Podcast: Bill Weinberg's neo-Yippie memoir

In Episode 233 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg recalls his days as a young neo-Yippie in the 1980s. A remnant faction of the 1960s counterculture group adopted a punk aesthetic for the Reagan era, launched the US branch of the Rock Against Racism movement, brought chaos to the streets at Republican and Democratic political conventions, defied the police in open cannabis "smoke-ins"—and won a landmark Supreme Court ruling for free speech. The Yippie clubhouse at 9 Bleecker Street, the hub for all these activities, has long since succumbed to the gentrification of the East Village, but it survived long enough to provide inspiration to a new generation of radical youth during Occupy Wall Street. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Podcast: from Baghdad to Bialystok —to Pico-Robertson

In Episode 232 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg examines the politics of the ugly dust-up between pro-Palestinian protesters and local Jewish residents in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pico-Robertson—and notes the anniversary of June 1941 anti-Jewish pogroms in Bialystok, Poland, and Baghdad, Iraq. Propagandistic and distorted portrayals of the LA protest as mere arbitrary anti-Semitism ignore the fact that the targeted synagogue was hosting a real estate event promoting sale of lands to create "Anglo neighborhoods" in Israel, and probably in the occupied West Bank (which would be a clear violation of international law). On the other hand, insensitivity to (or ignorance of) the historical context (and contemporary context) that makes an angry protest outside a synagogue an inevitably problematic "optic" only abets the propaganda. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Anti-Semitism versus anti-Zionism: beyond parsing

The Zionist propaganda machine continues to weaponize the accusation of anti-Semitism to delegitimize any effort to resist Israel's genocidal assault on Gaza. This increases rather than decreases the responsibility of activists to distinguish—and oppose—actual anti-Semitism. Yet in recent weeks, sectors of the activist response to the Gaza genocide in the United States have utterly surrendered to the most abject, undisguised, unambiguous anti-Semitism—playing right into the hands of the Zionist calumnies. Bill Weinberg discusses this difficult reality in Episode 231 of the CounterVortex podcast.

Mexico's new presidenta and the human rights crisis

Mexico has made history with the election of its first woman president, former Mexico City mayor and environmental scientist Claudia Sheinbaum. But the ongoing human rights crisis that will obviously pose a grave challenge for Sheinbaum was dramatically exemplified by the record number of political assassinations that marred the elections. And she inherits a pending constitutional reform from her perceived political mentor, the incumbent populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, which would further unleash the military to engage in internal law enforcement. Bill Weinberg explores in Episode 230 of the CounterVortex podcast.

Podcast: from Palestine to Western Sahara

Benjamin Netanyahu's gaffe on French TV, displaying a map of the "Arab World" that showed the occupied (and illegally annexed) Western Sahara as a separate entity from Morocco, sparked a quick and obsequious apology from the Israeli Foreign Ministry. But the snafu sheds light on the mutual hypocrisy at work here. There is an obvious hypocrisy to Moroccan protests that demand self-determination for the Palestinians but not the Sahrawi, the indigenous Arab inhabitants of Western Sahara. The hypocrisy of Israel is also obvious: Israeli commentators and hasbara agents are the first to play the "whataboutery" game—relativizing the plight of the Palestinians by pointing to that of Kurds, Berbers, Nubians, Massalit and other stateless peoples oppressed under Arab regimes. But, as we now see, they are just as quick to completely betray them when those regimes recognize Israel and betray the Palestinians. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system. Bill Weinberg breaks it down in Episode 229 of the CounterVortex podcast.

Podcast: a cannabis coup in the Congo?

The attempted coup d'etat in the Democratic Republic of the Congo may or may not have been assisted by the CIA, but one of the Americans arrested in the affair is named as a "cannabis entrepreneur"—pointing to the possibility of legal cannabis playing the same destructive role in Central Africa that bananas have played in Central America. Yet while corporate power sees a lucrative new cash crop, lives (and especially Black lives) are still being ruined by cannabis prohibition in the United States. In Episode 228 of the CounterVortex podcastBill Weinberg argues that the old anarchist slogan "Neither your war nor your peace" can be updated as "Neither your prohibition nor your legalization!"

Podcast: New Caledonia in the Great Game

Azerbaijan, now facing accusations of genocide against Armenians, suddenly rallies to the defense of the Kanak indigenous people in the French overseas territory of New Caledonia, and accuses France of a legacy of "crimes against humanity" in its colonial holdings. This appears to be blatant retaliation for French support of Armenia in the conflict between the two Caucasus nations. The repression of the Kanak uprising in their colonized homeland and the cleansing of the Armenians from their usurped ancestral lands both demand our protest—but the propaganda game makes everything more complicated. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system. Bill Weinberg discusses in Episode 227 of the CounterVortex podcast.

Podcast: the betrayal of Darfur —again

In Episode 226 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses the alarmingly under-reported humanitarian disaster in Darfur. A generation later, the genocide is back on—but this time there is no global campaign to stop it. Even last time around, elements of the campist pseudo-left portrayed the "Save Darfur" movement as a Zionist conspiracy, because atrocities by an Arab-led regime happened to be useful to Israel in the "whataboutery" game. Alas, such cynical voices are at it again. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system.

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