A Conversation with Common Dreams: 'From Deep Pessimism... to Enduring Optimism'

Published on
by
Common Dreams

A Conversation with Common Dreams: 'From Deep Pessimism... to Enduring Optimism'

Produced by Lauren McCauley and Jon Queally, Common Dreams staff

In a new video series Common Dreams is posting this week, we interviewed some of our long-time contributors to reflect on their assessment of the current political and historical moment. We first asked them, given their particular vantage point, to speak about their notion of pessimism—either as a personal statement or as reflected in the broader society. And then, pivoting on those same ideas, we asked them to talk about the ways in which optimism (or the idea of being optimistic) continues to inform their ongoing work or their personal outlook.

Recorded at the National Conference on Media Reform in Denver on April 6th and 7th, what follows are their responses to Questions 1 and 2 from our conversation. Later this week, we'll be posting additional segments.

We thank the following for taking the time to sit with us and offer their thoughts: Robert McChesney, Fran Korten, Norman Solomon, Sonali Kolhatkar, John Nichols, Marjorie Cohn, and Michael Winship.

____________________________________________

'Pessimism and the current moment...' 'Optimism and the current moment...'

Robert McChesney is research professor in the Institute of Communications Research and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois.  His most recent book is Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy. A co-founder of the media reform group Free Press, his forthcoming book, written with John Nichols, is Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America.

____________________________________________

'Pessimism and the current moment...' 'Optimism and the current moment...'

Fran Korten is publisher and executive director of YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas and practical action.

____________________________________________

'Pessimism and the current moment...' 'Optimism and the current moment...'

Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include: War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death and Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State.

____________________________________________

'Pessimism and the current moment...' 'Optimism and the current moment...'

Sonali Kolhatkar is co-director of the Afghan Women's Mission, a US-based non-profit that supports women's rights activists in Afghanistan. Sonali is also co-author of Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence. She is the host and producer of Uprising, a nationally syndicated radio program with the Pacifica Network and aired locally on KPFK.

____________________________________________

'Pessimism and the current moment...' 'Optimism and the current moment...'

John Nichols is Washington correspondent for The Nation and associate editor of The Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin. His most recent book is The “S” Word: A Short History of an American Tradition. Also a co-founder of Free Press, his forthcoming book, written with Robert McChesney, is Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America.

____________________________________________

'Pessimism and the current moment...' 'Optimism and the current moment...'

Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and past President of the National Lawyers Guild, is the deputy secretary general for external communications of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and the U.S. representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists. She is the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and editor of the anthology, The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse. She is currently working on a book about the Obama Administration's drone and targeted assassination program.

____________________________________________

'Pessimism and the current moment...' 'Optimism and the current moment...'

Michael Winship is senior writer for Bill Moyers' new weekend show Moyers & Company. He is also a senior writing fellow at Demos and president of the Writers Guild of America-East.

____________________________________________

Share this article