The Flaming Sword of Justice, with Ben Wikler

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Syndication

Hear the story of how one tough-as-nails group of young women took on a huge corporation whose celebrity pitchman glorified rape in a rap lyric... and how these women pushed and pushed and pushed until a whole lot of powerful people, after far too long, woke up. Ultraviolet versus Reebok: the Rick Ross Rumble. 

Direct download: Sword_2013_04_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:06pm EST

A year ago, our founding producer Aaron Swartz guest-hosted an episode of The Flaming Sword of Justice when Ben Wikler was out of town. Four months ago, facing trial, Aaron took his own life. Today, in his memory—and in support of the Demand Progress and Internet Defense League Week of Action, which is working to reform the unjust Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that was used to charge Aaron—we're airing his episode for the first time.

You'll hear Aaron interview Mike "Rortybomb" Konczal, who tells the story of how he went from being a financial engineer to a leading voice for regulatory reform. And then you'll hear an interview of Aaron by Ruairi McKiernan, an Irish activist and youth organizer, which you can also see on YouTube here, where Aaron explains how he became an activist.

As you listen, please sign the petition calling for justice for Aaron and share this episode in your social forum of choice. And if you're in Boston, please make plans to attend the rally this Saturday, starting at noon in Dewey Square Park.

Direct download: Sword_2013-04-11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm EST

When a billion-dollar private prison company donates millions to your university in exchange for the right to name your new athletic stadium, what do you do? Our guests today had one answer: fight back. The inside story of a campaign nobody thought could succeed, by the people who won it. 

Direct download: Sword_2013_04_10.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:15pm EST

Social Security benefit cuts: bad idea, or spectacularly awful idea? On today's episode, we explore this complex question with help from two key voices in the debate: Max Richtman, who received an in-person, direct commitment from the President of the United States just a few months ago that the White House wouldn't cut Social Security, and Sarita Gupta, who is helping lead a national conversation about how, as a society, we should handle the aging of the baby boom generation. 

In the course of the show, your host comes to a totally new understanding of the Social Security fight... and how there's a much deeper, richer debate we should be having instead.

Direct download: Sword_2013_04_09.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:22pm EST

Social Security is under attack. And we've traced the cuts. They're coming from inside the party. 

On today's Flaming Sword of Justice, we report to the barricades, bringing you inside the front lines of the fight to make sure America's most important social insurance program remains untouched. Our guests are some of the central strategists in what could well be one of the defining political battles of the year: the leaders of MoveOn, Social Security Works, CREDO, and the PCCC. Tune in and mount up... the battle is on.

Direct download: Sword_2013_04_08.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:31pm EST

When the AP announced this week that it would stop using the phrase "illegal immigrant," American media (and Americans in general) took notice. But in all the many, many news accounts of the AP's decision, few reporters acknowledged the highly coordinated, strategic, and empathic campaign that made it happen—a campaign that built on work by leaders and citizens in social movements dating back decades. Our guest, Monica Novoa, the coordinator (and sole full-time employee) of the "Drop the I Word" campaign, was at the heart of making it happen—and in this episode, she tells her story, and the story of this movement, like you've never heard it before. You'll laugh, sing, cry, and cheer. Tune in and spread the word!

Direct download: Sword_2013_04_04.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:37pm EST

When the world's biggest corporations caught wind of the campaign for paid sick leave in New York City, they knew it was a matter of principle. Not the principle of whether working people should have to choose between going to work sick or losing their jobs. No, the principle they seized upon was whether corporations should ever ever have to bow to basic decency, common sense, and the will of regular citizens like you and me.  
It was a fight they thought they could win. They had the New York Republicans in their pocket. They had the New York Democrats in their pocket. 
But they forgot that in New York, there's a third party to reckon with, a party utterly beyond the control of the special interests, a party whose name tells you exactly who it works for: the Working Families Party. 

The corporations, it turns out, never had a chance. Last week, the New York City council passed a landmark sick-leave bill that guaranteed protections to more than a million working New Yorkers and instantly became a model for the nation. And the Working Families Party rocketed into the national progressive spotlight. 
On today's show, Dan Cantor of the Working Families Party explains who they are, how they won, and what it means for revitalizing progressive politics across America. Tune in and share this episode!
Direct download: Sword_2013_4_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:41pm EST

There are times when changing the world can feel like pushing a pickup truck up Mount Everest. But there are also times when something clicks—and the world seems to change in an instant.  Last Tuesday was one of those times: a day when, to the amazement of so many who worked for so long to build support for equal marriage rights for LGBT Americans, millions upon millions of citizens announced their support in the most public way possible: changing the photos on Facebook that represent themselves. Their personal profile photos. To red and pink symbol for equality.  Suddenly, from that moment on, nobody who believed in full rights for gay Americans could think they were all alone. It was the kind of cultural sea-change moment that's impossible to plan. But it wouldn't have happened without our guest—the one and only Anastasia Khoo, director of Marketing for the Human Rights Campaign, who created the equality logo that swept news feeds from coast to coast and beyond.

Direct download: Sword_2013_4_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:14pm EST

On today's program, we explore a question that until not long ago, would've seemed hopeless: how do you beat the NRA?
We start with a guest on the front lines of a fight over a gun violence prevention law in her home state of Minnesota, where the NRA, even after Newtown, still seems nearly impossible to defeat. But our next guest—who works on the gun-violence team of a certain Michael R Bloomberg—brings stories from not one, but two states where the NRA's might has been overwhelmed by the combined forces of common sense, real information, and well-financed organizing both at the grasstops and the grassroots. Bullets aren't the only things flying through the air: there's also hope.
Sign Rebecca Lowen's petition for gun violence prevention in Minnesota http://fsj.fm/mnguns
Join the national grassroots movement demanding action on gun violence, powered by Mayors Against Illegal Guns: http://demandaction.org/
Our guests:
Direct download: Sword_2013_4_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:37pm EST