Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week

Neoliberalism, despite the reverses in Latin America over the past six years, since the coup in Honduras, despite the 'end' of the Pink Tide - neoliberalism has lost its hegemony. It has no mandate. And there's no way the right can win an election in Latin America, without utterly lying through its teeth.

Caracas-based political analyst Lucas Koerner examines the motives and methods of Venezuela's right-wing opposition during the current economic and political crisis - as a persistent, insurrectionary threat to the stalled Bolivarian revolution, and a violent example of the lengths neoliberal, Western-backed reactionaries will pursue to seize power in Latin America.

Lucas co-wrote the recent articles 7 Dead as Venezuela Violence Escalates and Is Venezuela’s Attorney General Biased Towards the Opposition? for Venezuelanaysis.


Aug 5
Posted by Alexander Jerri

On This Day in Rotten History...

In 1716  – (301 years ago) – thirty-three thousand soldiers died and untold thousands more were wounded when forces of Austria’s Habsburg monarchy met an army of the Ottoman Empire at Petrovaradin, in what is now Serbia. The Ottomans had been driving toward the heart of Europe when they ran smack into a massive encampment ordered on the banks of the Danube by the Austrian military commander, Prince Eugene of Savoy. After three days of minor skirmishes, and in just a few hours of unspeakable carnage, the Ottoman troops were outmanuevered, overwhelmed, and wiped out. Barely one-third of them managed to escape with their lives after their leader, the Grand Vizier Damat Ali, was captured and killed. His tomb is in Belgrade.

In 1858  – (159 years ago) – having already failed in several attempts, oceangoing engineers from the United States and Great Britain finally completed laying the first-ever telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean. The 2,500-mile-long cable was made of five copper wires wrapped in a casing of gutta-percha, tar, and hemp. It lay on an undersea plateau two miles under the waves, and connected a station in Newfoundland with another one in Ireland. After a few days of testing, Britain’s Queen Victoria sent the ceremonial first message to US President James Buchanan. The technology was so crude that her ninety-eight-word message took sixteen hours to send. Within days the transmission quality grew even worse, and engineers argued about how to fix it. The English chief electrician, Wildman Whitehouse, finally chose to pump an extra charge of two thousand volts into the cable to get it working. But instead of fixing the problem, the shock burned the cable out, rendering the hugely expensive project worthless after only three weeks in service. Whitehouse’s reputation was ruined, though he would spend the rest of his life defending his decision. Many people suspected that the whole cable project had been a big hoax, and six years would pass before it was attempted again.

In 1962 – (55 years ago) — near the town of Howick in South Africa, police arrested Nelson Mandela, leader of an armed wing of the banned African National Congress that had been classified as a terrorist organization by South Africa’s white minority government. Mandela was arrested along with a group of associates who were charged with... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Listen live from 9AM - 1:00PM Central on WNUR 89.3FM / stream at / subscribe to the podcast


9:15 - Sociologist Charles Derber makes the case for building universalized resistance to global capitalism.

Charles is author of the book Welcome to the Revolution: Universalizing Resistance for Social Justice and Democracy in Perilous Times for Routledge.


10:05 - Writer Laurie Penny examines the power, and necessity, of being a bitch in these dark times.

Laurie's collection of essays, Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults is out now from Bloomsbury.


11:00 - Sociologist Kevan Harris explores the rise of social welfare policy in post-revolution Iran.

Kevan is author of the book A Social Revolution: Politics and the Welfare State in Iran from University of California Press.


12:00 - Political analyst Lucas Koerner reports on violence and misinformation in Venezuela.

Lucas co-wrote the recent articles 7 Dead as Venezuela Violence Escalates and Is Venezuela’s Attorney General Biased Towards the Opposition? for Venezuelanaysis.


12:35 - The Hopleaf's Michael Roper discusses the vertical integration of craft beer, and maybe the end of bars.

Michael will be talking about Sapporo's acquisition of Anchor Brewing, and why bars need to adapt to a new brew-pub paradigm.

Posted by Alexander Jerri

The Supreme Gamble

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

As founder and spokesmodel of the Socialist Leisure Party, I am under constant attack from every side. My detractors are legion. From the right, they want to shut us up because we're spreading the dirty secret threatening to undermine capitalism's extortionist hold over the masses: there's enough wealth in the world today for everyone to lead an easy, pleasant and fulfilling life. From the vanguardist left, they want us to quit advocating recalcitrance and the romance of shirking work, because it undermines their image of the noble laborer as a deployable soldier in the battle against the current regime they wish to replace with themselves.

My first task every morning is to fight the urge to get up and fight. It's not easy being aggressively inert. But somebody has to take it upon himself to do this thing that doesn't need doing.

Our stupid national ethos fetishizes certain types of risk. There was even a popular song about risk assessment: "You got to know when to hold em; know when to fold em," the singing Gambler cryptically advised. If you risk your last dime and, through a combination of obsessive devotion and luck, make millions, you are applauded, lionized, celebrated. If you risk your last dime and fail, you are stigmatized and shunned and swept under the rug of oblivion. If you take the risk of devoting your time to teaching or nursing or firefighting or farming or otherwise doing the grassroots labor society requires in order to function on a day-to-day basis, whether you succeed or fail you are pretty much treated like scum.

For the sake of a handful of winners, we are held hostage in a nightmarish casino where most of us sweep the floors or refill the shrimp buffet in a thankless bargain with the management.

One tenet of the Socialist Leisure Party is that we in the USA are pressured to accept risk in order to enter into any social contract, and succumbing to such pressure must be avoided at all costs. We will not invest our time into mastering a trade. We will not devote our lives to contributing labor to a company or a municipality or, god forbid, a government, against the empty promise that it will support us with a pension in our old age. Simply put: we will not devote. Governments, companies and municipalities have earned nothing but our distrust, and we owe them nothing more.

So, yes, the basic motivation... read more

Episode 963

Assembly Language

Jul 29
Posted by Alexander Jerri

On This Day in Rotten History...

In the year 904 – (1,113 years ago) — the Byzantine city of Thessalonica in Greece was sacked by an army of Arab Saracen invaders. The Saracens had departed from Syria with the original intention of taking Constantinople, but they’d been repelled by that city’s defenders. So they took a spontaneous detour to Thessalonica, where they found a city totally unprepared for their onslaught. Not only were the crumbling city walls in urgent need of repair, but the city’s two army commanders, who could not communicate with each other, were issuing conflicting orders that threw the troops into disarray. After a brief siege, during which the combatants used catapaults to bombard each other with flying rocks, the Saracens essentially hurled themselves, through a rain of stones and arrows, over the walls and into the city. Once inside, they spent a week killing, burning, looting, and taking prisoners. They captured sixty Byzantine ships, released four thousand Muslims held captive in the city, and took more than twenty thousand Thessalonicans as captives, most of whom they would later sell into slavery.       

In 1967 – (50 years ago) — 250 people were killed and more than 1,500 were injured when a 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck near the Caribbean coast of Venezuela. In one fashionable neighborhood in Caracas, people and cars were buried under tons of debris when a quartet of ritzy highrise apartment buildings shook and staggered on their foundations, pounded into each other, and then collapsed like stacks of pancakes. The earthquake caused more than $100 million worth of property damage in Caracas alone, and left more than eighty thousand people homeless across northern Venezuela.

Rotten History is written by Renaldo Migaldi

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Listen live from 9AM - 1:00PM Central on WNUR 89.3FM / stream at / subscribe to the podcast


9:15 - Historian Talitha LeFlouria explains how the convict labor of Black women built the new South.

Talitha is author of the book Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South from UNC Press.


10:00 - Live from Budapest, Todd Williams reflects on Viktor Orbán's manipulation of Hungarian society.

Todd will also be talking about Soros, NGO influence, Hungary's upcoming elections and the World Swimming Championship. A busy time in Budapest.


10:35 - Our Man in San Juan, Dave Buchen reports on debt and dependence in Puerto Rico.

Dave is in town for next week's CLOSED CASKET: The Complete, Final And Absolutely Last Baudelaire In A Box at Theater Oobleck.


11:05 - Organizer Jane McAlevey charts out a course for claiming power in the Trump era.

Jane is author of No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age from Oxford University Press.


12:05 - Historian Aaron Fountain explains how the Black Lives Matter movement is shaping Latino activism.

Aaron wrote the article How African American Activists are Influencing Latinos for Black Perspectives.


12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen assesses the risk involved in risk avoidance.


Episode 962


Jul 23
Posted by Alexander Jerri

 The Drama of the Exiled King

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

Ever get in one of those moods where your understanding of what the world is seems stuck on "basic alienation?" Reality parades and throngs around you like an immersive performance, human activity repeats ritualistically, as mechanical behavior in response to stimulus or programmed biologically, chemically even. A sophisticated organization of humans going about its sophisticated business is doing nothing more meaningful, nor does it evince any more free will, than salt does when it dissolves in water. People fight, love, build, invent, trade and sing because there is nothing else for them to do. We're all just chemistry trundling along through our processes of transformation. There is not a single activity you can discern to be a product of choice.

Here's a tidbit I picked up somewhere as I was going through the motions of living my life: King Solomon had a lot of contact with demons. I may have mentioned this elsewhere, but it never hurts to go over old ground. In Solomon's world, demons were as observant as any Jew. They had temples in their demon world and studied Torah. Not some demon Torah, the Torah. And being immortal, they accumulated a great deal of wisdom from their studies. Ashmodai, the big cheese of the demons, was famous for his knowledge of Torah and mastery of its mysteries.

It's no surprise, then, that Solomon kept Ashmodai prisoner in his palace in order to study at the demon's feet. Solomon had a compulsive desire to learn. For a king, untangling the secrets of the universe woven in the letters and sounds of Torah provided material advantages, but Solomon was no less a student for the pure sake of learning. He learned the languages of the animals from the demons, and some say Ashmodai provided Solomon with the architectural specifications for rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem.

During their studies they came upon a particular mystery, I'm not sure what, but it was a deeply puzzling, mystically divine question, and Ashmodai had the answer to it. The demon said he could only explain if given full range of movement, because apparently there was some sort of gymnastic aspect to this point of doctrine. Solomon would have to remove whatever chains prevented Ashmodai from freely moving. Also, Ashmodai wanted to wear Solomon's royal signet ring, solely for the time it took to impart the secret... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

On This Day in Rotten History...

In 1916 – (101 years ago) — in San Francisco, business leaders and the local chamber of commerce sponsored a “Preparedness Day parade” to cheer the entry of US troops into World War I. Labor leaders, radicals, and anarchists who opposed US participation in the faraway European war planned to protest the parade, and had been warned of possible mischief by provocateurs. Shortly after the parade got underway, a pipe bomb exploded in the middle of the crowd, killing ten people and wounding forty. Two locally prominent left-wing labor leaders, Thomas Mooney and Warren Billings, were among those arrested by police, and were held for six days without being allowed to see a lawyer. In defiance of loud protests by labor and civil liberties activists, both men were soon found guilty — their death sentences later commuted to life imprisonment. More than twenty years later, a state commission found that their trial had been marred by false testimony and other irregularities, some of which were publicly admitted by the trial judge and jurors. Mooney and Billings were released from prison in 1939 and later pardoned. To this day, the real perpetrators of the San Francisco bombing remain unknown.    

In 1962 – (55 years ago) — at Cape Canaveral, Florida, a rocket was launched carrying the spacecraft Mariner 1, intended to be the first to fly near the planet Venus. Soon after launch, the rocket veered off course and stopped responding to guidance commands sent from the ground. Fearful that it might come down and hit a populated area, mission controllers sent a command for the rocket to self-destruct, which it did. Analysts later found that a computer programmer who transcribed guidance software for the rocket had unwittingly introduced a typo, which science writer Arthur C. Clarke later called “the most expensive hyphen in history.” Five weeks later, a second launch sent the Mariner 2 spacecraft to a successful Venus flyby, where it measured hellish temperatures on that planet’s surface of nine hundred degrees Fahrenheit — hot enough to melt lead