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Delete Your Account Podcast

Delete Your Account is a new podcast hosted by journalist Roqayah Chamseddine and her plucky sidekick Kumars Salehi. Every week they will talk about important stories from the worlds of politics and pop culture, both on and off-line, in a way that will never bore you.
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Apr 19, 2018

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon page for as little as $5 a month. Also, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes. We can't do this show without your support!!!

This week, Roqayah and Kumars welcome back two friends of the show, Douglas Williams and Bryan Conlon, also known as @Cato_of_Utica on Twitter. Douglas and Bryan, the proprietors of the Southern-focused labor organizing blog The South Lawn, catch up with Roqayah and Kumars, venting about the media mourning Barbara Bush before sharing their insight into the recent wave of teachers’ strikes across the country. The crew discusses how they negotiate the tension between “meeting people where they’re at” on the one hand, and on the other hand, building an intersectional left in solidarity with all oppressed and marginalized people.

Douglas and Bryan debate the importance of elections, particularly for leftist organizers interested in building a broad movement for social justice. We revisit their 2013 article for Facing South, “Creating a culture of unionism in the South”, and discuss its relevance to the labor actions we are seeing nationwide. Bryan and Douglas also share their thoughts on what people need to be doing to keep up the momentum from these strikes, transforming otherwise isolated labor actions into a mass movement for social and economic justice. Finally, the crew discusses Janus vs. AFSCME, the national “right to work” case that would undercut unions on a federal level, and what will be needed to revitalize the labor movement in the face of that impending consolidation of corporate anti-union reaction. 

You can follow Bryan on Twitter @Cato_of_Utica, and follow both their work @TheSouthLawn. Don't forget to support The South Lawn on Patreon.

A transcript for this episode will be provided upon request. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Apr 12, 2018

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon page for as little as $5 a month. Also, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes. We can't do this show without your support!!!

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble, assistant professor at the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication and author of the new book Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. Safiya calls attention to the built-in prejudices that distort search results and influence the information users can access on Google and other search engines in ways that reinforce structural inequality and bigoted attitudes. The crew talks about how the reliance of companies like Google on human-created algorithms to sort and prioritize search results means that the creators’ racist and sexist assumptions get translated into a new, ostensibly “neutral” or “objective” media form.

Safiya discusses the particular case of Dylann Roof, whose search history led him to the right-wing ideas he said motivated his massacre at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Roqayah and Kumars ask Safiya about laws in Europe that compel companies to restrict access to Nazi propaganda and other hate speech, and get her thoughts on regulating how companies prioritize bigoted content. Finally, Safiya puts forward one model for how a radical search engine might work to both protect marginalized users and ensure that tools of oppression are presented in their proper context.

Check out Algorithms of Oppression here and you can follow Safiya on Twitter @safiyanoble.

A transcript for this episode will be provided upon request. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Apr 5, 2018

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon page for as little as $5 a month. Also, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes. We can't do this show without your support!!!

On this week’s episode, Roqayah and Kumars are joined for the entire show by returning guest Shaun Scott, author of Millennials and the Moments That Made Us: A Cultural History of the U.S. from 1982—Present. Shaun talks with Roqayah and Kumars about Raoul Peck’s The Young Karl Marx, the recent biographical picture that tells the story of Marx’s early career, his friendship with Friedrich Engels, his marriage to his wife Jenny, and the development of Marx’s ideas in the lead-up to the publication of his Communist Manifesto. Opinions differ on the quality of the film. Shaun explains his article for City Arts Magazine, “Identity Politics in The Young Karl Marx,” providing background on Marx’s life and arguing that the film’s perspective demonstrates not only the potential but the necessity of integrating intersectional thinking about identity with Marxist class analysis through social reproduction theory.

The crew argues about how the film falls short, including its narrative focus on the development of ideas and its adherence to traditional biopic conventions. Roqayah and Kumars also discuss other recent depictions of communism, the Soviet Union, and Cold War politics in the recent movies Red Sparrow, The Death of Stalin, and The Shape of Water, and everyone concludes by taking stock of the complexities that arise when cinema takes on political issues.

Follow Shaun on Twitter @eyesonthestorm, and check out his analysis of The Young Karl Marx on City Arts.

A transcript for this episode will be provided upon request. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Mar 29, 2018

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon page for as little as $5 a month. Also, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes. We can't do this show without your support!!!

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Emily Ozment. Emily was born and raised in Lawton, Oklahoma. She is a special education teacher and lead teacher in her department for Biology and Physical Science at Eisenhower High School. Emily is participating in a grassroots effort by teachers across the state to bring funding back to the Oklahoma classroom and win a fair salary for Oklahoma teachers and education support staff. We talk to Emily about the statewide teacher walkout planned for April 2nd, placing it in the context of more than three years of political mobilization aimed at addressing the public education crisis in Oklahoma. Emily describes the dire conditions for both teachers and students, even as massive oil profits in the state are taxed at an absurdly low rate. With low wages forcing many teachers to work additional jobs, experienced teachers are fleeing the state and inadequately trained substitutes are being relied on more and more. Teachers are struggling to do their best in crumbling facilities with outdated and disintegrating textbooks, as the GOP-controlled state government has significantly decreased classroom funding. We talk about planning and preparation for April 2nd, as well as the support teachers are receiving from students, parents, and the broader community. We discuss the recent success of striking West Virginia teachers and the influence that this has had on teachers in Oklahoma, as well as teachers in other "red" states that are considering striking. Emily also talks about growing up in a deeply conservative state, and how her politics have shifted dramatically to the left as a result of what she has experienced teaching in Oklahoma.

A transcript for this episode will be provided upon request. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Mar 15, 2018

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This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Matthew Kenner, author of Geohell: Imagining History in the Contemporary World, and Chris Oestereich, researcher and writer on economics and ecology, for a discussion of the left’s greatest unaddressed challenge in the 21st century: the problem of the contradiction between economic productivity and ecological sustainability. They begin with an explanation of the true meaning of “Geohell,” the much memed concept that has its origin in Matt’s reading of Dante’s Inferno. Matt and Chris give a rundown of the dependence of human civilization on the exploitation of the environment since the advent of agriculture millennia ago, emphasizing the increasing complexity and exploitation inherent in that process. They explain how even left-wing paradigms for development rely on notions of economic productivity that are in conflict with the demands of an environment undergoing catastrophic climate change.

Matt and Chris describe structural and ideological impediments to transitioning to an ecologically sustainable society, and explain the shortcomings of the “ecomodernist” strain of socialist thought that pushes technological fixes to climate change and views a future of “fully automated luxury communism” as not only desirable but attainable. The crew discusses the necessity for ecological economics, which currently lacks influence in the mainstream of the economics discipline, to frame maximizing growth as a principle that assumes impossible levels of energy consumption.

Follow Matt on Twitter @cutasterfee, and Chris @costrike.

A transcript for this episode will be provided upon request. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Mar 7, 2018

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon page for as little as $5 a month. Also, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes. We can't do this show without your support!!!

Roqayah is out for the week, but returning guest-co-host Nora Barrows-Friedman fills her shoes and joins Kumars for a conversation with Ali Abunimah, co-founder and editor of The Electronic Intifada. Ali is also the author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine and One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. We discuss several developments in Israel/Palestine since we last spoke to Ali, both on-the-ground and diplomatically around the world, and to what extent these changes are attributable to Trump. Ali shares the story of the Tamimi family, resisting the seizure of land in their village of Nabi Saleh for Israeli settlement construction. Multiple members of the Tamimi family have been killed in recent years as a result of their participation in weekly protests against the settlements. Not long after the near-death of 15-year-old Muhammad Fadel Tamimi, shot in the head with a "rubber" bullet, Ahed Tamimi, his 16-year-old cousin, lightly slapped one of two heavily armed Israeli soldiers as she attempted to remove them from her family's property. Video of the event went viral. Not long after, Ahed was arrested by the Israeli military where she now faces years in prison, and her family members have been targeted for arrest and abuse ever since. Ali talks about how Trump's Israel/Palestine policy agenda is largely in line with the increasing permissiveness for abuse and subjugation of Palestinians that has continued unaltered under Republican and Democratic presidents for decades. Ali posits that the salient difference between Obama and Trump is that Trump is "taking the mask off", dropping all pretense and revealing the ugly reality of Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism. We also talk about shifting public opinion on the question of justice for all Palestinians, particularly among young people, and why recent high-profile BDS victories have pro-Israel advocacy groups running scared, aligning more and more with far-right-wing governments and organizations.

You can find Ali on twitter at @AliAbunimah. Find Nora at @norabf.

A transcript for this episode will be provided upon request. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Feb 28, 2018

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon page for as little as $5 a month. Also, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes. We can't do this show without your support!!! 

On this episode, Kumars interviewed incarcerated environmental activist Bryant Arroyo, speaking to us from Frackville Prison in Pennsylvania. Bryant has been incarcerated by the state of Pennsylvania for 24 years, and has been fighting to prove his innocence after being sentenced to life without parole. In addition to becoming a lawyer while behind bars, Bryant organized a victorious campaign against a coal gasification plant slated to be built next to his prison. He has taken on other campaigns to improve environmental conditions for Pennsylvania prisoners and has spoken to environmental conferences by phone about his efforts.

We learn how Bryant was able to organize hundreds of fellow prisoners at SCI Mahanoy in Southeastern Pennsylvania to oppose and eventually prevent the construction of a coal gasification plant nearby. Despite strict rules against circulating petitions, Bryant was able to get 402 prisoners to send identical, individual letters to Mahanoy Township Supervisors, joining with some local residents and environmental groups to stop construction of the plant. Bryant discusses how he was moved from medium-security SCI Mahanoy to the maximum-security SCI Frackville prison as a result of his activism.  Despite repression like this, Bryant hasn't been deterred from his work, and he tells us about his current efforts combatting black mold and critically contaminated water at SCI Frackville. Bryant talks about the serious health problems Frackville inmates are experiencing as a result of being forced to drink contaminated water, and the evidence he has uncovered showing that prison officials were aware of the contamination issues and failed to act. Finally, we ask Bryant for his thoughts about the censorship of Worker's World newspapers in Pennsylvania prisons, as a result of their coverage of the #OperationPush prison strikes in Florida.

A transcript for this episode will be provided upon request. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Feb 21, 2018

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On this episode, Roqayah and Kumars interviewed DC-based DSA organizers and accessibility advocates Conor Arpwel and Matthew Sampson. Conor is autistic and is a writer and law student doing internal accessibility advocacy for Metro DC DSA, and is a member of the steering committee for DSA’s Disability Working Group. Matthew is a deaf graduate student at the Urban and Regional Planning program at Georgetown University and also the founder of a group called Deaf Urbanists, which aims to educate the Deaf community about modern urban planning, and encourage the community to be involved with the city’s planning and growth. He is active in local government in DC, and is involved with the Transportation and Public Infrastructure committee for his neighborhood. Matthew was also joined by Claire who assisted with interpreting the conversation. We learn how Conor and Matthew found themselves organizing with DSA, and what accessibility means to them in the context of left organizing spaces. We discuss the challenges associated with surviving in a world that is hostile to disabled people, as well as serious impediments toward reaching universal accessibility under capitalism, even in the most well-meaning of leftist spaces. Conor and Matthew explain that accessibility isn't a thing that can be given all at once, but instead a gradual process of doing better, with the responsibility being collectivized to the greatest extent possible. We explore how some of the ways the framing of socialist organizing as a project of appealing to "normal people" often implicitly, sometimes deliberately, marginalizes the concerns of disabled people and and other minority groups on the left. We also talk about an essay Conor wrote about passing in the context of disability, and an essay by Sara Nović about the desire of many deaf people to resist assimilation into mainstream culture. Finally, Matthew talks about how the lives of deaf people in Russia were radically transformed by the 1917 revolution, with deaf people living and working together, controlling their own communities, factories, culture and destiny in a way that is hard to imagine under modern capitalism.

Follow Matthew on Twitter at @riotpedestrian and follow Conor on Twitter at @Arpwel.

A transcript for this episode will be provided upon request. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Feb 14, 2018

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On this episode, Roqayah and Kumars interview Joe Piette, a Vietnam veteran, retired postal worker and union member, and member of the Philadelphia branch of the Workers World Party, or WWP. He has been active in left organizing since returning from the Vietnam war. We talk to Joe about how his time in Vietnam led him to not just oppose that war, but all US imperialism around the globe. He talks about how he got involved with Workers World, which at the time was the only organization to consistently show up, even in the dead of winter, to leaflet and protest induction centers where those drafted into service were taken. We ask Joe about WWP's work supporting prisoners across the country, and discuss abuses faced by prisoners, particularly in Joe's home state of Pennsylvania. We also discuss #OperationPush, ongoing prison strikes and commissary boycotts in Florida, spearheaded by the prisoners themselves with support from the IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons, and other organizations. Joe talks about how recent WWP coverage of #OperationPush has been banned from prisons in Pennsylvania, allegedly for inciting criminal activity, despite there being nothing illegal about a prison strike. Finally, we discuss ways for people to support both striking prisoners in Florida, as well as prisoners in Pennsylvania and elsewhere who are having their reading materials censored.

Check out ways to help striking prisoners in Florida here. To support Pennsylvania prisoners facing censorship, send complaints to Department of Corrections, 1920 Technology Parkway, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050, call 717-728-2573, or email ra-crpadocsecretary@pa.gov.

Follow Joe on Twitter at @pastpostal65 and check out his writing for Workers World.

A transcript for this episode will be provided upon request. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Feb 7, 2018

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon page for as little as $5 a month. Also, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes. We can't do this show without your support!!! 

On this episode, Roqayah and Kumars welcome two guests for a wide-ranging discussion on topics including new media, celebrity and branding on the left, and call-out culture. First we have Liz Ryerson, a Los Angeles-based multimedia artist, musician, designer, critic and host of the podcast Beyond the Filter, which deals with digital media and especially new media - the newer the better - from a left perspective. We are also joined by returning guest Shaun Scott, a Seattle-based independent filmmaker and author of Millennials and the Moments That Made Us - A Cultural History of the U.S. from 1982—Present, due out this month. Liz discusses the reactionary tendencies and radical possibilities of video games, and how they influence and reflect society at-large. We also discuss the dual phenomena of celebrity and branding in rapidly expanding and heavily-online left spaces. Drawing off Shaun's recent writing and Exiting the Vampire Castle, an essay by the late Mark Fisher, we explore these phenomena and the importance and pitfalls of calling-out our comrades.

Follow Liz on Twitter at @ellaguro and read her awesome piece about the world of Doom modding on Waypoint. Follow Shaun at @eyesonthestorm and read his recent defense of call-out culture.

A transcript for this episode will be provided upon request. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Jan 26, 2018

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon page for as little as $5 a month. Also, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes. We can't do this show without your support!!! 

On this episode, Roqayah and Kumars discuss workplace sabotage as radical praxis with returning guests Bryan Quinby and Brett Payne, fan favorites and hosts of the anarcho-comedy show Street Fight Radio out of Columbus, Ohio. Brett and Bryan share stories of monkeywrenching from their own lives and from their listeners, and Kumars discovers that “salting” is not just what happens to the street after it snows, but also an organizing tactic that involves getting hired at businesses with the aim of unionizing the workforce. The crew breaks down Street Fight’s campaign against the right-wing shipping supplier Uline, as well as a OSS field manual with tips on how to effectively infiltrate enemy institutions. They discuss workplace slowdowns, whistleblowing, Uber, Nathan for You, living your politics and why it’s necessary to see bosses as the enemy.

Finally, Brett and Kumars dish about their experiences seeing Lana Del Rey in concert, and arrive at the definitive leftist critique of their mutual celebrity crush.

Follow Bryan on Twitter @MurderBryan, Brett @BrettPain, and the official Street Fight account @StreetFightWCRS.

A transcript for this episode will be provided upon request. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Jan 17, 2018

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On this episode, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by two guests, both of whom have been on DYA before. First we have Peter Moskowitz, a journalist and the author of the book How To Kill A City, which explores the gentrification of US cities. Peter recently wrote a piece for The Outline called "Protest fatigue syndrome: What to do when activism burns you out" that combines research and reporting with discussion of Peter's own personal battle against burnout. Peter shares their story, picking up where we left off when we last spoke to them in the wake of Heather Heyer's murder in Charlottesville. We learn how Peter was able to overcome protest fatigue through self-care and reprioritizing the unglamorous day-to-day work of community organizing over the spectacle of street protests. To help provide some expertise on this topic, we are also joined by Megan Clapp, a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology whose work focuses on trauma, anxiety, and depression, with an emphasis on LGBTQ issues. Megan discusses how shame and trauma contribute to burnout and shares some helpful tools for keeping us healthy, happy, and fighting.

You can follow Peter on twitter at @ptrmsk. Follow Megan at @MemeVVitch. Also, don't forget to check out Megan's blog. Listen to Megan's first appearance on our show. Check out Peter's past appearances (1 and 2) as well.

A transcript for this episode will be provided upon request. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Jan 10, 2018

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On today's episode, Kumars and Roqayah were joined by photographer and journalist Alexei Wood. Alexei was one of 212 people arrested and charged over the J20 Trump inauguration-day protests from almost one year ago. He and five other defendants, all facing decades in prison, were recently acquitted of all charges. Alexei shares with us what happened that day leading to the mass arrest, and what he's been dealing with for the past year fighting these charges. We discussed the other 188 defendants still in limbo, with prosecutors signaling that they intend to pursue convictions on at least some of the original charges. We talk about the collective defense strategy adopted by a majority of the defendants, with over 130 of them signing on to a statement decrying the political nature of these arrests, refusing to cooperate with prosecutors or other law enforcement, and refusing to accept plea deals. Finally, we discuss the importance of building alternative institutions on the left to support those engaged in direct action and to mitigate the chilling effects of state repression.

You can follow Alexei on twitter at @LexShoots. Make sure to check out the J20 collective defense page and support the remaining J20 defendants however you are able. 

A transcript for this episode will be provided upon request. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Dec 20, 2017

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon page for as little as $5 a month. Also, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes. We can't do this show without your support!!! 

On today's episode, Roqayah and Kumars get us all in the holiday spirit with a Delete Your Account Christmas special. The gang discusses why people both love and hate the holidays, and we find out why Kumars thinks holiday spirit should be seized and redistributed throughout the rest of the year. Food is also on the agenda, and in addition to sharing holiday food takes, Roqayah talks about her struggles trying to find good vegan cheese. Also we learn that Roqayah has never had Chinese food, please mock her relentlessly on twitter dot com.

Dec 13, 2017

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon page for as little as $5 a month. Also, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes. We can't do this show without your support!!! 

On today's episode, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by longtime activist Amanda Bloom, who is recently back from Puerto Rico where she worked at la clínica Bantiox, a free health clinic and emergency room in the town of Toa Baja. Bloom discusses her decades of work supporting political prisoners from the Puerto Rican independence movement and her recent volunteer work in Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Bloom describes the devastation wrought on the people of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and why the United States government has left Puerto Ricans with little to no assistance, while at the same time undermining reconstruction efforts. We explore the legacy of United States’ colonization of Puerto Rico and the massive debt crisis that has been imposed on Puerto Rico against the will of its people. We also learn about grassroots initiatives to rebuild the country, and find out what people can do to help residents of Puerto Rico.

You can follow Amanda Bloom and read her updates on Facebook. You can also read about her work in Puerto Rico at Poor Magazine. If you want to support groups in Puerto Rico doing great work, we recommend checking out la clínica Bantiox, Defend Puerto Rico, Resilient Power Puerto Rico, and Boricuá Organization for Ecological Agriculture.

A transcript for this episode is forthcoming. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Dec 6, 2017

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon page for as little as $5 a month. Also, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes. We can't do this show without your support!!! 

On this episode, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Kaitlin Marone, an at-large councilmember on the New Orleans DSA Local Council and the organizer who thought up their wildly successful Gimme a Brake (Light) campaign. As you can maybe guess from the name, volunteer events are held to fix brake lights in poor communities for free, saving people from costly mechanic bills, traffic tickets, and interactions with cops which frequently destroy lives. Kaitlin is also co-author of the Gimme a Brake (Light) DIY Handbook, released by New Orleans DSA, which has been used by groups across the country to replicate this important work elsewhere. We ask for Kaitlin's thoughts on socialist organizing in Louisiana and the birth and growth of the New Orleans chapter of DSA. Kaitlin shares how she came up with the idea for the brake light repair clinics and describes how New Orleans DSA went about making this idea a reality. We discuss the importance of prolonged, no-strings-attached community service for building trust and building power, and the need for service work to truly reflect the desired priorities of those it claims to serve.

You can follow Kaitlin on twitter at @immerspaetlin. Follow @NewOrleansDSA for more on what that chapter is up to as well.

A transcript for this episode is forthcoming. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Nov 29, 2017

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon page for as little as $5 a month. Also, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes. We can't do this show without your support!!! 

On today's episode, Kumars and returning guest host Mariame Kaba sit down with two movement lawyers at the forefront of the struggle against bail and pre-trial detention. Sharlyn Grace is a lawyer and co-founder of the Chicago Community Bond Fund. Marbre Stahly-Butts is a lawyer and organizer with Law for Black Lives and the Movement for Black Lives Policy Table, and was involved in the recent Black Mamas Bailout. Sharlyn and Marbre cover the basics of money bail in the US and the bail bond industry it sustains. They explain recent efforts on the state and local levels to win reforms to the current bail system, as well as the limitations of some legislative efforts that attempt to undermine the institution of money bail. We discuss the Bail Project, a national effort to bail people out of jail that is funded by big-money donors with unclear motivations and limited connections to the communities they claim to want to help. Mariame warns that this effort, while sounding nice, could starve the several dozen existing community bail funds of donations, despite the fact that these existing organizations are better positioned to build power and provide long-term support to those they serve.

You can follow Mariame on twitter as always at @prisonculture. Follow Sharlyn at @SharlynDGrace, and the Chicago Community Bond Fund at @ChiBondFund. Marbre isn't on twitter, but you can follow Law for Black Lives at @Law4BlackLives. If you want to support the Chicago Community Bond Fund, you can do so here, and you can support the National Bail Fund, the coalition behind the Black Mamas Bailout and similar efforts, here. We didn't have time to discuss it on the episode, but you should also check out @Appolition, a really awesome way to donate to the National Bail Fund.

A transcript for this episode is forthcoming. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Nov 15, 2017

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon page for as little as $5 a month. Also, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes. We can't do this show without your support!!! 

On today's episode, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Blake Simons, an organizer and educator from Oakland, CA. Blake is the co-founder of People’s Breakfast Oakland and also co-hosts Hella Black Podcast which discusses societal issues through a radical Black lens. Blake shares with us how he became radicalized and first got involved in organizing as a student at UC Berkeley. He talks about his role in the Afrikan Black Coalition, a network of Black Student Unions on University of California campuses, and discusses successful campaigns to establish a black student resource center at UC Berkeley and to force the UC to divest from private prisons. Blake also talks about his uncle, Jalil Muntaqim, a member of the Black Panther Party and political prisoner for 45 years, and the impact he has had on Blake's organizing work. We also discuss Blake's current project, People's Breakfast Oakland, which provides meals, hygiene kits, and clothing to houseless people in Oakland, building off of the model championed by the Black Panthers decades ago. We discuss the horrific reality faced by houseless people, even in liberal strongholds like the bay area, and the importance of building alternative structures to support houseless people who will never be served by traditional institutions. We discuss the importance of meeting the material needs of those exploited and abandoned by the state as a necessary precondition to building revolutionary power.

You can follow Blake at @BlakeDontCrack. If you want to support the People's Breakfast in Oakland, reach out to Blake on twitter or donate here.

A transcript for this episode is forthcoming. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Nov 8, 2017

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon page for as little as $5 a month. Also, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes. We can't do this show without your support!!! 

On today's episode, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Wendy Parker and Dan Feidt, two journalists who are part of Unicorn Riot, a decentralized, non-hierarchical media collective that started in 2015. Along with other members of the collective, Wendy and Dan have been reporting on leaked chat logs from a white supremacist organization involved in planning the deadly August "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville. After learning more about Unicorn Riot's unique approach to journalism, with stories produced collaboratively and horizontally and entirely through donations from supporters, Wendy and Dan explain how Unicorn Riot was able to get their hands on these private chat logs. These chat logs, comprised of hundreds of thousands of individual messages over months, show definitively that the white supremacist group in question has genocidal aims, despite their efforts to hide their goals from public scrutiny. The chat logs, in addition to revealing the vile politics and violent aims of many adherents of this right-wing ideology, revealed a high level of organization and strong commitment to building power. We learn about how Unicorn Riot's work has made its way into more mainstream outlets, and the effect that this and other similar work is having on the ability of these groups to function effectively. Dan and Wendy describe how members of the collective have been targeted by neo-nazis in retaliation for their work, and how they've been able to stay safe. Finally, we get their thoughts on how journalists can use reporting to fight against fascist organizing, without giving groups or individuals a platform that amplifies their evil message.

You can follow Unicorn Riot at @UR_Ninja. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @hongpong. You can't follow Wendy anywhere, because she deleted all her accounts (nice). Check out Unicorn Riot's searchable database of neo-nazi chat logs, and also check out the helpful anti-doxxing guide from Equality Labs mentioned on the episode.

A transcript for this episode is forthcoming. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Nov 1, 2017

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On today's episode, Roqayah and Kumars are joined once again by guest-host extraordinaire Mariame Kaba (@prisonculture on twitter) for an amazing conversation with organizer Opal Tometi, a community organizer and writer who is one of co-founders of the Black Lives Matter Global Network. Opal also serves as the Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI).

We learn about how Opal got involved in community organizing and specifically how she came to work at the intersection of immigrant justice and black liberation. Opal explains that one in five immigrants facing deportation is black and black immigrants are more likely to face criminal deportation than any other group. We discuss similarities and differences in the fight for immigrant justice under both Obama and Trump, and the additional difficulties African immigrants face under Trump's travel and refugee bans. We also explore how US imperialism, particularly in Africa, impacts black lives here and abroad.

In addition to discussing Opal's work with BAJI, we also learn about her role in building the Black Lives Matter movement and the Global Network that formed in the wake of the Ferguson, Missouri protests of 2014. Opal also shares what makes her hopeful, and discusses next steps for the world-wide fight for black liberation.

You can follow Opal on Twitter at @opalayo. Follow BAJI at @BAJItweet. Also, check out freedomcities.org, an organizing project building off successes of the sanctuary movement to restructure local communities to protect all marginalized people.

A transcript for this episode is forthcoming. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Oct 19, 2017

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Today's episode is on sexual violence and organizing against it, so a major content warning for those listening. We spoke with Jes Skolnik, who has many years of experience organizing around sexual assault. Jes is currently the managing editor of Bandcamp Daily, a contributor to Pitchfork and many other publications, and a boardmember of Pure Joy Chicago, an arts venue and community space for all ages. They have long been involved in pragmatic activism that seeks to rectify social systemic imbalances in material ways for those who need it most, both within the labor movement and outside, as an anarcha-feminist abolitionist. We were also joined by returning guest Alex Press, former labor organizer and current assistant editor at Jacobin and PhD student in sociology at Northeastern University, who's been writing extensively on the Harvey Weinstein allegations and its lessons for responding to sexual abuse.

Jes tells us about their experience organizing against sexual violence and providing material support to victims, including through shelters and rape crisis hotlines, and how being a survivor of abuse impacted their approach to the work. We discuss the seemingly endless stream of new allegations against powerful men in Hollywood and beyond, and our guests give their thoughts on the current moment and whether the current media focus on sexual violence will translate into actual cultural or policy change. We talk about why victims of sexual violence often stay silent, and why victims, predominantly women, have to rely on informal whisper networks to stay safe from abusers. We discuss Alex's piece for Vox on how to formalize and weaponize the whisper network to thwart abuse, as well as her piece for Jacobin on the role that the labor movement could and should play in combatting sexual harassment and assault. Finally, referencing recent examples, we discuss the need for people in left organizations to face abusers in their midst head-on, and to stop making excuses for the bad behavior of their friends. Victims of sexual violence are tired of shouldering the burden of changing our society alone, it is time for everyone to step up.

You can follow Jes on Twitter at @modernistwitch. Follow Alex at @alexnpress.

A transcript for this episode is forthcoming. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Oct 4, 2017

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This week, Roqayah misses the interview so Kumars is joined once again by returning guest-host and fan-favorite Mariame Kaba. Mariame and Kumars speak with Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, Executive Director of the Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee and a leader in the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL). We learn about how Ash-Lee got involved in left movement-building in her home state of Tennessee before asking Ash-Lee about her work with M4BL. She explains the distinction between the Movement for Black Lives and Black Lives Matter, before discussing several areas of the M4BL policy platform in-depth. Ash-Lee gives several examples of how policies from the platform are being implemented in communities across the country. We learn about the Highlander Research and Education Center, which has promoted grassroots organizing in the U.S. South for the better part of a century. We also discuss differences between organizing in the North and the South, and the importance of southern organizing to building radical power. Finally, Ash-Lee tells us what makes her hopeful, and her thoughts on where we go from here.

You can follow Ash-Lee on Twitter at @hendersonaw0604. Follow Mariame at @prisonculture. Also, make sure to check out Ash-Lee's recent piece on the importance of organizing the South. You can support the important work of the Highlander Center here.

A transcript for this episode is forthcoming. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Sep 26, 2017

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Roqayah and Kumars spend the intro talking about Kumars finding himself once again targeted by white nationalists for his Palestine solidarity activism. They also talk about UC Berkeley's nazi appreciation ("free speech") week and contrast UC Berkeley's efforts to protect the speech of genocidal racists with their complete lack of effort to protect the speech of leftists.

For the interview, Kumars and Roqayah are honored to welcome Kshama Sawant. Kshama is a proud socialist, member of Socialist Alternative, and a Seattle City Councilmember. She joins Kumars live in Oakland, while Roqayah is, as always, on the other side of the world in Sydney, Australia. After hearing a little about how Kshama originally became radicalized, we learn what defines Socialist Alternative as an organization and how she discovered Socialist Alternative was the right fit for her. Kshama shares with us how she was able to become the only open socialist on Seattle City Council, and how she has been able to effectively push her agenda without other socialists in government. We hear more about some of Kshama's major policy wins, including a $15 minimum wage and an income tax targeting high earners. We also ask Kshama about Bernie Sanders, hearing her thoughts and criticisms of his Presidential campaign, his role in shaping the Democratic agenda, and his foreign policy views. Finally, Kshama shares her thoughts on how people on the left can build an effective alternative to both fascism and neoliberalism.

You can follow Kshama on Twitter at @cmkshama. Check her out on the web and also support other socialists running for city council seats, including in Seattle and Minneapolis

A transcript for this episode is forthcoming. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Sep 20, 2017

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Roqayah and Kumars are joined for an in-depth discussion of German politics and the upcoming federal elections in Germany by Julia Damphouse and Loren Balhorn direct from Berlin. Julia is a Canadian student in Berlin and a member of the German Left Party, die Linke. Loren is an American member of die Linke and writes about German politics for Jacobin. After we get our usual political origin stories from our guests, they give us an introduction to each of the 6 major political parties likely to enter the Bundestag or German parliament after the election on September 24th.

Julia and Loren begin with their own party, explaining the roots of the socialist Left Party both in East German socialism and in more recent discontent with the center-left’s neoliberal turn. They explain that the bulk of the disenchantment is a result of the Social Democratic Party’s (SPD) increasing abandonment from their working-class base, and we clear up any misconceptions about who is responsible for the death of Rosa Luxemburg. Almost imperceptibly to the right of today’s Social Democrats are Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), whose shrewd movement away from conservative positions has consolidated their power in the face of a feckless SPD.

Julia and Loren both weigh in on the Islamophobic, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), which seems poised to become the first far-right party to enter the Bundestag in Germany’s postwar history, and discuss whether the US media is right to frame the AfD as a manifestation of “Trump-style” nationalism. Finally, Loren and Julia touch on the CDU’s possible coalition partners, the centrist Greens and the libertarian Free Democrats (FDP), and make our predictions about which potential alliance will govern Germany for the next four years.

You can read Loren’s writing on Jacobin and follow Julia on Twitter at @remarksist. Don’t miss Julia’s first appearance on the show as a guest cohost for our excellent interview with Kathleen Brown on the anti-G8 mobilization in Hamburg.

A transcript for this episode is forthcoming. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.

Sep 13, 2017

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This week, Roqayah and Kumars packed two interviews into one show. First we have a short 15-minute discussion with Jon Grant, the former director of the Tenants Union of Washington State. In addition to being a community organizer and housing rights advocate, Jon is running for position 8 on the Seattle City Council as a proud socialist. We learn about Jon's background and bona fides, as well as why he's running for office and what makes his campaign different from that of other politicians. 

Next, Roqayah and Kumars talk to Ro Nay San Lwin, a Rohingya activist and writer for rohingyablogger.com. We wanted to have Ro Nay San on the show to discuss the horrific ethnic cleansing and genocide being perpetrated against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar by military and paramilitary forces. We learn about how Ro Nay San got involved in writing and activism, and about the website he runs. He explains the key historical events necessary for understanding the current crisis in Myanmar, including the 1982 Citizenship Law that essentially made the Rohingya stateless. We discuss the staggering scope of the atrocities being committed, with entire villages burned, thousands murdered and hundreds of thousands displaced, internally and externally. We discuss the United States' quiet approval of and complicity in the violence, with Obama lifting sanctions on the Myanmar government as attacks on Rohingya Muslims intensified. We also talk about the false promise of Aung San Suu Kyi, a former champion of the opposition during decades of military rule who has long since sacrificed her principles, as well as the Rohingya, for a tiny taste of power. We discuss what can be done to stop these atrocities, cautioning against calls for western military intervention as well as trade sanctions that would disproportionately hurt the poorest and most vulnerable.

Follow Ro Nay San Lwin on Twitter at @nslwin. Make sure to check out rohingyablogger.com to learn more about what's happening in Myanmar. 

To find out more about Jon Grant's Seattle City Council bid, go to electjongrant.com. If you have the time and inclination to help out on his campaign, make sure to click “GET INVOLVED”. Follow @electjongrant on twitter for updates.

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