Monthly Archives: April 2022

THE WOBBLIES Deborah Shaffer & Stewart Bird

As more and more workers in the United States are organizing to create unions to represent their interests, and corporations are spending millions and millions of dollars to thwart their efforts, it is good to honor this International Workers Day, May Day, by celebrating the restoration and screening of the film, THE WOBBLIES. It was produced during the 1970s and premiered at the NY Film Festival in 1979, and has been recently restored to 4K digital format by the Museum of Modern Art, as well as being inducted into The National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2021, one of only 25 films added each year.

May 1st is celebrated in many countries around the world as a holiday to honor laborers. May 1st was chosen because it marked the day, May 1st, 1886, when a general strike began in the United States to campaign for an 8 hour work day. Four days later in the so-called Haymarket Affair in Chicago police arrived to disperse a packed public assembly in Haymarket Square in support of the general strike, when a person, never identified, threw a bomb. The police fired on the workers. In the ensuing melée seven police officers were killed, as well as at least four citizens. In addition, 60 police were injured as were at least 115 citizens. Hundreds of labor leaders and sympathizers were rounded-up and four were executed by hanging, after a trial that many historians consider a miscarriage of justice. On May 5, 1886 in Milwaukee, WI, the state militia fired on a crowd of strikers, killing seven, including a schoolboy and a man feeding his chickens in his own yard.

We interviewed filmmakers, Deborah Shaffer and Stewart Bird, about their film, THE WOBBLIES, about the period about 20 years after the deadly events during the General Strike of 1886, as a new effort to organize ALL the workers began. They state:

“When we started production on The Wobblies in 1977 our goal was to rescue and record an almost completely neglected chapter of American history as told by its elderly survivors. We never imagined then that the themes of labor exploitation, anti-immigrant legislation, and racial and gender discrimination would resonate as strongly today. We couldn’t be prouder to have the film included last year in the National Film Registry, and to have Kino Lorber present the new 4K MoMA restoration nationwide on International Workers Day.”

About Producer-Director Deborah Shaffer
Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Deborah Shaffer began making social issue documentaries as a member of the Newsreel Collective in the ‘70’s. She co-founded Pandora Films, one of the first women’s film companies, which produced several shorts. Her first feature documentary, The Wobblies, premiered at the prestigious New York Film Festival in 1979. During the ’80s Shaffer focused on human rights in Central America and Latin America, directing many films including Witness to War: Dr. Charlie Clements, which won the Academy Award® for Short Documentary in 1985, and Fire from the Mountain and Dance of Hope, which both played at the Sundance Film Festival. Shaffer directed one of the first post-September 11 films, From the Ashes: 10 Artists followed by From the Ashes: Epilogue, which premiered at the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals. She is also the Executive Producer of the Academy Award®-nominated short Asylum, and has directed numerous acclaimed public television programs on women and the arts. She directed and produced To Be Heard, which won awards at numerous festivals and aired nationwide on PBS. Her most recent film, Queen of Hearts: Audrey Flack premiered at DOC NYC and won the Audience Award at the Hamptons Documentary Film Festival. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Irene Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award by the Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

About Producer-Director – Editor Stewart Bird
Stewart Bird is a Bronx-born writer and filmmaker. Murder at the Yeshiva is his first novel and he is presently writing his second NYPD homicide detective novel with Detective Mo Shuman. He wrote Solidarity Forever, an oral history of the I.W.W. (University of Minnesota Press) with Dan Georgakas and Deborah Shaffer. He also co-authored the play “The Wobblies: The U.S. vs. Wm. D. Haywood et. al.,” (with Peter Robilotta), which was performed at the Hudson Guild Theatre in New York and published by Smyrna Press. Bird wrote a one-hour story for PBS entitled “The Mighty Pawns” about a black inner-city chess team, which was shown nationally on Wonderworks and distributed nationally by Disney. As a writer/producer for Fox television’s Current Affair, he produced various segments: “Alan Berg,” “Elvis Presley,” “A Cycle of Justice,” and “The Night Natalie Died.” He worked as a writer/producer for CBS News’ 48 Hours and produced segments like “Another America,” “Underground,” “Stuck on Welfare,” and “Earth Wars.” He has produced numerous feature-length documentaries including “Finally Got the News,” about black auto workers in Detroit; “Retratos,” on the Puerto Rican community in New York; “Coming Home,” on Vietnam Veterans; “Building the American Dream: Levittown, NY” and The Wobblies (with Deborah Shaffer) focusing on the Industrial Workers of the World a turn-of-the-century labor union.

One can rent Wobblies via this link: https://kinonow.com/film/the-wobblies/624202eb7b0e1200011ce8c3

Right-wing snowflakes love to whine about free speech — this socialist went to jail for it https://www.salon.com/2022/05/29/right-wing-snowflakes-love-to-whine-about-free-speech–this-socialist-went-to-jail-for-it/

Stephen Marche THE NEXT CIVIL WAR: Dispatches from the American Future

Stephen Marche is a Canadian novelist and journalist. He writes for The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker and Esquire, among other outlets. His latest book, which we’ll be discussing in this interview is THE NEXT CIVIL WAR: DISPATCHES FROM THE AMERICAN FUTURE, published by Avid Reader Press, a division of Simon & Schuster.

He writes, “There will be those who say that the possibility of a new civil war is alarmist. All I can say is that reality has outpaced even the most alarmist predictions.”

“The intelligence services of other countries are preparing dossiers on the possibilities of America’s collapse. Foreign governments need to prepare for a post-democratic America, an authoritarian and hence much less stable superpower. They need to prepare for a broken America, one with many different centers of power. They need to prepare for a lost America, one so consumed by its crises, that it cannot manage to conceive, much less to enact, domestic or foreign policies.

The purpose of this book is to give readers access to the same advance information. These dispatches are projections but not fantasies. The next civil war isn’t science fiction anymore. The plants to the first battle have already been drawn up. And not by novelists. By colonels.”

We spoke with Stephen Marche on April 19, 2022.

Links to articles pertinent to this interview:

Biden says US democracy is under threat. Here’s what he can do to help fix it https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/sep/16/biden-says-us-democracy-is-under-threat-heres-what-he-can-do-to-help-fix-it

The January 6 hearings are a brilliant spectacle. That’s also their danger https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jul/21/january-6-hearings-trump-consequences

With the end of Roe, the US edges closer and closer to civil war https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jun/26/second-civil-war-us-abortion

Effort to Remove Marjorie Taylor Greene From Ballot Can Proceed, Judge Says https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/18/us/politics/marjorie-taylor-greene-jan-6.html

Judge Blocks Effort to Disqualify Cawthorn from Ballot as ‘Insurrectionist’ https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/04/us/politics/madison-cawthorn-north-carolina-insurrectionist.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article

Legal Effort Expands to Disqualify Republicans as ‘Insurrectionists” https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/07/us/politics/insurrectionists-congress.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article

How Do We Break the Cycle Of Political Violence? https://hartmannreport.com/p/how-do-we-break-the-cycle-of-political?s=r

Self-proclaimed Leader of Sovereign Citizen Group Sentenced to Federal Prison for Promoting Tax Fraud Scheme https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/self-proclaimed-leader-sovereign-citizen-group-sentenced-federal-prison-promoting-tax-fraud

Sovereign citizen Bruce Doucette sentenced to 38 years in prison https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/05/23/sovereign-citizen-bruce-doucette-sentenced-38-years-prison

Everything We Know About Jerad And Amanda Miller, The Las Vegas Couple Who Went On A Shooting Rampage https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/mikehayes/everything-we-know-about-jerad-and-amanda-miller-the-suicida

Florida Neo-Nazi leader gets 5 years for having explosive material https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/florida-neo-nazi-leader-gets-5-years-having-explosive-material-n836246

Extremists like Marjorie Taylor Greene are the future of the Republican party https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/apr/13/extremists-like-marjorie-taylor-greene-are-the-future-of-the-republican-party

Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2022/05/social-media-democracy-trust-babel/629369/ also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKRuvKtFvqo

For a Black Man Hired to Undo a Confederate Legacy, It Has Not Been Easy https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/17/arts/confederate-statue-removal-contractor.html

Fearing a Trump Repeat, Jan. 6 Panel Considers Changes to Insurrection Act https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/19/us/politics/trump-jan-6-insurrection-act.html

Remembering Marla Ruzicka

Before she died on April 16, 2005, Marla Ruzicka succeeded in documenting civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq, and persuading the U.S. Military and the U.S. Congress to assist victims and their families, as well as to create a fund to grant reparations for the harms done. It is believed to be the first time in history that this has been done.

This is an updated rebroadcast of a program originally aired on Easter Sunday, 2006. It was the first anniversary of her death at the age of 28. We spoke with her parents, Cliff and Nancy Ruzicka, and her twin brother, Mark, at their home on the shore of Clearlake, CA.

Equally at home with the military, the media, members of Congress of the people of the many countries she visited and came to know in her short life, she lived her belief that every life matters and deserves dignity, respect and justice.

Marla Ruzicka ¡PRESENTE!

The organization she founded, CAMPAIGN FOR INNOCENT VICTIMS IN CONFLICT (CIVIC) in 2003, can be accessed here: https://civiliansinconflict.org/about-us/

Ray McGovern – Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity – Russia & Ukraine

Ray McGovern earned a Masters’ degree with honors in Russian Language, Literature and History from Fordham University. In the early 1960s, he served as a US Army Infantry Intelligence Officer in the analysis division on Soviet foreign policy, especially with respect to China and Indochina, which includes Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, and Thailand.

In the CIA, he served under seven presidents from 1963 to 1990, beginning with John F. Kennedy. In the 1980s he chaired the National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President’s Daily Brief. In 2003, he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) dedicated to analyzing and criticizing the mis-use of intelligence, specifically the false claims leading to the Iraq War. In 2006, he returned to CIA headquarters to protest the CIA’s involvement in torture, when he returned his Intelligence Commendation Medal.

We spoke with Ray McGovern on April 6, 2022. The next day, The United Nations General Assembly voted to expell Russia from The Human Rights Council.

Articles or videos referenced or pertinent to the interview:

The War in Ukraine Has Unleashed a New Word https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/22/magazine/ruscism-ukraine-russia-war.html

With Us or With Them? In a New Cold War, How About Neither. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/24/world/asia/cold-war-ukraine.html

Malcolm Nance, TV pundit turned fighter in Ukraine: ‘I believe in the defense of democracy’ https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/apr/29/malcolm-nance-msnbc-pundit-ukraine-soldier-michael-harriot

Russia’s standing in G-20 not threatened by Ukraine invasion https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/ap_news/business/russias-standing-in-g-20-not-threatened-by-ukraine-invasion/article_ba1b1888-5011-5459-a469-1730cb3013a9.html

Building a Just & Peaceful World with Anatol Lieven and Ray McGovern https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joqd6tZ714k

Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine Salon | Ray McGovern, John Mearsheimer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppD_bhWODDc

Lev Golinkin on Russia’s New Offensive & War Crimes in the Donbas by Both Sides over Past 8 Years https://www.democracynow.org/2022/4/12/russia_russian_offensive_eastern_ukraine_donbas

Ukraine War Causing Fractures in the Peace Movement When It’s Needed Most https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/04/01/ukraine-war-causing-fractures-peace-movement-when-its-needed-most?vgo_ee=Y82RBGepzJGygaHT4lvL4KyPUFd7JHyq9acdSgULWaM%3D

A Three-Step Plan For Ending War in Ukraine and Building a Global Peace Movement https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/04/01/three-step-plan-ending-war-ukraine-and-building-global-peace-movement?vgo_ee=Y82RBGepzJGygaHT4lvL4KyPUFd7JHyq9acdSgULWaM%3D

Ukraine profile – Timeline https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-18010123

Ukraine, the UN and history’s greatest broken promise https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61021862

The U.S. Has Its Own Agenda Against Russia https://theintercept.com/2022/04/01/russia-ukraine-proxy-war-washington-diplomacy/

Russia’s Newest Weapon in Ukraine May Be Mercenaries Linked to Putin https://theintercept.com/2022/03/31/ukraine-war-russia-wagner-group-mercenaries/

Ukraine: The Mess that Victoria Nuland Made https://consortiumnews.com/2022/02/26/robert-parry-the-mess-that-nuland-made/

The Azov Battalion: Extremists defending Mariupol https://www.dw.com/en/the-azov-battalion-extremists-defending-mariupol/a-61151151

There’s One Far-Right Movement That Hates the Kremlin https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/04/17/theres-one-far-right-movement-that-hates-the-kremlin-azov-ukraine-biletsky-nouvelle-droite-venner/

Nazis & Hitler are verbal daggers in the Ukraine war https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/04/06/world/ukraine-russia-war-news

Amid Reports of Radiation Sickness, IAEA Says Russia Has Withdrawn From Chernobyl https://www.commondreams.org/news/2022/03/31/amid-reports-radiation-sickness-iaea-says-russia-has-withdrawn-chernobyl?vgo_ee=Y82RBGepzJGygaHT4lvL4KyPUFd7JHyq9acdSgULWaM%3D

Is Russia committing genocide in Ukraine? A human rights expert looks at the warning signs https://theconversation.com/is-russia-committing-genocide-in-ukraine-a-human-rights-expert-looks-at-the-warning-signs-180017

NBC Off by 18 Years on US’s Last Use of Cluster Bombs https://fair.org/home/action-alert-nbc-off-by-18-years-on-uss-last-use-of-cluster-bombs/

The Geopolitics of Hell https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/03/08/geopolitics-hell

How the World’s Not-So-Great Powers Are Miscalculating on Ukraine https://truthout.org/articles/how-the-worlds-not-so-great-powers-are-miscalculating-on-ukraine/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=8d69f12c-3197-4a1b-a9db-303ad359273d

What if Putin Didn’t Miscalculate? https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/29/opinion/ukraine-war-putin.html

Digitally Disappeared: YouTube Has Deleted Six Years of My Show https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/03/29/digitally-disappeared-youtube-has-deleted-six-years-my-show?vgo_ee=Y82RBGepzJGygaHT4lvL4KyPUFd7JHyq9acdSgULWaM%3D

‘No hope for science in Russia’: the academics trying to flee to the west https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/02/no-hope-science-russia-academics-trying-flee-to-west

The big idea: how to win the fight against disinformation https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/apr/04/the-big-idea-how-to-win-the-fight-against-disinformation

Don’t assume Russia and China are on the same page. The US can work with China https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/apr/04/us-china-relationship-xi

The starvation of a nation: Putin uses hunger as a weapon in Ukraine https://www.politico.eu/article/the-starvation-of-a-nation-how-putin-is-using-hunger-as-a-weapon-in-ukraine/

Mark Sullivan THE LAST GREEN VALLEY https://forthright.media/2021/04/28/mark-sullivan-the-last-green-valley/