#120 | This Is America: The Apocalypse Of Settler Colonialism w/ Gerald Horne

In this episode, prolific author and historian Dr. Gerald Horne discusses some of the themes and details presented in his most recently published book 'The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, and Capitalism in 17th Century North America and the Caribbean.' 

In the 17th century, major European powers were undergoing a massive colonization project on the North and South American continents, which inevitably resulted in the mass genocide and enslavement of countless indigenous peoples. Simultaneously during this same period, millions of Africans were kidnapped from their respective homeland, transported across the vast Atlantic Ocean, and then sold for staggeringly high profits, resulting in one the most economically profitable periods (for the major European powers involved) in human history. 

In this conversation, we explore how these monumentally disruptive events in the 17th century informed the initial formation and development of capitalism as the dominant socio-economic system of our time. Also, we explore the socially-constructed and institutionally-enforced concept of race, and how the historical development of both of these concepts, capitalism and race, are inextricably connected to the "apocalypse of settler colonialism" that arrived on the shores of the American and African continents during this time period. 

In essence, we explore these questions: How do the events presented above ultimately inform what is occurring presently in the world today? What is this thing we call "America" - and what was it founded on? Also, how can we begin to grapple with implications of this information on an individual, and collective level? We get into this and more in this episode.

Dr.  Gerald Horne holds the Moores Professorship of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, is the author of more than thirty books and one hundred scholarly articles and reviews. His research has addressed issues of racism in a variety of relations involving labor, politics, civil rights, international relations and war. Dr. Horne received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and his B.A. from Princeton University. 

Episode Notes:

- Learn more about Dr. Horne at his university web page: https://bit.ly/2k7gJC8

- Purchase Dr. Horne's book 'The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism' here: https://bit.ly/2klqDzG

- Read a segment of 'The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism' here: https://bit.ly/2rPANNs

- The song featured in this episode is from the "This Is America" music video by Childish Gambino. Source: https://youtu.be/VYOjWnS4cMY

#119 | Through The Divide: The Role Of Alternative Media In Our Times Of Crisis w/ Teodrose Fikre

In this episode, I speak with Teodrose Fikre - journalist, editor, and founder of the Ghion Journal. In his exploratory writings on current events, Teodrose wades through the divisive discourse prevalent in the US media more broadly, and points to underlying trends that run beneath the mainstream discourse. Teodrose writes about these subjects with the intention to elevate the political discourse above the often regressive and divisive labeling and accusatory language used to divide and distract the population away from the underlying root problems in the socio-economic system we exist within presently.

Teodrose discusses a two year period in his life where he went "from a life of upper-middle class privilege to a time spent with the huddled masses" that "taught Teodrose a valuable lesson in the essence of togetherness and the need to speak against injustice."* Teodrose examines how this period of struggle ultimately informed the work he does today with the Ghion Journal, and how alternative media more broadly can provide the space necessary to engage in forms of discourse that elevate the political conversation above the regressive categories and labels that inevitably distract us away from examining more deeply the underlying trends in our society and culture today. 

*Source: https://ghionjournal.com/author/admin

Episode Notes:

- Read Teodrose's writings and keep up to date with the Ghion Journal at the website: https://ghionjournal.com

- Follow the Ghion Journal on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GhionJournal

- Follow the Ghion Journal on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GhionJournal

- Follow Teodrose on Twitter: https://twitter.com/teodrosefikre

- The song featured in this episode is "Shine a Light (feat. Thaddillac)" by Shabazz Palaces from the album Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star

#118 | The Geopolitics Of The Impossible: North/South Korea, Iran, & The World Today w/ John Feffer

In this episode, I speak with John Feffer, director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. This interview covers two major geopolitical trends currently developing in the world today: the reconciliation process currently unfolding between North and South Korea; and the inflamed tensions between the United States, Israel (and other regional players), with the government of Iran.

In the first half of this episode, John answers some of my questions regarding the current situation unfolding on the Korean Peninsula between North and South Korea. Very recently, North Korean leader Kim Jung-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met at the border between the nations, known as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), and began to engage in the early phases of negotiations between nations. John contextualized the series of events that have lead to this moment, including what role the United States, and the Trump Administration more specifically, has played in the escalation of tensions in the region. I ask, and John ultimately provides some answers to, the questions: What would it look like for North Korea to open up its borders, culturally and economically, to South Korea and the rest of the world? What do these to Korean nations gain in this process of reconciliation, and what are the underlying motivations for this change in relations between these nations?

In the second half of this episode, John lays out the current situation unfolding (as of the time of this recording: Friday May 4th 2018) between the United States and Iran, regarding the efforts by the Trump Administration (as well as Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other regional players) to re-inflame tensions between these nations regarding Iran's alleged violation of JCPOA, known more popularly as the Iran Nuclear Deal. John provides the facts regarding Iran's ability, or lack thereof, to develop nuclear weapons, and whether or not the Trump Administration, along with some of its allies in this effort, have adequately provided any substantial evidence to back up their claims of there being an actual threat from nation of Iran. John attempts to answer: What are the underlying motives behind the recent escalations of tensions between these nations? What is to be gained (and lost) in this attempt to push the United States, Israel, and other regional players, into a direct conflict with Iran? 

John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. In 2012-13, he was also an Open Society Fellow looking at the transformations that have taken place in Eastern Europe since 1989. He is the author of several books and numerous articles. His latest book is Aftershock: A Journey into Eastern Europe’s Broken Dreams. He is also the author of the recent dystopian novel, Splinterlands. 

Episode Notes:

- John Feffer's website: http://www.johnfeffer.com

- Follow John's analysis of unfolding geopolitical trends: https://bit.ly/2I59l8Q

- John is the author of 'Aftershock: A Journey into Eastern Europe's Broken Dreams' and the novel 'Spinterlands': http://www.johnfeffer.com/category/books

- John on Twitter: https://twitter.com/johnfeffer

- The introduction of this episode features an audio segment of John Bolton's speech at CPAC from earlier this year.  Source: https://youtu.be/z98z9562a8A

- The song featured in this episode is "Loyalty" by Onra from the album Chinoiseries, Pt. 3.

#117 | Bees Over Everything: Innovative Beekeeping w/ Israel Bravo

In this episode, I speak with Israel Bravo, innovator in the world of beekeeping and bee colony storage. Israel has years of experience in beekeeping, and through experimentation and passionate dedication to the preservation of bee colonies, has managed to work through, and ultimately overcome, one of the major reoccurring problems experienced by many beekeepers around the world: the the decline of bee populations during the storage of bee colonies during the winter months. Beekeepers lose significant portions of their bee colony populations over those months of storage (in many cases, up to 40% of the bee colony populations). It's common practice, at least in this part of the United States, to store bees through the winter months in vacant potato cellars, and for reasons discussed in this episode, provide less than ideal conditions for bee colony storage. Israel goes over the very practical methods and tools that can be adopted and used by beekeepers to prevent such significant losses of bee populations over the winter months. 

In this conversation, we discuss Israel's knowledge and love of bees, and why he is so passionate about ensuring and aiding in their survival. Israel's passion is not just limited to innovating and improving the storage methods of bee colonies during their months in storage, but also in a much broader context. We discuss how global climate change, as well as harmful agricultural practices, have been negatively impacting bee populations across the globe. Israel, through his intelligence and love of bees, is attempting to turn things around, and people are starting to pay attention.

Episode Notes:

- As I mentioned in the introduction, I did manage to get some more detailed information on Israel's operation. Israel is responsible for building the largest (and best) bee colony storage facilities in the world. Learn more here: http://beestorages.com

- Keep up to date on what Isreal is working on through his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/israelbravohoney

- The song featured in this episode is "Tree Of Knowledge" by Actress from the album R.I.P.

#116 | A Zone To Defend: The Historical/Cultural Context & Purpose Of The ZAD w/ Alley Valkyrie

In this episode, I speak with Alley Valkyrie about the recent events in western France regarding the communal, long-term occupation at the ZAD (French: zone à défendre; English: zone to defend). Alley provides a much needed explanation of the events currently unfolding there; she contextualizes and expounds on the overlapping and interplaying cultural, political, and historical trends that have led to the present situation on the ground there.

Here's a very brief (and simplistic) description of what is unfolding at the ZAD, published in The Guardian, on April 9th 2018: 

"French police have used teargas in an attempt to clear anti-capitalist squatters from the site of an abandoned airport project. About 2,500 riot police made a pre-dawn raid in Notre-Dame-des-Landes to evict about 250 activists. The squatters have occupied the site for 10 years to prevent the airport from being built, but refused to leave after the plans were dropped earlier this year, saying they sought to construct an alternative way of life. The government had warned they would be evicted and carried out this threat on Monday morning. The protesters threw petrol bombs and set fire to barricades made of tyres and wooden pallets to obstruct the police’s advance. An eclectic group of anti-capitalists, eco-warriors and squatters, known as Zadists, joined a handful of farmers on the site in 2008." [source: https://bit.ly/2vUyLjC]

While this situation is complex, Alley does an absolutely superb job laying out all the necessary details of this under-reported event (particularly in English language publications), bringing us all up to speed as to what is really happening on the ground there. 

While this conversation mainly focuses on clarifying the events at the ZAD, we also discuss Alley's decision to leave the United States and begin the arduous process of becoming a citizen of France. We discuss the major underlying differences between French cultural attitudes surrounding protest and resistance, to the United States' general attitudes about protest and resistance, and why such differences exist in the first place.

Alley is an activist, political theorist, writer, and co-founder of Gods&Radicals. After spending much of her life in the within the borders of the United States, she now resides in Rennes, France.

Episode Notes:

- Read Alley's essays published at Gods&Radicals here: https://godsandradicals.org/author/alleyvalkyrie

- Get updates on Alley and her work/projects on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alleyvalkyrie

- Keep Alley well-fed and alive. Support her work on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/alleyvalkyrie

- The audio sample at the beginning of this episode is from "France: ZAD eco-camp eviction battle continues between riot police and radical activists" published by Ruptly April 11th, 2019 on YouTube. Source: https://youtu.be/n1W-iR44yI0

- The music in this episode is from the video "Dungeon sessions: Knxwledge - Jstowee" published by Stones Throw May 4th, 2015. Source: https://youtu.be/yK91vjg2Hsg

#115 | The Making Of The Western World: The Divided Brain w/ Iain McGilchrist

In this episode, I speak with psychiatrist, lecturer, and author Iain McGilchrist. We discuss some of the themes and ideas presented in his book 'The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.' 

In the very beginning of this interview, Iain lays out a detailed picture of the "divided brain" -- specifically the evolutionary and adaptive perceptual functions of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. We then discuss how the balance, or imbalance, of these relatively different perceptual functions inherent in the functioning of each hemisphere of the brain has manifested in the development and trajectory of human cultures and societies, up to the present moment. More specifically, we discuss how the Western worldview (the value systems that have been cultivated in predominantly Western societies), over the course of its thousands of years of development, began to lean more in more toward a more "left brain" form of organized thinking and cultural development, and how this predominantly "left brain" thinking has lead our civilization, now global in scope, towards the brink of wide-scale ecological devastation, of which we may not survive through. 

Iain is such an insightful, thoughtful, and compassionate individual, who through studying the evolutionary functions of the left and right hemispheres of the brain, has uncovered a very important piece of the puzzle as to how we have gotten ourselves into the precarious moment we all find ourselves in today. To quote Iain's bio: "He is committed to the idea that the mind and brain can be understood only by seeing them in the broadest possible context, that of the whole of our physical and spiritual existence, and of the wider human culture in which they arise – the culture which helps to mould, and in turn is moulded by, our minds and brains."*

Ian is the author of multiple books, including 'Against Criticism,' 'The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World,' 'The Divided Brain and the Search for Meaning; Why Are We So Unhappy?,' and 'Ways of Attending.' 

He is currently working on a book titled 'There Are No Things,' a book of epistemology and metaphysics. Iain and his work will be featured in an upcoming feature-length documentary titled 'The Divided Brain.'

*Source: http://iainmcgilchrist.com/iain/

Episode Notes: 

- A good place to learn about Iain and his work is at his website: http://iainmcgilchrist.com

- To learn more about 'The Master and His Emissary,' start here: http://iainmcgilchrist.com/the-master-and-his-emissary/

- Learn more about the documentary film 'The Divided Brain,' featuring Iain and his work, here: http://thedividedbrain.com

- Iain was featured in the documentary film 'Tawai: A voice from the forest': https://www.tawai.earth

- The songs featured in this episode are "I Love U, Pt. 1" and "I Love U, Pt. 2" by Panthurr from the album I Love U.

#114 | Suppressed Histories: Uncovering & Reclaiming What Has Been Lost w/ Max Dashu

In this episode, I speak with Max Dashu, founder of the Suppressed Histories Archive, and author of 'Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion, 700 - 1100.' 

Through a lifetime of research and documentation, Max elaborates on what can be understood about ancient mother-right cultures, what we can possibly understand about the worldview these ancient peoples may have held, as well as the important and necessary roles women fulfilled in these ancient societies. Max also expounds on the kinds of knowledge and traditions of wisdom (passed on through women) that have been suppressed and largely lost in our collective transition to modernity. By developing an understanding of the forms of knowledge and wisdom that have been lost in the long-unfolding suppression of ancient traditions (which have in large part have been carried by women in mother-right cultures) what can we can ultimately understand about our modern mode of existence on this planet? 

In this interview, Max draws on a lifetime of historical research - of documenting and interpreting the art and artifacts of ancient cultures from around the world.  Max Dashu is the founder of the Suppressed Histories Archive, a project she founded in 1970 to research and document women's history from an international perspective. Max is the author of ‘Witches and Pagans:  Women In European Folk Religion, 700 - 1100,’ one volume in an ongoing series to uncover and document the forgotten roles of women in ancient human cultures from around the world. 

Episode Notes:

- Find everything you need to know about Max's work at the Suppressed Histories Archive website: http://www.suppressedhistories.net

- Learn more about Max's book 'Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion, 700 - 1100' here: http://www.veleda.net

- Purchase the book: https://bit.ly/2HJs8oU

- Follow updates on the Suppressed Histories Archive on Facebook: https://bit.ly/2K20X7j

- Follow updates on Max's work on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaxDashu

- Follow updates on 'Witches and Pagans' on Facebook: https://bit.ly/2K20X7j

- The song featured in this episode is "Northwest Tribal Drums" from the album Drums of the World: African, Samba, Taiko, Chinese and Middle Eastern Music.

#113 | America Faded: Syria, Russia, & The Decline Of The American Empire w/ Dmitry Orlov

In this episode, I speak with Dmitry Orlov. This interview was recorded Sunday April 15, less than two days after the events discussed in this episode. The reason for the release of this episode outside of my normal release schedule, and on such short notice, is because of the nature of what is discussed in this interview with Dmitry.

Dmitry and I discuss the recent missile strikes by the US military in Syria, the Trump Administration, as well as the broader US military establishment's true intentions and objectives behind the strike, as well as what other major world powers (Russia in particular) are doing in response to this attack. 

Dmitry presents this whole event within a broader geopolitical trend: the American Empire is fading. America's influence in the Middle East, in particular, has begun to dissipate, with Russia and other regional players aligning themselves outside of American control and influence. These nations have begun to nudge the United States out of its once dominant role on the international stage, and the response to this missile strike in Syria fits neatly within this trend.

I was personally worried that this event in Syria would spark an escalation that could potentially lead to a deadly exchange of nuclear weapons between world powers. While that is still on the table, Dmitry puts much of the details of this strike within the context of broader geopolitical trends. Things are not as they appear, my friends.

Dmitry is a Russian-American engineer and writer, who regular writes on subjects related to social and economic collapse, geopolitics, peak oil, Empire, and how to adapt in a time of converging crises manifesting on multiple fronts. Dmitry is the author of many books, including "The Five Stages of Collapse," "Shrinking The Technosphere," and "Everything is Going According to Plan." 

Episode Notes:

- Please go and read Dmitry's bi-weekly updates on geopolitics, empire, and collapse, as well as purchase one of his several books he has written on these subjects, here: http://cluborlov.blogspot.com

- Get full access to Dmitry's essays though his Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/orlov

- Purchase Dmitry's most recent book "Everything is Going According to Plan" here: http://a.co/hRfIL7k

- This episode features the audio from the video "Trump Hails Syria Strikes: Every One Hit Target" published by Associated Press. Video description: 'President Donald Trump praised his new national security adviser John Bolton for last Friday's air strikes in Syria. Speaking at an event on tax cuts in Florida, Trump called the strikes "genius," saying not one U.S. missile was shot down. (April 16)' Source: https://youtu.be/8W9jS3-gt7w

- The song featured in this episode is "Axolotl" by The Veils from the album Total Depravity.

#112 | Good Night Alt-Right : Fascism Today & How To Stop It w/ Shane Burley

In this episode, I speak with Shane Burley, author of "Fascism Today: What It Is and How To End It." In the beginning of this interview, Shane provides a precise description of what fascism is, the historical context in which it first emerged, as well what fascist organizing in modern American society looks like. We discuss and break down the pseudo-scientific claims espoused by many of these groups regarding the concepts of race, as well as the reasons as to why and how these widely dismissed pseudo-scientific claims still exist and continue to spread among the far-right.

Shane also responds to a recent statement by Richard Spencer, the poster boy of the Alt-Right, in which he states that speaking at events to promote his views is no longer "fun" due to the fact that “Antifa [anti-fascist resistance] is winning."* Shane also describes the varied tactics used by anti-fascists that successfully undermine the ability of fascists groups to promote their ideology to the broader public, as well as their ability to effectively organize in the public sphere, as well as online. 

Shane Burley is a writer and filmmaker based in Portland, Oregon, who regularly reports on far-right movements in the US, as well as anti-fascist resistance.

*Source: https://wapo.st/2EGpWt3

Episode Notes:

- Learn more about and purchase Shane's book "Fascism Today: What It Is and How To End It" here: https://bit.ly/2JHcs3B

- Learn more about Shane and his work at his website: https://www.shaneburley.net

- Keep up to date on Shane's work by following him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/shane_burley1

- Read an excerpt of his book "Fascism Today" here: https://bit.ly/2HiftsU

- The music featured in this episode is "Ooh Baby I Like To Draw" by Mux Mool.

#111 | The Feed: Identity, Reduction, Liberation, Revolution w/ Rhyd Wildermuth

In this episode, Rhyd Wildermuth and I discuss some of the ideas presented Rhyd's recent essay "A New Luddite Rebellion." Rhyd expounds on the role social media has played on our ability to discuss complex and nuanced ideas, as well as the role identity politics has played in the Left's (in)ability to effectively organize against capitalism and produce tangible alternatives to the dominant organizing ideology of our time. We also discuss traveling, the culture shock that comes when you travel back to the United States, as well as an upcoming online course, led by Rhyd, on "a pagan introduction to Marxism."

Rhyd Wildermuth is the co-founder and managing editor of the pagan anti-capitalist online publication Gods & Radicals - "a site of beautiful resistance." 

Episode Notes: 

- Learn more and sign up for Gods & Radicals introductory course on Marxism "All That Is Sacred Is Profaned," led by Rhyd Wildermuth, here: https://bit.ly/2EvLCYr

- Rhyd's most recent essay on Gods & Radicals "A New Luddite Rebellion":  https://bit.ly/2qfcO9Q

- An archive of Rhyd's essays published on Gods & Radicals: https://bit.ly/2GMmVJz

- Paganarch, Rhyd's personal blog: https://paganarch.com/blog

- The music featured in this episode: "Hot Bat" and "Banana Ghost" by Man Man from the album Six Demon Bag.