Category Archives: Video

And now for something completely different

Would you believe John Lithgow reading that subversive Dr. Seuss masterpiece, Yertle the Turtle:

Theodore Seuss Geisel [Seuss was his pen name], was a notable progressive, and an ardent foe of racism, as in this 1942 editorial cartoon for the Chicago Sun-Times aimed at segregation in war industries:

BLOG Seuss 2

But in his role as war propagandist, he slipped, supporting internment of California’s Japanese-American population and indulging in negative stereotypes. But after the war he recognized his own flaws and wrote one of his most famous children’s books as an apology.

Kathleen Cleaver and the Black Panther Party

For a generation of Americans, Kathleen Cleaver was one of the most recognizable African American women in the United States. As spouse of Eldridge Cleaver, one of the founders and early leaders of the Black Panther Party, she was the feminine face of a radical movement with its roots in Oakland, California.

The marriage didn’t last, and Eldridge Cleaver subsequently renounced his radical views and became a conservative Mormon Republican [really] with multiple crack cocaine possession arrests [including two here in Berkeley], Kathleen Cleaver remains true to her early ideals.

In these two video segments, Cleaver discusses both the evolution of her own political experience and the history of the party itself.

From The Real News Network:

Evolution of A Black Panther — 1

From the transcript:

Long story short, by 1966 I was a student in college in New York City. And I was attending Barnard. This was the summer of ’66, and when Stokely Carmichael proclaimed black power as the new slogan of the movement. Freedom now was set aside, and black power was the new call. In a march in Mississippi, I knew, I had met Stokely. I had close friends who were, had worked in SNCC. Long story short, I knocked on the door at the SNCC office for a job interview two weeks after black power. It was very exciting. The movement, I had no idea, was in a state of not only transition but collapse. Moving from an integrated financial base to a black power orientation.

I was gung-ho with black power. I loved the movement, I loved everybody I met. It was my–oh, I could talk to, you know, James Forman, who I’d admired since I could read about him. And I could see Stokely Carmichael come into the office. And I was–I was just with these people who were amazing, extraordinary. I was asked to come down to Atlanta and work directly with the campus program, which was what I had wanted to do. I wanted to be an organizer of college students. And I became involved with planning events and coordinating with the concepts of black power, the notions of black liberation, sort of the political education of students to further this movement.

It was the most exciting and challenging and dramatic thing, and I never, ever worked so hard in my life. I think the first–seemed like the first time I moved to Atlanta I was at a meeting that lasted, it seemed like three days, with no sleep. I was just constantly taking notes with people. I was in the most exciting position to me, and being with people who I admired and I looked up to and I’d read about. And now here I was in this movement, having no idea when I first got there, it was about to explode.

It directly led to my connection to the Black Panther party. Very quickly. I got to SNCC in New York in June. Moved to Atlanta in January of ’67. And we were planning a conference for black students that was going to be held in Nashville, and it was called Liberation Will Come From A Black Thing. So I would say this was one of the very earliest black student conferences around the theme of black liberation. And the student organizations that affiliated or worked with SNCC or were focused on these issues were all coming, and people from Atlanta.

Evolution of A Black Panther — 2

From the transcript:

I used to respond to that question about the legacy of the Black Panther Party as it was too soon, because legacy is something that’s left after you’re dead, and the Black Panther Party, all the members haven’t died out. So we’re still in the form. However, that’s no longer true. Most of the members if not deceased are no longer active in that form. So you can say as an organization there is no more Black Panther Party. So let’s look at the legacy.

I still say that it’s too soon to tell because what the true activities and behavior and beliefs, practices within the Black Panther Party were is not what people know. I’m very stunned to realize that they have no clue as to the type of things we talked about, the type of things that we did, the programs that we initiated, the ideas we proposed, because of the distortions. Because of the manipulation. So when they read our own newspapers or see our own files or talk to us–no. They’re treated to garbage and lies. So first let’s get the true history, story, the true thoughts about the Black Panthers out.

We had a premise, and that was we want the power for our community to determine our own destiny. That’s point one. We’re still working on that. Point seven is the one we became identified with. Point seven which said we want an immediate end to police brutality and violence against black people. We also had some issues with imprisonment and military service, bad education. Really the political disabilities and the social disabilities of being what they like to call second-class citizens. We didn’t call it that. We called it a colonized people.

We had been deprived of our ability to determine our own destiny. The whole concept of black power was, in our case, power to the people. The people of our community. And so our legacy is to fight for the power to determine the destiny of our own community. To stand up, be counted, defend yourself, call for an end to police brutality and all other forms of racist injustice and tyranny. Which I think is being perpetuated as I speak by the new crowds of young people horrified, horrified at the level of violence and hostility that the police forces in this country see authorized to dispense in black communities.

In an interesting twist, it was for fear of the Panthers that then Gov. Ronald Reagan and the Caslifornia legislature passed the state’s first major gun control act, preventing the carrying of leaded weapons in public. The Mulford Act was aimed at destroying the Black Panther Police Patrols, the armed contingents of Panthers patrolling black neighborhoods to protect them from police misconduct.

On 2 March 1967, a contingent of Panthers, clad in leather jackets and black berets, entered the California State Capitol to protest the imminent passage of the legislation, sending lawmakers fleeing or ducking under their desks. After reading out a communique, the Panthers left peacefully.

Needless to say, the legislation passed.

Via the Visibility Project, here’s the sight that prompted Gov. Reagan to opt for the most basic form of gun control:

BLOG Panthers

Naomi Klein: Capitalism, a threat to humanity

And not just to humans, but to all the other critters with whom we share this small, bright blue sphere.

In this interview with Amanda Lang of CBC News, Naomi Klein, whose writing helped paved the way to the Occupy movement and a growing revolt against economic inequality, says the threat is capitalism itself, an ideology which sees the acquisition of wealth as an end in itself.

Klein’s latest book, This Changes Everything, Capitalism vs the Climate, was hailed by the New York Times as “the most momentous and contentious environmental book since Silent Spring.”

From CBC News:

Naomi Klein – The Exchange with Amanda Lang

Program note:

Amanda interviews author, activist and environmentalist Naomi Klein on her theory that capitalism is to blame for climate change.

Video: Confronting the AIDS epidemic in Tijuana

And important and troubling documentary about battling the spread of AIDS just south of the California border, via University of California Television:

HIV/SIDA: Epidemic in Tijuana

Program notes from the UC San Diego News Center:

The new documentary “HIV/SIDA: The Epidemic in Tijuana” offers an unflinching look at the challenges facing researchers from the University of California, San Diego as they attempt to identify and treat people who inject drugs, sex workers, transgender women and others who are at high risk for HIV infection in Tijuana. The program. . .was shot over two years.

The documentary is split into four episodes, each telling a piece of the HIV/AIDS story in Tijuana. The series starts in El Bordo, a neighborhood of injecting drug users in the Tijuana River Canal, and then moves to Prevencasa where UC San Diego and Mexican medical students offer free care at the Health Frontiers in Tijuana clinic. From there, it turns its focus to a tattoo removal clinic and then a telemedicine program that connects patients with remotely located HIV doctors. The series continues with poignant stories and photos of people living with HIV and concludes with a wrap of what it would take to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Tijuana.

“HIV/SIDA” is organized around the research of UC San Diego epidemiologist Steffanie Strathdee, who is the chief of UC San Diego’s division of Global Public Health, UCSD psychologist Tom Patterson and their binational team of doctors, nurses and healthcare outreach workers. Their research has shown that Tijuana’s prevalence of HIV is three times higher than in Mexico at large. Strathdee said the documentary is a call to action to address the epidemic in a strategic and coordinated manner.

“It’s possible to end AIDS in Tijuana, but we need to take a broader look. Mexico as a whole should see Tijuana as a window for what could be the HIV epidemic for the rest of the country,” she said. “I also believe it shouldn’t just be Mexico’s responsibility to stop this epidemic because we have a shared population across the border. We need a binational response.”

The binational nature of Tijuana’s epidemic is reflected in the series title as SIDA is the Spanish term for AIDS, the acronym for síndrome de inmunodeficiencia adquirida.

“HIV/SIDA” was made possible through a grant from the Ford Foundation. UCTV Producer Shannon Bradley based the video series on Tomorrow Is a Long Time, a photo essay book with vignettes by photographer Malcolm Linton and Jon Cohen, two long-time collaborators who have travelled to more than 30 countries to document the HIV/AIDS epidemic for Science magazine.

Cohen said there is already a recipe for how to end the AIDS epidemic, which includes:

  • Identifying where high-risk groups congregate and then saturating those locales with rapid HIV testing and distributing educational materials as well as condoms, clean needles and syringes.
  • Testing all pregnant women.
  • Offering circumcision to men.
  • Connecting those who test positive with counselors who can emphasize the importance of treatment and not infecting others.
  • Providing antiretrovirals to all those infected with HIV and having case workers oversee their treatment so they achieve undetectable viral loads, which makes transmission to others less likely.
  • Offer antiretrovirals as preventatives to high-risk groups as a way to reduce transmission.

“We all know the recipe for ending AIDS,” Cohen said, “but it’s not happening aggressively enough in Tijuana. Could we do this? Could we break the back of the epidemic and get to the point where one person isn’t infecting another? Absolutely. The tools exist.”

Nextdoor: A panacea becomes a problem

Back in March, the New York Times offered a glowing report on the remarkable growth of, which had just pulled in $110 million in new venture capital for a company with an estimated worth of more than a billion dollars:

In short, it is all about community. Nextdoor has slowly built a network of more than 53,000 microcommunities across the United States, all based on local neighborhood boundaries. Nextdoor restricts communication to only those people who live close to one another; users are required to verify their identity and home address upon signing up.

Consider Nextdoor a modern, more attractive version of a community email list service or Yahoo Groups, the popular message board. Users can post neighborhood news, offer items for sale, ask for help finding lost pets or organize a block party.

Nextdoor also works with about 650 local government agencies that can send out citywide alerts on things like utility shutdowns in specific areas, crime alerts or emergency-preparedness tips.

But beneath the laudatory coverage, a darker side of the social medium was emerging, according to a report that same month from Fusion, headlined “Nextdoor, the social network for neighbors, is becoming a home for racial profiling.”

The report began with an incident in one neighborhood in Oakland, not so far from Casa esnl:

As Meredith Ahlberg ushered friends into her home in East Oakland’s Ivy Hill neighborhood for a party on a Saturday in early March, she noticed that her phone was lighting up with notifications. There were new messages from agitated neighbors on the localized social network Nextdoor, warning the neighborhood about “sketchy” men—one in a “white hoodie,” the other “a thin, youngish African American guy wearing a black beanie, white t-shirt with dark opened button down shirt over it, dark pants, tan shoes, gold chain.” These men, the poster wrote, were “lingering” and searching for a nonexistent address.

“Scary sketchy,” a poster commented. One neighbor suggested the situation warranted a call to the Oakland Police Department.

But Ahlberg, who is white, recognized the “suspicious” men: they were her friends, looking for her front door. By the time she saw the posts, her friends had found the correct address and Ahlberg was looking right at the ‘thin, young, black man’ with the gold chain. The co-owner of a clothing store in downtown Oakland, he looked “ridiculously handsome and stylish,” she said in an interview. She was horrified at her neighbors’ assumptions.

It was, in short, a case of asking questions while being black in a white neighborhood.

But the Oakland problem is even deeper, according to a report just published in the East Bay Express:, a website that bills itself as the “private social network for neighborhoods,” offers a free web platform on which members can blast a wide variety of messages to people who live in their immediate neighborhood. A San Francisco-based company founded in 2010, Nextdoor’s user-friendly site has exploded in popularity over the last two years in Oakland. As of this fall, a total of 176 Oakland neighborhoods have Nextdoor groups — and 20 percent of all households in the city use the site, according to the company.

On Nextdoor, people give away free furniture or fruit from their backyards. Users reunite lost dogs with their owners. Members organize community meetings and share tips about babysitters and plumbers. But under the “Crime and Safety” section of the site, the tone is much less neighborly. There, residents frequently post unsubstantiated “suspicious activity” warnings that result in calls to the police on Black citizens who have done nothing wrong. In recent months, people from across the city have shared with me Nextdoor posts labeling Black people as suspects simply for walking down the street, driving a car, or knocking on a door. Users have suggested that Black salesmen and mail carriers may be burglars. One Nextdoor member posted a photo of a young Black boy who failed to pick up dog poop and suggested that his neighbors call the police on him.

White residents have also used Nextdoor to complain and organize calls to police about Black residents being too noisy in public parks and bars — raising concerns that the site amplifies the harmful impacts of gentrification. On Nextdoor and other online neighborhood groups — including Facebook pages and Yahoo and Google listservs — residents have called Black and Latino men suspicious for being near bus stops, standing in “shadows,” making U-turns, and hanging around outside coffee shops. Residents frequently warn each other to be on the look out for suspects with little more description than “Black” and “wearing a hoodie.”

Accompanying the article on the alternative weekly’s website is a video we pass along:

Unwelcome at Home: Black Oaklanders on Racial Profiling

Once again, a medium heralded as a way to bring people together has become a conduit for the perpetuation of stereotypes [think “comments”]. But unlike many website comments, Nextdoor posters are identified and their messages seem much more temperate. Nonetheless, prejudices shape the context, assumptions about how a designated group is prone to act in specific situations.

And once again we are presented with proof that, contrary to claims of the Rabid Right, bigotry ain’t dead. And it helps tp recognize that each of us  own peculiarities of thought and action folks in other times and places might deem ignorant, even dangerously so.

But all that means little to those targeted by manifestly wrong-headed bias in a culture which can’t even fully acknowledge the collective and continuing trauma wrought by the institution of chattel slavery.

You’ll find that reality right Nextdoor.

Skewering Kissinger, the idealistic thug

While former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has been dubbed a masterful practitioner of Realpolitik, the German-born politician was, in fact, a classic idealist, for whom the lives of untold thousands could be sacrificed in service of the ideal of geopolitical stability, argues New York University historian Greg Grandin.

In his newly published Kissinger’s Shadow, The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman, makes the argument that Kissinger’s brutal legacy, discredited in the wake of the disastrous Vietnam War and his support of the brutal regime of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran, has not only been rehabilitated, but elevated to the gold standard of American foreign policy, with results just as disastrous as in the 1960s and 1970s.

For many of esnl’s generation, Henry Kissinger represented everything wrong in American politics, and his name served as an embodiment of imperial ambition, and nobody captured the Kissinger essence better than political caricaturist David Levine, most notably in this illustration for the cover of the New York Review of Books:

BLOG Henry 1

When the New Republic’s Steven Cohen recently interviewed Grandin, he asked the historian what had sparked his latest tome. The answer is revealing:

Honestly, I saw a picture of Samantha Power [the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations] and Henry Kissinger at a Yankees game that so drove me over the edge. You know, Samantha Power wrote this book about genocide, including several genocides that Kissinger was implicated in, and then to see their banter about power and realism and human rights…I thought I would write a snarky book called The People’s Obituary of Henry Kissinger. That introduction, “An Obituary Foretold,” is kind of all that’s left from it. I don’t think I have the comic imagination to justify a full-length book that would have said anything new.

From The Laura Flanders Show on Telesur English, here’s an interview with the author, followed by an excerpt of a documentary on his legacies:

Greg Grandin: Empire and Resistance

Program notes:

The tools of empire, and the resistance: We talk with professor and author Greg Grandin about his latest book, Kissinger’s Shadow. Then, later in the show, we look at the US-supported coup in Honduras in 2009. And some words from Laura on Guatemala.

Finally, one more David Levine illustration this one named after a Ray Bradbury novel, The Illustrated Man:

BLOG Henry 2

When Juice Rap News tackles the Internet

The Internet. . .what to make of it?

We leave that question to the Australian satirists at Juice Rap News, with the help of self described geeky British rapper Dan Bull {son of John?]:

THE INTERNET – Featuring Dan Bull

Program notes:

The time has come to turn our focus onto the very medium which allows us to connect: The Internet. As we know it today, it has only been around for a short time: it’s still an adolescent; still changing and growing. But even as we speak, powerful forces and interests are vying to influence and shape it’s nature as it reaches full maturity. And since humanity’s destiny and that of the Internet are intimately connected, it would be wise to be ask: how is the Internet doing? If the Internet could speak to us as a human today, what kind of person would it be? And most importantly, what kind of a person will it become in the future? Log in with Robert Foster as he poses these very questions to some of the most influential and powerful figures who are today shaping the Internet’s future. Featuring an world-exclusive, world-first appearance from the Internet itself. Only on Juice Rap News.

Written & created by Giordano Nanni & Hugo Farrant in a suburban backyard home studio in Melbourne, Australia, on Wurundjeri Land.