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