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Beneath The Surface
Sunday, July 14, 2024 10:00 am 1:00:12
Sebastian Budgen, Yassamine Mather
Surprising 2nd Round Election results in France & Iran
The second round of elections in France and in Iran both yielded surprise results that we could characterize as historic, especially in France, and to be seen in Iran.

Sebastian Budgen returns to explain the French results, which put the radical left New Popular Front in the strongest position in Parliament, an upset for LePen’s far right RA, and Macron’s Center. We ask Sebastian how the organizations of the left were able to quickly come together in their new alliance? How they achieved agreement with the center to get candidates in constituencies with 3 or 4 candidates to withdraw so that only the strongest candidate could face down the RA rightist candidate? What comes next? Will the Popular Front be able to implement the popular proposals in their platform– and will they be able to continue the alliance with the center to thwart the right?

Yassamine Mather explains the surprise result in Iran’s second round. At a moment when the hardliners seemed fully in control, the Iranian people elected a moderate reformer, Masoud Pezeshkian as President by a margin of 3 million votes over the regime insider and hardliner Ali Jalili, who mouthed all the regime’s hardline positions on internal security and foreign policy. It is a dramatic turn of events signaling the population’s desire for change. Pezeshkian focused on social reforms, economic improvement and renewed nuclear negotiations -- and won, but his success depends on the Supreme Leader’s approval. We get Yassamine’s understanding of this result and ask if it sets the stage for potential change in Iran where the nation is grappling with deep-seated discontent, geopolitical turmoil, a crippled economy, rampant corruption and a repressive regime
Beneath The Surface
Sunday, June 30, 2024 10:00 am 1:00:13
Marc Cooper, Robert Brenner
The June 27 Presidential Debate
Journalist Marc Cooper & historian Robert Brenner join me in conversation following the painful first Presidential Debate held on June 27. Most of the immediate post mortems are panicked responses and calls for Biden to step out of the race. We go beneath the surface to parse the issues discussed or omitted, and ask what they think is now possible in the remaining months before the election. We also look at the way CNN handled – or rather mishandled the debate itself, with no attempt to fact check or challenge blatant falsehoods, as if the only task was to move to the next topic. Finally we look at the danger of a possible second Trump term for the US and the world.
Beneath The Surface
Sunday, June 23, 2024 10:00 am 0:59:45
Sebastian Budgen
Elections in France and the UK
Sebastian Budgen, Editorial Director of Verso Books splits his time between London and Paris, and joins us to discuss the surprising elections called in each country. In the UK Rishi Sunak called a general election for July 4 at what seems like the worst time for Tory rule. And across the pond, Macron called a snap election in France for June 30 and July 7 after Marine Le Pen’s far right Rassemblement National swept the European elections on June 9. He didn’t have to do it, any more than Sunak did, though Macron’s government isn’t teetering like Sunak’s. Why now? Conventional wisdom holds that Macron called the election after the right trounced the center in the European elections because he was certain the divisions in the left would make him the rational choice, apparently betting that the center can hold. But the left responded to this new reality, getting its act together and forming a New Popular Front consisting of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Insoumise, the Parti Socialiste, the Greens, and the Communist Party. It is increasingly positioned to form a new government—according to the NYT on June 21, that could weaken Macron’s grip on power.

In the UK, the general election called for July 4 comes at a terrible time for Sunak's government. Whereas Macron is unpopular, Sunak’s Tories are falling apart after 14 years in power. What’s behind both these elections and what are the possible outcomes? To get a deeper analysis and perspective, we turn to Sebastian Budgen in Paris.
Beneath The Surface
Sunday, June 16, 2024 10:00 am 1:00:12
Maggie LePique (Special Programming)
Serj Tankian
Down With The System: A Memoir (of Sorts) by Serj Tankian
Down With The System: A Memoir (of Sorts) by Serj Tankian
Maggie LePique goes deep with Serj Tankian re: his new book Down With The System: A Memoir (of Sorts) an exhilarating, thoughtful, and beautifully written memoir by musician, songwriter, and lead singer-lyricist of Grammy award-winning metal band, System Of A Down, Serj Tankian. In DOWN WITH THE SYSTEM, Serj presents readers with a memoir that is far more than just a rock 'n' roll fable. It's an immigrant's tale, it’s an activist's awakening, and it's a spiritual journey from darkness toward light. And all of this comes down to the fact that Serj himself has had the chance to live an extraordinary life—thanks to a combination of luck, circumstance, struggle, talent, and spiritual awakening. Get your copy of the book 818-985-5735 press 2 or donate online:[amount_paid]=100.00&selected_premium_id=58113&ppage=0
Beneath The Surface
Sunday, June 9, 2024 10:00 am 1:00:12
Ilya Budraitskis
Putin's Repression, Kagarlitsky's case
On June 5 Boris Kagarlitsky’s appeal against a 5 year prison sentence was rejected by the Military Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. Kagarlitsky must now serve his sentence in a penal colony in Torzhok some 155 miles northwest of Moscow. The decision was unjust, but not unexpected.
Kagarlitsky was in pre-trial detention for nearly 5 months on baseless, far-fetched charges of ‘justifying terrorism” for ironic remarks he made on his social media channel after the explosion on the Crimean Bridge in 2022. He was freed after a military court handed him a fine in December. But in February 2024 there was an unexpected appeal trial at a military court of appeals where the prosecutors overturned the December verdict that freed him, citing excessive leniency.
During the June 5 appeal hearing, Kagarlitsky explained that the title of the offending YouTube video, “Explosive Congratulations for Mostik the Cat” — a reference to a real cat that lived on the Crimea bridge — was “an extremely unfortunate joke.” However, he argued that his jail term was disproportionate to the offense. Kagarlitsky’s attorney plans to appeal the verdict with Russia’s Constitutional Court on the grounds that his client received “excessive” punishment.
The case against Boris Kagarlitsky is indicative: people are put in jail for words -- meaningless words, in Boris’ case, a joke that didn’t land. For a few words, he received five years – not for the content of the video, but its title. The judges’ cruel decision reflects the determination of the Putin regime to crush domestic opposition to its war on Ukraine. This is a regime -- and state -- bent on suppressing all forms of criticism, jokes included. In this context the basic democratic and legal rights of anti-war activists like Boris Kagarlitsky and thousands of others count for very little.
Boris Kagarlitsky has been courageous and consistent in speaking out against the war in Ukraine since day one and is in prison because of this. He is the victim of a gross but entirely deliberate miscarriage of justice and has become a symbol of the struggle for the right to freedom of expression. He's a prisoner of conscience and requires our support as do all the political prisoners. Ilya Budraitskis, another Putin critic, was dismissed from his job at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences and forced to flee Russia to avoid arrest for his active critique of the war in Ukraine and consistent opposition to Putin’s regime. He joins us with his take on the fate of opposition in Russia and the case of Boris Kagarlitsky in general. #FreeBoris
Beneath The Surface
Sunday, May 26, 2024 10:00 am 1:00:12
Boris Kagarlitsky
Free Boris Kagarlitsky #FreeBoris
Boris Kagarlitsky, the renowned Russian Marxist last spoke to us shortly after his release from nearly 5 months in prison on baseless, far-fetched charges of ‘justifying terrorism” for ironic remarks he made on his social media channel after the explosion on the Crimean Bridge in 2022. He was freed after a military court handed him a fine in December 2023, and he did this interview two weeks later. Barely two months after Kagarlitsky’s release there was an unexpected appeal trial at a military court in February 2024, and the prosecutors overturned the December verdict that freed him, citing excessive leniency. Kagarlitsky was sentenced to 5 years in a general regime penal colony and whisked from the courtroom to prison. Now three months later -- after several moves -- Boris has arrived at his final place of detention, Penal Colony No 4 in Torzhok, 155 miles northwest of Moscow. Once again Boris requires our solidarity. His final appeal will be heard on June 5 by Russia’s Supreme Court. An international petition has garnered more than 15,000 signatures calling for the release of Kagarlitsky and all anti-war political prisoners. President Putin’s regime is using anti-terror laws to step up its already draconian repression of dissent at home and in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine. More than 20,000 Russians have been detained and more than 1000 have been put on trial. In an open letter from prison Kagarlitsky wrote, “Under today’s conditions, when political action and self-organization in our country have become extremely difficult, helping our co-thinkers who have been imprisoned is not just humanitarian activity, but also an important political gesture, an act of practical solidarity “ Boris Kagarlitsky has brought his incisive analysis to these airwaves for more than three decades. He was recently granted the first Daniel Singer Prisoner of Conscience award. Please show your solidarity and support: sign the petition demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Boris Kagarlitsky and all other anti-war prisoners at or
Beneath The Surface
Sunday, May 19, 2024 10:00 am 1:00:12
Barry Eidlin
Yolanda Peoples, Renee Berry, Victor Vaughn
Volkswagen workers on their historic unionization victory
Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee scored an historic victory on April 19, when they voted by a 3-1 margin to join the UAW. That makes Tennessee Volkswagen the first auto plant in the South to unionize by election since the 1940s. While the recent victory was overwhelming, it came only after two bitter organizing defeats for the VW Chattanooga workers, first in 2014 and then in 2019.
The organizing victory at VW is one of the single most important wins for U.S. labor in decades, and potentially the start of a much bigger turnaround.
Guest host Barry Eidlin talks to auto workers Yolanda Peoples, Renee Berry, and Victor Vaughn -- all deeply involved in the organizing campaign at the Volkswagen Chattanooga plant about how they organized, how they won, and what comes next.
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