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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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Apr 17, 2017

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 is joined by returning guest-co-host Arnesa Buljusmic-Kustura, @Rrrrnessa on twitter. They begin the show talking about Trump's bombing of a Syrian airfield and the media's predictable sycophancy. Arnesa discusses her personal experiences as a Bosnian war refugee and how those experiences inform her opposition to US military intervention in Syria.

Kumars and Arnesa then interview Megan Clapp, a Ph.D. Candidate in clinical psychology whose clinical work has been primarily centered on trauma, anxiety, and depression, with special focus on LGBTQ issues. She’s currently working on her dissertation which focuses on the relationship between shame, power, and abuse - and is collaborating with other mental health folks in Chicago to develop more radical psychological practices. Kumars and Arnesa ask Megan about her background and how she became interested in left politics and activism. They also discuss a main focus of Megan's research and writing, the positive and negative roles of shame in left movement-building. Megan introduces us to reintegrative shaming, a concept within restorative justice that attempts to use shame to shift people toward less reactionary political positions, without burdening them with unresolved shame that can have dangerous consequences. Megan also explains the subtle difference between empathy and rationalization, including the importance of the former and danger of the latter when dealing with abusers. She also talks about the risks empathy can pose to many, particularly the victims of abuse, and the necessity for others to attempt to understand what motivates and molds a person who engages in an abusive behavior, so that we can more effectively prevent and subvert abusive tendencies within all of us. Finally, Megan talks about the role of trauma in the development of radical politics, and encourages left movements to deal with the reality of trauma among its ranks in an open, honest, and non-judgemental way.

You can find Megan on twitter at @prefigurologist. Also make sure to check out her awesome blog.

Apr 6, 2017

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 interviews KB Brower, an organizer with the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, the independent nurses union in Philadelphia, which has a long history of rank and file militancy and social justice unionism. Before moving to Philadelphia, KB organized contracted out workers and students with AFSCME 3299, and before that, she ran domestic campaigns for United Students Against Sweatshops. She got her start in the labor movement with SEIU 1199 New England, where she learned about building majority social justice unions that aren't afraid to strike and win. KB gives Kumars and our listeners a crash-course in organizing best practices, based off of a two-day training she recently held. She discusses key components of the internal structure of any successful community or labor organizing group, and ways to grow your organization. Kumars and KB talk about where power comes from, and go over the concept of power mapping, including identifying and recruiting natural leaders. KB explains the basic ingredients of an organizing conversation, including identifying issues that resonate with the person you're talking to, agitating them, and giving them a plan to win. KB explains how to deal with difficult questions through affirming the point-of-view of the questioner, answering their question concisely, and redirecting back to the issue the questioner cares most about. We discuss the idea of the "biggest worst", an area where our organization is lacking in strength and has the best potential for improvement. Given limited time and energy, focusing on biggest worsts will result in the generation of more power than focusing on areas where we are already strong that don't have much room for growth. We also talk about turning an issue into a campaign that not only achieves your goal, but also grows the power of your organization. Finally, KB stresses the importance of having both majority participation and a broader conception of social justice so that you have both the power to win in the short-term while remaking society to make those gains long-lasting.

KB isn't on twitter herself, but you can follow the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals on twitter at @PennaNurses.

Mar 30, 2017

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 is joined by guest-co-host Nora Barrows-Friedman, reporter and associate editor for The Electronic Intifada. After having some fun in the show intro, Kumars and Nora talk to Theresa O'Connor from Health Care for All - California, an organization fighting for single-payer healthcare in the state. She is also on the communications committee for the “Healthy California” coalition, a coalition of healthcare, community, and labor groups working to pass single-payer legislation in California during the 2017-2018 legislative session. We wanted to have Theresa on to tell us about a piece of legislation her group is helping to push that might make single-payer healthcare a reality in California, State Bill 562. Theresa tells us how she got involved in the fight for single-payer healthcare after Bernie Sanders made it a rallying cry during his Democratic primary campaign. She talks about the rich history of single-payer activism in California that gives the state a real chance at establishing a single-payer system in the current political climate. We discuss the expected contours of the bill, since it is currently just a so-called "spot bill", meaning that the final, specific language is yet to be released. We also talk about some of the obstacles the bill faces, and what activists are doing to build power to make single-payer healthcare a reality. Theresa gives her thoughts on the epic failure of the ACHA, Trump and Paul Ryan's proposed replacement for Obamacare, and what this means for the fight for single-payer. Finally, Theresa discusses ways to get involved in this fight, both in California and in other states. Find a chapter of Healthcare for All-California near you!

You can follow Nora on twitter at @norabf. Follow Theresa at @RedwoodGirl. Also, make sure to check out Theresa's explainer piece about SB 562 published on Medium. Follow the Healthy California coalition on Facebook. Follow Healthcare for All - California on Facebook as well. Check for updates on this fight from the National Nurses United, one of the biggest labor backers of SB 562.

Mar 23, 2017

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, Kumars talks to past guests 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 three times a week. You'll remember Brett and Bryan from our election-night episode. We talk about what they've been doing post-election, including getting more involved in organizing and activism in Columbus. We also talk about strategies for keeping the work fun by keeping your sense of humor and integrating social events into the fabric of your organizing groups. in addition to boring planning meetings. The guys also have some fun talking about celebrities and other frivolous stuff.

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

Mar 16, 2017

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 interviews Adam Johnson, a prolific media analyst and critic whose work can be found at FAIR, Alternet, The Nation, and other outlets. Kumars and Adam talk about the over-hyped Trump tax return story pushed by Rachel Maddow. We also discuss Adam's recent reporting on the Global Engagement Center, a State Department effort to spread propaganda targeting ISIS that has recently been expanded to target state actors like Russia and China. These efforts ostensibly aren't meant for domestic audiences, but Adam points out that the government refuses to rule out the possibility that this propaganda would reach Americans. In fact, certain diaspora communities living in the US are explicitly being targeted by these efforts, and US-based journalists have been paid by the State Department in the past, a practice the government refuses to rule out going forward. Adam and Kumars also talk about fake news, specifically how this concept, created by liberals, has been turned against them quite successfully by Trump.

In the introduction, Kumars also talks to his good friend, comedian Nick Martin, about Sean Spicer, Paul Ryan, and comedy in the age of Trump.

You can follow Adam on twitter at @AdamJohnsonNYC. Check out Nick Martin on twitter at @PissMistress.

Mar 9, 2017

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 is joined by writer and activist Arnesa Buljusmic-Kustura (@Rrrrnessa) to talk about some of the absolutely crazy shit that happened this week. We discuss the newly-released Muslim ban 2.0, and compare how organizers are responding now to how they responded to Trump's first executive order. We also talk about TrumpCare, including the implications for Medicaid, Planned Parenthood, and the redistribution of wealth from poor people to the rich. Kumars and Arnesa also welcome Freddy Martinez, the computer whiz you'll remember from a past episode, onto the show to discuss #Vault7, the latest Wikileaks release, and its implications for privacy and left organizing.

You can follow Freddy on twitter at @B_Meson.

Mar 1, 2017

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!!!

It's our first episode with Roqayah on hiatus! Before we get to the main interview, Kumars has a special guest for the show intro. He talks to writer, activist, and past guest Arnesa Buljusmic-Kustura (@Rrrrnessa on twitter) about their shared experiences as stressed-out graduate students, living in the Midwest, and the shit-show that was the Oscars. Arnesa will be joining us next week as co-host for the entire episode!

For the main interview this week, past guest and fan favorite Mariame Kaba (@prisonculture on twitter) takes over hosting duties and talks to Tania Unzueta, co-founder and policy director for Mijente, a nation-wide group dedicated to providing a hub for latinx organizing around immigrant justice, policing, and other issues of importance to latinx communities. They discuss how Tania, herself undocumented, got involved with organizing, helping to found the Immigrant Youth Justice League and later Organized Communities Against Deportations in Chicago, groups that centered the leadership of undocumented immigrants in the fight for their own rights. Tania talks about the recent history of organizing for immigrant justice, beginning in 2006, and how organizers navigated difficult choices around policy proposals such as comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act. They discuss immigrant justice movement tactics, and how those tactics have changed over time and will need to change again in the Trump era. Mariame asks Tania about the Adios Arpaio campaign which successfully ousted Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona and how they were able to win this fight on the same night that the right-wing made huge gains elsewhere. Mariame also asks Tania about the Sanctuary movement, which seeks to prevent local and state law enforcement from cooperating with Federal immigration enforcement efforts, and the report that Mijente recently released called "Expanding Sanctuary" which discusses the movement going forward.

You can follow Tania on twitter at @_LaTania. You can also follow Mijente at @conmijente. Check out Mijente's website to look for ways to plug into the movement for immigrant justice locally, and also donate to support their work if you are able.

Feb 23, 2017

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On this episode, Kumars and Roqayah speak with Lara Kiswani, Executive Director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center or AROC, located in San Francisco. AROC is a grassroots organization dedicated to building Arab community power in pursuit of justice and self-determination for all marginalized peoples. AROC was instrumental in organizing the massive protests at San Francisco International Airport following Trump’s Muslim Ban executive order. We learn about the work AROC and their coalition partners had been doing since Trump's election to prepare to rapidly respond to impending assaults on their community, and how they were able to mobilize so quickly once Trump's Muslim ban was announced. We discuss the importance of logistics and infrastructure in sustaining any direct action, from legal consultation booths to food and water, from art supplies to extension cords. We learn about the strategies that AROC and their allies employed to build this infrastructure in a matter of hours, sustaining a multi-day action with roughly 10,000 participants, an action that led to the release of all detainees at the airport. We also talk about AROC's plans for continuing to resist, with a new Muslim ban executive order due any day now.

You can follow AROC on twitter at @AROCBayArea. If you are in the Bay Area, join the Bay Resistance rapid response text alert system by texting "resist" to 41411. If you are in the Bay Area and witness an ICE raid, call 415-200-1548.

Feb 14, 2017

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On this episode, our guest fell through so Kumars and Roqayah have a special Valentine's Day episode, just the two of them. We talk about football players protesting Trump and Israel. We also discuss major, world-wide protests planned for April and May including the March for Science (April 22), the People's Climate March (April 29), as well as the May Day General Strike and Immigrants' Strike (May 1). We discuss how important these actions will be in demonstrating left power, especially if the momentum can be maintained through those 10 days and beyond. After you eat your vegetables, Kumars and Roqayah get into a deep discussion about the meaning of Valentine's Day, love and relationships. We give some good leftist dating advice that will help you organize your community AND your love life. Roqayah also has some personal news to share. She will be taking a break from the show after the next episode while she catches up on her 50 other jobs and some much-needed sleep. We will have some amazing guest-co-hosts filling in until she returns, including some of your favorite past Delete Your Account guests and maybe even some new voices. So don't worry, we will keep serving you that same high-quality, anti-capitalist content you crave while she's away.

You'll laugh, you'll cry, who knows, you might even delete your account.

Feb 8, 2017

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On this episode, Kumars and Roqayah speak with Maryam Jamshidi, founder and editor-in-chief of Muftah, a digital magazine focused on going beyond the narrow parameters of current media coverage of the Middle East and North Africa. She is also an assistant professor at NYU Law School. In addition to her work at Muftah, you can find her writing in outlets including Truthout and Al Jazeera English, as well as an assortment of academic publications. We wanted to have Maryam on to discuss some of the foreign policy implications of Trump’s election, particularly rising tensions between the US and Iran.

We learn about what led Maryam to get involved in writing and political advocacy focused on the Middle East and North Africa, and we also find out more about the founding and mission of Muftah. We get into some of the history of the US-Iran relationship, from the 1953 CIA-backed coup, the Islamic revolution, the Iran-Iraq war, all the way through to Obama's Nuclear deal with Iran. Maryam gives her thoughts on what factors led to the successful implementation of that deal and a relative, if possibly only temporary, thawing of the US-Iran relationship. We then get into recent developments in the Trump era, including effects of the travel ban, Iran's recent ballistic missile test and the US sanctions that followed, the positioning of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen, and the recently introduced House of Representatives bill that would authorize the use military force against Iran. We talk about several Trump cabinet appointments and how the stars seem to be aligning for war with Iran. Despite these warning signs, Maryam gives a strong argument for why war with Iran is still unlikely, but encourages everyone to remain vigilant to make sure we stop the march to war before it gains too much momentum. We discuss what the anti-war movement will look like under Trump and brainstorm ways to make the movement more resilient and effective than it was under Bush and Obama.

The anti-war movement needs its own preemptive strike, we can't just wait for war to start to begin opposing it.

You can follow Maryam on twitter at @MsJamshidi and Muftah at @MuftahOrg.

Feb 1, 2017

This is only part of our interview with Matt Bruenig. 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 Matt Bruenig, a writer and researcher who focuses on poverty, inequality, and welfare programs. We really wanted to have Matt on to help us understand some of the history of US welfare programs and what Trump’s likely cuts will mean, especially for the poorest Americans. We discuss the role of welfare programs in a capitalist society, and go over the main components of the US welfare state. Matt describes what the social safety net looked like following its establishment during the New Deal under FDR and its expansion under LBJ's Great Society. We discuss rounds of expansion and contraction under subsequent presidents including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as what's in store for the welfare state under Trump and GOP governance. We talk about the failure of the liberal democratic welfare state framework, and discuss how universal, rather than means-tested or identity-based welfare programs could be more durable. We go over a couple of examples of universal programs, including universal basic income and medicare for all. Matt debunks some of the main criticisms of these programs, and makes clear that these are definitely achievable goals.

Patreon subscribers also get more show! We talk about Matt's new baby, his cross-eyed cat, and other fun stuff! Subscribe to hear it all!

Follow Matt on twitter at @MattBruenig. Check out some of his old posts from when he blogged over at Demos, as well as a more recent post about universal basic income which we discuss during the interview. Also, read Matt's latest piece for Jacobin about the Dow reaching 20,000, which we didn't get a chance to discuss during the episode.

Jan 25, 2017

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 Eugene Puryear. Eugene is an organizer and founding member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation or PSL, and is on the editorial board of Liberation News, a biweekly publication of the PSL. He ran for Vice President alongside Presidential candidate Gloria La Riva under the PSL banner in both 2008 and 2016. He is the author of Shackled and Chained: Mass Incarceration in Capitalist America, and host of By Any Means Necessary on Radio Sputnik.

We ask Eugene how he got involved with organizing and how he found himself working with the PSL. We find out more about the PSL, their history, mission, and organizational philosophy, as well as the split between PSL and the Workers' World Party. Eugene gives us his critiques of Bernie Sanders, democratic socialism, and working within the Democratic party, while acknowledging the benefits of the Sanders campaign for the American socialist project. We discuss PSL's electoral politics strategy, both its strengths and limitations. We also talk about the concept of "lesser evilism" and Eugene's vision for what socialism means today.

You can follow Eugene on twitter at @EugenePuryear and check out his writings over at Liberation News.

Jan 18, 2017

This is only part of our interview with Emily and Larry from DSA. 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 two organizers from the Democratic Socialists of America, or DSA, the largest socialist organization in the United States. First, Emily Robinson joins us from Edinburgh, Scotland, where she is also a member of the Scottish Labor Young Socialists. You can find her writing in Current Affairs. We were also joined by the pseudonymous "Larry Website". He is a former northwest field organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign and refers to himself as the Billy Mays of the DSA, which definitely seems to be a fitting description. After Kumars eviscerates Emily and Larry by their own logic, the gang gets down to business, talking about the history of DSA, its mission, and why Emily and Larry each got involved. We have a candid discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of DSA's approach to organizing, comparing and contrasting with groups to their right and to their left along the political spectrum. Larry and Emily discuss their participation in the Left Caucus within DSA which is trying to pull the organization in a more radical direction. We talk about the role that Bernie Sanders played in making socialism palatable to wide swaths of the country, boosting the profile of virtually every socialist organization in the process. We also talk about the limits of Bernie Sanders' approach and the weaknesses of democratic socialism as an end in of itself, rather than a means to achieving a more radical future.

Patreon subscribers also get more fun stuff! What role will cats and dogs play in the revolution? Subscribe to find out!

Follow Emily (@See_Em_Play) and Larry (@LarryWebsite) on twitter. Also follow @DemSocialists to learn more about DSA.

Also, DSA is having a membership drive now through January 22nd trying to get to 15,000 members. If the group appeals to you, consider joining up! If it's not your thing, find a group that fits you better and get to work!

Jan 11, 2017

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On this episode, Kumars and Roqayah speak with Barrett Brown, a journalist and founder of Project PM, a crowd-sourced investigation into the cyber-military-industrial complex. He’s authored two books and countless articles including, most recently, award-winning work in The Intercept. In 2012, Brown was indicted on multiple federal charges stemming from the 2011 hack of private intelligence firm Stratfor. Brown was denied bail and eventually sentenced to 63 months in prison and ordered to pay close to $900,000 in restitution to Stratfor. He was released at the end of November and we have him on the show to discuss his time as a political prisoner, as well as his work before and since.

Barrett describes to us the concept of his crowd-sourced investigation Project PM, and what this effort was able to accomplish, uncovering some of the dirty tricks and shady dealings of private cybersecurity and intelligence firms like HBGary and Stratfor. Barrett describes how he became a target of the FBI, who raided his home on two separate occasions, in addition to raiding his mother's home. Barrett describes how he was arrested and charged with threatening a federal agent, as well as multiple charges relating to simply sharing a link to documents from a hack of Stratfor. He tells us about his time in prison, including the gag order he was placed under to prevent him from discussing the details of his case. He tells us about his life now that he is relatively free. He is continuing his career in journalism, writing all of his stories with pen and paper since he isn't allowed to use a computer according to the terms of his parole. Finally, we talk to Barrett about his recent efforts to build on the success of Project PM by developing a software-based civic participation platform to facilitate horizontal collaboration among activists.

What happened to Barrett under Obama's watch is an example of the type of treatment journalists can expect a lot more of under Trump, as well as a reminder that attacks on journalists aren't a new phenomenon or one that is exclusive to GOP presidents.

You can learn more about Barrett's situation by following @FreeBarrett_ on twitter or by going to freebarrettbrown.org.

Jan 4, 2017

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 Ali Abunimah, co-founder and editor of the Palestine-related news website the Electronic Intifada. Ali is also the author of such books as The Battle for Justice in Palestine and One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. We ask Ali for his thoughts on the Obama administration's Israel-Palestine legacy, including John Kerry's recent speech trying to salvage the long-dead two-state solution. Ali gives his predictions regarding the movement for Palestinian human rights in the Trump era, including some that might surprise you. We also discuss the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and how it can remain resilient in the face of right-wing rule. Finally, we get Ali's thoughts on how we defend against repression of Palestine solidarity organizing, and discuss ways we can keep moving forward even as we are forced to expend energy playing defense.

You can find Ali on twitter at @AliAbunimah.

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

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 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

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 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

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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

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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.

 

 

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