BTS 7/31/06: Israel/Lebanon Conflict; Class & Inequality in the U.S.

Listen: Stephen Schwartz - William K. Tabb - Stephanie Luce

Less than 24 hours after a two-day pause in the bombing was announced, the Israeli military and Hizbullah fighters attacked again. Tonight, the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, said there would be no ceasefire "in the coming days". Israel has lost credibility and its position of strength through its bombing campaign that has killed more than 700 civilians, more than half children, has destroyed Lebanese infrastructure and has not crippled Hizbollah. The response of the Bush-Rice team has been too late, not enough, and inept. If it seems the world is going mad, that Israel is repeating all the mis-steps the US made in Iraq, that meanwhile Pakistan is increasing its nuclear arsenal with nary a word from the US, then it is because international relations are in the hands of belligerent, incompetent and immature policy makers. Stephen Schwartz, an expert on Islam has just returned from 12 days in Northern Israel while talking to moderate Iranian Shi’a. He says it feels like August 1914… and tells us why.

We then shift gears to explore the underside of growing inequality – part of which fuels international conflicts – but here at home in the US of A, where class war is a forbidden topic of discussion but is being waged openly. We begin with William K. Tabb, who looks at who rules America – the rich – and shows how policy follows their interests.

We follow with Stephanie Luce of Amherst Labor Studies who has looked at what has happened to women’s economic position in the last 40 years – and with both we get a better understanding of the power of social movements to restrain business as usual, the rule of the rich.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Stephen Schwartz is a journalist and author of some seven books, including the bestselling Anchor paperback, The Two Faces of Islam: Saudi Fundamentalism and Its Role In Terrorism, and a consultant on domestic and international affairs in Washington, DC. His other books are Sarajevo Rose: A Balkan Jewish Notebook, California: From West to East, Intellectuals and Assassins, Spanish Marxism And Soviet Communism, and The Brotherhood of the Sea. He is co-founder of the Center For Islamic Pluralism.

2. William K. Tabb taught economics at Queens College and at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His books include Economic Governance in the Age of Globalization (Columbia UP 2004), Unequal Partners: A Primer on Globalization (The New Press 2002), and The Amoral Elephant: Globalization and the Struggle for Social Justice In the 21st Century (Monthly Review).

3. Stephanie Luce's main research has been on the political and economic impacts of the living wage movement. She is author of Fighting for a Living Wage (Cornell University Press), and is the co-author with Robert Pollin of The Living Wage: Building a Fair Economy (New Press). She serves as the Research Director of the Labor Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and teaches U.S. Labor History, Advanced Research Methods, Labor and Globalization, and Gender and Work. Her other research interests include progressive economic development, organizing, independent political parties, and low-wage labor markets.