BTS 1/14/11: Economic, Environmental and Political Crises converge and intersect, defining the Century’s Second Decade

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The second decade of the 21st century has opened with interlocking crises that demonstrate the grave insecurities the global community faces, crises that define the decade. These interlinking crises are economic, environmental, political -- and military. From the epic floods in Australia, Sri Lanka and Brazil, to the Af-Pak wars to the continuing deterioration of the global economy the common threads are increasing dislocation, unemployment and social frustration. We look at a few of these converging crises today on Beneath the Surface. We begin with the events in Tunisia, once thought of as the most stable and pro-Western of Arab countries, where authoritarian rule, corruption and neglect of the deteriorating economic prospects for the population have led to escalating protests, social unrest and earlier today President Ben Ali fled the country. We’ll talk to Christopher Alexander, a Tunisian specialist at Davidson College. We then turn to Arizona, focus of political violence this week: Joel Olson, who teaches political science at Northern Arizona University, describes what it’s like to live in Arizona now, after the passage of the notorious anti-immigration bill, the outlawing of ethnic studies, the collapsed housing market, deteriorating economy and now the shooting of Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords. And, lest we forget, Martin Luther King Day is Monday. Dr. King was supporting Memphis public sector workers when he was assassinated, and honoring King today means defending public sector workers, under attack as state budgets decline. We’ll talk to Horace Small of the Union of Minority Neighborhoods. And finally, on tonight’s BTS we talk to Loren Goldner about the repression of workers in South Korea. All this, when our program returns, in just a moment.

Read more for info on tonight's guests:

1. Christopher Alexander, Tunisian specialist, is director of the Dean Rusk International Studies Program at Davidson College in North Carolina. He is author of "Tunisia: Stability and Reform in the Modern Maghreb."

2. Joel Olson, is a member of the Repeal Coalition, a grassroots group seeking the repeal of all anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and that fights for the freedom of all people to live, love, and work wherever they please. He is also Associate Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and the author of "The Abolition of White Democracy" (University of Minnesota Press). He is currently writing a book on extremism in the American political tradition. His article, Corruption and Class Struggle What It's Like to Live in Arizona Right Now, is on Counterpunch.org.

3. Horace Small is Executive Director of The Union of Minority Neighborhoods and has been a community organizer, labor organizer and political campaign operative for 30 years and was the National President of the National Federation of Black Organizers and Activists for a two-year term.

4. Loren Goldner is an editor of Insurgent Notes, as well as a writer and activist based in New York City. Many of his writings are available at Break Their Haughty Power.