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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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Now displaying: February, 2018
Feb 28, 2018

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

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

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

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

Feb 21, 2018

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

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

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

Feb 14, 2018

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

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

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

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

Feb 7, 2018

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

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

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

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

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