Background Briefing: April 25, 2021


A Rash of Police Killings Following the Guilty Verdict of George Floyd’s Murderer

We begin with the rash of police killings following the guilty verdict in the trial of the murder of George Floyd and efforts underway in 34 states where Republican legislatures have introduced 81 anti-protest bills aimed at Black Lives Matter and other social justice activists while in some case giving immunity to counter-protesters who drive vehicles into crowds of protesters. Although pro-Trump rioters beat police and some died in the January 6 attack on the Capitol, this flurry of Republican laws that strip protesters of a right to state employment or to run for office and target student loans, unemployment benefits and housing assistance. Among these bills which are all aimed at painting the Democrats as tolerant of rioting and looting while Republicans stand with police, in Kentucky it will soon be a crime to insult or taunt a police officer with “offensive or derisive words”. Doug McAdam, Professor of Sociology at Stanford University and the former Director of the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and author of The Origins of Our Fractured Society: Racial Politics and Social Movements in Post-War America, joins us to discuss the criminalization of protest underway aimed at punishing leftist protesters while rewarding right-wing vigilantes.


Fighting Racism to Bring Democracy to the Nation’s Capitol

Then, following Thursday’s vote in the House of 216 to 208 to make Washington D.C. the 51st state, we examine the racism underlying decades if not centuries of preventing citizens who live in the nation’s capital the right to participate in American democracy. George Derek Musgrove, Professor of History at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and co-author of Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital, joins us to discuss the prospects for the end of taxation without representation for the citizens of Washington D.C.  


The Co-author with Noam Chomsky of Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal: The Political Economy of Saving the Planet

Then finally we speak with Robert Pollin, a Distinguished Professor of Economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the co-author with Noam Chomsky of the new book Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal: The Political Economy of Saving the Planetand we examine the path forward in this life or death struggle to save the planet following the virtual summit of 40 world leaders hosted by President Biden on Earth Day.