This week on CounterSpin: Government-supplied food assistance has been around in various forms since at least the Great Depression, but never with the straightforward goal of easing hunger. 1930s posters about food stamps declare, “We are helping the farmers of America move surplus foods”; that link between agriculture industry support and nutrition assistance continues to this day—which partly explains why the primary food aid program, SNAP, while the constant target of the anti-poor, racist, drown-government-in-the-bathtub crowd, keeps on keeping on. We talk with Christopher Bosso, professor of public policy and politics at Northeastern University, the author of a new book on that history, called Why SNAP Works: A Political History—and Defense—of the Food Stamp Program.
In 2015, CounterSpin spoke with Barbara Briggs of the Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights about Rana Plaza, the 2013 catastrophe that killed more than a thousand workers in Bangladesh, in circumstances that in some ways echoed those of 102 years earlier. We’ll hear that interview again today.