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Interview With Bookings Institution Foreign Policy Program Senior Fellow Fiona Hill; Interview With "The Candy House" Author Jennifer Egan; Interview With AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 28, 2022 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
The Kremlin keeps upping the ante, but are all Russians on board? I asked Fiona Hill, a former White House Russia advisor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Protesters won't let up in Iran. We get a glimpse of what's going on in the streets, despite a near total internet blackout.
Then, another "Visit from the Goon Squad". In her new book, "Candy House", novelist Jennifer Egan revisits the worlds of her Pulitzer Prize-winning
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ SHULER, PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO: Workers are starting to come together and raise their voices and say enough is enough.
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AMANPOUR: The AFL-CIO's first female leader, Liz Shuler, talks to Michel Martin about the surprising number of Americans now seeking to unionize.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
It's day 223 of Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine, and the Russian president is again upping the ante. It's believed that he'll move this week to annex
the areas under Russian occupation after claiming an overwhelming mandate in what's been called sham referendums there. Ukraine, Europe, and the U.S.
reject the whole process. And Kyiv says, Putin will even try to make residents there fight for the Russian military and against their Ukrainian
Meanwhile, inside Russia, people, mostly men, are voting with their feet. They continue to flee the country in droves, desperate to avoid Putin's
forced mobilization. As we hear now from correspondent Melissa Bell at a border crossing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Russian forces making a dash towards the border with Georgia. Their task? To issue summons to the droves
of eligible men fleeing the draft after being instructed to check all men trying to pass through from Russia. It's part of a coordinated effort with
the Georgian authorities who've seen an unprecedented number of arrivals since Russia announced its first mobilization since World War II. With up
to 10,000 Russians now entering Georgia each day, according to the country's ministry of internal affairs. Russians, now driven by fear.
KONSTANTIN, RUSSIAN NATIONAL (through translator): Those how understand what is happening, those who are aware of what is happening or well aware
that this will not end in a day or a month. There will be a second and a third wave of mobilization, and we are against it.
BELL (voiceover): Already, the crossings has been getting harder with fears it may soon become impossible.
KONSTANTIN (through translator): It was very difficult, almost impossible. All of the check points were closed. We must find some way. In some places,
the locals help people. They guided us over the mountains.
BELL (voiceover): Those with the means, headed to the airport, trying to desperately board flights. For others, the flight is harder but no less
urgent. Moscow's call to arms has pushed droves of men not just southwards, but also towards the central Asian country of Kazakhstan, whose president
pledged on Tuesday to welcome them. Russians heading also towards Finland whose borders remain open to them.
Meanwhile, Russia showing no sign of slowing down its mobilization efforts, now extending them to occupied territories inside Ukraine. As residents in
the occupied city of Donetsk received messages on Tuesday, asking them to attend the military commissariat. A move local Ukrainian officials say
Russia is justifying through the cessation referenda taking place across Ukraine this week. Which, despite being widely dismissed as a sham, have
nonetheless triggered fear about what lies ahead not just for Ukraine but for Russia itself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Melissa Bell reporting.
My first guest says that Vladimir Putin is, "Determined to shape the future to look like his version of the past. And that he craves legitimacy." Fiona
Hill has been studying the Russian president for many, many years. And during the Trump administration, she served as a senior director for
European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council.
She's now senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. And her latest book is called, "There is Nothing for You Here". Fiona Hill, welcome back to our
program. Let me ask you first what you make of what we just saw. Russians leaving to avoid this conscription, and at the same time, apparently, a key
spin doctor on state television criticizing this conscription and the mobilization. It's kind of rare to hear that criticism in public like that.
FIONA HILL, SENIOR FELLOW, FOREIGN POLICY PROGRAM, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION AND AUTHOR, "THERE IS NOTHING FOR YOU HERE" AND FORMER U.S. NATIONAL
SECURITY COUNCIL SENIOR DIRECTOR: Well, it's also fascinating, Christiane, because one of the reasons that the mobilization is taking place, this
supposedly partial mobilization of 300,000 people. Which, of course, we're now hearing rumors that it might be many more than that and maybe even as
many as a million.
Part of the impetus for that was having hard right, hawkish commentators on Russian television. In fact, urging mobilization. And if you recall back to
May of this year, when Vladimir Putin was presiding over the annual May Day victory celebrations to commemorate the end of World War II, there was a
lot of speculation on that day of May 9th that there would be a full mobilization of the Russian military in response to the war in Ukraine and
it didn't happen. Because analysis at the time believed that it would be far too difficult for Putin to fully mobilize because there would be this
So, he's been pulled in these different directions, or he's pulled himself in these different directions. And we're now actually seeing exactly what a
lot of people predicted. That there would be a lot of resistance to mobilization. Although, whether people really predicted that tens of
thousands of people would be fleeing across the borders, you know, is of course another question.
AMANPOUR: And at the same time, we've got Putin, apparently, going to be addressing parliament, both houses, and it's said that he is likely to
announce the annexation of these territories inside Ukraine. What do you expect and how should the west react to this?
HILL: Well, the west is already reacting, and the only way that it can, which is to reject these and to reject the referenda that are purported to
be the basis of this. We've seen this before many times. If we look back to 2014, with the annexation of Crimea, it was done exactly the same way. A
fast turnaround referendum, an immediate annexation afterwards.
Now, there are earlier cases after the invasion in Georgia in 2008 when there were referenda and then the recognition of the independence of the
two breakaway republics in Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. And there was some anticipation then that Russia might annex at least South Ossetia
and perhaps both of them. That did not happen.
So, it's also possible that he won't annex all four of the regions, then you might, kind of, see how everyone reacts. But nonetheless, this is part
of a long-established pattern of Russia basically expanding itself into territory to change the game on the ground.
All of this is the result of Ukraine gaining momentum on the ground and on the battlefield. And if Putin himself losing it. So, he's trying to adapt
to the circumstances and basically take charge and get every advantage to himself that he can.
AMANPOUR: Would you agree that this time has the added issue of the Kremlin saying that the United States is getting, you know, coming close to
becoming a party and with all their threats against that. But also, you know, given the fact that they might use this annexation to then directly
confront or up the ante militarily against the U.S. or NATO, and even, you know, this whole idea of a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine itself?
HILL: Well, look, there are commentators around the Kremlin, many of whom actually used to work in western think tanks. So, we're going beyond the
use of a tactical nuclear weapon and actually urging the use of a strategic nuclear weapon against the United States or even, you know, one of them has
gone as far as to say Poland or some of the European countries.
So, let's just say there's a lot of rhetoric going on here right now. And it's all parts of the same objective which is to change the discussion.
Putin doesn't like what's happens on the ground in Ukraine, with the Ukrainians pushing back and being able to retake territory around Kharkiv
and some of the other regions.
And Putin wants to consolidate what he's already got on the ground. He's basically made a whole host of announcements. First of all, obviously, the
Crimea is Russia and will never be given up. Then recognizing Donetsk and Luhansk, the two republicans that make up the Donbas region, even though
Russia is -- Russian proxies are not in full control of those regions. So, he's announced them already on the eve of the invasion that they were
recognized as independent, and now wants to annex them as well.
And then Russians have moved into two other major regions, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, which gives them then control of all of the infrastructure,
including water and road and rail that goes into Crimea. They've had referenda there as well. And the question is whether they intend to annexed
them too, because Putin's also said that Russia is here to stay.
So, he's changing the facts on the ground. He's dismembering Ukraine. He's digging in. And now he's trying to change the whole discussion to make this
a negotiation with the west and United States because he's doing, you know, what we've seen many times before, which is nuclear threats.
And remember, Putin's done this before in the past as well. And he's basically saying, now you will have to negotiate with me and sue for peace.
And that means recognizing what we have done on the ground in Ukraine.
AMANPOUR: So, do you think that's likely? I mean, do you think either the west will sue for peace under this, you know, sword of Damocles or that
Ukrainians will be persuaded to sue for peace?
HILL: Well, look, even if the Ukrainians were pushed by the west, and to some kind of negotiation with Russia when something imposed on them,
Ukrainians will not give up. And I think that that's part of the issue. Is that Putin gives no agency to people. He believes that he can do everything
from the top.
And right now, it's not just the threats of tactical nuclear weapons, intermediate nuclear weapons, strategic nuclear weapons which he's trying
to get all of our attention for, for us to push the Ukrainians to the full. It's also then all of the economic pressure. We've seen him already
leverage energy. And energy as a weapon, oil and gas. And also, food and food security. Putting everybody on edge globally through the blockade at
the Black Sea and the grain trade.
But now, of course, we've seen these acts of evidence sabotage for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, hole leaking now of gas into the Baltic Sea. So, there's
no kind of turning back on the gas issues, and it's not then going to be possible for Europe to continue to build up its gas reserves for the
So, what Putin is doing is throwing absolutely everything at this right now, which, I think underscores that he feels a sense of acute urgency. As
he was losing, he was losing momentum, and he's now trying to exit the war in the same way that he entered it, with him being the person in charge,
and him framing the whole terms of any kind of negotiation.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you a question? Really, about the tempo and the intention of what we've seen, which is a huge help by NATO, the west, the
United States led, obviously. But the former Russian foreign minister, Andrei Kozyrev, said to me on this program, you can't just go step-by-step
when you're trying to confront Putin and give him a message. It has to be a punch in the nose, a punch in the face.
And I'm wondering whether you agree with that, that that should have been, you know, the case from the beginning. And is the west losing some momentum
by going more methodically, perhaps, than certainly the Ukrainians would like? They'd like a lot more sophisticated, longer-range artillery,
aircraft, and a lot to actually give the Russians that punch in the nose on the ground.
HILL: Well, let's just be very clear. The Ukrainians already have punched him in those. I mean, basically, by retaking Kharkiv and pushing back, and
this is why he is responding. So, Kozyrev, of course, the former foreign minister, I mean, he knows what he's speaking about. I mean, he was working
in that context as well. And people might remember back in the early 1990s, he was the person who actually warned the west that the hard-liners were
coming back into power under Boris Yeltsin.
So, he's, obviously, somebody who's very steeped in these larger dynamics. And he's not wrong. I mean, of course, the dilemma for the U.S. government
and for the western government has been to try to contain this conflict.
Now, I think we have to accept that it's not contained and that we are now the home front as well. Once we got into this dynamic, this escalated
dynamic, it was inevitable that we would get to this place. And it also -- I know a lot of people have been pushing while we have to negotiate. And,
you know, we have to pay an awful a lot of attention to what Russia is asking for, but that won't solve the problem. We are now in a dynamic which
has having all kinds of global knock-on effects.
And again, the point here is that Putin sees and has seen for a very long time that he is in a direct struggle with the west. And that for him,
Ukraine is just part of that. He's been saying this since 2007, 2008. We've been in the situation, frankly, since the annexation of Ukraine in 2014.
And it's really incumbent upon us right now to shore up our own resilience and to, you know, maintain the unity. And to be clear either about what's
happening right here.
Putin thinks he's lost momentum. He's trying to take it. He's trying to push forward in every front that he can because he believes that we will
capitulate. And so, what he's trying to do now is not just turn the tide on the ground in Ukraine, but he's trying to turn the tides in the capitals of
every European and U.S. supporter of Ukraine. He's basically trying to say, you are now at peril.
And again, what he's doing here, this is complete and utter nuclear blackmail with the tactical and intermediate and strategic nuclear weapons.
There's been a lot of things in the paper recently saying it's like the Cuban missile crisis. It absolutely isn't. This is not about the United
States or the west maneuvering new categories of nuclear weapons. This is pure and simple Vladimir Putin losing his place on the battlefield and
trying to blackmail us all into capitulating. It's no different from what Kim Jong-un has been doing in North Korea.
HILL: And so, we have to recognize now exactly what we're dealing with.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, that's really interesting. You're saying it's no different from that what Kim Jong-un -- and he -- when he's faced with a
strong response, tends to back off, Kim Jong-un. He hasn't, you know -- he hasn't followed through with all his threats and his rhetoric.
But what do you think Putin will do? You said he's now throwing everything at it, and he hopes that the west will capitulate. Do you think there's a
point at which the west will capitulate? You've just talked about the energy. We know that people in the west are hurting, particularly in
Europe, not so much in the United States, with energy and people around the world with the food insecurity all coming from this problem. Can you see,
despite the strong rhetoric coming from the E.U., for instance, that unity cracking under this, as you call it, blackmail and pressure with energy?
HILL: Well, look, the key thing is that we're talking about it and we're recognizing what he's doing and why he's doing it, right? I mean, he
obviously calculates that we will. So, we have to show him that we will not. So, there's going to have to be a multipronged approach on the energy
front, on issues related to food security. And then also continuing, you know, to support Ukraine.
And then also, very importantly, the United States is no longer the only nuclear power in the world. China has a nuclear power, of course. The
United Kingdom and France are part of the nuclear powers that came out of World War II. But we have India and we have Pakistan. China's arsenal is
building even further. There's lots of other countries, of course, that have nuclear weapons.
And this is then requiring a multinational approach. In the case of Kim Jong-un, that we've already talked about, China played a very important
role behind the scenes in constraining his ability to do things. We need to keep working with China, with India, and with other nuclear powers to push
back against this. Because just to say that Putin does this, which we have to take seriously, uses a nuclear weapon, this will imbalance strategic
stability globally. Not just in Europe, but globally.
HILL: And I think it will set off, you know, a sense of chain reactions politically, you know, pun intended here, on every front. And so, we're not
going to be the only interested parties here. And I think making that point, as the administration has been. You -- we've also heard from Prime
Minister Modi of India that this is a time of peace, not of war but making the point that there will be these further consequences is essential. And
keeping in and pushing with the international diplomacy is part of this as well.
It's incumbent upon us to basically stand up to this and not to basically capitulate. But of course, he's going to keep on pressing. And recognizing
what he's doing, I think, is part of the ability to be able to push back again.
AMANPOUR: You made that very, very clear. Can I just finally ask you something that is not particularly connected, but it just come up in a new
book by Susan Glasser and Peter Baker. And they particularly referenced you. And this is in the issue of Greenland. We all remember a few years ago
that President Trump floated the idea that the U.S. would buy Greenland, you know, from Denmark. Perhaps even trading it for Puerto Rico.
What was your reaction -- and apparently tasked your boss, John Bolton, with it who then tasked you with looking into it. What was your reaction
and how far did you get with that purchase?
HILL: Well, look, first of all, we were all very well aware that Greenland was not for sale. You know, this was not Alaska or the Louisiana purchase,
you know, for example that have -- you know, people know of in the United States, historical context. Nobody was offering it for sale.
But there was, actually, a larger strategic imperative here that, of course, Ambassador Bolton and others recognized. That there was the great
deal of concern about the incursions of China in the arctic region. That there was a lot of interest on the parts of Chinese and others of, you
know, building up their positions in places likes Greenland and also Iceland and other arctic positions.
And the United States has had a security arrangement with Greenland. There's the Thule Air Base there, for example, going back to the 1950s.
So, we focused on trying to, kind of, figure out how we should think about our larger arctic policy and posture and really what we could do to, sort
of, reinvigorate the all-strategic relationships with Greenland, but also with Denmark. So, we -- you know, we tried behind the scenes as best we
could to have a perfectly sensible and reasonable strategic dialogue with our friends and partners and Denmark.
But of course, you know, it was all under this cloud of realizing that President Trump had -- was probably going to, at any moment, announce that
he wanted to buy Greenland, which of course happened somewhat later down the line. Several times these, you know, the crazy things that people have
to deal with in the international security context.
AMANPOUR: Indeed, indeed. Fiona Hill, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
Now, the protest in Russia looks more and more females since men are hold off the streets and sometimes get drafted. While in Iran, many men are also
in the streets in support of women who are protesting the headscarf and demanding liberty. It's been 11 days of unrest now, sparked by the death of
Mahsa Amini in police custody. And the government crackdown is intensifying. Correspondent Jomana Karadsheh has the latest as the
demonstrations continue to pick up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Nightfall in Iran brings protesters back onto the streets. A near total internet
blackout by the government is making it hard for us to know what's really going on. But video trickling out appears to show many Iranians undeterred
by a government crackdown, the threat of arrest, or the bullets. It almost feels like Iran has been a never-ending cycle of protests over the past two
decades. But those who know the country well say everything about this time is different.
There have been daring calls for a regime change. This video from the city of Mashhad, the birthplace of the supreme leader, shows protesters setting
fire to the statue of a man considered one of the symbols of the Islamic revolution. On Monday, this group marched through the capital, Tehran,
chanting against Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
But it is the powerful act of defiance by Iranian women that have stunned the world. As protests enter their second week, they're still out on the
street, still demanding their freedoms, their rights lost with the 1979 Islamic revolution.
The Iranian government rallied its supporters in mass demonstration. Calling the protest, a foreign plot. The work of a handful of mercenaries,
rioters, who forcefully removed the headscarves of women on the streets. But, in reality, the countrywide protests were sparked by outrage, even
among government supporters over the death of Mahsa Amini in Morality Police custody. The protests appeared leaderless and spontaneous.
While many Iranians are holding on to the hope that this wave of protest may bring change, experts say the regime is far from collapsing. It has yet
to unleash its full force to suppress the protest, as it has done in the past. That full force may crush these protests, but it won't be the end for
a generation of Iranians, more emboldened than ever. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And the protesters' rallying cry is, women, life, liberty. Amid a regime internet crackdown on getting that message out. My next guest is
exploring the power of the internet and it's dilemmas in her latest novel, "The Candy House". Jennifer Egan's 2011 book, "A Visit from the Goon
Squad", was a huge hit and won the Pulitzer Prize.
"The Candy House" is a sequel of sorts. A thought-provoking look at how to grapple with life-changing technology. Its characters are immersed in a new
device, own your unconscious, that allows them to upload and share their memories. It's a telling portrayal of invasive technology, the universal
need for connection, and the desire to share. And Jennifer Egan joins me now from New York.
Welcome back to the program.
JENNIFER EGAN, AUTHOR, "THE CANDY HOUSE": Thank you so much for having me.
AMANPOUR: So, I just sort of tried to say what this is. Is it a sequel? Is it a follow-up? Is it a companion piece? What -- how do you call it?
EGAN: Well, I have -- I've tended to call it a sibling, but I think companion piece is fine. Sequel implies chronological order, and these
books don't move in chronological order. So, that doesn't seem exactly accurate. Basically, it's a return to the world of "A Visit from the Goon
Squad", and we meet many of the same characters and some nuance.
AMANPOUR: And thrust into a completely different world, right? The whole world of technology. But first, "The Candy House". I know that there's a
reference to "Hansel and Gretel" by one of the characters, but why candy house? What is the meaning of that in this book?
EGAN: Well, it seemed to capture the idea of something that's very appealing and seems to just be there for the taking, but has a hidden cost.
I mean, in the fairytale, it's a very high cost that the witch wants to actually kill and eat the children. In the -- the phrase comes up in the
novel, actually, in a more humorous context, where two women who work in the music industry are trying to figure out how to get people not to use
Napster when it comes along in the late 90s. And they consider a billboard campaign in which they will have billboards along American highways saying,
never trust a candy house. With the idea that somehow drivers looking at this message will think, oh, I'd better not use Napster. It's not really
free. So, that's actually a sort of silly idea, and they don't end up doing it. But that's the way in which it appears in the book.
AMANPOUR: So, before we delve down into the main substance of it, I want to ask you to read a passage. I think we've asked you to read a little bit.
It's 1991, about a character named Ames, who's up at bat in a tense little league baseball game. Take it away, Jennifer Egan.
EGAN: Yes, this is 11-year-old boys on the baseball field. It's 1991, and a lot of things that are about to happen haven't happened yet. The screens
that everyone will hold 20 years from now haven't been invented, and their bulky, sluggish predecessors have yet to break the surface of ordinary
life. No one in this crowd has ever seen a portable phone, which gives to this moment the quality of a pause.
All these parents gathered in the fading light, and not a single face under lit by a bluish glow. They're all here in one place. Their attention
burning toward home plate, where Ames Hollander stands, looking smaller than usual, compressed by the grim fact that have converged upon him. Two
outs, bases loaded, bottom of the ninth. The visiting team ahead by three. The game is surely lost, yet the possibility of victory still exists,
should the batter, Ames, that is, managed to hit a home run.
And although Ames is the last player on the home team likely to manage such a feat, he hasn't hit once all season. Every home team member and home team
parent is seized by wild, irrational faith that he can. They rode him off three games into the season, but now, they scream his name and stamp their
feet on the chilly metal bleachers in a communal howl of conviction.
AMANPOUR: Wow. That is amazing. And there's just so much in there. So, for those who haven't read it, the context, why Ames? Who is he? What's his
relevance and the relevance of this moment to your story?
EGAN: Well, Ames is one of three brothers, the middle of three brothers, and there's a little bit of a running joke. This actually comes late in the
book. There's a running joke through the book, everyone forgets about Ames. He's the sort of ultimate peripheral character in many people's lives. And
again and again, people would think, oh, there are two Hollander brothers, right? And some has to remind them, no. There are three.
So, he's sort of the invisible guy. But this is, in a way, a book about how no one is invisible to themselves. There are no peripheral characters. And
it's about the mystery of human consciousness and what would happen if we could penetrate that mystery.
So, Ames, this very peripheral guy who kind of flickers in our lateral vision, we're suddenly plunged into the middle of his point of view in the
final chapter. And we learn, in detail, about his life, which we've just seen glimpses of it -- of until then.
AMANPOUR: And the whole idea of conscious and unconscious is the driving force, right? The heart of your book. There's this high-tech invention that
you've imagined calling, own your unconscious, a sleek square machine. It's all about harvesting memory of the individual and others. Talk to us about
EGAN: Well, the machine --
AMANPOUR: Tell me how it works.
EGAN: So, the machine what -- the machine allows people to do is externalized the whole of their consciousness is so that they can review
any and all of their lives from a present perspective. If they want, there is a sharing option. They can share all or part of their memories in
exchange for access to the collective consciousness, which consists of the memories of everyone else who has done the same.
So, it's a sort of give to get model that we see online all the time. And although the inventor of this machine really imagined it more as a personal
device, it's the sharing aspect that really takes off culturally. And what that means is that in this slight future I'm imagining, people actually can
view each other's thoughts and be inside each other's minds, which is something that, of course, we cannot do in real life.
AMANPOUR: So, you -- you know, this is all about this technology, and you've -- you know, you've really sort of delved into this now in this
book. Others are doing it as well, Kazuo Ishiguro with "Klara and the Sun" talked about A.I. And I wanted to just play this little bit of an interview
that he told -- he had with me about his motivation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAZUO ISHIGURO, AUTHOR, "KLARA AND THE SUN": Is there our uniqueness that we each possess that actually means something, or is that -- it's a sense
of our individual soul? You know, is that dissolving in the face of many of the things that are becoming normal with new technology, new science?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, is that -- clearly, it's so profound, what this technology is doing to people's minds and maybe even their unconscious. Is that what
you're -- what's motivating you as well, trying to grapple with how we humans just deal with this thing?
EGAN: To some degree, sure. I feel like I've been asking that question in every one of my novels. And in a way, it seems worth asking again and
again, because the technology keeps changing. And in a way, there are two parts of the question. One is, how is technology changing our lives? Which
it -- it clearly is. And that's just interesting to explore.
And the other is, how is it changing our inner lives, sort of, who we are to ourselves? That's, I think, more of what Ishiguro means when he talks
about soul. And those are both questions very worth asking. Although, I should add that that for me, I always enter into it in a spirit of fun. So,
the reason that I invented this machine, or that I began to realize that this machine would be a useful device narratively, is that it seemed like
it could result in some really fun storytelling, which is what I'm always really interested in.
So, we see people use the machine to, say, solve mysteries in their own lives. You know, a woman is able to view a pivotal day in her father's life
when she was just a little girl from his point of view. And that's something, of course, that we can never do, or someone who's very curious
about a guy who used to sell him drugs years ago, but he doesn't know the drug dealers name, even, is able to share his memories of that guy and then
view other anonymous memories and, sort of, put together a picture of his life. So, I'm more moved by curiosity, I think, than a sense of warning or,
you know, pessimism.
AMANPOUR: Jennifer, can I just pivot a little bit and talk about another writer, a fellow writer, Salman Rushdie, who was just attacked very
violently during an attempted reading on stage. You know, you have been president of PEN and you recently contributed to an installation by Jenny
Holzer, who put up a whole sort of written montage on 30 Rock, Rockefeller Center.
And your contribution was writing matters that much, enough to police its content, enough to put someone in jail or even kill them to shut them up.
Did anything about what happened to Salman inspire you to write that?
EGAN: I had actually already written that, but it was certainly a reminder of the fact that, you know, speech really does matter. You know, I think in
our country, although we have book bans and various cases of people trying to control speech, there's a general feeling that culturally, you know,
writing isn't the main thing. So, I think it's really important to remember and this is something that PEN America is very involved in.
Writing really does matter. It contributes deep reading. Contributes directly to complex and nuanced thought. And that's why autocrats don't
want it. That's why people are moved to violence, to try to control speech.
So, what I was doing as president of PEN America and what the organization has been doing for 100 years is both protecting speech, which is here --
both here and abroad. But also reminding all of us of how much writing actually matters and how important it actually is, culturally.
AMANPOUR: OK. Now, back to you. I'm going to play a snippet of what you told me last time we spoke about your previous novel, about what you were
working on. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EGAN: I'm hoping that I can use some of the same structural approaches and come up with a book that stands on its own and is different from "Goon
Squad" rather than just a kind of weaker echo. That's actually a tall order. We'll see if I can pull that off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: There it is, "Candy House". Did you pull it off? Are you happy with making it?
EGAN: I feel that I did. Of course, not everyone is ever going to agree. But I would not have published it if I didn't feel that it was its own
thing and not just an echo. I mean, it is -- it's actually about different things, although it has some of the same characters. And like "Goon Squad",
I used a lot of, you know, some kind of wacky structural devices. And it has a very eclectic kaleidoscopic ensemble quality to it.
AMANPOUR: Well, great having you on. Jennifer Egan, author of "The Candy House". Thank you so much.
Now, here in the U.K., concerns continue to grow over the government's economic plans. The IMF is calling for a rethink of the huge tax cuts
announced on Friday. Warning that the measures would likely increase inflation and inequality. When I spoke to the IMF Managing Director,
Kristalina Georgieva at the U.N. last week, she had this warning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND: This compounded impact of multiple crises is already testing the patience and
resilience of people. And if we don't take action to support the most vulnerable, there would be consequences. People on the street.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, that is pretty stark. And as workers across the world feel the effects, labor unions are back in the spotlight, with President Biden
recently reaching a deal to avert a potentially damaging rail strike. Luz Shuler is the president of the AFL-CIO, which represents over 12 million
American workers. She joins Michel Martin to discuss what lies ahead for the labor force.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. President Liz Shuler, thank you so much for joining us.
LIZ SHULER, PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO: Thank you, Michel. It's great to be with you.
MARTIN: So, we're speaking with you at a time when there has been a wave of unionization. Something that we haven't really seen in this country for
decades. And what makes this kind of distinctive is not just the level of activity, but the kinds of people who are unionizing. People who have not
been before. I mean, obviously, Starbucks has gotten a lot of attention. The Amazon warehouse has gotten a lot of attention. But, you know, a
congressional office, you know, an Apple store, you know, Minor League Baseball players. Why do you think that is?
SHULER: Well, I would just start with the fact that workers were fed up and fired up with how they were being treated in the economy even before
the pandemic. And it was simmering below the surface. And then certainly, through the pandemic, being called essential throughout that whole period
of time. And then now it's starting to come out, being treated as expendable.
You know, we're seeing CEO pay skyrocketing. Companies making billions of dollars in profits. But yet, not being able to find just a little bit to
share with the workers who help them make the profits and make the products. And so, workers are starting to come together and raise their
voices and say enough is enough. And they're finally seeing unions us the pathway to doing that. Unions are more popular in the U.S., as you
mentioned, than the last 60 years. I think it's 71 percent of the public supports unions.
So, we're in this environment where people are wanting more. They want a voice at the table. They want to have better treatment in the workplace.
And of course, better pay and benefits. So, I think it's just about this notion of people finding your power.
MARTIN: You know, the trend that you cited about this, the sort of difference between what people at the very top are making and what many of
the workers are making. That's when a trend that's gone on for far longer than the last couple of years. So, what is it about the current moment that
you think is contributing to this? Do you think, in part, it's because of the COVID pandemic?
SHULER: Absolutely. And it's been growing and it continues to grow. So, last year, CEO to worker pay was 299 to 1. This year, it's 324 to 1. So,
the trend is continuing. The gulf of inequality is widening. But -- and people are finally waking up knowing that through this pandemic where, you
know, workers were working more and more with less.
They were putting their health on the line, literally. You know, sacrificing to get us through. You know, I saw bakery workers, for example,
who worked 24 hours to make the snacks that people were enjoying on their couches while they were watching, you know, Netflix.
I mean, those things were going unnoticed and undervalued. And people, you know, weren't spending time with their kids because they were working so
many hours. And so, I think the pandemic definitely shined a more intense light on it. But it's been happening for some time, as you said.
MARTIN: Is there a particular workplace or group of workers where their efforts to form a union was surprising even to you? Somebody who's been a
part of the labor for most of your adult life.
SHULER: Absolutely. We're seeing organizing happening in every sector of the economy. And it used to be -- and I think there's still stereotypes out
there that unions are, you know, of the past and they were for certain types of work or industries, like, the tough jobs that were unsafe.
Well, fast forward to today, workers are organizing in pretty much every sector of the economy. And -- you know, the technology workers and retail
workers, Apple Store. Who knew, right? Who would have thought that was possible? We're seeing video game developers who are suffering under
extreme working conditions in the sense they're working these crunch periods where they have zero breaks and are working, you know, 14-hour
And, you know, I think about the most unusual, you know, maybe -- you know, thinking about the professional sector where Mt. Sinai Medical Center
researchers came together. And graduate student researchers at the University of California who said, you know what? We don't want sexual
harassment and discrimination to be a part of the process to determine whether we get ahead in our careers.
So, we need a more powerful voice. Even Canada's workers are coming together. Because that's an industry that's growing, no pun intended. But,
you know, the notion that you can have an NDA ruling your life in an industry like that and not be able to move from employer to employer and
take your knowledge with you.
So, they're coming together collectively in a union to sit across the table from their employers and have more power to bargain the working conditions
and the pay and benefits that they deserve.
MARTIN: Let's look at it from the other direction that even though, as you pointed out, a lot of people say that they approve of unions and that the
level of, sort of, activity around union formation and membership is high, it's still -- union membership itself is still at a multi-decade low. And
just in 1983, maybe about 20 percent of the U.S. labor force belonged to a union. In 2021, it was a 14 million workers, that's just 10 percent of
American workers. So, why do you think that is? Why this long period of decline?
SHULER: Well, in 1935, when our labor laws were passed, it was the default that workers should have the freedom to come together and exercise their
rights and form unions. And slowly over time, that law has been chipped away. And not many people realize today, the labor law has tilted in favor
If you try to form a union, you'll be harassed and intimidated. And in some cases, fired. And the company gets a slap on the wrist. There's really not
a consequence for them. It's a cost of doing business. And in fact, there is an industry now, a multi-billion-dollar industry of union busting.
And so, we saw most recently, for example, at Amazon, where warehouse workers wanted to come together, form a union, and they were harassed,
surveilled, followed into the bathrooms with flyers so that, you know, they didn't have a moments peace without hearing anti-union messages. Called and
to captive audience meetings.
So, these tactics of the corporate behavior have really been a barrier for workers to really form unions, because there is a fear. I mean, you can
imagine the fear that workers have when they want to exercise their rights and they're getting these kinds of messages from the corporation.
MARTIN: But that's not new either, though. I mean, that's not a new -- the idea that, you know, it can be hard to join a union. That it isn't easy to
do. That's not new either. So, why do you think that union membership fell -- has fallen to such low levels in recent years? Is it that the work
itself changed, or is that do you think that workers maybe didn't see this it as being relevant to the work that they were doing? What's the bigger
picture here in your opinion?
SHULER: Sure. And as the nature of work is changing and certainly our trade laws have an impact on it where we saw manufacturing decline, which
is heavily unionized. You know, our textile and clothing industry. Some of the bedrock industries that were unionized in years past that have been
offshored and outsourced, certainly has an impact on that. And then pair that with the fact that the new and emerging industries aren't unionized.
And I think workers, as unions have declined. Many people don't know people in unions anymore. And so, you used to have a cousin or an uncle or, you
know, a sister in a union. You knew what the benefits were. And then now, as numbers have declined, people aren't as familiar. And so, pair that with
the risks that are involved and I think that is the combination of why numbers have been so stubborn.
But what has changed is that people are starting to see, hey, there's this thing called a union and we can form one, and we can have more power and
actually have a collective bargaining agreement that we negotiate with our employer to make not only the working conditions better, but to have a
voice, recognition, respect, and to help the company actually be more profitable, because who knows the work better than the workers on the front
MARTIN: You talk about like the benefits of labor unions and the fact that people can organize and they are stronger collectively than they are
individually, especially around things, not just like pay, but also working conditions. But what would you say to people who are -- who that the unions
have too often been on the wrong side of important issues that have actually inhibited the drives towards social justice and equity?
Like I'm thinking in some of the earlier sexual harassment cases, like at the Mitsubishi plant. The one of the first sort of record -- one of the
first, I would say, pivotal sexual harassment cases at the Mitsubishi plant in Ohio, where you are now, where the women workers went to their union
first for help when they were being harassed on the line and the union had nothing for them.
And then, of course, more recently, there are those who look at police unions and they say that the police unions are actually the ones who are
standing in the way of improvements to policies that would lead to more public safety and less harassment. So, what do you say to that?
SHULER: Well, I would say that unions are not without flaws, but for -- throughout our history, we have been on the forefront of fighting for, not
only economic justice, but racial and social justice. And certainly, in -- as a woman leader of the federation, things like sexual harassment and
discrimination are at the top of our list in terms of how we fight back, using the tool of collective bargaining in the workplace.
And, you know, as is with the country, we evolve culturally and, you know, we learn. And so, the unions are not impervious to that, right? Our
leadership has changed and evolved over time. And as I sit in this seat today, I see women workers, we are half the workforce, we are half the
labor movement. And now, women are starting to rise into leadership, and we are a democracy. And so, we are, you know, running for office in our
And so, the notion of how the economy evolves, how our culture evolves, is definitely reflected in the way our unions operate and our leadership
structures. And so, I'm excited because I think unions, the collective bargaining, are the most powerful tool for social change, economic and
racial justice, and really being at the forefront of innovation in the workplace.
MARTIN: But to that question of innovation, is it possible that part of the reasons that unions have fallen out of favor, that some people say they
don't want to belong to one, is that they are not seen as the forefront of innovation, they are seen as agents to protect the lowest common
denominator, the bad actors and the bad apples, as opposed to being partners in innovation and moving the economy forward? Do you think that
that's -- is that part of it? It's not just sort of a money problem, I don't want to pay the dues or free rider problem, I don't pay the dues, I
don't want to do that, it's time consuming, or is it a perception problem, that unions aren't on the side of the future? Could it be that?
SHULER: I think there is a perception problem that, you know, unions are, again, of the past, that were not nimble or flexible. But it couldn't be
further from the case, because we have been innovating and changing with the economy since our inception.
And so, if you look at the technological change, every industrial revolution, we were evolving and changing, and training workers up to take
advantage of the next opportunity. Building in the protections, the guardrails, for things like, how is technology going to change your job?
Well, don't you want to have a voice in how that happens?
So, we are more relevant than ever, but it is a matter of using the tool in the way that workers want to see it used. And it can be very modern and
dynamic, and innovative. And so, that's our challenge, is that in the next frontier of work, where we are all thinking about artificial intelligence
and automation and robots, how can we shape the future, or work to work for working people? ANd we think unions are the tool that can make that happen.
MARTIN: One of the things that really brought the union into public attention was, just recently, the potential of a railroad strike was
averted. I mean -- and that would have been, frankly, devastating to the economy in the current moment, just as, you know, the supply chain
disruptions are already a drag on the economy. What were some of the issues at play there?
SHULER: The workers were basically looking for, not only improvements in wages, because they've been working such long hours, but also in conditions
where they have no paid sick leave in this industry. And I don't think people realized that. Not only did they not have paid sick days, so if they
wanted to go to the doctor, it would be an unpaid day, but they also would get disciplined if they did it during a high impact time, you know, during
their shipping periods.
So, clearly going to the doctor is a priority. We should have the ability to seek medical attention if we need it. And so, the rail workers said,
that was one of the most important issues on the table. So, that they would not lose their jobs if they chose to go to the doctor and seek medical
So, during that negotiation, the real companies really dug in and not only because, you know, they didn't see the rail workers as the essential
workers that they had said all along, you know, we prioritize workers, thank you for getting us through this pandemic. And then, when it came time
to negotiate the contract, they became essentially disposable.
And so, I think the rail workers were just saying, enough is enough. We've been sitting at the table for two and a half years. We need a contract. And
so, that's where the presidential emergency board came in to finally call the question and the Biden administration and Secretary Walsh, you know,
were helpful in bringing the parties together. And finally, reaching this tentative deal, which is now out for ratification over the next several
MARTIN: Well, you know, of course you point out here, you've got Democrats in control of both Houses of Congress, nominally but, you know, by slim
margins, and you've got a president who is very -- who's made it very clear that he prioritizes the needs of workers that he thinks have been neglected
in recent decades. What if that changes? Do you think that the current move toward the level of union activity will abate?
I mean, I have to point out like 267 states, and this isn't even just a federal issue, but 27 states have passed so-called right to work laws that
make it harder to unionize, that make it easier to opt out, that certain unions of their collective bargaining rights, particularly public sector
unions, other than generally police and fire in a lot of these places. And so, do you think that things will change if the politics of the country
change in the next couple of weeks?
SHULER: Well, certainly having worker friendly elected officials in office to look out and have our backs is a critical priority for the labor
movement, and we are going to work really hard in these midterm elections to show the connection between the ballot box and working conditions.
You know, we've had historic investments. This Biden administration has been the most pro-union administration in history. Just in the last year,
we've seen record levels of investment in infrastructure, in, you know, things like the chips bill, where we are going to manufacture in this
country to make us more competitive. And then, certainly in the Inflation Reduction Act to invest in a clean energy economy, which is going to
create, you know, millions of jobs over the course of decades.
So, it's up to us to really unpack all of those victories, connect them to this upcoming election so that workers really see the difference when you
elect pro-union candidates to office. But whether it's going to change or not, I don't think that an election really will stop the momentum we are
seeing among working people. Whether you have, you know, a pro-union president in the White House or not, working people are out demanding,
right? They are raising their voices. They're stepping into their power and organizing. And so, that is what we are seeing, is the momentum is
happening out there because people are so fed up, and they are fired up.
MARTIN: Liz Shuler, thanks so much for talking with us.
SHULER: Thank you so much. Appreciate you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And finally, the former California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is paying a somber visit to Auschwitz to challenge hate,
standing beside the child of holocaust survivors, the actor shared his troubling childhood, as his own father was a Nazi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. GOVERNOR ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R-CA): I was the son of a man that fought in the Nazi war. He was a soldier. And one generation later, here we
are. One thing in common that we both fight prejudice and hatred and discrimination.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: After that speech, he saw the trains that transported Jews from their homes to their deaths. Schwarzenegger has long raised his voice
against hatred, speaking extensively about the Capitol riots and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
He is urging people now to pay close attention to events that plant the seeds of hate, and to pluck them out before they can grow.
That is it for now. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.