Interviews

Latest Release: Thursday, December 09, 2004

How the New York Times Misreports: An Interview with Howard Friel

Joshua Frank

Howard Friel is the author of Dogs of War: The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page and the Right-Wing Campaign Against International Law, to be published in 2005. His most recent book is The Record of the Paper: How the New York Times Misreports US Foreign Policy, co-authored with Richard Falk, published by Verso in November 2004. He recently spoke to Joshua Frank about the book.

Joshua Frank: Howard Friel, in your critique with Richard Falk on how the New York Times misreports US foreign policy, you seem to steer clear of focusing on the obvious, like that of Judith Miller's numerous fabricated Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction stories (which you do talk about, but not at great length), and instead dive into somewhat untrammeled terrain: the Times and their history of ignorance regarding international law. Why the focus on these factors and not the more talked about corruption, like Miller's?

- (Read full)

Latest Release: Monday, November 29, 2004

Left Hook Exclusive: An Interview with an Anti-war Veteran from the Iraq War

Derek Seidman with Jim Talib HM3 (FMF/PJ)

Jim Talib is an antiwar vet who served in Iraq earlier this year for nearly seven months. He has recently begun speaking out against the war and occupation. Derek Seidman, co-editor of Left Hook, was able to catch up with Jim Talib and ask him some questions about the war and occupation, his personal experiences in Iraq, and issues concerning the relationship between antiwar soldiers and the broader antiwar movement.

- (Read the interview)

Latest Release: Monday, November 22, 2004

Interview with an Under-Appreciated Radical

Mickey Z. Interviews William Blum

MZ: On the jacket of your latest book, you say: "The United States runs the world like the Taliban ran Afghanistan." How would you concisely explain what you mean by this to someone mired in mainstream American culture?

WB: If they have a halfway decent knowledge of how the Taliban ran Afghanistan, then the examples I give in the same statement would be my explanation. If they have no knowledge to speak of about the Taliban (which would apply to millions of Americans, I'm sure), then it's sort of hopeless. It's not easy to undo a lifetime of conditioning with a few sentences. How can I match 10000 hours of Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and The National Enquirer? In the current edition of my newsletter, The Anti-Empire Report, coming out soon, I write about such people, whom I call the Valueites...

- (Read full)

Latest Release: Saturday, October 30, 2004

Interview with Mickey Z., Author of Seven Deadly Spins

M. Junaid Alam with Mickey Z.

MJA: In your book you take apart seven major lies and rationalizations employed by the media and government to maintain support for the wars America wages. But before asking about some of those seven spins, I wanted to talk about a point in your Introduction, where you note that "we must not be lulled into believing that merely presenting the facts is enough to change both people's minds and U.S. policy," and that there is another important question we must confront: "does the public really want to know the truth behind the spins"? What's your own answer to that question for the present period? What do you think the anti-war movement can or must do to cultivate an atmosphere in which people will be more open to our criticisms, concepts, and ideas, apart from exposing pro-war spin?

MZ: The public, it seems, wants to write a check to some charity, buy a "Free Tibet" t-shirt, or run in a 5K race to raise money for some useless research...and feel really good about how much they care. It's no fun to discover what's really going on and I'd imagine most Americans will avoid it at any cost. However, I also believe that putting it in their face and making it difficult to avoid awareness of the death and destruction they are funding and supporting with their tax dollars and voting choices is something we all must do...because once the truth is known, I think the public will want to change things. They will do everything in their power to avoid the truth but, when confronted with reality, many of them will demand change...

- (Read full)

Special Release: Saturday, October 02, 2004

"I don't have any goals for votes...":
An Interview with David Cobb

Joshua Frank

Joshua Frank: Mr. Cobb, thanks for agreeing to this interview. How do you respond to the claim made by many Greens, including your primary opponent Carol Miller, that you only garnered a mere 12% of the nation-wide vote during the Green Party presidential primary, but still managed to capture the party's nomination? Do you believe this support provides legitimacy for your campaign? Or does the Green Party have a democracy problem because its delegates are disproportionably divided among states?

David Cobb: Joshua, I'll be happy to address how I earned the Green Party's presidential nomination but before I do, I'd like to make two points. The first is this: the primary season ended three months ago. It's time to focus on the general election and getting the Green message out. It's time for our party to unify and these types of discussions aren't particularly productive at this point in time. If people have concerns with the primary and nominating process they should have addressed those concerns when the rules were being drafted. And, of course, after the election, I would encourage them to work to make the Green Party as democratic as is humanly possible. I have to say I'm skeptical though, because many of the people who are crying "foul" now seem to be doing so only because their preferred candidate lost. I suspect that many of them will lose all interest in genuinely strengthening the democratic character of the Green Party at the conclusion of this campaign.

- (Read full)

Last Release: Friday, October 01, 2004

Interview with Earl Silbar, Chicago Regional Organizer for the Million Worker March

Eric Piper

Q: The Million Worker March is being organized in response to a crisis in the labor movement and the working classes of America. Union membership has declined to 11% of the workforce, from a postwar high of 33%. One in four employed Americans now works a job below the official poverty line. And the neoliberal economy privileges capital over even limited protections for labor. What are the march's demands to resolve these crises? How would the march raise issues in a way that hasn't been so far?

A: I don't think the demands will resolve these crises even if we won them tomorrow. They are a battle standard and hopefully a big step towards developing our own fighting forces.

The goal is to rally the many different parts of the wider working class together and stand up for what we need -- to 'privilege' our needs over capital. That's a huge first step. Our program (go to www.millionworkermarch.org) calls for single-payer national healthcare, quality and equal education, living wages, and retirement for all. Against racism, for immigrants' rights, and against the daily discriminations that hurt so many working peoples' lives. Further, and very importantly, the demands target political oppression such as the so-called Patriot Act, the imperial war on Iraq, and the vast military spending that sustains it.

- (Read full)

Last Release: Friday, September 10, 2004

Radio Debate on Anybody But Bush Politics

M. Junaid Alam with Mike Webb

Recently Left Hook co-editor was invited on Seattle 710 KIRO's Mike Webb program, a liberal radio-talk show, to discuss and debate the logic of voting Kerry and its implications. The best way to hear the program is to make sure you have Winamp , then right-click the links to the .mp3 files of the interview, hitting "Save target as", downloading the files to somewhere on your harddrive, and playing them in Winamp.This way you can skip around the commercials. The links are here: file one and file two. The parts you'll want to skip (commercials) are as follows: file one:from 0:00 to 4:45, from 11:40 to 20:00, and from 32:10 to 35:15. file two:The second .mp3 file is the last 40 seconds of our exchange, nothing to skip here.

Last Release: Thurdsay, August 05, 2004

The Outsider: A Short Interview with Ralph Nader

Joshua Frank

(Joshua Frank recently had the opportunity to have a quick chat with Ralph Nader about his Independent campaign for president. Below is a portion of the transcript.)

Joshua Frank: Mr. Nader thanks for agreeing to do this interview. Given how worried the Democrats appear to be about your presidential run taking votes away from John Kerry, why do you think the Kerry campaign refuses to toss even a small bone to the progressive anti-war, anti-PATRIOT Act crowd -- even though this is the contingent of voters that could quite possibly cost Kerry the election if they continue to be ignored?

Ralph Nader: Because they believe these voters have nowhere to go, especially with Dennis Kucinich's endorsement of John Kerry in return for nothing. Also, Kerry's campaign is trying to take the war, Patriot Act issues off the table and they do this by "me-tooing" these issues with Bush. Call it protective imitation.

- (Read interview)

An Extensive Interview with Stan Goff

Derek Seidman

Stan Goff is a member of the coordinating committee of Bring Them Home Now , a campaign of military families, veterans, active duty personnel, reservists against the war in Iraq. His books include Hideous Dream: A Soldier's Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti, and Full Spectrum Disorder: The Military in the New American Century.

He retired as a Master Sergeant in the US military in 1996 after serving for 26 years, most of them with Special Forces. Recently, Derek Seidman of Left Hook caught up with Stan Goff to get his thoughts on "Fahrenheit 9/11", the situation in Iraq, the possibility of a draft, the upcoming US elections, and more.

- (Read interview)

Last Release: Sunday, August 01, 2004

Five Questions with Noam Chomsky

Merlin Chowkwanyun

Merlin Chowkwanyun: One scholar and activist whom you've cited (and whom I wish more people knew about and read) is Seymour Melman, who more than two decades ago articulated the concept of a "permanent war economy." What was Melman describing, and how does it limit or shape a chief executive's foreign policy?

Prof. Noam Chomsky: The term "permanent war economy" is attributed to Charles Wilson, CEO of GE, who warned at the end of World War II that the US must not return to a civilian economy, but must keep to a "permanent war economy" of the kind that was so successful during the war: a semi-command economy, run mostly by corporate executives, geared to military production. Among other very important contributions, Melman has written extensively on the harmful effects of gearing much of the economy to military production rather than to civilian needs. What he describes is correct and important, but there are other dimensions to be considered.

- (Read full)

Rock Musicians Organize Against Injustice: A Quick Chat with Tom Morello and Serj Tankian

Richard Moreno

On a sweltering hot summer's day in Southern California, the Axis of Justice non-profit political organization initiated its very first activist meeting Sunday afternoon on the 25th of July at North Hollywood Park. Despite the blistering heat, a group of roughly 50 people from all ages and backgrounds clustered together under the trees' shade while Co-Director of the Axis of Justice Jake Sexton announced the afternoon's purpose. Within minutes, Tom Morello, former Rage Against the Machine guitarist turned Audio Slave guitar extraordinaire, and Serj Tankian, System of the Down's fiery lead vocalist, arrived with cases of Axis of Justice gear and materials. Soon after, the birth of the first Axis of Justice chapter was proclaimed.

- (Read full)

Last Release: Thursday, July 29, 2004

Interview with Palestinian-American Rapper Iron Sheik (aka Will Youmans)

M. Junaid Alam and Will Youmans

Left Hook co-editor M. Junaid Alam recently got a chance to discuss the political and personal with the radical Palestinian-American activist and rap artist Will Youmans, who dons the moniker 'Iron Sheik' in his clever and powerful music aimed against Israeli oppression of the Palestinians - and more recently, the American occupation of Iraq. Below, the Iron Sheik discusses the roots of his radicalization, how music has helped him convey his politics, and the importance of integrity, solidarity and resistance in the struggle for justice.

- (Read full)

Check out Iron Sheik's website, www.ironsheik.bizwhere you can support his work by picking up his album, and listen to some of his tunes, including:

  • Leena2Memory: [Life of a Refugee]
  • The Oil Anthem
  • Olive Trees

Last Release: Sunday, July 25, 2004

An Interview with Tariq Ali: Leftist Prospects in Latin America

Claudia Jardim and Jonah Gindin

Without adequately addressing state power, what alternative to neoliberalism is the Global Social Justice movement offering?

No, they have no alternative! They think that it is an advantage not to have an alternative. But, in my view that�s a sign of political bankruptcy. If you have no alternative, what do you say to the people you mobilize? The MST[1] in Brazil has an alternative, they say �take the land and give it to the poor peasants, let them work it.� But the Holloway[2] thesis of the Zapatistas, it�s�if you like�a virtual thesis, it�s a thesis for cyber space: let�s imagine. But we live in the real world, and in the real world this thesis isn�t going to work. Therefore, the model for me of the MST in Brazil is much much more interesting than the model of the Zapatistas in Chiapas. Much more interesting.

- (Read full)

Last Release: Sunday, July 12, 2004

Ralph's Revolt: A Discussion with Greg Bates

Josh Frank

Greg Bates co-founded Common Courage Press in 1990, and is the Publisher. He is also the author of the new book, Ralph's Revolt: The Case for Joining Nader's Rebellion. Bates recently spoke with Joshua Frank about his upcoming book, the elections, and the future of progressive politics in America. He currently resides in Monroe Maine.

- (Read interview)

Last Release: Friday, July 2, 2004

Radio Interview on KPFK

Recently Left Hook co-editor M. Junaid Alam was able to talk about the connection between and importance of politics and personal identity with host Neel Garlapati and another guest, Jyoti, over at KPFK Radio, Southern California's Pacifica Subsidiary. To listen to the half-hour segment via .MP3 file, do one of the following:

1. Just click here and hopefully some program starts up for you and plays the file.

2.Right-click here, then download the file onto your computer ("Save Target As" in Internet Explorer), then play with either Winamp or Windows Media Player.

(Starts at the 2:30 mark, and there are a few gaps of silence due to streaming errors).

Last Release: Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Interview with Jeffrey St. Clair

M. Junaid Alam

Recently, co-editor of Left Hook M. Junaid Alam had a chance to interview Jeffrey St. Clair, co-editor of Counterpunch, about his devastating critique of corporate-government ruination of the environment presented in his recent book, Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: The Politics of Nature.

- (Read full)

Last Release: Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Interview with Paul Buhle

Derek Seidman

There is probably no one in the world that knows more about the history of American radicalism than Paul Buhle. A former member of Students for a Democratic Society and a disciple of CLR James, Buhle founded the journal Radical America as well as the Oral History of the American Left project. He is the author/editor of nearly thirty books, including: Images of American Radicalism, Marxism in the United States, Radical Hollywood: The untold story behind America's favorite movies, The Encyclopedia of the American Left, The Immigrant Left in the United States, The New Left Revisted, Insurgent Images: The Agitprop Murals of Mike Alewitz, and the forthcoming From the Lower Eastside to Hollywood: Jews in American Popular Culture.

Buhle is currently teaching at Brown University. Left Hook's (www.lefthook.org) Derek Seidman recently caught up with him for a short interview.

- (Read full)

Last Release: Wednesday, February 25, 2004

An interview with Joel Andreas, author of comic book expose, "Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism"

Nicole Aschoff and Pankaj Mehta

What inspired you to write "Addicted to War: Why the US Can't Kick Militarism"?

The first gulf war in 1991. The war, and the media's coverage of it, were outrageous. People didn't understand what was actually going on and didn't understand the underlying causes of the war, I felt I had to do something. People weren't getting information from the mainstream news media. I wanted to make a different kind of information available to people. My father actually suggested the idea for the book. The initial idea was just to write an 8-page commentary on the war. When I started writing I realized that in order to really understand the war peopled needed an historical understanding of US foreign policy. I had written a comic book in the 70's called: "The Incredible Rocky"- an unauthorized biography of the Rockafeller family. It was distributed widely through progressive grassroots networks; it sold over a 100,000 copies. My father was familiar with this earlier book and suggested I create something similar about the Gulf War.

- (Read full)

Last Release: Wednesday, February 04, 2004

An Interview with Noam Chomsky
M. Junaid Alam

Professor of Linguistics at MIT and author of many best-selling political works, most recently Hegemony or Survival, Noam Chomsky has been renown for his incisive and hard-hitting criticism of U.S. foreign policy for decades. Recently, M. Junaid Alam, co-editor of the new leftist youth journal Left Hook, was able to interview Professor Chomsky on the nature of the Bush administration, the American left's strategy in upcoming elections, domestic and foreign consequences of continued occupation of Iraq, and the basis for US-Israeli relations. (Read here)

Last Release: Thursday, January 30, 2004

"If You Organize, You Can Win": Philly School Workers Fight for Fair Contract
M. Junaid Alam

Fed up with their inexcusably low poverty-line wages and bare-minimum medical care, Full-time Food Service Workers and Noon Time Aides working for the Philadelphia school District have been waging a campaign for decent wages and benefits. Recently M. Junaid Alam, co-editor of the new radical youth journal Left Hook (http://www.lefthook.org), had the opportunity to discuss the situation with Warren Heyman, chief negotiator for Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union Local 634 and Secretary Treasurer of Local 217. (Read full)

Last Release: Wednesday, December 22, 2003

Short Interview with Michael Ratner Derek Seidman

Left Hook's Derek Seidman had the opportunity to carry out a short interview with Michael Ratner, the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights (find out more about the CCR below). Ratner is an international human rights lawyer, a former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and an author and co-author of several books, including the recent "Against War with Iraq: An Anti-war Primer". He also currently teaches at Columbia Law School. You can find out more about him and his work at http://www.humanrightsnow.org/ (Read full)

Last Release: Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Left Hook Exclusive: Interview with Norman Finkelstein M. Junaid Alam

M. Junaid Alam, co-editor and webmaster of the new leftist journal for American youth, Left Hook (http://www.lefthook.org), recently had the opportunity to interview Norman Finkelstein, prominent and outspoken critic of Israel and son of Nazi holocaust survivors. Mr. Finkelstein is a professor of Political Science at DePaul University in Chicago and the author of the authoritative and controversial books Imagine and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict and The Holocaust Industry. {Read full interview here}

Last Release: Tuesday, November 25, 2003

An Interview with Author and Radical Economist Michael Yates Derek Seidman

Left Hook's Derek Seidman interviewed Michael Yates, author of the new book Naming the System: Inequality and Work in the Global Economy. Yates is a radical economist, a longtime labor educator, and a former Professor of Economics at the University of Pittsburg. He is the author of numerous books, including . He is currently the associate editor of Monthly Review. (Read interview here)

Launch Release: Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Left Hook Exclusive: An Interview with Stan Goff Derek Seidman

Stan Goff knows better than most people about what really goes on in the US military. He served from 1970 through 1996, for many years as a Master Sergeant with the Special Forces and Delta Force and as a military instructor at West Point. In the process of his military career he was deployed to Vietnam, South Korea, Colombia, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Peru, Venezuela, Somalia, and Haiti. Retired, he is now an anti-imperialist activist and founder of Bring Them Home Now (www.bringthemhomenow.org). He is the author of Hideous Dream: A Soldier's Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti, as well as the forthcoming Full Spectrum Disorder. He lives in Raleigh, NC.

Left Hook's Derek Seidman was able to interview Stan Goff. {Read full interview here}

Discussion List Issues: The Youth Anti-War Movement: A Debate (1) The Youth Anti-War Movement: A Debate (2) The Youth Anti-War Movement: A Debate (3) Oil and Indigenous Lands (1) Oil and Indigenous Lands (2) Oil and Indigenous Lands (3) Israel, Palestine, and Nationalism (1) Israel, Palestine, and Nationalism (2) Israel, Palestine, and Nationalism (3) To join our discussion list, go here Join Our Info. List:
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