#167 | No Access Without Consent: The Unist'ot’en Camp; In Defense Of The Sacred w/ Will Falk

In this episode, I speak with writer, lawyer, and environmental activist Will Falk. In 2014 and 2015, Will spent a great deal of time at the Unist’ot’en Camp, part of the Wet’suwet’en Nation (in so-called British Columbia). We place Will's activism and insights about his time at the Camp within the broader context of what is currently unfolding there. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), on January 7th, breached the borders of Wet’suwet’en territory, violating Canadian and International law, as well as the sovereignty of the unceded territory of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.

In this discussion, we get into the specific reasons behind the breach of the Wet’suwet’en Nation's borders by the RCMP on January 7th, leading to the arrest of 14 defenders of the territory. The proposed construction of a massive $4.7 billion Coastal GasLink pipeline through Wet’suwet’en territory has been in the works for almost a decade, and finally, after years of harassment by numerous parties, including the Canadian government, the RCMP broke through the barracaded border of the Wet’suwet’en territory.* How can we (speaking as settlers in North America) begin to understand what this struggle for indigenous autonomy means, especially within the broader struggle to upend white supremacy and colonial expansion in the modern era? In being able to preserve, maintain, and defend space for human and non-human life against the tide of colonial expansion, the continued autonomy of the Unist’ot’en Camp and the Wet’suwet’en Nation is key in our collective attempt to reclaim, heal, and live on the lands that have been violated in the name of human progress, civilization, and maintenance of the status quo.

It must be stated that Will is not a member of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, nor a spokesperson for the Unist’ot’en Camp. He speaks as someone who has spent a significant amount of time at the Camp and has developed a deep respect and love for the Wet’suwet’en people, the Unist'ot'en Camp, and the beautiful space they hold in their struggle against the state of Canada and the fossil fuel industry.

Will Falk is a writer, lawyer, and environmental activist. Will graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School and practiced as a public defender in Kenosha, WI. He left the public defender office to pursue frontline environmental activism. So far, activism has taken him to the Unist’ot’en Camp – an indigenous cultural center and pipeline blockade on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory in so-called British Columbia, Canada, to a construction blockade on Mauna Kea in Hawai’i, and to endangered pinyon-juniper forests in the Great Basin.**

*Source: https://youtu.be/dE6gUXUexRg

**Source: http://willfalk.org/about

CORRECTION: I may have said in this episode that it was the Unist'ot'en Camp that was breached by the RCMP. In fact, it was the Gitdumt'en Checkpoint. Apologies.

Episode Notes:

- Learn more about Will and his work: http://willfalk.org

- Learn more about the Unist’ot’en Camp and the Wet’suwet’en Nation: http://unistoten.camp

- Donate to and support the Camp: http://unistoten.camp/support-us

- Read Will’s 2015 article ‘From Unist’ot’en Camp to Mauna Kea: This is What Civilization Does’: http://bit.ly/2SPFVwI

- The introduction of this episode features the song “Duration, Pt. 9” by Sixtoo from the album Duration, and audio from the video ‘Gitdumt'en Checkpoint Raided by RCMP’ by Michael T: https://youtu.be/NdB6W8YMy6M

#166 | How Nonviolence Protects The State: An Analysis Of Early State Formation w/ Peter Gelderloos

In this episode, I speak with anarchist, activist, and writer Peter Gelderloos. Peter is the author of numerous books, two of which we examine in this interview — ‘How Nonviolence Protects The State’ and ’Worshiping Power: An Anarchist View of Early State Formation.’

In this discussion, I ask Peter to examine the most lauded nonviolent movements in recent history: the anti-colonial movement in India in the early 20th century (in which Mahatma Gandhi became well known for his use of nonviolent resistance against British rule) and the civil rights and anti-war movements in the United States in the 1950s through the 1970s. As Peter elaborates in his book ‘How Nonviolence Protects The State,’ nonviolence and pacifism in general severely limit resistance movements in adequately and seriously upending and defending against entrenched systems of oppression and violence — the State being the ultimate manifestation of this in the world today (and through out much of human history, as we explore later). We get at the root of his critique of nonviolence, and attempt to clarify his position on this subject.

In the later half of this episode, we move onto his most recent book ‘Worshiping Power,’ in which Peter examines early state formation in societies through out human history. What stands out from this discussion is: 1) there are numerous examples of societies throughout human history that have fluidly and successfully moved through pre-state, state, and post-state in their organizing structure; 2) the formation of the State in any given society is not the culmination of human “progress” — this narrative is ultimately the product of chauvinistic and patriarchal forms of thought, an attempt to justify the genocidal current that runs through any defense of the State as the ultimate form of human organization. As Peter demonstrates in this work, the now common view of the State, and our resistance (or lack of) to State power, is tied to these widespread assumptions. The sooner we recognize the faults in that line of thinking, the better off we will be in organizing and adequately expanding our use of tactics in dismantling the State, as well the logic of Capital the State defends and imposes upon us.

Peter Gelderloos is an anarchist, activist, and the author of numerous books and essays relating to the subjects of anarchism and resistance movements, as well as historical analysis of early state formation in human societies. Some of his works include ‘What is Democracy?,’ ‘How Nonviolence Protects the State,’ ‘Anarchy Works,’ ‘The Failure of Nonviolence: From the Arab Spring to Occupy,’ and ‘Worshipping Power: An Anarchist View of Early State Formation.’ Peter currently resides in Spain.

Episode Notes:

- Purchase an affordable and well-designed copy of ‘How Nonviolence Protects The State’ from Detritus Books: http://bit.ly/HowNonviolence

- Purchase ‘Worshipping Power: An Anarchist View of Early State Formation’ from AK Press: http://bit.ly/WorshippingPower

- Much of much Peter’s work can be found here: http://bit.ly/PeterGelderloos

- The songs featured in this episode are “Tomorrow” and “Army of Fear” by Lorn from the album Nothing Else.

#165 | The Rise Of Organized Violence: The Brutalities Of National Identity w/ Siniša Malešević

In this episode, I speak with Siniša Malešević — Full Professor and Chair of Sociology at the University College in Dublin, Ireland. Siniša is the author of numerous books, including ‘The Rise of Organised Brutality: A Historical Sociology of Violence’ and the upcoming ‘Grounded Nationalisms.’ We discuss Siniša research into the historical formation of national identity (nationalism) in the modern era, and how the molding of national identities by nation states over the past several centuries has given rise to unprecedented large-scale violence, at a scale previously unseen throughout human history.

In this discussion with Siniša, we examine his research into the sociological roots of the nation state in the modern era, as well as the social mechanisms and techniques the nation state uses in order to wed the individual (the citizen) to the ideologies and interests of the nation — through a combination of sophisticated state propaganda, state-mandated education (indoctrination), and warfare. Siniša expounds on the role nationalism (and its corollary: patriotism) has played in the “rise of organized brutality” — a function implicit in the formation and legitimation of the nation state. In Siniša’s work and in this interview, he “demonstrates that violence is determined by organizational capacity, ideological penetration and micro-solidarity, rather than biological tendencies, meaning that despite pre-modern societies being exposed to spectacles of cruelty and torture, such societies had no organizational means to systematically slaughter millions of individuals.”♢ We discuss these subjects and more in this episode.

Siniša Malešević is a Full Professor and Chair of Sociology at the University College, Dublin, Ireland. He is an elected member of Royal Irish Academy and Academia Europaea (the European Academy) and an elected Associated Member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is the author of numerous books, including ‘Grounded Nationalisms,’ ‘The Rise of Organised Brutality: A Historical Sociology of Violence,’ ‘Nation-States and Nationalisms: Organisation, Ideology and Solidarity,’ ‘The Sociology of War and Violence,’ ‘Identity as Ideology,’ and ‘The Sociology of Ethnicity.’✦

♢Source: http://bit.ly/OrganizedViolence

✦Source: http://bit.ly/SMbio

Episode Notes:

- Learn more about Siniša’s work at his website: https://sinisa2malesevic.wordpress.com

- Pre-order Siniša’s new book ‘Grounded Nationalisms’: https://amzn.to/2AyCWSj

- Learn more about and purchase Siniša’s book ‘The Rise of Organised Brutality: A Historical Sociology of Violence’: https://amzn.to/2TnA0ih

- Much of Siniša’s research can be found here: http://ucd.academia.edu/SinisaMalesevic

- The song featured in this episode is “Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition” by Kay Kyser from the album Heart & Soul: Celebrating The Unforgettable Songs Of Frank Loesser.

#164 | Our Bonus Decade: Peak Oil & The Unmaking Of The Infinite Growth Paradigm w/ Richard Heinberg

In this episode, I speak with Richard Heinberg — Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute and one of the world’s foremost advocates for a shift away from our current reliance on fossil fuels.▴ We examine Richard’s recent essay “Our Bonus Decade,” in which he examines the role peak oil played in the 2008 financial crisis and what the long-term consequences will be as a result of the fossil fuel industry’s transition to unconventional oil production this past decade.

In our examination of the themes presented Richard’s recent essay “Our Bonus Decade,” Richard discusses the role skyrocketing oil prices played in the financial crisis of 2008 and how this crisis coincided with a broader shift to unconventional fossil fuel production in our society, including an increased reliance on exceedingly destructive extractive methods such as fracking and tar sand oil extraction (like in Alberta, Canada). What will our civilization’s reliance on fossil fuels mean in the coming years as we come up against not only peak oil production — but also abrupt climate disruption and widespread ecological collapse, in great part as a result of our reliance on fossil fuels these past several centuries? Richard examines this question, and more, in this episode.

Richard Heinberg is the author of thirteen books, including ‘Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines,’ ‘The End of Growth,’ and most recently ‘Our Renewable Future: Laying the Path for One Hundred Percent Clean Energy’ co-authored with David Fridley. Richard is Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute and is regarded as one of the world’s foremost advocates for a shift away from our current reliance on fossil fuels.▴

▴Source: http://bit.ly/RHabout

Episode Notes:

- Read Richard’s essay “Our Bonus Decade”: http://bit.ly/OurBonusDecade

- Learn more about Richard and his work at his website: http://richardheinberg.com

- Learn more about the Post Carbon Institute here: https://www.postcarbon.org

- Richard mentions: https://www.resilience.org

- The songs featured in this episode are “Relentless Drag (Mike Slott Remix)” and “And We Gonna (Samiyam Chopsticks Remix)” by Shigeto from the album Full Circle Remixes.

#163 | Dismantling The Blue Wall Of Silence: Examining The Modern Police State w/ Michael Wood Jr.

In this episode, I speak with retired Baltimore police officer, police management scholar, and whistleblower Michael Wood Jr. Michael has become well known for his scholarly, as well as personal, criticism of modern policing in the United States. We examine the roots of the modern police state, including the enormous blindspots police and citizens alike have regarding the primary functions police are commonly perceived to serve — versus the more disturbing reality of what law enforcement actually serves, and preserves, in our society. 

In the beginning of this discussion, Michael expounds on his years of experience as a police officer, and the subsequent journey he has embarked on to make sense of what he witnessed during his time with the Baltimore Police Department. After several high-profile incidents of police brutality rose to national attention (the murder of Tamir Rice in 2014 and Freddie Gray in 2015), Michael began to speak up, detailing numerous incidents of police brutality and internal corruption during his time served. Along with expounding on his personal experiences, Michael provides a historical and systematic analysis of the underlying issues with policing in general, including a thorough examination of the roots of systemic racism within policing specifically, and the faulty philosophical and ethical foundations the criminal justice system rests on more broadly. In exploring this topic, we examine alternatives to this arrangement, by discussing Michael’s promotion of civilian-led policing as a viable means to reducing much of the issues we see with policing today. This is a wide-ranging discussion, in which Michael eloquently and precisely unpacks the myths and commonly misunderstood premises on which the modern police state rests, from the not-to-distant past to the present day.

Michael Wood Jr. is a police management scholar, who after spending a career in the USMC and Baltimore Police Department, took to dismantling the blue wall of silence and creating the pathway to reform; a model called Civilian-Led Policing. His fight for justice has included leading the historic Veterans for Standing Rock action in December of 2016, standing on the front lines of civil rights protests, opposing money in politics, and weaponizing privileges to elevate the voices of others. You can find Michael in hundreds of media appearances, from HBO’s Fixing the System documentary with President Obama, to The Joe Rogan Experience, to published opinion pieces in The Guardian and Baltimore Sun, and everything in-between, where he furthers the discussion on criminal justice systems and institutions, and the needs of society.☼

☼ Source: http://bit.ly/MWoodBio

Episode Notes:

- Watch Michael's video production of this interview: https://youtu.be/VT62Rl6WCVw

- Learn more about Michael and his work: https://imembermedia.com

- Learn more about Civilian-Led Policing: http://bit.ly/CivilianLedPolicing

- Purchase Michael’s book ‘Crimes & Punishments: In the 21st Century’: https://amzn.to/2T0GAuO

- Follow Michael on Instagram (http://bit.ly/MWoodInsta) and Facebook (http://bit.ly/MWoodFB)

- The songs featured in this episode are “All Nite (Instrumental” and “Back To You (Instrumental)” by Clams Casino from the album 32 Levels (Deluxe Edition).