Reflections on 40 Years of Fighting for Racial and Social Justice in Journalism
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Good evening, everyone. My thanks to the J School’s dean, Jelani Cobb, and to Mae Ngai, the co-director of the Center for Ethnicity and Race, for sponsoring this event. My deepest gratitude to professors Nina Alvarez and Claudio Lomnitz and to moderator Ed Morales, a true dream team of journalists and scholars, for agreeing to give their time this afternoon to engage in conversation with me.
Many of you may have heard by now that in a few weeks I will be leaving the New York area, the city that I’ve called home for most of my life, where I grew up, where I was shaped professionally and politically, and will instead be relocating to Chicago, the hometown of my marvelous wife, Lilia Fernández, who’s here, where all her family still resides and where she is now professor of history at University of Illinois. At my age — and I just turned 75 this month — that’s called a major change. And the deeper you get into your golden years, the more aches and pains and illnesses gnaw at you, the greater the tendency to look back and ask, “What did I do with my life all these years?”
So it occurred to me that the best way to say goodbye to this city where I’ve had so many terrific memories, so many friends and colleagues, was with some farewell talks that I would turn up — I would attempt to sum up some of the key lessons I’ve gleaned, through much trial and error, through successes and setbacks, perhaps to reveal, as well, some incidents from the past that I’ve never had the opportunity to disclose but which could provide insight to a younger generation, who are still determined to practice good journalism and still devoted to making a better world possible.
As some of you know, mine has not been your typical journalism career. I’ve been grappling now for more than 50 years — initially as an activist, then for decades as a journalist
— source democracynow.org | Dec 06, 2022
A Negotiated End to Fighting in Ukraine
Russia has accused Ukraine of using drones to attack two air bases hundreds of miles inside Russia and an oil depot near the Ukrainian border. One of the air bases reportedly houses Russian nuclear-capable strategic bombers. While Ukraine has not publicly taken responsibility, a senior Ukrainian official told The New York Times the drones were launched from inside Ukrainian territory with help from Ukrainian special forces on the ground near at least one of the Russian bases. Russia responded to the drone strikes by firing a barrage of missiles across Ukraine. This comes as millions of Ukrainians are bracing for a winter without heat or electricity due to Russian strikes on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure. Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently accused the U.S. and its NATO allies of becoming directly involved in the war by arming and training Ukrainian soldiers.
I think both sides see that there is no military way out. I’m speaking of NATO and Ukraine on one side and Russia on the other side. This war, like von Clausewitz told us two centuries ago, is politics by other means, or with other means, meaning that there are political issues at stake here, and those are what need to be negotiated.
What President Macron said is absolutely correct, that President Putin wants political outcomes that, in my view, absolutely can be met at the negotiating table. Just to quote what Macron said in another interview, he said, “One of the essential points we must address” — meaning we, the West — “as President Putin has always said, is the fear that NATO comes right up to its doors, and the deployment
— source democracynow.org | Dec 06, 2022
Burning Books and Destroying Education on the Path to Fascist Dictatorship
Widening the lens on the escalating assault on education and those who teach it offers chilling thoughts on the future of U.S. democracy.
From book bans to classroom demonizing trans youth and LGBTQ lives, to eradicating the real history of the U.S. and its ongoing legacy on racial and gender oppression, to the intimidation of educators and purging those who don’t toe the line, global parallels with where this repression leads should set off alarms.
Chile provides a case study. After the 1973 coup, led by Augusto Pinochet with U.S. support against democratically elected Socialist President Salvador Allende, “the military seized control of campuses and swept out those they felt sympathized with Allende rule,” as the Christian Science Monitor put it.
Active-duty generals were appointed to run the universities and primary and secondary schools were placed under the rule of mayors appointed by Pinochet to promote full government control of classroom instruction.
Targeting educators was a priority with strict penalties imposed on what could be taught, leading to the firing of thousands of university professors and teachers, while others
— source commondreams.org | Chuck Idelson | Feb 28, 2023
How racial bias works — and how to disrupt it
US Funds ‘Independent Journalism’ in Cuba to Spread Propaganda
A former top CIA spy has admitted that the United States funds anti-government propagandists in Cuba who portray themselves as “independent journalists”.
Major British newspaper The Guardian spoke with CIA veteran Fulton Armstrong, whom it described as “the US intelligence community’s most senior analyst for Latin America from 2000 to 2004”.
Armstrong stated that, in Cuba, “a lot of the so-called independent journalists are indirectly funded by the US”.
The ex CIA analyst pointed out that, today, the Joe Biden administration bankrolls anti-government opposition forces in Cuba with at least $20 million in annual support for supposed “democracy promotion” activities.
The Guardian acknowledged that the CIA has a history of spreading disinformation inside Cuba, as part of a US information war aimed at destabilizing the revolutionary government. The newspaper wrote:
Financing media has long been part of Washington’s diplomatic toolkit.
In the 1960s in Cuba, Radio Swan, a CIA covert action programme, attempted not only a propaganda offensive to undermine support for Fidel Castro, but doubled up as a communication link, sending coded messages to paramilitaries during the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961.
A decade ago it emerged that the US government had paid contractors to create ZunZuneo, a social network built on texts, to organize “smart mobs” on the island. And during
— source scheerpost.com | Ben Norton | Jan 25, 2023
How a Koch-owned chemical plant in Texas gamed the Clean Air Act
The trouble began in the middle of the night.
Around 2 a.m. on January 10, 2017, an air quality monitor in Port Arthur, Texas, began recording sulfur dioxide readings well above the federal standard of 75 parts per billion, or ppb.
The monitor had recently been installed by regulators to keep an eye on Oxbow Calcining, a company owned by William “Bill” Koch that operates massive plants that purify petcoke, a petroleum byproduct that can be used to power steel and aluminum manufacturing.
That Tuesday morning, the wind shifted due north and carried a noxious slew of emissions from the plant a half-mile away to the monitor. By 2:20 a.m., the monitor was reading 122.3 ppb.
3:30 a.m.: 128.7 ppb.
5:00 a.m.: 147.8 ppb — almost double the federal standard.
By the afternoon, emissions readings had topped the public health standard 25 times. For the next 18 months, they would periodically flood the 55,000-person city with a pungent
— source grist.org | Naveena Sadasivam, Clayton Aldern | Feb 16, 2023
Russell Banks, John Brown and the American Soul
The deep malaise that defines American society — the rage, despair and widespread feelings of betrayal and loss — is rarely captured and almost never explained in the pages of newspapers or on screens. To grasp what has happened to the United States, the savage economic and emotional cost of deindustrialization; the destruction of our democratic institutions; the Neolithic violence that sees us beset with almost daily mass shootings in malls, offices, schools and movie theaters; the rise of the militarized state; and the consolidation of national wealth by a tiny cabal of corrupt bankers and corporations, we must turn to our artists, poets and writers. Foremost among writers who explored our peculiar American
Social Control or Social Investment
These Barmer widows and orphans are being turned away from PDS shops
A small settlement of about 250 families in Barmer district, Rajasthan, has been devastated due to alcohol consumption. About three-quarters of the women are widows and, despite being impoverished and living below-poverty line, struggle to avail free ration from the government.
The colony is located about 15 kilometres from the city and has lost most of its men to excess consumption of alcohol, leaving their widows vulnerable and children orphans.
The remaining men work as boot polishers, drive public transport vehicles or find other daily wage jobs. However, even these men suffer serious health conditions, like cirrhosis and brittle bones, due to alcohol abuse.
The women mainly work as waste pickers, earning around Rs 200 daily.
Despite living in such conditions, many people from this settlement are being turned away from ration shops despite having valid cards.
— source downtoearth.org.in | Himanshu Nitnaware | 19 Dec 2022