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Transcript: Yoav Peled on Egypt, Israel's Reaction and "Post-Post Zionism"

The following interview was conducted by Suzi Weissman for her program "Beneath the Surface" on KPFK, February 11, 2011. Transcribed by Meleiza Figueroa. This interview was published in Against the Current 151, March-April 2011.

Suzi Weissman: I'm very pleased to have Yoav Peled join us right now to talk about the Israeli reaction to the events in Egypt, the relations between Egypt and Israel, and we're going to ask Yoav: Wither the Middle East after today's events? In what directions will the fresh air blowing from Tunisia and Egypt continue? And we're also going to talk to Yoav about "Post-Post Zionism," the title of Horit and Yoav Peled's latest article in the New Left Review, confronting the death of the two-state solution. Yoav is this year's Hans Speier Professor at the New School for Social Research; he's also a professor of political science at Tel Aviv University, and he's also just got a law degree from Tel Aviv University. So he's done a lot of things, he writes a lot about citizenship, his book "Being Israeli: the Dynamics of Multiple Citizenship" won many prizes, and his latest collection is "Democratic Citizenship and War." Yoav joins us from New York. Welcome to Beneath the Surface.

Yoav Peled: Hello, thank you.

SW: I'm very pleased to be with you today, and especially as this joy that spreads around after 18 days, in which we've seen a movement for democracy actually topple a dictator get, as you've probably heard, martial law lifted in Algeria and has dictators scrambling around the whole of the Middle East. So my first question to you is: what is the reaction in Israel?

YP: The reaction in Israel is very very nervous, naturally. Israel's good relations with Egypt were precisely with their dictator. So, to the extent that Egypt democratizes - and by the way, we still don't know to what extent this will happen - but to the extent this will happen, then Egypt will probably be less friendly to Israel. And by the way, I think the same holds for the US government - I'm sure the US government is also nervous, even though it has to say otherwise.

Transcript: Mark LeVine on the Egyptian Revolution

The following interview was conducted by Suzi Weissman for her program "Beneath the Surface" on KPFK, August 11, 2008. Transcribed by Meleiza Figueroa. This interview was published in Against the Current 151, March-April 2011.

Suzi Weissman: Well, there's a fresh air blowing on the planet now; let's hope it blows in all directions, and let there be a thousand Tahrirs. That's my editorial statement. I'm very pleased to have with me - from Tahrir Square, and actually just right up above it – Mark LeVine. He is a professor of History at UC Irvine, and a senior visiting researcher at the Center for Middle East Studies at Lund University in Sweden. He's also a musician and he's bringing us music from Tahrir Square that was recorded yesterday. Mark speaks Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Persian, Italian, French…well, he's a polyglot and an accomplished rock guitarist, and an accomplished observer and writer. He's blogging at An important book of his is An Impossible Peace: Oslo and the Burdens of History, and Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam. Mark, I'm so glad to have you on BTS.

Mark LeVine: Well, it's great to be back on KPFK.

SW: You’re now at the square in Cairo, it sounds like you're next door. Tell us, tell the listeners - we're all just in jubilation today, as the news that not only did the Mubarak regime have to go with their tail tucked under, but that we've heard now that martial law has been lifted in Algeria. Are all the dictators quaking in their boots?

MLV: Well, I think the most important thing about this revolution - and it was clear even from days ago, from when I first got here - that this is not just an Egyptian revolution, this is a world revolution. This is really the first revolution of the age of globalization. In many ways, 1989 was a revolution that closed the book on a previous era, and this in some ways takes us back to 1789, it's really at that level of importance. When the news came, there was just such an incredible sense of jubilation. There were Italians and Greeks and Portuguese and Lebanese, and everyone was just saying “we won.” It wasn't just Egyptians who won, even though certainly it is their revolution, but for them to defeat this system, which so many countries have invested so much in maintaining - I mean, think about the state of all the European leaders, and then Obama's waffling, and then Israel, and then all the Arab countries who were all supporting Mubarak - for this victory to happen completely nonviolently is really the most important example to the world that I can think of in my lifetime.

When are we in a Real Depression? Review of Jack Rasmus' "Epic Recession, Prelude to Global Depression"

Epic Recession

Prelude to Global Depression

September 2010

By Suzi Weissman

Suzi Weissman's ZSpace Page

Book by Jack Rasmus; London, Pluto Press, 2010, 340 pp.

Transcript: Ron Suny - Russia/Georgia Conflict

The following interviewwas conducted by Suzi Weissman for her program "Beneath the Surface" on KPFK, August 11, 2008. Transcribed by Meleiza Figueroa.

Suzi Weissman: We're going to begin tonight with the growing war between Russia and Georgia. Russia's troops have broadened their attacks on Georgian targets, and it's looking pretty grim. I’ve invited Ronald Grigor Suny, who's a professor of social and political history at the University of Michigan. He’s also an emeritus professor of political science and history at the University of Chicago, and is the expert on the national question in the Caucasus. He has two books on that issue: The Making of the Georgian Nation, and Looking Toward Ararat: Armenia in Modern History. He's also written on the Soviet experience, in a new book on the young Stalin. Ron Suny, welcome to Beneath The Surface.

Transcript: Gilbert Achcar - Lebanon as Israel's Vietnam

The following interview, edited by David Finkel and Dianne Feeley for publication in Against the Current, was conducted by Suzi Weissman for her program "Beneath the Surface" on KPFK, August 14, 2006.

Transcribed by Meleiza Figueroa. A brief excerpt appeared in Against the Current 124, September-October 2006.

Suzi Weissman: Welcome to Beneath the Surface, I'm Suzi Weissman. Well, it's official -- the war in Lebanon is officially over -- yet right up until the ceasefire went into effect early this morning, Israeli forces and Hezbollah fighters battled fiercely to the last minute. The shock campaign has terrorized the population, crippled the economy and destroyed the infrastructure in Lebanon, while equally terrifying the population of northern Israel. Hezbollah's rockets were symbolic and strategic, forcing Israel to give up reliance on air power alone, and undertake a massive ground invasion in a country that already has been called "Israel's Vietnam."

Gilbert Achcar calls this the "sinking ship of U.S. imperial designs," in which the clumsy execution of gigantic imperial power on the part of the United States has been matched by equally disastrous mistakes on the part of Israel in its attempts to pulverize the resistance of Hezbollah and Hamas. I'm very pleased to have Gilbert with us to discuss these issues. Gilbert Achcar grew up in Lebanon, he teaches political science at the University of Paris VIII, his bestselling book, The Clash of Barbarisms has just come out in a second expanded edition, and a book of his dialogues with Noam Chomsky on the Middle East, Perilous Power, is forthcoming -- both from Paradigm Publishers. He joins us by phone from Berlin.

Transcript: Women of Afghanistan

Suzi Weissman interviewed Sehar Saba & Sajeda Hayat, Representatives of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), and Sangeeta Kumar, Acting in Solidarity with Afghan People (ASAP). This interview was broadcast on June 26, 2000. Many thanks to Jim Ingalls for this transcription.

Suzi: And welcome to Beneath the Surface, I'm Suzi Weissman. I'm delighted to have in studio today three guests. We're going to be talking about the situation of women in Afghanistan, and the resistance. Now, as I mentioned in the introduction, many of those of you who are on the internet have probably received multiple copies of a petition that's been making the rounds about the human rights abuses in Afghanistan, targeted at women. I said at the beginning that this amounts to essentially creating a gender apartheid system in Afghanistan. Well, maybe you signed that petition and sent it along, but maybe there's more that you can do besides just signing your name. We're going to find out more about that today.

Transcript: Tariq Ali - Looking at Bush in Babylon

Tariq Ali was interviewed by Suzi Weissman for her program "Beneath the Surface" on Pacifica radio station KPFK, November 17, 2003. It was abridged for publication in Against the Current.

Tariq Ali is a filmmaker and an editor of New Left Review and Verso Books, and an antiwar activist since the Vietnam War era. Many thanks to Walter J. Tanner for transcribing the broadcast.

Suzi Weissman:We turn now to an extended conversation with Tariq Ali, who has just published Bush in Babylon: The Recolonization of Iraq, a compelling corrective to many of the current pot-boilers hitting the bookstores. Rather than engage in simplicities, Tariq Ali looks back in history and pays homage to the poets who reflect cultural memory and history in the powerful and passionate language of resistance.

Transcript: Christian Parenti - War on the People

Christian Parenti is the author of "Lockdown America: Police and Prisions in the Age of Crisis." He was interviewed on Beneath the Surface on November 15, 1999.

Suzi Weissman: Why is criminal justice so central to American politics? Why do we beat the European competition when it comes to incarceration, the war on drugs, paramilitary policing, punitive sentencing and even the death penalty? Is the War on Drugs a euphemism for repression of the rebellious and poor?
Christian Parenti, author of Lockdown America, Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis, suggests something more than a draconian response to surging crime; he situates the repressive mania for law and order in the social, political and economic crisis that faced the US as the post-war boom went into decline. His provocative analysis is the subject of today's "Beneath The Surface."
Christian Parenti teaches at the New College of California in San Francisco. He has written for In These Times, The Progressive, The Nation, The Christian Science Monitor, and co-hosted "Flashpoints" on KPFA, our sister station. He is speaking to us from northern California. Let's start with your argument, Christian. Your talk about prison and policing as a repressive strategy, as deliberate?

Gran Marcha and Beyond

Editorial published in Against the Current #122, May/June

Photo: Los Angeles Times

MARCH 26, 2006 MARKED an eruption that hit the streets, showed its strength, and took everyone including its participants by surprise. Millions marched all over the country: 300,000 in Chicago, 50,000 in Denver, 10,000 in Detroit and Milwaukee, 10-20,000 in New York, 20,000 in Phoenix -- and somewhere between 500,000 and a million in the “Gran Marcha” in Los Angeles. As the U.S. Congress and Senate hold their wretched deliberations on “immigration reform,” the communities affected have shown they will not be passive objects, but active subjects, in this debate.

On the day of the Gran Marcha the white liberal left seemed to have missed the mobilization and didn't know to meet downtown at Olympic and Broadway at 10am. Why? Well if you didn't listen to mostly Spanish language media (but Korean too) and didn't read La Opinion, or didn't tune into Pacifica radio KPFK all week, well, you probably missed the news.

The non-English media and the Catholic Church played a major role in mobilizing people for these marches. Spanish language media promoted the march continuously for ten days. (See accompanying article by Daniel Hernandez in this issue.) Cardinal Roger Mahony, who heads the largest Catholic archdiocese in the nation, came out against the Sensenbrenner Bill as a violation of Christian principles, affirming that the mission of the church was to aid the poor.

Mahony is a latecomer to this position; in the 1980s and 90s he opposed Padre Luis Olivares’ work in providing refuge and sanctuary to the poor and undocumented. Olivares’ sermons regularly quoted from Leviticus 19:33-34, "And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." It took fifteen years for Cardinal Mahony to realize that Latinos are the present and future of the Catholic Church in California (75 percent of the Southern California archdiocese of five million is Latino).

Vlady: ¡Presente!

by Susan Weissman

Vlady Kibalchich, born in Petrograd in June 1920, died on July 21, 2005 at home (in his studio) in Cuernavaca, Mexico after a difficult battle with cancer which began as a melanoma, but spread to his brain. He was 85.

It is customary to say that someone of that age had a ‘full life’ but in Vlady’s case it is an understatement. The 20th century was his life. La Jornada headlined his death saying “a subversive creator and critic of power has died.”

For Vlady, the Russo-Mexican artist (painter, muralist and lithographer) art was resistance and his themes were revolution and liberty. He was called a heretic and a rebel, but one who transformed his rebellion into art. Though he painted with Renaissance formulas and Venetian colors, everything about Vlady was revolutionary. His art, his daily life, his writing: Social revolution, cultural revolution, revolution of material, revolution of colors. His murals can be seen in the Biblioteca Miguel Lerdo de Tejada in Mexico City, and in the National Palace of the Revolution in Managua, Nicaragua. In 1994 he was commissioned to produce four monumental paintings for the Ministry of the Interior. True to form, Vlady used this commission to question power through his art. The paintings soon suffered the fate of revolutionaries in disfavor – they were ‘disappeared’ – sequestered in the old Lecumberri prison because the authorities decided they were a tribute to the Zapatista rebellion. They will re-surface, we are told, in an exhibition of his work next year.