Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week

The first step is to become more independent for our means of reproduction - food, houses, health, education, care, ecology - these should be our primary struggles. Because it is by holding a monopoly on the means of reproduction by capital, that they can blackmail us. Our struggle, as many feminists and eco-feminists have been telling us for years, should be to fight for autonomy and independence of our way to reproduce.

Political economist Massimo de Angelis looks beyond the escalating human and environmental disasters of capitalism, and towards a social transformation in which we pry the means of production from capital's grasp, and reclaim our labor in service of the needs of all humanity and the earth itself - while we still have time.

Massimo is author of Omnia Sunt Communia: On the Commons and the Transformation to Postcapitalism from Zed Books.


Episode 940

Locus on the Family

Feb 18
Posted by Alexander Jerri

500 Years of Lying to Ourselves: An Apologetic History.

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

Ladies and Gentlemen and all points in between and beyond, I have distilled my discontent down to two rules:

1. The goal is equality of opportunity and equality under the law, inclusive society big and small (freedom from persecution on any basis), basic guaranteed standard of living (including infrastructure upkeep), universal health care, imprisonment as an admission of social failure to be limited to only exceptional cases, the choice to live a meaningful life rather than one dominated by drudgery, and equal access to quality education at every level. In short: respect for human rights and needs from any organization with which an individual comes into contact. These are within our abilities and resources as a species to provide. Without providing these, any system is extorting submission and misappropriating and misusing fees, rather than deserving of civil behavior and agreeable payment from the public. I'm not going to discuss or argue this anymore. If your goals are different, justify them to someone who cares.

2. Anything bad for Trump is good for the world.

I do not argue these points anymore. I don't explain them. I don't teach idiots, and only an idiot would disagree with these two convictions of mine. I would advise you all to do the same. Unless you're an idiot and disagree with me. Then I would advise you to eat a lump of poison. Or do like the KKK families do, murder your husband the Imperial Wizard and dump his body in the Missouri River.

The ability of stupid humanity to accept social conditions which any child can see are appallingly foolish is mind-numbing to me. It's really the dumbness of other people that's holding back the entire species.

Or is it? How do I get through my day, if I'm so enlightened that I can see through the veneer of respectability and discern the misbegotten nature of our society? I'll own it: I fool myself into thinking this garbage is okay. It's the only way to live a remotely pleasant life. Imagine living under the yoke of the Spanish Inquisition in 1493. Imagine how wildly you'd have to fool yourself into thinking it was fine to get up in the morning and go about your daily routine, while people were having their flesh punctured and ripped and their bones smashed until they admitted to abrogating some ludicrous superstitious rule. It's no... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

On This Day in Rotten History...

In 1873  – (144 years ago) – a thirty-five-year-old former monk named Vasil Levsky, who had led a movement to liberate Bulgaria from rule by the Ottoman Empire, was executed by hanging. Inspired by the French Revolution and by European efforts toward liberal democracy and human rights, Levsky had worked for several years to create a network of secret committees across Bulgaria to prepare for a coordinated armed uprising. But when a few of his rebel colleagues pulled a robbery without his approval and were arrested, they betrayed him to the Ottoman police. Learning of this, Levsky tried to escape to Romania, but he never made it to the border. Today he’s regarded as one of Bulgaria’s national heroes.   

In 1930 – (87 years ago) – at the International Air Exposition in Saint Louis, Nellie Jay, a two-year-old Guernsey cow from Bismarck, Missouri, became the first cow to fly in an airplane. As part of the stunt, she was milked during the flight, producing twenty-four quarts of milk that were sealed into cardboard cartons and parachuted to spectators on the ground below. To maintain their milk production, dairy cows are kept continuously pregnant and their calves are taken away from them soon after birth, often to be slaughtered for veal. When Nellie Jay reached middle age and her milk days were over, she, too, was sent to the slaughterhouse.        

In 1943 – (74 years ago) – two students at the University of Munich, the siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl, were arrested by the Gestapo for advocating resistance to Germany’s Nazi regime. They were founding members of the White Rose, a mostly student group that passed pamphlets and other materials hand-to-hand throughout southern Germany. Other White Rose activists were also arrested that day, and more were caught in the days thereafter. Hans and Sophie were among those found guilty of treason and executed by guillotine. Others went to prison until the end of World War II. Hans and Sophie Scholl had hoped that the Nazis’ recent defeat at Stalingrad would turn German public sentiment against the war. But on the very day of their arrest, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels made a live radio speech in which he cited the Stalingrad debacle to argue for an escalation into what he called “total war.” He made... 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 Melinda Cooper explains how neoliberalism transformed the politics of the family.

Melinda is author of Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the new Social Conservatism from Zone Books.


10:00 - Live from Stockholm, Mikael Mikaelsson outlines the government-industry path to green energy.

Mikael is a government adviser on science and innovation policy and international collaboration across Europe.


10:35 - Live from Bucharest, Florin Poenaru examines Romania's massive, contradictory protest movement.

Florin wrote the recent article What is at Stake in the Romanian Protests? for LeftEast.


11:10 - Artist Raoul Martinez looks beyond the limits of freedom to a future of equality and liberation.

Raoul is author of Creating Freedom: The Lottery of Birth, the Illusion of Consent, and the Fight for Our Future from Pantheon.


12:05 - Writer Joseph Daher explores the contemporary political-economy of Hezbollah.

Joseph is author of Hezbollah: The Political Economy of Lebanon's Party of God from Pluto Press.


12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, The current international trade situation pushes Jeff Dorchen over the borderline.

Did not have "international trade" in the pool for what would do that but OK.


Posted by Alexander Jerri

Here's what Chuck is reading to prepare for Saturday's show:

Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the new Social Conservatism - Melinda Cooper [Zone Books]

What is at Stake in the Romanian Protests? - Florin Poenaru [LeftEast]

Creating Freedom: The Lottery of Birth, the Illusion of Consent, and the Fight for Our Future - Raoul Martinez [Pantheon]

Hezbollah: The Political Economy of Lebanon's Party of God - Joseph Daher [Pluto Press]

And further recommended reading:

How a Russian Steel Oligarch and Putin Ally Is Profiting from the Keystone XL Pipeline - Steve Horn [DeSmog Blog]

The Paranoid Style in American Politics - Richard Hofstadter [Harper's]

With Executive Order on Policing, Trump Declares Racialized War on Dissent  - Flint Taylor [Truthout]

Making COIN The modern history of an unstoppable bad idea - Tim Shorrock [The Baffler]

Episode 939

You Mad?

Feb 11
Posted by Alexander Jerri

On This Day in Rotten History...

In 244 – (1,773 years ago) – the nineteen-year-old Roman emperor Gordian III was killed by his own troops after being defeated by the Persians at the ancient city of Circesium in what is now Syria. The Roman Empire was in a period of bloody civil war, border insecurity, and economic collapse. Young Gordian had been made emperor six years earlier, in what is known as the Year of the Six Emperors. In that year (238), a revolt against the tyrant Maximius had resulted in a frail, elderly provincial governor being proclaimed Emperor Gordian I, and the old man had insisted that his son share power with him as Gordian II. The father-and-son co-emperors were popular with the Senate, but only lasted a month before being attacked at Carthage by an army led by a rival governor loyal to Maximius. When Gordian II was killed in the battle, his father, Gordian I, promptly committed suicide. The Senate quickly responded by installing two new co-emperors, Pupienus and Balbius, who not only mistrusted and feared each other but were hated by the Praetorian Guard. After just three months in power, they too, were killed. So it was in desperation that the Senate then turned to the terrified thirteen-year-old grandson of the first Gordian and nephew of the second, declaring him Emperor Gordian III. The young man struggled to grow into his role, but he died at Circesium, probably in a mutiny led by the general known as Philip the Arab. Philip then succeeded Gordian III as Roman emperor — and he, too, would be killed a few years later.

In 1823 – (194 years ago) – in Valletta, the capital of Malta, it was the last day of the public celebration of Carnival before the Catholic religious period of Lent. A church convent was observing its annual tradition of handing out free bread and fruit to poor children from the area, partly in order to keep them away from the bawdy confusion of the outdoor festival. Since Malta was experiencing a famine that year, the crowd of children was especially large, with some adults sneaking in as well. In a corridor of the old convent, the crowd got out of control and began pushing and shoving against a locked door. Soon a lamp went out, leaving the corridor in darkness, and the shoving got worse. Screams were heard as children were trampled, crushed, and suffocated. By the time people outside managed to pry the door open, more than a hundred... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Listen live from 9AM - 10:45AM Central on WNUR 89.3FM / stream at / subscribe to the podcast


9:15 - Author Pankaj Mishra examines the hidden history of anger across the modern world.

Pankaj is author of Age of Anger: A History of the Present from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


10:00 - Author Nato Thompson explains how art became a weapon aimed at the public.

Nato is author of Culture as Weapon: The Art of Influence in Everyday Life from Melville House.

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Toward, But Not Directly Toward, A Thermodynamic/Information Theory of History

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

There's a framework for thinking about evolution in terms of thermodynamics, and I'm here to misunderstand it for you. Complex thermodynamically open systems, such as living organisms, but not only living organisms, but in this case, yes, living organisms, tend to want to redistribute the energy going into them by discharging it in the most entropic way possible. So, if you eat a lot of fuel, such as a pizza, you're going to be able to stomp around, breaking stuff and kicking up dust. On top of that, you'll be able to make machines that will take in energy and smash stuff and give off heat, destroying more organization than if you hadn't made the machine, and creating greater entropy than otherwise.

I'll be honest: I don’t think that's a very good illustration of the theory. Oh! That's because I forgot to say that the organization isn't just thermal energy, it's information. Information wants to be free, somebody said. I have the vague recollection it was a lawyer. But what information wants is beside the point. Energetic input helps cajole information to organize itself into complex systems. That's why there's something instead of nothing. Maybe. And information forms complex systems to more efficiently transform energetic input into entropy.

Without a shadow of a doubt, I am doing great violence to this theory. But maybe that's my purpose: to redistribute my breakfast into nonsensical misinterpretations of popular science articles in Quanta magazine, thereby turning organized chemical energy, as well as well-organized information in plain English, into froth and ado and evenly-distributed confusion.

This is why it is almost one hundred percent certain that the listenership of the This Is Hell radio program is going to continue to grow: broadcasting the information to more listeners distributes it over a greater area, therefore more evenly, in the cosmic scheme of things. Nature wants This Is Hell to have more listeners. It's only natural. And the listeners, absorbing this information, will mess up the world around them, creating entropy more efficiently.

I've slept through most of the past century's philosophical trends, so I don't know if people are still as pumped about dialectical materialism as they were back when I was a boy in the late 19th Century.... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

On This Day in Rotten History...

In 1555 — (462 years ago) — the English Protestant clergyman John Rogers was executed for heresy on the order of Queen Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII. The new queen resented her father’s break with the papacy and was now keen to reestablish Catholicism in England. During her five-year reign she would have more than 280 Protestants executed, thus earning the nickname “Bloody Mary.” Rogers was the first of those Protestant martyrs. Like the others, he was burned alive at the stake.     

In 1899 — (118 years ago) — units of the US military based in Manila, having taken possession of the Philippines from Spain the previous year in the Spanish-American War, found themselves in armed conflict with Philippine nationalist insurgents who were just as eager to get rid of the Americans as they had been to get rid the Spaniards. A few minor skirmishes escalated into large-scale fighting that continued through the next day. The Philippine president, Emilio Aguinaldo, tried to broker a cease-fire, but it was rejected by the top American general. More than five hundred Philippine soldiers were killed, along with some fifty to sixty Americans. The so-called Battle of Manila thus became the first and most deadly episode of the Philippine-American War, which lasted more than three years and solidified the United States’ colonial domination of the islands. It also killed some eighteen thousand Philippine soldiers and six thousand Americans — along with an estimated two hundred thousand Filipino noncombatants who died of violence, famine, and disease.

In 1977 – (40 years ago) – during the evening rush hour in the Loop area of downtown Chicago, the operator of a Lake–Dan Ryan elevated train missed a signal and allowed his train to plow into the one ahead. Instead of hitting his brake when the “el” trains made contact, he accidentally applied more motor power, causing the first two cars on his train to jackknife upward until a coupling bar snapped. Both cars fell off the elevated track and crashed onto the street below, along with two more train cars right behind them. Eleven people were killed and 180 were injured. Later it was revealed that the train operator had a bad safety record, including a prior derailment and several citations for reading and talking to passengers while operating his... read more