Friday, March 2, 2018

Fake News Is Focus of UVM Talk and New Book

BURLINGTON —  On March 15, Vermont-based author and activist Greg Guma will discuss “Journalism In the Era of Fake News” at the UVM Alumni House, presented by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The presentation will cover many of the themes in his new book, which was released in February. 

This is Guma’s tenth book. Fake News: Journalism in the Age of Deceptions is brief, but takes on a large and timely topic — the challenges confronting journalism in a post-modern era characterized by fraud and scandal, questionable elections, corrupt leaders, and phony news. It argues that sophisticated tools have been used for years by governments and private interests to promote false or misleading stories, messages and narratives. But when people repeatedly exposed to lies are confronted with the truth, too many double down and believe the lies even more. 

Topics in the book and upcoming talk include the recent weaponizing of the term “fake news”; hoaxes, fabricated stories and false flag operations throughout history; the use of perception management strategies by governments and private interests; election manipulation and post-truth problems; the dangers of polarization and how people can avoid living in a bubble. One of the incidents revisited in the book is a 1978 disinformation campaign in Vermont.

A previous book by Guma, The People’s Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution, was cited in coverage of Bernie Sanders during the 2016 election. The author was a frequently quoted source, learning first-hand how national journalists develop and shape narratives. In 2015 he was a candidate for Burlington mayor. Guma’s background in journalism dates back to work as a daily newspaper reporter and photographer in the late 1960s, and ranges from editing periodicals like the Vermont Vanguard Press, Toward Freedom and Vermont Guardian to managing the national Pacifica radio network.  

In 2003, the University of Vermont received initial funding from the Bernard Osher foundation to establish lifelong learning institutes that provide courses and programs for Vermonters age 50 and over. Three years later, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute was permanently established at UVM. Other Institutes offer non-credit courses and programs at affordable prices in nine Vermont communities.

To attend “Journalism in the Era of Fake News,” visit OLLI’s website at,  or contact Lora Phillips at 802-656-2085 or Guma will speak at 5:30 p.m. in the Pavilion of the university’s Alumni House at 61 Summit Street. Enrollment and seating are limited.

Fake News: Journalism in the Age of Deceptons can be sampled or purchased for any electronic device. An illustrated paperback edition was released on Feb. 27. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Dangerous Words: A Political Memoir


  Dangerous Words: A Political Memoir
   By Greg Guma


Audio Prologue ON THE AIR: Burlington Reflections (May 2016)
(One month later Burlington College was closed)

Part One: Education of an Outsider (1960-1968)

Part Two: Fragile Paradise  (1968-1978)

Part Three: Prelude to a Revolution (1974-1978)

The People's Republic: Vermont & Bernie Sanders

A revealing look at the rise of Bernie Sanders and the progressive movement that changed Vermont

Available from Maverick Media

Mentioned during the 2016 Presidential campaign in...

Mother Jones: How Bernie Sanders Became a Real Politician
New York Times: Bernie Sanders' Revolutionary Roots
CNN: Can Bernie Sanders Win Black Voters?
Politico: 14 Things Bernie Has Said about Socialism
Politico: Bernie Sanders Has a Secret
Washington Post: Sanders is in with the enemy, so old allies say
CNN: How Bernie Sanders Turned Himself into a Serious Contender
Mother Jones: Here's How Bernie May Be Changing Politics for Good
Washington Post: Sanders Prepares for His National Debate Debut
New York Times: Setting Bernie Sanders Apart from the Debate Field
Mother Jones: Here's What Bernie Sanders is like as a Debater
CNN Video: What is Bernie Sanders' Debate Style?
ABC: What to Expect from Bernie Sanders in Tuesday's Debate
International Business Times: Bernie Sanders' Debate Plan
Washington Post: A Somewhat Reluctant Socialist

Bernie Sanders' election as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in 1981 caught the attention of the entire nation and inspired progressives throughout the world. Originally published in 1989, just before Sanders won his first race for the US House of Representatives in 1990, The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution was the first comprehensive analysis of Sanders' mayoral years and the progressive movement in Vermont. It remains the most intimate and revealing. 

Greg Guma's exploration of the "revolution" goes far beyond Sanders and his impact on Burlington. The factors behind the initial surprise victory, the tension between leftist ideals and pragmatic politics, the evolution of an effective political coaliton outside the two-party system -- all these topics and more Guma investigates, with an eye on global political implications as well as the immediate local impact. The People's Republic is for all those interested in progressive politics and political history, not to mention those in places where a similar "revolution" is possible.

A fast-moving description that illustrates one of the great efforts at innovative government of the past fifty years…
--Pierre Clavel, Cornell University

If you were going to create somebody to write about Bernie Sanders’ years as socialist mayor of Burlington, you might make him a fortysomething Vermont journalist and bookstore founder and former government worker who almost ran for mayor of Burlington himself…That’s what you have in Greg Guma.
—Mark Satin, New Options

A treasure house of first-hand information and perceptive, if often controversial analysis of great value to anyone concerned to explore realistically the possibilities for combining third-party electoral politics with other methods of working for justice, peace, environmental sanity and genuine democracy.
– David Dellinger, author/activist

If you are at all interested in Vermont and Burlington, and public policy, get this book.
– Phil Hoff, former Vermont Governor

More Books from Maverick Media HERE 

Uneasy Empire
How an international establishment has used fear of socialism, communism and terrorism to justify repression and a massive military establishment. Pointing past nationalism and corporate empire, Uneasy Empire: Repression, Globalization, and What We Can Do combines a radical critique with hopeful solutions and a vision of democratic globalism through which people can regain control of their futures.

Spirits of Desire
Set during the spirtualist craze of the 1870s, Spirits of Desire follows a group of extraordinary people, including Russian theosophist Helena Blavatsky, paranormal investigator Henry Olcott and Oneida Community leader Theo Noyes, as they search for the truth about ghosts through a notorious family of Vermont mediums. The trail leads them into a world of seances, deadly elementals, astral forces and past lives.

Dons of Time
Unsolved mysteries collide with cutting edge science and altered states of consciousness in a world of corporate gangsters, infamous crimes and top-secret experiments. Based on eyewitness accounts, suppressed documents and the lives of world-changers Nikola Tesla, Annie Besant, Ignatius Donnelly and Jack the Ripper, Dons of Time is a speculative adventure, a glimpse of an alternative future and a quantum leap to Gilded Age London at the tipping point of invention, revolution and murder.

Prisoners of the Real: An Odyssey

An intellectual journey from Pythagoras to planetary consciousness -- and a new vision of freedom & cooperation. 
Prisoners of the Real makes the connection between solar and lunar knowledge, illuminating the cost of our preoccupation with certainty and order. 
Exploring insights from linguistics, psychology, physics, literature, philosophy and management science, it opens the door to a new vision of freedom and cooperation – Dionysian leadership.

Video Preview: Dionysus Rising

"Dionysian leaders use artistic methods to invent structures of reality. Although they acknowledge that scientific and artistic processes have equal worth, they de-emphasize logical reasoning and deduction and focus on metaphorical thinking. Their interest is not definition but discovery.”

Section One: The Rational Trap
The Creative Also Destroys * Deconstructing Leadership * Anatomy of Insecurity * Managers and Their Tools * The Corporate Way of Life * The Dictatorship of Time * Rules for Rationals * The Age of Adaptability * Living with Rational Management

Section Two: Philosophy of the Real 

Section Three: New World Disorders

Section Four: 
Restructuring Reality – The Dionysian Way

Humanity at the Turning Point

Part 33 of Prisoners of the Real

For a century, humanity has been in the early stages of a great transformation, perhaps the greatest it has ever faced. As revealed in the dissolution of the "superpower" known as the Soviet Union, it is not merely a matter of one economic and social system prevailing over another. All systems are under severe stress. Alliances crumble, ethnic and religious upheavals shake the world, class and racial conflict flares across the US, the planet itself shudders under the threat of environmental Armageddon.

Martin Buber recognized the stakes when he wrote, "What is in question, therefore, is nothing less than man’s whole existence in the world."

During the various stages of human evolution, the central dynamic has consistently been the relationship between human beings and the rest of the natural world. But over the last five hundred years the tempo of our crusade to assert power over nature has increased dramatically, and with devastating effect. As crises pile upon one another, we have slowly begun to see just how fragile our "triumph" has been. In quickly repressed moments of intuition we sense that the high road of progress is actually a high-speed ride along the narrow ledge of an abyss. What we desperately need is conscious, responsible knowledge, and flowing from it, truly heroic deeds.

But taking account of the journey ahead will not be enough. In order to act effectively we will need to acknowledge where the journey began. Human beings first emerged from nature by banding together –to protect themselves, hunt, gather food and work. Yet, from the very start, we faced each other as independent entities. A "social" world was created by beings both mutually dependent and fiercely independent. No group of animals had ever constructed such a society before.

Apes use tools, but don't "produce" them for one another. Insect societies have division of labor, but it governs them completely; they don't improvise, strike out independently, or develop one-to-one relationships. It is precisely this unique quality of humanity – the complex and dynamic tension between autonomy and unity – that has brought us to our turning point.

Communities form, reform and evolve on the basis of the twin principles of growing personal independence and collaboration. In every group, in one form or another, division of labor emerges, each person utilizing special capacities in a renewing, shifting association. This is the first step in the evolution of any human organization. The second is the development of relations between groups – in other words, some agreement to combine effort in the pursuit of an external objective. In doing both, we acknowledge differences in nature and function. No matter what the particular shape or customs of a human society, a balance between functional autonomy and mutual aid must be struck both within groups and in relations between them.

Power centers come and go – cities, states and bureaucracies that boldly guarantee order and security. Yet at the root, what counts is the organic and enduring human community in which we live and work, where we compete with and support one another. And within each community and group, asserting independence while simultaneously fulfilling responsibilities to fellow human beings, is the individual – autonomous and yet profoundly social.

How tragic, then, that these fundamental aspects of human development have been so distorted by centralistic and absolutist institutions. The problem isn't merely that the State has weakened and in many respects destroyed free associations – although it has also done that. The true tragedy is that the centralist impulse has become embedded in all forms of social interaction. It has changed the inherent structure of groups, the family, institutions, and societies, as well as the inner life of humanity. Modern industrial development has meanwhile accelerated society's subsumption within the State.

Struggles between States have become struggles between whole societies. And societies, perceiving threats both from outside and within their very nature, have often submitted further to centralized power as a result. The pattern has replayed itself in varied political systems, from the most brutally totalitarian to the proudest democratic.

As the importance of power, the interests of the State and the marketing of mass culture have saturated societies, the inner development of the individual has become confused and disfigured. The family, work group and community no longer provide a source of reassurance. Individuals cling increasingly to the great collectivities, abdicating individual freedom and responsibility. In the process, a key component in social life – mutual support between human beings – has been severely undermined. In many places and situations, autonomous relationships have become meaningless. As Buber put it, "The personal human being ceases to be the living member of a social body and becomes a cog in the 'collective' machine."

Just at the moment when, in some societies at least, there is finally time to improve community life, it has been hollowed into an empty shell.

Next: Narcissism & Grand Delusions

To read other chapters, go to Prisoners of the Real: An Odyssey