20:52)

DR. PETER PHILLIPS:  “Certainly, the idea of the final conclusion of the New Deal seems to be part of this administration’s focus, and whether or not they can take Social Security and privatise it, and the safety net programmes, essentially, eliminate or weed down to very, very low levels.

“That authoritarian populism combined with the negations of ethnic groups—”

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “M-hm.”

DR. PETER PHILLIPS:  “—Muslims and immigrants, really does speak to a strong fascism agenda, that—I mean when we go to the actual definition of fascism.  Would you—”

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “Yeah.”

DR. PETER PHILLIPS:  “—agree with that?”

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “Yeah.  I think it’s always tricky, you know, that F-word.  You know.  What is fascism?  Uh, what—”

MICKEY HUFF:  “Well, in a—

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “—”

MICKEY HUFF:  “In terms of political science, not in terms of Nazism and so forth.”

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “The aspect of it, that I see, is particularly fascist is the tendency, I think, in Trump from the beginning of his campaigning to really not be interested in open political discussion, debate of issues.  I think his approach is that of kind of very powerful corporate executive.  And I think that’s how he will run the state, to the extent that the president runs the state, which is, you know, definitely has considerable power.  And I think there is a kind of fascism in that, you know, a kind of commitment to the regnant goals of capital and of business.  I’m not sure what he’s gonna end up, in terms of the labour front.  He’s got a Labor Secretary, who is basically opposed to minimum wages. [laughs] You know?

“I mean this is—I think part of fascism is a kind of attack on labour, typically, and on democratic rights, on minority groups, as you mentioned.  And, so, we can see that in Trump.  And I guess we’ll just have to wait and see and figure out how to resist the actual policies, that might come forward under that flag.”  (c. 22:54)

DR. PETER PHILLIPS:  “Bill Carroll, we’re gonna wrap up here pretty quick.  And I just really want you to talk about the transnational capitalist class and its agenda for the world, the privatisation, and the free flow of capital anywhere in the world.  And I really have to think of the American military empire and NATO as in support of that agenda.  So, capital seeks its own places for return.  And that is an ongoing agreement.  Could you comment a little bit on that?”

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “Well, yeah.  I think ever since, um, you know, again, the original neoliberal project of Thatcherism, neoliberalism has always relied on a strong state to secure them the conditions for the so-called free market, for capital investor rights and mobility and so on and so forth.

“So, I think that translates also, at the international level, to the need for strong militaristic and state back-up to the power of corporations, themselves.  And I don’t see that changing, certainly, I think that is the trajectory of the transnational capitalist class.

“If it’s going to change, it will be pressure from below through democratic movements, that seek alternatives to corporate power, globally and locally.

“But I think neoliberalism, as I’ve mentioned, is in some ways rather discredited.  And, yet, there isn’t any strong alternative, that’s been presented successfully.  Although, I think, Bernie Sanders, you know, with his kind of social-democratic vision was very important and very instructive to see how much traction that got among the American public.

“And, similirly, in Britain with Jeremy Corbyn.  So, you know, we can sort of see.  We can see opposition to neoliberalism, the Pink Tide in Latin America and so on and so forth; developments in South Africa.  But I think we’ve got a real uphill struggle, in the sense of how entrenched, uh, that, both, power of capital and the power of the state and, as you say, the US military, but also the broader kind of global governance framework, that’s come in as part of neoliberalism.”  (c. 25:05)

MICKEY HUFF:  “We’ve been talking today about the transnational capitalist class.  We’ve been joined by Professor of Sociology at the University of Victoria, Bill Carroll.  The book we’ve been discussing is called The Making of a Transnational Capitalist Class: Corporate Power in the 21st Century.

“Bill Carroll, thanks so much for taking time out to join the Project Censored show today.”

DR. WILLIAM K. CARROLL:  “Oh, you’re most welcome.”  (c. 25:28)

[End of interview with Dr. William K. Carroll.] 

MICKEY HUFF:  “After this musical break, we’ll be back to talk about the incoming Trump administration and resistance growing towards it.  Please stay with us.”

[brief music break]  (c. 26:00)

[Begin interview with activist Rafael Kadaris (of RefuseFascism) and journalist Sunsara Taylor on Refuse Fascism actions against Trump taking the White House.]

[snip] (c. 59:59)

Learn more at PROJECT CENSORED.

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[1]  About the author:

Dr. William K. Carroll, a.k.a. Bill Carroll, is a Professor of Sociology at the University of VictoriaBritish Columbia, Canada.  He is known for his work on interlocking directorates, corporate power, and social movements.  His published works include

Expose, Oppose, Propose: Alternative Policy Groups and the Struggle for Global Justice (2016); The Making of a Transnational Capitalist Class (2010)

Remaking Media: The Struggle to Democratize Public Communication (with Robert Hackett, 2006)

Challenges and Perils: Social Democracy in Neoliberal Times (with R.S. Ratner, 2005)

Corporate Power in a Globalizing World (2004, recipient of the 2005 John Porter Tradition of Excellence Book Award of the Canadian Sociological Association)

Critical Strategies for Social Research (2004)

Organizing Dissent: Contemporary Social Movements (1997)

Corporate Power and Canadian Capitalism (1986, recipient of the 1988 John Porter Award).

BRIEF BIOGRAPHY

William K. Carroll was born in 1952 close to Washington, DC.  He immigrated to Canada with his family in 1968, where he attended Brock University in Niagara Falls, and then York University in Toronto.  He obtained his Ph.D. in Sociology in 1981, and the same year accepted a position at the University of Victoria, where he still teaches.

RESEARCH

Bill Carroll is considered a leading Canadian critical sociologist.[i]  His research on the political economy of corporate capitalism, social movements, social change, and critical social theory and method is informed by Marxist and post-Marxist theory, and especially the writings of Antonio Gramsci.  Dr. Carroll produced major empirical work investigating the power and social organisation of capitalist classes in Canada and transnationally.  In parallel, he wrote extensively on Canadian and transnational social movements, with a focus on key institutions of knowledge production, such as the media and alternative policy-planning groups.  Over the years, his research has increasingly integrated environmental concerns, and his most recent project maps out the political power of the carbon extractive industry in Western Canada.[ii]

[2]  Terrestrial radio transmission, 94.1 FM (KPFA, Berkeley, CA) with online simulcast and digital archiving:  Project Censored, this one-hour broadcast cohosted by host Dr. Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff, M.A., Friday, 6 JAN 2017, 12:00 PST.

[3]  Rafael Kadaris is a longtime SF Bay Area activist, based in Berkeley’s Revolution Books.  He is an activist organiser with Revolution Club and RCP (i.e, the Revolutionary Communist Party).

I first met Rafael back in 2007, when I attended, and participated in, anti-war direct actions at Dianne Feinstein’s San Francisco offices.  That action was organised by various groups, including World Can’t Wait.  I was there with fellow KPFA board candidate Dr. Sureya Sayadi, a Kurdish-American physician and social justice activist.  (We also marched down the road to join in another demonstration in solidarity with the Jena Six.)  I stayed in touch with Rafael, and others from RCP, for some years in the late-2000s.  Rafael was always a very sincere social justice activist and a kind and compassionate human being.  Although, we haven’t always agreed on everything, politically-speaking—me, being a so-called ‘thirdparty‘ advocate, and him, having long-rejected electoral politics—I have always appreciated his, and the RCP’s, far-left political stance.  We need our comrades on the far left of the political spectrum to counterbalance the deluge of far right political messaging, which saturates corporate media across the country, and which—without a far-left counterbalance—perpetually shifts the political center rightward.  Activists, such as Rafael, remind us, that we must always demand the impossible and refuse fascism.

One thing is for sure, Rafael proved to prophetic back in 2007 when he argued, as liberals and progressives salivated at the prospect of an Obama Presidency, Rafael sighed, the Democrats and Republicans fool the people every time.  Yes, but we haven’t had an active socialist or communist party in the United States since the so-called Red Scare.  Since then, we haven’t had any semblance of political diversity in the USA.  But that discussion continues.

***

[Image by source, used via fair use.]

[8 JAN 2017]

[Last modified at 16:32 PST on 10 JAN 2017]

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