#174 | Revolution Interrupted: Venezuela; Belligerent America; An Unfolding Coup w/ Eric Draitser

In this episode, I speak with independent political analyst Eric Draitser. I ask Eric expand upon his analysis of recent events in Venezuela, expressed in his piece in CounterPunch ‘Trump’s Coup in Venezuela: The Full Story,’ in which Eric lays into the recent decision by the Trump Administration to back “interim president” Juan Guaido as the rightful leader of the nation. Eric explains the celebrated successes of the ongoing Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela under the successive governments of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, the legitimate criticisms of the current Maduro-led government in Venezuela, the colonial legacy of the United States’ relationship with Latin America in general, and what this ongoing incursion by the United States into the Venezuelan government and economy will ultimately lead to in the future.

What Eric does in this discussion is provide a much fuller and richer picture of what is currently happening in Venezuela, in light of the recent decision by the Trump Administration — under the direction of President Donald Trump, VP Mike Pence, National Security Advisor John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and “special envoy” to Venezuela Elliot Abrams, among others — to back “interim president” of Venezuela Juan Guaido as the rightful leader of the nation, a process that has been described as a “democratic and constitutional transfer of power” by Bolton.* In spite of the obvious reasons why the United States would be interested in deposing the elected government for its abundant resources (oil), Eric digs into the deeper reasons as to why this is happening: the Bolivarian Revolution (described as an ongoing process; imperfect but successful), enacted by Hugo Chavez under his tenure as President, emboldens and empowers regional resistance to Western influence — which includes the neoliberal economic agenda and U.S. military hegemony in Latin America — allowing Leftist social movements in the region to grow and thrive, as has been the case in recent decades. The Bolivarian Revolution stands as a threat to the Monroe Doctrine, an outlook espoused within United States foreign policy toward Latin America in general, giving the United States the ideological justification to impose its will upon Latin American nations to further its own interests. Eric exposes the underlying mechanisms that have led to an escalation of tensions between the United States and Venezuela, the Maduro government and the Capitalist class in Venezuela, as well as between regional players (Colombia) and the Venezuelan government. We discuss this and more in this episode.

Eric Draitser is an independent political analyst, writes regularly for CounterPunch, and is the host of CounterPunch Radio.

*Source: http://bit.ly/2UX4Xud

Episode Notes:

- Learn more about Eric’s work at his website: http://stopimperialism.org

- Read Eric’s piece ‘Trump’s Coup in Venezuela: The Full Story’ at CounterPunch: http://bit.ly/2N62PO7

- Much of Eric’s work can be found at his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/ericdraitser

- Follow Eric on Twitter: https://twitter.com/stopimperialism

- The introduction includes audio from NBC News, “John Bolton On Venezuela: ‘All Options Are On The Table’”: http://bit.ly/2UX4Xud

- The songs featured in this episode are “Raw Power Moves” and “Shapeshifter” by Mono/Poly from the album Cryptic.

#173 | Medicine For All: Open-Source DIY Pharmaceutical Production For The Masses w/ Michael Laufer

In this episode, I speak with Michael Laufer — Chief Spokesperson for the Four Thieves Vinegar Collective, a network of individuals that seek to make commonly inaccessible medicines affordable and accessible to public by providing the means to produce pharmaceutical medicines outside of the dominant medical establishment. We tackle the ethics behind the project, the anti-capitalist/anarchist structure of the network, and the various technologies the Collective has been able to make affordable and accessible to the broader public, in order to adequately participate in pharmaceutical drug production in a more direct DIY fashion.

In this discussion with Michael, we get at the various ways the for-profit healthcare system in the United States makes commonly needed medicines practically impossible to access for a wide swath of the population. "The main reasons for people being disenfranchised from medicines are: price, legality, and lack of infrastructure. Medicines like Solvadi which costs $80,000 for a course of treatment, is beyond the reach of most people. Mifepristone and Misoprostal are unavailable in many places where abortion is illegal. Antiretroviral HIV treatments even when provided free, have no way of getting to remote locations in 3rd world countries.”* How can a non-hierarchal network like the Four Thieves Vinegar Collective, comprised of individuals from various backgrounds and specializations, provide the means for the disenfranchised to not only have access to, but also produce, pharmaceutical grade medications in order to maintain the health, and save the lives, of those effectively shut out of the for-profit healthcare system in the United States? I ask Michael to define the ethical obligation those in the Collective feel in providing the means to construct the tools to produce these much-needed medicines, the legality of this project, the anti-establishment ethos that directs the project, and what we can expect from the Collective in the future.

Dr. Michael Laufer a professor of Mathematics at Menlo College, and is Chief Spokesperson and founding member of Four Thieves Vinegar Collective, a volunteer network of anarchists and hackers developing DIY medical technologies outside of the dominant for-profit medical establishment. The Collective is responsible for designing the Apothecary Microlab, a DIY chemical reactor (made with a 3D printer) that can produce pharmaceutical grade drugs for a fraction of the cost, as well as the epinephrine injector dubbed the “EpiPencil” that can be constructed and used for a little over $30 (compared to the EpiPen, which is now around $300 per unit).

*Source: http://bit.ly/FTVmission

Episode Notes:

- Learn more about the Four Thieves Vinegar Collective, their mission, and how to get involved: https://fourthievesvinegar.org

- Follow the Collective on Twitter: https://twitter.com/4ThievesVinegar

- Follow Michael on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MichaelSLaufer

- For those interested in DIY insulin production, Michael mentions the Open Insulin Project: http://openinsulin.org

- Read more about Michael and the Collective in this article on Motherboard: http://bit.ly/2GAynKH

- The songs featured in this episode are “Virus” (the full version and the instrumental) and “Memory Loss” by Deltron 3030 from the self-titled album Deltron 3030.

#172 | No Justice On Stolen Land: Uniting Indigenous Resistance & Anticapitalist Revolt w/ Gord Hill

In this episode, I speak with Gord Hill (also known as Zig Zag) — Indigenous artist, activist, and the author of numerous books/graphic novels, including ‘500 Years of Indigenous Resistance,’ ‘The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book,’ ‘The Anti-Capitalist Resistance Comic Book,’ and 'The Antifa Comic Book.’ A major theme that runs through this discussion with Gord is the recognition that there is currently a growing intersection between what can be defined as traditionally Eurocentric Leftist political theory and practice with anti-colonial Indigenous resistance, throughout the so-called American continents, from North to South.

At the beginning of this discussion, I ask Gord to provide some examples of Indigenous resistance to colonialist expansion throughout the so-called Americas over the past 500 years, from the earliest forms of resistance in the earliest days of European colonial expansion, up to the present day. Gord, having one foot in indigenous resistance movements and the other in anarchist/anti-capitalist/anti-fascist organizing, provides much needed context on how radical Leftist theory and practice (for the most part, European in origin) increasingly works in tandem with anti-colonial Indigenous resistance movements. As Gord lays out in this episode, various strains of resistance — anti-colonial, ecological, anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, egalitarian — stand to benefit from learning and working with each other -- and in great part, this is already happening. We also discuss that while different, each of these respective strains of resistance utilize a similar diversity of tactics in resistance to the State, the logic of Capital, and the Settler-Colonial culture that dominates the land up to the present moment. We discuss these subjects, and more, in this episode.

Gord Hill, who also goes under the pen name Zig Zag, is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation along the Northwest Coast. Lord is an indigenous activist, anarchist, and artist, and is the author and illustrator of numerous books/graphic novels, including ‘500 Years of Indigenous Resistance,’ ‘The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book,’ ‘The Anti-Capitalist Resistance Comic Book,’ and ‘The Antifa Comic Book.’

Episode Notes:

- Stay up to date with indigenous, anti-capitalist, and anti-fascist resistance -- as well as all the work Gord is doing -- on his website: https://warriorpublications.wordpress.com

- Purchase ‘500 Years of Indigenous Resistance’ at PM Press: http://bit.ly/500yearsPM

- Purchase ‘The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book,’ ‘The Anti-Capitalist Resistance Comic Book,’ and ‘The Antifa Comic Book.’ at Arsenal Pulp Press: http://bit.ly/GHArsenalP

- Read Gord’s interview on anti-fascism in Time: http://bit.ly/2RBKedu

- The songs featured in this episode are “Sila (feat. Tanya Tagaq)” and “JHD (feat. Junior Ottawa)” by A Tribe Called Red from the album We Are the Halluci Nation.

#170 | Predicament-Laden Times: Continuing The Impossible Conversation w/ Dean Spillane-Walker

In this episode, I speak with Dean Spillane-Walker — author of ‘The Impossible Conversation: Choosing Reconnection and Resilience at the End of Business as Usual’ and the host of The Poetry of Predicament podcast. We pick up where we left off from our first discussion on The Poetry of Predicament*, in which we discuss how to approach a more sane and connected means of discussing our "predicament-laden times" in the face of radical social change, abrupt climate disruption, and the collapse of the global economic order in the face of these ongoing crises.

This is wide-ranging discussion with Dean, which is what I ultimately intended for it to be. When one begins to pull on the thread of the “sobering data” of abrupt climate disruption, one begins to the long and convoluted journey of untangling the gargantuan knot we call the “infinite growth paradigm” in which we are all embedded within on the planet. This discussion is a bit like that — after addressing the “impossible conversation” that surrounding the life-changing recognition of the likely near-term extinction of the human species as a result of abrupt global changes associated with anthropogenic climate change and widespread ecological collapse, one can then wonder how we got to this point in the first place. This conversation with Dean unfolds in a similar manner; we discuss our thoughts on such topics as colonization and white supremacy, the economic and social consequences our disconnection with the land and natural systems, the modern conception of the self in relation to the natural world, the importance of developing community and cultivating networks around mutual aid and solidarity in times of crisis, and some thoughts on how proceed in light of the “sobering data” surrounding all the subjects discussed in this episode.

Dean Spillane-Walker is the Founder and Director of Living Resilience, the author of ‘The Impossible Conversation: Choosing Reconnection and Resilience at the End of Business as Usual,’ and the host of The Poetry of Predicament podcast.

*Source: https://youtu.be/aIEwC9kbo1Q

Episode Notes:

- Learn more about Living Resilience: https://livingresilience.net

- Learn more about and purchase Dean’s book ‘The Impossible Conversation: Choosing Reconnection and Resilience at the End of Business as Usual’: https://amzn.to/2UjeZp9

- Listen and subscribe to Dean’s podcast The Poetry of Predicament: http://bit.ly/PoetryPredicament

- Follow Dean on Twitter: https://twitter.com/safecircle

- The song featured in this episode is “You’ve Got To Learn” by Nina Simone from the album I Put A Spell On You