Democracy Now!

The New McCarthyism: Angela Davis Speaks in New York After Critics Shut Down Two Events

When high school students in Rockland County, New York, invited renowned activist and professor Angela Davis to speak, the event got shut down in two different venues over protests that she was “too radical.” But the students persevered, and Angela Davis addressed a packed church Thursday night. “I talked about the importance of recognizing that through struggle, through organized struggle, through the efforts of people who come together and join hands and join their voices together, we’ve made changes in this country,” says Davis. We also speak with community activist Nikki Hines, who supported students at Rockland County High School when they invited Davis to speak and who says “misinformation” drove the protests.

Inside Israel's Cover-up & U.S. Response to Murder of Palestinian American Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

More than six months since the Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed while reporting in the occupied West Bank, “there is still no accountability in what happened,” says journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous. He is the correspondent on a new Al Jazeera documentary for the program “Fault Lines” that investigates Abu Akleh’s May killing. It draws on videos and eyewitness accounts of Abu Akleh’s killing to establish that Abu Akleh was fatally shot in the head by Israeli forces, a finding supported by numerous other press investigations. The Biden administration also recently opened an FBI probe into her killing, but Israel is refusing to cooperate and has continued to deny responsibility. Abu Akleh, who was one of the most recognizable faces in the Arab world, had worked for Al Jazeera for 25 years and held U.S. citizenship. We play excerpts from the Al Jazeera documentary, “The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh,” and hear from Shireen’s niece Lina Abu Akleh. “We want there to be accountability. We want there to be justice,” she says.

Headlines for December 2, 2022

Rights Advocates to NYC Mayor Adams: You Can't Arrest Your Way Out of Housing & Mental Health Crisis

New York Mayor Eric Adams announced this week that police and emergency medical workers will start hospitalizing people with mental illness against their will, even if they pose no threat to others. Rights groups and community organizations have slammed the move as inhumane and are demanding better access to housing and other support for people struggling with mental illness and homelessness. “That does require funding. That does require investment. Unfortunately, we don’t get that,” says Jumaane Williams, New York City’s public advocate, who says officials are too quick to use policing as a solution to social inequality. We also speak with Jawanza Williams of social justice group VOCAL-NY, who says Mayor Adams and his administration are intent on obscuring issues of homelessness and mental illness rather than solving them. “Hiding, disappearing people experiencing homelessness, dismantling encampments, preventing people from taking photographs inside of the shelters will not prevent the truth from coming out,” he says.

David Dayen on Rail Contract Bill, Respect for Marriage Act, Debt Ceiling & What a GOP Congress Means

With a new Congress being sworn in next month, Democratic lawmakers have a busy lame-duck session during which they will try to pass as many bills as possible before losing their majority in the House of Representatives. The Senate has just passed the historic Respect for Marriage Act in a 61-36 vote that protects marriage equality, and lawmakers are also moving to impose a controversial contract on the freight rail industry to avert a possible strike by thousands of rail workers who are demanding sick days and other improvements. Meanwhile, a fight is looming over a funding bill to avoid a government shutdown. For more, we speak with journalist David Dayen, whose recent piece for The American Prospect is headlined “Reconciliation Is Available to End Debt Limit Hostage-Taking.”

Oath Keepers Founder Guilty of Seditious Conspiracy for Plotting to Violently Overthrow U.S. Gov't

Jurors in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday found Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes guilty of seditious conspiracy for plotting to keep Donald Trump in power after the 2020 election, resulting in the deadly January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Kelly Meggs, who led the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers, was also convicted of seditious conspiracy, and three other insurrectionists were found guilty of other felonies. The case marks the first time in nearly three decades that a federal jury has convicted defendants of seditious conspiracy, the crime of conspiring to overthrow, put down or destroy by force the government of the United States. “It’s a win for the Justice Department, and it also sends a message that illegal actions against the government will not go unpunished,” says Kristen Doerer, managing editor of Right Wing Watch. Doerer also discusses other upcoming trials for insurrectionists and how extremist groups have infiltrated military and law enforcement circles.

Headlines for December 1, 2022

Meet Puerto Rican Journalist Bianca Graulau, Featured in Viral Bad Bunny Video on Injustices in PR

Puerto Rico’s financial oversight board has voted to extend a contract with LUMA Energy — the private U.S.-Canadian corporation that took over the island’s power grid and is widely denounced by residents on the island for its inconsistent service and high prices. The privatization of Puerto Rico’s power grid, supported by an unelected board appointed by the U.S. government, represents the “everyday consequences of colonialism,” says independent reporter Bianca Graulau, whose latest documentary is called “País de Apagones,” or “Country of Blackouts.”

Striking Univ. of California Grad Students Speak Out on Nation's Largest-Ever Higher Education Strike

The largest higher education strike in U.S. history has entered its third week in an effort to secure livable wages, more child care benefits, expanded family leave and other demands. Some 48,000 academic workers at all 10 University of California campuses are on strike, including teaching assistants, postdoctoral scholars, graduate student researchers, tutors and fellows. We speak with a professor and graduate students at three campuses in the UC system, as a tentative deal with postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers was announced Tuesday by the University of California that does not cover graduate student employees who make up the vast majority of those on strike. “We are the ones who are producing the work. We’re teaching the classrooms. And yet, most of these student workers qualify for food stamps,” says UCLA doctoral student and local union head Enrique Olivares Pesante. UC Davis student researcher Aarthi Sekar describes how international graduate students have also been impacted. We also speak with Nelson Lichtenstein, director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy at UC Santa Barbara.

"Enough Is Enough": Rail Workers Decry Biden's Push to Impose Strike-Breaking Labor Deal

President Biden is pushing Congress to block a pending nationwide rail strike and push through a contract deal that includes no sick days and is opposed by four of the 12 rail unions. Biden’s latest request is an attempt to “legislate us basically back to work, before we’ve even had a chance to strike,” says locomotive engineer and Railroad Workers United organizer Ron Kaminkow. “Workers should have the right to take off work for a reasonable amount for whatever reason they need it,” says labor professor Nelson Lichtenstein, who urges the rail workers to strike anyway.

Headlines for November 30, 2022

NYC DA Asks Judge to Drop Murder Charges Against Domestic Abuse Survivor Tracy McCarter

In a remarkable courtroom scene, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg asked a New York judge Monday to dismiss murder charges against Tracy McCarter, who says she acted in self-defense when her estranged husband died from a stab wound in the chest in 2020. Bragg campaigned on a promise to fight to free McCarter of murder charges, though, when elected, advocates say his actions initially fell short. This comes as pressure is growing in New York to end the criminalization of domestic abuse survivors, which happens at a disproportionate rate against Black women. Advocates say 90% of women who are incarcerated in New York have been subjected to domestic violence. McCarter “had done everything we tell domestic abuse survivors to do,” says journalist Victoria Law, who has closely followed McCarter’s case, but the nurse still finds herself “in legal limbo, waiting to see if she can try to start picking up the pieces of her life or if she will be facing trial for murder.”

"Sportswashing & Greenwashing": Ex-Soccer Player Jules Boykoff on Qatar Hosting World Cup

We speak with author Jules Boykoff about the climate and political implications of the 2022 World Cup. The soccer tournament is being played in the winter for the first time due to Qatar’s extreme summer temperatures. Boykoff says Qatar and FIFA have greenwashed the event by erroneously claiming the World Cup is “fully carbon neutral” despite blocking an independent review of the games. Boykoff also says Qatar is participating in “sportswashing” by using the games to deflect attention from labor abuses. Boykoff’s article in Scientific American is “The World Cup in Qatar Is a Climate Catastrophe.”

Abdullah Al-Arian on First Middle East World Cup & Western Media's "Orientalist Outlook"

As the 2022 World Cup plays out in Qatar, the first Arab country to host the major sporting event, we speak with history professor Abdullah Al-Arian, who says the international media is projecting an “Orientalist outlook” in its coverage of the games. Al-Arian says despite mainstream discourse, football in the Middle East has historically been used by nationalist movements as “a means of organizing collectively on the basis of achieving their own liberation against colonial rule.” His recent New York Times opinion piece is “Why the World Cup Belongs in the Middle East.”

Headlines for November 29, 2022

"A Forgotten Conflict": Sahrawi Activists Slam Moroccan Greenwashing Amid Western Sahara Occupation

As climate Sahrawi activists in occupied Western Sahara accuse Morocco of greenwashing, the Spanish Film Academy, the Spanish equivalent to the Oscars, has just given its social justice award to the Western Sahara International Film Festival and its film school. We feature our interview at the U.N. climate summit with Mahfud Bechri, who explains how Morocco sells the natural resources and wealth of Western Sahara without the consent of the Sahrawi people as part of an effort to greenwash its military occupation of Western Sahara, and his larger campaign to demand companies end complicity with the occupation. The new social justice award from the Spanish Film Academy recognizes how Spanish support for the Moroccan occupation has led to “a complete media blockade” of the conflict, says María Carrión, executive director of FiSahara, the Western Sahara International Film Festival.

Will Missouri Stay Execution of Kevin Johnson, Case Tainted by Racism, or Let Daughter Witness Death?

Pressure is growing for Missouri to stop the execution of Kevin Johnson set for Tuesday. At a hearing Monday before Missouri’s Supreme Court, a special prosecutor will request a stay in order to fully investigate how the case was tainted by racism. Meanwhile, Johnson’s 19-year-old daughter has been barred from witnessing his lethal injection because she is under 21. “We understand that the death penalty does not solve anything,” says Michelle Smith, co-director of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, who says Johnson is being “punished more severely” because of his race. Lawmakers are also urging Missouri’s governor to grant Johnson clemency.

From Xinjiang to Shanghai, Protests Grow in China over COVID Restrictions After Fatal Apartment Fire

Unprecedented protests have erupted in multiple Chinese cities over President Xi Jinping’s strict zero-COVID policies, which have resulted in extended strict lockdowns across the country. The protests were triggered by a deadly fire Thursday at an apartment building in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, where local COVID restrictions reportedly prevented firefighters from reaching the trapped residents. This comes as hundreds of workers at the world’s largest iPhone factory, Foxconn, clashed last week with police over restrictions that have forced many workers to live at the factory. “China now for three years has seen a level of lockdown that is simply inconceivable,” says Cornell labor scholar Eli Friedman, who calls the cross-class, cross-ethnic protests a “movement against surveillance.” Friedman says although China enforces the country’s COVID restrictions, top U.S. corporations like Apple and Tesla are implicated in upholding the closed-loop management system at Foxconn and other Chinese manufacturers.

Headlines for November 28, 2022

"You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train": Remembering the People's Historian Howard Zinn at 100

In a special broadcast, we remember the legendary historian, author, professor, playwright and activist Howard Zinn, who was born 100 years ago this August. Zinn was a regular guest on Democracy Now!, from the start of the program in 1996 up until his death in 2010 at age 87. After witnessing the horrors of World War II as a bombardier, Zinn became a peace and justice activist who picketed with his students at Spelman College during the civil rights movement and joined in actions such as opposing the Vietnam War. He later spoke out against the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. “I believe neutrality is impossible, because the world is already moving in certain directions. Wars are going on. Children are starving,” Zinn said in a 2005 interview. “To be neutral … is to collaborate with whatever is going on, to allow it to happen.”

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