Wednesday, October 31, 2007

TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: My conversation with Ward Churchill

6 PM Mountain Time

Ward Churchill
is often described as being controversial and confrontational. He’s also often described as accomplished and brilliant. Although his commentaries and speeches are nuanced, historically detailed and requiring sober reflection, audiences not ready for them often react with emotion and even invective.

Churchill is a prolific writer and scholar. He’s been co-director of the American Indian Movement of Colorado, Vice Chairperson of the American Anti-Defamation Council, and a National Spokesperson for the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. Churchill, who is of Creek/Cherokee extraction, describes himself as an American Indian. He was an associate professor of American Indian Studies and Communications at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Until he was recently forced to resign from the position, he had served as Associate Director of the Center for Studies of Ethnicity and Race in America at U.C. Boulder.
Churchill resigned following a media firestorm led by right-wing stormtroopers such as Bill O’Reilly of the FOX network, after a post-911 essay Churchill had penned returned to light. In that piece, Churchill compared the World Trade Centre-housed technocrats who managed the US imperial economy to Adolph Eichmann. Eichmann was the operations manager whose mastery of logistics sent millions to their deaths in Nazi slave camps.

Hannah Arendt, who interviewed Eichmann, concluded the mass-murderer was in fact not much of an anti-Semite, but rather a diligent worker entirely divorced from human feeling or reflection upon the horror of his actions. Arendt coined the expression “the banality of evil” to discuss such behaviour and mind-set. By referring to American technocrats as little Eichmanns, Ward Churchill drew a connection to modern evil banality which has sent millions to their deaths. Yet Churchill was accused of having slandered all 911 victims—regardless of their work at the World Trade Centre--as being equivalent to Nazis.

Churchill’s supporters have not stopped fighting, and neither has he; he may indeed return to his position at his former university. As well, his student supporters organised in September a lecture series provided for free by Churchill as a type of non-credit course.

Ward Churchill is the author of many books, including:

A Little Matter of Genocide – Holocaust and Denial in the Americas – 1492 to Present

Pacifism as Pathology - Reflections on the Role of Armed Struggle in North America,

Islands in Captivity - The Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii by the United States Government,

and with Jim Vander Wall, Agents of Repression - The FBI’s Secret War Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: Relaunch of Arusha Declaration + Police Torture in Nigeria


6 PM Mountain Time

Madaraka Nyerere, son of former Tanzanian president Julius Gadarabe Nyerere, discusses parallels between socialist development in Tanzania andVenezuela. And in the second half of the show, Damien Ugwu reveals the shocking extent of police torture in Nigeria.

In the mid-20th century during decolonisation and prior to the ascendancy of neo-colonialism, a number of leaders were at the forefront of classical Pan-Afrikanism. This group included Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Patrice Lumumba of Congo, Sekou Toure of Guinea, and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, among others. In Tanzania’s case, the leader was Julius Kambarage Nyerere, known as Mwalimu, Ki-Swahili for “teacher.”

A committed Pan-Afrikanist, Nyerere helped launch the international Anti-Apartheid movement in 1960. Nyerere co-founded the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), becoming prime minister when Tanganyika became independent in 1961.

Having forged the union of Tanganyika and the island of Zanzibar, Nyerere became president of the new nation of Tanzania, a position he kept until 1985. As eulogized on the website of South Africa’s African National Congress, Nyerere “offered sanctuary in Tanzania to members of African liberation movements from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, and Uganda, and in 1978 ... sent Tanzanian troops to depose Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Tanzania hosted the African Liberation Committee from its inception in 1963. Tanzania gave land and other assistance to the African National Congress of South Africa for its headquarters in Morogoro, and for the Solomon Mahlangu school and other projects.

Tonight, we’ll hear an interview conducted by Adam Ma’anit of Pambazuka News and New Internationalist magazine with Madaraka Nyerere, the son of the former Tanzanian president. “Madaraka Nyerere was in London [with the Global Women's Strike] to re-launch the Arusha Declaration, the document which is the foundation of socialist principles practiced by Nyerere's government.... Madaraka explores the reasons why Nyerere's policies have been demolished by [neoliberalism], and the relevance of his father's work for modern Africa and the women's rights movement.”

We'll also hear a disturbing story on the prevalence of police torture of detainees in Nigerian jails. Police routinely torture prisoners held for as little as one night, according to Damien Ugwu of the Nigerian Civil Liberties Organisation. In the following segment, Ugwu speaks with Sokari Ekine about “endemic police torture in the Nigerian justice system. [The Nigerian Civil Liberties Org

anisation] estimates that five people a day are being extra-judicially killed by the police. Most vulnerable are unemployed youths accused of armed robbery. Damien Ugwu explores the reasons why torture and murder are commonplace and the cultural and political roots of the problem.”


This Friday, CJSR kicks off its annual FUNDRIVE. Show your support for CJSR’s excellent range of music and news you won’t find anywhere else on the dial. Every week, every year, CJSR covers ethno-cultural, gender, sexual orientation, pro-democracy, environmental and other public affairs that corporate radio doesn’t understand or refuses to address.

Your support of community radio is vital to its development and growth, and your support of The Terrordome, broadcast since 1991 on CJSR, is absolutely necessary. Please donate any time during the ten day of FunDrive, but to show your support of The Terrordome and Asiko Phantom Pyramid, please call 492-CJSR during next week’s broadcasts on Wednesday’s The Terrordome from 6-7 pm and Thursday’s Asiko Phantom Pyramid from 8-10 pm. You can also pledge online DURING THE SHOWS (please) by clicking here.


Next Tuesday on the University of Alberta campus, I’ll be at a special presentation in the Humanities Centre reading from my new novel, From the Notebooks of Doctor Brain.

Cloaked as a self-help book for superheroes, the novel is actually a satire on self-help books, psychoanalysis, the cult of celebrity, the threat of corporate media, and the imperial destructiveness of the Bush White House.

The Humanities Centre is connected to the north-east end of Hub Mall, and I’ll be reading Tuesday, October 16 at 3:30 pm in room 4-29. The event is sponsored by the University of Alberta Department of English and Film Studies and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: Lies and Truth about Afrikans in America

If you watch or listen to the news, read the paper or numerous popular books on current events, or perhaps simply check out the movies, video games or music videos, you’ve probably formed a number of conceptions of quality of life among Africans in the United States.

Everyone knows, for instance, that teen pregnancy and out of wedlock births are increasing, that violence is increasing, that poverty is increasing, that post-secondary enrollment is down, that high school completion and grades are down, that literacy is down, the voting is down, and that self-respect is down.

Everybody knows all the above is true. And everybody is wrong.

Sadly, many of the people who believe the above myths are the Black public intellectuals of the United States. Some are conservatives in the service of right wing think tanks. Others define themselves as progressives or even revolutionaries. Still others are popular entertainers who’ve been paid spokesmen for White corporate America.

Thankfully, some academics are using the modest and sensible tools of research to counter reaction. Tonight we’ll hear from sociologist Algernon Austin, director of the Thora Institute and author of the recent book Getting it Wrong: How Black Public Intellectuals Are Failing Black America.

The book is a correcting of the myth of the Black underclass, myths about African Americans and crime, myths of African American educational decline, and the myths of Afrikan American cultural deficiency and self-hatred.

Austin also authored Achieving Blackness, and is editor of the Thora Institute’s Black Directions reports on social issues affecting African Americans. He has taught sociology at DePaul and Wesleyan universities.

On September 16th, Professor Austin spoke with me by telephone from his home in Connecticut. I began by asking him what factors were responsible for the increasing success of African students in the United States.

6 PM Mountain Time