In this episode, Eric talks to Anand Gopal about what’s behind the Trump administration’s plans — which have since been partially walked back — to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan. Anand explains how Trump’s “America First” priorities in the Middle East and Central Asia are in reality part of a longer process of extricating the U.S. from the disaster of its post-9/11 adventures under George W. Bush and Barack Obama — and have just as little regard for the people of the region.
Anand is an award-winning author and journalist who has traveled to Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times as an un-embedded journalist. His book No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and the War through Afghan Eyes won the Ridenhour Prize, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.
His journalism includes “Syria’s Last Bastion of Freedom,” an account in the New Yorker about the town of Saraqib in Idlib province (http://bit.ly/SyriaLastFreedom), and “The Uncounted,” an investigative report in the New York Times about the underreported civilian casualties of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria (http://bit.ly/Uncounted).
For our opener, we first talked to Víctor Fernández and Héctor Rivera about how one of the key elements of the successful Los Angeles teachers’ strike was support from the city’s Latinx community. Víctor and Héctor talked about how the school district and its billionaire backers tried to pit the community against educators as part of their privatizing agendas, and how socialist-initiated solidarity efforts like “Tacos for Teachers” (which Victor helped to organize) played a role in countering those efforts.
Then we spoke with Nick Estes of the Red Nation about the infamous viral video of MAGA-hat wearing high-school boys harassing Indigenous activist Nathan Phillips. Actually, Nick mostly talked to us about all the things obscured by that video — most notably, the historic nature of the Indigenous People’s March that brought Phillips and thousands of others to Washington DC that day — and the issues like Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls that the march was meant to highlight.
Links for our interview with Anand Gopal:
Anand’s book No Good Men Among the Living (http://bit.ly/NoGoodMen)
Anand’s New Yorker article “Syria’s Last Bastion of Freedom” (http://bit.ly/SyriaLastFreedom)
Anand’s New York Times piece “The Uncounted” (http://bit.ly/Uncounted).
Links for our interview with Víctor and Héctor:
Socialist Worker’s account of the Tacos for Teachers initiative (http://bit.ly/TacosRoses)
Strike leader Gillian Russom’s take on the significance of the UTLA victory (http://bit.ly/UTLAvictory)
Héctor’s Socialist Worker article from October about a community forum in East LA to support the union (http://bit.ly/EastLAforUTLA)
Links for our interview with Nick Estes:
Nick’s article for the Intercept “Portraying the MAGA Teens as Victims Is an Extension of Native American Erasure” (http://bit.ly/NativeErasure)
The Urban Indian Health Institute report “Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls” (http://bit.ly/MurderedMissing)
Brian Ward’s Socialist Worker article “The Ugly Facts about the MAGA hat kids” (http://bit.ly/UglyMAGAhat)
Music from this episode:
The Boy & Sister Alma, “Lizard Eyes”(Dead Sea Captains Remix)
Rage Against The Machine, “Killing In The Name”
Nataanii Means, “God Bless Amerikkka”
Shkoon, “Build Your Castles”
MC Abod, “Forget Your Difficulties”