Beneath The Surface with Suzi Weissman airs every Friday on KPFK Pacifica Radio from 5:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. Tune in at 90.7 FM in Los Angeles, 98.7 FM in Santa Barbara, and worldwide on KPFK.ORG. You can listen to archived shows online on the KPFK website.

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BTS 10/14/11: Occupy Movement and Progressive Democrats; Ariel Dorfman on Exile

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Tonight’s program is dedicated to Roberto Naduris, on the anniversary of his death. Fittingly, we look at exile and vanquishing silence with his compatriota, Ariel Dorfman, in the second half of the program.

We begin tonight with Tim Carpenter (Progressive Democrats of America National Chairman), John Nichols and Jim Hightower here to talk about the Occupy movement, now unstoppable, forcing the media, the Democrats, the New York mayor and police to ignore and/or repress them at their peril. As the occupiers are joined by labor, community, the hood, as well as the foreclosed, bankrupted and indebted, our guests discuss the possibilities, the trajectory, and historical parallels. I’ll ask them about the Democratic Party’s dance with the movement, which cities dare repress it, and how the 2012 elections will be shaped by the 99%.

Then, Ariel Dorfman joins us live in studio for an extended conversation about his new memoir, Feeding on Dreams: Confessions of an Unrepentant Exile. This new memoir is the tale of exile in the decades that followed the coup in Chile on September 11, 1973, and the many exiles and returns of his life. Ariel submits that “we are all exiles,” and says the 99% of the Occupy movement no longer want to feel like exiles in their own country, and are taking it back. They, like Dorfman, like the people in the squares and streets from Cairo to Athens, Barcelona to Milan, Paris to London, Santiago to New York are “vanquishing silence.”

BTS 10/07/11: Smiley & West Poverty Tour; Occupy Wall Street Protests; "The Forgotten Space"

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Tavis Smiley & Cornel West join us live in studio to talk about their poverty tour. They have joined forces to highlight what the politicians NEVER mention, but everyone sees: that the economic crisis has been a disaster for America’s middle class, and a catastrophe for minority neighborhoods, where economic depression has been the norm but has now deteriorated to a new low, with hunger as a daily threat. Smiley & West are going on a road trip to highlight the plight of the poor people of all races, colors, and creeds so they will not be forgotten, ignored, or rendered invisible during this difficult and dangerous time of economic deprivation and political cowardice.

Occupy Wall Street has blossomed – the 99% vs. 1% movement has spread to at least 853 Cities and towns and is no longer ignored by the mainstream media. The occupation is in its third week, and it is inspiring more and more Americans to join forces against the assault on their living standard, and to demand the political class pay attention. We’ll talk to activists in San Francisco and Los Angeles. You can follow the protest movement live or get minute by minute updates on various sites, including The Guardian, or here. For more news and a calendar for NY events see these sources: OWS Live and The Occupy Wall Street Press.

Allan Sekula, artist, writer and photography theoretician who teaches at Cal Arts joins us to talk about the film The Forgotten Space that he directed with Noël Burch which won the Special Jury Prize at the Orizzonti Competition in Venice. It premieres tomorrow, October 8,at LACMA's Bing Theatre. The film is about the global maritime economy, the "supply chain," and the economic crisis. “The Forgotten Space,” based on Sekula’s Fish Story, follows container cargo aboard ships, barges, trains and trucks, listening to workers, engineers, planners, politicians, and those marginalized by the global transport system. They call this global supply chain the biggest seagoing disaster, leading the world economy perhaps in a more fundamental way than financial speculation to the abyss. They visit displaced farmers and villagers in Holland and Belgium, underpaid truck drivers in Los Angeles, seafarers aboard mega-ships shuttling between Asia and Europe, and factory workers in China, whose low wages they say are the fragile key to the whole puzzle.

BTS 9/30/11: US & Eurozone Crises; Political Gridlock; Russian Politics

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Max Fraad Wolff joins us on our coming ‘double dip’ or as Nouriel Roubini warns, full blown depression. As European central bankers once again try to stabilize the volatile Eurozone with more of the same, Max Fraad Wolff says they are days late and Euros short. Other economists are less sanguine: Jeff Madrick reminds the arrogant German central bankers who want to punish the rest of Europe that American lent them a hand after WWII. Most economists agree that the Euro will fail without the sufficient fiscal rescue, and Martin Wolf writes in the FT that Britain is already in the worst depression since WWI. And in the US? As the Wall Street Occupation continues and the economic situation deteriorates we hear from Bank of America today that they are slapping on a $5 fee for use of debit cards and outrage is palpable. We’ll get Max Fraad Wolff’s take, don’t miss it.

Harold Meyerson joins us from Detroit, where he is visiting factories. We talk to Harold about what he is seeing in Detroit as well as his views on the political-economic situation. Harold’s piece in the Washington Post today discusses the Senate getting tough on China – threatening to impose tariffs if China doesn’t revalue its currency. But Harold also wrote a big think piece in the American Prospect that blames Washington Gridlock on the Constitution – something others have called the ‘dark side of the constitution’ – but suggests the only way out is becoming more like a parliamentary system. We’ll talk to Harold about the political economic situation we face because of our institutional and constitutional constraints, as well as the current activities.

Michael Urban, Politics Professor at UC Santa Cruz, joins us to talk about politics in Russia today – there is an election coming up in 2012, and it looks like Putin will be back in power officially as President in a sort of job swap that clearly doesn’t involve the electorate. Mike understands power and politics in Russia as well as anyone can, and we’ll get his take.

BTS 9/23/11: Michael Moore - "Here Comes Trouble"

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Michael Moore, our favorite troublemaker, film maker, journalist, author and thorn in the side of power has just published Here Comes Trouble, his first book in eight years and by his own admission, “the best damn thing I’ve ever written.” The book has twenty-four short vignettes from his life and they comprise a wonderful read of a radical’s amazing life stories. We’ll talk to Moore about the book, and about the occupation of Wall Street that has been going on all week and – all but ignored by the mainstream media.

BTS 9/16/11: Palestine; Voter Suppression; Lincoln and Marx

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Hisham Ahmed is just back from several months in the West Bank where he was able to gauge the developing “Palestinian Spring,” the beginnings of the widespread Israeli housing and economic protest movement, and to have a close look at the Syrian regime’s violent attempts to suppress their own democracy movement. The vote to recognize the State of Palestine is scheduled to take place in the United Nations General Assembly on September 20: we’ll ask Hisham about the importance of this vote as well as the ‘dilemma’ this poses for the United States – joining Israel to oppose the bid while still saying it favors a two state solution as the outcome of peace talks, now stalled for at least three years.

Ari Berman joins us to talk about the GOP war on voting. He has an article about the voter suppression efforts and laws passed in a dozen states in the September 15 issue of Rolling Stone that details the centrally coordinated, Koch brothers financed, and unprecedented campaign to suppress the electorate that brought Barack Obama to power – including students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly. We’ll ask Ari about other efforts as well, such as the redistricting proposals in Pennsylvania that will turn electoral votes to the Republicans no matter what happens with the popular vote

Robin Blackburn, who teaches at the New School in New York and the University of Essex in the UK has published two books with Verso this year: An Unfinished Revolution: Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln, and The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation and Human Rights. We talk to him about the correspondence between Lincoln and Marx, the centrality of the Haitian revolution -- often overlooked -- in shaping American attitudes to slavery and racism and the Black contribution to antislavery, historically ignored. We’ll also ask Robin about the impact that American events (anti slavery revolts and the early labor struggles for the eight hour day) had on Marx’s overall thinking, as well as Lincoln’s own radicalization, seeking to advance the rights of labor, uniting black and white, men and women, native and foreign born, which Blackburn calls the “unfinished revolution.”

BTS 9/9/11: Roundtable on Obama's Jobs Program

On tonight’s program we are having a roundtable discussion of Obama’s Jobs Program with Robert Pollin, L. Randall Wray and Jack Rasmus. The three will examine Obama’s prescriptions to deal with the 25 million jobless and we’ll talk about the constraints facing Obama with an intransigent opposition and dysfunctional system as well as the limits and possibilities of this latest economic intervention. We’ll also talk about alternative possibilities and what it would take to realize them.

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BTS 5/6/11: Arab Revolutions Update; The World As It Is

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Click Here to support KPFK and Beneath the Surface in our Spring Fund Drive!

Tonight Mark LeVine joins us for an update on the Arab revolutions, and what the end of Osama bin Laden portends. We’ll get the latest on what is happening in Syria, Bahrain, Libya, the planned actions in Israel-Palestine on May 15 as well as continuing developments in Egypt, Yemen and all of the ‘Arab Spring’ locales. Mark says (on his Al Jazeera blog) that “The pro-democracy protests and uprisings that have swept the region are a far more effective weapon for combating Islamic extremism than even the most well-trained and courageous special forces teams will ever be. ...[and] there is no longer any reason or justification for supporting the vicious crackdowns against these movements in Bahrain, Yemen and now, effectively, Syria - each in the name of "stability" or supporting so-called "allies in the War on Terror". We’ll ask him to elaborate.

Plus: We are in our fund drive and we will be featuring Chris Hedges’ new book The World As it Is as a thank you gift. We’ll hear Chris Hedges’ insights on the present conjuncture: Chris says that ‘the centers of American power [have been] seized and hijacked by corporations, the media continue[s] to pay deference to systems of power that can no longer be considered honest or democratic.’ He insists that unless we begin to stand fast around moral imperatives, we will be complicit in our self-annihilation.’

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BTS 4/29/11: Canadian Elections; Skezag

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David McNally, author of Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance (2010) and Monsters of the Market: Zombies, Vampires and Global Capitalism (forthcoming 2011) joins us to talk about Canada’s election on Monday, as well as his views on the continuing global economic crisis and its repercussions around the globe, from the Middle East through the Euro Zone and right here in North America. First the surprise: the Canadian elections are ‘lurching’ leftwards and the New Democratic Party’s Jack Layton, unknown everywhere but Canada, could just win. David cautions that while the leftward surge in polls is historic, especially strong in Quebec, Toronto just elected a right wing deficit cutting mayor. Don’t miss the conversation with David McNally, one of the most interesting analysts around these days.

Phil Messina and Joel Freedman, Co Directors of the most powerful film ever made about drugs, too controversial to be seen on TV until tonight, join us to talk about their documentary Skezag. The film was made in 1970, but screens for the first time tonight on the Documentary Channel. It has been called ‘not so much a film but an experience – a harrowing encounter with the drug world.’ The film features Wayne Shirley, an extraordinary street hustler, Vietnam vet and self-styled entertainer who philosophizes , smokes pot and tells of his war, street and drug experiences, bragging of his ability to shoot dope and not get hooked. Months later we see the devastating results, and what started out as a film for a lark ends up as one of the most powerful statements on drug use ever made. We’ll feature some clips and talk to Phil Messina and Joel Freedman about the film, the intersections of art and politics, and more.

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BTS 4/22/11: Koch Brothers; The "S" Word; Marx at the Margins

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We begin tonight with Mark Ames, who has an explosive story with Mike Elk in The Nation. “Big Brother: Thought Control at Koch Industries” reveals that Koch Industries has advised its 55,000 employees who to vote for and warning them about the dire consequences to their families, their jobs and country should they choose to vote otherwise. Mark has seen it all before – he investigated, chronicled and reported on the Russian “transition” which transferred power and money from the State to the oligarchs throughout the Yeltsin and early Putin years. Mark returned to the US just as the financial system crashed and sees in the Koch Brothers’ activities some very familiar tactics – and strategy. We’ll ask him if Russia showed America its future.

We then turn to John Nichols for an update on the Wisconsin Supreme Court election recount. We also talk to John about his latest book, The “S” Word: a Short History of an American Tradition...Socialism. That “S” word re-entered the vernacular in 2008 and 2010, when the right claimed that American government and media had been infiltrated by socialists, a more disturbing threat than that ‘from foreign terrorists.’ John rescues the long and proud American history of socialism and its many socialists including Emma Lazarus, Walt Whitman, Helen Keller, but also reminds us that Tom Paine was enamored of the early socialists, Horace Greeley employed Karl Marx as a correspondent, and there is a strong case for socialist ideas today.

And continuing on the theme of socialism, Marx and even the Civil War, we talk to Kevin Anderson about his new book, Marx at the Margins that directly challenges the conventional wisdom that Marx was Eurocentric, making an overwhelming case for the importance of Marx's views on non-Western societies, ethnicity, nationalism, and race to our interpretations of his thinking. We’ll talk to Kevin about Marx’s letter to Abraham Lincoln and views of the American Civil War. We’ll also ask about current revolutionary struggles outside of Europe – the “Arab Spring,” Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions and continuing struggles in Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and beyond.

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BTS 4/15/11: California Election; "A Strange Stirring"

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On tonight’s program we feature 36th Congressional district candidates Marcy Winograd, Debra Bowen, and Janice Hahn, three progressive women who face off on May 17 in a special election to replace Jane Harman for a discussion/ debate of the issues and we promise they will get a chance to discuss their views beyond the talking points. This election will be the first in California’s new all-party primary: if no candidate wins a majority of votes outright, the top two vote getters advance to a special general election on July 12.

Stephanie Coontz joins us to discuss her new book, A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s. It couldn’t come at a more appropriate time – last Friday a shutdown of the government was barely averted and it came down to funding of Planned Parenthood. We may have come a long way, but the White House’s comprehensive statistical report just released on “Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being” – the first assessment since 1963 – shows that women still earn less on average than men and are more likely to live in poverty, are at much greater risk of sexual assault and violence at the hands of an intimate partner. There is no one who could better address the new attack on women than Stephanie Coontz, whose many books have chronicled and analyzed the ongoing fight for equality.

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