On this episode, Kumars is joined once again by Mariame Kaba, organizer extraordinaire and @prisonculture on twitter, who returns as co-host. Kumars and Mariame start off the show celebrating 50 episodes and a complete first year of Delete Your Account, before moving on to more serious topics. Mariame talks about recent developments in the campaign to free Bresha Meadows, a young black girl who was imprisoned for killing her abusive father in self-defense. Mariame discusses the plea deal that Bresha and her family have accepted that will see her eventually freed from custody, although only after several additional months in jail and an involuntary treatment center. We discuss how this development is a huge win for her and her family, and for activists fighting to keep her from being tried for murder as an adult, but also talk about how this still isn't justice, as Bresha shouldn't have served a day behind bars.
For the interview, Kumars and Mariame talk to Nesreen Hasan, a Palestinian-American youth organizer with the Arab American Action Network, a grassroots organization working to provide necessary services to Arab immigrants and Arab Americans in and around Chicago. We learn about how Nesreen got involved with organizing work, and about the role that the Arab American Action Network plays in the local community. We discuss the current status of Trump's Muslim ban and AAAN's efforts to fight against it. We also talk about recent violent attacks targeting Muslims and how these attacks impact organizers like Nesreen and the communities they serve. Nesreen also talks about the campaign to free Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh. Rasmea is the Associate Director of AAAN who was arrested in 2013, ostensibly for lying on immigration documents, but in reality due to her political advocacy and organizing work. Rasmea came to the US after spending a decade in an Israeli prison for a crime she didn't commit, where she was tortured and raped. It was her failure to list this time spent in prison on her US immigration documents that saw her facing years in prison. Nesreen discusses the plea deal that Rasmea recently accepted that will keep her out of prison but see her deported.
On this episode, Kumars is joined by first-time guest host Deellan Kashani, our resident Kurdish expert who wrote her undergraduate thesis on radical political organization in the Kurdish-controlled autonomous region of Rojava in northern Syria. Our guest is Brace Belden (better known by his former Twitter handle, @PissPigGranddad), a florist who recently returned from fighting with the Kurdish YPG forces to defend Rojava against ISIS.
By way of introduction, Deellan gives a brief historical overview of Kurdish politics, the conflict in Syria, and the main actors in the region. Kumars and Deellan ask Brace about his motivations for going, his experience of life in Rojava, and how the Western left’s idea of a libertarian socialist revolution compares to the reality of “democratic confederalism.” Brace explains that he went to Syria in part to see what he could learn from the movement, and from his experience as a foreign fighter he shares his impressions of the rigors of life as a member of the governing Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the radical steps being taken to center women in political action. Since leaving his life in the US to joining a militia in Syria, Brace has garnered national media attention, courting criticism from a number of political angles. Brace addresses these criticisms at length.
On this episode, Kumars is joined by Sam Knight, journalist and co-founder of The District Sentinel, a news co-op based in Washington D.C. covering national politics from a left perspective. Sam is also the host of the daily District Sentinel Radio podcast. Sam stops by to talk about those damn Clowns in Congress and their disastrous Trumpcare legislation. We discuss what's in it, what comes next, and what the hell is wrong with the feckless Democrats. We also introduce a new game on the show which all the kids are sure to be playing at school tomorrow.
On this episode, Kumars is joined by Samantha Jacobs (@comradeSammy on twitter) for the intro segment to discuss May Day, tensions in North Korea, and the delightful Fyre Festival scam.
For the interview, Mariame Kaba, organizer extraordinaire and @prisonculture on twitter, returns as co-host. Kumars and Mariame talk to Jason Lydon, a queer anarchist Unitarian Universalist minister and founding director of Black and Pink, an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and unincarcerated allies working to support one another and abolish the prison industrial complex. Jason discusses how he got involved with prison abolition work, after having spent six months incarcerated himself where he was sexually assaulted by a prison guard. Jason talks about his approach to abolition, which strives to weaken the prison industrial complex toward its eventual elimination, disassembling it brick-by-brick if necessary. We dissect the difference between a reform that reinforces a system of power and one that truly weakens it. We learn more about Black and Pink and the major campaigns they are engaged in, including the fight to end solitary confinement. Jason stresses the importance of writing letters to prisoners, which keeps prison abolition work grounded in the needs of incarcerated people while also fighting the intense isolation experienced by those who are incarcerated. Jason also discusses the role of his faith in motivating and shaping his prison abolition work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
You can follow Tania on twitter at @_LaTania. You can also follow Mijente at @conmijente. Check out '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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.