The Rag Blog is a reader-supported newsmagazine produced by activist journalists committed to progressive social change. The Rag Blog is published by the New Journalism Project, a 501(c)(3) Texas non-profit.
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THE RAG: A Film
Part I of a documentary film about the life and times of Austin's pioneering underground newspaper, The Rag (1966-1977), by People's History in Texas. The Rag Blog and Rag Radio are a digital-era rebirth of The Rag.
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Alice Embree : Chile and the Politics of Memory by Alice Embree / The Rag Blog. Chileans went to the polls Sunday and appear to be reelecting Socialist president Michelle Bachelet on the 40th anniversary of the bloody U.S.-supported coup against Socialist president Salvador Allende. Alice writes about the dramatic contradictions in Chilean politics and history.
Paul Krassner : A Tale of Two Alternative Media Conferences by Paul Krassner / The Rag Blog. Paul remembers the original Alternative Media Conference in June 1970 at Goddard College in Vermont -- and it was a wild and wooly affair headlined by the likes of Ram Dass, Harvey Kurtzman, and Art Spiegelman -- as the college hosts another conference keynoted by progressive radio host Thom Hartmann.
Harry Targ : STEM and the Tyranny of the Meme by Harry Targ / The Rag Blog. From the fear of "falling behind the Soviets" to the missile gap and, more recently the wars on drugs and terrorism, the fear of falling behind some fictional adversaries is an ongoing "meme" used by economic, political, and military elites. The latest? Now it's the "STEM crisis" and the fear that we're falling behind other nations in science and technology .
Alice Embree : Anne Lewis' New Website Brings Austin Movement History to Life by Alice Embree / The Rag Blog. Noted documentary filmmaker Anne Lewis has created a website called Austin Beloved Community that uses audio, film, photos, maps, and personal recollections to create a "digital collage" about the struggle for social and economic justice in Austin from the 1880s to the present. Alice interviews Lewis about the unique project.
BOOKS / Ron Jacobs : Marc Myers Tells Us 'Why Jazz Happened' by Ron Jacobs / The Rag Blog. Ron reviews a new book on America's own music in which Marc Myers "provides the reader with a deep, rich, and broad perspective on the confluence of jazz and U.S. history in the decades following World War Two."
David McReynolds : We Are All Wounded Veterans by David McReynolds / The Rag Blog. Long-time pacifist writer and activist McReynolds says there's something "infinitely sad" about the recent celebration of Veterans Day. "In the bad wars -- which are the only wars we have fought for some time now -- there is the terrible knowledge that the enemy was never really the enemy," he says.
Michael James : Going Off Campus, 1965 by Michael James / The Rag Blog. Mike continues to share experiences and images from his rich history as an activist and adventurer -- that will be published in an upcoming book, "Michael Gaylord James' Pictures from the Long Haul." Here Mike reports on the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, community organizing in Oakland, and his travels across the country in a 1957 Plymouth station wagon "drive-away."
BOOKS / Nina Herencia : Are We Hearing You Well, Mariann? By Nina Herencia / The Rag Blog. Peruvian sociologist Herencia reviews our own Mariann Wizard's new book of poetry and drawings, "Didn't You Hear Me the First Time? and End Games." Nina says she was "amazed and delighted at [Wizard's] play of words, of images, her humor, intelligence, and compassion."
Michael James : Kidnapped to the Highlands, 1964 by Michael James / The Rag Blog. Mike's adventures continue, as he heads south from Berkeley into the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains where he is happily "kidnapped" to the Highlands and visits Gibson Beach and Monterey Bay.
Tom Hayden : Becoming Two Countries in 2014 by Tom Hayden / The Rag Blog. "Joined by a right-wing Roberts Supreme Court and funded by the likes of the Koch brothers, the Right is consolidating its power on a scale not seen since the Jim Crow era of the Dixiecrats." According to Hayden, "the logic of voter turnout data all but guarantees right-wing Republican congressional victories in 2014 and the sealing of the divide of America into two countries for the foreseeable future."
INTERVIEW / Jonah Raskin : Oral Historian Margaret Randall on Che and the Cuban Revolution by Jonah Raskin / The Rag Blog. Jonah interviews feminist, poet, and oral historian Margaret Randall, whose new book is "Che on My Mind." Randall, who lived in Cuba from 1968-1980, says Che "had a far-ranging analytical mind. "He was curious about everything," Randall said, including "political theory, revolutionary practice, medicine, anthropology, art, and language" -- and "was deeply affected by human misery."
Harvey Wasserman : The Demand for a Global Takeover at Fukushima by Harvey Wasserman / The Rag Blog. Tens of thousands of citizens all over the world -- including scientists and engineers -- have signed petitions calling on the UN and the world community to take charge of the Fukushima nuclear plant. "Since the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, the six-reactor Daichi site has plunged into lethal chaos," Wasserman says.
Kate Braun : The First Dark Moon of Autumn by Kate Braun / The Rag Blog. The Dark Moon, Kate tells us, falls on either side of the New Moon at a time when the moon is not visible in the sky. The first Dark Moon of Autumn, which can be celebrated on Oct. 4, 5, or 6, is a time to "let the past truly be the past."
Michael James : Free Speech at Sproul Plaza, Berkeley, Fall of 1964 by Michael James / The Rag Blog. The latest installment of Mike's running memoir cum photos from his rich life of travel, adventure, and activism, all to be included in his upcoming book, "Michael Gaylord James' Pictures from the Long Haul." Here he travels across the country in his "ragtop" '57 Ford convertible to UC Berkeley where he participates in the historically momentous Free Speech Movement.
Lamar W. Hankins : A Case Study in DWI in San Marcos, Texas by Lamar W. Hankins / The Rag Blog. Lamar discusses an incident in which a San Marcos attorney is arrested on a DWI charge during a "no refusal" weekend and questions are raised about the conduct of the police and the judge involved in the case.
Alan Waldman: ‘Midsomer Murders’ is a Popular Long-Running British Rural Crime Series by Alan Waldman / The Rag Blog. Alan is writing about vintage television, much of it British, that can be found on YouTube and Netflix. He reviews MIdsomer Murders, a "dramatic and humorous 'whodunnit' set in fictional Midsomer County" that has aired 100 episodes on BBC and around the world. The show includes some "high-camp" characters and substantial black comedy.
Marilyn Katz : A Different Path for Syria, and Hopefully for Chicago by Marilyn Katz / The Rag Blog. Noting developments in Syria, Marilyn writes: "For the first time that I can remember... at least since the Cuban missile crisis, the United States has chosen diplomacy over force to resolve an international conflict." Katz points out that our young people "have grown up in a context of non-stop war" seeing our leaders consistently "turn to weaponry to resolve disputes large... or small."
Johnny Hazard : Tanks Versus Teachers in Mexico City by Johnny Hazard / The Rag Blog. Our man in Mexico City reports on the massive demonstrations by teachers opposing president Peña Nieto's "bogus education reform that stems from the premise that teachers are to blame for whatever is wrong with education..." Federal and Mexico City police -- "with tanks and water cannons" -- have forcefully driven the striking teachers from Zócalo plaza. But, Hazard says, the teachers aren't going away and more actions are being organized.
INTERVIEW / Jonah Raskin : Occupy's Nathan Schneider on Anarchy and Radical Catholicism by Jonah Raskin / The Rag Blog. Jonah's interviews Occupy activist, author, and radical Catholic Nathan Schneider whose latest book is "Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse." Schneider compares today's activist generation with that from the Sixties, addresses his conversion to Catholicism, and discusses the history of revolutionary movements and the concept of anarchy.