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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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Delete Your Account Podcast
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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 11, 2017

This is only part of our interview with Lana and Krang. If you want get the whole interview, support the show, and receive access to tons of other 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!!!

To mark our 69th episode, Kumars and Roqayah take a break from organizing talk to welcome back two of your favorite left Twitter personalities, known as @KrangTNelson and @LanaDelRaytheon, both returning guests from our Patreon AFTER HOURS show, After Krang and Lana introduce themselves to the regular show listeners, Kumars tries and ultimately fails to guess the premise of Lana’s upcoming “leftist, funny” TV writing gig, and everyone shares their thoughts on various popular programs. Things get serious as they turn to the recent Buzzfeed expose of Breitbart News, which included emails showing a conscious effort by CEO and Trump advisor Steve Bannon and Milo Yiannopoulos to reintroduce and normalize white nationalist politics on the mainstream American right. Krang, Lana, Kumars, and Roqayah also discuss the documented contributions of nominally liberal journalists at Vice, Slate and others. 

The conversation turns to Lana’s new article on the Jacobin website, which tackles suicide and gun control. Lana explains that the number of gun deaths from mass shootings in the US pales in comparison to gun deaths from suicides, arguing that the topic of suicide prevention is central to the gun control debate. Everyone shares their complicated personal perspectives on guns, gun control, and suicide, ending with a discussion of whether some form of collective ownership of weapons could be a viable leftist option for harm reduction.

Check out Lana’s article on Jacobin, and follow both Krang and Lana on Twitter. Read Joe Bernstein’s excellent article about Breitbart over on BuzzFeed.

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.

Sep 6, 2017

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This week, Kumars and Roqayah are taking a much-needed break for Labor Day. After they both say hi to everyone in the introduction, we replay one of our most important and criminally under-listened interviews with KB Brower, an expert union organizer who gave Kumars a crash course in the tools of the professional organizing trade.

KB Brower is an organizer with the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, the independent nurses union in Philadelphia, which has a long history of rank and file militancy and social justice unionism. Before moving to Philadelphia, KB organized contracted out workers and students with AFSCME 3299, and before that, she ran domestic campaigns for United Students Against Sweatshops. She got her start in the labor movement with SEIU 1199 New England, where she learned about building majority social justice unions that aren't afraid to strike and win. KB gives Kumars and our listeners a crash-course in organizing best practices, based off of a two-day training she recently held. She discusses key components of the internal structure of any successful community or labor organizing group, and ways to grow your organization. Kumars and KB talk about where power comes from, and go over the concept of power mapping, including identifying and recruiting natural leaders. KB explains the basic ingredients of an organizing conversation, including identifying issues that resonate with the person you're talking to, agitating them, and giving them a plan to win. KB explains how to deal with difficult questions through affirming the point-of-view of the questioner, answering their question concisely, and redirecting back to the issue the questioner cares most about. We discuss the idea of the "biggest worst", an area where our organization is lacking in strength and has the best potential for improvement. Given limited time and energy, focusing on biggest worsts will result in the generation of more power than focusing on areas where we are already strong that don't have much room for growth. We also talk about turning an issue into a campaign that not only achieves your goal, but also grows the power of your organization. Finally, KB stresses the importance of having both majority participation and a broader conception of social justice so that you have both the power to win in the short-term while remaking society to make those gains long-lasting.

KB isn't on twitter herself, but you can follow the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals on twitter at @PennaNurses.

To support Harvey relief, we recommend you check out the wishlist that has been posted by the National Black United Front Houston Chapter. You can find more about them on their facebook page.

Aug 29, 2017

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This week, Roqayah and Kumars only stick around for the intro. Instead of the usual interview format, we have a lively discussion between writer and Drexel University professor George Ciccariello-Maher and Lee Fang, investigative reporter for the Intercept, about the morality and efficacy of political violence in our current context. George and Lee definitely do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to this issue, and we will let the discussion speak for itself! Thanks to journalist Joshua Holland for serving as a neutral mediator for the conversation.

Follow George on Twitter at @ciccmaher, Lee at @lhfang, and Josh at @JoshuaHol. Also, make sure to call the Durham Sheriff's Office at 919-560-0897 and demand they drop all charges against the protesters who tore down the confederate monument in Durham, NC. If you haven't listened already, last week we interviewed one of the organizers who facing felony charges for that action.

Aug 23, 2017

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This week, Roqayah and Kumars were honored to be joined by two organizers with the Workers World Party who have been in the middle of recent antifa actions in the South. Taryn Fivek, originally from the South, is based in New York and was in Charlottesville to confront the Unite the Right rally. Loan Tran is based in Durham, North Carolina, and was instrumental in the direct action that pulled down Durham’s Confederate monument in solidarity with the antifascist protesters in Charlottesville. Taryn and Loan share their accounts of those respective events, as well as the wave of arrests and other state repression following the action in Durham.

The guests give their takes on the state of right-wing reaction and left-wing resistance today, explaining how the Workers World Party’s political practice is both informed by the long Marxist-Leninist tradition and committed to centering the struggles of the most oppressed, including the incarcerated.

Follow Taryn on Twitter at @fivek and Loan at @ntranloan. Visit Workers World Party’s website to learn more about getting involved, and contribute whatever you can to support Workers World Party’s continued efforts on Patreon.

Aug 15, 2017

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On this episode, Kumars and Roqayah discuss the so-called "Unite The Right" nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and the murder of comrade Heather Heyer and injury of 19 others by a nazi terrorist in a car ramming attack. We play a short interview with Peter Moskowitz, New York-based journalist and author of How to Kill a City who you'll remember from our last episode. It just so happens that Peter was in Charlottesville where they witnessed first-hand the rally and counter-protests, including nearly getting hit themselves in the car ramming attack. Peter and Kumars discuss how the lack of any substantive Truth and Reconciliation process in the US following the Civil War led us to where we are now, and how something resembling Truth and Reconciliation must be achieved. While it is unlikely to look like the Nuremberg Trials for everyone, it's possible that mild bear macings, loss of employment, shunning by family and other carefully considered tactics could serve a role.

After our discussions of Charlottesville, we move on to a conversation about the recent Democratic Socialists of America national convention with two amazing guests. First, we are 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 in February 2018. Shaun is also a member of the Seattle chapter of DSA and served as a delegate to the convention. Our second guest is Katy, better known as @kid_mao on twitter, appearing on the show for her first but hopefully not only time. She’s was a member of the ad hoc steering committee for the Boston chapter of DSA, before moving to Connecticut where she started a DSA organizing committee in rural Northeast Connecticut, known as “Quiet Corner DSA”. She attended the recent convention as a delegate for the Boston chapter. We get Shaun and Katy's takes on the various outcomes of the convention, including strong resolutions on prison/police abolition, BDS, reproductive justice, and anti-harassment. We talk about how DSA has come this far this fast, dramatically shifting positions on topics including imperialism and international solidarity, as well as ways it still needs to improve in the coming years. We also get Shaun and Katy's takes on DSA Cop-gate, and discuss whether and under what conditions ex-police or ex-soldiers should be allowed into Left spaces.

You can follow Peter at @ptrmsk. Follow Shaun at @eyesonthestorm and Katy at @kid_mao.

Please donate to support the family of Heather Heyer and other victims of Nazi terror:

https://www.gofundme.com/our-sisters-keeper-heatherheyer

https://www.gofundme.com/united-cville-victim-relief

https://www.gofundme.com/natalie-romero-medical-fund

https://www.gofundme.com/49l4x3c

 

Aug 8, 2017

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On this episode, Kumars and Roqayah are joined by two very special guests: Peter Moskowitz, New York-based journalist and author, and Shanti Singh, a housing rights activist in San Francisco and a leader of SF DSA’s newly launched Housing Committee. We go deep into the issue of gentrification as it is explored in Peter’s powerful new book How to Kill a City. Using the cities of New Orleans, New York, Detroit, and San Francisco as examples, Peter guides us through the many stages of gentrification, from the arrival of the first gentrifiers seeking out a cheaper home to global corporate real estate speculators buying entire neighborhoods. Peter describes how this process eventually transforms working-class communities into stretches of usually vacant vacation properties for the world's mega-elite. Shanti describes her experiences combating gentrification in San Francisco, where gentrification is especially pervasive and destructive, and where activists have relatively few tools at their disposal for fighting back. We discuss how government policies exacerbate housing scarcity and drive prices ever-increasingly higher, disproportionately driving people of color and poor people from neighborhoods they've called home for decades. Gentrification is not an issue that is only impacting coastal elite cities like San Francisco and New York, it is only a matter of time until it comes to a neighborhood near you (if it hasn't already). Peter and Shanti argue that housing is a universal right that should become a bigger priority for left organizers.

You can follow Shanti on twitter at @uhshanti. Follow Peter at @ptrmsk.

Aug 2, 2017

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On this episode, Kumars and Roqayah are back together at last! They have fun in the intro talking about the relationship woes of various Trump accolades, and Kumars predicts an increase in the number of relationships that will be ruined by politics in the future.

For the interview, Roqayah has a great guest co-host, George Cicciarello-Maher, meaning that an even luckier Kumars gets some much-needed time off. George teaches at Drexel University in Philadelphia, assuming he hasn’t been fired since we posted this. He is also the author of We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution and Building the Commune: Radical Democracy in Venezuela.

Roqayah and George are joined by Coromoto Haraba, a translator and journalist based in Caracas, Venezuela. She’s an anarchist who has been supporting the Chavista movement since 2004 when the right-wing tried to depose president Chávez via referendum. At the moment, she works for Telesur, but speaks to us in her personal capacity about what’s been happening on-the-ground, including with recent Constituent Assembly Elections and what they mean for the future of the Venezuelan people. We learn about the roots of the current political crisis, and about the street protests gripping Venezuela. We talk about legitimate critiques of the Maduro government while also debunking several baseless opposition talking points. We discuss violence committed by the state, but also highlight racist lynchings of Chavistas by the opposition, ignored in international media. Coro and George explain the significance of recent Constituent Assembly elections, leading eventually to a rewriting of the Venezuelan constitution. Coro and George also give their thoughts on how the Chavista movement survives continued and escalating aggression from capitalists.

You can follow Coro on twitter at @coritoj. Follow George at @ciccmaher.

Jul 25, 2017

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On this episode, Kumars is joined by returning guest-co-host Nora Barrows-Friedman, reporter and associate editor for The Electronic Intifada. In the intro, Kumars and Nora discuss the latest developments in Israel/Palestine as well as Roqayah's triumphant return to the show!

For the interview, Kumars and Nora welcome Jeff Stein, Congressional reporter for Vox, where he reports on politics, policy, and activism. He is also the former editor and founder of the Ithaca Voice. We wanted to talk to Jeff about the reporting he’s been doing on healthcare and other issues of relevance to the Left which happens to be some of the most valuable work coming out of a mainstream outlet. We first learn about what got Jeff interested in the worlds of politics and journalism, as well as the way he approaches his work. We ask Jeff about his coverage of the defensive fight against the various iterations of Trumpcare, as well as the offensive fight for single-payer/Medicare for all, and why he is one of the few journalists who is covering these issues so thoroughly for a mainstream outlet. We also talk about the activist groups engaged in these fights, most notably ADAPT, and the impact they are having.

Aside from the healthcare fights, we also talk about the new Democratic slogan which Jeff revealed to the world (A Better Deal: Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages) and whether it will resonate with anyone. We also talk about new legislation that would criminalize participation in Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Jeff tells us about a conversation he had with ranking Democratic congressman Eliot Engel where Engel didn't seem to have a problem with criminalizing speech he didn't personally agree with.

You can follow Nora on twitter at @norabf. Follow Jeff at @JStein_Vox.

Jul 19, 2017

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On this episode, Kumars is joined by guest co-host Samantha Jacobs, a Chicago-based comedy writer and member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL). Become a Patreon subscriber to hear our premium After Hours episode with Sam, in which we run the gamut from her PSL work to socialist memes, rap, and standup comedy. In the intro, we talk about the People's Congress of Resistance, a project of PSL and other organizations that Sam has been organizing around, as well as the health care debacle.

For the interview, Kumars and Sam talk to Sofía Gallisá Muriente, a Puerto Rican activist and artist who works mainly with video, photography, text and installation. Sofia's work has been displayed at the San Juan Poligraphic Triennial, Teorética, the Walker Art Center and the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires. She’s currently one of the co-directors of Beta-Local, a non-profit supporting art and critical thought in Puerto Rico. After learning about how Sofia became involved in politics, we learn the history of Puerto Rico's transition from a US colony to a "free associated state", a gimmick designed to relieve scrutiny of Puerto Rico's lack of sovereignty while still facilitating exploitation by US companies. Sofia explains how the current crises gripping Puerto Rico, caused or exacerbated by the US government, are rooted in the legacy of colonialism and enshrined in Puerto Rico's own constitution. Puerto Rico owes over $70 billion to foreign investors, money it is constitutionally required to pay back before it can spend a penny on social services. We also learn about the often overlooked $50 billion needed to fund Puerto Rico's pension system, as well as steep Medicaid cuts and loss of tax breaks affecting the island. We discuss the recent referendum on statehood vs. independence vs. status quo, boycotted by over 80% of the country. Sofia explains that no side of the debate has a plan for how to deal with the current crises, making the statehood vs. independence question less relevant. The only thing that is certain is that prevailing institutions will never save Puerto Rico, and alternative, grassroots structures must be built to weather the storm.

You can follow Sam on Twitter at @comradeSammy. You can check out Sofia's work at her website.

Jul 12, 2017

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On this episode, Kumars is joined by guest co-host Julia Damphouse, a Canadian organizer and student in Berlin. Julia is involved with the German Left Party's International Working Group and the Berlin Jacobin Reading Group. Kumars and Julia use the introduction to learn a little more about Julia's bio and to discuss their shared love of Germany and the eccentricities of German politics.

For the interview, Kumars and Julia welcome Julia's friend and comrade, Kathleen Brown. Kathleen is an American socialist living in Berlin, who, along with Julia, is an activist with The Coalition Berlin, one of the main groups involved in organizing the mobilization against the recent G20 summit in Hamburg. We start off by learning more about Kathleen and how she got involved with left organizing. We also talk about her organization, The Coalition Berlin, how it came about and what their mission is. We get some background on the G20 Summit and discuss why people protest it, this year and every year. We talk about the concept of alter- or alt-globalization, championed by left groups, which embraces international solidarity and cooperation as an answer to both failing neoliberal globalization and the anti-globalization, right-wing nationalist movements building around the world. We discuss what took place at the G20, both at the meeting itself and the protests outside. We discuss the ramifications of the Hamburg protests, including a looming crackdown on civil liberties by the German and possibly other EU governments. Finally, we share our thoughts on what activists in Europe should do moving forward and what activists worldwide should do in response to summits like these in the future, especially as their practical significance decreases each year.

You can keep up with what The Coalition Berlin is doing on Twitter at @TheCoalitionDE as well as on their Facebook page. You can also follow Julia at @remarksist and read her interview with Emily Lacquer about the G20 Summit and mobilization against it over at Jacobin.

Jul 5, 2017

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On this episode, Kumars starts the episode talking to frequent friend-of-the-show Nora Barrows-Friedman (@norabf on twitter) about everything from new Jay-Z to New Jersey. Did Kumars sign up for Tidal to listen to the album? You'll have to listen to the episode to find out!

For the interview, Kumars and Mariame Kaba (@prisonculture on twitter) talk to Kay Whitlock, an activist, organizer and writer who has been involved in movements for social justice for over 50 years. She's co-written books including Queer (In)justice, which addresses the criminalization of LGBT people in the US, and Considering Hate, which argues for abandoning the hate crime framework as a means to address vigilante violence. Kay joins us from her home in Missoula, Montana.

Kay talks about growing up conservative in Southern Colorado before changing her views, becoming immersed in labor, anti-war, and black and brown power movements in the late 1960's and early 1970's. She gives her thoughts on the organizing successes and failures of that time, praising the imagination of activists while cautioning against romanticizing them. We also talk to Kay about her work on hate crime policy, including writing and organizing she did with the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker justice organization. Through multiple reports for the AFSC and her book, Considering Hate, Kay argues that hate crime legislation harms the same groups it purports to help by distracting from the structural roots of vigilante violence. Hate crime legislation places blame on individual vigilantes even though vigilantes just take supremacist structures to their logical conclusions. Kay also discusses the disappointing limitations of Occupy Wall Street and the great potential of the Movement for Black Lives. Finally, Kay gives us some advice on how to deal with the rise of the right wing, drawing on her vast personal experience.

You can follow Kay on twitter at @KayJWhitlock.

Jun 28, 2017
This is only part of our interview with Shaun Scott. If you want get the whole interview, support the show, and receive access to tons of other 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 Kumars teams up with first-time guest host Eoin Higgins, a journalist and writer whose work appears regularly on Paste, FAIR, ATTN, and his personal website eoinhiggins.com. Kumars and Eoin sit down with filmmaker and author Shaun Scott, whose upcoming book Millennials and the Moments That Made Us - A Cultural History of the U.S. from 1982—Present (Zero Books, February 2018) tells the story of our descent into neoliberalism through the lens of pop culture and from the perspective of the so-called millennial generation. Touching on media influences from The Simpsons and ‘80s action movies to Drake and LeBron James, Shaun shows how dominant narratives about millennials and their place in American society are rooted in the broader social and economic upheavals brought on by Reaganism. Behind arguments about millennial laziness and entitlement is the need for a class of low-wage, insecure workers who can be exploited. 
 
Eoin, despite not technically being a millennial, does his best to relate as we use excerpts from Shaun’s book to discuss the complicated and often ambivalent politics of comedy, rap, memes, and how they’ve shaped millennials’ ideologies. Finally, the conversation ends with a discussion of how those ideologies are translating into political engagement, and Shaun’s suggestions for a path forward that takes into account both our generation’s strengths and the existing context that will continue to shape us. 
 
Follow Eoin on Twitter at @EoinHiggins_ and Shaun at @eyesonthestorm. Millennials and the Moments That Made Us will be released February 2018 - preorder it here!
Jun 21, 2017

This is only part of our interview with Emmett Rensin and Alex Press. If you want get the whole interview, support the show, and receive access to tons of other 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 is joined by two luminaries of the left, Emmett Rensin and Alex Press, to talk about liberalism and the merits and pitfalls of psychoanalyzing politics with a focus on Emmett's latest essay over at the Los Angeles Review of Books, "The Blathering Superego at the End of History." Emmett who was on the show last year talking about grad student labor organizing, is a grad student and writes for a ton of major outlets including Newsweek, The LA Times and the LA Review of Books, where he is a contributing editor. We're also glad to have a first-time guest today in Alex Press, grad student in sociology who writes about labor and political economy and such things for The Nation and Jacobin, where she's about to start working as an editor.

 

Kumars, Alex, and Emmett unpack various aspects of Emmett's essay, which makes the case that over the last several decades liberals in the US have completed a transition from a view of politics as an ideological conflict between opposed factions to a view of politics as an educational struggle to get everyone the "facts." Using the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud as a metaphor, Emmett argues that liberalism in 2017 sees its job primarily as that of a censor, not just powerless but oblivious in the radically polarized context of post-Trump America. They discuss criticism of the piece from liberals as well as legitimate critiques from the left. Kumars takes Emmett's metaphor too literally and outs himself as a Freudian, while Alex does her best to keep everyone honest, elaborating on the point that focusing on individual psychology risks watering down leftist critiques that see oppression as systemic and material. Patreon subscribers also get another 20 minutes of show that you won't want to miss!

 

Follow Emmett on twitter at @EmmettRensin. Follow Alex on twitter at @alexnpress. Make sure to check out Alex's piece on liberal and right-wing appropriation of left language that we mentioned during the episode.

 

Jun 14, 2017

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On this episode, Kumars is joined once again by Emily Robinson to discuss Jeremy Corbyn's stunning victory in the recent UK parliamentary elections. Emily is a co-convener of Momentum Edinburgh and she does communications for Scottish Young Labour Socialists and the Democratic Socialists of America. Emily also brings along her friend, Rory Scothorne, the co-author of Roch Winds: A Treacherous Guide to the State of Scotland. He is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh studying the Scottish radical left since the 1960s, is on the committee of Momentum Edinburgh, and is a member of Scottish Labour Young Socialists.

Kumars, Emily and Rory talk about the UK election results, giving an overview of the British parliamentary system and the various parties involved. Emily and Rory talk about how Theresa May's decision to call a snap election in an attempt to consolidate power for her Tory party backfired massively. They discuss how Labour's Jeremy Corbyn was able to capitalize on May's hubris with a radical and positive platform which contrasted dramatically with Tory plans for continued austerity. Emily and Rory explain how Theresa May's plan to form a weak coalition government with the right-wing Protestant fundamentalist Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party could jeopardize the Good Friday Agreement which ended the Northern Ireland Conflict. The gang also discusses how leftists at home and abroad can support Corbyn's project and how we can hold him accountable in the face of a full-frontal assault by the capitalist class.

You can follow Emily on twitter at @See_Em_Play. You can follow Rory on twitter at @shirkerism. Check out Rory's blog here.

Jun 8, 2017

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On this episode, Kumars is joined once again by Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist who writes about weather and science for a variety of outlets. He’s also the host of the podcast Warm Regards, where scientists, activists, and journalists join Eric to discuss climate change and what to do about it. Kumars and Eric follow up on their last conversation to see how climate policy is progressing under Trump. Eric discusses the mostly symbolic effect of Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords which obscures the more pernicious climate policies of his administration. Kumars and Eric stay hopeful, pointing to how Trump's climate agenda is galvanizing the opposition in ways previously thought unimaginable.

Next, Kumars is joined by friend-of-the-show Freddy Martinez, a computer security researcher and activist specializing in communications security and police accountability.  He is also the director of Lucy Parsons Labs. Kumars and Freddy talk about the recent FBI arrest of Reality Leigh Winner for the leaking of an NSA report on Russian hacking attempts to The Intercept. Freddy details mistakes made by both Winner and The Intercept that led to her arrest, and how this prosecution fits into the war on whistleblowers that began under Obama and now continues under Trump. Freddy gives us some tips on how to mitigate risk when leaking documents to the press.

You can follow Eric on twitter at @EricHolthaus. You can follow Freddy on twitter at @B_Meson.

Helpful links mentioned during the episode:

https://www.pacer.gov/

https://securedrop.org/directory

https://onionshare.org/

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/films/1971/

And make sure to send all of your leaks to:

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/films/1971/

Please, for the love of god, don't email them to Josh Rogin.

 

May 31, 2017

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On this episode, Kumars is joined once again by Mariame Kaba, organizer extraordinaire and @prisonculture on twitter, who returns as co-host. Kumars and Mariame start off the show celebrating 50 episodes and a complete first year of Delete Your Account, before moving on to more serious topics. Mariame talks about recent developments in the campaign to free Bresha Meadows, a young black girl who was imprisoned for killing her abusive father in self-defense. Mariame discusses the plea deal that Bresha and her family have accepted that will see her eventually freed from custody, although only after several additional months in jail and an involuntary treatment center. We discuss how this development is a huge win for her and her family, and for activists fighting to keep her from being tried for murder as an adult, but also talk about how this still isn't justice, as Bresha shouldn't have served a day behind bars.

For the interview, Kumars and Mariame talk to Nesreen Hasan, a Palestinian-American youth organizer with the Arab American Action Network, a grassroots organization working to provide necessary services to Arab immigrants and Arab Americans in and around Chicago. We learn about how Nesreen got involved with organizing work, and about the role that the Arab American Action Network plays in the local community. We discuss the current status of Trump's Muslim ban and AAAN's efforts to fight against it. We also talk about recent violent attacks targeting Muslims and how these attacks impact organizers like Nesreen and the communities they serve. Nesreen also talks about the campaign to free Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh. Rasmea is the Associate Director of AAAN who was arrested in 2013, ostensibly for lying on immigration documents, but in reality due to her political advocacy and organizing work. Rasmea came to the US after spending a decade in an Israeli prison for a crime she didn't commit, where she was tortured and raped. It was her failure to list this time spent in prison on her US immigration documents that saw her facing years in prison. Nesreen discusses the plea deal that Rasmea recently accepted that will keep her out of prison but see her deported.

You can follow AAAN on twitter at @aaanmarkaz. Support their work, as they face a serious budget crisis due to Illinois' GOP governor, by donating here.

May 16, 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, Kumars is joined by first-time guest host Deellan Kashani, our resident Kurdish expert who wrote her undergraduate thesis on radical political organization in the Kurdish-controlled autonomous region of Rojava in northern Syria. Our guest is Brace Belden (better known by his former Twitter handle, @PissPigGranddad), a florist who recently returned from fighting with the Kurdish YPG forces to defend Rojava against ISIS.

By way of introduction, Deellan gives a brief historical overview of Kurdish politics, the conflict in Syria, and the main actors in the region. Kumars and Deellan ask Brace about his motivations for going, his experience of life in Rojava, and how the Western left’s idea of a libertarian socialist revolution compares to the reality of “democratic confederalism.” Brace explains that he went to Syria in part to see what he could learn from the movement, and from his experience as a foreign fighter he shares his impressions of the rigors of life as a member of the governing Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the radical steps being taken to center women in political action. Since leaving his life in the US to joining a militia in Syria, Brace has garnered national media attention, courting criticism from a number of political angles. Brace addresses these criticisms at length.

Follow Brace on Twitter at his new handle @PissPigGrandma, and follow Deellan at @deellank.

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