BTS 4/14/08: I Don't Believe in Atheists; Italian Elections; Ashgrove 50th Anniversary

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Chris Hedges has a new book, I Don’t Believe in Atheists – it grew out of the debate here in LA with Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, and inspired Hedges to continue his fight against the fundamentalist mindset that informed his bestselling American Fascists. In this compelling and beautifully written book, Hedges takes on the new atheists who attack religion to advance the worst of global capitalism, intolerance and imperial projects. Chris joins us in studio.

Then, an update on the Italian elections, a wipe out for the Prodi center-left government and a victory for Berlusconi. KPFK Senior Producer Alan Minsky joins us to explain what happened.

In the last part of the hour, Gordon Alexandre and Jerry Kay come in to celebrate 50 years of the Ashgrove, which for 15 years, from 1958-1973 presented music as a major voice for the experiences, beliefs and feelings of communities and peoples.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. He has 15 years of experience reporting from war zones in the Persian Gulf, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, the West Bank and Gaza, Sudan, Yemen, Algeria, the Punjab, Bosnia and Kosovo.In 2002, he shared a Pulitzer Prize for The New York Times’ coverage of global terrorism. Hedges is the author of the bestseller “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.”

2. Alan Minsky is a Senior Producer here at KPFK.

3. Gordon Alexandre was a student and anti-war activist at UCLA in the 1960's. In 1967, he helped in the Peace and Freedom Party registration campaign in Southern California, which had a major organizing center at the Ashgrove. Two years later he began working at the Ashgrove, doing publicity during the day and managing the nighttime operation. He has been friends with Ed Pearl for 40 years. For the past 25 years he has been a history professor at Glendale Community College, where he continues to be an activist serving as the union’s chief negotiator for 12 years and currently is president of the local. One of the classes he teaches is “History of Social Protest in the 1960’s”.

4. Jerry Kay has been a friend of Gordon’s for 50 years, former staff person at the Ashgrove, and actually handed the Ashgrove job to Gordon. He became so deeply inspired by Lightnin’ Hopkins, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and the Teatro Campesino that he left LA to become a farm labor organizer for Cesar Chavez’s UFW in 1969. Later, he organized farmers’ markets and businesses involved with spreading organic growing practices and hosted a live music radio show featuring “roots” performers. He now lives in Santa Cruz, Ca.