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The Harper’s Podcast

Harper’s Magazine

12
Followers
22
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The Harper’s Podcast
The Harper’s Podcast

The Harper’s Podcast

Harper’s Magazine

12
Followers
22
Plays
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About Us

Harper’s Magazine, the oldest general-interest monthly in America, explores the issues that drive our national conversation, through long-form narrative journalism and essays, and such celebrated features as the iconic Harper’s Index. With its emphasis on fine writing and original thought Harper’s provides readers with a unique perspective on politics, society, the environment, and culture. The essays, fiction, and reporting in the magazine’s pages come from promising new voices, as well as some of the most distinguished names in American letters, among them Annie Dillard, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jonathan Franzen, Mary Gaitskill, David Foster Wallace, and Tom Wolfe.

Latest Episodes

Impeachment and the Mueller Report

Today, November 13, 2019, as witnesses take the stand in the first public hearings on the impeachment of President Donald Trump, the Harper’s Podcast looks back to another major report on presidential infraction. The Department of Justice released its redacted version of the Mueller Report almost seven months ago, on April 18. Although the 448-page document revealed new depths to the chaos of the Trump presidency, its inconclusiveness was a disappointment and a setback to those who had hoped to see clear grounds for impeachment. On May 30, Harper’s Magazine organized a discussion about the report’s implications between four experts—Karen J. Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School; Elizabeth Holtzman, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives who recommended three articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon; James Oakes, an American historian specializing in slavery, antislavery, and the Civil War; and Brenda Wineapple, author of a recent book on the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson. In a conversation that takes on new relevance during the current prosecution, the panelists discussed common misunderstandings of the impeachment process (at least one of which was shared by Donald Trump), the narrowness of the argument that impeachment proceedings might perversely “help” the president, and the provision’s larger historical importance as a means of reasserting the limits of presidential power. The panel took place at the New York Society for Ethical Culture and was moderated by Harper’s president and publisher John R. MacArthur. This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

68 MIN5 d ago
Comments
Impeachment and the Mueller Report

Brexit: Left of Europe

Last week, on October 28, Boris Johnson—the British prime minister who said he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than request another Brexit extension from the European Union—requested and received such an extension from the European Union, making this the third time that Brexit has been delayed since the June 2016 referendum. In anticipation of the deadline, the Harper’s Podcast convened four experts and participants in U.K. politics—David Renton, James Foley, Cat Boyd, and Richard Seymour—to discuss the complex political landscape of Brexit, its possible implications for different sectors of the population, and the hope that may lie in the situation’s vast and continuing uncertainties. This forum is an extension of a conversation between socialist writer Ashley Smith and University of Glasgow professor Neil Davidson that was published in New Politics. An excerpt from that interview was reprinted in the October issue of Harper’s Magazine. The episode was co-moderated by Smith and Harper’s web editor Violet Lucca. Cat Boyd is a trade-union organizer in Glasgow. James Foley is a postdoctoral researcher at Glasgow Caledonian University and the author of a forthcoming book on Scottish independence, which will be published by Verso in 2020. David Renton is a barrister, historian, and long-standing anti-fascist activist. Richard Seymour is a founding editor of Salvage magazine and author of The Twittering Machine. His writings can be read on Patreon. Read the excerpt of Smith’s interview here: https://harpers.org/archive/2019/10/left-of-europe-brexit-european-union/ This episode was produced and edited by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

91 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Brexit: Left of Europe

To Serve Is To Rule

Public service, stewardship, restraint: these were among the watchwords of the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant elite, a group nearly synonymous with the American ruling class from the late nineteenth century through roughly the late Sixties. Compare these ideals with the ruthless exhibitionism and unabashed nihilism of today’s elites, and one can see how a temptation might arise to feel nostalgic for old-fashioned WASP supremacy. But is it really wise to hearken back to the days of boat shoes and blue bloodlines? What was the nature of WASP power, and to what ends did they really wield it? Doug Henwood pursues these and similar questions in the November issue of Harper’s Magazine, in an essay that explores the rise and fall of WASP leadership and its often disastrous contributions to American life, from the popularization of eugenics to the document that initiated the permanent war economy. In this episode, host Violet Lucca speaks with Doug Henwood—former publisher of the Left Business Observer and current host of KPFA, Berkeley’s Behind the News—about the WASPs’ legacy of polite brutality, the decay revealed in Washington by the failure to rein in Trump, and the opening this could create for challenges from the left. Read Henwood’s article: https://harpers.org/archive/2019/11/to-serve-is-to-rule-wasps-doug-henwood/ This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins

39 MIN2 w ago
Comments
To Serve Is To Rule

The K–12 Takeover

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, philanthropists and New Orleans education reformers saw an unprecedented chance to completely restructure a failing school system. As a result, New Orleans has become the only city in the United States where charter schools have completely replaced public schools. It’s the most dramatic test case for the claims of the self-styled, traditional school choice movement—a nationwide push, led by a slew of major philanthropists and by current secretary of education Betsy DeVos, to privatize education and treat schooling as a business like any other. As Andrea Gabor documents in the November issue of Harper’s Magazine, the experiment is not producing the desired results. The skewed incentives of the portfolio model, which stakes school survival largely on standardized test scores, have caused many schools to treat students like prisoners while deliberately discouraging or underserving children with special needs. In districts where charters and public schools coexist, competitive pressure and poor funding can make public schools dysfunctional “dumping grounds” for harder-to-teach children, victims of a system that values profitability over community needs. In this episode, web editor Violet Lucca speaks with Andrea Gabor—author of After the Education Wars and the Bloomberg Chair of Business Journalism at Baruch College of the City University of New York—about the reality of school choice, the mind-set of Big Philanthropy, and the often-neglected tipping point at which charter schools begin harming nearby public schools. Read Gabor’s article here: https://harpers.org/archive/2019/11/the-k-12-takeover-charter-schools-new-orleans/ This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

36 MIN3 w ago
Comments
The K–12 Takeover

Conditions of Impeachment

The Constitution of the United States is a foundational element of national mythology, an exceptional document for its time that, unlike other constitutions, is still cited in contemporary political discussions. In the October issue of Harper’s Magazine, five lawmakers and legal scholars—Donna Edwards, five​-​term congresswoman from Maryland, serving in the House of Representatives; Mary Anne Franks, President and Legislative and Tech Policy Director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, and author of the new book The Cult of the Constitution; David Law, Charles Nagel Chair of Constitutional Law and Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis, and the Sir Y. K. Pao Chair in Public Law at the University of Hong Kong; Lawrence Lessig, professor at Harvard Law School, specializing in constitutional and comparative constitutional law; Lewis Michael Seidman, professor at Georgetown University Law Center, specializing in constitutional law and criminal justice; and Georgetown Law professor Rosa Brooks—participated in a forum that went beyond speculations about what the framers would want and considered, among other questions, how the Constitution could be changed in an era of partisan polarization, and whether the whole thing should be scrapped and rewritten. This week’s episode is an excerpt from the forum that did not appear in print, and which begins with a very topical issue: impeachment. The legal scholars and lawmakers discuss the functions and limitations of the Fourteenth Amendment, and how we could think differently about the relationship between the constitutionality and democracy of impeachment. Read the forum: https://harpers.org/archive/2019/10/constitution-in-crisis/ This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

43 MINOCT 10
Comments
Conditions of Impeachment

Good Bad Bad Good

At this year’s Emmys, the biggest names in television presented their usual awards, while the show itself represented an industry in flux. The hostless proceedings saw record low ratings even as new television shows and streaming services continue to infinitely expand. In the October issue of Harper’s Magazine, Adam Wilson considers the market and technological forces that gave rise to the “Golden Age of television,” and how it has subsequently led to “Peak TV.” Wilson asks how shifts in the consumption habits of the small number of viewers who watch “prestige” television (rather than comedies on the Big Three networks) have changed the ways the major players do business—and whether they truly have. In this episode, Harper’s web editor Violet Lucca talks with Wilson, the author of three books, including the forthcoming novel Sensation Machines, about the questionable label of prestige television, experimentation in visual narrative media, and the shifting nature of stardom—i.e., what it’s like to get tweeted at by Lizzo. Read Wilson’s essay: https://harpers.org/archive/2019/10/good-bad-bad-good-golden-age-of-television/ This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

44 MINOCT 3
Comments
Good Bad Bad Good

The Woodchipper

September is here, bringing with it a new school year, the first day of fall, and the start of football season in America. After weeks of preseason games and predictions, the thirty-two teams of the N.F.L. begin five months of competition culminating in the Super Bowl, the televised broadcast of which drew an estimated 98.2 million viewers in 2019. Winning a Super Bowl is a dream for N.F.L. hopefuls across the nation. But, for individual athletes, what does it take to get there? In the September issue of Harper’s Magazine, Rich Cohen takes readers back to before preseason and the draft to the N.F.L. Scouting Combine. Cohen discusses the combine’s history, its current procedures, its blind spots, and what the results mean for N.F.L. teams and their players. In this episode, Cohen, the author of Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football and a contributor to Rules of the Game, speaks with Harper’s web editor Violet Lucca about the combine and subsequent draft, about football’s inherent violence, and about seeing the game as a scale model of the best—and worst—of American capitalism and the country’s identity as a whole. Read Cohen’s piece: https://harpers.org/archive/2019/09/the-wood-chipper-nfl-draft-combine/ This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins

30 MINSEP 24
Comments
The Woodchipper

Common Ground

Each year, the City of David, the archaeological site believed to be the ancient core of Jerusalem, attracts some six hundred thousand tourists, who come to see the place where King David may have ruled in the 10th century BC. The problem is that, as Harper’s Magazine senior editor Rachel Poser explains in our September issue, the City of David is no scientific operation. Elad, the organization that manages it, is in fact “a rightwing settler group that employs archaeology as part of a long-term effort to strengthen Israeli control over Jerusalem,” and the City of David is only one of many such projects that, taken together, constitute a threat to the legitimacy of archaeological research throughout the region. Poser, who once trained as an archaeologist herself, charts the uneasy history of archaeology as a “national vocation” in Israel, from the country’s founding to the current use of excavations as both justification and method for evicting Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem. In this episode, Poser speaks with Israeli archaeologist Rafi Greenberg—a vocal critic of Elad, a professor at Tel Aviv University, a cofounder of the nonprofit Emek Shaveh, and a subject in the article—about his political disillusionment, the possibilities and limitations of the archaeological record, and an experiment in decolonized excavation. Read Poser’s article: https://harpers.org/archive/2019/09/common-ground-archeology-israel-palestine/ This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins

67 MINSEP 13
Comments
Common Ground

The Black Axe

If you have an email account, you’ve almost certainly received an email from someone claiming to be a Nigerian prince. Yet despite the notoriety of this scam, it continues to net billions of dollars every year—and, as Sean Williams explains in the September issue of Harper’s Magazine, these scams constitute just a fraction of the criminal activity committed by Nigerian cults like the Black Axe. Though its membership now focuses on accumulating as much wealth and turf as possible, the group grew out of a pan-African movement that endeavoured to embrace the richness of Nigerian culture. In this episode, Williams speaks with web editor Violet Lucca about the social, economic, and political factors unique to Nigeria that contributed to the unfortunate evolution of this particular organization, its ties to the Italian mafia, and the internal and external attempts to curb its violent activities. Read Williams’s piece here: https://harpers.org/archive/2019/09/the-black-axe-nigeria-neo-black-movement-africa/ This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

29 MINAUG 29
Comments
The Black Axe

The Family

The separation of church and state is one of the fundamental principles of American democracy; Article VI of the Constitution states that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Yet there have been plenty of people who’ve tried to erode that boundary, or at the very least work around it. In the March 2003 issue of Harper’s Magazine, Jeff Sharlet published a story that revealed (some of) the inner workings of one religious organization that has been at the task for decades: the Family. Since 1953, the Family has organized the National Prayer Breakfast—a seemingly innocuous nonpartisan event. Yet this annual celebration has allowed leaders from around the world—including dictators, warlords, foreign agents, and legitimate clergy—to covertly access the halls of power and exert influence. Espousing the ambiguous philosophy of “Jesus plus nothing,” the Family’s willingness to work with powerful but diabolical leaders arises from their interpretation of predestination—if you’re in power, it’s because God said so, and isn’t it better to have the wolf king on your side? Jeff Sharlet’s reporting on the Family has led to several more articles and two books: The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power and C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy. Netflix and Sharlet recently adapted this reporting into a five-part documentary. Web editor Violet Lucca spoke with Sharlet and director Jesse Moss about adapting this wealth of material into a documentary, the difficulties of getting straight answers out of deeply secretive Family members, and the organization’s ascendant power. Read Sharlet’s “Jesus Plus Nothing”: https://harpers.org/archive/2003/03/jesus-plus-nothing/ This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

46 MINAUG 16
Comments
The Family

Latest Episodes

Impeachment and the Mueller Report

Today, November 13, 2019, as witnesses take the stand in the first public hearings on the impeachment of President Donald Trump, the Harper’s Podcast looks back to another major report on presidential infraction. The Department of Justice released its redacted version of the Mueller Report almost seven months ago, on April 18. Although the 448-page document revealed new depths to the chaos of the Trump presidency, its inconclusiveness was a disappointment and a setback to those who had hoped to see clear grounds for impeachment. On May 30, Harper’s Magazine organized a discussion about the report’s implications between four experts—Karen J. Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School; Elizabeth Holtzman, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives who recommended three articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon; James Oakes, an American historian specializing in slavery, antislavery, and the Civil War; and Brenda Wineapple, author of a recent book on the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson. In a conversation that takes on new relevance during the current prosecution, the panelists discussed common misunderstandings of the impeachment process (at least one of which was shared by Donald Trump), the narrowness of the argument that impeachment proceedings might perversely “help” the president, and the provision’s larger historical importance as a means of reasserting the limits of presidential power. The panel took place at the New York Society for Ethical Culture and was moderated by Harper’s president and publisher John R. MacArthur. This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

68 MIN5 d ago
Comments
Impeachment and the Mueller Report

Brexit: Left of Europe

Last week, on October 28, Boris Johnson—the British prime minister who said he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than request another Brexit extension from the European Union—requested and received such an extension from the European Union, making this the third time that Brexit has been delayed since the June 2016 referendum. In anticipation of the deadline, the Harper’s Podcast convened four experts and participants in U.K. politics—David Renton, James Foley, Cat Boyd, and Richard Seymour—to discuss the complex political landscape of Brexit, its possible implications for different sectors of the population, and the hope that may lie in the situation’s vast and continuing uncertainties. This forum is an extension of a conversation between socialist writer Ashley Smith and University of Glasgow professor Neil Davidson that was published in New Politics. An excerpt from that interview was reprinted in the October issue of Harper’s Magazine. The episode was co-moderated by Smith and Harper’s web editor Violet Lucca. Cat Boyd is a trade-union organizer in Glasgow. James Foley is a postdoctoral researcher at Glasgow Caledonian University and the author of a forthcoming book on Scottish independence, which will be published by Verso in 2020. David Renton is a barrister, historian, and long-standing anti-fascist activist. Richard Seymour is a founding editor of Salvage magazine and author of The Twittering Machine. His writings can be read on Patreon. Read the excerpt of Smith’s interview here: https://harpers.org/archive/2019/10/left-of-europe-brexit-european-union/ This episode was produced and edited by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

91 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Brexit: Left of Europe

To Serve Is To Rule

Public service, stewardship, restraint: these were among the watchwords of the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant elite, a group nearly synonymous with the American ruling class from the late nineteenth century through roughly the late Sixties. Compare these ideals with the ruthless exhibitionism and unabashed nihilism of today’s elites, and one can see how a temptation might arise to feel nostalgic for old-fashioned WASP supremacy. But is it really wise to hearken back to the days of boat shoes and blue bloodlines? What was the nature of WASP power, and to what ends did they really wield it? Doug Henwood pursues these and similar questions in the November issue of Harper’s Magazine, in an essay that explores the rise and fall of WASP leadership and its often disastrous contributions to American life, from the popularization of eugenics to the document that initiated the permanent war economy. In this episode, host Violet Lucca speaks with Doug Henwood—former publisher of the Left Business Observer and current host of KPFA, Berkeley’s Behind the News—about the WASPs’ legacy of polite brutality, the decay revealed in Washington by the failure to rein in Trump, and the opening this could create for challenges from the left. Read Henwood’s article: https://harpers.org/archive/2019/11/to-serve-is-to-rule-wasps-doug-henwood/ This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins

39 MIN2 w ago
Comments
To Serve Is To Rule

The K–12 Takeover

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, philanthropists and New Orleans education reformers saw an unprecedented chance to completely restructure a failing school system. As a result, New Orleans has become the only city in the United States where charter schools have completely replaced public schools. It’s the most dramatic test case for the claims of the self-styled, traditional school choice movement—a nationwide push, led by a slew of major philanthropists and by current secretary of education Betsy DeVos, to privatize education and treat schooling as a business like any other. As Andrea Gabor documents in the November issue of Harper’s Magazine, the experiment is not producing the desired results. The skewed incentives of the portfolio model, which stakes school survival largely on standardized test scores, have caused many schools to treat students like prisoners while deliberately discouraging or underserving children with special needs. In districts where charters and public schools coexist, competitive pressure and poor funding can make public schools dysfunctional “dumping grounds” for harder-to-teach children, victims of a system that values profitability over community needs. In this episode, web editor Violet Lucca speaks with Andrea Gabor—author of After the Education Wars and the Bloomberg Chair of Business Journalism at Baruch College of the City University of New York—about the reality of school choice, the mind-set of Big Philanthropy, and the often-neglected tipping point at which charter schools begin harming nearby public schools. Read Gabor’s article here: https://harpers.org/archive/2019/11/the-k-12-takeover-charter-schools-new-orleans/ This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

36 MIN3 w ago
Comments
The K–12 Takeover

Conditions of Impeachment

The Constitution of the United States is a foundational element of national mythology, an exceptional document for its time that, unlike other constitutions, is still cited in contemporary political discussions. In the October issue of Harper’s Magazine, five lawmakers and legal scholars—Donna Edwards, five​-​term congresswoman from Maryland, serving in the House of Representatives; Mary Anne Franks, President and Legislative and Tech Policy Director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, and author of the new book The Cult of the Constitution; David Law, Charles Nagel Chair of Constitutional Law and Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis, and the Sir Y. K. Pao Chair in Public Law at the University of Hong Kong; Lawrence Lessig, professor at Harvard Law School, specializing in constitutional and comparative constitutional law; Lewis Michael Seidman, professor at Georgetown University Law Center, specializing in constitutional law and criminal justice; and Georgetown Law professor Rosa Brooks—participated in a forum that went beyond speculations about what the framers would want and considered, among other questions, how the Constitution could be changed in an era of partisan polarization, and whether the whole thing should be scrapped and rewritten. This week’s episode is an excerpt from the forum that did not appear in print, and which begins with a very topical issue: impeachment. The legal scholars and lawmakers discuss the functions and limitations of the Fourteenth Amendment, and how we could think differently about the relationship between the constitutionality and democracy of impeachment. Read the forum: https://harpers.org/archive/2019/10/constitution-in-crisis/ This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

43 MINOCT 10
Comments
Conditions of Impeachment

Good Bad Bad Good

At this year’s Emmys, the biggest names in television presented their usual awards, while the show itself represented an industry in flux. The hostless proceedings saw record low ratings even as new television shows and streaming services continue to infinitely expand. In the October issue of Harper’s Magazine, Adam Wilson considers the market and technological forces that gave rise to the “Golden Age of television,” and how it has subsequently led to “Peak TV.” Wilson asks how shifts in the consumption habits of the small number of viewers who watch “prestige” television (rather than comedies on the Big Three networks) have changed the ways the major players do business—and whether they truly have. In this episode, Harper’s web editor Violet Lucca talks with Wilson, the author of three books, including the forthcoming novel Sensation Machines, about the questionable label of prestige television, experimentation in visual narrative media, and the shifting nature of stardom—i.e., what it’s like to get tweeted at by Lizzo. Read Wilson’s essay: https://harpers.org/archive/2019/10/good-bad-bad-good-golden-age-of-television/ This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

44 MINOCT 3
Comments
Good Bad Bad Good

The Woodchipper

September is here, bringing with it a new school year, the first day of fall, and the start of football season in America. After weeks of preseason games and predictions, the thirty-two teams of the N.F.L. begin five months of competition culminating in the Super Bowl, the televised broadcast of which drew an estimated 98.2 million viewers in 2019. Winning a Super Bowl is a dream for N.F.L. hopefuls across the nation. But, for individual athletes, what does it take to get there? In the September issue of Harper’s Magazine, Rich Cohen takes readers back to before preseason and the draft to the N.F.L. Scouting Combine. Cohen discusses the combine’s history, its current procedures, its blind spots, and what the results mean for N.F.L. teams and their players. In this episode, Cohen, the author of Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football and a contributor to Rules of the Game, speaks with Harper’s web editor Violet Lucca about the combine and subsequent draft, about football’s inherent violence, and about seeing the game as a scale model of the best—and worst—of American capitalism and the country’s identity as a whole. Read Cohen’s piece: https://harpers.org/archive/2019/09/the-wood-chipper-nfl-draft-combine/ This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins

30 MINSEP 24
Comments
The Woodchipper

Common Ground

Each year, the City of David, the archaeological site believed to be the ancient core of Jerusalem, attracts some six hundred thousand tourists, who come to see the place where King David may have ruled in the 10th century BC. The problem is that, as Harper’s Magazine senior editor Rachel Poser explains in our September issue, the City of David is no scientific operation. Elad, the organization that manages it, is in fact “a rightwing settler group that employs archaeology as part of a long-term effort to strengthen Israeli control over Jerusalem,” and the City of David is only one of many such projects that, taken together, constitute a threat to the legitimacy of archaeological research throughout the region. Poser, who once trained as an archaeologist herself, charts the uneasy history of archaeology as a “national vocation” in Israel, from the country’s founding to the current use of excavations as both justification and method for evicting Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem. In this episode, Poser speaks with Israeli archaeologist Rafi Greenberg—a vocal critic of Elad, a professor at Tel Aviv University, a cofounder of the nonprofit Emek Shaveh, and a subject in the article—about his political disillusionment, the possibilities and limitations of the archaeological record, and an experiment in decolonized excavation. Read Poser’s article: https://harpers.org/archive/2019/09/common-ground-archeology-israel-palestine/ This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins

67 MINSEP 13
Comments
Common Ground

The Black Axe

If you have an email account, you’ve almost certainly received an email from someone claiming to be a Nigerian prince. Yet despite the notoriety of this scam, it continues to net billions of dollars every year—and, as Sean Williams explains in the September issue of Harper’s Magazine, these scams constitute just a fraction of the criminal activity committed by Nigerian cults like the Black Axe. Though its membership now focuses on accumulating as much wealth and turf as possible, the group grew out of a pan-African movement that endeavoured to embrace the richness of Nigerian culture. In this episode, Williams speaks with web editor Violet Lucca about the social, economic, and political factors unique to Nigeria that contributed to the unfortunate evolution of this particular organization, its ties to the Italian mafia, and the internal and external attempts to curb its violent activities. Read Williams’s piece here: https://harpers.org/archive/2019/09/the-black-axe-nigeria-neo-black-movement-africa/ This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

29 MINAUG 29
Comments
The Black Axe

The Family

The separation of church and state is one of the fundamental principles of American democracy; Article VI of the Constitution states that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Yet there have been plenty of people who’ve tried to erode that boundary, or at the very least work around it. In the March 2003 issue of Harper’s Magazine, Jeff Sharlet published a story that revealed (some of) the inner workings of one religious organization that has been at the task for decades: the Family. Since 1953, the Family has organized the National Prayer Breakfast—a seemingly innocuous nonpartisan event. Yet this annual celebration has allowed leaders from around the world—including dictators, warlords, foreign agents, and legitimate clergy—to covertly access the halls of power and exert influence. Espousing the ambiguous philosophy of “Jesus plus nothing,” the Family’s willingness to work with powerful but diabolical leaders arises from their interpretation of predestination—if you’re in power, it’s because God said so, and isn’t it better to have the wolf king on your side? Jeff Sharlet’s reporting on the Family has led to several more articles and two books: The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power and C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy. Netflix and Sharlet recently adapted this reporting into a five-part documentary. Web editor Violet Lucca spoke with Sharlet and director Jesse Moss about adapting this wealth of material into a documentary, the difficulties of getting straight answers out of deeply secretive Family members, and the organization’s ascendant power. Read Sharlet’s “Jesus Plus Nothing”: https://harpers.org/archive/2003/03/jesus-plus-nothing/ This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

46 MINAUG 16
Comments
The Family
hmly
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