Jenny Murray’s film, ¡LAS SANDINISTAS! chronicles the crucial role of women combatants in Nicaragua’s successful revolution to overthrow the decades long dictatorship of the Somoza family.
Using stunning archival footage from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, and contemporary interviews with women who had survived resistance to the brutal repression, poverty, disease, economic inequality and social injustice, the film focuses on the major Sandinista General, Dora María Téllez, as well as four of her revolutionary allies. Fully 30% of the FSLN – The Nicaraguan Sandinista Liberation Front – were women.
General Dora María Téllez entering Léon after leading the assault of Nicaragua’s second largest city. It was a major turning point.
After the success of the revolution, women filled crucial ministerial roles in health and culture, achieving historic success before the Reagan administration’s blockade and backing of the Contras diverted the all-too-scarce resources needed to continue their programs. Dora María was Minister of Health from 1985 – 1990, succeeding Lea Guido.
Now, 35 years later, amidst staggering levels of gender violence in Nicaragua, and while their own stories are being erased from the history books, these same women brave the streets once again to lead the popular movements for equality and democracy.
Poet, Daisy Zamorra, became Minister of Culture after serving as an FSLN combatant and the voice/program director of the clandestine Radio Sandino. In spite of her dramatic success, she was “fired” after refusing the unwanted advances of a member of The (all male, 9 member) Directorate. She is now a professor in San Francisco.
Monica Baltodano “La Jefa” was a Sandanista general, who led the crucial assault on Masaya. She worked in the movement for several decades, and after experiencing the corruption and authoritarianism, she left in 2005 to form the Movement to Reclaim Sandinismo, known as El Rescate.
Dora María Téllez founded the MRS (Sandinista Renovation Movement) for democratic reforms in 1994. The struggle continues – as do the women.
QUEST, the new film by Santiago Rizzo, is autobiographical, based on his relationship with an amazing Berkeley Willard Middle School teacher and coach, Tim Moellering, and his “PROMISES NEVER BROKEN.”
Co-written with Tim Moellering, Santiago promised him to make the movie as he died.
Tim Moellering, beloved Willard Middle School coach. After his death, Berkeley named a baseball field in his honor.
Santiago credits Tim with helping him overcome his abusive home life.
Dash Mihok plays Tim and Gregory Kasyan plays “Mills”.
Lou Diamond Phillips plays the stepfather, “Gus”. Betsy Brandt plays his mother, “Ruth”.
Lakeith Lee Stanfield plays “Diego”, Mills’ older artist friend, who paints the “Trust Your Struggle” mural above to honor him.
TIM’S TOP 10 RULES TO LIVE BY
Have empathy for everyone.
Put yourself in someone else’s skin and walk around in it.
Tell the truth.
You’ll have less to remember. You know you never lied and eventually people will trust you.
Do what you say you were going to do. Even if it means showing up on time. People will trust you.
Assume Positive Intent.
If they are incompetent, so be it, but it doesn’t hurt you to assume they are doing their best.
Be Physically Active.
It’s better than any drug. It’s fun and can be a boon to your social life. If you are running an errand, walk or ride a bike because you’ll feel better. It may not be obvious at first but it adds up.
Just do it.
If the choice is between sitting around and doing nothing or doing something, do something every single time.
Don’t blame anyone.
No one is to blame for anything. Only you can change what you do. If you blame someone else, you can’t solve the problem. Instead, you are telling someone else to solve the problem. If you don’t blame then you will be able to take control.
Your possessions can be replaced.
People are obsessed with their possessions. Letting your possessions control you is a terrible way of living. When you can let them go, you become free. There’s little relationship between wealth and happiness.
Seize the Day. Accomplish something everyday. Otherwise you’re wasting time. There’s always something wonderful to experience. Go do it.
Solve your problems.
Some people like to have problems so they have something to complain about. Don’t waste time. It also gives you something to do. Something to strive for.
In this edition of Forthright Radio, we focus on the final clause of the First Amendment, which addresses “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Governments around the world have developed ways to suppress the right that right, using diverse methods, including what are euphemistically called “non-lethal” or “less than lethal” weapons. Indeed, we live in an age of “the commodification of repression,” where global industries profit on the suppression of the right of the people to petition their government.
Anna Feigenbaum is currently a principal Academic in Digital Storytelling at Bournemouth University, where she teaches multimedia journalism and convenes their Civic Media Hub. In the Fall of 2017, Verso published her most recent bookTear Gas: From the Battlefields of WW1 to the Streets of Today. Funded by a Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities grant, she used archival and data storytelling methods to track the movement of tear gas from the trenches of WW1 to the streets of today, asking
‘How did it become normal to police communication with poison’?
Her earlier book, which she co-edited, is Protest camps in international context: Spaces, infrastructures and media of resistance. She has held positions at Rutgers University, the London School of Economics & Political Science, and the University of London. Her work has appeared in numerous, diverse journals from The Atlantic to The Guardian, Financial Times and Waging Nonviolence.
InTear Gas she chronicles the history and use of chemical weapons against civilians, documenting the lack of scientific or medical proof that they truly are non-lethal.
State troopers wear gas masks as tear gas is fired on about 600 marchers trying to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL. They had begun a 50 mile march to the state capital, Montgomery, to protest discriminatory practices preventing black people from voting. State troopers used brutal force to push them back on what became known as “Bloody Sunday”. Charles Moore via Steven Kasher Gallery
Police surround an incapacitated man after throwing tear gas into the crowd of protesters, 1968, Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Western Historical Manuscript Collection
Photographer Nacio Jan Brown captured a moment that shocked many: a National Guard helicopter spraying tear gas on students and antiwar protesters in Sproul Plaza on May 20, 1969 — in some sense extending “the front” from Vietnam onto college campuses. The juxtaposition of the military-grade helicopter with the Campanile — the unofficial symbol of the UC Berkeley campus — helped make this photograph an iconic image of the suppression of campus protest. The demonstrators had gathered to commemorate the death of James Rector, who had been shot by police while on the rooftop of Granma Books on May 15, during a protest over the disposition of People’s Park.
Two street stencils on walls in Istanbul Inspired by the protests in Taksim Gezi Park, Istanbul, the summer of 2013, when CNN Turkey aired a penguin documentary, while CNN International ran live coverage of the protests.
Sites of protest and political contention are often shaped by ‘other media’. Anna Feigenbaum looks beyond taken-for-granted media devices and practices and returns to the foundational roots of Communication Theory’s ‘the medium and the message’.
In addition to smartphones, Facebook pages, political posters and live-streaming laptops, communication involves all kinds of other technologies. Such “other media” objects include the fences, walls, and barricades, that become sites of and for communication. This ‘other media’ also includes ‘container technologies’ like shoeboxes or sound grenades, which function as storage devices, as well as re-crafted objects that become transformed through practices of disobedient design.
#teargasID The Riot ID Project
Who are the World’s Heaviest Tear Gas Users? Our 2015 Mapping the Media project on Tear Gas is now live! Check out the maps on our BU Civic Media Hub website.
Anna Feigenbaum, author of Tear Gas: From the Battlefields of WWI to the Streets of Today, in conversation with L.A. Kauffman, Mark Bray, Ali Issa, and Ajay Singh Chaudhary. At Verso Books in Brooklyn, November 8, 2017.
There are more than 365 lawsuits pending against Monsanto filed by people alleging that exposure to Roundup Herbicide caused them or their loved ones to develop Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and that Monsanto knew the risks. The lawsuits were filed after glyphosate was declared a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization. In early March 2018, expert testimony was heard in U.S. District Court, San Francisco, Judge Vince Chhabria presiding, preceding trials in pursuit of these lawsuits.
Our guest today is veteran journalist, researcher and author, Carey Gillam, who has more than twenty-five years’ experience in the news industry covering corporate America. Since 1998, Carey Gillam’s work has focused on digging into the big business of food and agriculture. As a former senior correspondent for Reuters’ international news service, and a current contract researcher and freelance writer, she specializes in finding the story behind the spin — uncovering both the risks and rewards of the evolving new age of agriculture. Her areas of expertise include biotech crop technology, agrichemicals and pesticide product development, and the environmental impacts of American food production. She is currently Research Director for the nonprofit U.S. Right to Know. Her book, WHITE WASH: THE STORY OF A WEED KILLER, CANCER, AND THE CORRUPTION OF SCIENCE, is published by Island Press.
Seven years to the day, after the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daichi plant in Japan, on March 11, 2011, French President, Emmanuel Macron, visited India to seal a deal to sell what at least 2 international groups are calling, “untested, expensive and technically troubled French EPR reactors”.
We speak with Kevin Kamps, a staff member of one of those groups, Beyond Nuclear (http://www.beyondnuclear.org/). We update the national and international situation regarding all things nuclear.
What about the sailors of the USS Ronald Reagan, who were exposed to radiation while engaged in Operation Tomodachi, the humanitarian relief effort responding to the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster? Some of the 4500 sailors have already died. Many more are suffering from radiation specific illnesses. What happened to them, and the lawsuits survivors have brought in the United States against reactor owner/operator, TEPCO? How about Trump administration revisions to the Nuclear Posture Review, expanding first use of nukes, or efforts to prioritize reviving and expanding nuclear power generation in the United States, not to mention efforts by Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, to sell Westinghouse nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia? What about the unsolved – and many believe unsolvable – problem of safe disposal of ensuing radioactive waste products?
Kevin Kamps is a longtime leading opponent of government and industry efforts to dump nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. He is an expert about the risks of radioactive waste generation and storage at reactor sites, as well as transportation through communities across our country. In addition, he focuses on eliminating federal subsidies for new reactors and reprocessing facilities. Kevin Kamps has traveled to Chernobyl in the Ukraine. He founded a Michigan chapter of the international Chernobyl Children’s Project, which brings child victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster to the United States for medical help. He has addressed communities in the US & overseas, as well as governmental forums & federal, state and local government agencies.
Rows of trash bags containing radioactive waste from the Fukushima nuclear disaster now litter the area. (courtesy beyondnuclear.org)
Some of the articles cited in today’s interview can be found here:
LOADED: A DISARMING HISTORY OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT (City Lights Publishing) – is a provocative, timely, and deeply researched history of gun culture, and how it reflects race and power in the United States. Although LOADED is highly topical as we broadcast because of the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, production of this show actually began last November, 2017. And in case you feel overloaded with coverage of the aftermath of this latest massacre, Professor Dunbar-Ortiz’s history of gun culture and the second amendment is very different from the approach taken by the mainstream media or academia. For one thing, it is rooted in her 50+ years of activism. In the 1960s and 1970s, she was active in the anti-Vietnam War Movement and radical left movements, and worked closely with the SDS, the Weather Underground, and the African National Congress. She was also very active in the women’s rights movement, and from 1968–1970 was a leading figure in the radical feminist group, Cell 16. She has been active in the international Indigenous movement for more than four decades, and is known for her lifelong commitment to national and international social justice issues. In 1974, she began teaching in the newly established Native American Studies Program at California State University – Hayward, and she helped found their Departments of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies, where she is now Professor Emerita.
She has published many books and articles, including Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960–1975 . Blood on the Border is about what she saw during the Nicaraguan Contra war against the Sandinistas in the 1980s. Her 2014 book, AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, radically reframes Eurocentric history.
Her 1977 book, The Great Sioux Nation, was the fundamental document at the first international conference on Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, held at the United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva.
We are also thankful to the ever magnificent Roy Zimmerman for permission to include his “SING ALONG SECOND AMENDMENT SONG” after our interview with Professor Dunbar-Ortiz. You can hear more of his pointed, pithy civic lessons here: http://www.royzimmerman.com/
or see him perform the Sing Along 2nd Amendment song here:
We welcome back Pulitzer Prize Winning investigative journalist and best-selling author, David Cay Johnston. In this interview recorded on January 26, 2018, we discuss his latest books, IT’S WORSE THAN YOU THINK: WHAT THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS DOING TO AMERICA, just out from Simon & Schuster, and THE MAKING OF DONALD TRUMP, published in 2016 by Melville House.
David Cay Johnston digs deep, gets the facts others evade, ignore or fail to look for – much less find – and exposes exactly how the American system is rigged in favor of the 1% of the 1%.
When he was 18 years old the San Jose Mercury recruited him. His investigations over the next four decades appeared in that paper, The New York Times & other national journals. He exposed LAPD political spying and brutality, and he once hunted down a killer, whom the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department had failed to catch, resulting in an innocent man winning acquittal at his fifth trial; revealed news blackouts and manipulations that forced a six-station broadcast chain off the air; deconstructed the way foreign agents from South Africa and Taiwan secretly influenced American government policy; misuse of charitable funds at United Way; and explained the economics of former GE chairman Jack Welch’s retirement perks, prompting Welch to relinquish them.
He teaches business regulation, property and tax law at Syracuse University’s law and graduate business schools.
We last had him on Forthright Radio in 2012, when the 3rd book in his trilogy on the American Economy – The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use “Plain English” to Rob You Blind, which focused on monopolies, had just been published.
We also revisit a segment from this 2012 interview with David Cay Johnston, in which he explicitly states that PG&E’s failure to properly maintain & replace power poles would lead to deadly wildfires, a prediction that came all too tragically true in October 2017.
The full interview from 10-31-12 is posted below this interview:
The other two books were – Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich — and Cheat Everybody Else (2004 Investigative Book of the Year award winner), and Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You With the Bill), both of which were New York Times and Wall Street Journal best sellers.