Background Briefing: June 3, 2020


While Police Mass Against Demonstrations, Stores and Pharmacies are Looted

We begin with an examination of the groups trying to hijack or discredit the nationwide demonstration against police brutality as well as those criminal elements and street gangs taking advantage of the fact that the police are massing their resources against peaceful demonstrations while leaving shops, malls and pharmacies unprotected from looters.  An expert on U.S. white nationalism, the alt-right, neo-Nazis and the patriot movement and militias, Spencer Sunshine, joins us to discuss attempts by the libertarian Boogaloo movement to infiltrate demonstrations which are marginal at best although they are getting press attention. He argues that these demonstrations across the nation in cities and in towns are an uprising, a rebellion against police brutality and the impunity displayed by the officers in the death of George Floyd which is a tipping point in a long struggle for racial justice.  And since the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right of the people to peaceably assemble to  redress grievances, the struggle now is between a reactionary president who wants to sow social chaos to get reelected and a popular uprising demanding justice which is vulnerable to exploitation by radicals, criminal opportunists and organized criminal gangs. Meanwhile the police are throwing their manpower and resources against the demonstrations, but not policing the shops, malls and pharmacies that are being looted.

Will This Nationwide Uprising Bring About Racial Justice and Economic Equality?

Then we speak with Bree Carlson, the Deputy Director of People’s Action, a national network of state and local grassroots power-building organizations united in fighting for justice. She joins us to discuss the deep pain in the black community after centuries and decades of abuse and domination, the very word our president is using to “dominate” the streets with military power. But while this uprising and rebellion has to succeed to return the country to a path of reform to redress injustice and inequality, the danger is our “Orange Duce” will exploit the unrest to become the “law and order” president.

The Techno-Utopian Fantasies of Libertarian Billionaires and the Dreams of Disaster Capitalists

Then finally we examine the influence of the powerful libertarian techno-utopian billionaires of Silicon Valley like Mark Zuckerberg and his mentor Peter Thiel who are backing Trump and talk with Quinn Slobodian, a Professor of History at Wellesley College where he teaches histories of modern Europe and social movements and is the author of Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism. He joins us to discuss his article at The Guardian, “How the libertarian right plans to profit from the pandemic: Disaster capitalists dream of disassembling nation states for post-viral exploitation.