Start Making Sense

Steve Phillips on Sinema and Nelson Lichtenstein on the U.C. Strike

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The Democrats triumphed in Arizona this November, electing the governor and the secretary of state, and reelecting senator Mark Kelly –in what used to be a red state. But then Senator Kyrsten Sinema quit the Democratic Party, and Progressives moved towards a primary election to challenge her. On this week’s podcast, Steve Phillips explains how the victories happened, and what’s to be done about Sinema.

Also on this episode of Start Making Sense– the largest strike in the nation entered its fifth week. 36,000 grad student employees of the University of California –including teaching assistants– are not grading final exams. The union agreed to mediation—which seems unlikely to succeed. Nelson Lichtenstein has our update.  12-15-2022

Joan Walsh on the Georgia runoff and Nelson Lichtenstein on the UC strike

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On this episode of the Start Making Sense podcast, Nation correspondent, Joan Walsh, comments on Democratic incumbent, Senator Raphael Warnock beating Herschel Walker in the Georgia runoff, and what that means for the future of American politics.

Also on this episode, the largest strike in the country this year, and the largest in the history of higher education, entered its fourth week at the University of California. Historian Nelson Lichtenstein joins the show to discuss. 12-9-2022

Beverly Gage on J. Edgar Hoover, plus Erwin Chemerinsky on Originalism

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We know a lot about the bad things J. Edgar Hoover did, but it turns out there’s a lot we didn’t know. Historian Beverly Gage joins the podcast to explain. Her new book is “G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover & the Making of the American Century.”

Also: Should the Supreme Court base its decision on what it can discern about the original intent of the framers? That’s what the “originalists” say – and they dominate today’s court. Erwin Chemerinsky comments. Chemerinsky is dean of the law school at UC Berkeley and author most recently of “Worse Than Nothing: The Dangerous Fallacy of Originalism.”  12-1-2022

The Undocumented Can Work Jobs at the U. of Calif., and Latinas Are Fighting Toxic Pollution

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Hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought here by their undocumented parents since 2007 are not eligible for DACA. But now they may be eligible for jobs–at the University of California. UCLA law professor Ahilan Arulanantham explains.

Also: the fight against pollution in LA’s port communities, where 300,000 people, mostly Latino, live next door to oil refineries, chemical facilities, and one of the largest oilfields in the nation. For decades they’ve been fighting for basic rights and a cleaner environment. Eliza Moreno has that story.  11-24-2022

Joan Walsh on the Georgia Runoff; Gustavo Arellano on the LA Vote

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The Georgia Senate runoff campaign has begun–Joan Walsh has just returned from Atlanta, and explains why Trump’s candidate Herschel Walker seems likely to lose. Also: comment on what happened in Stacey Abrams’ tragic loss.

Plus: in Los Angeles the terrible sheriff has lost his re-election campaign. Gustavo Arellano, the LA Times columnist, comments, and reports on how the billionaire developer running for mayor campaigned for the Latino vote.  11-17-2022

How We Win the Midterms: Steve Phillips; plus Black Landowners in North Carolina: Cameron Oglesby

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How can we save democracy from white nationalism and right-wing authoritarianism? Steve Phillips argues we need to organize and turn out the millions of non-voters – people of color and young people – with a long-term, data-based strategy. Steve’s new book is “How We Win the Civil War: Securing a Multiracial Democracy and Ending White Supremacy for Good.”

Also: a story about Black landownership, starting in Piney Woods, North Carolina, one of the oldest examples of uninterrupted land ownership by Black people in the US, going back to before the Civil War. Cameron Oglesby has that report.  11-3-2022

Stacey Abrams Explains her Work; We Remember Mike Davis

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Stacey Abrams, running for governor in Georgia, is behind in the polls of likely voters, which the pollsters define as people who vote regularly, especially in the last midterms, four years ago. But her whole strategy is to organize and mobilize people who do NOT vote regularly – to expand the electorate with young people, people of color, and those the political scientists call “low-propensity voters.” She explains in this interview, from April, 2019, after her first campaign for governor.

Also: Mike Davis, author and activist, radical hero and family man, died on Tuesday, Oct. 25. After talking about his life and work, we play part of an interview with him on this podcast from November, 2016, one week after Trump was elected.  10-27-2022


A brilliant radical reporter with a novelist’s eye and a historian’s memory.

Mike Davis, author and activist, radical hero and family man, died October 25 after a long struggle with esophageal cancer; he was 76. He’s best known for his 1990 book about Los Angeles, City of Quartz. Marshall Berman, reviewing it for The Nation, said it combined “the radical citizen who wants to grasp the totality of his city’s life, and the urban guerrilla aching to see the whole damned thing blow.”

… continued at, HERE   10-26-2022

Chris Lehmann on Republican Plans for 2023, plus Adam Hochschild on Repression in WWI America

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What will Republicans do if they win control of the House in the midterms? Now they’ve said something about that, officially: they call it their “Commitment to America.” Chris Lehmann calls it “a grab bag of cultural resentments papering over an anemic policy wish list.”

Also: The Trump years are not the only time American democracy has been threatened; the World War One years, when Democrat Woodrow Wilson was president, were another. That’s what Adam Hochschild argues –his new book is “American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy’s Forgotten Crisis.”  10-20-2022