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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. After opening the show discussing the latest clash between Nazis and Antifa in Berkeley, Kumars and Nora talk to David Forbes, a journalist based in Asheville, North Carolina and editor of The Asheville Blade. They are also the author of The Old Iron Dream, a secret history of the sci-fi far-right. We invited David on the show to discuss the passage of the anti-LGBT law HB2 and the passage of the so-called compromise repeal bill HB142, which still discriminates against the LGBT community. David has been following this saga, writing in the Asheville Blade, and they help us understand where we are now and what comes next in the fight for LGBT equality in North Carolina.
David discusses the initial passage of HB2 and the main components of the bill which went well beyond transgender bathroom access, the part of the bill which dominated news stories. David positions the strong backlash against the bill in the context of other organizing against right-wing governance happening in the state at that time, including the Moral Mondays movement championed by the North Carolina NAACP and allied groups. We talk about how the opposition to the bill was so effective in forcing legislators back to the negotiating table and ruining Republican Governor Pat McCrory's re-election chances last November. David goes over HB 142, the "compromise repeal" bill passed in North Carolina that David characterizes as neither a compromise nor a repeal. They point out that Democrats in the state had a golden opportunity to win everything by just doing nothing. Instead, always seeking compromise for compromise's sake, Democrats added their names to a deeply unpopular and counterproductive bill opposed by essentially every organization in the Democratic base. Typical of Democratic politicians nationwide, the North Carolina Democratic Party snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. We discuss the initial success of boycotts by the NBA and NCAA in pushing for the repeal of HB2, but also point out that the long-term effectiveness of capital boycotts like these are hampered by the profit motive of these billion-dollar entities, which quickly ended their boycotts once given any reason to do so. David tells us that many of our most important fights, including the fight for LGBT equality, are best fought at the local level, and encourages activists to take over city governments and use local government resources to fight state and national policies.
You can follow Nora on twitter at @norabf. Follow David on twitter at @DavidForbes. Also make sure to check out the Asheville Blade on twitter at @AvlBlade. Don't miss David's long essay on the HB2/HB142 saga, "Turncoats", which we discussed in-depth during the episode.