Law and Disorder Radio – Sujatha Fernandes on Urban Social Movements in Chávez’s Venezuela – Unrepentant Radical Educator: The Writings of John Gerassi – Hosts: Heidi Boghosian, Michael Steven Smith & Michael Ratner – Produced by Geoff Brady

Law and Disorder Radio

BarrioVenezuela 

Who Can Stop the Drums?: Urban Social Movements in Chávez’s Venezuela

Who Can Stop the Drums?: Urban Social Movements in Chávez’s Venezuela is the title of Sujatha Fernandes’s new book. Sujatha is an author and assistant professor of sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her book looks at the transformations underway in Venezuela that are shaped by negotiations between the Chávez government and social movements using their own forms of historical memory and local organization. In her book, Sujatha shows everyday life and politics in the shantytowns of Caracas from the perspective of community-based radio, barrio assemblies, and the many interviews she conducted with activists and government officials. Most of the barrio activists in the book are Chávez supporters.

 

 

 

Sujatha Fernandes:

  • There’s a real pushback against neoliberal reforms. Chavez, who came into office in 1998, has been pursuing an anti-neoliberal agenda, trying to reverse the privatization and extend the social welfare net.
  • The argument I make in the book is that Chavez has carved out a space within the global economy and Venezuela is a hybrid state containing both neoliberal and anti-neoliberal elements.
  • Who are these people, the large majority who live in the shanty towns? What do they think?
  • The movements date back to before Chavez: the guerrilla movements, cultural and community-based groups. They trace their trajectory back to a long struggle in Venezuela. They’ve been reinvigorated by Chavez.
  • The community-based groups demand the very basics: running water, gas and electricity.
  • Chavez is in the middle between community groups and elite. Chavez has created institutions such as the missions, where some oil profits bypass the elite and are directed toward community groups.
  • I lived in a popular housing building, which are projects (security problems, with gangs, violence and police)
  • Bolivarian circles, Chavez’s first attempts to transfer power. 93 percent of Venezuelans are urbanized.

Guest – Sujatha Fernandes is assistant professor of sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is the author of Cuba Represent! Cuban Arts, State Power, and the Making of New Revolutionary Cultures, also published by Duke University Press.

 tito

Unrepentant Radical Educator: The Writings of   

We’re delighted to welcome back Professor John (Tito) Gerassi, once an editor at Time magazine, then at Newsweek. He obtained his PhD at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a long-time civil rights and anti-war militant and author/editor of ten books, plus scores of articles and pamphlets published on both sides of the Atlantic. He is currently a professor of political science at the City University of New York. We talk with Tito today about his recent book, Unrepentant Radical Educator: The Writings of John Gerassi, edited and with interviews by Tony Monchinski. Indypendent Book Review

The book combines personal narratives from Gerassi’s days of journalism and activism, featuring Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Jerry Rubin, Eldridge Cleaver and others of the era, with essays on figures such as Sartre, Camus, and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. One review writes: “Especially fascinating are the tales of deliberate misreporting by the major media outlets for which he worked, epitomized by the words of owner Henry Luce when Gerassi was hired: ‘We here at Time believe that objectivity is neither feasible nor desirable.’”

John “Tito” Gerassi:

  • Time magazine: I hear you’re coming aboard, Mr. Gerassi. In the long run, it was great that I got kicked out.
  • Met Che Guevara in Uruguay as a journalist for the New York Times. There was a fight with anti-Castro students, the police were scared, one man fired his gun in the air, it ricocheted and hit and killed a USIS Cuban.
  • Che told me I don’t talk to the imperialist press. At the hotel, they had reserved a large table where all the left-wing characters sat around with Che. Argentines say chez vous, that’s how Che got his nickname Che.
  • The Great Fear in Latin America – John Gerassi
  • Che, Where Are You? Eventually there will be many Che’s.

Guest – Professor John Gerassi, once an editor at Time magazine, then at Newsweek, who obtained his PhD at LSE, is a long-time civil rights and anti-war militant. He is the author or editor of ten books and scores of articles and pamphlets published on both sides of the Atlantic. He is currently a professor of political science at the City University of New York.