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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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Nov 27, 2019

Roqayah is off this week, so Kumars is joined once again by activist extraordinaire Medea Benjamin, cofounder of the antiwar organization CODEPINK, Nobel Peace Prize nominee and the author of many books. Medea also just returned from Bolivia, where she witnessed the state’s brutal repression of dissent in the aftermath of the Nov. 10 ouster of President Evo Morales by the military and police. Medea begins by laying out the basics of the situation in Bolivia, refuting the far-right opposition’s charges of election fraud and clarifying the role of the US-dominated regional multilateral body Organization of American States (OAS) as a vehicle for legitimizing regime change in Latin America. 

Medea and Kumars then touch on the history of foreign intervention in Bolivia, Morales’s record and his now scuffled plan to nationalize the country’s lithium reserves. Medea breaks down the dynamics of the counterrevolution, including interim president Jeanine Añez, explaining how an unpopular Christian nationalist minority was able to stoke the traditional elite’s racist resentment of Bolivia’s indigenous majority and leverage a violent intimidation campaign against socialist leaders to shut Morales’s party out of government—tactics now codified in the coup government’s decree granting security forces legal immunity to crack down on dissent. Medea goes on to share her eyewitness account of the military junta’s Nov. 19 massacre of at least 9 protesters in the indigenous city of El Alto. 

You can follow Medea on Twitter at @medeabenjamin and CODEPINK @codepink.

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

Nov 18, 2019
This week, Roqayah and Kumars are once again joined live in Delete Your Account HQ by friends of the show Brett Payne and Bryan Quinby, hosts of the anarcho-comedy podcast Street Fight Radio. Brett and Bryan share the latest on some upcoming projects, including Teen Fight Radio which will feature Bryan's teen daughter Gwen and a different woman every week having a conversation about growing up, relationships, and what it means to be cool.
 
The crew also discusses the holidays and the intense tableside confrontation that they bring. Bryan shares his own sordid holiday tales and how he's learned to deal with political in-law drama. We also play a round of everyone's favorite game they've never heard of: Ohio or Nohio! Can you guess if these eerie tales are a dead giveaway for the Buckeye state?
 
The crew also gives listeners an introduction to the latest Silicon Valley trend known as "dopamine fasting", and we take a quick peek into Bill Gates' brain.
 
Follow Brett on Twitter @BrettPain and Bryan @MurderBryan. You can also follow Street Fight Radio @StreetFightWCRS.
 
If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!
Nov 4, 2019

Roqayah is off this week, and Kumars is joined for a discussion of New York City’s recently approved jail expansion by three organizers with the prison abolitionist campaign No New Jails NYC, Pilar Maschi, Samantha Johnson and Nabil Hassein. Pilar, who was formerly incarcerated in the notorious Rikers Island facility, also organizes with Critical Resistance NYC. Samantha is a Community Board member on Community Board 2 in Brooklyn, which voted against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $10 million plan, and Nabil is an educator and technologist who has previously organized with the Shut Down Rikers campaign among others.

After sharing a bit of their personal paths towards organizing, Nabil, Pilar and Samantha give listeners a gloss of the horrific conditions at Rikers, separating fact from fiction with regard to the facility’s violent reputation. The crew then walks us through the details of the legislation, detailing why they opposed the plan to ostensibly close Rikers within the next 10 years and replace it with 4 new borough-based jails. They explain how, despite the media’s overwhelming sympathy with de Blasio’s framing, NNJ NYC organizers were nonetheless able to mount a serious challenge to City Hall’s narrative, putting pressure on the city government through escalating direct actions and bringing unprecedented visibility to abolitionist principles including the critique of liberal rhetoric around “safer” and more “humane” incarceration. 

According to a report from the New York Times and Associated Press, between 2011 to 2013 alone there were over 1,000 documented injuries against inmates, with many more likely unreported

Follow Nabil on Twitter @NabilHassein, Pilar @pilar_maschi and Samantha @1samanthajoh, as well as No New Jails NYC @nonewjails_nyc. You can also find all the resources referenced in the episode and more at nonewjails.nyc.

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

Oct 24, 2019

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by open source human rights investigator Liza Mamedov-Turchinsky who is the founder and lead organizer of the Bay Area chapter of the Coalition to Close the Concentration Camps (CCCC), a local network of migrant rights and activist groups, as well as founder and lead organizer of the UC Berkeley student group Cal Bears Against ICE

Liza describes the challenges facing student organizers, and how this has informed her work supporting migrant and undocumented communities. We learn about the collective action by the coalition and their allies to support immigrant rights and put an end to migrant incarceration and abuse, which has included targeted protests and nationwide vigils.

We also talk about the complicity of leading tech companies in supporting the Trump administration's barbaric immigration policy, including Microsoft's GitHub and elusive data company Palantir, and the significance of motivating employees at these companies to demand accountability and make a stand by withholding their labor.

Liza also updates us on momentous victories in the fight against these tech giants, and what this means for the future of immigration justice.

You can follow Liza on Twitter @lizardnizami to keep up with her work, and follow The CCCC Bay Area @CloseTheCampsBA.

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

Oct 10, 2019

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Musa Gwebani, a South African activist who serves as head of advocacy and organizing for the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), a radical civil society organization based in Cape Town. After sharing her personal path to organizing, Musa introduces listeners to the SJC and its mission to fighting for the rights of marginalized people, especially those living in what in so-called informal settlements

She then helps Roqayah and Kumars put the current flareup in xenophobic violence across South Africa in its proper context, peeling back the layers to consider the roots of the crisis in the legacy of apartheid, internalized antiblack racism, the usefulness of scapegoating migrants for economic injustice, and the complicity of government officials like Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, whom Musa recently took to task in a televised debate forum for his rhetoric of incitement against foreign nationals. The gang rounds out the discussion by touching on the causes of migration in sub-Saharan Africa, South African exceptionalism, the dream of de-balkanizing the continent for the benefit of all, and how it might yet be salvaged. 

You can follow Musa on Twitter @musa_gwebani and learn more about the Social Justice Coalition’s work at http://sjc.org.za/

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

Oct 3, 2019

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined once again by media analyst Adam Johnson, host of The Appeal podcast and co-host of Citations Needed. After bringing us up to speed on felicitous goings-on in his personal life, Adam helps Roqayah and Kumars ring in episode 150 with a fan mail special. Moving into more serious waters, Adam goes in-depth explains the ideological basis and policy consequences of the dehumanizing and exterminationist rhetoric targeting homeless people pushed by local reporters all the way up to Fox News. 

Adam then unpacks the toxic positivity of “feel good” news stories about the charity of corporations or pulling yourself by your bootstraps, before giving us his read on the media’s premature coronation of Elizabeth Warren and the real difference between Bernie and Liz. The gang rounds out the conversation by debating the relevance of the concept of electability for the left, and whether the supposed media suppression of Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang is going far enough.

You can follow Adam on Twitter @AdamJohnsonNYC, and to hear more check out both Citations Needed and The Appeal wherever you get your podcasts.

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

Sep 26, 2019

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined once again by the show's resident organizer, Mariame Kaba, and first-time-guest Dean Spade, Associate Professor at Seattle University School of Law. Mariame, known best as @prisonculture on Twitter, is an abolitionist whose work focuses primarily on dismantling the prison industrial complex. She's the founder of Project NIA, 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. Dean not only teaches law but founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a non-profit law collective.

Mariame and Dean guide listeners through the world of mutual aid: from what this organizing theory means to how mutual aid projects are being applied in everyday life in order to disrupt violent, carceral institutions and inspire community building. Mariame explains what differentiates mutual aid from charity work, and why helping to lift one another up through struggle is a powerful act of solidarity and self-determination.

Dean, who helped develop the mutual aid toolbox, gives us examples of how this project gives organizers a guide on forming community support projects that touch on issues like legal aid, childcare collectives, mental health support, cop watches, and so much more.

The crew also discusses the organizing framework on abolitionist principles released this week, designed to lessen the scope and power of the prosecuting office and change the ways in which our communities respond to criminality and crisis.

You can follow Mariame on Twitter @prisonculture and Dean @deanspade. For more details on the mutual aid toolkit make sure to visit The Big Door Brigade.

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

Sep 13, 2019

Today Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Dean Preston, a democratic socialist candidate for San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors and founder of the housing rights organization Tenant's Together, the only statewide renters’ organization in California.

Dean recounts his vibrant activist record, and how he went from working as a housing justice attorney representing low-income tenants fighting Ellis Act evictions to organizing one of the nation's leading tenant advocacy groups. Dean, who also wrote Prop F, which gives city-funded legal representation to renters facing eviction, talks us through the legislative hurdles facing tenants and why displacement and homelessness will continue to rise without housing access.

We also get into housing discrimination and its impact on the formerly incarcerated, who are nearly 10 times more likely to be homeless than the general public. Also, in light of the Trump administration's proposed crackdown on homeless encampments in California, Dean offers up what he would be willing to do so as to protect San Francisco’s homeless from such attacks.

You can follow Dean on Twitter @DeanPreston, and for more details about his campaign and how to get involved visit votedean.com

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

Aug 29, 2019

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by two members of the Socialist Rifle Association’s Central Committee for an in-depth discussion of gun rights, gun control, and community self-defense. Faye Ecklar is Vice President of the SRA, a main organizer of the Los Angeles chapter, and cohost of the official Socialist Rifle Association podcast. Brad is the founder of the North Georgia chapter and serves as the SRA’s Director of Local Organizing. 

After giving listeners an introduction to their personal paths to left politics and gun rights advocacy, Faye and Brad lay out the basic mission of the SRA to serve as an educational institution for the working class and explain the young organization’s rapid growth by highlighting their commitment to mutual aid projects like hurricane relief. Faye and Brad also outline the SRA’s efforts to function as an alternative to right-wing gun culture in the US, including the influence of the National Rifle Association

The gang then gets into the nitty-gritty of the socialist case for gun ownership. Faye, Brad, and our hosts address common arguments for and against gun rights in liberal discourse as well as in left-wing organizing spaces. They consider the implications of red flag laws, an assault weapons ban and other gun control legislation currently under debate, finally ending on the question of how to responsibly approach the need for armed community defense as political tensions and the violent far-right continue to rise. 

You can follow Faye on Twitter @FayeEcklar, Brad @GeorgiaMarxist and the official SRA account @SocialistRA. You can find even more info and sign up for membership on their website https://socialistra.org

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

Aug 22, 2019

Today Roqayah and Kumars are joined by indigenous author Nick Estes, a member of the Oceti Sakowin Oyate nation. Nick is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico and a member of the Oak Lake Writers Society, a group of Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota writers. Nick is also the author of Our History is the Future: Standing Rock versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance, and writer at The Red Nation.

Nick spoke to us about the long tradition of indigenous resistance against colonialism and capitalism, and emphasized the anti-indigenous origins of the US settler colonial project. We discuss "A Red Deal", his provocative essay for Jacobin Magazine which criticises aspects of the Green New Deal as not going far enough, and highlights indigenous demands for the restoration of land, air, and water as well as an end to capitalism.

We also get into the meaning of decolonization, the liberation from colonial rule, and what role this process plays in advancing the class struggle. Finally we discuss the issues surrounding presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, from her false Native ancestry claims to her platform promises concerning indigenous issues.

You can follow Nick on Twitter at @nick_w_estes and read more of his work at The Red Nation.

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

Aug 15, 2019

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined once again by the show's resident artist Matt Lubchansky. Matt is a cartoonist and illustrator with a long running webcomic Please Listen To Me. You can find their work in VICE, Eater, The Intercept, Mad Magazine, Gothamist, and Brooklyn Magazine, among others.

We learn about what Matt has been up to since their previous appearance, especially in light of The Nib losing its primary source of funding from its parent company First Look Media after three and a half years. Matt shares how they've been coping, and why The Nib decided to go independent so they can keep pumping out high quality left-wing comic content. 

We also get into the weeds and examine the role of satire in political cartooning, and how Matt provides social commentary in their comics without punching down. We talk about Matt's artistic portrayal of a dystopian future, and "hell world" that features sci-fi and horror tropes. And this, of course, means we get to talk about aliens and how we would react to a potential alien invasion.

You can follow Matt on Twitter at @Lubchansky and support The Nib by becoming a member of the Inkwell.

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

Aug 7, 2019

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are rejoined by Megan Clapp, PhD candidate in clinical psychology at Suffolk University and one of the hosts of the Naughty By Nurture podcast. Longtime listeners will remember her previous interviews discussing shame, trauma and burnout on the left, as well as her appearance modeling a therapy session on a special After Hours episode. This time around Megan outlines what organizers can learn from the lessons of clinical psychological practices about how people change their minds and break their toxic patterns of behavior. 

With the help of the crew, Megan introduces and models one framework she finds useful for organizers constantly confronted with apathy and conservatism: motivational interviewing (MI), which is particularly effective in treating people with deeply entrenched beliefs. Motivational interviewing emphasizes sitting with feelings of ambivalence and letting people come to their own conclusions. Megan, Roqayah, and Kumars end by debating the wisdom of meeting people where they are in the context of genuine bigotry and ideological opposition. 

You follow Megan on Twitter @MemeVVitch and you can check out the abundance of resources referenced in the episode on her old blog

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

Jul 23, 2019

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Ashley Reyes and Cam Crowell, former workers of the Portland-based fast food chain Little Big Burger. Both Ashley and Cam were fired for their involvement in the recent campaign to unionize Little Big Burger, and they join the crew less than 24 hours before their union election to talk about these organizing efforts.

Ashley and Cam talk about the issues facing workers at Little Big Burger, and explain how this led to collective action culminating in their union campaign. We talk about the impact of the success of Burgerville workers in forming a union, as well as their decision to join Burgerville workers in the IWW. They also discuss how their efforts resulted in a targeted harassment campaign by management designed to coerce other Little Big Burger workers from joining. This included the firing of nine employees including Cam and Ashley, and the creation of a wildly conspiratorial website that specifically targeted organizers.

We learn why these management tactics have been in vain, and how the push for the Little Big Union has gained traction. 

You can find out more about Little Big Union at littlebigunion.org, follow the union on Twitter @LBU_IWW, and support the Little Big Union strike fund by giving to their fundraising campaign.

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

Jul 17, 2019

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by immigration attorney Sophia Gurulé who works for the non-profit legal advocacy group, The Bronx Defenders. Sophia has also participated in the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project in Dilley, Texas for which she helped provide legal services to asylum-seeking women and children. 

Sophia describes how the Bronx Defenders, which represents over 30,000 people each year, is creatively redefining public defense through a holistic approach and how this has helped communities impacted by the criminal and immigration system find authentic and effective representation. We learn about the challenges facing public defenders and their clients, from a lack of resources to a system that is designed to instill fear into asylum seekers who are seeking reprieve.

Sophia helps us understand what's at stake for her clients and other undocumented people who are facing an increasingly inhumane detention process. We also talk about the importance of highlighting the ways each recent US President, Republican or Democrat, has ratcheted-up the brutality relative to their predecessors. While Trump is certainly the worst yet, the immigration policies of Clinton and Obama paved the way for the nearly unimaginable cruelty we are enacting today.

You can follow Sophia on Twitter @s_phia_ to keep up to date with her work. You also can find more information on The Bronx Defenders at bronxdefenders.org and on Twitter @BronxDefenders. And support your local bond fund! 

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

Jul 7, 2019

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Sina Toossi, a research associate at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) where he specializes in Iranian politics and US foreign policy in the Middle East, for another deep dive into the Trump administration’s push for regime change in Iran. Sina was previously at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Institute for Policy Studies in DC, and his work has been published in Newsweek and Foreign Policy among many other outlets. 

After sharing a bit of his personal background as well as his path to both his politics and the world of foreign policy thinktanks, Sina breaks down escalating US-Iran tensions, including the fallout from the tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman and Trump’s recent decision to order and then call off military strikes in response to the downing of a US drone in Iranian airspace. The gang also discusses the various responses of the Democrats to the threat of war, public sentiment and activist perspectives in Iran, and why it’s no longer in the Islamic Republic’s interest to abide by the nuclear deal, which Sina outlines in his recent piece for the National Interest on the Iranian government’s strategy for geopolitical survival.

You can follow Sina on Twitter @SinaToossi and keep up with his work at sinatoossi.com.

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

Jun 28, 2019

Welcome to election hell. This week we are joined by Sam Knight and Sam Sacks, founders of the artisanal news co-op The District Sentinel and hosts of the daily District Sentinel Radio podcast. The Sams join Roqayah for a discussion of the first Democratic Primary debate, and then Kumars and Roqayah discuss the second debate on their own. Hear our takes on all your favorite candidates, and all your least-favorite candidates as well.

Follow the District Sentinel on twitter @TheDCSentinel and follow Sam Sacks @SamSacks.

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

Jun 22, 2019

This is just a teaser for today's episode, which is available for patreon subscribers only! As little as $5 a month keeps the lights on over here, we can't do the show without your support!

Today the gang is joined by comedian and Walkley nominated satirist James Colley, who's written for The Weekly with Charlie Pickering and Gruen on ABC TV. James fills us in on some of the odd and seemingly pointless tourist attractions in Australia—including The Big Pineapple—and how anti-PC culture has shaped his approach to comedy. We also get political and talk about the failures of the Australian Labor Party, and why the party's former leader Bill Shorten had his own Clinton moment during the last election.

Jun 12, 2019

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are rejoined by Julia Damphouse and Loren Balhorn, who were last on the show together in 2017 and are back to give us a rundown of the recent European Parliament elections and a German politics update. Julia is a Canadian student in Berlin, a member of the German Left Party die Linke, and the Reading Group Coordinator at Jacobin. Loren is an American member of die Linke also based in Berlin, a contributing editor at Jacobin and a founding editor of Ada Magazin, Jacobin’s German-language sister magazine.

After providing some context the European Union’s legislative body, Julia and Loren explain the main voting blocs in the European Parliament, where they fall on the political spectrum and who the big winners and losers were this time around. The focus then turns to Germany as Loren and Julia discuss the unprecedented rise of the German Green Party, the failure of traditional German social democracy, how the far-right Alternative for Germany is dictating the national agenda, and the anti-immigrant triangulation of the Left Party’s Sahra Wagenknecht.

You can follow Julia on Twitter @remarksist and Loren @fraubalhorn.

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

Jun 5, 2019

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Bahman Kalbasi, who serves as the New York and United Nations Correspondent for BBC Persian. Bahman, who has also covered international affairs for the CBC, discusses the wide-ranging implications of US policy against Iran under the Trump administration and the administrations of Trump’s predecessors.

Bahman, who has previously interviewed then-president Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, examines the similarities and differences between the Obama administration's policy towards Iran and that of Donald Trump, who has in some ways taken a more proactively hawkish position. Bahman offers his takes on the influence of Iran’s regional rivals as well as National Security Advisor John Bolton. The crew discusses the language of US-Iran relations, and how threats from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, coupled with military posturing and vague pre-conditions, are escalating tensions.

Bahman also highlights the lasting impact that oil sanctions and US aggression has had on the Iranian people—specifically their access to increasingly expensive medicine and food—and how US allies, including the UAE and Israel, have helped tighten the grip and further isolate Iran.

You can follow Bahman on Twitter where tweets in English @BahmanKalbasi, and in Persian @bbckalbasi.

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

May 23, 2019

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Ariel Gold and Lily Tajjadini. Ariel serves as the national co-director of the anti-war group CODEPINK, and is an organizer with the Ithaca Committee for Justice in Palestine. Ariel has been published in The Huffington Post, Forward, and Tikkun Magazine, among others. Lily is also an organizer with CODEPINK where she is the Iran Campaign manager. Ariel and Lily, who were recently involved in the historic occupation of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C., describe the events that lead up to this dramatic action and what hurdles they encountered from local authorities, the Secret Service, and a barrage of protesters loyal to self-appointed president Juan Guaidó.

Ariel and Lily recount the creative efforts on the part of the embassy activists, who called themselves as the Embassy Protection Collective, to get food and supplies into the embassy where as many as 50 demonstrators were inside, having been invited to stay by the legitimate government of Venezuela led by Nicolás Maduro. We hear about hostile clashes during which pro-Guaidó protestors, who had barricaded the exterior of embassy, attempted to intimidate embassy volunteers and prevent access to first aid, medicine, and food.

We discuss the fate of activists who were arrested by authorities after the embassy was illegally raided after an incredible 36 days. Ariel and Lily explain that activists haven’t been charged with trespassing, an admission that the embassy was Venezuelan territory. Additionally, representatives of Guaidó’s self-described “government” still haven’t gained access to the site, further proof of the shaky footing the US government knows itself to be on. Finally, Ariel and Lily explain that, far from a symbolic act, this effort had a real impact on ratcheting down tensions and making a US military attack on Venezuela less likely.

You can follow Ariel on twitter at @ArielElyseGold, and Lily at @lilytaj5. You can also find Code Pink as at @codepink.

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

May 15, 2019
Today we’re joined by Outreach Organizer Leoyla Cowboy and Executive Director Carl Williams of the Water Protector Legal Collective. The Water Protector Legal Collective was formed in 2016 in response to the need to provide legal support for activists protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota.
 
Leoyla recounts her own personal experiences at Standing Rock, including meeting her husband Michael "Little Feather" Giron. Little Feather is currently in Federal prison, having been charged alongside six other indigenous water protectors, for resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline. We hear about the work that WPLC has done and continues to do for these activists as well as hundreds of others who faced state charges, as well as indigenous activists engaged in other fights for sovereignty. Carl discusses the limits of the US legal system for providing justice to indigenous people especially, and the difficulties movement lawyers face in a system that is set up against those they serve.
 
Leoyla and Carl also talk about a May 9 hearing of the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights addressing the “Suppression of Indigenous Resistance to Extractive Industries in North America”, a hearing called for by WPLC. Leoyla talks about her experience testifying at the hearing, and Carl describes how the hearing, while unlikely to lead to any dramatic changes, is helping to build connections between indigenous groups and allies across the Americas and bring attention to their common struggles.
 
Follow the WPLC on twitter at @WaterProtectUs, on facebook, and at their website. If you want other ways to support #NoDAPL political prisoners, you can find more info here. Follow Carl on twitter at @carltonwilliams.
 
If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!
May 8, 2019

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Donald Borenstein, a writer, journalist, and filmmaker who's been covering the Stop & Shop supermarket strike for the worker-owned streaming platform Means TV. Donald, who made the 500 mile journey across New England in order to document the 11-day strike, describes what lead approximately 31,000 workers, represented by United Food and Commercial Workers, to picket Stop & Shop locations in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Donald explains the tactics workers utilized to pressure management into conceding and to prevent anyone from crossing picket lines.

Donald goes on to describes the impact of appearances by Democratic presidential candidates at picket lines—including Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren—who spoke in support of striking workers. We try to separate the tepid lip service from some candidates from what might be better faith outreach of others. The crew also examines what the success of the Stop & Shop strike means for private sector unions, specifically in the grocery sector.

You can follow Donald on Twitter @Boringstein, and keep up with their Stop & Shop strike coverage on Means TV.

If you want to support the show and receive access to tons of bonus content, subscribe on our Patreon 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!!!

May 2, 2019

This week Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Joshua Badge, writer and lecturer in philosophy at Deakin University in Victoria, Australia. Joshua joins us for an in-depth discussion of the philosophy and practices of animal rights and veganism.

Joshua explains the sociological framework of what we consume and the significance of food on our communities and our identities. Joshua leans into his philosophy background and explains the metaphysical traditions that are often overlooked when discussing animal rights—from the way in which we empathize with animals to the often highly charged language that vegans employ to characterize the abuses that animals face. We discuss how poverty impacts our relationship with food and Joshua, who is an avid cook, underlines the importance of increasing the affordability and accessibility of vegan food by pushing for broad systemic changes to our food supply.

Joshua also gives readers the background on recent publicity for the animal rights movement in Australia, and how tactics that are often employed in an attempt to undermine the meat industry can backfire in certain contexts, inflaming race and class tensions.

Follow Joshua on Twitter @JoshuaBadge.

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Apr 24, 2019

This week Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Olivia Katbi Smith and Sahar Muranovic, two former staffers at the Portland-based nonprofit Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), where management has decided against neutrality in a fierce unionization battle. Olivia is also the co-chair of the Portland, Oregon chapter of the DSA, and in her previous appearance on the show talked about the state of Israel-Palestine discourse and personal smears she’s faced being a vocal Arab woman in the public eye. Sahar begins by sharing her own background as an Iranian immigrant and her firsthand experience of the Trump administration’s repression when her sister Sara Yarjani, a graduate student in California, was briefly deported to Austria after the Muslim ban went into effect in January 2017. Olivia and Sahar both elaborate on what brought them to IRCO, explaining the nonprofit’s day to day function of helping refugees and other immigrants in the Portland area get navigate social services and, increasingly, legal challenges.

The gang situates IRCO’s issues within the broader nonprofit problem experienced by cities like Portland where social services have been outsourced from the public sector to private nonprofits where workers don’t have union protections and benefits. Olivia and Sahar explain how this dynamic has resulted in an environment of low pay, little transparency and no input from workers that has led workers to demand a union. Olivia describes how she was fired for her vocal support of the union drive, and Olivia and Sahar detail the union-busting tactics they witnessed before they were forced out, including the hiring of a union-busting law firm with a reputation for violent intimidation. Finally, Olivia and Sahar talk about why it’s essential that the people serving marginalized communities are empowered in their own workplaces, and share their hopes for the future of the IRCO union.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @livkittykat and Sahar @Gulujoon.

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Apr 18, 2019

This week, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Christine O’Donovan-Zavada, a reproductive rights organizer in central Pennsylvania. After Christine shares how she cut her teeth as an organizer, she discusses the implications of restrictive anti-abortion legislation that is on the rise, including so-called “fetal heartbeat” bills that have emerged recently in Ohio and Georgia.

The gang talks about the role trigger laws may play in states where abortion restrictions have failed should Roe v. Wade be overturned, thereby making abortion illegal. Christine goes on to describe the chilling effect of these unconstitutional bills, including now-failed Texas House bill 948, which would have not only banned abortion but would have made it a capital offense. We also discuss the Trump administration's domestic Title X gag rule, and how this will obstruct pregnancy options by slashing access to contraceptive care, and deny patients abortion referrals.

Christine describes the restrictions that have historically faced those attempting to access abortion facilities: from the trauma of having to travel some 100 miles to reach one of only 780 clinics in the United States, to the costs associated with making the journey as well as having the procedures themselves. The crew also dives into what solidarity efforts you can engage in, including the National Network of Abortion Funds’ annual Bowlathon, and why the fight for abortion access is an integral part of the struggle for reproductive justice.

Follow Christine on Twitter @queenozymandias.

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