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May 11, 2024 150 mins

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
A media Hey everybody, Robert Evans here and I wanted
to let you know this is a compilation episode. So
every episode of the week that just happened is here
in one convenient and with somewhat less ads package for
you to listen to in a long stretch if you want.
If you've been listening to the episodes every day this week,
there's going to be nothing new here for you, but

(00:23):
you can make your own decisions.

Speaker 2 (00:29):
This is it could happen here. I'm Garrison Davis. The
past few years, we have regularly covered the rise of
legislation that restricts access to public space and medical care
for trans people in the United States, as well as
attempts by politicians, lobbying groups, and media personalities to drum
up transphobia in hopes of quote unquote eliminating transgenderism from

(00:53):
our society and culture. The quest to eliminate transgenderism includes harassment,
care campaigns targeted against specific individuals, boycotting companies that feature
trans people in their marketing, and banning queer books, media,
and art from libraries across the country. The conservative right
has decided that the boogeyman of gender ideology and the

(01:16):
woke mind virus is one of the most pressing threats
to Western civilization. This brand of transphobic militancy opposes any
form of visible queerness, viewing it as an ideology that
acts as a viral cultural contagion. That's why they spend
so much time trying to ban drag shows and art

(01:36):
featuring queer people. They know they're losing the cultural battle
and that really scares them. As trans people have been
trying to weather this huge wave of organized transphobia, Trans
and queer artists continue to push forward, with multiple hit
films coming out this year from trans directors and transactors
and actresses are taking more and more high profile roles.

(01:58):
Last episode, I interviewed comedian Ella Yerman and filmmaker Ver
Drew on the process of creating independent queer media. This
episode will focus on why we are seeing this new
wave of queer art, why mere representation isn't enough, and
attempts to go beyond the online media ecosystem. Ellie Yerman
is the host of Late Stage Lives, a Queer gen

(02:20):
Z public access late night show on Brooklyn Public Access
and YouTube. The format of late night comedy is almost
wholly dominated by old white, sis straight men. Late Stage
Live attempts to deconstruct the genre in which it aligns
itself with, utilizing sketches, correspondence segments, and original reporting, but
for a younger, queerer, more politically radical audience. The show

(02:44):
is not just made for gen Z queers. It's also
made by an entire team of young, queer and trans people,
which gives it a very unique feel compared to literally
all of its competition. The show itself feels queer and
highlights the massive gap between simple queer representation and queer art,
or in this case, queer late night comedy. There's a

(03:06):
palpable distinction between hiring a gay person to work on
seth Myers versus having a late night show that is
built on queerness. On that note, here's a clip from
my interview with Ella Yeerman, host of Late Stage Live.

Speaker 3 (03:19):
There's like a huge difference between like the token queer
writer and like a show that centers queerness and transness.
And I'm really proud of of that. As in terms
of our show, like, I think that's one of its
main drives is how queer focused. It is something we

(03:39):
talk about in every episode, in every piece. Reid loves
to hammer this home is sort of the question of
why us. It's the first question we ask when anyone
pitches any segment or piece or story of the question
is like, what's the game, what's the perspective? And then
why is it us delivering this perspective? Because anyone can
write a piece of political analysis, lots of people do,

(04:01):
but like, what about this story is uniquely coming from us,
uniquely coming from the host ella, from the writer's room.
And I think we found it most strongly in the
last two pieces, the Lives of Stickock piece, and then
the episode before that, we did a segment on the
Alliance Defending Freedom, which is a spooky, evil conservative cabal

(04:22):
that trains lawyers to overturn Scotis cases. And I think
those both found felt really focused in on sort of
us as young queer people. And I think the gen
Z part is also really relevant for us. A lot
of Late Night is hosted by old men, and as
much as I love John Stewart, he is an old man,
an old sis, white man, an old sis, as far

(04:45):
as I know, heterosexual white man.

Speaker 2 (04:48):
Who already left the job ten years ago.

Speaker 3 (04:50):
And he already left it right, and he's back now,
but like what does that say about anything?

Speaker 4 (04:54):
Yeah?

Speaker 3 (04:55):
Yeah, and everyone talking about politics is like old white guys,
and everyone in Congress is old white guys or George Santos,
And there's like this sense of like the world is ending,
as you probably know on this show that bills itself
as like amidst the collapse or whatever your tagline is.

Speaker 5 (05:14):
But like gen Z is so.

Speaker 3 (05:16):
Uniquely affected by political goings on in a way that
I say this is true of every general, every youngest generation,
that like all of the decisions are impacting us most,
but it feels more urgent these days because the world
is ending with climate change and with the encroaching you know,
global fascism, and with the decay of late stage capitalism,

(05:37):
that it feels so important now more than ever to
like center those experiences and look at how the world
and the news and politics impacts these groups of people.
And the way we achieve that is, Yeah, we don't
just have one token queer writer.

Speaker 6 (05:53):
We are.

Speaker 3 (05:54):
Our room is all queer, largely trans About half of
our writer's room is non one, and as we grow,
that number will either stay the same or get bigger,
certainly not smaller. Yeah, At the end of the day,
I think the fact that the room is completely queer
and predominantly trans and non white and all young, it

(06:18):
just like sort of happens, And the fact that it
started that way and has been built from the ground
up that way, I think gives us a huge edge.
Even if the daily shows fired all of their writers
and hired only trans people, I think it would be
a hard pivot to get the show to suddenly be
doing what we're doing, just because the whole structure is
built differently.

Speaker 2 (06:37):
In Vera Drew's new movie The People's Joker, an autobiographical
transgender coming of age parody set in the Batman universe,
the shallowness of queer representation is actually one of the
core themes of the film. In the movie, the main
character is not satisfied by simply being a token diversity
higher for a late night comedy show, and instead hijacks

(06:58):
the airwaves and charts her own path. This plotline, like
many others, mirrors the director's own life, and the movie
itself is a perfect example of how creating a piece
of art inherently built on a multimedia experience of queerness
will produce a wildly different result. Than simply having a
gay person in the writer's room. Here's a clip from

(07:21):
my interview with Vera Drew. It's not even that I
feel like queer representation is like too straight or cist.
It's just not even like an accurate reflection of queer reality.
You know, Like every gay couple I know is nothing
like a straight couple. I mean some of them are,
but like those those gay couples always break up, like

(07:43):
it's like they're just they're just in you know, reenacting
cycles and thousands and thousands of years of patriarchal bullshit
on each other when they could just be having hot
gay sacks with each other. And like that to me
is like the biggest tragedy of like representation. And it's
like is also why I think people lash out at

(08:03):
us so much. Like I on one level, I understand
the idea of like this is getting shoved down our throats,
you know, because like it kind of is that's coming
from a place that I sort of agree with, because
they're getting sold this like propaganda that it's like they're
just like us, you know, and like to me, it's
like my experience is so specific to me and so

(08:26):
specific to you know, like the experience of a trans woman.
There are things about my life that are similar to
that of assis woman but not certainly not identical. So
like I never want to see art that is that.
I also, I'm like really over trans people being used
in a way that they're either I mean, it doesn't

(08:47):
really happen anymore where they're like treated like freaks, but
like it's kind of the tragedy porn or kind of
pedestalizing us. I guess, like I hate that, like my
identity is inherently political, like just because I I this
is who I am, Like I it's not a pleasant

(09:09):
situation to deal with. So I think with joker, Yeah,
I want people joker, I really wanted to talk about
representation in a way that also just wasn't annoying because
like I also, it's not even that I'm tired of
having this conversation. It's just sad that people like us
keep men having to have this kind of conversation because
like I've also heard it now within our own community

(09:32):
that like you know, I've heard other trans filmmakers say
like we should only be telling happy stories, we should
only be spreading queer joy or what absolutely not No, absolutely,
not like it's that's embarrassing. Yeah, I want I want
to spread queer panic. I want to it's not even panic,

(09:53):
just like queer existential uh horror, I suppose I don't know.

Speaker 7 (09:59):
Well, I mean for me, it's like I don't know,
like because I've gotten shipped to not I haven't gotten
a lot. And now honestly that I've started mentioning in
the press, people have said it to me as much
just good, but like I was getting a little bit
of the like how oh making the joker a murderous
trans woman?

Speaker 8 (10:17):
Okay, you know please?

Speaker 7 (10:19):
First of all, like villains are queer coded the history
of film, Oh, almost all of the bad villains are
queer coded except completely, And like why can't so why
can't a why can't we do it like not in
a subtext way? Why can't we just do it directly?
And then also like I live in a country that
villainizes trans people, so like why can't I process that

(10:44):
very thing by making myself a queer villain in a
in a movie that I made? And and I don't know,
it's like I think what I hate about the queer
joy thing and the like the people's Joker is like
a very funny movie. It's very pel it's very campy,
but it's also like devastating, you know, like it's it's

(11:06):
got a very serious message to it that I think
it brings up a lot of emotion in people when
they watch it, both SIS people and trans people, And
you know, I think that speaks to something else, just
like about representation is like I told this story that
was so specific to my experience, and like trans people
are identifying with it and relating to it, but so

(11:29):
are CIS people, you know, Like yes, like you know,
we should be telling stories that portray the trans experience
honestly or the queer experience honestly and specifically. And if
we do that, like if we do that effectively, that
is still art that a SIS person can consume because
SIS people also go through transitions. SIS people also have

(11:53):
to die and be reborn sometimes, and like I think
just everybody kind of comes of age. It's just like
trans people and we were people kind of have to
do it more visibly and publicly and externally a lot
of the times. And and uh, I don't know, for me,
it's like that was like another reason too of like
of just being like no, like we're gonna get this
out into theaters and and you know, like make this

(12:17):
kind of theatrical experience before anything else. You know, it
was always made made to be like viewed, I think
with like a crowd of people like yeah, yeah, kind
of like a midnight movie vibe.

Speaker 2 (12:31):
I guess when you think about it, Jesus and the
Joker I do have a lot in common in terms
of getting baptized, getting bored again. It's it's really very
similar characters.

Speaker 7 (12:41):
Absolutely, And I mean that's why, uh, because I think
this was something while Brie and I were writing the
movie that she was constantly every step of the way
like what are you doing, like why are you bringing
this much like gnostic Christianity to this?

Speaker 8 (12:55):
Absolutely?

Speaker 7 (12:57):
Uh? Like I I remember, you know, there's this like
French song that's in the movie called I'll Be Your
Joker that's composed and performed by Emily Sloan, and the
lyrics to that are a poem that I wrote that
are just.

Speaker 8 (13:15):
You never like it's not in anywhere in the movie.

Speaker 7 (13:17):
It's just in that song. But it's like this, it's
the people's joker prophecy, Like I actually wrote it in
this like kind of Gnostic Bible structure, and then we
translated it to French and recorded it as a song
and like that was like really kind of coming from
that place of like just really I love I mean,
I'm obsessed with Jesus uh, and I kind of just

(13:39):
always have have been, Like I was raised Catholic and
I just I'm I'm not Christian, but I have a
lot of Jesus stuff around my house. Like I'm I'm
just obsessed with like the iconography and really love it
the story itself as like a myth and like the
mythic understanding of of death and rebirth, and also just

(14:03):
thinking of it as like another example of like the
hero's journey. And I don't know, like it's somebody asked
me at a Q and A like how basically like
how do you have the balls to like cause by
the end of the People's Joker, like you basically find
out it's like cut it is like Dune. There's like
a weird Messiah story happening, And that partially just comes

(14:25):
from like I think for me, queerness is inherently like
a very spiritual experience. It just has been for me,
and I think a lot of trans people actually deal
with Messiah complexes. I think it's something that I feel
safe saying I have, and I also really wanted to
unpack that just idea of the like Joseph Campbell White

(14:49):
Savior Hero's journey thing.

Speaker 2 (14:52):
It could happen here. We'll return after these messages we
now return to it could happen here. During my interview
with Vera Drew, she mentioned it something about not just

(15:13):
wanting to throw the movie up on YouTube when the
film is dealing with legal issues resulting in uncertainty around
how the film would be released, And that got me
thinking about queer people's relationship to platforms like YouTube as
the sort of default way of sharing video art. A
big reason why is simply because the platform is so
accessible without many of the hurdles and roadblocks of more

(15:36):
traditional distribution models. But sometimes I worry that it's become
so default that our reliance on YouTube has actually become
a self limiting factor that overdetermines the scope of our
own art. Let's return to my interview with Vera Drew
to continue this topic. Queer people, specifically trans people have

(15:56):
kind of been stuck with a lot of their art
or video art just becoming this thing that you throw
up on YouTube. We've done a good job in making
like a community there, I suppose, but at certain points
it feels very like insular, like we've created this little
tiny bubble that everything is just trapped inside of. Because
obviously we can't like rely on like big studios to

(16:16):
make our own stuff or distribute our own stuff like that.
That's not happening either. But I feel like we're kind
of kicking ourselves in the foot if our only artistic
output is like techno music and YouTube video essays, both
of which can be good, both of which can be art.
But there's a whole other world out there that I
feel like we have closed ourselves off from, and so

(16:39):
I'm kind of interested, like like on that choice to
like not put it on YouTube and actually like ride
this thing out as like a movie.

Speaker 7 (16:45):
Yeah, I mean that is Uh, it's it's such a
relief to hear you talk about it in that way, because, yeah,
I never want to be dismissive of online creators.

Speaker 8 (16:56):
Sure, Like I worked in TV.

Speaker 7 (16:58):
For ten years as a editor, and I was very
fortunate to work on a lot of really cool shit,
Like I worked on my first job was I was
an intern on The Eric Andre Show, and like then
my job immediately after that was on Nathan for You,
So I really got to work with like all these
really amazing comedians, many geniuses, and in that process like

(17:22):
always knew I had wanted to make film, Like my
earliest memories are are wanting to make films. Like right
around the time I saw Batman Forever, I was like,
I want to be a director, and I came up
in post production just because like a lot of editors
end up sort of following, you know, a lot of
editors are really just direct like frustrated directors. So I

(17:43):
was kind of like, here's a place where I could
like sort of learn my craft. And I've always loved
experimental animation and visual effects and stuff and also just
like incorporate that as well into like my career. And
it's good. I'm so glad I had it as like
an incubation period for me to kind of find my
voice and my aesthetic and and learn a lot from

(18:06):
these like super talented people. But there was always this
frustration that I had because when I would take stuff
out to pitch or anything that was like my own story,
like you can't really get trans art made in any
sort of mainstream space. I think that's one of the
things that's most frustrating about the whole like woke culture bullshit,

(18:27):
just because it's like they act like we're some sort
of like elite class that's like favored by the media,
which it's like I can just tell you, like that's
I'm on my press week right now. Like the media
is certainly enamored with trans people, but like I don't
think it's like coming from a place of like we're
trying to change and put everything and you know, make

(18:48):
these people in charge. It's just uh, you know, it's
it's click baity and it gets people, it keeps people
arguing online. So it's very hard just to even break
through as a director too. Like I mean I was
at that, you know, forget pitching shows that I've written
or whatever, like just trying to get episodic TV work.

(19:10):
I just couldn't do it, like once I changed my pronouns,
Like I was literally up for jobs that went away
after I came out. So I just reached this point
of like I think, maximum frustration and kind of like
wanted to whatever I did, you know, I don't want
to say like I was ready to walk away from
like working in the industry in twenty nineteen, but I

(19:32):
kind of was like I was kind of just at
this point where I was like, I need to make
a fucking movie or something on my own and kind
of just put all I have into that, and that's
going to be the way people will either finally take
me seriously as a director, or like I'll at least
have made a movie and then I can just be
in debt and I'll have a movie I made. So

(19:54):
to me, it was always about not necessarily like finally
being taken seriously by my indus, but just like kind
of making this giant piece of art that is not
only like a big like look what I can do,
you know style thing, but like is also just about
all of that about the frustration of being allowed in
but only being allowed in in these certain ways, like

(20:17):
whether it's on like a diversity cast or like, you
know whatever. Like I was, I worked on the show.
I can't really talk about it because it's like NDA
stuff and I don't think the show will ever come out.
But I was in the writer's room on a cartoon
that was being rebooted and it was one of my
favorite cartoons of all time. But I had a day
where I was like just sitting in the writer's room

(20:38):
and I was like looking around at my coworkers and
it was I was like, oh, wait a minute, it's
all girls, and I'm I'm a girl, and I'm a
trans girl. We're all just being brought in to rehabilitate
this like problematic piece of art, you know. And it
was like this crazy moment of having like like also
have had lost jobs because of my identity and now

(21:00):
in this place where it's like my identity is like
this bargaining chip. So anyway, how does this connect to
the online art conversation? Like I've always kind of had
to also play in like online spaces, Like I started
a public access station with my friends a few years
ago called Highland Park TV. A few years ago. I
was like ten years ago now, but that's still going

(21:22):
on today. And it was basically just this space for
us where we could like just record whatever. You know.
We'd meet up one week and come with like some
pretty simple sketches and shoot it on our public access
set and throw it up online. And you know, like
twelve people would watch it and that was it and
that but that was cool, like you know, you'd build
like little followings and communities that way, and I had

(21:44):
always just wanted to break out of that, you know,
because I think my sensibilities are pretty me and edgy
and weird. But like I'm really kind of a basic bitch,
like when it got to the stuff I like, like,
I really like my taste is very college dorm room.

(22:06):
I have a back to the future tattoo. Like I'm
very influenced by like genre film, and you know, like
I love David Lynch, I love experimental film and stuff too.
But like I've always like really felt like I.

Speaker 8 (22:17):
Could do it.

Speaker 7 (22:17):
I could be like just like a genre filmmaker. But
when we had the controversy at TIFF, I had a
lot of pressure on me to just kind of put
the movie out there, and I could never articulate to
people why it was important to me to not do
that and to hold out. It wasn't just like financial,
it really was. I mean, I mean, maybe it's ego thing,

(22:38):
but it's also just like I've been doing this long
enough to know like the movie was gonna always find
its audience, but there needed to kind of be a
plan in place so that like I could actually put
it towards having a career that the career that I've
wanted my whole life. You know, Like, I think it's
ridiculous that we live in a culture now where every artist,

(23:00):
even the ones like me who have had a trade
in this industry, Like in an industry like that, we
have to really carve our own path in online spaces
or on Twitter or YouTube or whatever. It just keeps
us all in cycles of poverty. It like, like I
fucking hate posting to Twitter. I do it still just

(23:23):
because it's the easiest way to get the word out,
But every single time I send a tweet, I'm like,
this sucks. Like I'm supporting one of the worst people
alive right now just by still using this site, somebody
who hates me and people like me so much that
he literally won't talk to his own child. Yeah. Like,
I really just wanted to kick the door down for

(23:43):
myself and hopefully for some people that come after me.
And you know, I really don't want to be the
type of filmmaker and the type of queer filmmaker who
like holds the ladder up behind them, like it's not
even that I have integrity, it's just that like this
movie is that to me, this movie is such like

(24:05):
it's a gospel on how we need to be making
art more ethically and more for ourselves and from a
place of care. And yeah, that's just I want to
hopefully change my little corner of the industry as much
as I can toward that.

Speaker 2 (24:22):
I mean, it definitely feels like we're getting more and
more people are embracing this idea of independent queer cinema,
and more people are are deciding instead of putting whatever
short film they want on YouTube, try to do a
festival circuit.

Speaker 6 (24:36):
And it's it.

Speaker 2 (24:36):
That was one of the things that I think I
really respected after what happened at TIFF. What I really
respected at your insistence to like, no, like we're going
to find a distributor, Like we're we're not just gonna
throw it up online and call it a day. It's
not just gonna be like a fan film. It's like,
this is an actual, like expressive piece that we're gonna
It might mean that you won't see it for another
two years, but it shows like a level of like

(24:58):
actual artistic commitment that I found gave gave the project
a real sense of like wait, oh, thank you. The
notion of this comfortable YouTube bubble we've created is perhaps
why I find the public Access TV side of la
Yeerman's Late Stage Live so compelling. A lot of queer
people around my age grew up with the transgender video

(25:21):
essay as the primary form of our artistic video output,
and there's a lot of good video essays out there,
but at a certain point it started to feel like
the main way a young, radical queer person could engage
with the art form. It's gotten to feel so insular
and a bit restrictive, like we're enforcing our own bubble.

(25:41):
On top of this self limiting aspect, I'm not even
sure how much growth the format even has Anymore. Recently,
I've begun to see more queer artists specifically trying to
make things outside the strict video essay framework. Even some
of the most popular trans video essay creators have been
trying to move into documentary and narrative film making. I
asked Ella about moving beyond the video essay bubble because

(26:05):
although Late Stage Live does it air on YouTube as
well as Brooklyn Public Access, the format is not just
your average transgender video essay.

Speaker 3 (26:13):
We don't have any pink lighting at all. Yeah, it's
definitely something I've been thinking about a lot, both like
in my own personal career and for the show. A
lot of my bylines in the last few years are
all YouTube based with late stage and some more news,
and it's frustrating that even as YouTube has seen so
much growth, and like celebrities come from YouTube all the
time and some of the biggest names in the world.

Speaker 5 (26:35):
Are Internet stars.

Speaker 3 (26:36):
Now, there's still like the sense of illegitimacy to be
doing a project on YouTube, and like when I try
and get published in like more legitimate journalism magazines every
so often, I'm always looking at my resume and being like,
I wish I had like a byline in a magazine
instead of three years of writing for a YouTube show
that I love so much and think is doing better
works than most of these magazines, but like that I
know won't get treated the same. So there's definitely an

(26:59):
aspect to that that I think. Yeah, like it's partly
YouTube is so accessible anyone can post on YouTube that
I understand why queer people have sort of relegated themselves
to this bubble. Trans people wrote like why we've ended
up with like you know, the trans video essay scene,
thank you Mother Natalie. But it makes it hard to
sort of break into this like final frontier of legitimacy,

(27:23):
I think, and I think by like, yeah, like not
fully committing ourselves to being a YouTube show from the
get go, we do sort of leave doors open to
be considered like a more legitimate television production, which is
exciting for like growth opportunities. I think the live studio
audience also really pushes us out of that zone. We
get a lot of accusations from people who are mean

(27:43):
on the Internet of using a laugh track, and I
just want to say, and I will say it till
the day I die, It would be so much easier
if we were.

Speaker 2 (27:51):
I could totally tell when there's gay people laughing the
background versus a laugh track. It's a very clear difference. Absolutely.

Speaker 3 (27:59):
It would be so easy if I was just plugging
that in in posts.

Speaker 6 (28:01):
But no.

Speaker 3 (28:02):
We bring in thirty thirty five Gaze every month just
to laugh at my jokes, and sometimes they don't. And
you can see that too when they don't laugh at
my jokes. But I think that is something I was
really excited to do. That is different from a lot
of the other video essay sphere because it also brings
in aspects of live performance that I love as a
stand up and as a theater artist. And also like, yeah,

(28:23):
just pulls it into like a slightly different genre of
thing that we're making, and I think certainly in terms
of like growth and audience building and like the potential
of being picked up by some larger organization. It definitely
puts us in like a different It makes us look
slightly different than like a YouTube show, even if we
can all like sort of quietly acknowledge, like, well, what
all of our growth is happening on YouTube and Instagram?

(28:45):
But like, as you said, like Real Late Night is
huge on YouTube now too, and there's all these other
extra correlating factors of like monetization on YouTube sort of
died a few years ago after the ad apocalypse or whatever,
and you have to go through crowdfunding sources like Patreon
or sponsorships or x Otherwise, like there's not like you can't.

Speaker 2 (29:07):
Nebula or whatever new streaming service for YouTube pops up.

Speaker 3 (29:10):
Yeah, right, you can't just rely on ad sense anymore,
and that's frustrating in its own degree. But I think
even beyond that, Yeah, like not relegating ourselves to being
a YouTube show, both thematically and like concretely in terms
of content and form is like really exciting. And I
think like, even as we grow and gain a budget

(29:32):
and are able to buy nicer cameras, we want to
like keep the aesthetics and vibe of like edgy radical
public access because it's like a part of the voice
of the show along with sort of the practicalities.

Speaker 2 (29:45):
Yeah, having background ketamine jokes, I think really is right
sets you apart the quote.

Speaker 3 (29:51):
Unquote VHS cleaner that sits on the desk every episode.
I don't own a VHS.

Speaker 2 (29:57):
We will return to it could happen here after these
messag we now return to It could happen here. To me,
the most exciting thing about the idea of a new
wave of independent trans cinema is that we'll get to

(30:19):
see a whole bunch of trans films that otherwise would
never get made by the big studios. After trans filmmaker
Jane Shanbron's successful festival run of her small scale future
debut titled We're All Going to the World's Fair back
in twenty twenty one, Her next film, called I Saw
the TV Glow, got picked up by Emma Stone's production

(30:39):
company and a twenty four The film is now coming
out later this month. In the case of the People's Joker,
it dares to take Warner Brothers and Disney at their
word that their privately owned intellectual property is in fact
our culture's version of mythology, our very own Greek gods.
And so if these characters really are the cultural icon

(31:00):
that the monopolized companies who own them claim them to be,
what happens when we actually do treat them like mythology
and use these characters to artistically mythologize our own lives
By skillfully sidestepping copyright law via effective legal parody, we
get to have a Batman film through the lens of
transgender chaos magic, which I'm afraid would simply never happen

(31:22):
under Warner Brothers Discovery, as they can't even stop deleting
their own finished films to get tax write offs. A
few weeks ago, I showed my it could happen here
co host Mia Wong the People's Joker, and afterwards we
talked about what makes it feel so special and it's
placed within the pantheon of queer cinema.

Speaker 8 (31:39):
One of my dear friends, Vicky Asturweil, is writing a
book called The Extended Universe about sort of copyright law
and what's done to film and specifically focusing on on
Disney and the thing that's different about The People's Joker. Right,
if you want to know why the People's Joker is
you know why specifically you couldn't make this. It's partially

(32:00):
because it's trans and it's partially because it's actually a movie. Yes,
because and then this is this is this is this
is Vicky's argument, you know, and this is this is
the hidden truth about the film industry is that movies
are not designed to sell movies.

Speaker 2 (32:12):
No, they're designed to send copyright.

Speaker 5 (32:14):
No.

Speaker 8 (32:14):
No, it's it's worse than that. Like, a superhero movie
does not make money on the movie, right, The movie
theater is not making money on the movie. The movie
theater is making money on food the company itself. That's
not where the money comes from. The money comes from
toy sales, yeah, and sales of stuff afterwards. Right, So
what you're actually seeing when you're seeing a superhero movie
is just an ad And this is Yeah, and this

(32:37):
is part of what the people's joker is that makes
it different, right, And you know, and it's because, like specifically,
because it is trans and because of the way that
is trans this makes it impossible for its being made
by corporation, and because trans people fought to make it,
it gets to be an actual movie and not a
fucking toy sales thing.

Speaker 2 (32:53):
Yeah, because they're not going to be making a toy
of mustache pedophile batman.

Speaker 4 (32:58):
Yeah.

Speaker 8 (32:59):
Right, And this is incredibly important for the genre of
film because you know, I mean, there is a world
that is not too far off where we are the
last people making actual fucking films and not advertisements.

Speaker 1 (33:11):
Yeah.

Speaker 8 (33:12):
To use this sort of like only semi ironically, using
this sort of lofty like Marxist language is like, yeah,
like we kind of also have been given the historical
task of saving film from its complete annihilation by these
fucking capitalist copyright gouals. It's a pleasure to see. It's
a joy to see. I think I was reading an

(33:32):
interesting article recently that talked about how trans media's orientation
has been very referential. It's been very much based on
experiences that trans people have as kids, engaging with media,
whether that's with something like Buffy the Vampires Layer, whether
that's with DC comics, and it's because transness is so
much about recontextualizing your whole life and identity. A lot

(33:55):
of trans media has also been about this form of recontextualization,
both with I think The People's Joker is a great
example also, uh uh, the upcoming film I Saw The
TV Glow, which is very much based on like Buffy
and other and other kind of like Monster of the
Week title TV shows. It's combining all of that kind
of stuff with a lot of lynching influences, both both

(34:16):
in these cases, both in The People's Joker and in
I Saw The TV Glow to create this like fever
dream of self identity in this referential format, and that's
been an interesting trend to watch in trans cinema, and
I think that's that's something that's something to look I
think that's something to look for when you're engaging with
future trans cinema projects, seeing if those kind of things
pop up and if and if they don't, why is

(34:38):
that what else is actually happening instead? I think those
are gonna be some interesting interesting ways to uh engage
with our own diy art in the next decade here,
because as much as like everything we talk about is
so like depressing, like on this show, like about how
everything dealing with like trends stuff is about how everyone's
trying to like kill us and restrict our medical care,

(35:00):
that does not actually stop us from becoming people who
actually engage with culture in any real sense. I think
despite everything that's targeted against trans people, it does not
stop us from actually having a cultural output. And the
thing a lot of conservatives are afraid of is our
cultural output. The fact that trans people keep being actually

(35:20):
really compelling artists and really really compelling people in general
makes conservatives service. I don't think it's impossible for conservatives
to make art.

Speaker 2 (35:29):
I think there is conservative art that actually can be
seen as like okay art, But they certainly are afraid
at how good trans people are at making music and
now making movies. When I was talking with me, she
brought up a good point that all paraphrase here. Part
of why we're seeing this new wave of independent transcinema

(35:49):
is the result of a combination of two things. One
is that trans and queer artists have been and continue
to be chewed up and spat out by the traditional
media machine, and two, the traditional media machine itself is
slowly rotting from the inside, which can be a tricky
situation to navigate for a lot of queer artists. But simultaneously,

(36:10):
it also means that we're in this position, we're having
been spat out, we have full rain to go make
our own, massive, grotesque, degenerate queer art on our own,
because there simply is no artistic alternative. Trans people need
to be submitting to film festivals regardless of whether or
not CIS viewers and critics will understand the work. Filmmaking

(36:34):
is one of those art forms that you can't really
do all by yourself, but that doesn't need to be
a limitation. That can be an asset. Gay people are
good at a lot of different things, and filmmaking integrates
so many different artistic areas and skills, and as we've seen,
a movie made by a community of queers can create
such a unique result. When talking with Vera Drew, she

(36:55):
mentioned that having a whole team of artists help her
complete the movie is also in part what ensured that
she would find a way for the film to be
distributed the right way so that it's seen up on
the big screen and not just published online for free.

Speaker 7 (37:09):
You know. That was another thing that really kind of
kept me from doing anything irrational with the film, like
posting it on Google Drive with contribution to like a
donation link or whatever. It was like like I have
all these artists that just worked on this movie with
me for two and a half years, and like, no,
we're gonna fucking do this, Like I said I would

(37:31):
do this, and I'm gonna do this cause like I
can't just like feed this back into the incubator and
the fucking feedback loop of trans Twitter and like cool
underground circles that I totally love to be a part of,
but we're all trying to, you know, get more visibility
outside of those things. So yeah, I always really just
wanted to honor that, honor the team and make everybody

(37:54):
feel valued, and you know, I paid as many people
as I could, and you know, was very str forward
about what I could afford, and a lot of people
worked in ways that they just felt compensated and that
was very appreciated. You know, I think in general, like
everybody on this was very underpaid, but like it was
such a labor of love and such like a a

(38:17):
personal thing for for all of us that everybody just
like showed up and really rallied around each other and
really just kept saying yes and to everything, and it's
so cool. I don't I don't know how I'll ever
really be able to replicate. I don't think I should either,
just because it's it was it was quite a Gargantiouan task,
but you know, it was. It was literally the best

(38:39):
time of my life was was making this movie. Like
I think it really it taught me just how to
be a human being and how to love and how
to like finally feel connected to my to my queer community,
because I think like the People's Jokers really more than anything,
it's really about nuance and like relationships and family and politics,

(39:01):
and it talks about nuance by really leaning into these
like extremes, which I think just is also inherently queer,
and I don't know, I mean, that's to me, is
like another thing. It's just like I hope and there's
a lot of trance filmmakers that are like starting to
pop up in the genre space, but like I hope
we see more of it, just because like we all

(39:23):
grew up on the same movies that Sis people did,
so like, why can't we make similar art, you know,
and tell our stories in the process, and also do
it in a way that's like not hiding in the shadows.

Speaker 2 (39:35):
The People's Joker is slowly ending. It's us theatrical run,
but you can still look for tickets and show times
at The People's Joker dot com and you can find
Vera Drew online at Vera Drew twenty two. Late Stage
Live just released their sixth episode and I'm really excited
to see how the show will grow and evolve over time.

Speaker 3 (39:54):
And we've actually recently hit an inflection point with the
show where like the sort of organic, haphazard growth is
no longer sustainable for us. We've been having a lot
of really exciting and scary conversations behind the scenes about
like formalizing our production process and kicking our shit up
a notch so that we have the potential to make
this bigger and better and more polished. But it is

(40:15):
at its core still like a production born out of
community and like mutual respect. I'm Ella Yeerman. You can
find me on Instagram at La dot Yeerman, on x
dot com at Ella Yeerman. I think I'm on Blue Sky. Also,
though I don't do anything there. You can find Late
Stage Live as Late Sailers Live on all platforms. That's Instagram,
x YouTube, TikTok probably also Blue Sky, but those are

(40:40):
the big ones. And then if you're interested in finding
my stand up show, we're at T four T Comedy
on Instagram and x oh. And then most specifically, if
you're interested in helping fun blade stage and make us
bigger and better and shinier, you can go to patreon
dot com slash Late Stage Live, where we post. Yeah,
we have a behind the scenes photos and videos, and
we make a semi frequent podcast where my head writer

(41:03):
and I talk about the news and shoot the ship
and talk about the process and a lot more detail
episode by episode. And we're so grateful for our current
patrons and for opportunities like this, and we're excited to
see where the show.

Speaker 2 (41:15):
Goes that doesn't for us, and it could happen here.
I hope you enjoyed my Transformers and g I Joe
ad Break references, and if not, you can send any
complaints to the President of Columbia University. Solidarity to everyone
across the country who's been out the past few weeks,
see you on the other side.

Speaker 8 (41:43):
Welcome to take it up. And here a podcast that
is I don't know, I'm gonna, I'm gonna. I'm gonna
speak for the rest of my hosts who aren't here
so they can't stop me and say that this is
a podcast normally opposed to brunch. I'm your host, Mia Wong,
and today we are talking about some that we kind
of haven't been covered, we haven't covered as much as
I think we should have, which is unionization in small businesses.

(42:08):
We've talked a lot about unization and sort of larger things.
We've talked about sort of mid mid sized chains. But
today we're talking about the unionization of a place called
Friday Egg I'm in Love in Portland's which it's it's
if you sort of imagine the platonic ideal of what
do you think a place called Friday Egg I'm in
Love is going to be? Like it is in fact

(42:29):
that And with me to talk about this is Soul
and Janey from the Friday Egg Workers Union. Yeah, both
of you, welcome to the show.

Speaker 9 (42:38):
Thank you so much.

Speaker 5 (42:39):
Yeah, thanks for having us.

Speaker 8 (42:40):
Yeah, I'm excited to talk about this partially, you know,
I mean as as we've sort of discussed a little bit,
because I want to get into a bit later the
specific dynamics of sort of small business union stuff. But
first things first, I wanted to sort of talk about what, actually,
you know, how did you all decide to unionize, because
I think this is a bit different story than the

(43:03):
kind of thing we usually get on this show.

Speaker 9 (43:05):
Absolutely well, I've been at this particular restaurant since twenty
nineteen and it's been something that's come up every now
and then. I think we're just a very queer workplace.
We're a very leftist workplace, and we tend to have
a lot of common ideals. And I feel like what

(43:25):
makes our unionization effort unique or maybe not unique, but
just different than a lot of like we need to
start a union right now kind of efforts is there
wasn't a thing that caused it. We were all, like
me and five other people were just sitting around a
table and decided, Hey, we should just start a union,

(43:46):
and so we kind of looked into what that looks
like and the snowball started rolling downhill.

Speaker 8 (43:53):
Yeah, and this is something I think is really interesting
because you know, I mean one of the things you
get really commonly in sort of like anti new propaganda.
You see this, like I so a lot of my
family were engineers, right, and engineers do this all the
time where they're like, oh, we don't need a union.
We're like happy, we're well paid, everything's great. And then
you know, you look at you, you look at what
happens to them, and it's like, oh, well now you

(44:13):
have boeing Right, It's like, well, you you will, you will,
you will never organize, you no longer have any power,
and your planes are like falling from the sky. So yeah,
this this is a I'm gonna I'm taking this, taking
my soapbox moment to be like you two out there,
even if your job is good, at some point it's
going to not be and you should unionize first before

(44:34):
they I don't know, like be google and decide that
I don't be evil actually constrains them from making money
and decide to be evil, So get get out ahead
of them before.

Speaker 9 (44:46):
Couldn't agree more absolutely, this has felt very, very proactive.

Speaker 10 (44:54):
I haven't been there nearly nearly as long as some
of my comrades, but the general like consensus is that
like things are pretty good. So instead of letting things
go bad, let's let's make you know, major steps to
protect what we have, especially as like you kind of

(45:19):
notice how this small business is slowly, slowly starting to
operate like not a small business mm hm.

Speaker 9 (45:26):
And we had a one of our food carts was
upgraded to a brick and mortar at the beginning of
this year, and pretty much in that in that moment
that that started operating as a real restaurant, it things
really clearly I think started setting in that like that

(45:49):
this is a bigger operation than it used to be,
and they very like the owner very much still has
the intention of making it as good of a place
to work as he can, which is to be appreciated.
But it's also understandable that as things start to grow,
it's a lot better if it's a collaborative process in

(46:11):
terms of making it the best place to work that
it can be. And I think getting a seat at
the table is something that we have to make for ourselves,
but it doesn't necessarily have to be a threat or
a retaliation.

Speaker 8 (46:29):
This is something I think is kind of important with unionizing,
especially places that are kind of you know, like or
you know, we're even where the sort of the boss
is legitimately trying to like do the right thing, which
like it's kind of true of like my work, right,
like you know, like the people above my bosses are
kind of a fiasco, but like my immediate like bosses

(46:50):
are like you know, it's Robert and Sophie, right, Like
they're pretty chill. But you know, like one of the
dynamics that sets in is like you know, it's not
what the actual conditions are, isn't necessarily always going to
be under their control, even if you know, like even
if they want to do the right thing, and the

(47:11):
demands of things like scale and you know, the demands
of sort of market competition have this sort of disciplining
effect on what, you know, like what what your working
conditions can be if you're going to sort of compete
with like I don't know, you're your like doughnut shop
that like torches is union workers.

Speaker 3 (47:29):
Right.

Speaker 8 (47:31):
You know for example, Yeah, yeah, pure purely abstract.

Speaker 10 (47:37):
Purely abstract. Yeah, absolutely, you know, seeing a shop of
you know, twelve become you know, two shops, a food
cart and a commissary kitchen of thirty five. But definitely,
you know, it's just pushing the business in a direction
very naturally. It feels very much like a part of

(48:01):
how systems work, even if our even if your owner
has really good intentions, just the nature of how capitalism
works is starts to change things as Yeah at scale
for sure.

Speaker 8 (48:29):
Yeah, And that that gets into something else that I'm
sort of interested in how the sort of unionizing process went,
because this is a very I mean, I guess going
from twelve to thirty five is a big increase in
the number of people, but that's still a very small shop.
So can you talk a bit about what it's been
like kind of organizing in you know, I mean organizing
a number of people that you can very easily fit

(48:51):
into a room.

Speaker 9 (48:52):
It's been interesting and it's been exciting in that way
because we are able to cram into a room and
the energy is very palpable and so like inspiring momentum
to get shit done in each other has been really
really wonderful in that way. But I think also it's

(49:12):
it makes it easy for us to be very tactical
with how we are handling this process, where we're making
sure that at all four locations there's a majority, if
not unanimous approval and support and membership in the union.
And the more that the more that I'm meeting union

(49:38):
organizers and union reps and people from IWW, the more
that I'm realizing we're in a situation where we can
establish some really lovely precedent for similar workplaces who want
to start a union, who are about the same size
as us, or even like neighbors in our like on

(49:58):
the on the streets that are locations are at where
we can do things like there's not enough precedent in
the IWW for a service industry in general, but particularly
it's it's very common to be in the negotiating process
and one of the things that will be offered to

(50:21):
the employer in exchange for whatever you're negotiating on is
like a no strike clause, like okay, we'll just we'll
give this to you of like we're just not gonna
be able just to strike for the duration of our contract,
and so in exchange we can get some other stuff
that we're asking for. But because we have such a

(50:41):
strong majority, and in all four locations we have a
strong majority, I think we're currently planning on keeping the
right to strike. Hell yeah, and you know we're not
planning on it. I hope that we don't ever have
to do that, but just having that as precedent I

(51:01):
think will help our community and other similar unions.

Speaker 8 (51:07):
Yeah, absolutely, I think. You know, this is something that
going back to if you look at the sort of
heyday of American unionism, if you look at like the
fifties sixty seventies, like those contracts didn't have no strike
clauses in them. Some of them did, so sometimes it
was like a federal thing. But the thing about no
strike clauses is that it makes you know, we've talked

(51:28):
about this a bit before on the show, but one
of the sort of issues when you have a union
is like, okay, see, even if you get a contract right,
and that usually takes that takes a long time, takes
a lot of fighting, the company is immediately going to
start trying to violate the contract. And so you know,
your contract is only as strong as your ability to
enforce it. And you know, one of a really really

(51:49):
good way to enforce it is by being able to
go on strike. But normally, like yeah, people aren't organized
enough to actually like fight their employers on it, and
so it just ends up being a kind of standard
part of contracts, And yeah, it's really exciting that y'all
are committing to fight for that from the beginning, because
it's it's it's hard, it's it's not it's not an
easy thing to do.

Speaker 9 (52:09):
Now, the more I learn about how unions operate, the
more I'm realizing that, you know, it doesn't necessarily stop
people from getting fired, it doesn't necessarily stop people from having,
you know, injustice happened upon them. But it just gives
you the ability to fight in the first place. And
I think a lot of employers who are facing a

(52:33):
workplace who are wanting to unionize like recognizing that it's
it's it's not like a threat. It's not like, Okay,
we're uh, we're going to have this union and everyone's
going to go on strike the next day and our
business is going to tank.

Speaker 7 (52:50):
But it's they're just.

Speaker 9 (52:51):
Asking for the right to to have a better negotiating seat.

Speaker 8 (52:56):
Yeah, this is something I actually think it's really interesting
about this campaign where there's this really kind of I
don't know, I think if you're able to build a
precedent of being able to negotiate a contract that doesn't
have no strike clause, that allows you to go on
strike whatever you know, whenever you want is something that
is like characteristic of liking of you know, of a

(53:20):
of an incredibly militant shop. But I think if you can,
if you can actually get the precedent of you know,
having companies treat this as normal, because it's something that
should be normal, right like this, this is how a
lot of the US used to work, right it used
to be. If you were on like an auto line
assembly line, there'd be there be a guy in a
back with a whistle. And if and if you know,

(53:41):
if a contract violation happened, or like you know, if
if the company is asking you to do something that
you aren't you know that you're not like contractually obligated
to do, the person would you know, the union person
would blow the whistle, immediate strike, the entire assembly line
goes down, and you know it turns out you actually
can run a completely functional like economy like this. But
the kind of the mentality of the people who own

(54:04):
who own businesses right now is that you should never
at any point, like you know, you should never at
any point let your workers do anything at all. You
should immediately fight them at the moment they try to
unionize and I think you know, having a president of
like you know, of of being able to get this
kind of stuff without immediately having to launch like you know,

(54:26):
like I immediately kick off a series of stricture with
your employer. Is is a good one? Is a good
one to set.

Speaker 10 (54:34):
That we have so many people that are super interested
in like being a part of this organizing effort because
because we all like being there, like is I think
is huge in comparison to like lots of stories that
we hear about and yeah, really wanting to like bring
that to the restaurant industry because yeah, that's unions are

(54:56):
you know, criminally under recognized within service work. Yeah, and
arguably an industry that needs it the most.

Speaker 5 (55:06):
Yep, yep.

Speaker 8 (55:07):
Well, and that's the other exciting thing about this shop
is that you know, you're talking about sort of like
they're not being enough service organizing with it with the IWW.
And that's true of like basically all unions because and
especially shops at your scale, because you know, a lot
of these unions are using like a very kind of
crude cross cost benefit analysis and their their assessment is like, well,

(55:28):
why should we bother to organize like this shop that
has thirty five people at it, because you know, this
is going to like where we're like the amount of
dues money we're going to get out of it is
like not you know, is not is not worth the effort.
But on the other hand, you know, like do you
know how many workers there are, like how many of
these like how many of these tiny shops across the

(55:49):
there are across the entire country that if you know,
and if everyone just refuses to organize them, then you're
leaving like tens of millions of workers just sort of
like screwed.

Speaker 10 (55:59):
Yeah. I can't speak for all IWW, but I know,
like talking with like the Portland branch, it definitely mirrors
our shop and at like how queer and leftist it is.
And is that surprising that they're working with the IWW
or with the Coalition of Independent Unions which is a

(56:20):
Pacific Northwest like union for unions kind of thing. It's
not surprising that like our values are aligned and it's
like making making for something like really fun and like
you know, setting a new kind of industry standard for
service industry.

Speaker 8 (56:35):
Yeah, unfortunately, speaking of industry standards, I have to go
to an ad break. It's in my contract somewhere, probably,
though I don't think my employers have read my contract
in a long time. But you know, such are the
dictates of a podcast that you're that your senior bosses
don't listen to. Yeah, we will return in however long

(56:56):
the ads are and we are back, so.

Speaker 7 (57:13):
Okay.

Speaker 11 (57:13):
Another thing that I kind of wanted to talk about
is what has it sort of been like in terms
of like, you know, so like, how has you know,
in a shop that's like this small, how has the
sort of like organizing conversations gone right, Like is everyone
just sort of close enough that you know, you were
able to kind of do this organically, or was there
still sort of a like mapping process for all of

(57:36):
the shops or.

Speaker 9 (57:39):
Well, luckily it has gone pretty smoothly. But we were
advised early on to create an interest map where we
go through the list of every coworker that we have
and talk about like how well do we know them?
Do we think they would be down? Like, well, this
person would obviously be down. This person, I guess we'll

(58:00):
just have to talk to them and see and apart
from a few cases, it has been very successful and
easy so far. It's really lucky that almost all of
our coworkers are comrades.

Speaker 3 (58:14):
Yeah.

Speaker 10 (58:14):
I think like our first like conversation was I think
about ten people at like a bar close to like
the main Hawthorn shop, and like once we had like
that get together. Yeah, it really became about like, you know,
how do we get our satellite locations, you know, on
this on the same page, you know, with like a
super majority at one shop, you know, then just moving

(58:38):
on to you know our little you know, the Pioneer
food cart and then our Commissary kitchen and then the
Mississippi location. That was just you know, hiring a whole
new staff for and you know, getting them in, you know,
collecting them into the fold. And yeah, iww was very
helpful and like how to like kind of create those

(58:58):
processes to like ensure that you know, we were approaching
people in the right way. And yeah, have it getting
a proper headcount?

Speaker 8 (59:09):
Yeah that can be a disaster. Yeah, oh god, Like
my union, we're still trying to hash out whether some
people are in the union or not, and like people
will leave the company. Then this happens all the time, right,
Like one of the things you discovered really quickly when
you need a union organizing is that your like management

(59:29):
doesn't actually know how anything works, or like even who's
working for them and what they do. They have absolutely
no idea, and so you have to do their job
and figure out what everyone does.

Speaker 10 (59:42):
What management would be so mad at you for saying blasphemy.

Speaker 8 (59:48):
You know, look if they if they did, if they
didn't want me to talk negatively about they should pay
me more. They simply do not pay any of us enough.
That's not the universal from time to time. Yeah, yeah,
but I think that you know what's interesting about this
shop too, is it really seems like y'all just sort
of speed ran doing a good campaign, Like you're doing

(01:00:10):
all of the things that you gif of good organizers.
But then you know, every once in a while you
just get a shop where it's just kind of everything
just clicks and goes.

Speaker 9 (01:00:19):
It has been five months start to finish, which I
feel like is significantly faster than most. Yeah, most of
that is just down to that there aren't very many
of us, and so talking to everyone hasn't been that
crazy of an endeavor.

Speaker 5 (01:00:34):
Yeah, but.

Speaker 9 (01:00:37):
I think probably in the first meeting or two, we
just crunch the numbers and realized, Okay, we're not going
to have any trouble having a majority, but we have to.
And so the focus of our work went into making
sure we do it right, and learning to inoculate people

(01:00:58):
and talk to people we haven't talked to yet and
people for whom it would be a little more sensitive
or more like in depth conversation, and educating ourselves on
what starting a union actually looks like. And i WW
has been very helpful providing these little trainings that I've

(01:01:19):
been able to go to. It's funny is that they're
on Sunday afternoons, and so I'm pretty sure I'm the
only person at our brunch restaurant who doesn't work Sunday afternoons,
so I've been going to those.

Speaker 8 (01:01:28):
But yeah, this is something that like, I don't know,
I feel like it should be a thing that so
I was at this will I guess we'll have come
out after the Labor Dights episode that I'm doing. But
something that I feel like I don't hear much discussion
of in union organizing that I feel like there should
be is like fighting management on scheduling and like trying

(01:01:53):
to fight for you know, people actually a having consistent
schedules and b not just having like I don't know,
Like I know a lot of people who find out
their schedule on Facebook, like four hours before they have
to go in, right, Like, that's insane. That is that
is not a way for industrial process to function.

Speaker 7 (01:02:15):
Right.

Speaker 10 (01:02:16):
No, thankfully that has not been one of our issues
at least at least not systemically at Ridick.

Speaker 8 (01:02:25):
Yeah, but but it does make it hard to do
intro organizational trainings because it's like everyone has weird scheduling
stuff going on, so it's it's hard to like, I
don't know, I feel like it's it's an underrated barrier
to getting a lot of people from different unions to
work together. Is that no one is ever off at
the same time.

Speaker 9 (01:02:43):
That's real.

Speaker 10 (01:02:44):
Yeah, absolutely, I know it's been it weird. I think
they're a huge aspect of our success I think is
that we have been able to like I think the
unique part about the breakfast Place is that it's not
open from you know, am to PM. It's not open

(01:03:07):
from ten am to eleven pm, like like a restaurant
could potentially be open. We are open for breakfast. We're
done at too on the weekdays and adding in a
standing union meeting at four pm once a week was

(01:03:29):
very easy to add to everybody's schedule, I think, I
think and the nature of the breakfast place led to
that working very very easily.

Speaker 9 (01:03:39):
Yeah, and our coworkers that maybe need a little more
persuasion that like, hey, no, don't worry this is this
is really happening, and you can be a part of it,
even if you know that their pro union. Kind of
getting the ball rolling with people sometimes takes a meeting
or two and being able to have the peer pressure
of like, hey, we're going into a meeting right now.

(01:04:02):
I know you're not doing anything after this, and I'll
give you a ride helps a lot because then they
go to their meeting and they're like, wow, that was awesome.
I never knew I could take control of my life
in any way.

Speaker 8 (01:04:15):
Yeah, that rules. There really is nothing like just being
in a place with a bunch of people who all
are trying to like actually do the thing, like you know,
I mean, I think this is why you know, like
as we're recording this, like a bunch of campus occupations
are going right, and I mean, I don't know, God,

(01:04:37):
hopefully by the time this comes out, they won't have
all died horribly because this is getting recorded on what
day is it that April twenty eighth, so this is
being released into like hell world. But yeah, you know,
I mean, I think one of one of the aspects
of of of those camps is that like just there

(01:05:01):
with a bunch of people who you get to talk
to and organize with. And it turns out that actually
being there face to face with a bunch of people
is just great. And that's that's the thing. That's the thing.
You can also like that you knows, as much as
like union work can just can be work, right, it
can be you sitting in front of a spreadsheet and going,
oh my god, what this person responds like it's also

(01:05:24):
I don't know, it's it's also like it could be
really great and I don't know, you should you, dear
listeners should experience it because it rules.

Speaker 9 (01:05:33):
I couldn't recommend it more. It is the best feeling
in the world and soul and I are addicted to
it to feel like you're actually doing anything real. Hell, yeah,
it's incredible.

Speaker 10 (01:05:48):
That's yeah. Something we heard from IW or IWW friends
is that like this, like, especially with how early in
the process we are like how exciting that is to
like skitter everybody but everybody in a room and I
feel like we're all working towards the same thing.

Speaker 5 (01:06:04):
Yeah, and that.

Speaker 10 (01:06:08):
You do get addicted to it. And that's often where
the union organizers came from, was like starting their own
and they're like, oh, I need to keep doing this.

Speaker 12 (01:06:22):
Yeah.

Speaker 8 (01:06:24):
I think I think that's a pretty good doe to
end on, unless you do have anything else that you
want to make sure we get you first.

Speaker 10 (01:06:30):
Yeah, with like how early in the process we are
after this comes out, like we will have like dropped
our authorization cards and like actually started like the formal process.
Like we're still pretty early on, but we already have
a fundraiser setup with like a local beer bar. We're
at Workers Sat. Hell Yeah, and that's super exciting. And

(01:06:54):
we're building our socials and probably have a go fundme
for strike fundraiser. So yeah, early days, but very exciting,
very purposeful days.

Speaker 9 (01:07:08):
It's gonna be a big week.

Speaker 8 (01:07:10):
Hell yeah. Yeah. Where where can people go to find
the union and go to support you all?

Speaker 9 (01:07:16):
Well, our socials are not live.

Speaker 8 (01:07:18):
Yet, but all right, so yeah, this is this, this
is being recorded before things go live. We will we
will have the links down there.

Speaker 10 (01:07:27):
Yeah, we I think we're settling on the tag the
user name fried egg w U, which we are saying
foo woo about because you know, you gotta you gotta,
you gotta make you gotta.

Speaker 5 (01:07:39):
Make this fun. But yes, we will be. Yeah, we
will be sharing that with you.

Speaker 9 (01:07:45):
I'm glad you knew because I wasn't sure if if
we had a handle agreed upon yet. Yeah, well find
us on the socials fried egg.

Speaker 10 (01:07:55):
W U with it being early days and like us
not even being public yet. I've built those accounts, but
they're not like not ready to go. So there's that,
like we're in this dead zone period where we've built
the infrastructure for a proper you know, the proper election,
even though we are very hopeful that our owner will

(01:08:18):
recognize us with you know, the majority that we have.
But yeah, we're our zero day is May Day, a
couple of days from now, and we are very excited
for that very much.

Speaker 8 (01:08:30):
So hell yeah, hopefully it goes well. It will be
in the past by time this comes out, But good
luck to both of you, and thank you both so
much for coming on now.

Speaker 9 (01:08:40):
The pleasure belongs to us. We're both fans than for
having us on.

Speaker 8 (01:08:44):
Yeah, and yeah does this has been naked happen here?
You too can go experience the joys of organizing your workplace.
So go go do that or go to a student occupation,
do both.

Speaker 5 (01:08:55):
I don't know. There's a lot going on that.

Speaker 8 (01:08:57):
There are many places for you to experience the shory
of organizing with other people, so go go do that.
And yeah, you can find us in the usual places.

Speaker 5 (01:09:09):
I don't know.

Speaker 8 (01:09:09):
Sophie will probably be on it in about one second.
This ad pivot not whatever this is got completely off
the rails.

Speaker 10 (01:09:18):
I have not had it off sleep, no sleep for organizing.

Speaker 5 (01:09:34):
Welcome, take it happen here. I'm Andrew Sage of the
YouTube channel andrasm and I'm here with James.

Speaker 4 (01:09:40):
Yeah, it's me and andre again.

Speaker 5 (01:09:42):
Yes, once again. So I recently dropped a video on states,
or more pointedly, a video that's sorts of define the
state and its functions, synthesize its critique by anarchists, and
basically understand the ways that states feel both society and nature.
So we can let goose states, inevitabilit and think outside
of it to realize the freedom and power of all

(01:10:04):
the people most people aren't anarchists, unfortunately, but I've noticed
that generally speaking, some folks are more receptive to anarchist
ideas and others just seem to shut down without engaging
with it earnestly or meaningfully. You get a mix of
those reactions in my comments, so overwhelmingly toward the receptive side,

(01:10:25):
because I mean, that's the kind of intellectual curiosity I
tried to attract my space, But the more hostile reactions
had me thinking about a book that I read many
years ago and their video on years after that was
called The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer. So once take another
look at the ideas in that book, because even though

(01:10:46):
Ultimid doesn't land in any truly radical conclusions, his scholarship,
in my opinion, gets us closer to understanding the psychology
of both authoritarian followers and authoritarian leaders. Also rest in Peace.
I found that he died when I was preparing this,
just this year in February, but that aside. We'll be

(01:11:06):
talking about the former first, and that is what's up
with authoritarian followers. Let's get into it first. We need
some context. So in the wake of World War two,
social scientists sought an explanation for the evils perpetuated by
the Nazi government during the war. Theodore W. A'dno Els,
Frankel Brunswick, Daniel Levinson, and Nevitt Sandford published The Authoritarian

(01:11:28):
Personality in nineteen fifty, proposing a personality type for the
fascist follower ranked on an F scale. They particularly concentrated
on prejudice within the psychoanalytic and psychosocial frameworks of Freudian
and Fromian theories. Their work was highly critiqued, but it
was also highly influential in laying the groundwork for our

(01:11:49):
understanding of authoritarian personalities. In the aftermath of Adorno and
Company's book, social scientists will continue to tweak, develop and
expand our understanding of authoritarian psychology. Most notably, the concept
will be refined by Bob Altemeyer, a Canadian American psychology professor,
proposed the right wing authoritarian personality in nineteen eighty one.

(01:12:10):
After numerous studies, Altimyer presented his findings in his free
book The Authoritarians in two thousand and six. I had
to clarify, though right wing here is not being used
in the context of the political spectrum, which is a
concept thats to n scrutiny. In this context, Ultimaya uses
the word right in the sense of the old English
writ an adjective for lawful and proper. Aultimia defines authoritarianism

(01:12:34):
as quote, something authoritarian followers and authoritarian leaders cook up
between themselves. It happens when the followers submit too much
to the leaders, trust them too much, and get them
too much leeway to do whatever they want, which often
is something undemocratic, tyrannical, and brutal unquote. I find this
definition of authoritarianism lacking, but a monarchist so of course

(01:12:56):
I would to me, if authority is defined as the
record is right above others in a social relationship to
give commands, make decisions, and enforce obedience, then I would
define authoritarianism as a matter of degree to which you
uphold the principle of authority. I think many people are
at least authoritarian light because that's the status go unfortunately.

(01:13:18):
But more specifically, I think the people we call authoritarians
are those which are especially invested in the enforcement or
advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of
freedom and plurality. So right, being authoritarian followers or RWAs
are those which overwhelmingly support the established authorities in their society,

(01:13:39):
like government officials, arms of the state, and traditional religious leaders.
In North America and elsewhere, r was tend to be
or other. I should say high r WA is because
the RWA thing is a scale, but the high art
ws tend to be political conservatives. However, that doesn't mean
the authority and personality is exclusive to conservatives, no, as

(01:14:01):
exclusive to North America, but the scale is definitely tailored
to a North American and English speaking audience, lendin to
its documented issues that translate into other regions, But with effort,
I could definitely see it being adapted to other cultural
contexts as well. And as also my argues, the concept
of the right wing authoritarian could equally apply to society
with the established authorities claimed to be represent in the left.

(01:14:26):
So what defines the right wing authority and personality? Psychologically speaking?
They feature three primary traits or attitudes. For one, a
high degree of submission to authorities were perceived to be
established and legitimate in the society in which one lives. Two,
a general aggressiveness directed against various persons that is perceived

(01:14:49):
to be sanctioned by established authorities, and three a high
degree of adherence to the social conventions that are perceived
to be endorsed by society and its establish authorities. These
traits are measured with the Right Wing Authoritarianism Scale or
RWA scale for short. It's readily accessible online, so I'm

(01:15:09):
not going to go through the entire scale point by point,
but basically includes a mixed series of statements that folks
can indicate their level of agreement or disagreement with. Statements
like our country will be great if we on other
ways of our forefathers, do the authorities tell us to
do and get rid of the rotten apples who are
ruining everything, or what our country really needs is a strong,

(01:15:30):
de tillman leader who will crush evil and take us
back to our true path. And just to mix things up.
A woman's place should be wherever she wants to be.
The days when women were submissive to their husbands and
social conventions belong strictly in the past. As you could imagine,
the degree to which you agree or disagree with these
statements would place you somewhere along the scale. The lowest

(01:15:52):
total possible score and ultimized version of the test would
be twenty and the highest one hundred and eighty, but
most people low hit either extreme. A sample of one
thousand Americans in two thousand and five found that the
average score was ninety. Technically speaking, high RWAs are just
people who score higher than the average population, so it's
really a relative to Also another disclaimer, in the context

(01:16:16):
of psychological studies, personality tests can definitely make mistakes about individuals,
so it's not a diagnostic tool for individuals to determine
if they make a good storm trooper. However, the scale
can reliably identify levels of authoritarianism in groups. Also, keep
in mind that stuff like the interpretation of wording and
fore knowledge of what the test is trying to measure

(01:16:37):
can definitely influence results. Still, this tool has been used
for most of Altimayer's research and authoritarianism, so it's good
to be familiar with it. So now you may be
wondering how well does the RWA skills measurement of submission, aggression,
and conventionalism map onto people's reality. So for submission, higher
RWAs tend to believe that people should submit authority in

(01:17:00):
almost all circumstances, so they put a lot of trust
in the law and the authorities. Maybe not all authorities
and every single circumstance, but they definitely bought into the
concept itself. They're the types who trusted Nixon during and
even after the Watergate crisis, likely the ones in Germany
in nineteen forty five who refused to believe that Hitler
was responsible for the Holocaust, the type to rapidly support

(01:17:24):
anti terrorist initiatives, no matter how invasive. Throughout his research,
Altimhere found that high ars are far more likely to
tolerate police burglaries, drug rades without warrants, police crackdowns on
peaceful protests, subversion via Ajan's provocateurs, and so on, as
far as they're concerned, Father knows best. Their favorite authorities

(01:17:46):
are above the law, But like I said, they don't
always submit. Their blind support can be trumped by other concerns,
but most times they're not big fans of holding officials
accountable for their actions. They really don't care if a
cop kill someone in broad daylight or someone drives through
a crowd of protesters on the street. In terms of aggression,

(01:18:09):
higher w is aggress when they believe right and might
on their side. Right meaning their hostility is authority approved
might meaning they have a physical, tactical, or numerical advantage
over their target. They don't fight far, and just like
they go easy on authorities who commit crimes, they go
easy on anyone who attacks people they're prejudiced against. But

(01:18:30):
they definitely don't go easy on the people they hate.
They seek to sentence criminals to longer terms than average,
and as some of the loudest supporters of capital punishment.
And if they hate one group, bet your bottom dollar
they probably hate other groups too. You could call them
equal opportunity bigots. Chances are if they hate immigrants or

(01:18:50):
trans people, those are not going to be the only
targets of their ire. Their pressures has more to do
with their own personality than their targets actual attributes. Still,
they don't always aggress when they think the proper authorities approve,
just that they don't always submit. They are always more
factors that play in any given situation, including a fear

(01:19:11):
of counter aggression or consequences that may hold their hostilities.
Regarding conventionalism, higher ws believe that everyone should live by
the norms that their authorities have decreed. Whilst like culturalism, plurality, diversity.
Those things clash with what they consider correct and what
they consider wrong. They usually get their ideas from fundamentalists religions,

(01:19:34):
so you'll find that higher WA's are strong advocates for
the traditional family structure, with patriarchal husbands, submissive wives, and
obedient children. They're also far more likely to support their
governments patriotic version of various historical narratives. Most interestingly, their
conventionalism even influences their response to the high r W

(01:19:54):
test itself. If they were totally average response for a
statement on the test, they were far more likely to
adjust their answers to the mean than most. When asked
what they would like their own RWA score to be,
low rbs said they would like to be low rw's,
middle or w is said they'd like to be lower w's,
but higher ws said they want to be middles, not

(01:20:16):
lows or highs. Why because they tend to rank being
normal very highly in values tests. Also, just because they
want to be normal, let's mean they don't want to
be richer or smarter than others. Not doesn't mean they're
necessarily going to drop their prejudices. They may get tugged slightly,
like with there's somewhat decrease in prejudice against gay people

(01:20:37):
after the legalization of gay marriage. But their normal is
often a measure of what's normal in their in group.
So if it's still normal in their in group to
be violently homophobic, more than likely they will still be
violently homophobic.

Speaker 4 (01:20:53):
Their conformity is the value rather than specific bigotry or
what have you. Yeah, talking of conformed Andrew, we have
to conform to the needs of sponsors of this show
right now, and we're back.

Speaker 5 (01:21:11):
Yes, so, Alse my husband lightly critiqued for rendering r
W as the dominant psychological account of authoritarianism. Of course,
it makes sense that has been the focus, considering the
study of authoritarian personality was born out of post World
War two studies of fascists. Right wing authoritarians often fever
established absolutist forms of government and weaponize that presently dominate

(01:21:33):
in hierarchy to facilitate said absolutism. But there are authoritarians
who also favor absolutist forms of government with slight differences,
believe n that the presently dominated in hierarchy should be
overthrown and replaced with their own. These have potentially been
called left wing authoritarians, even though the right and right

(01:21:57):
wing authoritarians didn't have anything to do with the political spectrum.
Let's keep pushing. In chapter nine of The Authoritarian Inspector,
Altemeyer conceptualizes left wing authoritarianism or LWA as also composed
of submission, aggression, and conventionalism, so essentially LWA is a

(01:22:17):
subcategory of RWAs. He's also quick to point out not
all leftists are LAS, but as he describes them, l
WA's are revolutionaries who one submit to movement leaders who
must be obeyed aka submission, two have enemies who must
be ruined from capitalists to counter revolutionaries aka aggression, and

(01:22:42):
three have rules and party discipline that must be followed
aka conventionalism. In essence, authoritarianism is psychological. R WAS support
the established authorities, LAS oppose them in favor of their own,
but the underlying positional core is still authoritarianism. But the

(01:23:04):
focus is on AR debays in general here concerning these
traits submission, aggression, and conventionalism, it's clear that people with
right wing and thworitaring and personalities are rather dangerous. They
find it easier to bully harass, punish, name, torture, eliminate,
and exterminate their victims than most people do. They're more
willing to join mobs and militias, more likely to blame

(01:23:25):
victims for their misfortune, and more likely to condemn common
criminals to long brutal sentences in jail. They seem to
have a lot of hostility boiling away inside them that
their authorities can easily unleash. So we have to ask
what causes this? Why are they like this? According to

(01:23:46):
Albert Bandura's social learning theory of aggression, aggression occurs after
two conditions are met. Firstly, some feelings like anger or
envy lead us to a hostility. Secondly, inhibitions or content
actual restraints against release in that hostility would have to
be overcome. Only then can the aggression erupt and flow.

(01:24:07):
So let's discuss the instigator and releaser of authoritarian aggression.
High days are highly motivated by fear, like they have
an extra dose of fair response in their genes more
than most people. They probably learn to be fearful from
their parents about all kinds of things. You know, radicals, atheists, kidnappers,

(01:24:30):
queer people, et cetera, et cetera. They grew up in
a scarier world than most, which is probably why they
tend to score so highly on the Dangerous World Scale.
That scale, like previous scales, provides statements and measures levels
of agreement or disagreement with stuff like quote, If our
society keeps degenerating the way it has been lately, it's
liable to collapse like a rotten dog, and everything will

(01:24:52):
be chaos and quote any day now, chaos and anarchy
could erupt around us. All the signs are pointed to it,
and cou everything to them is a sign of the times,
a perversion corrupt in society in peaceful times and in
generally dangerous ones. Higher ways feel threatened. But what releases

(01:25:12):
that aggressive impulse to act? Also, I have found, more
than anything else self righteousness. Of course, almost everyone thinks
they're a bit more moral than average, but higher ways
they tend to think they're the holy ones, the chosen,
the righteous. That empowers them to isolate, segregate, humiliate, persecute, harass, beat,

(01:25:34):
and kill. That self righteousness, combined with their high scores
on the Dangerous World scale, is what empowers their prejudice,
their heavy handedness, their means spiritedness and their eagerness to
crusade against the other. So how do highs become higher WA's?
Are they born that way? Possibly? Do their parents make

(01:25:59):
them that way somewhat but not completely? See no one
as a complete carbon copy of their parents. So what
determines a person's position on the art of experience? Our
life experiences teach us lessons that our parents and payers

(01:26:21):
may not, or experiences with authorities shape or perception of authority.
Especially when someone hits adolescens, they tend to chafe against authority,
even if they submitted to authority as children, those hormonal urges,
desires for austronomy, and new experiences could shake up their
early lessons completely. Experiences could either end up reinforcing the

(01:26:43):
authorities teachings or contradicting them entirely. Naturally, it's easier for
kids from authoritarian homes to remain authoritarian and vice versa.
But ultimately experiences do most of the shape middle or
ways have some mix of experiences and upbringing that keep
them in the middle. When it comes to higher was,

(01:27:04):
their experiences were probably very controlled. Authoritarian followers usually live
in a homogeneous bubble of patriotic, traditional people an echo
chamber apart from the evils of the world, safely kept
on a short leash for most of their lives. But
I just hope yet. Automid's research has shown that higher
ws can change if they have some important life experiences.

(01:27:27):
That's why university can be such a game change of people.
It's just meeting new people, leaving that small, enclosed world
and developing relationships with people of different walks of life,
and that makes a big difference. There are a couple
of traits that make higher ws such good followers for

(01:27:49):
would be dictators. In short, those traits are illogical thinking,
highly compartmentalized minds, double standards, hypocrisy, a lack of self awareness, ethnocentrism, dogmatism.
In long well, consider syllogism. All fish live in the sea.

(01:28:10):
Sharks live in the sea, therefore sharks are fish. Logically speaking,
the conclusion doesn't follow. Even if sharks are fish, and
they are the premises don't support the conclusion. But if
higher WA's were asked if the reasoning was correct, they
were more likely than most to say that it was.

(01:28:31):
When asked why they'd answer because sharks are fish. In essence,
because they agreed with the conclusion, they assumed the reasoning
was right. That simple test shows that if authority and
followers like the conclusion, the logic involved is fairly irrelevant.
Reasoning is what should justify the conclusion, but as far

(01:28:53):
as they're concerned, the conclusion valuates the reasoning. Of course,
let me not overstate a lot of people have trouble
with so logistic reasoning. Higher w has just happen to
be slightly more likely to make such mistakes, but higher
de wus generally have more trouble than most people do
realize in a conclusion as faults, they have a harder

(01:29:14):
time determine whether empirical evidence proves or doesn't prove something.
They more easily fill gaps in science with supernatural forces,
and they have trouble being critical of anything unless they've
already gotten their talking points from their authorities. Regarding the
highly compartmentalized minds, I mean, we all have some inconsistencies

(01:29:35):
not thinking, but their minds as be like oil and water.
One second they say in free speech, next they say
in ban critical race theory. One moment they're talking about
individual freedom, and next their basically throat in the boots
of the state. They don't merge files in their brain
to really see what fits. They sense to just pick
up whatever their demogogues are saying. And if your mind

(01:29:57):
is such a mess of contradiction, so you're going to
end up a lot of double standards easily justify by
whatever idea you hold it's most convenient in the moment.
Principles are really irrelevant. Keep in mind the excuses they
make for those in power and how hard they are
in victims. Classic example is the difference between how they
treat a prisoner who beats up another prisoner versus a

(01:30:18):
police officer who beats up a prisoner. Low d was
usually don't have such stark double standards when it comes
to hypocrisy. I'm going to keep you using this example
because you know it's still somewhat topical critical race theory.
As much as authoritarians accuse the left of being anti
free speech, politically correct types, rda WA is a far

(01:30:38):
more likely to report a desire to censor ideas they
don't like. This is also because they tend to lack
basic self awareness. If presented with a list of things,
right wing authoritarians are likely to do like be prejudiced, conformist,
et cetera, and then ask how true it is of
themselves compared to most other people. They really have no
idea how different they actually are, and that's actually because

(01:31:00):
of the bubble they tend to exist in us visus
them is a very hard line in the sand for authoritarians.
Humans as a whole do have a tendency sometimes to
fall into tribal patterns of thinking, but authoritarians see the
world far more sharply in terms of their in groups
and our groups. And most we do tend to associate

(01:31:21):
with people who agree with us in many issues. But
authoritarians really do stick to their bubble of validation and
ethnocentric reinforcement. That's why they don't realize how pressureous, or
aggressive or submissive they are to compare to most people.
By avoiding challenges to their beliefs and holding faster their authorities,
they remain stuck in a secular logic of I'm right

(01:31:42):
because the people I agree with say I'm right. Finally,
in terms of dogmatism, higher ws holds to unchangeable, unjustified certainty,
righteousness beyond a shadow of a doubt. They're more likely
than most people to agree with statements like the things
I believe in are so completely true, I could never
doubt them, and there are no discoveries or facts that

(01:32:04):
could possibly make me change my mind about the things
that matter most in life. I am absolutely certain the
ideas about the fundamental issues in life are correct. Meanwhile,
they're more likely than most people to disagree with statements
like it's best to be open to all possibilities and
ready to re evaluate all your beliefs. And flexibility is

(01:32:25):
a real virtue in thinking, since you may very well
be wrong when you receive or absorb, rather than contemplate,
your beliefs, you have no basis upon which sho determine
whether or not they're true. So you avoid challenges by
staying in the bubble as much as possible. When that
can be avoided, threatton out whatever talking points you got
from wherever, and if that dialogue tree fails, you can

(01:32:48):
always fall back in your group's assurance that you are right.
I could challenge your beliefs, or you could insist your
right and retreat. What option do you think high it
will be a sentage use Yeah, the double down exactly.
Talkingtism is by far the best fall back defense, but
it's also the most blatant, that giveaway that the person

(01:33:10):
doesn't know why they believe what they believe. Alas hired
w is only one side of the authoritarian coin, then
nothing without their leaders. So next time we'll be talking
about those leaders, those social dominators. Until then, all power
to all the people. This, yes, welcome to it could

(01:33:43):
happen here. I'm Andrew Sage of the YouTube channel Andrewism.
Once again, I'm joined by.

Speaker 4 (01:33:51):
Jane and we go back in and I'm excited to
learn more about authoritarian leaders this time right.

Speaker 5 (01:33:56):
Yes, last time we discussed the mind of the authoritarian
follower thanks to the research of the late Bob Altemeier.
You should definitely listen to the previous episode. But in summary,
we looked at this concept of right wing authoritarianism, which
refers to a personality type that features three primary traits
or attitudes. First is a high degree of submission to

(01:34:18):
authorities who are perceived to be established and legitimate in
the societies in which one lives. The second is a
general aggressiveness directed against various persons. It is perceived to
be sanctioned by established authorities and the third is a
high degree of adherence to the social conventions that are
perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities.

(01:34:40):
We also speculated the roots of authoritarian aggression and looked
at the mind of the authoritarian follower, which demonstrates straits
such as illogical thinking, highly compartmentalized minds, double standards, hypocrisy,
and lack of self awareness, ethnic centrism, and dogmatism. Today,
as promised, we're looking at the other side of the coin.

(01:35:01):
We're looking at the leaders, but also what we can
do to address both followers and leaders. So let's begin.
In nineteen ninety four, social psychologists Fleescher Prattu and Jim
Sedanias presented the social dominance orientation test as a measure
of belief in social inequality. Social dominators agreed with statements

(01:35:23):
like code, this country would be better off if we
cared less about how equal all people are and code
some people are just more worthy than others. While disagreeing
with statements like code, if people were treated more equally,
we would have fewer problems in this country. Fellow social
psychologist Sam McFarland took their test and twenty one others,

(01:35:44):
including the Art of Way scale to determine which would
be the best predictor of prejudice. His research found that
only two of those tests, the social dominant orientation and
the Art of Way, could do the job well. But
the thing is, though, while both tests were able to
identify prejudiced people, they will identifying different types of prejudice

(01:36:06):
people with very little overlap. Social dominators and high art
double ways authoritarians of two flavors. They have some things
in common though, besides prejudice. They tend to support the
same political parties. They tend to have shared economic philosophies,
usually conservative on both counts, but they also have some

(01:36:29):
huge differences, starting with a desire for power also why
I conducted two surveys with students that included the question
how much power as in the ability to make adults
do what you want? Do you want to have when
you're forty years old? In this sense, automayer is using
power in the sense of authority as I would define it.

(01:36:50):
They recognized right above others in a social relationship to
give commands, make decisions, and enforce obedience. So the scale
went from zero meaning they don't care for it, to
me and their goal is to have a great deal
of authority. Social dominators consistently wanted to have much more
power than most people did authority and followers did not. Now, obviously,

(01:37:13):
people often want authority for different reasons, some more self
righteous than others. But social dominators take thrill in authority
in and of itself. Doesn't matter what the cause is,
as long as they can control others in the process.
There's another scale out to my users, the power Mad scale.
On it, social dominators agree with statements like a mistake

(01:37:35):
to interfere with the law of the jungle, some people
were meant to dominate others, and do you enjoy taking
charge of things and making people do things your way?
They also disagree with statements like life is not governed
by the survival of the fittest and we should let
compassion and moral lawers be your guide. Social dominators are
some of the highest scores on this scale, and high

(01:37:58):
scorers tend to be intimidated, ruthless, and vengeful, with no
care for nobility or charity. They despise empathy and have
a dog eat dog mentality toward the world. They love
the power to hurt in their drive to the top.
High ruays just don't have that drive. And while authoritarian

(01:38:18):
followers might highly value group cohesiveness and loyalty, social dominators
don't because, like I keep saying, they're in it for themselves,
for their power, and they will betray their own group
if push comes to shove. Another area where social dominators
and higher deg way is diverge is when it comes
to religiousness. Authoritarian followers are usually religious fundamentalists, while dominators

(01:38:42):
don't tend to be that involved. Some of them do
go to church regularly, but that's for manipulative reasons because
social dominators could lie. They lie a lot. All they
have to do is pretend to be religious and say
the right words, and boom they get through. The higher
was reminds me of a certain politician.

Speaker 4 (01:39:04):
I'm just going to say this is put in the
mind of like Donald Trump tay getting a massive crowd
of people so he can walk to a church and
then take photos outside and not go in.

Speaker 5 (01:39:13):
Yeah, good times. There's another scale we could take a
look at, and that's the exploitative, manipulative, immoral dishonesty, or
exploitative mad scale. Unlike higher w's social dominators, anonymous responses
indicate that they agree with statements like there's really no
such thing as right and wrong. It all boils down

(01:39:35):
to what you can get away with, and there's a
sucker bone every minute, and smart people don how to
take advantage of them. Social dominators disagree with statements like
it gains a person nothing if he uses deceit and
treachery to get power and riches, and all in all,
it's better to be humble and honest than important and dishonest.

(01:39:57):
In essence, social dominators admit to strive and to manipulate,
to be in dishonest, to be an immoral and treacherous.
They see their followers as suckers, fools to be controlled.
What else makes them different? Well, I could go back
to the roots of hostility. Social dominators actually show greater

(01:40:21):
prejudice against minorities and women than hired was do, but
their followers are much more hostile towards LGBTQ people. Why Well,
it ties back to the religiousness point and the hired
wa respect for the law. Since attacks against minorities are
less clearly supported by religious and civic authorities as they

(01:40:43):
used to be. Authoritarian follower aggression towards these groups both
overt or sneaky how to be curved a little bit. Meanwhile,
social dominators are hostile because they already live in the
apocalyptic jungle that hired WA is fair, and they are
the epect predator. They don't score highly in the dangerous
world scale because they're not scared. They're the ones ready

(01:41:06):
to weaponize that fear. Dominance is their first priority for
everyone they meet, they need a reason to not try
to control them. They don't care too much about the
law either. It's just about not getting caught. They're not
as self righteous as higher w is because they're quite immoral,
and higher ws aggress when they believe right and might

(01:41:26):
on their side. Social dominators aggress because might makes right
for them personally. Higher W is heat crimemount of fair
and self righteousness in the name of authority. Social dominators
hate crime ount or share desire to intimidate and control. Lastly,
we need to look at the differences in their thought process.

(01:41:47):
Social dominators, for the most part, don't have a web
of contradictions, weak reason and skills, compartmentalized thinking, or gullibility
that define higher w's mental life. They're not particularly dogmatic
or zealous about any particular cause or creed. They just
want authority. They say whatever they need to say to
get ahead. Because they have no consistent values, they'll be

(01:42:10):
hypocrites like hard wa Is, but they're probably aware of
and find their own hypocrisy. For example, they're cool with wealth,
inheritance and corruption. They're opposed to welfare. They're unconcerned with
income inequality or photo disenfranchisement. They're apathetic to racial inequality
and injustice. They believe that people should have to earn
their place in society, and they don't care if most

(01:42:32):
of them can't. They still talk about how the only
way to have a level play and field is to
get rid of things like affirmative action. And part of
what defines social dominators is their utter disregard for equality.
So we have to ask again what causes this? Why
are they like this? And well, social scientists just are

(01:42:55):
show Yet if we look at the life shape and
experiences or social dominators, they would probably report the deceit
and cheating were good tactics because it led to what
they wanted. Taking advantage of suckers felt great. They enjoyed
having power and having people afraid of them. Life boiled

(01:43:17):
down to what you could get away with, and of
course the experiences led them to believe that life is
a jungle. Dominators were probably rewarded early in their lives
when they cheated, took advantage of people, weaponized fear, overpowered others,
or got away with something wrong. Whether or not their
parents gave them that outlook on the world. Because of
the psychological law of effect, they simply learn into the

(01:43:40):
Being amoral, unsympathetic, and exploitative worked well for them. So
what happens when higher was and social dominators worked together.
In this field of research, the lethal union refers to
the combination of happily subservient hired ws with social dominators
who share their values in the drivers, eager to dominate

(01:44:01):
and control, a death spiral union that develops all the
time in the real world. As Altamaya aptly described, quote true,
sufficiently skilled social dominators served by dedicated followers can make
the trains run in time, but you have to worry
about what the trains may be haulin' when dominators call
the shots and the hirer was do the shooting end quote.

(01:44:26):
While most social dominators get fairly low scores on RA
tests and vice versa, a, very very small percentage of
people in ultimiya samples scored highly on both r A
and social dominance tests. These other double highs. If prejudice
was as sports in the Olympics, hird WA's we get bronze,

(01:44:49):
social dominators we get silver, and double Highs would definitely
get gold. Now you might be wondering how do they
manage to score so highly on both tests? Social dominators
and highways have so many differences. How can there would
be a submissive dominator? So there are a couple of
reasons why want to be dictator with score highly on

(01:45:11):
both tests. One is because some WA scale statements are
open to interpretation. Take the statement code our country desperately
needs a mighty leader who will do what has to
be done to destroy the radical new ways and sinfulness
that are ruining us, and code follow ull be like
yes please, and a dominator will be like here I

(01:45:31):
am behold, I'm your leader. Double Highs still score highly
on all the power scales, like other social dominators and
unlike other higher ways. Secondly, double Highs are the religious
among the social dominators, so they respond to this religious
items on the r WA scale that other social dominators don't,

(01:45:52):
thereby significantly raising their art wa IS score. I don't
think I need to go into too much detail. I
feel like I should be absolutely clear. The double highs suck.
Whatever the su they probably are on the wrong side
of it, the worst of the worst, prejudiced, power hungry, exploitaive, mad,
religiously fundamentalist, dogmatic, dangerous, worldest a noxious stew of the

(01:46:17):
worst of all social dominators and hired was. Regular social
dominators might end up in charge of pts, howays, workplaces,
local governments, and other personal kingdoms. Not all of them
succeed in life due to the animosity they create, the
obstacles they might face, or their lack of intelligence, attractiveness,
or network to gain the kind of power they want.

(01:46:39):
And some of them might even get caught in their
lives and i legalities and don't have the capital to
get out of it. They see double highs, they tend
to have a head start will Regular social dominators have
to fake their religiousness to get the support of hired was.
Double highs can more easily get started in their own churches,

(01:46:59):
already part of the in group, sharing their prejudices, economic philosophies,
and political leanents, even if they are faking it a
little bit. A double high already knows all the code words,
dog whistles and Bible verses. They need to get ahead
if they know what stands they should hold about evolution,
the role of women, abortion, school prayers, censorship, law and order,

(01:47:20):
et cetera, et cetera. Double highs run the show you dig?

Speaker 9 (01:47:25):
Yeah for sure?

Speaker 5 (01:47:26):
So now what? Knowing that social dominators do whatever they
can to hold on to power, and higher W is
extremely resistant to change, how do we deal with a
situation where social change requires dealing with these people? I mean,
they can't debate them. Even if you were to intellectually
wrestle with a double high leader and utterly destroy them
with facts and logic, their higher W audience is not

(01:47:49):
likely to change their minds. Trying to change highly dogmatic,
evidence immune ethnocentric people is an exercise in frustration and futility.
It's also hard to fight the share fair mongerant power
of the likes of Fox News and Facebook to combat
the class and religious roots of ethnocentrism and to reduce
the self righteousness of their followers. It's even harder to

(01:48:12):
convince them that they are being systematically misinformed and played
for fools by their leaders. Even if they listen to
these episodes or watched my videos or read ultimized books,
they would either get defensive or honestly, because a lot
of them aren't self aware, assume that this is about
someone else finding a way to compartmentalize, misinterpret, rationalize, and

(01:48:35):
dogmatically deny anything I've said so far. So what to do? First,
and foremost, representation matters. It's important to hire see more
of the breath and diversity of human existence and experience.

(01:48:57):
The reality is skewed. The visibility and representation of people
from other backgrounds, not just in media, but also in
their personal lives is very important. One thing studies have
shown is that higher w's who know a Cay person
are far less likely to be homophobic than their fellow
higher ws. And the best exposures different types of people

(01:49:18):
is through access to higher education, or more broadly, just
any space with diversity. College may not necessarily turn them
into commit to revolutionaries, contrary to popular belief, but the
environment of higher education has a tremendously beneficial impact on
higher ws. Four years of undergrad experience can knock their

(01:49:41):
scores down by fifteen to twenty percent. Academic spaces need
to be alive, vibrant, and most of all accessible, and
we need people in academic and non academic spaces to
embrace the power of influence. I don't mean this in
a give them an authority and to follow kind of way.

(01:50:03):
I'm not talking about becoming a club president or ordering
people around. I'm not thinking about hierarchical leadership, but rather
the natural influence of individuals who model exemplary behavior and
provide an example for others to look to, people who
freely lend their talents and knowledge and mentorship to others.

(01:50:23):
In a conformity experiment, in however, in the late nineteen forties,
real subjects were surrounded by actors who deliberately gave obviously
wrong answers to questions. Usually, the subjects went along with
the wrong majority at least some of the time. But
if in another condition of the experiment, one other person
gave the right answer, real subjects were much more likely

(01:50:46):
to do the right thing, even though it meant joining
a distinct minority rather than the majority. So I'm saying
that as the people who hold radical beliefs, it's important
to stand up. You know, you don't have to form
majority to have an effect. Two or three people speaking
out can sometimes change the decisions of entire school boards,

(01:51:07):
church boards, or other institutions. Obviously, reform is not going
to be enough, but we do need to present some
opposition on that front and that sphere. You know, lack
of opposition teaches dominators to keep dominating, and it only
takes one person to start the opposition. The domino effects
that could potentially influence even higher wis because at the

(01:51:30):
end of the day, it's clear that they want to
be quote unquote normal in their bubbles and their echo chambers.
They don't really realize how extreme. They are. Then, to
be exposed to the perspectives and experiences of people outside
their tight circles, Mutual aid and other organized efforts can
show them the humanity of other people finding common ground

(01:51:52):
in common course. But ultimately, in my view, the best
long term solutions require youth liberation and prefiguration. We need
use liberation both at home and at school and everywhere else.
As long as we continue to reinforce the notion that
children need to blindly submit to authorities, as long as

(01:52:12):
we refuse to grant them humanity and autonomy. We will
continue to be without humanity and autonomy. We will continue
to have adult generation after generation who do not know
how to resist authority. We must prefigure those relationships in
our personal lives and our social spaces, or we must
prefigure our liberation. It's not enough to just campaign against

(01:52:35):
social dominators. We have to dismantle the systems that allow
them to dominate in the first place. The only way
to keep social dominators from season power is to prefigure
a system where no one person can so easily coerce
and dominate. To quote Barb Waltimaya one last time, we
cannot secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our

(01:52:55):
posterity if we sit with our oars out of the water.
If we drift mind leslie, circumstances can sweep us a disaster.
Our societies presently produce millions of highly authoritarian personalities, as
a matter of course, enough to stage the Nuremberg rallies
over and over and over again. Turn in a blind

(01:53:16):
eye to this put someday point guns at all of
our heads, and the fingers on the triggers will belong
to right wing authoritarians. We ignore this at our peril.
Social dominators want you complacent, apathetic, hopeless and out of
the way. They want to control everything and everybody, and

(01:53:38):
they have their loyal followers ready to mobilize. They are
not the majority, but they're determined to win. Do not
let them. If you know what's happening, if you spot
these signs in your own spaces, it's your responsibility to
do something about it, to organize, to educate. Because one

(01:53:58):
person could accomplish so much, and two people could accomplish
so much more. Good luck, all power to all the
people because it could happen here. Can follow me on
puture dot com. Stas Saint Drew. This has been Andre
sage Araism. It could happen here. All La Jazz.

Speaker 1 (01:54:20):
Peace, welcome back to it could happen here. A podcast
about it happening here. And you know, when we talk
about like collapse, things falling apart, there's very few case

(01:54:44):
studies that are more important for folks to be aware
of than what has happened and is continuing to happen
in Northeast Syria, in a region of the world known
as Rojava, or the Autonomous Regions of Northeastyria and I'm
here with James Stout. He and I have both reported
from the ro Javon Project, and we are talking again

(01:55:07):
with Arthur and Debbie Bookchin about what's going on there now,
kind of as as the struggle continues, so to speak.

Speaker 4 (01:55:18):
That's right, and thank you very much for joining us,
Arthurine Debbie, and you're both here in your capacity as
representatives of the Emergency Committee for Rajava.

Speaker 13 (01:55:27):
Right, that's right, and thanks for having us.

Speaker 1 (01:55:30):
Yeah, thanks for coming back.

Speaker 4 (01:55:32):
So I think perhaps we should begin by explaining what
ECI is and does. I've been very fortunate to be
asked to speak at one of your meetings, so I'm familiar,
but I think maybe some of our listeners wouldn't be.
So could you begin with explaining what it is what
it does?

Speaker 6 (01:55:47):
Yeah?

Speaker 14 (01:55:48):
Absolutely, So, the Emergency Committee for Is it's kind of
the only standing US based organization focused.

Speaker 6 (01:55:57):
On solidarity with the Rojeva revolution.

Speaker 14 (01:56:01):
And what we do is we try to build a
grassroots solidarity movement with the revolution in North East Syria,
with the Kurtis Freedom movement more broadly, and we do
that in a few different ways. One is like just
trying to inform the public. Right, So, kind of public education.
Another is advocacy trying to sort of put pressure on

(01:56:21):
the United States government to stop arming people who are
trying to kill everybody in Rogeva and to support the
people instead. But another thing that we do is try
to build kind of movement to movement relationships, now, like
finding social movements in the United States that we think
share a lot of affinity with movement over there, try

(01:56:43):
to put them in touch and try to kind of
facilitate dialogue.

Speaker 1 (01:56:46):
Yeah. No, I mean, I think it's important to kind
of start, as we often do, with the attempt to
get the US government to stop arming folks killing the
people there, which in this case refers specifically to the
Turkish military. I mean, we're all kind of dealing with
in a separate part of the world, how difficult it
is to stop the United States government from army people.

Speaker 6 (01:57:11):
Do that, right.

Speaker 13 (01:57:12):
Yeah, it's a great point, Robert. You know, I think
sometimes it's hard for people to even comprehend just the
massive flow of weapons from the United States to Turkey.

Speaker 6 (01:57:23):
Yeah, I mean, over the years, it's.

Speaker 13 (01:57:25):
Been it's just I think in the last fifteen years alone,
the US has sold Turkey something like four billion dollars
worth of Patriot missiles alone, you know, and then billions
or at least millions, and you know, helicopters, the Cobra
attack helicopters. There is just a huge flow of arms

(01:57:48):
from the United States to Turkey, and as Arthur said,
you know, one of the things that we really do
try and do at ECR is to get people not
only aware but also into doing some advocacy on that.
And one of the things that we're also trying to
prevent right now is the sale of any more F

(01:58:09):
sixteens to Turkey, which, as I'm sure your listeners know,
are used in the bombing of people in Rojeva and
also in Turkey and in northern Iraq. So that's a
very critical issue in fact.

Speaker 1 (01:58:26):
Yeah, yeah, And it's a critical issue in part because
like what we're seeing is I would describe it as
a pretty concentrated attempt to destroy civil society in Rojeva, right,
Like you're not just through the use of air strikes,
through things like blocking off access to water, but the

(01:58:46):
F sixteens that Turkey purchases from the United States and
the continuing armaments to keep those things flying and firing
missiles are a huge part of how they're able to
continue degrading the capacity of the self administration to maintain
civil society exactly.

Speaker 13 (01:59:02):
I mean, there is really an aim They're aimed to
completely destabilize the society, to shake confidence in the autonomous administration,
to break morale, to engage in psychological terror, and frankly,
you know, also to do physical harm. As I'm sure
you know and your listeners know, they Turkey very effectively

(01:59:25):
uses drones and other methods to take out leadership, particularly
female leadership, women who are leaders of the movement. And
you know, there's not a day that goes by really
that doesn't include strikes from Turkey into Rojeva.

Speaker 5 (01:59:44):
I mean, I'm just thinking.

Speaker 13 (01:59:46):
You know, the Membij Military Council just has reported in
the last couple of days that the State of Turkey
has shelled various villages and Membies.

Speaker 5 (01:59:58):
You know that.

Speaker 13 (02:00:00):
Kurdish neighborhoods in Aleppo are really subjected to continuous embargoes
by the Damascus government, but also you know, Turkey intercedes
to prevent supplies from getting to these places. So it's
really I think there's something like more than two hundred

(02:00:21):
bombings by Turkey in Iraqi Kurdistan even since just the
beginning of the year, so it's really ongoing assault.

Speaker 14 (02:00:31):
No, absolutely, I think you know, for people who are
less familiar with it, it's easy to kind of get
bogged down in the weeds because all the details they
change every day. But I think the bronze strokes are
pretty clear and haven't changed for a long time.

Speaker 6 (02:00:47):
I mean, Turkey sees.

Speaker 14 (02:00:48):
This revolution rightly so as a threat to its own power,
to its own ideology. You know, the idea that local
communities would govern themselves pluralistically through autonomy is a direct.

Speaker 6 (02:01:01):
Threat to the idea of the Turkish state, which is
basically a.

Speaker 14 (02:01:03):
Fascist nation state, and they kind of have a twofold strategy.
I think you could see it this way, right, So,
like for those who don't know, Turkey has already invade
in Northeastiria multiple times. It's invaded Aufrin in twenty eighteen,
se Dekanye ta Labiat in twenty nineteen, and it occupies
that territory still to this day. But when it's been

(02:01:24):
unable to seize more territory directly, it kind of has
this twofold strategy where the other side of the coin
is to just do everything possible to make life unlivable, right,
So that's where the assassinations come in.

Speaker 6 (02:01:37):
That's where the sort of.

Speaker 14 (02:01:38):
Information warfare, blocking of water, sort of economic embargo. The
basic idea is just to spread fear, to spread uncertainty
into every sphere of life, and, like you said, Robert,
to basically attack civil society itself.

Speaker 4 (02:01:54):
Yeah, I wonder if you could explain. I think our
listeners are maybe familiar with the campaign again and civil
society and civilian targets that we saw, like in October
November of last year, that I saw some of while
I was there. But Turkey's recently launched like a spring offensive, right,

(02:02:14):
which doesn't isn't exclusively unlimited to bombing, but also it
contains like I guess, combined arms, you know, infantry bombing.
Can you explain what's happening there and what the sort
of I think the plan you've sort of very well
summed up already, right, which is to make life unlivable
for the Kurdish freedom movement. But can you explain what's

(02:02:37):
been happening in the last few weeks for people who
haven't caught up.

Speaker 14 (02:02:40):
So for one, for people to understand the connection in
the first place. Right, it's important to understand that, really, wow,
there are distinct organizations which are autonomous and are place
based within the Kurdish movement. Right, there's their own parties
and self defense forces in Syria and in Iraq and
other parts of Kurdistan. It's important to see it also

(02:03:00):
as kind of one big Kurtish freedom movement in another
sense and an important sense, because Turkey sees it in
that light. So for the same reasons, the Turkey wants
to crush the revolution in Northeastyria, the Turkey wants to
crush the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party, right, and the
gorillas of the PKK are based in northern Iraq, and

(02:03:21):
time and time again they've tried to sort of dislodge
the gorilla forces from the mountains, but it's pretty hard
to do. You know, this is NATO's second largest military
and they still after decades, have not been able to
crush this insurgency.

Speaker 6 (02:03:36):
And so what we're seeing.

Speaker 14 (02:03:38):
In recent weeks is not necessarily so novel. I mean,
you can again you can get into the weeds about
the region of Metina and a particular road that they're
trying to seize for logistics on their way to the
Mountain of Ghara. But the truth is they're trying to
crush the movement where it is and they're seizing an opportunity.

(02:03:58):
There's often like a weather wind for the fighting in
the mountains as well, and so when the snow starts
to melt in the spring, you start to see an
escalation of the fighting in the mountains, which often winds
down in the fall. Again, but it's yet to be seen.

Speaker 6 (02:04:12):
Now this is going to go.

Speaker 14 (02:04:13):
I mean, y'all have I don't have to tell you
right like you've done some recent episodes on technological developments
with the movement, and Turkey's been having a really hard
time making gains on the ground.

Speaker 13 (02:04:25):
And also I mean, as I think, as Megan Bodette
noted on this podcast recently, you know, the Turkish leader
Erdowan tends to take out any insult he feels he suffered,
and particularly elections setbacks has happened in the local elections
at the end of March on the Kurdish regions everywhere

(02:04:46):
in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and so we're seeing also crackdowns
has happened also for quite some time. But on journalists
again sort of cranking up again. It's funny that on
World Press Day, which was May third, Kurdish journalist was arrested,

(02:05:12):
you know, strip search, a woman thrown in jail, and
this is you know, another sort of wave of politicians
being arrested. Just again on Monday, I think thirteen politicians
were sentenced to six years plus in jail, in prison.
So this sort of policy that seems to show itself

(02:05:37):
every time Airdawan feels a bit threatened is one that
we're seeing right now, in part I think as a
result of those election defeats that his party suffered.

Speaker 14 (02:05:49):
Yeah, absolutely, and sinister as it is. Whenever they lose
in the mountains, they often hit harder in Northeastyria and
vice versa. So it's all just a big kind of
ugly game that they're playing.

Speaker 1 (02:06:05):
Well, I want to get to some more here, but
first we've got to take a quick break. We're going
to throw to some ads and then we'll come back
and continue this discussion. All right, we're back, and I'm

(02:06:27):
trying to get a sense of how the situation is
on the ground right now despite the or considering the
challenges of the attacks on infrastructure, that have continued to
go on, like what are we looking at from a
daily life point of view in places like Comichelo.

Speaker 13 (02:06:45):
Well, you know, one of the things that I think
is important to emphasize is just how strong a lot
of the civil structures really are even in the face
of these attacks by Turkey. And I'm sure Arthur will
have something to say about that, and also about maybe
some of the sort of the military side of this.
But you know, the extraordinary thing about Rojeva is just

(02:07:11):
how deeply engaged they are on the civil level. In
our group at the Emergency Committee for Rojeva, we're in
contact with a lot of people in civil society and
it's I'm always amazed at how many sort of requests
we get for, you know, exchanges of information and scholars

(02:07:33):
and they're building the university there to do more and
more technical things, you know, whether computers or agricultural sciences
or you know, just a vast variety of graduate program
they want to do right now in social ecology that
I've been working with them on. And so so, even

(02:07:54):
though there's this effort by Turkey to kind of terrorize
the civilian population, and I'm sure you know, people can
imagine what it must feel like to have drones flying
constantly overhead and wondering if you get into a car
whether it might you might you know, be the subject
of a drone attack. Nonetheless, there is still this extraordinary

(02:08:17):
sort of hopefulness and also energy towards building the society.
And for example, one of the things that they recently did,
and it took a long time, but they rewrote their
Social Contract, which is what we would think of as
a constitution, to empower women even more, you know, to
empower various ethnic minorities more, and to make it a

(02:08:43):
document that is truly inclusive in terms of how it
was written and how it will be implemented, and so
on the ground, I think, even though they are suffering
in a lot of ways, and they are because you know,
Rojaeve is also a region that is subject to terrible
environmental dislocations because of global warming, there's still a huge

(02:09:07):
sort of excitement I think about about the fact that
they are self governing and the fact that they are
empowering women, and those kinds of activities, especially on the
part of the women's movement. Congress star just continue to
go on. You know, they've built an alternative justice system.

(02:09:27):
They are increasingly turning their sort of economy as much
as is feasible, and it's a slow process, but into
a more of a cooperative economy. So all of those
things are very much underway there. And education is a
huge part of that.

Speaker 6 (02:09:44):
No, I mean, that's that's also true, It really is.

Speaker 14 (02:09:48):
But just to speak to kind of the other side
of that, you know, Robert s sort of what is
life like, say.

Speaker 6 (02:09:55):
In a place like Commushula right now?

Speaker 14 (02:09:57):
You know, I think in some ways it's a lot
like it was when I was in a place called Zirgon,
which is another frontline city where at the same time
Debbie's describing life goes on, people trying to build up
civil society, They're trying to organize the communes and the cooperatives.
At the same time, there's a tremendous fear and uncertainty,

(02:10:18):
fear in an immediate sense around these drone strikes. I mean,
you guys have been there too, right, Like I've been
home I think eleven months now, and I still every
time I hear a small airplane, my body just even
if my brain knows that it's just a plane, like
my body's convinced it's a Turkish drone. And imagine, you know,
you live your whole life in a place like that,
or you've spent the last ten years, So a lot

(02:10:40):
of people are living in this constant state of fear
and uncertainty. Even on a practical level. You know, say
you're a farmer and you're going to plant your seats
this year, do you know that you're even going to
have your land in a month or six months? You know,
people are taking Turkey's threat of an Invasionviously, it hasn't

(02:11:01):
happened again since twenty nineteen, but I can tell you
I talked to people there almost every day, and they're
taking it extremely seriously. So there's kind of this idea
of impending invasion sort of hangs like a cloud over
daily life in so many ways. And on top of
all of that, of course, since I left Northeast Siria,

(02:11:23):
there was this major wave of attacks against civilian infrastructure
right around the time you were there last, James, you know,
and you can probably speak to it more, but I
mean we're talking about power stations and oil wells, and
hospitals and schools and food storage facilities, So they're still.

Speaker 6 (02:11:43):
Really reeling from these infrastructure attacks.

Speaker 13 (02:11:46):
Cutting off electricity to a million people at a time
and water supplies.

Speaker 1 (02:11:52):
Which is about a third of the population of the region.

Speaker 6 (02:11:55):
Yeah, I mean, you know, war crimes. There's another word
for it, that's what they're called.

Speaker 4 (02:12:00):
Yeah, it's a very jarring experience, at least in my
time there, which is briefer than then the amount of
time both of you have spent there to like go
out in the daytime and talk to people and see
this incredible optimism for like, we are building a different world,
and like it's there and you can see it, and
we're moving towards it. It's not like, you know, we're

(02:12:22):
building a different world when we have encampments on campus too,
but this is a tangible societal product.

Speaker 5 (02:12:28):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (02:12:29):
Well, and that it speaks to That's why the attacks
Turkey is carrying out take the form they're taking, right,
because the priority, the primary strength of the self administration
is not in its arms. It's in its ability to
provide a functional civil society that people are motivated to

(02:12:49):
take part in, which is why their primary weapon is
to try to destroy the ability of people to live.

Speaker 5 (02:12:55):
Yeah, and that's exact what it feels.

Speaker 4 (02:12:58):
Like like you know, my experience with a brief. You know,
we lost electricity every night. People are not willing or
people are less willing to go out and drive long
distances after dark. There is very clearly damage to the infrastructure.
You know, I was in a couple of different places.
One of them was having issues getting getting water pumped.

(02:13:22):
There are massive funerals right for people who have been killed.
And you get to see this what is like it's
a beautiful spectacle in a sense, but also like, you know,
you can't spend a week in Roger were a Nazi,
a little baby say goodbye to their dad, or just
a dead baby, and that's that's terrible, you know.

Speaker 5 (02:13:42):
And like the one.

Speaker 4 (02:13:44):
Thing that I noticed, which I think people might not
have picked up on just sort of consuming media, the
presence of people hope about martyrs as they call them,
right Shahad. It's so it's everywhere. From the first place
I stepped foot across the river, you know, there were

(02:14:04):
these portraits, these yellow and green portraits on aroundabout since
cities and people's homes. Like the scale of the sacrifice
both to build this project and to defeat isis I
think is very hot. I mean the United States has
been all for most of our lives, but it hasn't
nowhere near the same impact on our daily lives it
has had there.

Speaker 6 (02:14:25):
Yeah, that's so true.

Speaker 13 (02:14:28):
There's not a family really in Rogeval. When you spend
some time there and you meet with different people, there's
not a single family that hasn't lost somebody. I mean,
it's thirteen thousand people in the fight against ISIS alone
and now, and not to mention, for example, the two
hundred thousand people who were displaced when Turkey is you know,

(02:14:50):
jihadi malicious invaded Aphrine, the westernmost region. So it's it's
absolutely effective bree day life.

Speaker 4 (02:15:01):
Yeah, every time I spend a lot of time volunteering
at the border, as people listening know, and every time
we meet Kurdish people, often you know they're they're from
like northern Kurdistan, which is in Turkey under in control
of the Turkish state. I guess even like the volunteers
who are not super briefed out shaba, who are just

(02:15:21):
people who want to help. Like everyone knows what it
means when people when you talk to people and they
have the little green picture or the little little yellow
picture on them, Yeah, which is it's a profound part
of the lived experience of being part of the Kurdish
freedom movement or just existing as a Kurdish person in
that area. And that's it's it's really hard to grasp
the scale of that.

Speaker 6 (02:15:42):
No, it's so true.

Speaker 14 (02:15:43):
I mean, it just makes me think that it's kind
of related to this larger sort of spirit of sacrifice
that's part of what the movement calls, like a revolutionary personality.
You know, in a lot of ways, the families of
you know what they call them martyrs, they also see
it as their sacrifice, it's their contribution to the movement.

(02:16:04):
And it's it's easy for I think Westerners to kind of,
I don't know, dismiss it or get really uncomfortable with it.
We're not familiar with that on a cultural level as much.
But I think it's it's a mistake to see it
that way. I think there's something incredibly profound about it
that has to do with the way that people really

(02:16:25):
identify their whole lives, the meaning of their lives with
the revolution, with the movement, that that is what that
is the purpose of their lives, that's the purpose of
the life of their families and come what may. That's
something that you know, movements here can't really relate to
in the same way.

Speaker 1 (02:16:43):
Yet, I think, yeah, and I kind of want to
talk a little bit more about that. We're gonna We're
going to throw one last time to adds and then
we'll come back and kind of flesh out this discussion,

(02:17:07):
and we're back talking about like what it means to
be part of a revolution as opposed to someone who
has revolutionary sympathies, which it's easy to be and we
have a lot of those in the United States. I'm
going to guess most of the people listening to this
show have at least some of those, right, whether or
not you think there's any realistic chance of seeing that

(02:17:28):
during your own life, it's a very different thing from
being from living it, which people do. You know, about
three million of them in Rosheva every day, And the
sacrifice is a part of it. The kind of continual
conflict is another part of it. Because you know, it's

(02:17:50):
worth emphasizing we're about a decade into the project right now.
Right if we consider that being from you know, the
start of the self administration in varying fashion, and that's
that's not like it's not a perfectly even process, right,
because it occurred as part of this series of broader conflicts.
But what you've seen is both the retreat of the

(02:18:11):
government that had formerly controlled the area. You've seen a
successful war prosecuted against isis you've seen when you could
look at as one conflict or kind of a series
of conflicts with both these Turkish backed militias and the
Turkish military itself, and then this also this continuing conflict

(02:18:32):
both with the environment, you know, just because that that
is really that's a force at work here the Cold War,
that kind of that's not even really a perfect way
of describing the situation with the the Asad regime and
with you know, their their backers in their Russian government,
but it's a it's a complex, interwoven series of conflict.

(02:18:53):
But kind of the result is just a life of
conflict for the people who are are part of this
revolution as sort of a just a fact of daily life.
And I think that is really hard to grasp.

Speaker 6 (02:19:09):
I think that's true, and I think there's.

Speaker 14 (02:19:11):
Part of it, like you say, that has to do
with the sort of objective situation where the conditions of
people are living in this perpetual conflict that you're talking about,
and at the same time, I think there's also an
aspect that's more like, I don't know, like subjective, you
could call it. It has to do with the kind
of movement that they've really actively been building for themselves,

(02:19:31):
and the kind of spirit that their movement has taken
on that they've cultivated themselves, sort of painstaking me for years.
I mean, I think one of the things that I know,
Debbie and I really want to get to in our
conversations with the speaking tour that we're working on which
is coming up later later this month on the West Coast,
is we really, well, we want people to be.

Speaker 6 (02:19:53):
Inspired by this revolution.

Speaker 14 (02:19:55):
We really don't want people to just see it as
this very like other thing on the other side of
the world. You know, even those who are really supportive,
especially us, you know anarchistory, say, fellow travelers, we have
a tendency to kind of maybe oversimplify or romanticize what's
happening over there and think, oh, well, you know, if

(02:20:16):
the state could just collapse here, I'm sure everybody would
just sort of like melt into an anarchist utopia of statelessness,
and that would be a mistake too. I think the
truth is that what Rojava shows you is a real
revolution is incredibly messy, and they only were able to
kind of face the threats and the opportunities that crisis

(02:20:39):
brought to them in Syria because of the kind of
movement they had built for themselves, and they had these
practical tools to kind of help local communities govern themselves
in that sort of chaos in the power vacuum that arose.
And you know, in a moment like this the world over,
especially here in the United States, you know, we're the

(02:20:59):
cris that we're facing, the crisis that we're looking down
the barrel of I think there's been no more kind
of relevant or urgent time to think about how those
lessons actually could apply here and what it means for us.
What kind of movement do we need to build to
be ready for that moment.

Speaker 13 (02:21:15):
Yeah, you know, I really agree, And Robert, I'm glad
you mentioned, you know, the fact that the revolution is
over ten years old, because I think, you know, And
to follow up sort of just on what Arthur was
saying that sort of sometimes the crises that we face
environmentally logical, global warming, and not to mention democracy itself,

(02:21:37):
you know, can seem almost paralyzing, or that we're constantly
in a state of reaction. But one of the things
that the revolution in Roseeve teaches us is that, first
of all, that moments of crisis can also be moments
of great transformation, but really only if we're prepared for them.

(02:22:00):
And that's why, you know, whenever I talk about the
Roji of a project, I feel it's important to remind
people that it didn't just spring miraculously out of nowhere
in the moment of the Syrian Civil War. The folks
on the ground there had really been preparing for years,
I mean decades, even for the opportunity that opened up

(02:22:22):
for them during the Syrian Civil War. And in various ways,
of course, they were educating themselves on radical history and
particular understanding, you know, the failures of classical Marxism, Leninism,
you know, which had been embraced previously by the PKK,
and putting also into practice clandestinely the kinds of grassroots

(02:22:47):
democratic social structures that we see operating on the ground
there today. So I think that that's one of the
lessons that we hear in the US can absorb that
you know that we need to be able to exploit
the crisis of legitimacy that's growing here today, thinking about

(02:23:07):
what kind of alternatives we want to build and showing
people that those alternatives exist, you know these Yeah, that,
and you know that's includes engaging in a kind of
prefigurative politics that really focuses on things like dual power,
you know, cooperative economic project but also local assembly, democratic politics.

(02:23:32):
So that's one of the things that I'm also really
excited about talking about talking about as Arthur and I
make our way from Seattle down to San Francisco and
Oakland during the course of these six presentations and chats
and talks and discussions that we're really excited about having

(02:23:52):
beginning next weekend.

Speaker 1 (02:23:55):
Yeah yeah, yeah. Let's let's let's provide people with a
little bit of information on how, you know, they might
be able to attend and take part in that. So
what should folks look up and look into if they
if they're interested in where are you guys going to be?

Speaker 14 (02:24:10):
Absolutely? Yeah, thanks. I think the best thing people can
do is go to defend dot org. That's the website
for the Emergency Committee for Roje our group. But right
there the front page. You're going to see a poster
for our tour that you can click on. It'll take
you to links for all the different stops that we're
going to do. We're going to be making our way

(02:24:31):
all the way from Bellingham, Washington, which is up near
the border of Canada, down to the Bay Area, and
you know, we really wish we.

Speaker 6 (02:24:38):
Could make more cities.

Speaker 14 (02:24:40):
There are a couple events that are our comrades and
colleagues are organizing on the East Coast around the same timeframe,
so be sure to look up the calendar on our website.

Speaker 6 (02:24:51):
But people can go to defend dot org to hear more.

Speaker 14 (02:24:54):
But the basic idea, like Debbie said, is we want
to talk to people not only about what's going on
in Rogievo, why we think it matters how they can
stand in solidarity, but we want to talk about what
we're going to do in our own communities to take
those lessons and to apply them to our own context.

Speaker 6 (02:25:12):
We want to help connect.

Speaker 14 (02:25:15):
People who are doing you know, real community organizing in
local movements and to try to kind of inspire and
strengthen what's already going on, rather than just to see
this as being strictly about Rocheva, because I mean, y'all
probably were told the same thing. When when you're over
there and you ask people what can we do to support,

(02:25:36):
one of the things they'll tell you is you've got
to organize the revolution at home. And that's on us,
you know, it's a it's a it's easier said than done, right,
And we're not saying we have all the answers, But
what we do want to do is to invite local
grassroots activists especially to come join the discussion and let's
talk together about what it would mean to apply these

(02:25:58):
basic principles, not to copy and payte then, but to
apply these basic principles and lessons, principles of direct democracy,
local autonomy, you know, cooperation, feminism. We haven't even talked
about how central you know, gender liberation.

Speaker 6 (02:26:12):
Is to the Kurdish freedom movement. How do we apply
these things in our own communities.

Speaker 12 (02:26:16):
Yeah.

Speaker 13 (02:26:17):
And one of the things, by the way, if people
are interested in getting some more detail and a real
inside look at what is going on in Rojaeven detail
is that Arthur has two pieces in the magazine Strange Matters,
which is also online, which are just terrific and they're
part of a series that he's going to be doing

(02:26:38):
i think monthly over the over the next few months,
and so that's some great background as well.

Speaker 9 (02:26:46):
Aw shucks, Yeah, it's fantastic, Stev.

Speaker 6 (02:26:49):
Yeah, woe, thank you.

Speaker 1 (02:26:51):
Yeah. Check that out obviously, folks if you're if you haven't,
We've also got a podcast series, The Women's War, that
covers the earlier history of the Rajavian Revolution up to
about twenty nineteen, late twenty nineteen, which will cover quite
a bit of the impact that kind of this sort
of feminist lens has had on what's happening over there

(02:27:14):
and how it's actually persisted, you know, under the conditions
that are really kind of almost impossibly challenging when you
look at what these people are up against, which is
part of again, I guess ultimately why, as we've repeatedly
come back to, I think this is so important for
people in the West to study as things get worse
for a lot of folks here and as we attempt

(02:27:36):
to arrest and take charge of the situation in our
own lives. You know, we have all these questions about
how do we stop our government from arming not just Turkey,
but all of these regimes around the world that are
doing such terrible things.

Speaker 5 (02:27:50):
How do we stop?

Speaker 1 (02:27:51):
How do we arrest you know, these problems that are
continuing to affect you know, really ultimately, billions of people
around the world's taking charge of our own lives, and
the same way that these people have. It's kind of
making that slogan of the Rejaban revolution, you know, resistance
is life. Actually embracing that in a way that matters,

(02:28:13):
and when you focus on sort of the challenges to
like the sheer amount of work that has to be
done here, the very primitive state of any kind of
meaningful resistance, the relatively primitive state of organizing on the left,
compared to, for example, the organizing that the right does
in tandem with paramilitaries in the state. It can seem

(02:28:34):
like an impossible challenge. But ten years on, the people
in northeast Syria are still are still fighting, you know,
and I think you have to. I think paying attention
to that makes it clear that it is actually possible
to win.

Speaker 6 (02:28:51):
So true.

Speaker 1 (02:28:52):
Well, I guess that's kind of it for us today.
Is there anything else we want to plug? I just
wanted to go out on a better note.

Speaker 4 (02:29:00):
Yeah, I'm writing a piece for Kurdish Peace Institute. I'm
manifesting this on the podcast, so I've actually write it
about Mian Mah Kurdistan solidarity, which I think is cool.

Speaker 1 (02:29:13):
So like great topic.

Speaker 4 (02:29:14):
Yes, yeah, I don't think we have a lot of time,
but I think that one thing that I've learned from
the friends in Roche is that, like, even when you
are going through difficulties, you can still stand in solidarity
with other people. And God knows we're all going through
difficulties in economic and political and state violence terms in

(02:29:36):
this country, and I think that like one thing I
really took from that was that it's never too hard
for you to be in solidarity. And I hope that
folks who are in this country will appreciate that and
be in solidarity with people in Roche as well.

Speaker 1 (02:29:54):
Absolutely, well, Wie Arthur, thank you both so much for
being here with us, and thank you for continuing to
do the work that you do to keep this topic
alive in people's hearts and minds.

Speaker 6 (02:30:08):
Thank you all so much.

Speaker 1 (02:30:09):
Yeah, always happy.

Speaker 6 (02:30:11):
Yeah, keep up the great work yourselves.

Speaker 1 (02:30:13):
All right, everybody, that's the episode. We will be back
tomorrow unless this comes out on a Friday, in which
case we might not be back tomorrow, but we'll be back,
you know, Monday. You understand how this works at this point, right?

Speaker 12 (02:30:29):
It could happen here as a production of cool Zone Media.
For more podcasts from cool Zone Media, visit our website
cool zonemedia dot com or check us out on the
iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
You can find sources for It could Happen here, updated
monthly at cool zonemedia dot com slash sources. Thanks for listening.

Speaker 1 (02:30:47):
Hey, We'll be back Monday, with more episodes every week
from now until the heat death of the Universe.

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