Over the past year, we’ve seen the movement to break the grip of monopoly power in America gain incredible momentum, with proposed new laws, strong new officials at the federal antitrust agencies, and a sweeping Presidential executive order. Behind that momentum has been a cadre of antimonopoly activists, scholars, and policymakers who have pushed the fight for open markets and vibrant local communities into the public eye and the halls of power.
At Building Local Power, we’ve been fortunate enough to hear directly from those pushing the fight against monopoly power into the mainstream. We’ve interviewed thought leaders making crucial connections between the antimonopoly movement and racial justice and equity in our communities. We’ve talked to dynamic authors and activists whose writing has helped shape the debate around monopoly power. And we’ve spoken with lawmakers who are pushing legislation that would overhaul the tools we use to keep concentrated corporate power in check.
The conversations remain important today, as the push for more and better antimonopoly laws and enforcement ramps up for 2022. So we’re sharing a “greatest hits” collection of Building Local Power episodes from our recent archives. We think these episodes all capture crucial perspectives in our multi-pronged movement that rose to real prominence in 2021.
- Episode 128: Centering Racial Justice in the Antimonopoly Fight – In this episode of Building Local Power, host Jess Del Fiacco and ILSR Co-Director Stacy Mitchell are joined by Solana Rice and Jeremie Greer of Liberation in a Generation, an organization dedicated to achieving economic liberation for people of color. They discuss their recent publication Anti-Monopoly Activism: Reclaiming Power through Racial Justice, which argues that the fight against monopoly is intertwined with the fight for racial justice, and that organizers of color must be centered in the antimonopoly movement.
- Episode 59: Reining in Dollar Stores – In this episode, co-hosts Stacy Mitchell and Marie Donahue speak with Tulsa City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper. Earlier this year, Vanessa led a successful effort to convince the City Council to pass an ordinance restricting dollar stores from building new locations in the community of North Tulsa, a historically and predominantly African-American area of the city. The ordinance was part of community members’ and Vanessa’s efforts to address the lack of healthy food options in their neighborhood.
- Episode 108: Zephyr Teachout on Building an Antimonopoly Movement – On this episode of Building Local Power, host Jess Del Fiacco and ILSR Co-Director Stacy Mitchell are joined by Zephyr Teachout, author of the new book Break ‘Em Up: Recovering Our Freedom from Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money. Zephyr shares her thoughts on building an antimonopoly movement, what she finds encouraging and discouraging in our current moment, and how she approaches antimonopoly work as a democracy activist.
- Episode 87: How To Reclaim Antitrust for Working People with Sanjukta Paul – Host Stacy Mitchell is joined by Sanjukta Paul, law professor and antitrust and labor expert. They delve into the history of our antitrust laws, and how they were originally written to help working people and small businesses. Over the last several decades, however, antitrust has been weaponized against labor and small firms, while big corporations have been given free rein.
- Episode 121: Is Amazon Picking Winners and Losers Among America’s Cities? – On this episode of Building Local Power, host Jess Del Fiacco and ILSR Co-Director Stacy Mitchell are joined by award-winning journalist Alec MacGillis to discuss his new book, Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America. Their conversation focuses on how the shift toward online shopping — led by Amazon — has reshaped America.
- Episode 106: David Dayen Talks America’s Monopoly Problem – On this episode of Building Local Power, host Jess Del Fiacco is joined by Chris Mitchell, director of ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative, and David Dayen, executive editor of The American Prospect. David discusses his latest book, Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power, which tells the story of the daily impact of monopoly power on Americans’ lives.
- Episode 66: Race and the Economy: A Structural Problem – Host Stacy Mitchell speaks with Maurice BP-Weeks, co-director of the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE). After spending years as a community organizer, Maurice now works with community organizations on campaigns that fight wealth destruction in communities of color. Stacy and Maurice talk about ACRE’s work at the intersection of racial justice and Wall Street accountability.
- Episode 76: Independent Musicians and the Antimonopoly Movement – Host and former ILSR researcher Zach Freed is joined by Kevin Erickson, Director of the Future of Music Coalition. Zach and Kevin talk about the music industry’s role in the growing anti-monopoly movement and Kevin’s work at the intersection of music, community organizing and policy advocacy.
- Episode 91: Democratizing Antitrust with Harry First – Host Stacy Mitchell is joined by Harry First, law professor and co-director of New York University’s Competition, Innovation, and Information Law Program. They chat about how competition policy has become captured by technocratic lawyers and economists, and strayed from its roots as a political movement for economic justice.
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