Cherney, Darryl — Who Bombed Judi Bari?

In 1990, Earth First! activists from Mendocino County were on a road trip to rally support for a summer effort to help protect old growth redwoods in northern California. For years prior, logging practices took well over 90% of the original redwood growth in the area. Darryl Cherney and Judi Bari, the organizers, were in their car in Oakland, California, on May 24, 1990 when a bomb exploded underneath the driver’s seat where Judi Bari sat.

She and Darryl Cherney were immediately arrested suspected of bombing themselves. Although charges were never filed against the two, authorities have yet to locate the bombers. They sued and won a jury award of four million dollars against the Oakland Police Department and the FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, for violating their 1st and 4th amendment rights.

The film, “Who Bombed Judi Bari?” produced by Darryl Cherney, attempts to answer the question posed in the title and examines their struggle with law enforcement in finding the real bomber and chronicles the history of the local environmental movement here, in northern California.

Christina Aanestad, the Radio Curious assistant producer spoke with Cherney about the film he produced and his experiences resulting from the bombing. They visited on March 29, 2011, at the studios of KMEC radio, inside the Mendocino Environmental Center, a hub for social and environmental movements, including Earth First! They began when Christina asked Darryl Cherney to describe the attempted assassination against him and Judi Bari.

The book he recommends is, “The Alphabet Versus the Goddess” by Alan Shlain.

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Reuther, Sasha — The United Auto Workers Union: Its Effect on American Life

As we all know every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  The reaction, however is not necessarily equal in time or unity.  It’s often spread over time with serial impacts.

In this edition of Radio Curious we focus on the treatment of workers in the automobile industry in the United States beginning in the early years of the 20th century. The story is portrayed in “Brothers on the Line,” a film about Walter, Ray and Victor Reuther, three brothers from West Virginia who organized the United Auto Workers Union beginning in the 1920s. With access to the National Archives, the Wayne State University Labor History Library and family records, Sasha Reuther, Victor’s grandson, directed the film.  It chronicles the working conditions and the successful strikes at the big three auto plants in Michigan; the political power of the United Auto Workers Union, and its involvement in the civil rights movement.  It also explains why Detroit, Michigan became the richest city in the United States in the 1950s.

Sasha Reuther and I visited by phone from his office in New York City on May 7, 2012.  We began when I asked him what happened once the automobile became a useful, if not necessary tool of life.

The book that Sasha Reuther recommends is “U.A.W. and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 1945 -1968,” by Kevin Boyle.

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Jenkins, Clay & Jefferson, Thomas –The Author of the Declaration of Independence

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States of America, is respected by some as one of the leading political theorists of American history.  He conceptualized a government originating in the households of the individual citizens, and stemming from a questioning and rebellious public, requiring, he believed a primarily agrarian population.

Our guest in this archive edition of Radio Curious is Thomas Jefferson, personified by Chautauqua scholar Clay Jenkinson.  We met in Ukiah, California in May, 1994, and discussed what has changed in the United States since Mr. Jefferson took office as President in 1803, and the concepts he believed necessary to maintain a democracy. 

The book Mr. Jefferson recommends is  “The History of the Peloponnesian War,” by Thucydides, and the book Clay Jenkinson recommends is “In the Absence of the Sacred,”  by Jerry Mander.

This interview with Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, as personified by Chautauqua scholar, Clay Jenkinson, was recorded in the studios of Radio Curious on May 21, 1994.

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Appelbaum, Ralph:  Holocaust Remembrance and the Responsibility of Bystanders


To create thought around Yom Hashoah, known in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day, I offer you an archive interview with Ralph Appelbaum, the designer the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington D.C., which opened in April, 1993, when this interview was recorded.

When Ralph Appelbaum and I were Peace Corp volunteers in the mid 1960s, living in nearby towns in southern Peru, we often shared our future plans. This interview shares the story of one of Ralph’s plans which he manifested on a material plane, about 30 years later.

Appelbaum says that a museum’s architecture should focus on the experience by creating time and space events. In the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Appelbuam’s design depicts the suffering, torture and death of millions of people during World War II in Europe, on land controlled by fascist Nazis. He also directs attention to the responsibility of bystanders.

Please keep in mind that this interview was recorded in April 1993. That was when Ralph Appelbaum and I visited by phone from his loft in New York City. We began when I asked him to describe his vision of a museum designer.

The audio of this program was enhanced by Gregg McVicer of UnderCurrents Radio, who was our guest in 2013.

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Eickhoff, Diane — The Revolutionary Heart and Life of Clarina Nichols

The life of Clarina Nichols and her work in the early women’s rights movement in the United States has been greatly overlooked. As one of the country’s first female newspaper editors and stump speakers, Clarina Nichols spoke out for temperance, abolition and women’s rights at a time when doing so could get a woman killed. Unlike other activists, she personally experienced some of the cruelest sufferings that a married woman of her day could know. In her pursuit for justice she traveled westward facing all of the challenges of being a single mother and a women’s rights activist of her day with good humor and resourcefulness. Clarina Nichols is portrayed by Diane Eickhoff in this chautauquan style interview.  We began when I asked Clarina about her childhood.

The book Clarina Nichols recommends is “The Sexes Throughout Nature (Pioneers of the woman’s movement),” by Antoinette Louisa Brown Blackwell.

The book Diane Eickhoff recommends is “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 911” by Lawrence Wright.

This program was originally broadcast on January 13, 2007.

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Phillips, Barbara — The Dialogue of Race

This is the second of two interviews with civil rights Attorney Barbara Phillips. She is a contributor to the book “Voices of Civil Rights Lawyers: Reflections From the Deep South: 1964-1980,” whose editor, Kent Spriggs, we interviewed in December 2017.

In part one, Phillips shared stories and experiences from her 40 year legal career as a community organizer and civil rights lawyer. In this, part two of our conversation, we discuss her essay “Framing the Contemporary Dialogue of Race,” that is featured in “Voices of Civil Rights Lawyers.” We discuss the changing rhetoric about race, the Second Reconstruction and a Supreme Court decision addressing race prior to the 1980s. These decisions defined a broad scope for just and equal rights for black people in the United States.

As a retired civil rights attorney and retired professor of law at the University of Mississippi, and formerly a Program Officer of the Ford Foundation in the Human Rights unit of the Peace and Social Justice Program, she continues her life’s work as a community organizer in Oxford, Mississippi, and continues promoting community justice programs around the world.

When Barbara Phillips and I visited by phone from her home in Oxford, Mississippi, on March 6, 2018, we began our conversation when I asked her about the essay “Framing the Contemporary Dialogue About Race.”

The books Barbara Phillips recommends are “Whats the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America,” by Thomas Frank, and “Transforming Feminist Practice: Non-Violence, Social Justice, and the Possibilities of a Spiritualized Feminism,” by Leela Fernandes. 

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Harvey, Sylvia — Children of the Incarcerated

Children of incarcerated parents is topic of this edition of Radio Curious. The estimated 2.7 million children of prison inmates in the United States are losing their visitation rights.

Sylvia A. Harvey, an investigative journalist, is our guest. Her story about the diminishing opportunities for children to visit their incarcerated parents was published in The Nation magazine on December 14, 2015.

Some of Harvey’s most cherished childhood memories are the times she was able to visit her father while he was an inmate at Soledad State Prison, in California when she was between the ages of 5 and 16.

When Sylvia Harvey and I visited by phone from her home in New York City, on January 18, 2016, we began with her personal experience and how not being able visit a parent in prison affects 2.7 million children.

Instead of recommending a book, Sylvia Harvey recommends the song “Ain’t Got No,” by Nina Simone.

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Kupers, Dr. Terry — Solitary Confinement and How to End It

In this edition we again visit with Dr. Terry Allen Kupers, a forensic psychiatrist and the author of “Solitary: The Inside Story of Supermax Isolation and How We Can Abolish It”.

In our first visit, Dr. Kupers describes the abysmal conditions in which an estimated 100,000 incarcerated people, both men and women are held in solitary confinement in the United States. Kept in dark, cold, and often wet cells, more or less eight feet by ten feet in size, they have little or no human contact, sometimes for years on end.  Many suffer from mental illness, prior to or as a result of living solitary confinement.  This results in significant long term damage to these people as individuals and to our society as a whole.

In this second of our two part series, Dr. Kupers shares stories of prisoners held in solitary confinement and what he believes is necessary to achieve meaningful rehabilitation for people who have committed crimes and sentenced to prison.

When Dr. Terry Kupers and I visit by phone from his home in Oakland, California, on February 14, 2018, we began this second visit when I asked him to describe what he calls a rehabilitative attitude.

The book Dr. Kupers recommends is: Hell Is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement,” edited by Jean Casella, James Ridgeway and Sarah Shourd.

This program was recorded on February 14, 2018.

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Sullivan, Michael Gene Political Theater, Black Men and the Police

From the archives of Radio Curious:

Theatre as a commentary on the condition of society is the subject of this edition of Radio Curious.  The topic is the relationship of police and black men in America in 2015.  Our guest is Michael Gene Sullivan, the resident playwright, director and a principal actor in 2015: Freedomland,” this year’s production by the San Francisco Mime Troupe.

The first question and answer on the frequently asked questions page on the San Francisco Mime Troupe website is:  “Why do you call yourself a Mime Troupe if you talk and sing?”  The answer is:  “We use the term mime in its classical and original definition, ‘The exaggeration of daily life in story and song.’”

When Michael Gene Sullivan and I visited by phone from his home in San Francisco on June 29, 2015, I asked him if “2015: Freedomland” was an exaggeration of daily life in story and song from his perspective.

The book Michael Gene Sullivan recommends is “The Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Force,” by Redley Balko.

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Komar, Stefan — Concentration Death Camps

You may remember the Radio Curious interview with Bernard Offen, recorded in May 2005, and re-broadcast the end of May 2017.  In telling the story of his youth in Poland during World War II, being forced into four different concentration camps established and controlled by the Nazis, Bernard Offen characterized those camps as “Polish concentration camps.”   

Soon after the 2017 re-broadcast, I received an email from Stefan Komar, our guest in this edition of Radio Curious.  Komar pointed out that calling any German concentration camp in German occupied Poland “Polish,” or referring to a German concentration camp in occupied Poland as “in Poland”, “of Poland,” or “Poland’s,” is insensitive to the families of the millions of ethnic Poles who were killed, forced into slave labor, tortured, maimed, terrorized and starved during the brutal and inhuman German occupation of Poland in the name of “Deuthschland, Deutschland Uber Alles.”

Komar, who was born in Queens, New York, lived in Warsaw, Poland, for about 10 years beginning when he was 12 years old. Currently he’s a Captain in the New York Police Department, after serving with the NYPD for 37 years.

A few days before Stefan Komar, and I visited by phone from his home in Queens, New York, on January  28, 2018, many newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times reported a “bill passed by the lower house of Poland’s parliament”  would make it illegal to utter the phrase “Polish concentration camp” or to assign Poland culpability for Nazi crimes committed on its soil.  The Israeli government was Infuriated, as reported in Reuters, among other news outlets, and called the Polish law revisionary history. 

This is clearly a curious issue to follow.  In doing so Komar provided a link to A Platform for Polish Jewish Dialogue,” and a discussion about Polish history, including how the Nazi occupation of Poland may be characterized.  

Stefan Komar and I unfortunately did not directly discuss this new law or the Israeli reaction.  We did however put the topic in context from his point of view.  We began our visit when I asked him to discuss the characterization of these concentration camps.

The books Stefan Komar recommends are “Hollywood’s War with Poland, 1939-1945” by M.B.B. Biskupski; and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century,” by Paul Kengor.  

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