Background Briefing: May 1, 2024

A Pro-Israel Mob Invades the UCLA Campus to Beat up Pro-Palestinian Students While the Police Look On

We begin with a violent invasion by a pro-Israel mob who came onto the UCLA campus last night to beat up the pro-Palestinian students and tear down their encampment while UCLA security, campus police and the LAPD stood by watching without coming to the aid of the students. Joining us is a UCLA professor who is ashamed of her university, Ananya Roy, Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and Geography and Chair in Inequality and Democracy at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she is also Director of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA. Her latest book is Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World, and she currently leads a National Science Foundation funded project, Housing Justice in Unequal Cities, which advances policies of housing justice in Los Angeles as well as in other cities around the world.


Assessing the Flaws and Exploring the Fixes to a Constitution That is Failing Americans as Fascism Threatens Our Democracy

Then we speak with Aziz Rana, University Professor of Law and Government at Boston College where his research and teaching centers on American constitutional law and political development as well as how shifting notions of race, citizenship, and empire have shaped legal and political identity since the founding. He is the author oThe Two Faces of American Freedom and his new book, just out, is The Constitutional Bind: How Americans Came to Idolize a Document that Fails Them. We discuss the growing movement on the Right to abandon American democracy while reactionaries like Governor DeSantis are attempting to convene a Constitutional Convention under Article 5 of the Constitution to rewrite the constitution from scratch to the liking of the Koch brothers who have been funding the effort. With Americans on the Left hoping the Constitution will save them from Donald Trump, we assess the flaws and explore the fixes of the document that is failing them at this critical moment when fascism could supplant American democracy.