Friday, October 24, 2008

Frontline: The Choice and Heat

Once again, PBS Frontline excels with its superb documentaries. A couple of recent ones: The Choice, a deep analysis of the political backgrounds of John McCain and Barack Obama; and Heat, about the politics of global warming and the role of corporations. I've felt often that Frontline makes the best documentaries in the world. Check also: Frontline World, which brings us glimpses from around the world. And they are all available online - such high quality material, free!


Krishnan said...

D-day is fast approaching. We in India are waiting with bated breath to see of Obama triumphs.

Happy Deepavali Hari.

Hari said...

Yes, Krishnan, it's going to be a suspenseful few weeks. After the results are out, there will no drama to enjoy anymore - life will be boring!

A very happy Deepavali to you too!

Anonymous said...

" We have gone through an insufferable 8 years with the Bush administration, probably the worst administration in history. In this situation we are desperate for a change. So even though Obama doesn't represent any fundamental change he creates an opening for the possibility of change. That is why I am voting for Obama. That is why I suggest to people that they vote for him. But I also suggest that Obama will not fulfill that potential for change unless he is enveloped by a social movement, which is angry enough, powerful enough, insistent enough, that he fills his abstract phrases about change with some real content."
- Howard Zinn

Hari said...

I agree with the essence of what Howard Zinn is trying to say, though I am not sure what specific social movement he is referring to...

Anonymous said...

The below should give an idea:
"Today, we can be sure that the Democratic Party, unless it faces a popular upsurge, will not move off center. The two leading Presidential candidates have made it clear that if elected, they will not bring an immediate end to the Iraq War, or institute a system of free health care for all.

They offer no radical change from the status quo.

They do not propose what the present desperation of people cries out for: a government guarantee of jobs to everyone who needs one, a minimum income for every household, housing relief to everyone who faces eviction or foreclosure.

They do not suggest the deep cuts in the military budget or the radical changes in the tax system that would free billions, even trillions, for social programs to transform the way we live.

None of this should surprise us. The Democratic Party has broken with its historic conservatism, its pandering to the rich, its predilection for war, only when it has encountered rebellion from below, as in the Thirties and the Sixties. We should not expect that a victory at the ballot box in November will even begin to budge the nation from its twin fundamental illnesses: capitalist greed and militarism.

So we need to free ourselves from the election madness engulfing the entire society, including the left.

Yes, two minutes. Before that, and after that, we should be taking direct action against the obstacles to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

For instance, the mortgage foreclosures that are driving millions from their homes-they should remind us of a similar situation after the Revolutionary War, when small farmers, many of them war veterans (like so many of our homeless today), could not afford to pay their taxes and were threatened with the loss of the land, their homes. They gathered by the thousands around courthouses and refused to allow the auctions to take place.

The evictions today of people who cannot pay their rents should remind us of what people did in the Thirties when they organized and put the belongings of the evicted families back in their apartments, in defiance of the authorities.

Historically, government, whether in the hands of Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, has failed its responsibilities, until forced to by direct action: sit-ins and Freedom Rides for the rights of black people, strikes and boycotts for the rights of workers, mutinies and desertions of soldiers in order to stop a war.
Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens."

Hari said...

Good points, there, Anonymous. I especially think somebody has to bring down the military industrial complex. It's one of the most dangerous things around, and if unchecked, will one day destroy us. And the US health care system also needs to be drastically altered: how odd it is that it should be tied so callously to profit and markets.