Show 564: Economic Inequality & the Problem with Work

Economic Inequality & the Problem with Work w/Kathi Weeks and Michael D. Yates

Many secular humanists traditionally focused on the so-called hard sciences and religion in their analyses but this is clearly not enough. In time, many also address the social sciences and key political issues from Human Rights to Separation of Church and State to the crises of Climate Change. However, the willingness to apply the scientific method, healthy skepticism, and humanistic ethics to our more central political structures has been very lacking…even the willingness to take on the illusion of “free will” gets more traction with humanist in America. This is why we try to cover these issues when we can on this show. Today we will address our economic system and what it means to be a contributor within its boundaries…as well as what is at the core of one of our greatest problems today, massive inequality.

Capitalism can be, and has been, described in a great many ways. From the Austrian and Chicago Schools of economic thought to the Keynesian models to the Marxist and Anarchist analyses. Among those who do the academic work required to grapple with all of this, we will find sometimes complex, often contradictory, and always passionate points-of-view on what we should do about capitalism here in the 21st Century. Among the general populous in the United States, on the other hand, we find confusion, misapplied labels, dogmatism and not a little anger.

We’ve talked about this from different angles and tried to make sense of it all via political science, history, social science, and even evolutionary biology and neuroscience. After all, Capitalism didn’t spring up out of nowhere, and it doesn’t exist in vacuum – being value-neutral as some might want to believe. So today we are going to look at the capitalist condition from both overarching and under-arching perspectives…The former being the huge inequality problem we now face, and the latter being what is at the core of the capitalist system…Work. To do this, we will be speaking with two special guests: Kathi Weeks and Michael D. Yates.

Audio can be found here!

Show 558: Moving, Stage Left: Danny Katch and The Last Internationale

We occasionally have the opportunity to speak with people in the arts rather than academia to examine other ways of understanding where we’re at as well as where we want to be and how to get there. For this show, I had the chance to talk with humorist Danny Katch about how to understand what it means when we hear the term ‘socialism’ bandied about – especially since the Bernie Sanders campaign for president – what socialism actually is, and can it be re-envisioned for today’s world-gone-crazy?

And for the first time on Equal Time, we will speak with the founding members of a rock band whose mission it is – besides making good music – to cut through what historian Morris Berman refers to as our American political ‘fog.’ The New York founded The Last Internationale.

Audio can be found here!

Show 331: Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State

Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State

On Saturday, we will be airing a special one-hour program on the global rise in religious fundamentalism and in particular the political revolution and/or rebellion of groups who seemed defined by their religion against the industrial nations whether capitalistic or s0-called communistic.   What are the motives of these groups?  Why have they become so numerous over the last 4o years?  Does religion act as the catalyst, cause, or as a tool for these uprisings?  And, how do those nations best deal with the violence these groups target them with, while finding new ways to prevent these uprisings in the first place?

To speak to these questions and more, we will have on the line sociologist Mark Juergensmeyer, author of Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State, from Christian Militias to Al Queda.  Juergensmeyer is an American scholar and writer best known for his studies of religious violence and global religion.  He also has written on conflict resolution and on South Asian religion and society, and has been a pioneer in the field of global studies.

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Show 292b: Humanism & the LGBT Community II

Humanism & the LGBT Community: The Origins and History of Homophobia and the Struggle for Freedom!

Pt. 2

We will begin this exploration first with a biblical scholar and member of the humanist/atheist community in America, Robert M. Price, who discussed with me the biblical and religious connections to homophobia which seems to some as having sparked the anti-gay movement we are now living through.  Then we will hear from a leader in the organized Freethought movement, DJ Grothe – himself a gay male – on his own experiences, his take on gay marriage and church/state considerations, and the humanist viewpoint on alternative sexual relationships.

Then, to go beyond the atheistic/religious horizon as regards the origins and history of homophobia and anti-gay sentiment in America, we will hear from two gay authors who have recent publications out on sexuality and the political left… Socialist Sherry Wolf and Anarchist Terence Kissack.

Show 292a: Humanism & the LGBT Community

Humanism & the LGBT Community: The Origins and History of Homophobia and the Struggle for Freedom!

We will begin this exploration first with a biblical scholar and member of the humanist/atheist community in America, Robert M. Price, who discussed with me the biblical and religious connections to homophobia which seems to some as having sparked the anti-gay movement we are now living through.  Then we will hear from a leader in the organized Freethought movement, DJ Grothe – himself a gay male – on his own experiences, his take on gay marriage and church/state considerations, and the humanist viewpoint on alternative sexual relationships.

Then, to go beyond the atheistic/religious horizon as regards the origins and history of homophobia and anti-gay sentiment in America, we will hear from two gay authors who have recent publications out on sexuality and the political left… Socialist Sherry Wolf and Anarchist Terence Kissack.

Show 271: Humanism’s Leading Light, Beth Lamont

Beth Lamont joins us to discuss her late husband’s legacy, her own work as a humanist activist, and her impressions concerning the ethics of humanism.  Ms. Lamont is a feminist activist, humanist, and mother of eleven.  In the 1970s, she became a Board Member of the American Humanist Association through its Chapter Assembly.  Additionally, she has headed the Division of Humanist Extension, assuming this leadership role at the invitation of Edwin H. Wilson; created the Humanist Advocate Program which encouraged individuals to promote Humanism; created a television program called “Here & Now,” which has aired on Manhattan Cable since 1984; is a Humanist Chaplain having performed over 500 weddings; and has represented the American Humanist Association in its NGO capacity at the United Nations.

Beth has recently self-published the book, Lefties Are In Their Right Minds which includes a re-introduction and fresh commentary to Corliss Lamont’s 1939 text, You Might Like Socialism!

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Show 268: A Prescription for Real Social Change

1-Hour Special: A Prescription for Real Social Change

In this previously aired (albeit with poor sound quality), political philosopher Takis Fotopoulos presented his case for an alternative libratory model for reaching a healthier, happier, freer, and more humanistic future society. Fotopoulos’ model is called Inclusive Democracy, which according to him, “is derived from a synthesis of two major historical traditions: the classical democratic, and the socialist.  It also encompasses radical green, feminist, indigenous and liberation movements in the South.”

The crux of Fotopoulos’ ideas amount to, “communities run on the basis of direct political democracy, as well as economic democracy (beyond the confines of the market economy and statist planning), democracy in the social realm, and ecological democracy.”  Accordingly, in an inclusive democracy, “politics is no longer a technique for holding and exercising power, but the self-management of society by its members.”

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Show 234: Fund Drive Special With Dr. Joel Kovel

Joel Kovel has spent the better part of his adult life profoundly concerned with the effects of human relationships as they impact the species as a whole, and indeed the planet itself. Like many of us on the Left, Joel has come to his work from a place of deep emotional and intellectual conflict… a conflict we experience via between the way we see the human adventure, and the way certain forces have shaped where we are today. All too often, the clash between what “is” and what we think “ought” to be, winds up in the end to favor the status quo. We are given all sorts of reasons for this by our more conservative friends from political and economic “practical” reasons, to the “lowly” nature of human beings (whether of the Christian or Hobbesian kind).

Alas, many of us live with the notion that ‘the more things change (for better or worse), the more they stay the same… which is just another way of our accepting what “is,” and putting our aspirations, hopes, and desires into that hidden away bottom shelf labeled “Utopian Fantasies.”

But as we have addressed for a long time now on Equal Time for Freethought – and indeed all across WBAI – Utopia is not a fantasy, but a destination-one no one expects to reach, but is driven by our very nature to come closer to. Those who argue for another kind of human nature that somehow justifies the status quo, do so from either a place of ignorance, fear, or – for those of us who are financially or politically well off – narcissistic comfort. For Joel Kovel, this just won’t do, and he has done his part to see that Utopia is removed from the bottom shelf, brushed off, and returned back to all of us.
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Show 217: “ParEcon, ParPolity & the Future of the Left” with Robin Hahnel and Steven Shalom

“ParEcon, ParPolity & the Future of the Left” with Robin Hahnel and Steven Shalom”

What is ParEcon?

Participatory economics is a proposed economic system that uses participatory decision making as an economic mechanism to guide the production, consumption and allocation of resources in a given society. Proposed as an alternative to contemporary capitalist market economies and also an alternative to centrally planned socialism or coordinatorism, it is described as “an anarchistic economic vision.” It emerged from the work of activist and political theorist Michael Albert and that of radical economist Robin Hahnel, beginning in the 1980s and 1990s.

Albert and Hahnel stress that parecon is only meant to address an alternative economic theory and that it must be accompanied by equally important alternative visions in the fields of politics, culture and kinship.

What is ParPolity?

Stephen R. Shalom has begun work on a participatory political vision he calls “parpolity”. Elements of anarchism in the field of politics, polyculturalism in the field of culture, and feminism in the field of family and gender relations are also discussed by the authors as being possible foundations for future alternative visions in these other spheres of society.

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