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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday, April 20 - Secret 1980s

Tonight at 8 PM on KPFK 90.7 FM in Southern California my guest is Prof. Bradford Martin, author of The Other Eighties: A Secret History of America in the Age of Reagan. Secret, indeed! Like the wars our country wages, our history is often kept secret only from U.S. citizens, who eagerly go along with the national self-deception. The cover of historian Bradford Martin’s new book --- secret history, revisionist history, people’s history --- features a collage of photographs featuring people who knew better, who objected, and who I recognized (cuz I was there, too): Nuclear Freeze marchers, anti-apartheid activists, women’s rights advocates and ACT-UP protesters. In a thoughtful review in Bookforum, David Mulcahey writes favorably about Martin’s project for in part, acknowledging the impact of this kind of now-forgotten (on purpose?) political resistance organizing: “Were it not for the exertions of a passionate few, many features we take for granted in the present political landscape would look very different. ‘It is a notable outcome of this era, for instance,’ Martin writes, "that Americans do not speak of a ‘Nicaragua War.’” Provocative, necessary, and affirming, especially if you are in one of the case studies examined by Martin, this book insists on a long view, and celebrates the legacy of grassroots activism in an era which mainstream media and popular culture give away to the Reganoids. Brad Martin is the author of a previous book, The Theater Is in the Street: Politics and Public Performance in Sixties America and teaches at Bryant University. Thanks for listening. Listen live on the radio or online. Downloadable free for 90 days from the station’s archives. Support non-corporate commercial-free community radio in the upcoming fund drive. Like history, it belongs to all of us.

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