Wed 8.15.12 | The Environmentalism of the Poor

Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor Harvard University Press, 2011






In the Global South, movements have emerged over the last forty years to fight the ecological destruction wrought by multinational corporations and rapacious nation-states. And they have frequently become known around the world because of the efforts of prominent activist-writers -- people like Arundhati Roy and Ken Saro-Wiwa. Rob Nixon discusses several of these movements, their most visible spokespeople, and the complex relationship between the two, as well as the slow violence that these movements fight.

Tues 8.14.12 | Alienation and the Digital Sweatshop

Richard Lichtman, The Production of Desire: The Integration of Psychoanalysis into Marxist Theory The Free Press, 1986

Ellen Cushing, "Dawn of the Digital Sweatshop" East Bay Express


In Part Two of an extended interview, Richard Lichtman elaborates further on worker alienation under capitalism and the nature of ideology. Also, Ellen Cushing describes an emerging form of hyper-alienated labor: it's crowdsourced microtasking, it pays tiny wages, and it's a growing multimillion-dollar industry.

Mon 8.13.12 | Lichtman on Alienation, Part One

According to Karl Marx, workers in a capitalist system are alienated from what they make, from the work process, from nature, and from themselves and others. So what did Marx mean by alienation? In this first part of a two-part interview, Richard Lichtman explains Marx's ideas and comments on human consciousness and potential in an era of intensifying social control. (Part Two airs tomorrow.)

Wed 8.08.12 | Body Merchants

It grosses billions of dollars a year, yet is invisible to most of us, even when it's right under our noses. It's the trade in human organs and tissues, most of which is legal, and much of which is highly disturbing. Investigative journalist Scott Carney has spent years tracking down the impoverished who sell their organs, the middlemen -- often hospitals and government institutions -- who profit particularly from the industry, and the affluent recipients who are often unaware of the provenance of the body parts they acquire.

Tues 8.07.12 | Nuclear Clouds and Facts

Kristin Shrader-Frechette, What Will Work: Fighting Climate Change with Renewable Energy, Not Nuclear Power Oxford U. Press, 2011

Kabasenche, O'Rourke & Slater, eds., The Environment: Philosophy, Science, and Ethics MIT Press, 2012

If climate change concerns you, consider nuclear power, which, according to many of its proponents, does not involve emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. But is this true? Kristin Shrader-Frechette contests those claims; she also discusses the financial costs of nuclear energy, the risks to human health it poses, the perils of industry-funded science, and the contours of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

Mon 8.06.12 | Remembering Gore Vidal, Jeff Lustig

Jeff Lustig (ed.), Remaking California: Reclaiming the Public Good Heyday, 2010






This summer, the left lost two very different intellectuals -- Gore Vidal and Jeff Lustig. One shaped how we see the United States in the world; the other influenced how we view the Golden State. In this audio from the archives, Vidal discusses science, why not to attend university, Harry Truman, sex, and the Kennedys.  The dean of California studies, Jeff Lustig, along with co-author Lenny Goldberg, talks about the challenges that California faces and their origins in political questions of wealth, power, land values, and taxes.

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