Left Coast Media

North Bae 019 - How to Educate Radicals and Overthrow the Bourgeoisie

June 18, 2018 Left Coast Media Episode 19
Left Coast Media
North Bae 019 - How to Educate Radicals and Overthrow the Bourgeoisie
Show Notes Transcript
In what turned out to be unsurprisingly a fantastic discussion, Sauce and Tiberius speak with Breht Ó Séaghdha of Rev Left Radio (revolutionaryleftradio.libsyn.com/) and the Guillotine (theguillotinepodcast.libsyn.com/) about political education for revolutionary socialists, how they developed their politics, and how theory and practice interrelate. Please support the show at patreon.com/leftcoastmedia if you're able, and follow Breht and his work on twitter at twitter.com/DeadIrishRebel, twitter.com/RevLeftRadio, twitter.com/GuillotinePod, and you can find this and the work of many more comrades at www.critmediations.com/

Support the show

Speaker 1:

Thank you for listening to this podcast from the left coast media collective, apart of the critical mediations network to connect with us, follow the collective on twitter at left-pad or email us@leftcoastpodcastatGmail.com. Our work is supported by our patrion subscribers, including a kgb operative, Casey, the Kudzu commune, Jake, helping comrades and communist dog. You can become a supporter by visiting Patrion.com/left coast media,

Speaker 2:

right

Speaker 3:

comrades and welcome back to another episode of the North Bay. Really excited about this show. We have one of my favorite host podcast host, and a great calling type areas. You don't have to flatter me that month, so as always, before I blather on too much, I am Tiberius Krokus.

Speaker 1:

I'm calming all source and actually the guests that Perez was talking about is not me, but it is

Speaker 3:

in fact our friend Brett O'shea from red bluff radio. Go ahead, introduce yourself and let the comrades who are sadly ignorant of you, let them know what you're doing.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Well first of all, thank you so much for having me on. I'm. I'm a fan of the show. I know we've interacted a lot on social media over the last probably year, so I'm on. I'm honored to finally be on the show. I'm, yeah, my name is Brett. I am the host of revolutionary left radio. I'm the cohost of the Guillotine and I'm an organizer here in Omaha, Nebraska with the Nebraska left coalition and yeah, that pretty much sums me up I guess.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Nice. Nice and pithy. And again, the links to your shows are going to be in the show notes for this episode and if anybody's not listening to rebel radio or the good teams like y'all need to rectify that. Thank you. Yeah, but today we're talking about, we're talking about political education and in particular sort of radical political education. So very few of us are born socialists. Well, there's an argument to be made that we're all born socialist, but very few of us come to socialism directly into socialism. Most of us are coming from a liberal background. We have been educated by the state to be good liberals and uh, you know, there's a lot of both deprogramming and seeking alternative sources of News, truth information. And theory and I think we have spoken on the show before about, you know, where we're coming from, our backgrounds and so I think if, if you want to just give a brief overview of how you went from being a liberal of whatever flavor to being someone who is a, you know, a revolutionary and a socialist.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, for sure. I think this is important and also interesting. I think a lot of. I mean everybody goes through their own sort of political development, but often we don't talk about our developments. And so when somebody comes into leftist politics, you know, initially incurious or just interested in wanting to see what's going on, it can often be intimidating because it almost seems like everybody's already an expert, especially when you go into social media groups that are full of, of, you know, veteran leftists. It can seem very intimidating. And I know some of my initial forays into those, those spaces were very intimidating and you know, I was quickly sort of turned off at some points to it, but I think talking about our political developments is really useful. So just quickly, I mean I was born in, raised in a working class family. My parents were both, you know, just basically low wage workers and we lived in a small house in South Omaha, so my entire life I was sort of in the, in the working class and have it in new the problems and the struggles of working people intimately, but because of just sort of the mainstream way that politics is presented, I never really had a way of, of grasping my situation or understanding it and having a really robust analysis that could explain why. For instance, my parents worked extremely hard. They went to work every single day but sometimes couldn't afford, you know, the lights to stay on or would have their cars repossessed. Um, so as I grew up I obviously was intellectually curious about a lot of things, but it really wasn't until I went to Montana after I was hospitalized for depression. My Dad lived in Montana and then when I got out of the hospital he's like, I think he might need a change of pace of change of scenery. Want you to come up to Montana? And live with me for awhile and up in Montana we lived on the edge of the crow reservation. There's a small town called Hardin, Montana, and it was right at bumped up right against the crow reservation. So you had about a 50 50 split between native Americans and just sort of like white montanans. But I saw up close the sort of poverty of the Indian reservation. I saw how they were just totally neglected by the larger society and that really was in some sense a political awakening for me. And after six months or seven months of living there, I came back to Omaha, I enrolled in college and that really sort of taught me or introduce me to Marxism, socialist politics, etc. And then from that point it was like, wow, this, this sort of radical revolutionary socialist literature speaks directly to my experiences both in Montana and as a working class person in Nebraska. And ever since then, you know, it was just a process of deepening that understanding and analysis. And now I'm approaching 30 years old and I'm still learning something new every day. So

Speaker 1:

yeah, I think the political education of comrades or potential comrades is a bit of a thorny subject. I recently had what I think I'm going to turn to a meltdown because I hardly know any of this shit and can really not understanding they a lot of it and was feeling that this made me somehow a worse leftist because you know, I can't read pruett alm. I can't quote bakunin chapter and verse and political education. There's this real danger of, like you said, coming into a space and everybody all seems like they already know all this shit and you have no clue what's going on. And it's terrifying.

Speaker 3:

The other thing is I think, and I think it comes across very clearly in, in your story and really in the stories of basically everybody I've talked to who, who has come from a liberal background is that, you know, for one reason or another, the things, the, the radical theories and ideas and, and historical peoples that we find, they're not necessarily changing the way that we sort of like feel about the world, but giving expression to feelings that we already have. In my opinion, being a radical leftist and a radical socialist, revolutionary is first and foremost a, a moral conviction. It comes from the, a deep sense of love for your fellow human being and, and, you know, oftentimes hopefully for yourself. Um, I know a lot of us struggle with love for the self, but that's, that's an important part too. But seeing the injustice of the world and, and taking, taking that love for other people and sort of a, not necessarily internalizing it in a bad way, but internalizing it in a way to say this is an injust situation and, and I need to find a way to express why it's unjust and surfer ways in order for me and other people like me to rectify that injustice. Absolutely. Um, I, I never tire of saying that at the bottom of my politics and, and indeed at the bottom of all of our politics are a sort of a base set of values or intuitive moral intuitions about what's right and what's wrong. And I think so many of us on the left at various times in our lives are just faced with sort of belligerent injustices that break our hearts. And, you know, I really do think that my political sort of motivation, my, my fire, my passion for politics and engaging in the struggle stems directly out of just the heartbreak that I suffer every single day looking around at this world of just abject misery and cruelty and needless suffering all over the world. Um, you know,

Speaker 4:

even before I was radical politically and I hadn't, I had that feeling in my heart that things not only are things so terrible but they don't need to be this way. And maybe I couldn't articulate it at that time, but I certainly felt that on some level. And then through learning more, you know, you can kind of put a voice to that and articulate that and reach out and hopefully bring that out of other people. But certainly at the, at the bottom of our politics is values, like empathy and compassion. And I'm sick of. I'm sick of seeing people gunned down by police. I'm sick of seeing people sleeping in the gutters, you know, I'm, I'm sick of, of children, you know, going to bed hungry, do you know we have the resources, we have the wealth in this world. There's no reason that these things need to be happening, but it does need to be happening for a small ruling class that live lives of extreme luxury and comfort on the backs of the rest of us who toil away day in and day out so that they can live those lives of extreme comfort and privilege. So yeah, absolutely. And I think I'm drawing on that. Compassion and empathy is something we shouldn't shy away from. You know, we should articulate it and we should. We should put it in people's faces like this is wrong, that these things don't need to be this way and it's okay to be heartbroken by it, but let's come together and find a way that Maybe we can start fixing these problems instead of just sinking into that despair, which is just so corrosive. And ultimately we'll just leave us all feeling totally hopeless

Speaker 1:

despair. And then you have also the reaction of building a protective irony shell, which for better or for worse, there is a lot of on the left and I feel like some of that is just a natural reaction to being beaten down and seeing some of the most horrible shit that you can. But I don't know if it's as productive away to do much more than just protect yourself.

Speaker 4:

Right. No, absolutely. I think that's a really interesting insight, the rise of irony, especially over the last couple of decades and just how ubiquitous it is on social media. I thiNk there's something very, very important there that irony can often act as a sort of shield not only to protect ourselves from sort of heartbreak, but also to, to present ourselves to other people as if we're not overly sentimental. We're not naive, you know, sort of irony as a way of, of kind of showing off that you're not really bothered by things and you had this ironic distance from, from things that sort of makes you a superior person in some way. So it's, it's A defense mechanism on, on multiple levels. For sure.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and with our politics being deeply empathetic and coming from a very moral place, I kind of want to ask you and sauce to maybe talk about the, the dichotomy that she brought up earlier between, you know, coming a place

Speaker 4:

of intuition and empathy versus coming from a place of like theory

Speaker 1:

and high minded thought. Hmm.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. So there's a, there's a gap there that definitely needs to be bridged and was also talking about a little earlier about. I mean I think we both were talking about how it can be very intimidating or it can be off putting to go into some of these spaces. I think what our challenge is, and I think what podcasts like yours and ours tries to do is, is, is making more accessible to people to sort of get outside of those, those social media clicks and groups and the sort of impersonal nature of social media that can so easily lend itself to just being kind of just mean spirited to people and sort of building up your own personal brand at the expense of tearing down other people with platforms like blight podcasting. You kind of hear the other person's voice and although maybe you're not seeing them face to face, that voice is, it acts as a way of breaking down those barriers that makes sort of the interactions on social media often so toxic. Um, so I think it's sort of our duty to create new platforms, create new mediums that are way more inviting and that speak to people where they are as opposed to just regurgitating marx or lenin or you know, whoever else at them to try to make it more human and more relatable without compromising the sort of theoretical integrity which does underpin our politics. I mean, you know, theory is essential to good practice and essential to understanding. So it's just about making, making that stuff more inviting and more accessible to as many people as possible.

Speaker 1:

One of the ways that I think about it, although I'm putting think in irony quotes, there is I have a lot of these feelings and thoughts and stuff that, that do come from this place of like moral intuition, but quite frequently they all reflected in the theory. UnfortunAtely, I can't find my way into the theory to really grasp it, but other people who have been there before and other people have thought these thIngs before and they've had more skill at writing stuff down, whereas I maybe have more skill at doing other stuff, but they've done some of the thinking about this shit so that I don't have to and while perhaps what marx said would work back when he was writing may not necessarily work right now. We at least have some stuff to build on. It's being able to translate that into terms that everybody can understand and that can be useful for everybody is I think part of where that gap lies.

Speaker 4:

Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Putting it into ways that that people can understand, but also realIzing that not everyone needs to be the perfect theater tuition. Not every person needs to have red das kapital

Speaker 3:

or to know every line of state and revolution or whatever it may be. That we all have different skill sets. Yeah. We all, we all have different skillsets and we all have things that we can put to work in, in the context of a broader struggle and instead of sort of demonizing other people for not having a certain level of skills in this area, try, try to find ways that, that person can contribute to the struggle in a way that, that plays off their already existing skill sets and doesn't demand the impossible of them. Yeah. So, you know, I'm, I'm kind of coming from a little bit of a different direction with it because like I found like, you know, like pretty much everybody else. I have always had, you know, very deeply held moral convictions that the world was fundamentally unjust and it needed to be changed in order to be just and, and, you know, provide for people what they need. But the way that I found myself into the theory or into, into being a socialist was by essentially by essentially arguing with right wing libertarians and, and end caps. Right. So, you know, arguing about the morality of property and, and arguing about the justification of authority and the state. And it was only in arguing against their positions and, and being in that kind of dialogue with someone I found myself, you know, deeply, deeply and emotionally opposed to that I, I came to realize that a lot of the things that I had been taught to believe are brought up to believe about the, the, you know, the current liberal order was the same and it was wrong. And, and, and it was in that kind of a spirit that I found myself actually getting into poodle and I'm reading a reading capital itself that's a project that I'm working on right now. But reading of what other people had to Say about it in summaries and these kinds of things. So, so you, you ended up kind of reading all of this theory, just say you had shIt to throw at people you are arguing with. Well, just because I had lost my, my own sort of political theory in my head, you know, it'd be. I had basically torn down my own liberalism, you know, and, and I had, you know, come up on my own with a lot of the arguments against, you know, property and hierarchy, but it was so new to it and so kind of adrift by having destroyed my own liberalism that if I found it necessary to go out and read other works, going in the opposite direction to sort of find a grounding again. And so the um, the reason why I sort like bring that up as, as my own personal stories is to sort of ask you as someone who is coming from a theory, from a different perspective of sauce and I think you as well how do we approach our own personal education. So that is not just for our own edification but to, to take the things that we learned in our own education and apply it to our work and help our comrades come to, uh, the, this, the same kind of have knowledge of how to approach their work. How do we learn in a socialist way? Yeah, exactly. How do we learn in a socialist and collective way? because this is not just a personal project, it's this is a collective project, right?

Speaker 4:

Yeah. So we'll have a few things on that front. Um, it might be a personality thing, like, you know, I'm sure other people come to things in different ways, but I totally relate to you on sort of emerging myself in debate forms, dominated by sort of libertarians and conservatives and as you know, a teenager I'm engaging in at a teenage liberal. Basically engaging in those arguments not only allowed me to see what the opposite side had to say about things, but it also showed me the limitations of liberalism. So when you're arguing in favor of, of liberalism, eventually the edifice starts to crumble when, when people attack it from different sides and you start to see just in a sort of dialectical process with your ideological opponents. The faIlures of, of liberalism. And for me personally, you know, that pushed me in a more radical direction. Okay, this doesn't work. This actually doesn't make sense. In the process of arguing with this person on this topic, I realized that this is actually not a good tenable position to hold and so, you know, I don't. Again, I don't know if that works for everyone, but It was a way that I got into it and I would say that although debating has its place, it's ultimately very limited in and of itself and I think If we dedicate too much time to just spending countless hours and all of our energy debating people like that, um, at some point you're going to kind of hit a ceiling and you're not really going to go anywhere. You're just spinning your tires in the mud and that's when you have to look for other ways of learning as you say. But this notion of, of how do we learn in a, in a socialist environment or a socialist context. I don't have all the answers on that front. But you know, one thing that I do take seriously in so far as people can get out and meet other leftists in their community and organize. I think we learn a lot from one another. In the actual act of, of trying to organize in our community, no matter if it's just organizing a single protest or taking on big sort of fights like, you know, tenement right fights or, or whatever it may be, you know, here at nlc I've learned so much just in the, just In the process of actually going out and trying new things. You bump up against ideological opponents. you see that liberal groups in your community aren't so open to your that you thought they were. And sometimes they can be your harshest critics and most vociferous enemies on the ground. Um, so I think really there's an epistemology that's rooted in praxis that says by, by going out in, in, in attempting to put your theory, even if it's not fully developed into action, there's actually a reciprocal sort of movement where your theory becomes informed by your, by your practice, and vice versa.

Speaker 1:

Developing your theory and learning through debates and what sometimes turns into internet slap fights. That tends to appeal to a certain type of personality or certain type of leftist. And I think, like you said, we can't just focus on that because there are other ways to learn, but also because I think that may exclude people who perhaps don't enjoy, uh, having to actually get out and do this stuff though is a saddening thing to think for those of us who like to sit behind microphones and think of that as our praxis, but actually getting out and called out, but actually getting out and doing the work as well as talking about the work.

Speaker 4:

Sure. But, um, but you know, obviously I'm a podcast host myself and I wouldn't do this if I didn't think that it had an impact. And so again, it's just the diversity of skillsets. You know, the, the revolutionary left radio came out of organizing with Nebraska left coalition. It was sort of a collective idea. Like we know how can we reach the most people and sort of help people develop and you know, revolutionary left radio came out of that. But it's still very important to have these podcasts to have these spaces online and in our communities where other people can come and learn. So, you know, take, for example, somebody living in a rural area, they might not have any leftist in their town, you know, they might, they might be totally isolated from, from actual movements or organizing and they'll absolutely depend on shows like yours or shows like mine to fill them in and to help them along. so it's not the only way to learn by any means. Um, and I, I do, I do not want to sort of degrade the, the podcasting or radio platform because I really do think it's extremely important and in a lot can be done both learning and educating others through that platform. But as you say, you know, the whole debating thing is certainly a personality thing. I was a philosophy student, I have a degree in philosophy. So I think that the sort of urge to debate early on came out of that same sort of adolescent urge to that sent me in the direction of philosophy, which is I did enjoy the debate. And so that probably, that probably is a personality thing. That's, that's a great point for

Speaker 1:

you. You may say that you're not here to to denigrate podcasting, but I do kind of feel like we've kind of hit the. Maybe the cap on white dudes who want to make jokes about socialism kind of hit the point with those where we don't actually need many more of those. Definitely they could start combining when it's something that those people do because it's easier than doing other things that maybe they have skills for. I'm trying to thread something carefully here. If all you're capable of doing is getting on a microphone and talking or if you feel that's where your skills best lie for making a better world for yourself and for the people that you love and for everybody else in the world, then then go to It soldier, but we'll go to it. Go to it calm right? But if you're doing that so you can say that you're doing something while in your backyard, there's something else going on that you could definitely helP with. I think that's maybe something to self crit.

Speaker 3:

If I can maybe get a little bit of clarification here. So what's your. I guess what you're asking is, or what you're saying is that these kinds of podcasts and these kinds of things, a different media are, are good and useful as praxis, but there has to be a more serious intent than just to get on a microphone and shit talk the democratic party.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah. It's got to be something more behind it than, than a book or a patriot fan. Right.

Speaker 3:

So intention, intentionality, and, and, you know, working that kind of I'm working that theory into your media practice is as important as working and working with that theory into your organizing praxis.

Speaker 1:

And I think, I mean we've had examples of that come up pretty recently when we're trying to deal with him. Maybe discovering that a guest that we had on wasn't maybe all we thought they were and learning as we do. Um, and I'm, I'm sure you've, I know you've had some difficult guests, um, and learning how to handle that is something I think will serve us all well in the future. Yeah, I

Speaker 4:

mean absolutely. Um, and as for your, your point about the limitations of certain forms of podcasting. I know what you're getting at and I couldn't agree more. I think oftentimes the medium of, of, of podcasting or just even social media of being a sort of talking head online, um, it, it can lend itself quite easily to sort of brand building and uh, and a sort of vulgar career where it's just aBout the individual building up there, like you say, patriot on account or their brand as, as, as a talking head and then it becomes completely detached from actual work that benefits or that tries to benefit working people materially. Um, so I think that's absolutely a pitfall that people can fall into, especially when there's a certain, a certain tinge to your, to your podcasting that isn't really necessarily about educating as many people as you can, but more about tearing other people down or just just a sort of call out a tacky sort of sort of show. Um, so that's, that's absolutely something you should work or that we should all be aware of. But as for having difficult guests, I mean, that's a learning process. I was never formally trained in journalism. I'd never had any even Pretense of being a professional interviewer. We, this was a working class person who felt that I had a cErtain knack for putting things into words and I kind of stumbled into this show and then there's a lot of growing pains that comes with that and you know, I'll have a controversial guest on and then people will message me later talking about things that this person did in the past that I should have known about and i should have done my research because this person was problematic in this way or the other. And sorT of navigating those criticisms and, and sort of trying to find a way to deal with those issues is a perennial problem. And I like to say I'm getting better at it, but I'm not sure. I'm still kind of stumbling around here

Speaker 1:

realizing that people are actually listening to what we're saying and in some cases like taking it vaguely seriously is this combination of, of uplifting. Like, oh, that's wonderful, but also terrifying because I'm just some dipshit.

Speaker 4:

Exactly. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Well, and, and there's, there's, there's kind of an opposite problem with that too, that a lot of the sort of more educational things that we as the left do tend to be dry, boring and very academic. And, and I think one of the things that I appreciate from your show and that I think that we try to bring in our marxist study group show marks, headroom, plug, plug, plug, um, is that, you know, you can have fun even on the good team. Like there's a lot of really heavy, serious things that you're talking about, but you get, you do have, you know, jocularity, you, you, you guys have an incredible chemistry together and you guys bring a ton of emotion to it. Whether it is a joy or sorrow. And, and I think that that is as important as sort of like getting the theory right. And I think that that's part of, I think that that really has to be part of our practice is, is that we can't just present good information. We have to present good information in a way that is engaging and in a way that is approachable. Like on a human level.

Speaker 4:

Yes, absolutely. And that was the core value behind behind the guillotine specifically is that, you know, there's lots of information out there and you know, there's this sort of urge on the left to be sort of academic and our approach to that information. But in reality we're talking to human beings and you cannot separate rationality from emotionality. You cannot separate the theoretical terrain with the material one that actually impacts people's daily lives. And so yeah, on the guillotine will get angry. Like I've, I've cried, cried multiple times on air because I'm talking about something that's so devastating. And so it goes back to me saying, my heart gets broken every day. It truly does. And you know, it's just, it's a natural sort of, this is, this is how the way I talk in the guillotine is how I talked to my friends or my family when I'm passionate about something. And that seems to resonate with people because it speaks to them on that emotional level. And we shouldn't be afraid to speak to people in that level. In fact, we should try our hardest to reach people on that level because that's the level that is, that is way more impactful for more people than just sort of the npr sort of approach to information. I want people to get upset because this world is upsetting, but I also don't want us to just fall into nihilism in despair either, so we try to interject with a little bit of our personality. You have a little fun with it and, and try to give people directions that they can take when they, when they turn their phone off or they hang up their headphones, you know, think about this or go out and talk to your coworkers or try to organize or whatever. We always try to push that so we don't just leave people shaking and rage and nowhere to go. You know,

Speaker 1:

you were talking about getting, getting emotional and having your, having your heartbreak, uh, how do you, and I suppose others there, how do you avoid burnouts?

Speaker 4:

Oh yeah, that's a big question. Avoid burnout. Maybe as a perennial question. Really. It really is. I don't know, I feel like I'm kind of being constantly burnt out all the time, but there's also this sort of sisyphean effort that, that comes inside of me and like, keep going, you know, just, you're, you're, you're doing something. People are paying attention, you're having an impact. It's not about you, you know, just keep, keep driving it home and that's unsustainable. But I would be lying if I said that that urge isn't there and you know, I do get extremely, not only deflated energetically but like depressed, you know, when you're, when you're constantly running yourself dry, you're constantly engaging with all of this stuff. Like you do geT burnt out and that's a very serious issue that we, that I don't think we talk about enough but that we should. Everybody's gonna have their own coping mechanisms. For me. I've fallen off lately, but I find that it, at least for me personally, I'm not trying to, to apply a universal to just my particular. But you know, meditation is a way that, that I can really ground myself, that I can sort of take a step back from my own thoughts. in my own mind and sort of get a little relief in that gap. So mindfulness and meditation generally have been in an essential thing for me to sort of keep my own sanity in a world that is, that is just chaotic and it seems hell bent on driving me, you know, mad. I mean, like I say, I, I'm deeply emotionally invested in this world and for me meditation has been a way to sort of balance myself in that terrain. Um, but I'd be really interested to hear what would both of you have to say about how, how you deal with burnout and how you self care.

Speaker 1:

Well, thank you very much for asking that. If you would like to hear how some members of the north bay cope with burnout and chatting about burnout, we have an episode that's currently being edited where we talk about that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, plug plug, plug. We're getting better at those. For me, uh, you know, learning is, is my coping mechanism for a lot of things I have. I, I can, I kind of consider myself a lifelong academic, you know, since I basically could talk, I have always been interested in learning and education, but I had, I had a very, very difficult time in school because of how formal it was and, and how removed it felt from the actual process of like engaging with, with a topic and, and like actually coming to a learning. And it was, it was more about sort of here's the knowledge that you need to be a worker and that's always been kind of antithetical to me. so, so yeah, a big part of my coping mechanism is just in general in life is just to try to always be approaching something new, try to always be learning. Uh, and, and now not even just theory and politics. Um, so I've been a brewer for about 10 years now and before we put a single grain into a kettle, I probably spent almost two years like reading and learning everything I could about it. Um, when I decided that I wanted to start a garden, uh, I learned all I could about permaculture and soil management and pest control and all these different things surrounding farming and gardening and it, it's, it's almost in a way kInd of meditative where I can let my own kind of worries fall to the side for awhile and engage, engage my mind. It's like rejuvenation almost.

Speaker 1:

I'm still navigating my way around avoiding and dealing with burnout. I've had, I've had some difficult times. I'm kind of since I came to dsa of getting too involved and then having to just stop and then thinking I can come back and then getting to evolved again and then having to stop. I definitely would not advocate illegal drugs to anybody, especially not psychedelics or anything like that for dealing with getting out of your own mind sometimes or helping with meditation or things like that. You might not, but I would bearing in mind that we are all going to be on a department of homeland security watch lists because they are putting those together now. Yes. That's one of the reasons why I keep repeating. I'm just some dip shit on the internet. You do not have to call me an influencer. Please don't put me on that list. I think for me, especially because I was socialized as a woman and I identify as a woman, a lot of my self care is kind of orientated towards taking care of other people and that helps me avoid burnout, but especially when the people that I'm taking care of remind me to take care of myself. Kind of a symbiotic relationship there. You know, remembering to pay your bills can be self care and can maybe not help you avoid burnout but can at least help you avoid having your water shut off if you can, if you can pay those bills.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. And you know as a, I'm a father of two children and so there's that symbiotic relationship of they're always there to ground me and remind me of sort of primary duties to them as a parent to teach them, to take care of them. And that does help both of you sort of articulate a, a balance, a life politics balance where you engaged with politics as much as you can because it's important and we care about it. But also we have to find ways, and I'm not always great at this, sometimes I'm good, sometimes I'm not good at this, but we have to find ways of balancing our lives and finding things in our personal lives that can, you know, take our minds off of things. And it's not escapism. It's just taking care of yourself and, and having a healthy psyche so that you can go back out and help other people. You know, there's that concept in buddhism which I think applies to politics. You work on yourself so that you can be a more effective helper and healer of others. And you know, I think we should strive to do that, although it's always easier said than done.

Speaker 1:

And similarly, the adage in the dsa affinity group, medics have, don't create another victim that you shouldn't go charging into something if you're just going to end up another, another person needing help. I think that you, you did not necessarily state it, but saying we are your father. You do also have that outlet of dad jokes and I am very, very, uh, envious.

Speaker 4:

Oh yeah. But it's also interesting. The dad jokes are absolutely essential, but it's also interesting because my daughter daughter's nine years old and so there's this extra layer where the combination of being a father in politics comes into play because she deals with issues that touch on politics. You know, she deals with issues of sexism or issues of racism at school, issues of bullying, you know, she, she's a child of working class parents who often struggle economically and she sees that she's very in tune with that and conscious of it. And so it gives me these really interesting opportunities to engage with her politically and try to expand her social consciousness. But it's different because you're talking to a nine year old. So how can you put the complaint? She comes home after learning about martin luther king at school and obviously it's an extremely watered down, whitewashed version of who mlk was, but she's genuinely intrigued by it and she comes home asking me for more how do I talk about the complicated subjects of racism and bigotry and slavery in a way that a nine year old can understand and that that's really challenging, but when I'm able to do it, it's also really rewarding and it also helps me to sort of flex that muscle of how do I put complicated things into words that everybody can understand. If I can do it for a nine year old, I can certainly do it for an 18 year old. You know? That's how. That's how I kind of. I think about that.

Speaker 1:

Some of my favorite episodes of street fight radio have been ones when the younger members of the street fight family are leading or guesting because hearing some of the radical anarchist shit that comes out of the mouths of children is, is

Speaker 4:

so wholesome, wholesome.

Speaker 3:

yeah, and I think that exactly as you said, there is sometimes a notion that we need to be able to explain things to children because many adults have a childlike understanding of the world and I w I would like to say that that is very deeply steeped in, in some really ugly classism, but there is a, there is a kernel of truth in that the sort of liberal status quo understanding of the world that we live in is very naive and we need to be able to explain ourselves, you know, and explain how we feel about martin luther king and his history and his radicalism in a way that recuperates him back into the left. And that's just one example. But you know, it's, it's very difficult to, to do that without pushing people away because you are using a lot of jargon and, and you're far, far more radical than they are and you're getting back on your bullshit again kinda thing. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And, and I kind of, um, in this, uh, the back third of the conversation here, I kind of want to ask you about the ways in which you personally and you know, in, in the nlc, as an organization have taken to, you know, political education internally so that you will be able to then turn around and take that political education into the community, uh, alongside the, the, the actual work solidarity and mutual aid that you're doing.

Speaker 4:

Right? And I, before I go into that answer, you said something that is extremely important and I would just want to highlight it again, is this notion that liberalism obscures and reduces the complexity of things. There is a, there's a very much a concealing of the truth that liberalism offers because liberalism, by virtue of what it is obscures the relationships of power, of class, of the dynamics of a hierarchy that capitalism produces. It must conceal those things because it depends on those things. It's the ideology of that system. And so in order to perpetuate it, you have to have this sort of, you know, the booze was fog, that, that obscures the truth to things. And when you go on and you watch cnn or you watch fox news, you can clearly see how all the complexities, all the power dynamics, all the important stuff about politics is completely stripped away. And what we get instead is this hyper commodified, simple snack type of media that is, that is easy to digest, that doesn't shock you, that doesn't shake you out of your complacency. in fact, it sort of acts as an opiate and that it continues to keep you asleep. And so, you know, I think it's extremely important to understand that and in that process of trying to educate people out of that, you're going to have to deal with the difficulty of people who have been conditioned for an entire lifetime with that obscurity, with that concealing of the truth and the dynamics that underlie society. And when people get 20, 30, 40, 50 years old, the capacity for them to relearn everything, it, it decreases, you know, um, and that's something that makes it extremely challenging when you're talking to your 60 year old uncle as opposed to you talking to, you know, a 20 year old liberal, the 20 year old liberal is going to be more open because they've been less sort of hammered in with, with the whole lifetime of that sort of ideology. But, but broadenIng out to your question about the Nebraska left coalition and how we sort of have inter discussions, it's interesting because there's lots of problems that come up with an organization like nlc in that we're not an organization, meaning that we don't adhere to one tendency strictly. And so we do have an archivist, we have marxists, we have democratic socialists and we all kind of work together because part of that is because of the size of omaha. It's relatively smaller than big cities like chicago or New York or la. And so there's just less organizations to join. Um, and we kind of had to operate in a situation where we had no preexisting real leftist infrastructure organizing. There's liberal groups but there wasn't any explicitly leftist ones. And so Nebraska left coalition was really the sort of we had to created out of nothing with, with a hodgepodge coalition of different leftist. Um, but we keep it friendly. We t, we keep it comradely when we do have disagreements, it's always done in good faith and it's always done by giving your, the other person the benefit of the doubt. I think that's something that is important to do when you're dealing with friends and comrades is they might have a bad take here or there and you can pile on them and you can trash them and you can sort of just dunk on him, but it's way more productive if there's a sort of friendly comradely engagement back and forth where you highlight your points and they highlight chairs, etc. But when it comes to taking it to the community, that's something that we're still trying to figure out. Um, we have programs like, you know, uh, a feed the people program, which is sort of a coalition of different groups related to nlc, lots of overlap between members, et cetera, but we go out and try to provide food and necessities to people in low income areas and in our own working class communities. But there's this bridge, they're like, you don't want to push the information too much. You don't want to come off as if you're on some, some missionary trip. Right? We're like, went to salvation army. Exactly. You don't want to do that. And so you don't want to be like, in order to get this food, you have to listen to our rant about capitalism for 15 minutes. absolutely not. But on the other hand, you don't want to just fall into the charity model of you can just take the food and go and never have to confront the underlying systems that produce the need for you to come and get food in the first place. So it's a very fine line that, that organizers have to walk there. And I certainly just honestly don't have the answer. It's something that we're still working out in real time and trying to find unique and creative and respectful ways to bridge that gap. It's difficult.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. And um, as, as a, a member, an organizer with the dsa, I definitely feel you on that multi-tendency thing and I think there's, part of it is that we are very, um, the, the left in this entire country is very small and we're a very small core of like committed radical, revolutionary anticapitalists. Right. But I think also the other part is that many of the ideas and tendencies and ideologies are they, they come out of the kind of practice that we were talking about at the, at the top of the show, which was, you know, taking a theories and, and ideas that might not be completely formed yet and then forming them and formalizing them through actual on the ground work and, and seeing what works and what doesn't. And that is something that is very much tied to the time, the place, the context that the ideologies and tendencies come up in. You know, and thIs is something that I kind of like grapple with on an existential level, that there has never been a successful proletarian revolution in an industrialized, fully proletarian[inaudible] country. Yeah. So that means we get to be the first, but we're flying blind essentially. There's, there is a ton that we can learn from, uh, you know, are from marks from pudong, from, from lennon and from mile and from books and from book, you know, apa. Yeah. And you know, and you know, people who are actually doing things, uh, in, in their, in their place and in their context. But I think that if, if we become a single tendency fault, a dogma, a, I think that we are going to miss out on the fact that our context is unique in social revolutions are socialist revolutions, I should say, and that we are building the tracks of the, of the ideologies and methodologies that will lead us to revolution as the train is barreling down it. If you've seen wallace and gromit, we are basically grommet on that model train laying down track in front of himself. Yeah, that's good. That's a great visual metaphor. Yeah, exactly. And like I said, um, I, I find a lot as, as I've been doing a lot more study and reading, I find that there is a ton to be learned from the scientific socialism and, and studying marx and uh, you know, the works of marx and his heirs and I think that a big part of that is actually your show has really pushed me to, to, to really broaden out and, and try to understand more than just the theories that I was already comfortable with. And, and I think that a lot of us and embracingly, all of our organizations are, none of us really have a good clear way or a good clear understanding of how it is that we take what we know and bring it to everybody. Right? So I think that the, the issues that you're like, oh, I don't, I don't have the answers to, to how to educate, uh, the, the, the general populace about the things that we're doing, how to educate the working class. And I don't think any of us do and to help educate themselves just. Yes, exactly. Yeah, and, and you know, part of it is just sort of like unlearning those, a authoritarian models that we learned in school to. We're not here to educate people. We're here to help people be educated. There's a, there's a dialectical relationship between teacher and student. Uh, even if one knows more than the other, both are learning through the process of, of teaching or being taught. Um, there were, you had a ml comrades on talking about it might be better for us to have a multitudinous number of organizations that are single tendency. I thought that they brought up some good arguments for why that is, but I think one of the things that, that kind of thing is missing is that, you know, we need to internally on the left be constantly butting up against each other's ideologies and proofing them, testing them and refining them. And, and in that process of us together honing our, our own tendencies that are comrades, tendencies are also going to be a better and more applicable in the context that we're in.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. And that's something that we try to foster on revolutionary left radio is that exact notion of we need to be in dialogue with one another because we have a lot to learn from one another. But as also as I've developed and as I've done the show and as I've talked to so many different people, I also realized that this idea that somehow magically that you know, all leftists are going to sort of come together and be really friendly to each other and work together in nice ways. YoU, that's also kind of a fantasy. Like there are very, very real differences between say a leninist and an anarchist that just simply can't be bridged. Now I tried to mud as harold that. Well, yeah, I try to take the approach that we should learn from one another. we shouldn't be in dialogue with one another, but the idea that you should have if you really truly believe that anarchism is correct, please stay open. Please self reflect, constantly be in dialogue with other tendencies, but absolutely go organize as an anarchist. And the same is true for a marxist or a maoist or whatever. And I think there's also this second level, second order of dialectic that works out in the concept of pursuing your own tendency and seeing which works. Because if we have an anarchist organization, we have a leninist organization, we have a maoist organization, we have the dsa and all of them are pushing on their own specific fronts. Not only will more things get done in a more coherent way, but certain certain things will work and other things won't work. It's almost like running the experiment in real time. So instead of trying to get everybody into hurting cats into one box, it might be better to let cats go their own way, but also be able to stand back and honestly reflect on on what works and what doesn't. There's this notion that marxism specifically is, is dogmatic, but in reality, and I think you alluded to this when you were talking, the science of materialism or the approach of historical materialism is inherently open ended. It's, it's inherently about trying to apply certain truths in the changing conditions that you operate in. And I find that extremely helpful. So we want to simultaneously remain open and fluid, but we also don't want to have to constantly reinvent the wheel of problems that were solved in other context in history, so you. So you want to study history, you want to see what's worked in the past and what hasn't, But you also want to avoid dogmatism and rigidity and your thinking and and be an open dialogue with other leftists that are working in the same conditions you're working in and try to apply that general methodology to the ever changing every evolving historical landscape that we're just, you know, all steeped in, I think, occupy movement here in the us, specifically the occupy movement. It did some good. It brought the notion that there would be no bernie sanders campaign without the occupy movement. A lot of radicals like myself, we were radicalized in the context of the occupy movement, but there are serious flaws with the occupy movement and occupy failed for very specific reasons and if we're open and honest about that, we can go back and look at what worked and what didn't it. What did work is we got certain concepts introduced into mainstream american discourse, 99 percent versus the one percent, the importance of class. Bernie sanders could never have run as a socialist without laying that occupied groundwork before it, but on the other hand, it was crushed by police. There is this sort of dogmatic adherence to consensus decision making which privileged every individual person's thoughts and feelings over an organizational coherency that can move forward and make explicit demands when the time was right for those demands, et cetera. So there's always this tension between remaining open and learning from the past. And I'm trying to find a way to articulate that and to walk that line myself as a thinker and an organizer.

Speaker 1:

It's very important to me personally to always bear in mind that nobody is perfect. Nobody is going to have 100 percent perfect takes all of the time. Nobody is going to be 100 percent good in all of their actions and not only to apply that sort of leniency towards looking at other people are the comrades that I interact with, but also to myself and to acknowledge when people fuck up and say, okay, you fucked up. How do we fix this? How do we not have it happen again? Rather than the, um, the bojack horseman. You can't just keep doing bad things and then hating yourself for it. Like that makes it okay. You have to actually move on from doing the bad thing. Uh, we are rolling up on an hour now. Was there anything in particular that you wanted to touch on or talk about that we haven't already or anything that you wanted to respond to that we kind of didn't give you a chance to?

Speaker 4:

Sure. Yeah. Just, I mean, just a couple of things. Firstly, what, what you just talked about there I think is extremely important and you touched on it earlier in the conversation, but this notion that we're driven by empathy and compassion for other people and an outrage at injustice, but oftentimes it's hard to direct that empathy and compassion towards ourselves and to realize that it's okay to be wrong. It's okay to, to be corrected by somebody else. and I think if we can find ways to aim that compassionate ourselves and sort of set our individual egos aside and realize that, hey, I have a lot of learning to do. I have a lot of growing to do and so does everybody else. So maybe the best way to go about this as not to attack every person that doesn't have the exact line I have. And it's also not to engage in self destructive behaviors which, you know, puts myself at a lower position than other people. We have to find ways of of loving ourselves and loving others and and setting our egos aside and, and constantly being open and constantly reflecting on our ideas and our behavior and ultimately to be good human beings and our personal lives. I mean for a lot of people in our lives, you know, I might be the only communist that my friends and family actually know in real life, the only outspoken revolutionary communist and it does matter how I conduct myself in my greedy and my selfish. Do I talk down to people in my arrogant, do I hurt the people around me or do I, do I take care of them and try to put as much as I can, my communist principles into action in my, in my personal life? That doesn't mean that personal individual lifestyle choices or are the causing factor of change in society, but I think it does reflect back on the movement. And so we have a responsibility to hold ourselves to high standards of behaviors in our personal life. But the final thing I'll say, just sort of summing up the discussion about education and left wing media and podcasting is it's very important for us to shape our own narratives, for us to be able to have these conversations and for us not to rely on mainstream outlets, you know, the right wing for as horrible as they are, they've really figured out how to manipulate media and how to build this infrastructure of information that sort of, I don't want to isolate ourselves into bubbles of unreality like you see on the far right. Um, but we do want to be able to shape our own narratives and to not let that be at the, at the hands of corporations and reactionaries. And there's a defensive strategy when it comes to that. Meaning leftists can critique and call out lies on the right. But that's limited, you know, we also to take an offensive position which is actively going out, creating media infrastructure, setting our own narratives. You know, framing are our struggles and our fights on our terms. And I think your show does that. My show tries to do that. And the more, the better, I mean, what we need, we need these things to be in place to educate and bring up, especially younger comrades who as this system continues to turn in on itself, will be looking for a lot for our alternatives and we need to be there too to open our arms to them and embrace them and help them develop. So I hope we can all keep that in mind. And then one final thing, what are you reading right now? I am reading continuity and rupture by jay malfa wad paul the guest on my mouse episode. I'm, I'm reading that and I find it extremely challenging. I find it super interesting. It's one of the most challenging books I've read politically in a long time. It cast a lot of my politics into question and made me reflect on a lot of things that I've taken for granted for years. So yeah, continuity than rupture. It's, it's a, it's a maoist text, but it's, it's extremely accessible, it's well written and it's, it's really, really, really fascinating. And even if you're not, um, how is like, you don't have to be a malice at all, you will benefit from, from reading this book and sort of having the conceptual clarity that, that the book brings. So yeah, that's what I'm reading. How about you?

Speaker 3:

Uh, right now I'm reading a couple of different books. The primary texts that I'm, I'm reading right now is das capital. Nice. Good luck the study show for that. I'm going back and reading mutual aid, a factor in evolution. And then I have a couple of texts that I am currently in the middle of for our, uh, american history show, which I will tease a little bit. It's a, you can't separate american history and black history. Interesting. Yeah. That's going to be coming up in a couple of months. We've already started the sort of like, preproduction process on that.

Speaker 1:

And I, uh, I'm reading the extremely uplifting, understanding sexual violence by diana scully was a late eighties, early nineties text based on interviews with men who had committed rape. And we're in prison, um, can understand it. It's, it's a joy to read. It's, I look forward to reading through it. Well, it's important on. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you very much for joining us and allowing us to take up an hour and a half of your time on a saturday morning, saturday afternoon.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, no, the, the pleasure was totally mine. Um, I really appreciate you guys having me on giving me a platform. I really enjoyed the discussion. I look forward to staying in contact with you and yeah, I just seriously deeply appreciate you guys letting me come on the show. It's been an, it's been an absolute honor, old dirty, so dirty. And for those, for those comrades who don't already know, how can people find your, your various works and your social media presences? Well on twitter, personally, I'm at dead irish rebel, but you can find revolutionary left radio ad rev, left radio on twitter, the guillotine at gaya team pod, and our media collective for rebel. Left radio is called critical mediations. We have a new website up. We take music submissions, we take essay submissions. It's a podcasting network. So those are the ways that you can probably get ahold of me and people related to me, and again, so much love comrade and thank you for coming on. And as always, for those listening, as I say, every time I go in peace be in solidarity.