Norm Diamond hosts this episode of the Old Mole, which includes the following segments:
Social Democracy in Germany: Surprising all the experts, the German Social Democratic Party rose from the dead to win the German national election in September of last year, promising to deal with the capitalist crises of our time: pandemics, climate change, growing inequality, and the threat of right wing authoritarianism. In the second part of a two part interview, Bill Resnick and Bill Smaldone discuss whether they can and will pursue the radical course that’s necessary. Bill Smaldone teaches history at Willamette University with a specialty of Germany in the 20th Century. Bill cofounded Radio KMUZ in Salem, an independent left station like KBOO. Among his books are Confronting Hitler: German Social Democrats in Defense of the Weimar Republic and European Socialism. The first part of the interview, Social Democracy in Germany, aired on January 10.
Oregon, My Oregon: Did you know that Oregon has an official state song? And that the lyrics were only recently changed to remove their racial bias? Harold Johnson both reads and sings his poem “Down In the Valley” in response. Is he talking about the Willamette Valley or rather the Valley of the Shadow of Death?
Another World is Possible: There once was a time, a very long time, when large parts of the US population believed unquestioningly in the American Dream: that hard work sufficed to get ahead; that Democrat and Republican political parties represented the full range of political possibilities; that the motives behind US actions in the world were altruistic. Popular movements, righteous education and economic realities have undermined those innocent beliefs. But is the cynicism which has replaced them any better? Through an in-depth look at an animated film from the 1970s, Norm Diamond explores the phenomenon of cynicism and its encouragement in commercial media and elsewhere, as a sophisticated form of social control.
Oregon Outcast: Many of us look back at previous generations and wonder what they could possibly have been thinking – about slavery, or sexism, or environmental destruction, or many other issues. But what can we learn – today – from people who spoke out against injustices like that when they were actually happening? Matt Witt reviews Oregon Outcast, by Jan Wright, a fascinating biography of an Oregonian who, back in the 1850s, protested the theft of indigenous lands by white “settlers.”