Sunday, January 22, 2017

R. D. Wolff Provides A Light In These Dark Times

I was very-pleasantly surprised today, while listening to KYDS radio (FM-91.5), which is Sacramento's best radio station (because their playlist is so jarring and unpredictable). They featured a political gloss of news headlines by pop-analytic economist R.D. Wolff. With his New York-inflected accent, it's as if Bernie Sanders is gently explaining the news that confused you the first time you heard it.

Wolff's radio program is a revival of a radio form that died out 70 years ago. People keep trying to revive the form, but most efforts fail.

In the Thirties, various pop-analytic radio economists of the Left struggled to present their analyses on under-powered AM radio stations across the country, competing against radio evangelists and the big networks. Most of these folks were union activists on the front lines of battles against corporate power. The Red Scare of the late-40's swept them off the air. Many of their hard-won lessons died with them, to our loss.

The absence of such radio personalities in the Sixties helped doom the radical politics of the time, when the inspiration was more spiritual and less political.

The reemergence of such a radio form is a very welcome development. Every damned thing that was learned the hard way in World War I and Depression days has to be relearned again from scratch. And just as the presence of these radio folks helped make New Deal reforms stick, and their absence in the Sixties helped doom reforms then, their reemergence now may help derail Trump and his wrecking crew:

Two links: R. D. Wolff and Democracy at Work.

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