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Tereza Coraggio

Third Paradigm is an out-of-the-box thinktank on community sovereignty and regenerative economics.

We look at how to take back our cities, farmland and water; our money, production and trade; our media, education and culture, our religion and even our God.

We present a people's history of the Bible and a parent's view on how to raise giving kids in a taking world.

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Past Shows

 

With Friends Like This, Who Needs Enemas?

June 21, 2009

3P-032 Show Information (includes MP3 download link)


Welcome to the 32nd episode of Third Paradigm, entitled With Friends Like This, Who Needs Enemas? Our title refers to US foreign aid and whether it's been a benefit or a pain in the arse to impoverished people. We'll look at a book by Dambisa Moyo called Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa. This was the Capitola Book Cafe's Global Affairs pick last month. Although we agree with Moyo's rejection of foreign aid, as it's used today, we disagree with her reasoning to get there. We'll talk about Patrice Lumumba, Mobutu, and AFRICOM as our examples. Moyo leads us to conclude that investment is the answer, but we'll argue that she poses a false dichotomy.

Things have been lively here at Free Radio Santa Cruz since I started asking listeners what they think about Spanish language programs replacing English language independent news. A few listeners sent in respectful and articulate responses on both sides of the issue, for which I'd like to thank them. But at the last programmer meeting, my survey was called racist, ignorant, disgusting, divisive, and hate speech. It was compared to Nazi propaganda, right-wing code words and white supremacy. The probationary period was invoked, but turned out to be only three months instead of six, wasting the research prepared to oust me. I was told that I was unconsciously acting on skin privilege, which was confided to me "as one white person to another" with the programmer's hand extended. As another favor, I was told that this was the wrong place for me and I should find a nice commercial station, where I could find others of my kind. So let's take a moment to listen and see what all the hubbub's about:

(audio coming soon: Tereza Listener Survey: Programming Debate)

That was the listener survey in which I was said to be airing dirty laundry, making the collective look bad, and violating a policy against revealing internal politics, which was later found not to exist. No one refuted what was said as not factual and the programmers quoted said they stood by their statements. They just don't want them repeated, even anonymously, on-air.

In a kangaroo court, the accused is at least given time to answer, but by meeting rules a person has to get on stack. After four lengthy vendettas, when my turn came I was reminded of the time and to keep things short. Nothing personal, mind you. One response was interrupted three times by the same programmer raising her hand to get on stack, while another took furious notes. He then misquoted my text, as saying that Spanish was taking over, when I'd said that programming was moving increasingly towards Spanish. He called this fearmongering and scare tactics, he, who has personally replaced six English-language programs with Spanish in the last six months. One programmer couldn't speak for being choked up, because Latino rights were such an emotional issue to him.

http://www.kangaroocourt.info/

Although no one defended us, the mildest criticism was that we were inappropriate, but the collective should ask listeners what they think. Four programmers said they didn't care what listeners thought because they wouldn't cater to someone who'd switch the channel just because they didn't know the language. No one asked for the results of my survey, and the idea of a collective survey wasn't followed up. Finally, a proposal was worded to forbid airing it, although the words censorship and gag order were rejected. Since this was a first offense, I was to be considered warned with no further sanctions. When Skidmark Bob and I stood aside from the vote, a programmer insisted that Bob, who as an unpaid volunteer sets up programming six days a week, had better go along with it. After three hours of this, we left, with the programmer who had cried out of sensitivity yelling invectives at us down the stairs.

Since then, Bob has cut back his independent news programming to one day a week, which was a difficult decision. When other independent news programmers left the station in frustration, Bob took up the slack because of the importance of getting out the news. But when Bob has given notice of being too sick to come in, no one else has stepped up. This is why Democracy Now didn't play just after Free Radio leafleted Amy Goodman's KUSP event with schedules.

Amy and David Goodman

from the KUSP benefit at the Rio - 4/13/09
http://www.kusp.org/temp_doc/amy_goodman_rio.html

If you're a free radio listener, what you're hearing now is the listener-supported radio your donations pay for. What you were hearing prior to this week was Skidmark Bob-supported radio, who comes into the station before he goes to his job. When I first realized, as a donor, that one person was doing the work I wanted to support, I started paying Bob a small amount directly. The collective opposed my private payment of Bob as a foot on the slippery slope towards commercialism. And so I stopped.

Is my survey the problem or the politics that drove out the other programmers, leaving the independent news hanging by a thread named Skidmark Bob? Should things get back to normal, with Bob returning like a faithful news hound, muzzled but with no place else to go? We are divided – the majority wants a bilingual station and Bob and I want to bring the global news to an English-speaking audience. We feel that if language is to be imposed as a hurdle, we should be broadcasting in Farsi, Bangla, and Quechua, not to mention the indigenous language of our own region. Instead, let's honor the work of the translators and journalists who allow us to see these points of view.

But let's ask the real questions. Should politics, as a question of strategy and not personal attack, ever be off-limits to discuss? Should media be inclusive or selective? Is judging someone by their form rather than their content less racist if it favors minorities? And if Free Radio doesn't want to be Santa Cruz's primary source for unbiased global news, should we start a low-power fm station that does? Feel free to respond to any of these as my new listener survey by sending me an email. In the meantime, I'll read a poem for Father's Day by Diana Der-Hovanessian, called Shifting the Sun.

http://www.panhala.net/Shifting_the_Sun.html

Shifting the Sun

When your father dies, say the Irish,
you lose your umbrella against bad weather.
May his sun be your light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Welsh,
you sink a foot deeper into the earth.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Canadians,
you run out of excuses.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the French,
you become your own father.
May you stand up in his light, say the Armenians.

When you father dies, say the Indians,
he comes back as the thunder.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Russians,
he takes your childhood with him.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the English,
you join his club you vowed you wouldn't.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Armenians,
your sun shifts forever.
And you walk in his light.

~ Diana Der-Hovanessian ~
http://sheepmeadowpress.com/pages/author%20pages/der%20hovanessian.html
From Selected Poems

We'll now hear John Hiatt with Your Dad Did. This is a Father's Day dedication to Joe Riley, whose Panhala posts, where I get all my poems, put acerbic and spiritual in the same sentence.

[John Hiatt & The Goners – Your Dad Did]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GG-iVJpJXkc

* * * * * * *

http://www.panhala.net/Your_Dad_Did.html

Your Dad Did

Well the sun comes up and you stare your cup of coffee, yup
Right through the kitchen floor
You feel like hell so you might as well get out and sell
Your smart ass door to door

And the Mrs. wears her robe slightly undone
As your daughter dumps her oatmeal on your son
And you keep it hid
Just like your dad did
Just like your dad did

So you go to work just to watch some jerk
Pick up the perks
You were in line to get
And the guy that hired you just got fired
And your jobs expired
They just ain't told you yet

So you go and buy a brand new set of wheels
Just to show your family just how great you feel
Acting like a kid
Just like your dad did
Just like your dad did

And
You're a chip off the old block
Why does it come as such a shock
That every road over which you walk
Your dad already did

Yeah you've seen the old mans ghost
Come back as creamed chipped beef on toast
Now if you don't get your slice of the roast
You're gonna flip your lid
Just like your dad did
Just like your dad did

Well the day was long now, suppers on
The thrill is gone
But something's taking place
Yeah the food is cold and your wife feels old
But all hands fold
As the two year old says grace
She says help the starving children to get well
But let my brothers hamster burn in hell
You love your wife and kids
Just like your dad did

Just like your dad did....

~ John Hiatt ~
http://www.seatwave.com/john-hiatt-tickets/season
From Bring the Family

That was John Hiatt with Your Dad Did from Bring the Family. John Hiatt is, in my opinion, one of the great lyricists. Who else could rhyme amoeba with Queen of Sheba?

We'll now zoom back out our focus lens and look at US foreign aid in Africa, and Dambisa Moyo's opinion on how there's a better way. Dambisa Moyo was born in Lusaka, Zambia.

She got her MA from Harvard and her PhD from Oxford before working for the World Bank and more recently for Goldman Sachs. The foreword to Dead Aid reads,

"It has long seemed to me problematic, and even a little embarrassing, that so much of the public debate about Africa's economic problems should be conducted by non-African white men."

This is written by Niall Ferguson, whose book, Empire, says that the world was better off when Britain ruled it, and the US should take a lesson in how to do empire right. Perhaps, with these credentials and mentoring, it shouldn't be surprising that the "better way" Moyo advocates is foreign investment for development. On last week's show, called Finance is an Extractive Industry, we took Firestone's million-acre plantation in Liberia as a case in point. Through debt and an investment of 6 cents an acre, Firestone has claimed ownership over 100,000 tons of rubber a year, produced from Liberian trees with Liberian labor. Is this the sort of development Moyo has in mind?

In reading Dead Aid, I kept wondering if Moyo was complicit or just na´ve. She asks what it is about Africa that keeps it locked in a cycle of dysfunction, unable to get its foot on the economic ladder. Are the people more incapable or the leaders more corrupt? Her answer is that aid has rendered them dependant like a spoiled child. Aid became easy money in the fight to turn the world communist or capitalist she says, and cites the Soviet Union financing Patrice Lumumba and the US rewarding Mobutu Sese Seko, leaving the point at that.

She doesn't mention Lumumba's unscheduled speech at the official ceremonies of the Congo's independence. Detailed in Ludo de Witte's excellent book, The Assassination of Lumumba, his speech comes after the Belgian king's paternalistic handover of sovereignty, and after the new Congolese President's obsequious painting of colonialism as an idyllic time.

Lumumba takes the stage and says that independence wasn't a gift from Belgium but

"a struggle in which no effort, privation, suffering, or drop of our blood was spared."

"...We have known sarcasm and insults, endured blows morning, noon and night, because we were 'niggers'. Who will forget that a Black was addressed in the familiar tu, not as a friend, but because the polite vous was reserved for Whites only? We have seen our lands despoiled under the terms of what was supposedly the law of the land but which only recognized the right of the strongest. We have seen that this law was quite different for a White than for a Black: accommodating for the former, cruel and inhuman for the latter. We have seen the terrible suffering of those banished to remote regions because of their political opinions or religious beliefs; exiled within their own country, their fate was truly worse than death itself...And, finally, who can forget the volleys of gunfire in which so many of our brothers perished or the cells where the authorities threw those who would not submit to a rule where justice meant oppression and exploitation."

Interrupted eight times by applause and to an ovation at the end, he declines the Belgian government's "help" and says that the Congolese are not dependent children and can rule themselves.

Let's break for Bruce Cockburn with They Call It Democracy and return with our conclusion.

[Bruce Cockburn – Call It Democracy]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68zccrskOqQ

Let's try an exercise in what's called democracy and what's called communism. Niall Ferguson specializes in counterfactual history, posing questions like what would have happened if Hitler had been assassinated. So what would have happened if Lumumba had not? If Brussels, with the help of Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, NATO, the CIA, and the UN, had not imprisoned, tortured, and murdered Lumumba, overthrowing his government and replacing it with a regime that knew its masters? The Kremlin's support for Lumumba was admitted to be merely a trickle, and his imprisonment served their propaganda interests more than his life had. On the side that capitalism funded, Mobutu's name has become synonymous with kleptocracy. He hanged men before large audiences, gouged out their eyes, and amputated them limb by limb. In response, President Carter awarded the Congo, then called Zaire, half of all aid to sub-Saharan Africa and reinstated it when the House voted it out. Reagan called him "a voice of good sense and goodwill," and televangalist Pat Robertson and Bush the first were counted among his friends. He embezzled over $5 billion US into Swiss bank accounts, making him the most corrupt African leader of the last two decades.

De Witte writes, "This murder has affected the history of Africa...If Africa was a revolver and the Congo its trigger...the assassination of Lumumba and tens of thousands of other Congolese nationalists, from 1960 to 1965, was the West's ultimate attempt to destroy the continent's authentic independent development."

Moyo's point is that US aid is ineffectual, but history begs to differ. A study plots amounts of aid to Latin American countries against their human rights abuses and finds they rise together. One third of all US aid goes to Israel and Egypt, neither of which is a developing country. The latest aid initiative is AFRICOM, the militarization of aid to Africa, which has been rejected by so many African countries that it's based in Germany. On a video produced by Resist AFRICOM, Emira Woods describes it as "putting forward a military fist but covering it up with the velvet glove of humanitarianism and development." When I looked up AFRICOM in Moyo's index of this 2009 book on foreign aid to Africa, I don't even find it listed. Maybe that's why she doesn't realize that US aid is working – it's justifying the 700 military bases that protect oil and the other extractive industries that Moyo sees as the answer.

[resistafricom.org – Resist AFRICOM]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRCZk8mM1EU

In closing, I'd like to present another Father's Day tribute, this time remembering that everyone who is today a father is also a son. I think this is perhaps a more bewildering transformation than a seed into a tree, that we, who fought tooth and nail against everything our parents wanted for us, became the ones saying, "But it's for your own good!" How did this happen? Thanks and happy father's day to Skidmark Bob and all the other bewildered single dads. This has been Tereza Coraggio with Third Paradigm. Here's Iron & Wine with Upward Over the Mountain.

[Iron and Wine – Upward Over The Mountain]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1HY8KUkA4c

Thanks for listening.

3