As protesters worldwide continue to topple monuments to racists, colonizers and Confederates as part of the wave of demonstrations against racism and state violence, we speak to Bree Newsome Bass, artist and antiracist activist based in North Carolina, who five years ago was arrested at the state Capitol in South Carolina after scaling a 30-foot flagpole to remove the Confederate flag. She says the current backlash against racist symbols reflects “impatience with the pace of incremental progress” both in the United States and elsewhere. “People are tired of centuries of colonialism and white supremacist ideology.”
Yale professor Jason Stanley warns about the dangers of normalizing fascist politics, writing, “What normalization does is transform the morally extraordinary into the ordinary. It makes us able to tolerate what was once intolerable by making it seem as if this is the way things have always been.”
As Bernie Sanders’s runaway win in Nevada cements his position as the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, the Democratic Party establishment and much of the mainstream media are openly expressing concern about a self-described democratic socialist leading the presidential ticket. His opponents have also attacked his ambitious agenda. Last week during the primary debate in Las Vegas, Bernie Sanders addressed misconceptions about socialism. Invoking the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Sanders decried what he called “socialism for the very rich, rugged individualism for the poor.”
In Bolivia, at least 23 people have died amid escalating violence since President Evo Morales, the country’s first indigenous president, resigned at the demand of the military last week. Growing unrest quickly turned to violent chaos on Friday outside Cochabamba when military forces opened fire on indigenous pro-Morales demonstrators, killing at least nine people and injuring more than 100. The violence began soon after thousands of protesters — many indigenous coca leaf growers — gathered for a peaceful march in the town of Sacaba and then attempted to cross a military checkpoint into Cochabamba. Amid this escalating violence and reports of widespread anti-indigenous racism, protesters are demanding self-declared interim President Jeanine Áñez step down. Áñez is a right-wing Bolivian legislator who named herself president at a legislative session without quorum last week. She said that exiled socialist President Morales, who fled to Mexico after he was deposed by the military on November 10, would not be allowed to compete in a new round of elections and would face prosecution if he returned to Bolivia, which has a majority indigenous population. U.N. special envoy Jean Arnault on Sunday called for talks between Jeanine Áñez and leaders of Morales’s political party Movement Toward Socialism, or MAS, though a date has not been set. From Cochabamba, we speak with Kathryn Ledebur, director of the Andean Information Network and a researcher, activist and analyst with over two decades of experience in Bolivia.
Watch our extended interview with Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell before he reports to jail at 4 p.m. Friday in upstate New York for taking part in a nonviolent protest against a natural gas-fired power plant. Cromwell says he’ll also launch a hunger strike. He was one of six activists arrested for blocking traffic at the sit-in outside the construction site of the 650-megawatt plant in Wawayanda, New York, in December of 2015. The activists say the plant would promote natural gas fracking in neighboring states and contribute to climate change.
New Orleans has removed the last of four Confederate statues in recent weeks. Workers wore bulletproof vests and face coverings to conceal their identities as they used a crane to remove the statue from its pedestal. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said threats and intimidation necessitated the overnight work and extra safety precautions. White nationalists have staged a series of protests and issued threats in the lead-up to the memorials’ removals. Though the four most prominent Confederate monuments have been removed, activists are calling for New Orleans officials to remove all monuments, school names and street signs in the city dedicated to white supremacists. We speak with Malcolm Suber, co-founder of Take ’Em Down NOLA.
As President Trump prepares to mark 100 days in office, we spend the hour with the world-renowned linguist and dissident Noam Chomsky. Amy Goodman spoke to him on Monday night at the First Parish Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The conversation addressed climate change, nuclear weapons, North Korea, Iran, the war in Syria and the Trump administration’s threat to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Amy Goodman began by asking him about the Republican Party.
Journalists Naomi Klein, author of “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate” and Lee Fang of The Intercept talk about the role of corporations inside the Trump administration and the inauguration.
On Monday, over 2,000 people packed into Riverside Church in Manhattan to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Democracy Now! It was an historic occasion in part because it marked the first time Noam Chomsky and Harry Belafonte appeared on stage together in conversation. The two have been longtime champions of social justice. Chomsky is a world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author who gained fame in the 1960s for his critique of the Vietnam War and U.S. imperialism. He is institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught for more than 50 years. Harry Belafonte is a longtime civil rights activist who was an immensely popular singer and actor. He was one of Martin Luther King’s closest confidants and helped organize the March on Washington in 1963.