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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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Dec 28, 2016

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 all alone! No guest this week, but plenty of discussion about what we've learned during this first year of Delete Your Account. It's been a difficult year for everyone left-of-center, and, if we are going to be honest with ourselves, a lot of our assumptions have been seriously challenged. We talk about some of the most important lessons we learned from our guests over the past 29 episodes, and how we can utilize those lessons to work toward a better world in 2017 and beyond. Kumars and Roqayah also talk about what the Holiday season means to each of them, and there's even some singing at the end. We promise the singing is short and relatively painless.

Merry Christmars!!!

Dec 20, 2016

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 and Roqayah speak with Melissa Mays, a resident of Flint, Michigan and mother of three who founded Water You Fighting For, a grassroots organization dedicated to spreading awareness of the Flint water crisis and fighting for justice for the residents of Flint. For nearly three years, the residents of Flint, Michigan, have had contaminated water running through their faucets, tainted by lead and other dangerous pollutants since the city started drawing its water from the polluted Flint River in April of 2014. Since then, the people of Flint have been forced to rely on bottled water for everything from drinking to cooking. To date, as many as 12,000 children in Flint have been exposed to high levels of lead.

Melissa tells us about the serious health consequences she and her family have dealt with as a result of using their own tap water. She describes how Michigan's emergency manager law allowed an un-elected bureaucrat to switch Flint's water source, and how a $150-a-day corrosion control method was eliminated, causing $1.5 billion in damage to infrastructure alongside immeasurable damage to the health of Flint residents. She also talks about the role of the state and federal governments in covering up the true extent of the crisis.

We also ask Melissa how she went from being a music promoter with no activism experience to being the leader of a social justice organization. We talk about how race and class have impacted both the government's response to the crisis, as well as her organizing work. She gives tips for people who are considering organizing around water quality and access in their own communities, as well as advice for how to connect with organizers in other cities doing this work.

You can find Melissa on twitter at @FlintGate.

Dec 13, 2016

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On this episode, Kumars and Roqayah speak with Alexis Goldstein, a writer, activist, and Senior Policy Analyst at Americans for Financial Reform, a non-profit coalition of more than 200 groups fighting for a financial system that serves the interests of all people, rather than just the interests of rich oligarchs. Alexis used to work for Wall Street before she started working against Wall Street, participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement and co-authoring Occupy the SEC’s 325-page comment letter to financial regulators urging for stronger regulation of big banks.

Alexis tells us about Trump's choice for Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs banker Steven Mnuchin, and his history of racist lending practices and profiting off of the backs of mistreated homeowners. We also discuss Trump's pick for Director of the National Economic Council, Goldman Sachs President and COO Gary Cohn, and what his choice means for the future of financial policy. We ask Alexis about ways to fight back, including rolling jubilees, debt strikes, and creative projects like the Angry Alumni Association. We also talk about ways we can pressure local and state governments, as well as powerful establishment groups like the Human Rights Campaign, to resist the erosion of our financial regulatory system.

Read Alexis' letter to Human Rights Campaign calling on them to exert more pressure on financial institutions.

You can find Alexis on twitter at @alexisgoldstein. Also check out her podcast Humorless Queers.

Resources discussed on the show:

Bad Paper by Jake Halpern

Strike Debt

The Debt Collective

Angry Alumni Association

Fun links from the show:

Actual trailer for Westworld that we spoofed

Write-up about the podcast in Merry Jane

Show transcript coming soon!

Dec 6, 2016

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On this episode, Kumars and Roqayah speak with returning guest Mariame Kaba, though most of you know her as @prisonculture on Twitter. If you're not familiar with Mariame, she's a brilliant organizer whose work focuses primarily on dismantling the prison industrial complex. She's the founder of Project NIA, which is an advocacy group focused on ending youth incarceration. She's also co-founded a number of other organizations including the Chicago Taskforce on Violence against Girls and Young Women.

Mariame had such a positive impact on us when she was on our show last and we wanted to make sure to have her back on the show post-Trump. We ask Mariame her thoughts on what kinds of organizing groups people should be getting involved with, and whether she feels engaging with the Democratic party on the local level is a viable strategy or a waste of time. We discuss the recent controversy surrounding identity politics and why Mariame thinks the mythical concept of unity is a distraction. We also discuss various strategies for organizing and the roles that direct action and confronting fascists head-on will play in the next several years. Mariame tells us the next big fight will be on Medicare privatization, and that it presents a perfect opportunity to put our best organizing theories to the test. Mariame throws down the gauntlet: Get. Your. People.

Also, don't forget to check out Mariame's writing on her blog!

Finally, check out the interview transcript.

 

Nov 29, 2016

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On this episode, Roqayah is out sick but Kumars spoke with 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.  Eric and Kumars begin by reviewing the relevant science, including the effect of climate change on extreme weather events; resources like land, air and water; and living organisms and ecosystems.  We examine proposed political and technological fixes to the crisis, and their inadequacy in dealing with the magnitude of what we face.  Finally, we discuss strategies for developing the mass movement that will be required for not only eliminating the use of fossil fuels, but also replacing them with an energy economy that provides for all people, not just the wealthy and powerful.

Follow Eric on twitter at @EricHolthaus, and follow his podcast at @ourwarmregards.

 

Resource on LGBT life in Cuba discussed at the end of the episode:

Rainbow Solidarity in Defense of Cuba by Leslie Feinberg

 

Nov 18, 2016

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 speak with Freddy Martinez, a computer security researcher and activist specializing in communications security and police accountability.  He is also the director of Lucy Parsons Labs.  Freddy shares some tips for avoiding state surveillance while doing organizing work.  He shares tips on securing your phone, gives alternatives to using email lists, discusses best practices for meeting security, and talks about how to avoid surveillance at protests.  Freddy also discusses his work exposing Chicago Police Department's use of Stingray technology to track and spy on the public.  Freddy shares his thoughts on FOIA as a tool for activists, including his belief that hacktivism, rather than FOIA, will be the most important driver of government accountability and transparency.

Follow Freddy on twitter at @B_Meson.

Resources discussed on the show:

Signal - encrypted text messaging

Riseup Etherpad - alternative to email lists

Stay safe everyone!

Nov 9, 2016

Yes, Trump looks like he will be our next president.

We have on @BrettPain and @MurderBryan from Street Fight Radio on WCRS in Columbus, Ohio to discuss what's next for those of us on the left following this absolutely crushing defeat at the hands of the extreme right-wing.  It's definitely a cathartic conversation, but we don't just vent, we discuss next steps for building a powerful counterweight to right-wing demagoguery. Liberalism and sectarian leftism have failed. We can't keep blaming everyone else, this defeat requires some serious introspection from liberals and leftists alike. If you are unable to organize people to your political position, that's your fault, not the fault of those you fail to convince.

It's time for those of us on the Left to get it together. No one else is going to fix this for us.

Episode Transcript:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qTQGhQc_TROM1gmiiDvWl-lxjfmfbFDPGBShzIGb1AI/edit?usp=sharing

Nov 2, 2016

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 speak with a married father of one who has spent over ten years as a biologist and environmental protection specialist, planning large scale projects to minimize environmental impacts for several federal agencies. John (not his real name) was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in March and he's now found himself stuck in between massive gaps in our healthcare system and an out-of-control drug war.

John tells us about his initial diagnosis, a diagnosis that came many months late because of his inability to get the care he needed in a timely fashion. This delay in care happened despite him having some of the best health insurance available as a federal employee.  Once diagnosed, John tells us about how he was forced to continue working full-time so as not to lose his life insurance or health insurance policies.  Without life insurance, his family would be severely impacted if he should die, and without health insurance, he could not afford the care required to keep him alive.  If he were to get insurance on the private market, it would be too expensive to afford, even with his current salary, and the benefits would be severely limited compared to what he currently has.

John also tells us how he is at risk for losing his job (hence the pseudonym) because of his use of medical marijuana, the only treatment that has allowed him to deal with the horrible effects of his cancer and chemotherapy treatments. There are strict rules against federal employees using medical marijuana, even if they work in states where it is legal. Recently, it was announced that random drug-testing would be extended to all federal employees, putting John at-risk for losing his job, his healthcare, and his life insurance. We discuss the pharmaceutical industry's role in fighting the legitimacy of medical marijuana, as well as their role in perpetuating skyrocketing healthcare costs. We also discuss the importance of writing to government officials to speak out on behalf of John and those in a similar position who are denied life-saving treatment, whether due to cost or due to our indefensible drug laws.

Look for a story from Roqayah in Shadowproof on John's situation shortly!

 

Opening music from http://www.purple-planet.com

Oct 24, 2016

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On this episode, Roqayah speaks with Arnessa Buljusmic-Kustura, a 27-year-old Muslim, Bosnian-American analyst, community organizer, and single mother, who went viral in 2015 after sharing her family’s experience with the US immigration process for refugees on Twitter. Kustura, who authored Letters From The Diaspora, a powerful collection of stories documenting the way in which Bosnians continue to deal with the aftermath of war, sheds light on the power of one’s identity and how it shapes the way your life, and the lives of those around you, manifests.

This interview is part of Roqayah’s Islam In America series at Shadowproof, which amplifies the stories of Muslim-Americans and what they struggle with in their day-to-day lives, beyond just Islamophobia.

Kustura, former executive director of the Bosniak American Association of Iowa, tells us about her struggles as a single, Muslim mother resisting patriarchal sentiment regarding divorce and single-motherhood, and how she is impacted by what she describes as performative expressions of sympathy as she goes through a battle with cancer.

Follow Arnessa on Twitter @Rrrrnessa. You can also purchase her book, Letters From The Diaspora, here.

Oct 19, 2016

This is only part of our interview with Cato and Doug from The South Lawn. 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, Roqayah and Kumars are joined once more by our friends Douglas Williams and @Cato_of_Utica, two labor organizers who are the forces behind The South Lawn blog. We have them on to discuss the recent firebombing of the Orange County GOP office in North Carolina and the recent article they published about the event and its aftermath. Cato lives in North Carolina and has a lot of experience going up against the North Carolina GOP, experience he shares with us. We discuss the ridiculous fundraiser by supposed liberals on behalf of the North Carolina GOP to rebuild their offices, and how it will actually erode democratic norms in the state while pretending to preserve those norms. We discuss how the North Carolina GOP will use this money to hurt underrepresented groups that Liberals pretend to care about, and that this gesture only serves the smug self-righteousness of the participants. We also discuss the role and limitations of political violence, and how any resistance needs to be organized, disciplined, and goal-oriented, unlike what we saw in North Carolina.

Follow @Cato_of_Utica on twitter. Also follow Doug and Cato's blog at @TheSouthLawn.

Also, check out this article about the Rural Organizing Project that Cato mentions during the interview, as well as This Non-Violence Stuff'll Get You Killed.

 

 

Oct 11, 2016

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On this episode, Roqayah and Kumars speak with Afrah Nasser, an independent Yemeni journalist and blogger. In 2011, she was forced to seek asylum in Sweden due to her vocal participation in the revolution against the government of Yemen’s long-time president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Afrah helps us understand the current conflict in Yemen, where a Saudi-led, US-backed intervention in the Yemeni civil war has resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians, and created a massive humanitarian crisis for millions more.

We learn a bit of Yemen's political history, including how former President Saleh was able to maintain his grip on power for decades, and what finally led to his removal from power in the 2011 revolution. We hear about the weak government that followed, led by former Vice President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, and the failures of that government to reach a negotiated peace in the country. Afrah tells us about the Houthi rebellion, beginning in 2004, which succeeded in deposing the Hadi government in 2015, plunging the country into a civil war. We discuss the strange alliance between the Houthi rebels and forces loyal to former President Saleh, who were once bitter enemies. We also discuss the Saudi Arabia-led, US-backed coalition that intervened on behalf of the Hadi government, in an attempt to stifle democracy in Yemen so it cannot threaten Saudi power in the region. Afrah tells us about war crimes committed against Yemeni civilians by both sides of the conflict, and the role that Western governments like the US government plays in perpetuating the violence. We focus on the recent "double-tap" strike by Saudi jets, using American bombs, that killed over 140 and injured over 500, where a funeral was bombed and then jets circled back around to bomb the same area to target first-responders. We also discuss the often-overlooked humanitarian crises affecting millions of Yemenis, including a cholera outbreak, famine, and extreme water shortages, and the role that actors on both sides of the war play in exacerbating these devastating circumstances. Finally, we ask Afrah what she sees as the path to a lasting peace for the country.

Follow Afrah on twitter at @Afrahnasser. Also be sure to check out her blog as well as the freelance work she does for several different outlets.

Oct 6, 2016

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On this episode, Roqayah and Kumars cover the shocking rejection of a peace deal negotiated between the Colombian government and communist FARC rebels. To learn more about what's happening inside Colombia, we interview Sergio Andrés Rueda, a philosophy student, activist, and communist theorist at the Universidad Industrial de Santander in Colombia. Sergio gives us background on the 52-year insurgency gripping Colombia that has left over 220,000 dead, mostly civilians, and close to 6 million displaced. He explains the origins of the FARC guerilla movement and why they have resisted successive Colombian governments. We discuss the role of the Colombian military and closely associated paramilitary groups in atrocities meant to drive peasant farmers from their land to open it up to elite buyers and private corporations. We discuss Plan Colombia and the role of the US in perpetuating and intensifying the violence. Sergio goes over the major components of the deal, who was for it and who was against it, and why the popular referendum on the deal ultimately failed. We also ask Sergio about the motivations behind and impact of the decision of Human Rights Watch to oppose the deal. Finally, we discuss the situation today, following the rejection of the peace deal, and what comes next for the people of Colombia.

Follow Sergio on twitter at @RuedaSerg. You can also find some of his academic writings here.

Sep 27, 2016

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On this episode, we keep the focus on the massive, nationwide #PrisonStrike that began on September 9th and which we covered in our last episode.

First, we play a clip from On The Media with Azzurra Crispino, our guest from last week. Azzurra is media co-chair for the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), a branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Austin Community College and Co-Founder of Prison Abolition Prisoner Solidarity, an organization dedicated to supporting prisoners and prison abolition efforts. In the clip, she asks whether mainstream media is complicit in violence within prisons because they only cover prison resistance when it turns violent, ignoring non-violent resistance like the current strike. Kumars and Roqayah discuss this point and brainstorm ways to get around this sad reality.

Next, Kumars interviews "D", the incarcerated strike leader from South Carolina who we spoke to in our last episode. Kumars gets an update from D about conditions on the ground where he is, and the repression he and others have faced as they keep their strike alive. Importantly, D discusses the lasting changes in terms of prisoner consciousness and solidarity he already sees, and discusses next steps for this movement which will not end until prisons as we currently know them cease to exist.

If you want to learn more or get involved:

Donate to IWOC to support striking prisoners

Write letters to incarcerated strike leaders facing repression

Boycott products made with prison slave labor

Call prisons to tell them to meet prisoner demands and halt repression

Bail out arrested prison strike supporters

Free Alabama Movement

IWOC Facebook page

Prison strike timeline and other useful information

Strike tracking state-by-state

Also, email iwoc@riseup.net to get involved with an IWOC chapter near you!

Follow Azzurra Crispino on twitter at @LibertyHerbert and IWOC at @IWW_IWOC.

Sep 19, 2016

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 interview several organizers affiliated with the prison labor stike currently happening at dozens of facilities across the country. The strike began on September 9th, the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison rebellion, and continues to grow despite severe repression by prison guards and administrators.

First, we speak to Azzurra Crispino, media co-chair for the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), a branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). She is also an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Austin Community College and Co-Founder of Prison Abolition Prisoner Solidarity, an organization dedicated to supporting prisoners and prison abolition efforts. She gives us some background on the recent history of prisoner resistance, from Attica to today. She discusses the many demands of strikers, including changing the 13th amendment to completely outlaw slavery, including for incarcerated people. She gives her thoughts on what brings us to the current moment, where we are seeing the largest prison strike in US history, with as many as 24,000 prisoners refusing to work and more joining daily. She also talks about the companies that profit off of prison slave labor, and what we can do to stop them.

Next, we speak to Cole Dorsey. Cole was incarcerated for three years in Michigan on drug charges. Shortly after his release, he joined the IWW as an organizer in 2004, where he has been ever since. He is currently an organizer with the Oakland IWOC and Bay Area IWW. We talk to Cole about his life before, during, and after prison, and how his experiences have shaped his organizing work. We discuss strategies for organizing both inside and outside of prison, and the role that IWOC plays in supporting and connecting on-the-ground struggles across the country. Cole tells us about the tactics used by prison administrators to hinder organizing efforts. We also discuss ways the average person can get involved to support striking prisoners.

Finally, Kumars speaks to "D", a strike organizer at a correctional institution in South Carolina. D spoke to us on a cellphone that was smuggled into the prison and he has to maintain a level of anonymity to avoid retribution for his organizing work. He tells Kumars about what is happening where he is, with close to 350 prisoners participating in the work stoppage there. He explains that more are expected to join the strike in the coming days, even as prisoners face serious consequences for refusing to work. He also tells Kumars that what prisoners want most from supporters on the outside is to not let the public's attention dissipate, because once it does, prisoners will face serious repercussions. He also discusses the importance of writing letters to prisoners, as well as donating to groups like IWOC that support prisoner commissary funds.

If you want to learn more or get involved:

Donate to IWOC to support striking prisoners

Write letters to incarcerated strike leaders facing repression

Boycott products made with prison slave labor

Call prisons to tell them to meet prisoner demands and halt repression

Bail out arrested prison strike supporters

Free Alabama Movement

IWOC Facebook page

Prison strike timeline and other useful information

Strike tracking state-by-state

Also, email iwoc@riseup.net to get involved with an IWOC chapter near you!

Follow Azzurra Crispino on twitter at @LibertyHerbert and IWOC at @IWW_IWOC.

Sep 10, 2016

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 interview Ruth H. Hopkins, a Lakota and Dakota of the Oceti Sakowin, or Great Sioux Nation, and an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Nation. She’s also a columnist for Indian Country Today Media Network and co-founder of Last Real Indians. Ruth has recently been involved in a massive, sustained direct action campaign to stop construction of the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline, a movement led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other indigenous groups.

We talk to Ruth about the Sacred Stone encampment which has now ballooned to over 8,000 people from roughly a dozen when the camp formed in April to resist the construction of this pipeline. We discuss the unprecedented nature of the unification of native tribes in opposition to this pipeline, solidarity which hasn't been seen since Tecumseh united tribes in opposition to settler colonialism at the beginning of the 19th century. Ruth explains that even historic enemies have set aside their differences to join forces, unity which she sees lasting long after the encampment disbands. Ruth also describes the vicious repression they've faced, including violence from private security who even released attack dogs on protesters. We discuss how this movement seems to be entering mainstream consciousness, and what implications this shift has for both practical and tactical organizing strategy. We also discuss how to increase coordination between seemingly separate, yet actually interconnected, struggles.

If you want to learn more or get involved:

 

Background reading:

Indian Country Today Media Network

Last Real Indians

Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee

God is Red

Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto

Black Elk Speaks

 

Places to donate/groups to support:

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Sacred Stone Camp

Red Warrior Camp

Rezpect Our Water

Sacred Stone Camp GoFundMe

Sacred Stone Camp Amazon Wishlist

Indigenous Environmental Network

 

Follow Ruth H. Hopkins on twitter at @RuthHHopkins.

Sep 6, 2016

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 very special Labor Day episode, Roqayah and Kumars interview Emmett Rensin, a writer and contributing editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is also a University of Iowa graduate student and proud, dues-paying member of United Electrical Workers Local 896, better known as the Coalition of Graduate Students, or COGS, at the University of Iowa. You might also remember Emmett from his time writing over at Vox. We talk to Emmett about an essay he wrote for the LA Review of Books about a recent NLRB ruling that finally recognized teaching and research assistants at private universities as employees with the ability to form a union. Emmett explains the significance of this ruling to tens of thousands of student workers across the country, as well as the predictable and uniform responses of overpaid administrators attempting to stifle unionization efforts at their respective campuses. We discuss how the arguments advanced by these administrators are without merit and in fact conflict with the actual academic research on the subject. We also ridicule University of Chicago in particular, which released back-to-back letters, one saying that a student worker union would damage the unique character of the university, and another decrying the supposed proliferation of "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces" as impediments to preparation for life in the real world. Finally, we talk to Emmett about the controversy that got him suspended from Vox. Are riots good? Listen to find out!

If you are a student worker and want to join this important fight wherever you happen to be, email the show at deleteuracct at gmail or reach out on twitter and we can help get you connected with organizers at your school. You can also contact the Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions which is a great resource for student workers currently unionized, as well as those actively fighting for a union and those interested in starting the fight.

Follow Emmett Rensin on twitter at @EmmettRensin.

 

Aug 29, 2016

This is only part of our interview with Bryan and Brett from Street Fight on WCRS. 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, Roqayah and Kumars talk to Bryan Quinby and Brett Pain, cohosts of Street Fight, an anarcho-comedy radio show that airs weekly on WCRS in Columbus, Ohio, and is also available via podcast. We find out how Brett and Bryan got involved in political talk radio, and how their politics have evolved over time. We discuss their past lives as conservatives and what caused them to eventually see both American political parties as not being for them. We ask Brett and Bryan about how having kids has molded their politics as well. Finally, we discuss the importance of understanding where people are coming from and having compassion for their unique situations, and how understanding and compassion are different from tolerating dangerous and reactionary ideas or actions. In order to be successful as a political organizer, you need to be able to change minds, and Brett and Bryan give us some insight into the minds of people we need to bring along in any political revolution.

Follow Brett (@BrettPain) and Bryan (@MurderBryan) on twitter. Also follow their show at @StreetFightWCRS.

Aug 23, 2016

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 joined by Imraan Siddiqi. Imraan is a writer, activist and Executive Director of The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Arizona branch. He's also head of the Islamophobia tracking project Hate Hurts. Imraan explains how Islamophobia manifests in ways that go far beyond mere criticism of Islam, despite what folks like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins would have you believe. He explains how Islam, despite not being a race, is racialized, with non-Muslims falling victim to Islamophobic attacks based on characteristics including race and national origin that are incorrectly perceived as Islamic. We discuss how the war on terror, even when dressed up in liberal rhetoric by politicians like Obama and Clinton, inevitably feeds Islamophobia by implicitly and explicitly devaluing Muslim lives. We also discuss how economic insecurity in working-class rural white communities, as well as in Muslim communities, creates fertile ground for hatred and fear-mongering. Defeating Islamophobia will ultimately require dramatic structural fixes, including ending the war on terror and seriously addressing wealth inequality.

Follow Imraan on twitter at @imraansiddiqi. Also follow @CAIRAZ and @hatehurts_.

 

Aug 16, 2016

This is only part of our interview with Adam Johnson. If you want to hear the rest, 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, Roqayah and Kumars talk to Adam Johnson, a prolific media analyst and critic whose work can be found at FAIR, Alternet, and other outlets. We talk about Adam's work chronicling how mainstream media outlets essentially serve as PR firms for government and other powerful interests. Adam talks about the countless and often silly comparisons of Donald Trump to various enemies of the US, in a way that purposefully ignores similarities to other US politicians and foreign allies. We discuss how censorship functions in a liberal democracy, where adversarial writers simply can't find work at mainstream outlets, while true-believers in the status quo see their careers advance quickly. The gang also has a lot of fun in the bonus content which you won't want to miss!

Follow Adam on twitter at @AdamJohnsonNYC.

While we don't recommend listening, here is the "With Her" Hillary Clinton campaign podcast which inspired our cold open for this episode. Seriously though, don't listen. It's really painful. You've been warned.

Aug 9, 2016

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On this episode, Roqayah and Kumars first talk to Dave Zirin, a prolific writer at the intersection of politics and sports and author of Brazil's Dance with the Devil about Brazil's hosting of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics. We ask Dave about the unique factors that make the Rio Olympics horrible for ordinary people in Brazil. Dave also talks about the common defining features of all Olympics: mountains debt taken on to finance the games, displacement of people to make way for Olympic venues, and militarization of local police.

Next, Roqayah and Kumars talk to Robin Jacks and Jonathan Cohn, two co-founders of No Boston 2024, a network of activists that helped defeat Boston's bid to host the 2024 Olympic games. Robin and Jonathan go in-depth on how they were able to help keep the Olympics out of their own backyard. They discuss the importance of having both an inside and an outside organizing strategy, that incorporates mainstream politics with creative protest and direct action. They also highlight the importance of starting to organize early, and identify chokepoints where your effort can be most effective.

Follow Dave (@EdgeofSports), Robin (@caulkthewagon), and Jonathan (@JonathanCohn), three of the #TenPeopleOnTwitter.

Aug 2, 2016

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On this episode, Roqayah and Kumars talk to George Ciccariello-Maher. George is a writer, radical political theorist, and currently Associate Professor of Politics at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He has taught radical theory and politics at Drexel, U.C. Berkeley, San Quentin State Prison, and the Venezuelan School of Planning in Caracas. His first book, a history of revolutionary movements in Venezuela entitled We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution, was published in 2013, and he has more books on the way.

We discuss the rise of Chavez in Venezuela, and recent setbacks for the Bolivarian revolution following his death. We examine the reasons for these setbacks, and discuss what other leftist movements can learn from Venezuela. We also discuss other countries in the region including Honduras, and the role of western entities like the US government and the IMF in fighting against leftist gains made in these countries.

Follow George on twitter at @ciccmaher to learn more.

Jul 25, 2016

This is only part of our interview with Margaret Kimberley. 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, Roqayah and Kumars talk to Margaret Kimberley, a journalist and senior columnist at Black Agenda Report. She writes the weekly “Freedom Rider” column, which appears on Black Agenda Report and is widely republished elsewhere. We discuss the history and philosophy of Black Agenda Report, including its focus on left anti-imperialism. We discuss the #DNCLeaks and the garbage fire that is the Democratic Party. Margaret makes the case that neither party can be trusted and a viable left third party must be built. We debate the relative efficacy of top-down versus bottom-up strategies for building a left party, and whether both approaches are really needed. We also have some fun talking about Clinton's VP pick and the silly media coverage of the RNC.

Follow Margaret on twitter at @freedomrideblog.

Jul 18, 2016

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On this episode, Roqayah and Kumars talk to Mehmet Yuksel, the official US representative for the People's Democratic Party (HDP) of Turkey. HDP is a left-wing, anti-nationalist, pro-Kurdish and other minority party, the largest left-wing party in Turkey, currently holding 60 seats in Parliament. HDP is strongly opposed to the policies of Erdoğan's ruling right-wing Justice and Development (AKP) Party, and yet also came out strongly against the military coup that attempted to oust Erdoğan. We ask Mehmet about HDP's strong opposition to both AKP and military rule, and the steep price that HDP and the constituencies they represent have paid as a result of standing up against attacks on Turkish democracy. Mehmet gives us his take on who was behind the coup attempt, as well as the political conditions that made such an attempt inevitable. He goes in-depth into why a military coup could never be in the interests of a left-wing party like HDP. We talk about how Erdoğan has capitalized on the failed coup attempt to consolidate power and attack his enemies, including followers of political rival Fethullah Gülen, religious and ethnic minorities, and the HDP itself. We also ask about the role HDP has played in attempting to mediate diplomatic talks between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed resistance group fighting for Kurdish rights and autonomy, and the AKP, and why those efforts have so far failed.

Follow Mehmet on twitter at @MemoInfor and also follow @HDPEnglish to learn more.

 

Jul 11, 2016

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On this episode, Roqayah and Kumars talk to Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Israel (BDS), and of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). Omar clears up some common misconceptions of BDS, and addresses critiques of the strategy from both the left and the right. He talks about the origins of the movement, what inspires him, what ethical sanctions would look like, and the usefulness of nationalism as a framework for decolonization. Omar also discusses the concepts of "ethical decolonization" and "indigenization" in the context of Palestinian refugees' right of return. Omar stresses the importance of ending complicity, not just with the crimes of the Israeli government, but with oppressive structures world-wide.

Follow @BDSMovement on twitter to learn more.

Links discussed in the show:

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights, by Omar Barghouti

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Ilan Pappe

 

Jul 2, 2016

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On this episode, Roqayah and Kumars interview Cat Brooks, an Oakland-based community organizer and founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP). We ask Cat how she got involved in community organizing and what drives her to do the work. Cat also tells us about her organization, which provides victims of police terror and their families with support services, as well as engaging in organizing and direct action to pressure police departments in the Bay Area to end their assault on black and brown communities. We learn about two victims of police terror, Yuvette Henderson and Richard Perkins, murdered by Emeryville Police and Oakland Police respectively, and how APTP supported their families. We learn about some of the direct action work of APTP, including their phenomenally successful 96 Hours of Direct Action events over the past two MLK Day Weekends, which aimed to commemorate and reclaim the radical legacy of MLK. Finally, we discuss how APTP and other organizations active in the Bay Area have in recent months ousted police chiefs in both San Francisco and Oakland. Oakland, which went through three police chiefs in the span of a week as a result of community pressure, now currently has no police chief because everyone in the department is too corrupt to be given the job.

We also ask Cat about her views on reform and revolution, and her view for how we get from where we are now to an end to policing and prisons. We also compliment her on a well-placed hyphen in the name of her organization.

Follow Cat at @CatsCommentary on twitter, and also follow @APTPaction.

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