Which side are you on?

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A conversation about anarchism

A conversation between activists about the basic concepts of anarchism. From the 23 January 2017 edition of The Morning Mixtape on 98.7 The FREQ.

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Your iPhone exists because people work in degraded conditions to make it. Same for all the clothes I’m wearing. Same for a lot of the food I eat. I have gas for the car I drive because of violence perpetrated by armies and rulers (including those of my own country) to secure the necessary oil, no matter where it’s found or under whose land. The cheap products we’re all able to buy in the big box stores that litter our landscape are the result of dangerous working conditions and poor pay and lack of health care and long hours that directly harm workers and their families. Generally speaking, most of us choose to ignore most of this violence, despite our direct or indirect involvement in it and the ease with which it is possible to discover the facts. Moreover, the idea that violence is never the correct path belies a history filled with instances when it was the only sane path. It’s true that smarter decisions in history might have prevented the rise of Hitler or the rise of nations or whatever, but once World War II was happening and the Holocaust was being perpetrated, there was no moral choice but to use force to stop those crimes from happening. Similarly, would we suggest to a domestic abuse victim that she not, if the opportunity presents itself, use force to save herself or her children from an abuser? Of course not. The idea that everyone can be engaged with is, in my recent experience, primarily put forth by people upon whom violence is not visited. The same people who are, like me, complicit in the system I outlined at the beginning. We need to be more careful about our language, and about an uninformed commitment to “nonviolence” at the cost of liberation. Finally, as I mentioned over the weekend, “nonviolence,” in the way MLK or Gandhi used it, generally meant provoking an overwhelming show of violence by the other side in the hope that the sickened populace would force the state to act. To call this the absence of violence is dangerous. There is a real world out there, and we can’t change it without first being honest about what’s happening.

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VIDEO: Heroes & Solidarity

A few thoughts on heroes, movement building, and how much we need one another.

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Civil Discourse, or, “Why, Jimmy Dore, Why?”

jimmyI’m a big fan of the comedian Jimmy Dore. I first learned about him from The Young Turks, a progressive internet news show. I like Jimmy’s take-no-prisoners honesty, and his unwillingness to overlook crimes committed by Democrats just because they’re Democrats.

I’m also a big fan of The Jimmy Dore Show, his podcast of news and comedy. There aren’t many podcasts that make me laugh out loud, but Jimmy’s regularly does. And it does more than that, too. Jimmy’s interviews are insightful and pointed, such as the interview on the most recent episode (Jan. 6, 2017) with reporter Glenn Greenwald.

For me, among the highlights of every episode are the phone calls. A very talented impressionist leaves voicemails or does live conversations as Mitt Romney, Barack Obama and many others. On the Jan. 6 episode, one of the calls was “Harrison Ford,” talking about Carrie Fisher. You can listen to the call for yourself at the top of this post. Please note that the audio is the property of The Jimmy Dore Show. I’m posting it here because I don’t want you to have to take my word for the content.

I was really surprised by the call. I thought it was tone deaf and misogynist and made light of mental illness, all things I find very uncharacteristic of Jimmy’s show. I think when public people make missteps, we can and should speak up. So I tweeted at Jimmy:

I got this in reply:

This is condescending and much more representative of what I’d expect from a less progressive person than Jimmy. I said as much:

And Jimmy replied again:

I sent one last comment:

Is this a big deal? No. It’s just disappointing. Jimmy’s not a hero of mine, but I respect his work both as a comedian and as a truth-teller. I expected better. But I guess this is where our culture is at these days.

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Why I Don’t Like Cops

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