Excerpt: "The Labour Party now is a social movement." - John McDonnell

Laura Flanders: What difference does a party make? This week on The Lara Flanders Show, we talk about what's happening in the UK, where one of the two parties, in what is basically a two party system, is picking up many of the radical demands coming out of movement groups seeking to transform the economy. Will they take that agenda with them into office? Nobody knows, but they're having meetings with activists, like this one, all across the country. From Imperial College London, this is the Lara Flanders show, the place where the people who say it can't be done take a backseat to the people who are doing it. Welcome.

Laura Flanders: In June 2017, mainstream media predicted that the Labour Party would be crushed in the UK's general election. Instead, it won its best result in 20 years, getting more than 40% of the vote, under the leadership of a lifelong socialist anti-war campaigner, Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn didn't become Prime Minister, but he did come close to unseating conservative Theresa May, after just two years as Labour Party leader. You could almost hear the reporter's surprise.

Supporters: Labour in! [inaudible 00:01:05] out! Labour in ...

Reporter: Well, he has not won the election, but this has been a nice vindication for Jeremy Corbyn, defying his critics with Labour's best result for almost 20 years.

John McDonnell: It gives me great pleasure, it gives me great pleasure to invite the lead of the Labour Party, the person who's gonna take us into number 10, Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn: Last time we were here, I talked about the dire state of our economy under the Tory's, and that was two years ago. Sadly, in the two years since then, things have got even worse. Wages are lower than they were in 2016 at the time of the last conference, and lower than they were in real terms a decade ago. The Tory's have shown they have no response to these deep structural problems, and they are very, very deep. They continue instead to subscribe to the highly discredited theory that economic growth will mean trickle down and help those at the bottom. It didn't work under Thatcher, it isn't working under May.

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Excerpt: "I wish they had presidential debates in barbershops." - Tef Poe

 

Laura Flanders: Community wealth building from Detroit to Ferguson, this week we hit the road to see Tef Poe's new barbershop and more. It's all coming up on The Laura Flanders Show, the place where the people who say it can't be done take a backseat to the people who are doing it. Welcome.

Laura Flanders: I couldn't be more honored or happier to be in St. Louis with Tef Poe. Tef, you last saw in our reporting from Ferguson. We're here today to do a little update on what's happening around here, and especially to celebrate the opening of this place.

Tef Poe: We're here at Frontline Styles Barbershop. It's a barbershop that me and my friends founded. We came up with the idea during the protests about retaining some of the property, retaining some of the land, and we wanted to just bring something new and unique to the community and have a different type of theme with a new cutting-edge beautiful barbershop for North St. Louis.

Laura Flanders: Now we have to say we're here the day before the opening. What will we see? What will people see here tomorrow?

Tef Poe: Okay, so tomorrow it will be a full-fledged barbershop. We'll have the stations stocked with barbers. By then, the artwork should be on the walls. Hopefully, we'll hang that tonight.

Laura Flanders: What kind of artwork is that going to be?

Tef Poe: We're going to do artwork that's rooted in pro-blackness. We want people to be able to come here and feel good about their identity, for this to be a safe haven for the community, a place where you can learn, come get your hair cut, a refuge, a place of solitude, education, entertainment, all in between.

Laura Flanders: Who are we going to see on the walls?

Tef Poe: You know you got to have Malcolm X on the wall. You throw maybe a little Muhammad Ali. I'm hoping we got one of Assata.

Tef Poe: This is my guy, Sol. I met Sol in Ferguson when everything was going on. He used to cut a lot of our hair for free. His barbershop also became a safe place for the community, a place where we knew we could go, trade ideas, talk about things we wanted to do, even talk politics if we wanted to, everything from politics to music.

Tef Poe: Stress, growing up in the ghetto.

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F-Word: Ominous Silence on the Anniversary of the ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act turned 28 this July. The ADA was signed into law on July 26th, 1990 by the first President Bush. It prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life.

Traditionally, Capitol Hill marks the day, and, one way or another, the White House issues a statement, and someone in the House or the Senate sponsors a declaration. Full-throated, mealy mouthed—some administrations are keener than others—but what doesn’t happen on the anniversary is nothing. And, yet, that’s what happened this year for the second time in a row. You guessed it, the first two years of the Trump administration marked the first time that this landmark civil rights anniversary passed without official anything.

Was the people’s House too busy? Well, not too busy to do other things. Under Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the House found time to consider the Private Property Rights Protection Act, the Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument Act, even HR 6077, the National Comedy Center Recognition Act, but not the ADA.

But that doesn’t mean there was silence on Capitol Hill.

Again this year, disabled rights activists flooded into Washington at the end of July for the annual conference of the National Council on Independent Living. A couple of days ahead of the anniversary, they walked, wheeled, and scooted their way up to the Capitol for their annual rally and lobby day. You can see my coverage on Facebook; we have a report coming up.

What difference does inclusion make? Without it, you can make a lot of bad decisions. From DC, I returned to New York, a city that’s just spent hundreds of millions of public dollars on subway renovations that totally ignored one in six New Yorkers.


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Decolonizing Wealth Through Indigenous Leadership: Edgar Villanueva

 

This week Laura speaks to Edgar Villanueva, about being one of the very few indigenous people working in grant-making, and ask what he thinks Native American traditions have to teach philanthropy. Then, we report from the United Nations where indigenous women gathered from around the world this spring to flip the script on so-called indigenous issues.

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Special Report: Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party's Radical Rise

What difference does a Party make? This week on the Laura Flanders Show, we talk about what's happening in the UK where one of the two main parties is picking up many of the radical demands coming out of movement groups seeking to transform the economy and society.

In 2017, mainstream media predicted that the Labour Party would be crushed in the general election. Instead, it won its best result in 20 years, getting more than 40% of the vote under the leadership of lifelong socialist and anti-war campaigner Jeremy Corbyn. Although he didn't become prime minister, Corbyn did come close to unseating Theresa May, which one reporter described as a "nice vindication for Jeremy Corbyn."

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Viewer's Guide: Building the Democratic Economy


 

Our story and the Preston Model was inspired, in part, by the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio (also known as the Cleveland Model). It was kickstarted in Cleveland, with the help of The Democracy Collaborative, the Cleveland Foundation, the Ohio Employee Ownership Center, and the City of Cleveland. For more on the Cleveland Model, watch the Democracy Collaborative explainer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_kLye_6VBc.

The Preston Model is one of “community wealth building.” As we detail in our report, worker co-ops are an integral element of this model. What is a worker co-op? According to the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives, they are “values-driven businesses that put worker and community benefit at the core of their purpose.” Or as ToolBoxEd.org puts it, worker co-ops are democratically owned, controlled, and benefitted. The Atlantic described the ins and outs of co-ops in a piece from a few years back: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/07/no-bosses-worker-owned-cooperatives/397007/

For more on the history of The Preston Model, including some of the critiques that have arise, check out OpenDemocracy’s piece The ‘Preston Model’ and the Modern Politics of Municipal Socialism.

Our special report, “Building the Democratic Economy, from Preston to Cleveland ,” was co-produced with The Democracy Collaborative. The Democracy Collaborative began in 2000 at the University of Maryland “as a research center dedicated to the pursuit of democratic renewal, increased civic participation, and community revitalization,” under the helm of Ted Howard and Gar Alperovitz.

To hear more from Matthew Brown, the Preston City Council leader, check out his interview on The Guardian with Aditya Chakrabortty: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/commentisfree/audio/2018/jan/31/the-alternatives-how-preston-took-back-control-podcast

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Bodies, Borders, Resistance, Rebirth: Arundhati Roy

 

India in the throes of a fascism that echoes what we have in America. The country is undergoing a political upheaval with PM Modi at its front, and fueled by increased violence towards Muslims, queers, Dalits, women, and more. Our guest, Arundhati Roy, covers this vast breadth of ground in her second novel in 20 years, ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness,’ now out in paperback.

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SPECIAL REPORT: Building the Democratic Economy, from Preston to Cleveland​

Two forms of government have dominated in the west over the last hundred years. In one big power is vested in the state, the government, in the other policy is dominated by the influence of big industry, big corporations, or big money. Well a hundred years after the Russian revolution, and ten years after the financial crash, a whole lot of people all around the world are saying “are there any alternatives?” especially as neither of those models has delivered on a promise of shared prosperity.

In Preston, Lancashire, England, a formerly industrial city, the birthplace of the industrial revolution in many ways, they’ve seen ten years of austerity, and partly out of need, and partly out of aspiration they’re practicing, experimenting, with a new model. They’re calling it the Preston model of community wealth building, and it’s inspired by a model in another formerly industrialized city: Cleveland, Ohio, the Evergreen Cooperative model. On today’s program a transatlantic experiment in cooperative community wealth building. This episode is co-produced with the Democracy Collaborative and the Laura Flanders Show.

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F-Word: National Suicide Point?

After a few weeks overseas, away from the daily drip of US news, I’m home and horrified and thinking about Karl Polanyi.

One of the 20th century’s great economic historians, Polanyi wrote about economics, but he started with humanity. What does it take to create a willing worker, a follower, a servant?  What makes a person pliant?

To explain it, Polanyi looked at colonizers who cut down fruit trees and olive groves and uprooted relationships to break apart autonomous social networks. Smash society and you create craven people. Craven, from the early English word meaning crushed, defeated, overwhelmed.

You can probably see where I’m going.

What does it take to break apart social beings and turn them into fearful atomized ones — the ones I feel us becoming as we scurry about in our endless days, trying to make ends meet and digesting the news while the news we get becomes ever more shocking and more dire?

Award-winning cartoonist Jen Sorenson put her finger on it in an insightful strip about what’s been happening at the border. Families aren’t the only things being separated, she shows us. Americans, too, are being divided from their consciences.

 

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EXCERPT - Maurice 'Moe' Mitchell on the Culture Shifts Taking Place in the American Electorate

 

Maurice 'Mo' Mitchell, National Strategist for the Working Families Party discusses the culture shifts taking place in the American electorates and how the WFP will put forward candidates voters can feel proud to support.
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