This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Olivia Katbi Smith and Isi Breen. Olivia is co-chair of the Portland, Oregon chapter of the DSA, and Isi is the former press secretary for then-Congressman Keith Ellison, and current Communications Director for Jewish Community Action in Minnesota.
They join us for an in-depth discussion of the firestorm surrounding tweets on Israel and the pro-Israel lobbyist group AIPAC from newly-elected Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar. We explain the accusation of anti-Semitism Omar has been smeared with, and talk about the racist framing and bad faith nature of the accusations. Isi draws on his own experience dealing with bad faith accusations of antisemitism as press secretary for Keith Ellison, and stresses the importance of moral clarity on the subject of Palestine while also being mindful of the language we use from a tactical perspective. Olivia, who herself has been at the receiving end of a character assassination campaign due to her own Palestine advocacy, dives into the toll these kinds of smears take on someone. We talk about the importance of not engaging with bad faith accusations, often propagated by those with their own anti-Semitic records, and instead focusing on building solidarity across all communities with justice in mind.
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This week, Roqayah and Kumars are rejoined by Katy Slininger, a former postal worker and DSA organizer who recently chronicled her personal experience of pregnancy discrimination and unemployment in an article for Popula.com. Katy 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 the rural Northeast, known as Quiet Corner DSA. Katy fills Roqayah and Kumars in on what she’s been up to and why she left DSA, then details how she suffered as a result of the US Post Office management’s disregard for pregnant workers’ health and the failure of existing union and welfare state protections like the Family Medical Leave Act to help her. She goes on to describe being forced to quit and undertaking the grueling process of applying for jobs given the grossly inadequate protections of pregnancy discrimination legislation for blue-collar and service workers. The gang ends on a practical note, examining Katy’s call for more radical unions and considering what organizers need to do differently to ensure that freeing reproductive labor is a priority on the left.
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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