BTS 9/16/11: Palestine; Voter Suppression; Lincoln and Marx

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Hisham Ahmed is just back from several months in the West Bank where he was able to gauge the developing “Palestinian Spring,” the beginnings of the widespread Israeli housing and economic protest movement, and to have a close look at the Syrian regime’s violent attempts to suppress their own democracy movement. The vote to recognize the State of Palestine is scheduled to take place in the United Nations General Assembly on September 20: we’ll ask Hisham about the importance of this vote as well as the ‘dilemma’ this poses for the United States – joining Israel to oppose the bid while still saying it favors a two state solution as the outcome of peace talks, now stalled for at least three years.

Ari Berman joins us to talk about the GOP war on voting. He has an article about the voter suppression efforts and laws passed in a dozen states in the September 15 issue of Rolling Stone that details the centrally coordinated, Koch brothers financed, and unprecedented campaign to suppress the electorate that brought Barack Obama to power – including students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly. We’ll ask Ari about other efforts as well, such as the redistricting proposals in Pennsylvania that will turn electoral votes to the Republicans no matter what happens with the popular vote

Robin Blackburn, who teaches at the New School in New York and the University of Essex in the UK has published two books with Verso this year: An Unfinished Revolution: Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln, and The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation and Human Rights. We talk to him about the correspondence between Lincoln and Marx, the centrality of the Haitian revolution -- often overlooked -- in shaping American attitudes to slavery and racism and the Black contribution to antislavery, historically ignored. We’ll also ask Robin about the impact that American events (anti slavery revolts and the early labor struggles for the eight hour day) had on Marx’s overall thinking, as well as Lincoln’s own radicalization, seeking to advance the rights of labor, uniting black and white, men and women, native and foreign born, which Blackburn calls the “unfinished revolution.”