All Episodes

May 18, 2024 213 mins

All of this week's episodes of It Could Happen Here put together in one large file.

You can now listen to all Cool Zone Media shows, 100% ad-free through the Cooler Zone Media subscription, available exclusively on Apple Podcasts. So, open your Apple Podcasts app, search for “Cooler Zone Media” and subscribe today!

http://apple.co/coolerzone 

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played
Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
Also 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):
Hi.

Speaker 3 (00:29):
Everyone, welcome to the podcast. It's me James, and I'm
joined today by Moe who is an attorney, educator and aberlation.
It's've been on the show before. We've very much enjoyed
the contributions. We're here today to talk about the recent
Supreme Court not decision right, but it's Supreme Court declining
to hear a case. It's been reported a little bit.
Perhaps I think the importance of it may have been overstated,

(00:52):
and it's going to help us understand that How are
you doing today.

Speaker 4 (00:55):
Mo, I'm doing all right. How are you doing?

Speaker 3 (00:58):
I'm doing well. It's nice day. Went for a run
this morning, saw some flowers, picked some fennel. That was nice.

Speaker 2 (01:05):
Yeah, that's very nice.

Speaker 3 (01:06):
Yeah, wild Fannel if you didn't sell in California now
so time. Just a little tip from me, don't get
it at the height that dog's pe. You want to
go above that.

Speaker 4 (01:16):
It's a pro tip.

Speaker 3 (01:18):
You can't say that. We don't fill this podcast with
a little easter eggs. Talking of little easter eggs, let's
let's get into the things that are buried within this.
What happened was the Supreme Court declined to hear a case.
Is that right?

Speaker 2 (01:34):
That's right.

Speaker 4 (01:35):
So the case that the Supreme Court declined to hear
is McKesson the dough. This is a case that they
have declined to hear eight times, and it keeps going
back up and down from I think the Middle District
of Louisiana to the Fifth Circuit all the way up

(01:59):
to the Supreme Court. And it's a case that involves
the First Amendment. And the way that it has been reported,
I think, or at least the way that it has
been received, particularly by communities of people who do engage

(02:19):
in a lot of First Amendment protected activity, has been
with a certain amount of panic that the Supreme Court
saying we're not going to hear this case, We're going
to kick it back down to the Fifth Circuit. We're
going to kick it back down to the district court.
Is you know, a harbinger of terrible things to come

(02:43):
for the right to protest and for the kinds of
liability that you might be exposed to if you are
engaging in protest, And there is some truth to that.
It is I would say often dangerous to engage in

(03:03):
acts of dissent. But I think that there's some real
misapprehension of what's going on with this particular case, and
so I thought it was worth having a conversation with
you to try to clarify a little bit about what's
going on here, what the risks are associated specifically with
this case, and what the risks actually are on the

(03:28):
ground with respect to protest, and also to talk to
you about some of the resources that are available.

Speaker 2 (03:34):
To protect yourself.

Speaker 3 (03:35):
Wonderful.

Speaker 4 (03:35):
Yeah, So I guess to give you a little roadmap.
I think I'll start by talking to you about what
is actually the law on the ground at this point
with respect to the First Amendment and rights to protest? Yes,
have those rights actually been meaningfully altered by this case
or by the Supreme Court declining to hear this case?

(03:57):
Has it actually become more dangerous to protest. Are there
things that we should be worried about? What are they?
And then what kinds of resources there are? I guess
the first thing I'm going to do is give you
a very brief premer on the First Amendment. So the
First Amendment guarantees, as I like to say, the very
First Amendment guarantees our rights to speech and assembly. The

(04:21):
government can place limits on the time, place, and manner
of your protest, but the government is not authorized to
criminalize speech based on subject matter or viewpoint. And it
can't impose what's called a prior restraint on speech, which
can include making it so risky to speak that people

(04:43):
engage in self censorship. But the First Amendment doesn't immunize
you from prosecution or civil liability for otherwise unlawful conduct.

Speaker 5 (04:58):
Right.

Speaker 4 (04:59):
So that's why true threats of violence are not protected
by the First Amendment. Right, And it doesn't protect you
from being arrested for behavior just because that behavior is
politically motivated, which is why breaking Starbucks windows and graffiti

(05:20):
and assassination are not protected by the First Amendment.

Speaker 3 (05:24):
Right.

Speaker 4 (05:26):
On the other hand, the fact that there are one
or more people at a demonstration who are acting unlawfully
does not strip the larger demonstration of First Amendment protection right.
And that principle comes from a case called NAACP versus

(05:49):
Claiborn Hardware and Clayborn. It was decided in nineteen eighty two,
and it was a case where the NAACP was soon
food civilly on the basis that they had organized a
protest where some people in the crowd had caused some damage.

(06:12):
I see this is a very very similar case to
the underlying case in this situation where Deray McKesson has
been sued civilly, meaning he's being sued for money damages.

(06:35):
He is not being criminally prosecuted. Right, That's an important distinction. So,
you know what, let's back up a little bit.

Speaker 3 (06:42):
So can you explain who is Deray McKesson. Why is
Deray McKesson bouncing up and down between Louisiana and the
Supreme Court?

Speaker 5 (06:51):
Yes? Okay, So I'm going to back up even farther
than that. The reason that we are here today, that
I am here with you talking about the case is
that the way that this case is being reported on
or received is that people are going, oh God, it's
now illegal to protest, and we're all going to go
to prison for protesting. Like, okay, I mean, first of all,

(07:15):
please using mass arrest of protesters to chill in silent
speech is already a time honored American tradition.

Speaker 3 (07:24):
Yes, but that isn't.

Speaker 5 (07:26):
What this case is about. This is a civil case,
which means that somebody is being sued for money damages,
and the person who's being sued is de Ray McKesson.
Deray McKesson was at one point, for anyone who can
remember a decade ago, was very high profile, very visible

(07:49):
in the Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson and in
Baltimore and then later in Louisiana, and he was somebody
who was very visible in the media. He made a
lot of public statements. He made a lot of public
statements on behalf of Black Lives Matter, which you know

(08:11):
I'm going to get into is not a membership organization.
But he made a bunch of statements as though he
were the representative of a movement which he referred to
as Black Lives Matter. He organized a lot of protests.
I think at one point I have a memory that

(08:32):
he ran for office, so he was a very visible
movement organizer, right. He organized a protest in I believe
twenty seventeen in the wake of the police murder of
Altms Sterling, at which a police officer was hit in

(08:55):
the head with a hard object, a rock or a
piece of concrete, and he was like, the police officer
was injured.

Speaker 3 (09:03):
Right, like pretty seriously, yeah.

Speaker 5 (09:06):
And he then sued Deray McKesson for money damages on
the theory that because he had organized the protest, he
had control of the protest and he had some responsibility

(09:28):
for the fact that this other person had thrown a
rock at him. This theory requires a real failure to
understand social movements and distributed networks because what it presumes,
and I think we've talked about this before on this show,
is the inability of the police and the courts to

(09:52):
understand that not every social movement operates with a clear
hierarchy like the police, right or the military. Because their
social movement groups do imitate the military, they do imitate
that hierarchy. They totally reproduce this sort of chain of

(10:14):
command theory. So if you look at the Klan, right,
they are organized via they are incorporated, they have a membership,
there is a clear hierarchy, who is in charge, who
is giving orders, who is following orders?

Speaker 3 (10:29):
Right, that is not the case Proud Boys, Patriot Front
like very of organizing without authority and the conceiving of
anyone doing so, it would seem right.

Speaker 5 (10:40):
And so I think I've told you before. I've actually
had to drop footnotes in federal court filings to explain
that Antifa is not a membership organization.

Speaker 3 (10:50):
Yeah, this is a discussion that I have been privy
to as a historian of the same organization. Which day
it was ironically right that the KPg was Yeah, when
we were referring it to that, we're not talking about
nineteen thirty three Germany.

Speaker 5 (11:05):
No. So you know when someone says and this becomes
relevant here because the initially when this suit was filed,
it was two different lawsuits, and it was a group
of police officers who had been shot in different places

(11:25):
in the country, suing not only during McKesson but black
lives matter. And I think in fact, one of the
defendants who was named in one of the initial suits
was hashtag black lives matter. So I don't know how
you serve a hashtag.

Speaker 3 (11:43):
Yeah, fascinating totally fascinating.

Speaker 5 (11:47):
I mean, the legal theory underlying these cases was pretty bonkers.
And then various other individuals who were part of different
Black Lives Matter groups. The initial suit that went after
all these people and hashtags for the shootings were really

(12:12):
just legally insufficient.

Speaker 4 (12:13):
Right.

Speaker 5 (12:14):
The allegations that were made were Black Lives Matter whatever
that is, made statements about how policing is unjust and
police shouldn't be surprised if there's you know, if they
encounter resistance, and then these other people kind of showed
up and shot at cops. And the theory is that

(12:35):
by sort of making these statements, Black Lives Matter encouraged
or incited and was responsible for these shootings. Yes, this
is not a this is not a valid legal theory, right,
I mean, it just is not. And that case was dismissed,

(12:56):
you know, just entirely. And then the second case that
was brought was this one where the guy who was
hit in the head with a rock, and it's the
same allegations, the same theory of liability, and everybody got
dismissed out of that case. All of the defendants got
dismissed out of that case, except for Deray McKesson. And
part of the reason that everyone else was dismissed out

(13:17):
of that case, or that the suit was dismissed with
respect to those named defendants, is that Black Lives Matter
was an unincorporated association, and an unincorporated association can't be sued.
So and this has been relevant in other cases. I'm

(13:39):
not trying to give anyone legal advice, but I want
people to think about the fact. I think there's like
a real impulse sometimes in social movement organizing that like
we need to make everything a nonprofit.

Speaker 3 (13:50):
Yeah, yeah they can, or we need to have a.

Speaker 5 (13:52):
Bank account even And the fact is when you create
an organization, even if it's an unincorporated association, that where
the entity has what you would say is its personality
is distinct from that of its members. Right, right, it
can be sued. You become susceptible to a lawsuit. And

(14:15):
so for example, when Energy Transfer Partners tried to sue
there's currently a suit against green Peace, yes, the Standing
Rock suit, and we'll talk about that later. Right, it's
a slap suit. It's a suit that endeavors to stifle
speech that's in the public interest. When that suit first started,

(14:38):
they tried to sue Earth First, but Earth first is
not an entity. There's no one to serve. You know,
there's nobody there. It's not you know, it's like antify.
It'd be like trying to sue Batman fans.

Speaker 3 (14:54):
Right, yeah, yeah, swifties, I would love to see it.

Speaker 5 (15:02):
Right, there's there are maybe people who identify in that way,
but there is not a coherent group, right, and there's
certainly not a group that can take that can take
responsibility for the behavior of its members.

Speaker 3 (15:14):
Right. Talking of taking responsibility, mo, we we unfortunately have
to take responsibility for the fact that we now have
to pivot to ads.

Speaker 5 (15:21):
Okay, if you say so, I do.

Speaker 3 (15:24):
I'm so sorry. It's not my favorite part of my job.
All Right, we're back there. We've pivoted to add So, yeah,
we're talking about like this, the difference between like an
incorporated organization, which can be So can you maybe just

(15:48):
even if we step it back like a little bit
further and explain the difference between civil and criminal liability,
just in case people haven't got that.

Speaker 5 (15:59):
Criminal liability is like when you are criminally charged by
the state, by the government for violating a criminal law. Right,
and when you are criminally charged. The what is on
the table is that you might go to jail or
you might go to prison. You can also be civilly sued.

(16:25):
And what's happening there is if someone says, okay, you've
you know, you wrecked my car, or your dog bit me,
or you punched me in the face and I lost
a tooth, then you can be civilly sued by that
person for money, damages, got it right to compensate you

(16:46):
for the loss. So in this case, mister McKesson is
being civilly sued, not arrested, not prosecuted, not subject like,
there is no possability that if he loses this case,
he'll go to jail.

Speaker 3 (17:03):
Yeah, so this civil case happens in Louisiana. Right, Yeah,
let's talk about how it bounces around the fifth circuit.

Speaker 5 (17:13):
So I started to tell you that there were sort
of these two cases. The first one is entirely dismissed.
The second one they say, all right, Black Lives Matter
is not an association that can be sued. These other
individuals that you've named here as defendants were not present,
made no statements about it. Well, first they dismissed the

(17:34):
whole thing actually, then the cop appealed to the circuit,
and the circuit said, yeah, mostly you're right, District Court,
all of these people can't be sued. But mister McKesson,
we do think could be liable under a theory of
negligence because he organized the protest and was present. This

(17:54):
officer sues McKesson and a bunch of other people, and
the office says that mister McKesson is liable because he
organizes protests and should knew or should have known that
it could potentially turn violent. And so he says under
Louisiana law, he can sue on a theory of negligence,

(18:14):
which doesn't require any kind of intent or certain knowledge.
It's just being you know, negligent. Initially, the court, the
federal district Court, dismisses those claims, all of them based
on NAACPD Claiborne, which I talked about earlier, right, which says,

(18:35):
if you're at a protest and one person gets violent,
like the rest of the protest doesn't get does not
lose its First Amendment protected character just because other people
are violent. Then the cop appeals and the Fifth Circuit
in part affirms their rulings about all of the other

(18:56):
people who were sued, but reinstates the negligence against mister McKesson. Right,
he then it does it never, by the way, has
proceeded to trial. This case is still in a very
preliminary phase. Oh wow, it has been going on since
twenty seventeen and it's been bouncing up and down the courts.

(19:18):
But the question is can he even be sued under
this theory? So we haven't gotten he hasn't been found guilty,
we haven't had a presentation of evidence. There's all kinds
of stuff that has not yet happened in this case.

(19:40):
The question is very, very narrow. It's can a person
be sued under a theory of negligence when they organize
a protest and somebody else at that protest causes some
kind of harm?

Speaker 6 (19:57):
Right?

Speaker 5 (19:58):
So the Fifth Circuit says, go back district court and
hear this claim of negligence. McKesson then brings it to
the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court reverses the Fifth
Circuit and says it overturns their decision and says, you
actually can't force the district court to proceed with this

(20:20):
trial because you didn't check in with the Louisiana State
Court to get their feedback about whether Louisiana state law
actually allows for this kind of negligence claim.

Speaker 3 (20:36):
Okay, so they missed procedurally, they fucked up.

Speaker 6 (20:39):
Yes.

Speaker 5 (20:40):
Then the Fifth Circuit says, okay, find Louisiana Supreme Court.
What do you think? And the court says, yeah, we
think you can proceed on this negligence claim. And then
the Fifth Circuit affirms its previous ruling and says, okay, Now,
District Court, hear it again, and you can hear this
negligence claim. As to mister McKesson, they tried to distinguish

(21:02):
it from Claiborn. I don't think they did a good job.
One of the there was a three judge panel that
ruled on this, so it was a two to one ruling.
Two of the judges try to distinguish it from Claiborne.
One of the judges Uh says, no, you know, Clayborn.
It's exactly the controlling You can only hold somebody liable

(21:26):
for their own behavior, right, And one of the things
he says is that if you make protest organizers liable
for someone else's violent behavior, all accounter protester has to
do is show up and start throwing rocks in order
to order to get the whole protest too, you know,

(21:49):
to impute liability to the the organizerson who organized the protest. Yeah,
and that goes both ways, right, So i've I am
sort of surprised that they given that there are social
movements that are probably more aligned with the values and

(22:10):
beliefs of these federal judges in the Fifth Circuit. So
the Fifth Circuit at this point says, no, go back
to the district court and have the trial on the
theory of negligence. Right, then, the Supreme Court decided a
case called Counterman be. Colorado. Counterman be. Colorado is not

(22:33):
a First Amendment political speech case. It's a case about
somebody making threats. But that case relies very heavily on Clayborne.
So in that case, we have what's called a true
threats analysis, and they're trying to determine whether a person

(22:55):
who's making threats needs to actually know that the threats
they're making are going to be perceived as real threats.
And what they decided was they do need to know
to some degree that these statements could be taken as
true threats. But they talk a lot. Kagan authored this opinion,

(23:17):
and she talks a lot about how careful we have
to be even with speech that is traditionally not protected
like true threats, because it's very important not to chill
protected speech. And what she says is that the Court
has always been really wary of chilling protected speech, and

(23:38):
so sometimes it makes extra space for speech that isn't
protected in order to make really sure it doesn't chill
protected speech. Right, So she says, the court must consider
the prospect of chilling non threatening expression given the ordinary
citizens predictable tendency to wide of the unlawful zone. The

(24:03):
speaker's fear of mistaking whether a statement is a threat,
his fear of the legal system getting that judgment wrong,
his fear in any event of incurring legal costs, all
those may lead him to swallow words that are in
fact not true threats. And so what they say is
we need to make a standard that has enough what

(24:25):
they say is breathing room to make sure that even
if it means that some unprotected speech gets through, we
have enough space for all of the protected speech to
still exist and for nobody to feel uncertain about whether
or not their.

Speaker 2 (24:42):
Speech is protected.

Speaker 3 (24:43):
Yeah, sure, they don't want to gradually have a creeping
sort of boundary.

Speaker 5 (24:48):
Yeah. So what she says is, if we're going to
ban any kind of speech, it has to be known
and knowable to the speaker, and there has to be
sort of a requirement that the speaker is actually aware
that this is not protected speech. And so in this

(25:11):
case encounterman with the guy who's making the bizarre threats,
what they decide is you only need to be reckless
about the speech. You don't have to be doing it
intentionally to threaten someone. But if you're saying things that

(25:31):
you even if you don't mean it to be a threat,
if you could reasonably anticipate that it will be received
as a threat, that's sufficient. Okay, okay, And then she says,
this are incitement decisions, right, So, Supreme Court decisions regarding
incitement to violence demand more. But the reason for that

(25:56):
demand is not present here where we're talking about threats.
When incitement is at issue, we have spoken in terms
of specific intent, presumably equivalent to purpose or knowledge. In
doing so, we recognized that incitement to disorder is commonly
a hair spread the way from political advocacy, and particularly

(26:18):
from strong protests against the government and prevailing order. Such
protests gave rise to all the cases in which the
Court demanded a showing of intent, and the Court decided
those cases against a resonant historical backdrop the Court's failure
in an earlier era to protect mere advocacy of force

(26:41):
or law breaking from legal sanction. A strong intent requirement
was and remains one way to guarantee history was not repeated.
It was a way to ensure the efforts to prosecute
incitement would not bleed over, either directly or through a
chilling effect, to dissenting political speech at the First Amendment's core. Okay,

(27:04):
so we have this case that's decided days after the
Fifth Circuit makes its decision that directly speaks to this decision. Right,
it reaffirms Clayborne. It reaffirms that political speech is protected.

(27:27):
It reaffirms that you cannot have a negligence standard. You
have to have a standard. You can't just say, well,
somebody knew or should have known that organizing a protest
might lead to violence, and you say they have to
be like, we're going to go out and we're going
to do violence at this protest at this time. Right,
they have to be actually advocating for violence in order

(27:50):
to be held responsible for violence.

Speaker 3 (27:53):
Right, So how does this not just lead to his
case being dismissed.

Speaker 5 (28:00):
So then at the same time as that's happening, mister
McKesson has asked the court again to weigh in on
whether this case can proceed under a negligence theory, right,
meaning should he have can he be prosecuted because it's
possible that a protest will turn violent. And the Court
says we're not going to hear this case, and somewhat unusually,

(28:26):
Justice Sonya Soda Mayort issues a statement along with the
denial of hearing the case, and she says, this court
may deny what's called curcherai right hearing the case. The
Court may deny sorcherai for many reasons, including that the
law is not in need of further clarification.

Speaker 3 (28:49):
Right.

Speaker 5 (28:50):
It's denial today expresses no view about the merits of
mckesson's claim. Although the Fifth Circuit did not have the
benefit of this Court's recent decision in count Determine when
it issued its opinion, the lower courts now do I
expect them to give full and fair consideration to arguments
regarding Counterman's impact in any future proceedings.

Speaker 2 (29:12):
Right.

Speaker 5 (29:12):
So, I don't think that it's some like terrible thing
that the Court said, Oh, no, we're not going to
hear this case. I don't think they're saying in any way,
oh we're not going to hear this case because we
think it ought to proceed further and go to trial
down in Louisiana. I think what they're saying is we
already decided this issue. The law remains the same. Claiborne

(29:35):
is still the controlling case here.

Speaker 3 (29:37):
Right, Yeah, it seems very clear that what they're saying
is that we've already made clear what we stand on this.

Speaker 5 (29:43):
That's right. And so the last thing that's on the
docket in mister mckesson's case is basically a submission that
reiterates what Justice Sotomayor said, streat you a little from this,
It says, so do. Mayor's statement explains that the court's

(30:04):
decision expresses no view about the merits of the claim
because the law is not in need of further clarification.
So it suggests that the existing clear law comes from countermen.
And the statement makes even clearer that the First Amendment
does not permit liability on the negligence theory advanced by

(30:26):
the cop in this case. It doesn't say the cop
in this case, so it makes very clear. You know,
they have submitted mister mckesson's council has submitted this statement
to the judge, and I think there is every possibility
that this case is just going to die at this point.

(30:52):
You know, remember the District Court already dismissed it altogether
at once, and it has only been carrying it forward
because they were ordered to buy the Fifth Circuit.

Speaker 3 (31:02):
Yeah, yeah, it would just go back to the district.

Speaker 5 (31:07):
Yeah, exactly. So in fact, there has been a lot
of anxiety about, oh, the Supreme Court is signaling that
the law has changed and that the Fifth Circuit can
just criminalize protest. In fact, what I think has happened
here is that the Supreme Court affirmed that the Fifth

(31:27):
Circuit may not expose people to civil liability for organizing
a protest. That does not mean that the courts down
there are not going to try to keep going forward
with this. But I think if they did, and if
mister McKesson was like a if they even allowed it

(31:48):
to continue, it might just go right back up to
the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court might at that
point hear it because they've already said, no, we expect
you to follow the law that we just rearticulated in
this other case. Right, But again, remember that we haven't

(32:09):
had a trial yet. He hasn't been found guilty. He hasn't, right, Like,
the question is can we even proceed in this case?

Speaker 3 (32:17):
Let's take a second outbreak here, and then we'll come
back and discuss This may have been over exaggerated in
terms of it's importance of state repression approtest, but that
doesn't mean that state repression approtest is not happening, right,

(32:40):
it is. So can you explain to us the mechanisms
through which that happens and the considerations and resources available
to people who may wish to exercise the First Amendment? Right? Yes?

Speaker 5 (32:51):
Absolutely? So has it become more dangerous to protest? I mean,
I guess, but not because of this case?

Speaker 3 (32:58):
Right? Right? Yeah, I mean generally right. They cops get
bigger guns and more guns and tear guess things every year,
and then they love to use him. Yeah, along with
the legal consequences.

Speaker 5 (33:10):
Yes, And are there things that we should be worried about? Yes,
But I don't think that this particular case on its
own is the harbinger of the end of the First Amendment.
It's one symptom of the larger underlying effort by the

(33:33):
state and you know, corporate capital and all of the
forces of retrogression and repression to quell dissent. But it's
just one of many, right. And we've seen so many
examples of this, and they are by no means new
or novel, right, They're just trying out new legal theories,

(33:56):
and this was one of them. And I don't think
it's going to go anywhere, But I think we need
to remember there's always sort of multiple fronts on which
we're fighting this battle. Right. There's the legal front, right,
and then there's the sort of on the ground law
enforcement front. One of the reasons that mister McKesson was

(34:19):
targeted here is because he did make and this is
not to say this is his fault, it absolutely is not.
But one of the things that made him more susceptible
to targeting is that he did make a ton of
public statements and he was extremely visible in a way
that aligned with the governments and the right wings understanding

(34:45):
of social structures. Right because if they understand that social
movements are being directed from the top, which is not
typically the case. But if that's if that's what it
looks like to them, is a person that they can identify,
who they can even a little bit make out, even

(35:10):
the most tenuous case, is in charge, then you know
that's the person they're going to go after.

Speaker 3 (35:19):
Yeah.

Speaker 5 (35:19):
Yeah, So to the extent that we're doing organizing that
where it is distributed, it is autonomous. You know, it
is spontaneous. And we aren't working with in structures that
are hierarchical, and we're not working in structures that are
incorporated and have bank accounts in public meetings and membership structures.

(35:45):
You know, we're already very insulated from this kind of thing. Anyway,
the dangers are what the dangers have always been, which
are mass arrest because the police neither know nor care
what the law is, and they don't care about Clayborn,
and they don't care that the fact that you did

(36:06):
not personally throw a rock doesn't constitute probable cause to
arrest you. Right, Like, I am always more concerned about
things on the ground like mass arrests and police involved
injuries than I am about frankly about even long term
legal consequences because so often, and I guess I say

(36:26):
this because I have the privilege of practicing in New York,
where there is a very strong history of public protest
and everyone sort of understands what that is and no
one feels all that threatened by it. Which doesn't mean
that there aren't a lot of police involved injuries, and
it doesn't mean that there aren't a lot of traumatic arrests,

(36:49):
but it does mean that typically there are not devastating
legal consequences of that. Now, that's not the case in
places like Georgia, right where they're doing their own sort
of boundary testing down there to see what kinds of
criminal liability and what kinds of theories of criminal law

(37:11):
they can use to sort of bootstrap absolutely garden variety
protest behavior into really serious felony charges. Right. So that's
the kind of stuff that I would say, Yeah, we
should be worried about it. It is dangerous to protest.
There's widespread surveillance, there's widespread public private collaboration, there's widespread

(37:37):
agency cooperation. There's all kinds of non state actors, right,
corporate actors, political actors, random sort of individuals and small
groups that are doing are engaged in all kinds of surveillance.
There's counter groups, right, we have like you mentioned before,

(37:59):
the Proud Boy, we have all kinds of well, look,
Canary Mission is a really good example, right, We have
all kinds of actors, groups, individuals, corporations, government entities that
have an interest in suppressing descent, and they engage in
all kinds of conduct, you know, ranging from intense surveillance

(38:22):
to doxing to you know, even more violent behavior, you know,
targeted harassment, not just by law enforcement, but by individuals,
by neighbors, by media outlets. Right. And those are the
kinds of things that make it dangerous to protest, I guess,

(38:45):
But since when do we let that stop us?

Speaker 2 (38:49):
You know?

Speaker 7 (38:50):
I mean?

Speaker 5 (38:51):
The solution to these kinds of dangerous is to be thoughtful,
to remember that discretion is the better part of valor, right, Meaning,
you don't need to be bragging about whatever you're doing
on Twitter. You don't need to always be the public
face of the movement, because even if you're not speaking
directly to cops in an interrogation, anything you say publicly

(39:12):
can and very much will be used against you. Yeah,
We're seeing a lot of employment and educational consequences right
people are currently what's happening right now as we speak
at Columbia University, people are losing their student housing, they're
getting suspended from school, they're getting arrested, they're getting you know,
these student disciplinary proceedings. There's all kinds of risks to

(39:33):
being a public dissident. But the solution to that kind
of repression is not self censorship. It's courage.

Speaker 3 (39:42):
There are other ways that we secure change, but showing
up in the streets is always how you make history,
and you have to be smart, but you also have
to be brave. As we reach another election year, almost
certainly like there will be protest, which, whatever happen, depends
in the election, right, that will lead to people who

(40:03):
are perhaps not so familiar with horizontal organizing, with like
anti authoritarian or non authoritarian organizing, all these things, entering
a protest movement, and people will inevitably have to learn
like one way or the other, you know, like these
basic things they can do to make it as safe

(40:24):
as possible to protest, and it would be great if
they can learn them from a podcast, not from them
or their friends getting hurt.

Speaker 5 (40:29):
Here's what I would say too, if it is at
all possible, find a lawyer who is willing to consult
with you before you go out and do your action,
just so that you can be prepared right for purposes
of informed consent, because I cannot tell you. You know, lawyers

(40:52):
are not allowed to advise their clients to break the law,
but it's very much our job to tell you what
the possible or likely consequences of certain courses of action.
And you are probably better off knowing what that is
before you do the thing than after you do that thing.

Speaker 3 (41:08):
Yeah, that's a good idea.

Speaker 5 (41:10):
I will tell you that. Personally, I would rather spend
many hours talking people through, you know, the various outcomes
of different ideas, than spending ten minutes talking to them
after they're already in a cell. Right, you know, there

(41:30):
are ways of protesting that are entirely lawful that can
still help you to accomplish your political goals. And if
you are going to go out and do something that
you think is likely to involve a rest, I at
least want you to know that it is likely to
involve our resty exactly you know, and what your specific

(41:53):
risks might be and to have somebody lined up to
take care of you, to represent you if that becomes necessary.

Speaker 3 (42:01):
Right.

Speaker 5 (42:03):
I really don't mean to say, oh, don't worry about
McKesson VD, It's no big deal. It is a big deal.
It's a big deal because this whole judicial system and
legal apparatus is working over time to find every possible
way to discourage protest. But it is not unique in

(42:26):
that regard. And I guess that's really what I'm trying
to say. There are all kinds of ways in which
we are at risk by being dissidents. I just don't
think that this one is particularly special or particularly alarming.
And again, what I just referred to as the law
of the land is not the same thing as law

(42:50):
enforcement practice, right yeah.

Speaker 8 (42:53):
I would.

Speaker 5 (42:55):
Really want to make sure that everyone remembers a the
law is not the same thing as justice, and neither
is the law the same thing or even necessarily related
to what police are doing on the ground during a protest.

Speaker 3 (43:12):
Right yeah, there's very different things. Where can people I guess,
people who are organizing, people who are you know, organizing autonomous,
spontaneous horizontal movements, are they good resources for them to
find because they might be they might need in my state?
What's you know, what do I have to avoid that
kind of thing?

Speaker 2 (43:32):
Yes?

Speaker 3 (43:33):
Where would they find those?

Speaker 5 (43:35):
One resource if you are contacted by federal law enforcement
is you can call the National Lawyer's Guild Federal Anti
Repression Hotline at two one two six seven nine two
eight one one. A really good resource is the Electronic
Frontier Foundation's Surveillance Self Defense which is at s as

(43:57):
in Surveillance s as in Self d in Defense dot
E as in Electronic f as in Frontier f as
in foundation dot org. The National Lawyer's Guild has various
know your Rights guides that are available at NLG dot org.

(44:22):
We also have chapters all over the country and if
you look in our referral directory you can find where
those contacts for people all over the country. I think
if you want a know your Rights training, you can
reach out to the NALG and there are a lot
of other a lot of other organizations that do know

(44:45):
your Rights trainings. I know in New York we have
a really amazing organization called Cuney Clear, and I would
highly recommend you follow them on Instagram because they often
have a lot of resources they're posting Protect your People
a digital toolkit for organizations and employers, and it was

(45:07):
developed to combat anti LGBTQ plus harassment. But I think
the principles remain the same no matter what it is
that you're looking at. And I'll put the link to
that again. It's called Protect Your People and it's hosted
by the Harvard Law LGBTQ Clinic. But I'll stick the

(45:29):
link here in the chat for you, James, so that
you can share it in the show notes.

Speaker 2 (45:34):
Well.

Speaker 3 (45:34):
To finish up, you've mentioned the national Lawyers Guilds and
some other resources. Is there anywhere else where people can
find you or where do you think that they should
be following along? Like you know, like we said, we're
going into an election year. Stuff's probably becoming more relevant again,
and there's a genocide happening right now that people are
facing severe personal consequences for protesting.

Speaker 5 (45:56):
Yeah, I mean, I don't want anyone to follow me.

Speaker 3 (45:59):
On social media.

Speaker 5 (46:02):
If that's what you're asking, I will always every single
time plug landback dot org. And if people yes, I
can see that you have a land back flag behind you.

Speaker 3 (46:19):
Yeah, there's a black one next to it.

Speaker 5 (46:21):
Okay, also a solid choice for flags if we got
to do flags. Oh also, please, for the love of God,
don't talk to cops.

Speaker 6 (46:47):
It's it could happen. Here a podcast where I didn't
come up with an intro. So you're getting this one.
I'm your host, Bia Wong. This is this is the
podcast where actually, this is the part of the podcast
where after things have fallen apart, you put them back
together again. And yeah, the thing that's being put back
together here. You know, I really I really should have
planned this intro more. But this is what happened. This

(47:08):
is what happens when we get night recordings. But yeah,
the thing, the thing we're putting together today is a
union at a really interesting kind of very very interesting kind.

Speaker 3 (47:21):
Of coffee shop.

Speaker 6 (47:22):
So with me to talk about this is Alex, Rocky
and Madeline from Blue Bottle Independent Union. And yeah, thank
you all for joining me.

Speaker 2 (47:31):
Yeah, thank you so much for having us.

Speaker 6 (47:35):
Yeah, I'm excited to talk with you all. And so
I guess the first thing that I want to start
with is can you talk a bit about what Blue
Bottle is, because this is a really weird story that
I think kind of reveals a lot about the way
I don't know, it is sort of lofty terms, is
like the direction that capital has been moving in the
past like ten years.

Speaker 8 (47:55):
Absolutely.

Speaker 2 (47:56):
Yeah.

Speaker 9 (47:56):
So Blue Bottle is a specialty coffee chain founded by
James Freeman in Oakland, California, like two thousand and two.
Like most specialty shops, starts off as like this small
little cart where you know, one guy is doing all
the parts of production, roasting, serving the coffee and all that.

Speaker 8 (48:16):
And then.

Speaker 9 (48:18):
Throughout you know, the early aughts twenty ten's, they do
lots of rounds of venture capital financing with like Fidelity
and other firms until twenty seventeen, when Nesley purchased a
sixty eight percent majority ownership in Blue Bottle at I
think a seven hundred million dollar evaluation. And since then, no, no, no,

(48:44):
the it was a seven hundred million dollar evaluation. They
paid four hundred million dollars too. Yeah, isn't this great?
And since then they've expanded from you know, the tiny
little location in California to seventy stores in the US
and then over one hundred globally, including in China, Japan,

(49:05):
Hong Kong, South Korea, and am I forgetting anywhere else.

Speaker 2 (49:10):
I think that's I think that's it.

Speaker 9 (49:12):
Yeah, Yeah, it's it's a fun time to be a
coffee worker.

Speaker 8 (49:16):
I guess.

Speaker 6 (49:16):
Yeah, it's interesting to me the extent to which this
it has. I mean, okay, so like one hundred shops
is like a lot of shops, but it's not seven
hundred million dollars of shops. Like it really seems like
this company has like it really has like tech valuation,
which is alarming.

Speaker 9 (49:34):
Yeah, and I mean it's not uncommon for specialty right now,
which is also concerning. Like, as far as I understand,
Intelligentsia and La Cologne are also owned in part by
venture capital firms, and this is really confusing, especially because
for anybody that knows anything about like the economics of
coffee shops, the margins are terrible. Yeah, and really a

(50:00):
as far as I can tell, the only value that
Blue Bottle offers to Nesley is brand and like the
ability to eventually grow to the point where at some
point in the future they'll be able to make a
little bit of money.

Speaker 6 (50:12):
Off of it all, which is a deeply weird business strategy. Yeah,
and so I guess I wanted to start here because
it feels like a very different organizing terrain than a
lot of like you know, a lot of the shops
that we've been that we talked to on this show,
because it's like the value of this company is only

(50:35):
kind of tangentially, you know, like on a sort of
macro level, the value of the company is like kind
of tenuously connected to your labor. But on the other hand,
like at the individual shop level, you're still dealing with
all of the same sort of like you know, like
hyper exploitation and trying to like ring every cent out
of stuff.

Speaker 3 (50:53):
So I guess I.

Speaker 6 (50:55):
Wanted to start by kind of asking, like how how
did that the weirdness of what of what Blue Bottle
is influence like how this campaign started.

Speaker 7 (51:07):
To be pretty frank about our campaign, Like there was
a crop of organizers before Gonzo myself, who I would
say at this point are kind of the longest running
organizers on this campaign. Look, there was a crop before us,
so we joined. We did not start the campaign here
at Blue Bottle, but I think, I mean it was
difficult in the very beginning, Like you know, blue bottle

(51:29):
it pays now, like I think starting wage for brista
like eighteen an hour. You know, we just got to
pave up in April, so it's like I, you know,
I do make more of the minimum wage. It's it
can be a tough sell for people to be like, oh,
but you know it's like marginally better, Like oh, I'm
working at this like fancy coffee shop, don't they treat
us a little better? Like? But when you look at

(51:50):
like also, the coffee industry has a hole on like
on a global scale, incredibly exploitative industry that like we
are both we play in too as people like in
the US who make incredibly expensive specialty coffee, but also
like as workers who are exploited ourselves.

Speaker 2 (52:07):
Like, this is something that I think we have to think.

Speaker 7 (52:10):
About often as like how I don't know, how can
our union affect this industry as a whole, How can
we affect you know, Nestle as this conglomer as a whole,
But also how can I afford my red next month?

Speaker 2 (52:22):
Yeah?

Speaker 7 (52:22):
And so you know, having those kinds of discussions with workers,
like putting our day to day labor into this kind
of larger context both of the company and of the industry.
I mean, I think this campaign, you know, we didn't
we didn't start out independent. We had a little bit
of shopping around almost of different unions. I think we

(52:43):
were also largely spout here in Boston specifically, like it
is kind of a hotbed for coffee organizing. A lot
of shops around here organized. There have been some incredibly
like militant shops out here, like I think Gonza and
I first got introduced to the Bluebettle campaign from the
Star eight seven four picket line and they were out
there for like two months, and I think that that,

(53:04):
you know, those kinds of things have really influenced this
campaign and really influenced our organizing as we go into
this like really kind of corporate, bougie coffee shop that
is hard to hard to reconcile with, like, hey, I
am also an exploited laborer. I you know, I am

(53:25):
forced to make coffee all day for customers who are
frankly quite rude and having to have those conversations with
your coacs of like, hey, we deserve better. It might
be marginally better than some other place, we still deserve
better and we can fight for so much more. So
I feel like I went on for a little bit there,
but I hope that answered that.

Speaker 9 (53:46):
One thing to kind of add on to that is
when organizing in the stores. Part of the fact that
we're owned by Nesti makes it actually much easier because
people aren't like easily fooled. We understand that Neslei is
putting a lot of money into this company with the
hope of future returns, you know, in the shorter medium term.

(54:09):
And also people implicitly understand that the current model that
the cafes operate on is kind of reckless, Like because
we're owned basically as a venture capital scheme, this means that,
you know, we're constantly trying to cut costs that shouldn't
be cut. Like even today, Madeline and I ran out

(54:32):
of decaf coffee beans because they hadn't placed in order
for them.

Speaker 2 (54:36):
Oh my god.

Speaker 8 (54:37):
Yeah uh.

Speaker 9 (54:39):
And you know we've run out of you know, milks
fairly frequently. We've run out of things like cups and
lids and very basic things that you need to run
a coffee shop as far as I can tell, only
because they need to keep operating costs comically low so
that way they can appease their nestly over lots.

Speaker 6 (55:01):
Which is pretty funny because the math doesn't make any
sense on that right, because it's like, Okay, you need
to find a way to make like four hundred million dollars.
Your solution to this is We're gonna delay ordering more
coffee beans. It's like, is there anyone who like, No,
you don't like. This isn't even an accountant situation. This
is a like, is there anyone here who understands what
an order of magnitude is? What are we doing here?

Speaker 8 (55:25):
Wait till you hear about the saffron latte?

Speaker 1 (55:27):
Oh god, what a disaster.

Speaker 8 (55:29):
Oh yeah, so.

Speaker 9 (55:30):
They don't have enough money to pay us a living wage.
But from January until April of this year, we were
serving a saffron vanilla latte with and I kid you,
not real saffron, both in a syrup and also and
a powdered Yeah no, no kidding. It tasted like Plato.
I kind of like that, but not everybody does, apparently,

(55:52):
you know.

Speaker 6 (55:53):
The first time, this is the first time I've ever
said this in my entire life, But I sincerely hope
that they were buying the fucking cheap fakes stuff real saffron.
Oh god, well, to be fair, to be fair, a
lot of something people think is real saffron probably is fake.
So maybe maybe the scammers were getting something out of this.

Speaker 8 (56:13):
But dear God, that doesn't make them look good.

Speaker 9 (56:16):
But yeah, no, real, somebody who's good with the economy
helped me out here. You know, three thousand dollars a
week for Saffron and eighteen dollars an hour for Bereiza's.

Speaker 3 (56:30):
God, that's gonna like haunt me in my dreams. So
what order are gonna ask? How much should that cost?
Eight Jesus Christ.

Speaker 8 (56:43):
Oh no, but not enough money to pay us a
living wage.

Speaker 6 (56:48):
No, that's o no, no, that is that is that
is Jenny widely disgusting.

Speaker 10 (56:54):
Like how you know, when you think about it, we
can like buy a little over two of them every
hour we work.

Speaker 3 (57:02):
So like that's all we need.

Speaker 6 (57:07):
Yeah, yeah, that's also got to be like a kind
of radicalizing moment of oh my god, yeah, and here
our time is worth so little to these people.

Speaker 7 (57:18):
This is actually one of the biggest conversations I would
have with my cocher is that I had to stop
having so it make them incredibly upset. Was I would
break down the mouth of them. I'd be like, you
can make a latte in about a minute, two minutes, like,
and those lattes are seven dollars. You make seventeen an hour,
make three lattes, and that's more than your hourly wage,
and you're making what one hundred of those an hour
in a rush. Like people would get really upset when

(57:41):
you're confronted with like the oh wow, the money coming
in and then the money.

Speaker 2 (57:44):
That I'm receiving. It'll drive you crazy.

Speaker 3 (57:49):
Yeah, And I think, I don't know.

Speaker 6 (57:50):
That's one of these things where I think in a
lot of industries it's kind of that kind of value
thing is abstracted because like I don't know, Like you're,
like I just talked about it like an accountant earlier, right,
Like you're an accountant, you have no idea how much
of well, I guess maybe an accountant would know exactly
about a value like that.

Speaker 3 (58:11):
Okay, I don't know.

Speaker 6 (58:12):
You work in like you work in a factory that
produces an auto part, right, like one thing that goes
into an assembly of an auto parts, Like you have
no like there's no good way for you to like
actually understand this sort of value.

Speaker 3 (58:24):
Things.

Speaker 6 (58:25):
You can get kind of close, but I think it's
less visceral than just yeah, this is an item of
food that I'm watching all of these people like consume
that I'm making, and it's like, yeah, sure, obviously there's
like you know, like back down the value chain, there's
also probably like Nessley doing like slave labor, like child
slave labor to get chocolate or something. Right, But I

(58:46):
don't know, there's this there's something really kind of just
viscerally horrifying about like I've produced eight hundred dollars of
coffee and they're paying me eighteen dollars. Yeah, so speaking
of eight hundred dollars of coffee, this show.

Speaker 3 (59:01):
Actually, I don't think.

Speaker 6 (59:02):
We've ever gotten the coffee ad, which is sort of remarkable.
You'd think at some point, I.

Speaker 9 (59:07):
Don't know, I don't dream really funny, you know, if
if on the ad that we're about to go to,
it's you know, like the Black Rifle Coffee Company or
some shit.

Speaker 6 (59:15):
Oh god, wait no, I think I think one of
the I think one of the insane. It might have
been the other one. So there's like Black Rifle Coffee,
which is the right wing coffee thing. But then they
they condemned Kyle Rittenhouse murdering all those people, and so
then there became a second to even more anti woe
coffee shop that was even shittier. I think those people

(59:37):
might legitimately have tried to sell an ad to our show.

Speaker 3 (59:39):
At one point we were like.

Speaker 6 (59:39):
No, what the fuck, that's why there's we had so
many insane ads. We had the famously the Washington Highway
Patrol put one on here. So let's let's hope you
have a reasonable ad instead of that, and we are back.

(01:00:10):
Luckily this is podcasting or not regulated like radio, so
I could just fucking say, shit, it's great. We love
we love, we love to be we love to be
in podcasting. So yeah, this, this brings us in no
particular bye by by no particular rhyme of reason.

Speaker 3 (01:00:25):
This brings us to a neoxt.

Speaker 6 (01:00:27):
Thing I wanted to sort of talk about, which is
about the decision to go independent and about independent unions
versus sort of the traditional business unions that have been
trying to run a lot of these campaigns. So yeah,
I guess wherever you want to start in that whole
sort of thickets of issues.

Speaker 7 (01:00:46):
Yeah, the decision to go independent was maybe eight months
into our campaign. We didivo to go independent. We were,
you know, kind of we had not a with anyone.
We some weird stuff that happened with some previous business
unions and so we're kind of an shopping around phase,

(01:01:07):
and I like good friend of the union and someone
who has helped us incredibly throughout the campaign, said hey,
can I pitch you guys on going independent? Like and
at that time, I mean, I can't speak for the
other folks, Like I did not know anything about independent unions.
This campaign has also been an incredible like learning process
for me. And so you know, we talked about a

(01:01:27):
little bit of like, hey, unions, everything that a union does,
workers can do and really like trying to like instill
this like we can do it ourselves because I think
that like, for me, like the dream of independent unionism
is like the having autonomy and control of our lives
both in the workplace and in our unions at like

(01:01:50):
as workers. And so you know this idea of like
oh yeah, this the the union just takes care of it. Oh,
you pay dues and this stafford does all these things
for you. But when you know, when we filed our petition,
you know I filled that out, it's not that hard.
You know, there are so many things where it's like oh, yeah,
the union will take care of it, or oh this
is what does pay for like, oh, we can have
a lawyer look at it. At no part of this

(01:02:12):
process was there really anything that workers could not have done.
Did we seek legal advice? Absolutely? Did we have people
help us out who maybe knew more than I did. Yes,
But that isn't to say that we were not learning
the entire time. So to me, that's like the big
ethos of independent unionism of like learning it, doing it,
teaching others. I think it has been an incredible opportunity.

(01:02:32):
I think also like we really are committed to like
rank and file democracy and so having workers have a
say in all major decisions, especially like now that we
have had our election, we're moving into bargaining hopefully soon,
Like being able to have workers submit proposals, have workers
look and do open bargaining, have them look at every

(01:02:54):
at the contract at every step of the way, and
things like this, having people participate in their unions. I mean,
I think that we are in a time of like
the revitalization of the labor movement, and I don't want
workers to get left behind in that. Like I think
that we, you know, like we are the labor and
so being able to control our unions and lead them
in the ways that we want to as democratically as

(01:03:16):
we can.

Speaker 2 (01:03:17):
To me, it's been what it's all about. Did that
mean that it was an easy campaign. No, it was
a lot of work. It was a lot of.

Speaker 7 (01:03:24):
Work that maybe a paid staff or would have done,
but we did it ourselves and it took longer, and
it took a lot of education as well of explaining
to my coworkers of like, hey, we want to form
a union and it's not just this thing that kind
of happens to you, Like, actually, you have to make
it happen now if you want to do it. So
I think that for us the choice to go in
dependent independent has like only reaped benefits so far.

Speaker 2 (01:03:47):
It's been this wonderful thing.

Speaker 7 (01:03:48):
I think that we are all much better for it
and much closer like as co workers. I think that
people are more excited about their union. But it certainly,
you know, it took a lot of work, It took
a lot of time. It took a lot of trust
from our coworkers as well.

Speaker 9 (01:04:03):
Yeah, I mean, one of the most formative experiences that
has stuck with me, and I think I might have
mentioned this in the interview before the interview was when
we were shopping around with business unions. Rocky and I
had sat down with somebody from a fairly large one,
and we're trying to ask all of these questions about,

(01:04:25):
you know, would we be able to have rank and
file control of our own campaign, would we be able
to you know, legitimately examine unconventional tactics for launching or
sustaining our campaign, you know, what is the actual process
for requesting finances from the larger affiliate if we needed it,

(01:04:47):
And more or less, what we were told by this
staffer was that none of this would be in the
hands of rank and file, and it would either be
determined by what this particular staffer thought was best or
you know, they would have to get approval from you know,
whoever was above them, which, despite the fact that this
person was within the reform caucus of their union, did

(01:05:10):
not strike them as being anti democratic at all.

Speaker 3 (01:05:12):
Yeah.

Speaker 9 (01:05:13):
Yeah, And at that point, I mean, you know, we'd
been talking to our co workers for months at that point,
you know, hanging out with them, becoming building community, and
it didn't seem like there was really anything that you know,
a larger business union would have had to offer to

(01:05:35):
begin with. In fact, in my own experience, the idea
of affiliation has more or less come across as an
implicit threat of how else are you going to take
on Nesley without all of the money and resources that
we have but won't let you use anyways.

Speaker 3 (01:05:53):
Yeah, which is like not a thing.

Speaker 6 (01:05:55):
I don't know, if you've gotten to the point where
your union is threatening you, and this is something that
like happens more than you'd think, Like, you know, but
listeners of this show may or may not have listened
to some previous episodes talking to some of the reformed
nurses slates that we've we've had on this show.

Speaker 3 (01:06:12):
Where that's happened.

Speaker 6 (01:06:12):
But if your union is threatening to you, something has
gone very badly wrong, and you're probably you're in a
position where you're probably going to be having to fight
yourself out of a deep hole. And one way you
can avoid getting in there in the first place is
by not digging the hole and building something yourself.

Speaker 9 (01:06:31):
Yeah, exactly, And I mean, you know, one of the
things that we heard a lot about at Labor Notes
two weeks ago at this point was people within larger
unions talking about how to fight off staffers or bureaucrats
and I'm personally very glad that we are not in
that fight ourselves because we have Nestlie to take care of.

Speaker 6 (01:06:50):
Now. Yeah, yeah, the sort of two way fight between
your boss and then also and staffers is not a
thing that usually goes well for you.

Speaker 3 (01:07:04):
It's a bad situation to be it. I would recommend
of waiting it.

Speaker 2 (01:07:08):
Yeah.

Speaker 6 (01:07:09):
Yeah, So I guess the next thing that I'm sort
of interested in is, you know, so you talked a
bit about how sort of being an independent union like
made the union closer. How else did that influence how
the campaign went? And how is like how how has
it been going in the past, Like, I know, I
know you won your election. I mean, they're right, yeah,

(01:07:30):
it was it was an election with sorry it has
been this is This has been the most chaotic two
weeks I've had in several years.

Speaker 9 (01:07:36):
So, I mean, it's just like Lennon said, there are
years when you fuck around and weeks where you find out.
I'm gonna get so much shit for that comment now, anyways.

Speaker 3 (01:07:49):
Cool Zobebia is not endorsed. Letting made two good lines.

Speaker 9 (01:07:55):
I promise I only said it for the joke. Yeah,
our campaign started April third. There are six stores in
the Greater Boston area, with roughly sixty seven sixty five
workers across all of them.

Speaker 8 (01:08:11):
On April third, fifty.

Speaker 9 (01:08:14):
Workers from five of those stores handed cards like union
authorization cards to management, announcing our campaign, our union, and
asking for voluntary recognition by noon on April eighth. Management
accepted the cards, but then did not recognize the union
voluntarily by newon April eighth, and instead they put up

(01:08:36):
a flyer in the back of the house of all
the cafes saying that they would respect the outcome of
an election, at which point, yeah, they didn't even publicly
acknowledge us. So at that point, across five of the
six stores, we had a walk out on the eighth,
and then that same day went downtown to file for
an election with the NLRB, which despite the fact that

(01:08:58):
we called them a week in advance to be like,
is it okay if a lot of people show up
kind of spontaneously to file for an election, And despite
the fact that the person in the office said, yeah,
it's fine as so long as like less than one
hundred and you don't have like a sound stage or
anything you got to set up, and if you do
get a permit. Once we walked up to the office,
at least four DHS cop cars like a sump in

(01:09:20):
front of us, and they would only let Rocky go
into the office to file for our election while being
escorted by a DHS agent the entire times.

Speaker 6 (01:09:31):
You know, sometimes you get just these this is something
that's been happening, so like, well, I have no idea
when this episode is gonna go. This is being recorded
in the middle of the protest. Like literally today, seventy
year old professors are getting dragged out of like protests
by cops, and like this is one of these moments
where when things actually happenet these really visceral demonstrations of

(01:09:51):
like what the society you actually live in is. And
I don't think there's like a more perfect demonstration of
the National Labor Relations Boards sometimes will help you, but
also also is very clearly a bureaucratic mechanism of a
police state.

Speaker 3 (01:10:06):
Then the cops show up and only one of you
can go talk to the n l R and P
person escorted by police. That is wild.

Speaker 10 (01:10:16):
Yeah.

Speaker 9 (01:10:16):
It was also the same day as the solar eclipse.
Oh my god, it was a very magic day. Yeah,
nothing was more enchanting than the fact that we got
to watch the eclipse when we otherwise would have had
to have been at work at rules.

Speaker 6 (01:10:32):
Yeah, yeah, I get I guess. I guess that's another
way to get to get turnout for a walk out.
It's like, hey, look we're gonna do a walk and
also you could go see the eclipse instead of serving
rich people coffee.

Speaker 3 (01:10:43):
And it worked. Hell yeah.

Speaker 2 (01:10:47):
Yeah. But all that is to say, I think being
independent lets us do fun and creative things.

Speaker 5 (01:10:51):
Yeah.

Speaker 8 (01:10:53):
Yeah, thank you for remembering what the actual question was.

Speaker 7 (01:10:58):
Like, I think we're allowed to be a little silly
with it, and we're allowed to have fun, and we're
allowed to come up with ideas that maybe.

Speaker 3 (01:11:05):
Other like haters would shoot down.

Speaker 7 (01:11:07):
But when me and my cocher say yeah that would
be cool and fun, we just get to do it
and there's like joy and creativity and all of it.

Speaker 6 (01:11:15):
Yeah yeah, So I guess you know, do you have
anything else that you want to make sure we get
you before we sort of wrap things up.

Speaker 2 (01:11:33):
Yeah. So.

Speaker 9 (01:11:34):
I mean, as much as we've talked about a lot
of the benefits of independent unionism, one of the downsides
is that we have no money, and if people would
be so gracious as to give us some of their money.
You can go to link t R dot e E
slash Blue Bottle Union so link tree slash Blue Bottle Union,

(01:11:57):
where there'll be a link to our GoFundMe. I'll also
say that since we don't have staffers, our overhead is
incredibly low and this will once again allows us to
you know, actually do cool and fun things like we
were able to pay everybody that did the walkout because
we were able to raise enough money in the in
between from April third to eighth, which was incredible.

Speaker 10 (01:12:19):
I have like some personal stuff when it comes to
like filing independent and talking with a lot of people
that I know, I feel like it actually helped the
fact that we were independent because you know, there was
none of that background, oh unions. You know that there's
this big influence when it comes to like unions and

(01:12:41):
like big scary unions taking all your money through union
dues and YadA YadA. But you know, with filing independent,
you know we can just be like, actually, we don't
have to worry about anything like that. We set union
dues democratically and like and so it's just been like

(01:13:01):
really helpful for when we were getting organized and everything.
Just relaying that idea to coworkers, to family, friends and
everyone just kind of like helps them be like, oh
that makes sense.

Speaker 4 (01:13:20):
Yeah.

Speaker 9 (01:13:20):
I mean the old like you know, anti union talking
point of like you know, there being an outside organization
really falls flat with an independent union because it really
is just you and all of your friends. And then
on top of that, it also means that management hasn't
known how to respond to us, because in the week
leading up to our election, which we won thirty eight

(01:13:42):
to four this past Friday, May third, Yeah, they put
out like three or four different flyers, one talking about
business unions that have signed management's rights clauses in the
most fucking like I'm not owned.

Speaker 6 (01:13:55):
I'm not owned.

Speaker 8 (01:13:56):
I'm still going to get my mentionmans rights claus like ever.

Speaker 9 (01:14:01):
And then also another flyer about union dues and examples
of business unions that you know, to anybody that doesn't
know anything about unism, would seem high.

Speaker 2 (01:14:11):
Yeah.

Speaker 9 (01:14:12):
They also, in a letter that they sent out to
all of us the night before our election, talked complained
about us seeking external assistance, and all of this just
completely falls flat because you know, it's literally we've done
this mostly by like having pot lucks together to talk
about all of our issues at work and or like
movie nights or some shit, and it's much tougher to

(01:14:34):
convince people to vote against the person that they're on
the floor with eight hours a day.

Speaker 10 (01:14:39):
Yeah, the overall like way that these papers were received
is has been like met with kind of like a
lot of skull emojis in group chats and like just
kind of like generally making fun of the whole thing.
And I think that like that's been really good for

(01:15:00):
morale as well, because like, you know, it's just not
getting to us. It's goofy and like just doesn't work.
So and also the way that they've been handing these
flyers out, I don't know about like other cafes, but
at mine specifically, it's been kind of awkward, like haha,

(01:15:23):
cover my eyes, here's this flyer that I have to
hand you kind of thing, and it's just like okay, yeah.

Speaker 6 (01:15:34):
Yeah, it really seems like it is something, you know, Okay,
Diffinitely I'm I'm I'm not I'm not going to do
my tangent about the infiltration of political parties.

Speaker 9 (01:15:43):
But yeah, I mean, really political cults within the Greater
Boston area continuously subvert and undermine union elections are not
just elections, but campaigns as well. I won't name examples
because these same cults are also incredibly vindictive and they
will try to dox me.

Speaker 8 (01:15:59):
But this is also the implicit threat.

Speaker 9 (01:16:02):
That you know, like if you know, they can't turn
a union into their own stupid vanguard, then they will
try and push through something that rank and file don't
want and try and undermine or tank the campaign.

Speaker 6 (01:16:14):
Yeah, and that's that's something I think like to take
it to okay, so to take a little step back.
So yeah, one of the things that's very common in
union in sort of like local union spaces is there
will be like there'll be like a local of a
union or like maybe sometimes its own union that's just
run by a cult, and these sort of like these
sort of like I don't know, sometimes you're Stalinis and

(01:16:35):
under Trotskyites sometimes, like it depends, the ideology changes to
some extent. But because because of like the you know,
the because because you can run like a staff union
with like five people, right, this is this is a
pretty good way for them to sort of like like
you know, gain something that looks like political power, and
like it's a way for them to bring other people

(01:16:57):
who don't know what's going on into like the influencers
of their organization, and they this can get really bad
and really dangerous, at least the stuff you're talking about where, yeah,
they start trying to sabotage campaigns because they're not you know,
like these groups aren't actually in this for you know,
like they're not they're not in this for class struggles.

(01:17:17):
But whatever they you know, will say about it, they're
they're in this specifically to expand the influence of their
own party. And you know, when you try to like
actually do your own thing, this stuff happens.

Speaker 8 (01:17:30):
Yeah, one hundred percent.

Speaker 9 (01:17:33):
It's also really telling that despite the fact that you know,
some of these groups are like known for undermining campaigns
in this way, or for harassing staffers that you know,
don't play ball with them or whatever, that they continue
to do the entriest thing.

Speaker 2 (01:17:50):
Yeah.

Speaker 8 (01:17:51):
Yeah, I don't have.

Speaker 9 (01:17:52):
Any good ideas for how to subvert that, but I'm
sure dear listeners will send me many of them.

Speaker 3 (01:17:59):
Yeah.

Speaker 6 (01:18:00):
I think also at some point we're gonna do the
micro We're gonna do the micro sect episode Micro to
the to like introduce people to the basics of like, hey,
you are like the range of tiny political parties in
the US that are actually cults that show up at
protests all the time. So yeah, maybe maybe maybe that

(01:18:22):
will help too, because I think a lot of it
is people just you know, they're you run into like
the World Workers Party, and like, you don't know that
this party is a weird cult, right, They're just sort
of talking about workers stuff. Yeah, so I think education
will help with it too, but the bureaucratic maneuvering stuff
is like the only thing they're good at because they're

(01:18:43):
all these like weird micro party formations.

Speaker 2 (01:18:46):
So I don't know.

Speaker 9 (01:18:48):
Yeah, er, I only way that I think might help
is you know, horizontalizing the structure somewhat, but then you
still run into like the issue of like social capital
within that structure. So if you know, somebody is savvy enough,
they can still indoctrinate people into a silly cult.

Speaker 2 (01:19:06):
Yeah.

Speaker 6 (01:19:07):
I mean, I don't know, that's that's just something that
you're gonna have to I mean, and we should also
mention too, like these thing these groups like they work
with larger unions too sometimes, Like so one of the
most famous examples of this is Pride at Work, which
is a really big afl CIO thing, but it's also
jointly run with the Party of Socialism Liberation, which is
another one of these cults because of a bunch of

(01:19:29):
like long running actions even though like a bunch of
their really senior staffers unbelief to be transphobic, and you know,
there's there's a whole thing there. But yeah, this is
something that is not just a problem with independent unions
and not just a problem with sort of like random locals.
It can and does get into actual like national unions.

(01:19:51):
On the other hand, one way to avoid this is
to in fact organize your own union and don't let
them be.

Speaker 9 (01:19:57):
So this is actually something that we've thought conscious about
with our own union is that on the we sent
out a community support forum for people that wanted to
show up the data, we announced our campaign, and on
the form specifically, we made people tick a box saying
that they wouldn't endorse or try to fly or for

(01:20:17):
or otherwise promote any group that they might have affiliation with,
including political parties or you know, otherwise organizations that are
not you know, our specific union.

Speaker 8 (01:20:30):
And so far that's worked.

Speaker 7 (01:20:32):
Oh yeah, I would also say like in our constitution
by laws. I don't know if that if it's in
the current ones and we're revising them soon anyways. But
it's a conversation that we've had before also, like people
in like keyboard positions, what, yeah, what kind of affiliations
can they have to outside political parties?

Speaker 2 (01:20:49):
Like where where are we drawing the line on that?
Like that's something that I think we also considered very
early on as well for people in the union.

Speaker 6 (01:20:58):
Yeah, and I think there's another aspec they're too, which
is like another thing that can happen to your union
is that it gets eaten by the Democratic Party machine.
And that's happened to I mean, like this is this
is a lot of how like these giant business unions
became business unions, is they became basically these like lobbying
firms on behalf of like whatever random like local democratic
machine is running, Like this happens to Chicago, Like all

(01:21:20):
the time you get these like just like the most
important machine like candidates you've ever seen come out of
the Democratic Party who are like guys who are like
so comically corrupt that like you know, you're They're like
walking down the street and like like bundles of cash
are falling out of the suitcases and they're getting endorsed
by like the team stars, and it's like, well, you know.

Speaker 3 (01:21:38):
Okay, I wonder, I wonder what happened there? Legally legally
legally conjecture, but.

Speaker 9 (01:21:43):
You know, who's to say, really, yeah, you know, it
just so happens that they have these large briefcases full
of cash. Nobody can really say where the cash materialized.

Speaker 6 (01:21:58):
Yeah, but amazingly I was actually get to go on
a different ranch, but political parties. So I'm going to
circle back to there to close this out. Which is
one of the nice things about independent unions is that
you know, it's something they all three of you were
started getting at, which is that, like employers have been
fighting these sort of large corporate unions business unions for

(01:22:18):
like one hundred years now, right. They know how they operate,
they know how their campaigns work, they know what levers
to push against them. On the other hand, they have
not been fighting you specifically, random listener of this show,
and you, specifically random listener of this show, and your
coworkers can do things to surprise them and can do
things in ways that they don't understand, and you know,

(01:22:38):
you have we have a moment like right now, Like
in like five years, they'll probably have worked out a
bunch of stuff about how to break independent unions. But
right now, like literally right now, we have a we
have a master strategic advantage because their playbook wasn't written
to deal with people who are running these sort of
like very low to the ground, very agile, very nimble,

(01:23:00):
very sort of like you know, these spontaneous and creative campaigns,
and you can use that to beat the crap out
of your boss and get more money from them. So
this is the BA endorsement of doing doing fun things
with unions.

Speaker 3 (01:23:16):
That your bosses don't expect.

Speaker 6 (01:23:18):
Hell yeah, Yeah. So I think unless there's anything else
where where else can people find you, We'll have a
link to your link tree in the description. Is there
anywhere else like social media stuff where people can find
the union?

Speaker 2 (01:23:32):
Yeah?

Speaker 7 (01:23:32):
Our social media for Twitter and Instagram is BBI Union
and then on TikTok, I believe it is BBIU sixteen.

Speaker 2 (01:23:43):
Cool.

Speaker 6 (01:23:43):
We will have that in the description too. Yeah, and
thank you all so much for coming on. And yeah,
make make NESTLEI bleed for us.

Speaker 8 (01:23:53):
Yeah, thanks so much for having us. We can't say
how much we appreciate it.

Speaker 2 (01:23:57):
Yeah, I think you, of course.

Speaker 6 (01:23:59):
And yeah, this has been taken happened here. You can
find us in the usual places. And yeah, you too
can also go start your own union and make your
bosses suffer.

Speaker 1 (01:24:20):
Welcome to it could happen here. I'm Robert Evans, and
this is a podcast about things falling apart. This week,
the thing falling apart was my bedroom. Allow me to explain,
three years or so ago, I was finally able to
buy a house or at least, you know, get a mortgage.
This allowed me to achieve a very stupid lifelong dream,
which was to finally own a waterbed. I know you're

(01:24:43):
wondering what all of this has to do with solar power,
and I swear there will be an answer to that question.
I also want to make it clear upfront that this
is not an ad. Some of the equipment I tested
was provided for free as review units, some of it
was purchased with my own money, and some with company money.
I'll try to make it pretty clear at each point,
but I promise it doesn't matter ari my opinions on
any specific product. No one paid us in any way

(01:25:05):
for their inclusion in this episode. Anyway, back to my
stupid waterbed. The first thing to know about waterbeds is
that they are surprisingly cheap. They cost about as much
as an equivalent sized mattress. Knew, so not cheap, but
the one I bought costs the same as any delivery
mattress sold for, and cheaper than some of them. The

(01:25:25):
reason that most people can't afford a waterbed isn't the
actual cost of the bed itself. It's that landlords are
terrified of the things, and so you can't get one
if you don't own your own home. In case you're curious,
my desire to own a waterbed is entirely the result
of the fact that, as a small child, my aunt
and uncle fell upon hard times and had to live
with us for a while. Then for another while they

(01:25:46):
lived elsewhere, but their stuff stayed with us. That stuff
included a waterbed, and for a few glorious months it
was my waterbed. I have craved the insane high of
waterbed ownership ever since. For three perfect years. Then I
slept in wavy comfort until about two days before I
wrote this episode. My bed sprang a pinhole leak. I

(01:26:07):
don't know how you might guess a cat, but the
actual bladder that contains the water is inside and underneath
a very thick, padded frame that cat claws can't really puncture.
I should also note that the bladder sits inside a
vinyl sort of soft cage, so that when it sprang
a leak, it got some of my sheets wet, but
it did not cause damage to my home anyway. Because

(01:26:27):
waterbeds are the kind of product that only an insane
manchild would dare to own, fixing a hole in one
is not the same as performing maintenance on your regular mattress,
because the kinds of beds that reasonable people own don't
spring leaks. To patch the leak, then I had to
purchase a patch kit. But you can't apply a patch
kit to what is effectively a soft bladder filled with

(01:26:48):
roughly a metric ton of water. I did do the
bare minimum of research here, and king sized waterbeds weigh
around two thousand pounds. Now that's not all water weight,
but it is basically all water weight. I bring this
up because I'm proud of myself for guessing right. So
to apply the patch we had to first drain the bed,
which necessitated attaching a hose to one of the spigots

(01:27:09):
through which we had originally filled the bed. Because of
the layout of my home and the ground outside of
the window where we intended to pour the water, we
couldn't get the hosts started without assistance, the kind of
assistance that you would say, need to suck gasoline free
if a stranger's truck were you hard up for fuel money. Thankfully,
my roommate had a wet back which we were able
to hook up to the hose, but how to power

(01:27:31):
the wetback well. We could have run an extra long
extension cord, but mine were all in use for various
insane projects around the farm, and instead I opted to
wheel out the solar generator that I had filled with
the beneficence of the Sun God Raw just a couple
of days earlier. The generator was one of two similar
products I tested for this episode, a Jackery SG two

(01:27:52):
thousand plus, which had been sent to me by the
good people at Jackery in previous weeks. I'd tested it
by powering my deep freeze and a refer refrigerator, and
in case you're wondering with the panels outside in the sun.
I got a little over a day before things ran
dry on my refrigerator. If I'd had the panels in
a better position, I could have had longer and the
deep freeze it would have been able to power essentially indefinitely,

(01:28:13):
because deep freezes are actually insanely efficient machines. I also
used it to run a heat gun for my friend's
art project, which is about as intense a test of
output as you can run a battery through short of
powering your home, and it handles that. In terms of specs,
this battery is part of a more modular system that
you could wire in to power your home or off
grid setup. You can actually attach this to your breaker.

(01:28:34):
It has a maximum output of six thousand watts in
parallel connection and one twenty to two forty expandable voltage.
For a rough idea of what that means, it can
power most household electronics and even power tools for a while.
You'd get about one and a half hours of running
a home as unit, and more like two two and
a half. You know, with a portable unit or a
window unit, you could charge this thing too full in

(01:28:58):
two hours with good sunlight. If you had six two
hundred watt panels attached in perfect sunlight, which is another
three thousand or so dollars in panels. But that's not
an insignificant thing to be able to do, mind you,
that would mean just running your ac most of the
day and nothing else. Neither of these are cheap products.
In Jackery's case, the battery itself runs about two thousand dollars.

(01:29:20):
I understand that's out of reach, perhaps wildly so for
a lot of people. We will be talking about cheaper
options at the end, but it is an unavoidable fact
that unless you are a skilled electrician and scavenger, setting
up substantial solar systems costs money period. Jackery actually represents
one of the more affordable options for a plug and
play home backup system that is also portable, i e.

(01:29:42):
Can be taken camping or hauled away with your shit
during an evacuation. I should note that you can connect
the Jackery SG two thousand plus directly to your breaker,
and also connect the battery to other similar Jackery battery
generators to g additional capacity and output from it. I
tested another solar gener radar system for this episode, the
Geniverse Home Power O two, which was provided to me

(01:30:05):
by Genniverse. Both the Genniverse and Jackery systems are similar
enough that they can use each other's solar panels and
operate in basically the same manner. Jackery's product is cheaper.
Other reviews I've read suggests the Geniverse system might be
more robust, lasting longer over time. It is certainly heavier
and thus has a higher capacity around twenty four hundred

(01:30:26):
watt hours as opposed to a little over two thousand
for the Jackery system. Both of these can be the
basis of an off grid or full backup power system
for your home, and we'll be talking about home off
grid power in future episodes. I want to make clear
upfront that what I'm advising you on today is the
quality and utility of different solar generator battery products for

(01:30:46):
emergency power. So let's talk about what emergency means. The
primary emergency you might encounter that a battery solar setup
would help with is a power outage at your home.
In that case, you have a couple of immediate and
real life needs. I will list these from most basic
and easy cheapest to fill to most expensive and difficult
to meet. Number one would be to keep your devices

(01:31:08):
and stuff like flashlights that are chargeable topped off so
you can keep in contact with your community and stay
aware of breaking news on whatever emergency you happen to
be in. Being able to entertain yourself with books and
movies does, in my view, count as one purpose for
these systems and an emergency, because morale ain't nothing. Number
two is being able to run emergency cooling devices, starting

(01:31:30):
with fans and terminating and stuff like window AC units
or even portable camping AC units. Number three is being
able to keep a fridge going so your food doesn't spoil.
If you're prepping for disaster, you should have storable food,
anything from freeze dried stuff to beans and rits, etc.
But losing all of your shit in an outage is
expensive and annoying, and it's nice to be able to avoid.

(01:31:50):
The Most achievable of these systems for a person of
normal income is number one, and if you have disposable
income at all, you can afford some sort of emergency
solars set up to keep your phone or laptop and
rechargeable lights going. There are a wide variety of battery
packs that have solar panels built into them. I have
tried a lot of these over the years, and I
have never once been happy with the quality, either of

(01:32:12):
their ability to charge in the sun or to last
over time. The system that I currently take with me
on trips is made by a company called Goal zero,
who produce a variety of solar battery and charger products.
I purchase for myself a Nomad thirteen solar panels set,
which folds into something that approximates the size of a
trapper keeper set you had as a kid in school.

(01:32:33):
I've had this for years. I take it with me
on every flight as my carry on. I have it
and two batteries, which are different incarnations of Goal Zero's
Schirpa one hundred on me wherever I go. The Sriper
one hundred has a little three prong outlet you can
charge basically any laptop on it. You could even do
like emergency power for a computer. I think with it
this and one battery would allow me to keep my

(01:32:55):
phone going for emergency purposes indefinitely. Two batteries and shars,
I'm able to travel with roughly three or four working
days of power for my laptop and phone wherever I go,
and that's without me actually trying to recharge them using
the panels. You can find various years of this battery
model on Amazon or at other retailers, from two hundred
dollars on up. The latest model retails for three hundred

(01:33:17):
dollars off Goal Zero's website. These batteries are TSA approved,
as are the panels. I have never had an issue
flying with them. Obviously in different countries, your experience may vary,
but I've taken these things to most parts of the world,
and again I haven't had an issue. They have varying sizes,
but the Nomad one hundred, which is one hundred watt hours,
runs about three hundred bucks, So you're looking at five

(01:33:39):
or six hundred dollars for this traveling setup, which is
also great to keep in your home and just have
less a bit. You know, if you find used versions
on eBay or wherever, which is often possible, that's not
an insignificant cost. But if you're building an emergency kit
over time, most people are capable of bearing that cost
again over time. You could just start with the battery,
which is the most initially useful part of the kit,

(01:34:01):
and then you could get a panel set six months
or whatever.

Speaker 11 (01:34:03):
A year later.

Speaker 1 (01:34:05):
And this brings me to what I'm talking about quantifiably
when I discuss a disaster and what you actually need
when we're talking about emergency power in a disaster. It
is uncommon for the average US consumer to lose power
for more than an hour or two at a time.
In twenty eighteen, most consumers lost less than two hours
of power per year without quote major events. With major events,

(01:34:28):
that number leaped to six hours per person per year
on average. In twenty seventeen, it was closer to eight.
As we deal with more climate change, more natural disasters,
all of these things are going to become inevitably more common.
These are also all averages of huge numbers of people
in huge areas of terrain. I will guess that the
percentage of people listening to this who have as adults

(01:34:50):
lost power for a day or more at a time
is very close to one hundred percent. Now, given the averages,
you might consider just perching battery power units without sol panels,
because in most instances, what you're trying to do is
ensure that if your phone is dead and there's a
bad storm and you know you run out of power
by the time you get home, a two or three
hour outage doesn't leave you unable to contact your people

(01:35:12):
or emergency services. I have a fuckload of different portable
batteries because I try to keep enough on my work
bag wherever I go to function in my job for
most of a week without power when I go on trips.
This kind of preparation has stood me in good stead
in places like Syria, Iraq and the desperate wilds of
Seattle that one time. But if you're not going to
such terrifying hellscapes, you can probably get a suitable battery

(01:35:34):
that's reasonably tough for under one hundred dollars. And we
will continue talking about batteries and talking about you know,
next kind of home solutions and eventually cheap solutions. But
you know what's not cheap is the products and services
that support this podcast. Affordable but not cheap. Anyway, here's
these ads. We're back and we're talking thinking about portable batteries,

(01:36:02):
right And my only note here is that if you're
buying portable batteries, you know, stuff not necessarily to run
on solar, just to have some extra juice with you
wherever you'd go to keep it home in an emergency.
These fluctuate wildly in quality, and when it comes to
disaster kit to something that you need to work in
an emergency, it can be worth going with a brand

(01:36:22):
that is a known quantity with a long record and
a lot of testing done on their products, rather than
whatever the Amazon algorithm spits out when you Google battery.
The advantage of a small portable folding setup like the
one I have from Goal zero is that you can
take it with you and have it on demand if
shit happens when you're traveling, or if you have to
evacuate and it's idiot proof right. A good option if

(01:36:44):
you just want something in your home to keep your
devices topped off, is what I'd call a large small
battery generator. These are a couple of steps below products
like the Jaggery two thousand to the Geniverse that I tried,
but above the handheld little batteries that many of you
have already. The two examples of this product category that
I have and have tested are the Yeti four hundred
from Goal zero and the anchor a n Ker Solix

(01:37:08):
Solix C eight hundred. The Yeti four hundred is the
product I purchased with my own money and It's what
I've taken with me for years into the mountains when
I go shooting or hunting, usually with a set of
folding panels. This ensures that if my car dies and
I've been dumb enough to let my jumper box that
I keep with me die, I have a backup that
I can use to charge my jumper box. I also

(01:37:28):
have a convenient way to top off my phone or
my E reader or my sat phone, both for normal
use and in an emergency. It handles extreme cold and
extreme heat well, and that's not always something you can
take for granted with batteries. Again, kind of top of
the list is that I am an idiot. I don't
know much about electricity, and these products are pretty idiot proof.

(01:37:49):
When it comes to my YETI four hundred or the
C eight hundred from Anchor, I keep them both plugged
into the wall at all times that I can grab
either for an emergency. Now, the Solix C eight hundred
that I have was sent to me as a review
by Solix, and by necessity, I have not been able
to subject it to the years of rigorous real life
testing that my Goal zero YETI four hundred has endured.
I will note that it is well reviewed, and from

(01:38:11):
the exploration I have done on it, which does not
include years of testing but does include a decent amount
of reading and some testing, I think it's better constructed
and more conveniently laid out in the goal zero, and
it also gets you about twice the storage nearly eight
hundred watt hours as opposed to a bit over four hundred.
Both products cost the same price around six hundred dollars,

(01:38:31):
although older generations are often available cheaper online. New and used.
Either is enough to keep a family of Force phones
charged for a two or three day outage without severe rationing.
You can get a lot more obviously on the anchor,
and you might not want to have someone like gaming
on an alien ware laptop or whatever with either, but
you can charge your laptops and the like off of them.

(01:38:51):
If you want to watch a movie at the end
of the night, you're all huddled together there in the dark.
That's not going to be something you have to stress
out about too much. Again, theoncre solex is going toe
you a lot more juice to play around with, but
either should be enough for an average outage if you
just keep them plugged in. You can also use them
to power a fan during the day. They will not
run small AC units. These are worth considering as an

(01:39:12):
intermediate option for the more casual prepper. What you're looking
for here is not a full off grid replacement, but
something that can provide you with options from more than
just basic gadget power. With these big, small batteries, you
can run a fan or fans, maybe not long enough
for comfort, but in bursts throughout the day to get
you through the hottest part of the day during a blackout,

(01:39:33):
during what we call a wet bulb event. This would
be the life saving health emergency that a basic solar
setup would be most useful in saving you from. For
context in case people aren't up to date, a wet
bulb event is a weather situation in which the temperature
reaches a critical level above eighty eight degrees fahrenheit and
does not drop below that point for an extended period

(01:39:54):
of time. If people lack access to effective cooling during
heating events like this, they will die. We saw one
of these hit a couple of years ago where I
live in Portland, Oregon, which has been long famed for
its mild temperatures and thus most homes lack central air.
During a three day heat wave, temperatures rose to record
highs and did not drop low enough at night to
allow people any recovery time. More than one hundred of

(01:40:16):
them died. This kind of thing is possible anywhere. If
you have central air standard where you live, the grid
can always go down, as we've seen happen in Texas
over and over again. For someone with money, your best
bet might be pairing a portable air conditioner like the
Idea Duo, which ranges from five hundred to six hundred
dollars on Amazon, with something like the Jackery SG two

(01:40:38):
thousand plus, which with panels and a good sunlight, would
allow you to run it during the day at least
in a single room. As an aside, this is actually
a case in which someone with a window unit is
at more of an advantage than someone with central air.
You can connect your jaggery directly to the breaker, but
without expansion batteries, it's not going to run a whole
home long, so you'd want to unplug everything and turn

(01:40:59):
off the lights, running your AC in short bursts, and
maintaining discipline with your doors at windows, ideally putting up
foil or at least cardboard over the windows to maximize efficiency.
If you're just being able to run a fan because
you've got a smaller unit, you're probably looking at something like,
you know, getting towels and rags wet, putting them over
people's chests and faces, and kind of getting directly under
the fan for the periods of time that you can

(01:41:20):
afford to run it. Again, we are not talking about
the most ideal comfort situations here, we are talking survival.
The limitations I found for are generally twofold. One is
that even with good sunlight, folding panels like the ones
Jackerie and Jennifer ship me don't always hit their advertised wattage.
This is because you've got to deal with a lot
of other factors, the movement of the sun throughout the day,

(01:41:42):
where shadows fall in your home or property, your access
to the roof, how clean the panels are, and under
normal use conditions, it is surprisingly easy to get stuff
on them. On a sunny spring day in Oregon, I
found my two hundred wat Jackery panels tended to get
one hundred and twenty two one hundred and fifty watts
during the most optimal parts of the day. I was
able to plug the Jackery panels into the Geniverse generator

(01:42:03):
and vice versa, and I found that Jackerre's panels generally
performed ten to fifteen percent better during real life conditions.
I looked it up and on paper, the Genniverse has
a solar cell efficiency or EFF rating of about twenty
three point four percent. Jackery beats them by one percent
with an EFF rating of twenty four point three. That
is not enough of a difference to matter too much,

(01:42:23):
although I should know that what I saw in real
life use was a notable difference. You may experience something
different with these panels, with any panels that you get.
I can't claim to have tested anything but the ones
that they shipped me. The Jackery Explorer two hundred plus
is capable of taking fourteen hundred botts of input max,
which would be seven sets of panels, although from what

(01:42:44):
the manual says, it can take up to six solar
Saga eighty panels to their two hundred wade panels under
normal conditions. You can expand all this with added Explorer
two thousands running in tandem and up to twelve solar
Saga eighties on a single generator but doing that requires
some wonky shit with cables, and at that point we're
talking about a system beyond what most people are likely
to want or need. When it comes to durability, I

(01:43:05):
suspect that both the Jackerie and Genniverse are probably close
and functioning. Online reviews give both systems good user reliability ratings.
In real world conditions, I had the opportunity to do
something that you never want to do in real life
with the device you've paid for, which was work one
of these systems to death. It shows the Genniverse and
the torture test I used basically involved keeping it outside,

(01:43:26):
charging and providing power at a fairly low trickle for
twelve days of intermittent rain and wind in the Pacific
Northwest late winter. We got about two inches of rain
during this time, and that was enough to eventually kill
the generator, but it took close to two weeks of
downright irresponsible treatment. We are talking the kind of neglect
you would not subject a product like this too without
no other option. In subsequent tests with the Jaggery, I've

(01:43:49):
been able to keep it operating outdoors in bad weather
without damage through taking minimal measures to shield the generator.
The least I did was stick a plastic home depot
crate lid above it, literally at it down on top
of the unit to stop water from just hitting the
ports on the sides and back directly. The most elaborate
protective set up outdoors was a simple tarp cover and
making sure it was elevated a bit above the ground.

(01:44:11):
When it comes to which of these systems would be
best for you, the primary difference between the Giniverse and
the Jackery is that the Ginniverse is higher capacity twenty
four hundred nineteen watt hours as opposed to a little
over twenty forty two for the Jackery. This means that
without input, you can run a normal fridge off the
Giniverse for about six hours, and goodsn you can recharge
it fully in eight hours with two Geniverse solar powered

(01:44:33):
two panels. The Jackery system will recharge in a similar
timeframe under optimal conditions and give you a bit less
usable power. It has the benefit of being almost twenty
pounds lighter and significantly friendlier in design. For reasons that
elude explanation, the Giniverse lacks a telescoping handle or wheels
to help you maneuver it. Into or out of position.
This sucks because it's heavy, and if it's not wired

(01:44:55):
into your breaker and you're using this for an emergency,
you might need to move it around so that you
can have the panels in different positions to take advantage
of the sun. This also makes the geniverse less useful
than the Jaggery in normal daily life tasks. I started
this episode with a rather ridiculous story about my waterbed,
but I've actually found quite a few tasks at which
having a weeelable battery capable of this kind of output

(01:45:18):
is handy. Basically, any power tool that you are likely
to own will run off of either of these systems,
but only the Jaggery is friendly enough to want to
move around outdoors to take advantage of this fact. And
this kind of gets us to the crux of a
question some of you have been asking this whole episode,
how practical are any of these solutions. My answer is complicated,

(01:45:38):
but I think fair. If you can't or aren't going
to expend the energy to become competent with solar power
to the extent that someone living off grid would generally
want to be, these are exceptional solutions so long as
you can afford them. In both cases, you're looking at
around three thousand dollars for a setup that could power
anything in your home and would handle all necessary tasks

(01:45:59):
for law longer than the length of an average blackout.
The Jackerree and Geniverse systems are also future capable. You
can expand both with added batteries over time and add
in more panel capacity up to a point that makes
them quite attractive if you can afford them. My personal
recommendation would be for the Jackery over the Geniverse for
most people for a couple of reasons. Please note that

(01:46:20):
I received review units from both companies and money from neither,
so I have no vested interest in picking one over
the other. One reason that I chose the Jackery Explorer
two thousand is that it is a bit cheaper nineteen
hundred for the base system and four hundred and seventy
nine for each set of two hundred watt folding panels.
Compare that to the Geniverse Home Power two Pro, which
starts at two two hundred and ninety nine dollars and

(01:46:43):
thirty four hundred dollars for the generator with two two
hundred watt panels. The Jackery is also meaningfully easier to
use in recreational situations, so it is a system that
the average person will get more use out of. You
can take it camping easily, you can use it for overlanding,
and you can have it ready for another emergency. I
will note that if you have a system like this,
you will surprise yourself with how often it comes in

(01:47:05):
a handy for simple tasks. What I like about both
systems is again their future compatible. You can start with
the base system and then add a couple of panels,
and as you save more money, you can add an
additional battery packs and panels to give you both more
capacity and more input, with the goal of eventually storing
a day or a couple of days of power and
being able to run your home minimally during extended emergencies.

(01:47:28):
The shortcoming that you'll find with either system is that
if you have a normal home, it will cost as
much as a nice used car to have a setup
that could run your house for extended periods of time,
let alone indefinitely. A typical home AC unit can burn
something like fourteen thousand kilowat hours per day, and that's
just half of what an average home draws heating amounts
to a comparable draw. So while these systems can be

(01:47:48):
expanded significantly with additional batteries, if you're dealing with an
outage that extends past several days, you will encounter severe limitations.
This brings me to the most impressive but least accessible
piece of gear that I test for these episodes, The
Anchor Solick's F thirty eight hundred portable power station. This
holds about three eight hundred and forty watt hours of
electricity and can output six thousand watts if necessary. You

(01:48:12):
can charge your electric car or run a welding rig
off of this thing. It can be expanded with additional
battery storage, and if you had thirty or forty grand
to spend, you could wire this thing up to power
your house for close to a week without sunlight. The
F thirty eight hundred itself costs four thousand dollars, and
you can run two of them in tandem with twelve
battery packs each to power your home for about two

(01:48:32):
weeks for just the cost of at this point a
rather nice car that is wildly out of reach for
most people, But if you can afford it, the Anchor
is a really cool system. There's been a tremendous amount
of thought put into everything, from how the device is
constructed and laid out to how you carry it. I
particularly appreciate the fact that you can wheel it like
a big suitcase or lay it on its side, where

(01:48:53):
it has additional pop out handles to enable you to
carry it in multiple different ways. All of Anchor's products
feel premium, and the metal handles that I said pop
out are like metal. They're very solid. Everything has a
clean interface and what I would describe as an exceedingly
livable industrial design. If you happen to be one of
the people who can consider putting down four thousand dollars
for an emergency battery, the Solix F thirty eight hundred

(01:49:16):
will see you through ninety nine percent of the power
loss situations you are likely to encounter, and require minimal
knowledge to set up and get working. It is easy
to attach to your home breaker, and Anchor's instructions for
doing so are simple to follow for folks who can
afford the cost then, and that cost is not inconsiderable.
It is a great mix of might save your life
and will definitely come in handy. I should also note

(01:49:39):
that the Jaggery system has a better pedigree than the
Geniverse system in the industry, probably similar to Anchor. They've
got a long track record and are well regarded not
as inexpensive solution, but as a reliable one with a
good warranty and a lot of history to back them up.
All of these systems are, in my experience, reliable and
easy to use. All of them are and I have

(01:50:00):
to hit on this a few times because it matters expensive.
That presents a problem if you're someone who sees the
value and these is potential emergency devices, but will realistically
never be able to throw down three thousand dollars for them.
It would be irresponsible of me to give you some
specific technical advice because I lack that knowledge. But I
have some experience here, and we're going to get to
that after this next set of adds. We're back and

(01:50:28):
we're talking about what you can do at least a
little bit of what you can do. Again the furthest
thing in the world from an expert here, but I
wanted to at least provide some starting points from folks
who are never going to be able to afford these
more formal, easier to use idiot proof kind of situations,
because while I'm not an expert on this, I have
lived off grit a bit, and I have known people
who have done so in a wide variety of weird situations.

(01:50:51):
At one point, my partner operated a solar powered shack
that they lived out of, with batteries so comparatively primitive
that she had to regularly refill them with water. That
kind of maintenance is going to be second nature to
people who know they're shit with solar, and those people
have a lot more options than the laymen. Probably the
most impressive in cash neutral setup I saw was in
a place called East Jesus in far southern California. This

(01:51:14):
was a totally off grid power setup that kept around
twelve to eighteen people alive year round and often intense temperatures,
powering AC units and trailers and RVs, fridges, fans, lights,
The entertainment equipment they used the wakes Now. Their setup
was all scavenged or bought cheap in auction. The batteries
they used, which took up an entire shipping container sized space,

(01:51:35):
were purchased cheap from a telecom company in the area,
which retired its deep cycle batteries once they hit eighty
percent of their original functioning capacity or something like that.
Panels were likewise scavenged or bought cheap and used. Since
they had a lot of space but little money, Wiring
a shitload of panels a varying efficiency together was a
solution that they could afford, both in terms of the

(01:51:55):
money that it cost and in terms of the space
that was required. Most people lack the technical knowledg to
set something like this up. I sure do, and even
more of them lack the space, but it is an
example of the sort of solutions that people with little
to no cash can cook up if they're clever and
knowledgeable about the fundamental technology. It would be extremely irresponsible
if I did not add here that solar setups are

(01:52:16):
the sort of thing where it behooves you to be
exceedingly fucking careful. The chief benefit of the system's goal
zero anchor, Jenniverse and Jackery make is that they are
all as close to idiot proof as they can be.
Part of the cost comes from the fact that they
use expensive but extremely stable lithium iron phosphate batteries. These
have long life spans. Jackery rates theirs at ten years

(01:52:38):
and a cycle life of up to two thousand cycles.
They have a good standby time too. Jackery rates theirs
at up to fifty percent charge after two years in storage.
A lot of the cheaper or scavenged options you find
are lithium polymer batteries. These are rather infamous for igniting
and burning down people's homes. There are solutions you can
find online and if you're interested in cheaper homebrew solar

(01:52:59):
setups out there, one place I'd suggest starting is diyssolarforum
dot com. The people there will have suggestions for minimizing risk.
Since LiPo is one of the most dangerous battery chemistry
types out there. Some people build what are called battery bunkers.
One a form I've seen this tape is basically a
cube of bricks around and below the batteries with a

(01:53:19):
ceramic flat sheet above them. Some people will suggest lacing
sandbags above the bunkers that if the battery goes into
a thermal runway, it will melt the sandbag and pour
sand into the battery to stop the fire. Again, I
am not giving advice here, just providing you with an
example of the kinds of concerns that you do have
to think about. When considering building setups like this for
your own, it is unfortunate. The most financially accessible way

(01:53:42):
to do this is by taking the research into your
own hands and relying on the experience of hobbyists and
lifestyle explorers who have been there before. But disasters aren't fair,
and neither is life. Another exploratory option I'd suggest is
googling questions like how to run small room ac off
solar or how to run twelve volt fridge indefinitely I'm
a solar, and then add Reddit as a search term.

(01:54:03):
You'll find threads of people in off grids, solar or
overlanding subreddits who have explored these problems for themselves and
their journeys can at least act as a basis for
your own. I'd like to thank at the end of
this the reps at Jacker, each universe and anchor who
sent products for me to review. It was incredibly nice
of them all, and from an esthetic point of view,
they all make great gear that is a genuine pleasure

(01:54:23):
to use. Goll Zero didn't send me anything, but I've
paid for their stuff for years and I've never had
anything fail in the field, so I figure I owe
them a shout out here.

Speaker 3 (01:54:31):
Too, and it's going to do it for us.

Speaker 1 (01:54:33):
It could happen here for the day, so you know,
check in tomorrow or you know, Monday, depending on when
you hear this. Whenever it drops and yeah, goodbye.

Speaker 12 (01:54:57):
Welcome to It could happen here. I'm Garrison, David, and
once again it has been happening here as protest encampments
have sprung up in at least eighty college campuses all
across the country as Israel continues its genoside of the
Palestine people and is now currently bombing multiple sides of Rafa.
Last month, students at American universities began protesting their university's
ties to Israel and weapons manufacturers, calling for divestment, as

(01:55:20):
well as urging their institutions to join in calls for ceasefire.
After a militarized police raid at the Humboldt protest utilizing
a prison swat team, police departments around the country began
cracking down more harshly on the protest encampments. The day
after the Humboldt one, NYPD raided Columbia University and fired
a gun inside Hamilton Hall while trying to use their

(01:55:40):
handgun as a flashlight. The Portland Police Bureau quickly followed
suit and cracked down at the encampment at Portland State
University and have since barricaded that library. As of time
of recording, around twenty five hundred arrests have taken place
at college protests all around the country. Police have displayed
incredible violence, sending people to the hospital with broken ankles
and concussions. In many cities, there's been heavy use of

(01:56:02):
pepper spray, pepperballs as well as tasers. The protests have
also faced violence from a mix of far right agitators,
zionist counter protesters, and racist frats that have targeted the
protest encampments with physical violence, especially at UCLA. We here
at it could happen here are lucky enough to have
correspondence kind of based all around the country. So I'm
joined today by Mia Wong, James Stout, and Molly Konger

(01:56:25):
to discuss our experiences as people who have been present
at some of these encampments all across the country. I'm
going to start by talking about Emory University here in Atlanta, Georgia.
This is a weird one and I think I'll actually
go into more depth in a future episode, but this
episode's going to kind of focus on discussions and we're

(01:56:46):
going to kind of compare our experiences. So oddly enough,
I think Emory was the first one to actually face
significant police repression. Tents went up on the Emory Quad
on April fifteenth, and that morning there was a heavy
police response from EMORYPD, APD and Georgia State Patrol. They
fired tasers, there was rubber bullets, pepper balls, and over

(01:57:09):
two dozen arrests. Students and others began to rally later
that afternoon to retake the quad. A few hundred people
did so, and a small occupation began inside the Kendler
School of Theology building. M REYPD was pinned up against
this building. GSP arrived as reinforcements, and people started to flee,
as you know, you see GSP kind of form this area.

(01:57:31):
But people were able to calm some of those other
students down and regroup and actually hold that position for
a little while longer police began attacking students, a small
clash began, there was pepper balls. People continued to kind
of hold that ground in front of the building. There
was students also inside. As people try to you know,
render aid to those who have been pepper baled, and

(01:57:53):
while maintaining this position in front of the building, more
and more police arrived like a ridiculous number, and the
crowd eventually starts to slowly disperse as police just flood campus.
Police from all around the greater Atlanta area just flood
this very small section of Decatur, which is a small
suburb to the northeast of Atlanta or to the east
of Atlanta.

Speaker 3 (01:58:12):
I guess.

Speaker 12 (01:58:13):
Emory President Greg Femmes said the Thursday protest was concocted
by outside entities, which is why Emory PD, APD and
GSP violently disrupted the protest because it was caused by
outside agitators. Line that New York Mayor Eric Adams would
then reiterate to justify the massive crackdown at Columbia. So

(01:58:36):
the next day we had five hundred people march around
campus and then this little kind of committee of Emory
faculty and staff called the Every Open Expression Committee began
to negotiate with the protest and they quote unquote allowed
the protest to march around campus, and this small subset

(01:58:56):
of the group began to occupy the Coxhaull Food Court
and police. Plice were ordered to stay out of sight
this whole day and a few of the days after
unless the Open Expression Committee specifically called them in. And
what was able to happen is that this Open Expression
Committee was able to wield the threat of police as
a deterrent from people taking kind of more militant action
or to actually set up things that would hold down

(01:59:18):
an encampment, like if tenths were set up, this would
result in this Open Expression Committee to call in the police.
So this was a very successfully wielded threat. So as
the night goes on, the Open Spression Committee does threaten
to call police on the Cox Food Hall protest, which
scares a whole bunch of these you know, young teens
early twenties out of the building. A smaller group of

(01:59:38):
around one hundred people remain on the quad till midnight,
police arrive and then everyone disperses. The next day kind
of follows a similar pattern open expression and some student
organizers over the course of the next few days actually
start directing police to detain and criminally trespass people wearing
cafeas on suspicion of them having been engaged in like
doing graffiti, and really it just allows police to target

(02:00:00):
specific people that the Open Expression Committee kind of just
don't want on campus based on either how they dress,
how they're kind of walking, acting, behaving, that sort of thing.
And this pattern followed basically up until the present. People
would try to take buildings do smaller protests. Police would
either be called or there would be threats that they
would be called. It would kind of calm the crowd down,

(02:00:20):
everyone would disperse. If ten's got set up, that was
seen as like a major sign of escalation, which would
result in police being called. And it's kind of the
small back and forth, and eventually this just kind of
led to the situation Emory slowly dissolving, slowly fizzling out
as the people who were wanting to do stuff kind
of got pushed more to the side, got pushed out,

(02:00:40):
more and more people became began getting criminally trespassed, and
the group of students at Emory just did not want
to risk a further engagement with police after the first day,
and that's kind of led to things slowly slowly dissolving,
And that's basically with the situation currently. Things of the
kind of tapered off. School's ending. I'm sure this will

(02:01:02):
be a similar, similar thing across the country as the
school season is ending and these protest encampments will so
we also just dissolve away as police repression continues. Let's
see who should we move on to the next little report?
James James stout from you. You went to U see
San Diego.

Speaker 3 (02:01:23):
That's right. I did both both as a graduate student
and then again as an adjunct professor, and then again
as a journalist last week, which is what we're going
to talk about this time. So you see San Diego
had it was interesting the encampment began on the first
of May, but s JP had posted this thing about
their big rally was going to be on the third

(02:01:44):
of May, on the Friday.

Speaker 6 (02:01:45):
Right.

Speaker 3 (02:01:45):
S JP is Students for Justice in Palestine. It's one
of the groups it's organized a lot of these protests
across It depends you know where you're at. You might
have the Council on American Islamic Relations, you might have
the Muslim Student Association, you might have both. But yeah, yeah,
you Jewish Fast for Peace. Yeah yeah. Very often they're
they're collaborating, which is great. We love to see collaboration.

(02:02:06):
So what they did was they posted that they were
going to have a big rally on Friday, and that,
as it turned out, was like a fake out, and
they actually started their encampment on Wednesday, So they distracted
admin with that Instagram post, which is pretty clever, pretty funny,
And they began this encampment on Wednesday on Library Walk,
which is kind of right in the middle of UCSD.

(02:02:27):
If people have seen, you know, people would be familiar
with the UCSD guys Le Library from the film Attack
of the Killer Tomatoes, which it played important role in. Yeah,
I can see the look of recognition on my colleagues faces.
But yeah, that's the only thing that's ever cool that's
happened at UCSD. So they set up this encampment. It
wasn't huge, but it was certainly a serious presence, right,

(02:02:50):
and they didn't barricade it or sort of make it
make a defensible That was a conscious choice, right, And
they did set up a security system whereby they had
student security people controlling who entered and I guess left
the encampment if you really wanted to, you get the

(02:03:12):
cops got in, right, Like it was a wist high
vinyl offence. But in theory, these people were controlling who
went in and who went out. Some times these people
were asking people to sign up on a sheet. I
think I hope they stopped doing that because obviously that
you're sort of helping the cops make their prosecution case. There.
Over the next five days, the encampment was extremely peaceful.

(02:03:37):
Right There was a focus among this group on not
giving any provocation to police or to addmin to any
reason to evict them. So they had some lectures, some speeches,
they had some live music, they did some dancing, all
stuff that's in no way provocation or violent. On the
fifth of May, a large counter protest was organized. Most

(02:04:00):
it bought kind of like get off my Law and
boomer types, but then also like some right wing streamers
Oreo Express or I guess the surviving half of Oreo Express,
Josh Fulfer, was there. I think the guy who was
first responded to media, Jsuay or Joe Felix, was also there.

(02:04:21):
These are right wing streamers that, sadly, like, if you
live where I live, you have to be familiar with
where they do a lot of border harassment to They
were obviously trying to film and identify students, so I
guess this was on the evening of the fifth That evening,
the Chancellor Costler sent around an email basically saying that
what the students were doing was prohibited, that the tents
were not included in freedom of speech, and asking them

(02:04:45):
to disband peacefully. The next morning, at about five or
six in their morning, literally hundreds of cops from several agencies.
Right the UCPD does not have the footprint that we saw.
There was California Highway Patrol, San Diego Sheriff's Department, and
UCPD all in full right gear lined up opposite the encampment.

(02:05:10):
They say that they asked students to leave and that
those who didn't were arrested. And when they're arrested, obviously
like violence was used by the police, as always is,
the encampment was destroyed. Everything that was there was tossed
into a dumpster. Some stuff was then recovered. I guess
there's now a lost and found people to recover their
things like laptops, right, like expensive personal items that were

(02:05:31):
swept up. At that point, people were arrested and then
detained in the Price Center at UCSD. The Price Center,
if you've not been on campus, is like a large
shopping mall that also has some lecture facilities. But it's
where the Panda expresses on campus. It's not trapped in
with the Panda Express, which is a dangerous situation. Yeah yeah,

(02:05:52):
and the Panda Express is not operational sadly more it's
a shame, but it's where they have those their dining horn.
It's like a center of corporate operations on campus. It's
a very bleak place. So they're trapped in the Price Center.
The students around campus, those who are not in the
encampment then rallied to protect these students and tried to
block the police from loading them on buses and then

(02:06:15):
block the buses from leaving. And that's when we saw
the Sheriff's department using massive amounts of violence. Right, our
Sheriff's department still carry just like big wooden sticks. They're
not like the black night sticks, you know, with like
the right angled grip. It's just a giant it's just
a big wooden baton. Yeah, it's the esthetic of our

(02:06:36):
Sheriff's Department's right gear is consciously or unconsciously something that
I associate with the civil rights tear and the repression
of the civil rights movement. Perhaps that's a choice. I
don't know, but that was when the Sheriff's department started
to become violent. That's when they brutalized and arrested both
generalists and students. In total, sixty five people are arrested

(02:06:57):
protests and moved down to the two jails. We have
different facility. There's a men's journal at women's jail, and
they tend to they tend to incarcerate trans people with
the gender they're assigned at birth. I've heard about lots
of things that happened in those jails that were pretty bad,
but I haven't been able to confirm them enough that
I think I'd be comfortable airing them. So people are released,

(02:07:20):
lots of them charged with several misdemeanors, trespassing, encroachment, being
at the scene of a riot, resisting arrests, things like that. Right,
two members of faculty were also arrested. Forty people were students,
and at the last time I checked, they hadn't confirmed
the status of the other twenty ish people. So that
happened on the sixth yesterday, which was of course the eighth.

(02:07:42):
There was a big march about a thousand students. It
looked like kind of both calling for the UC to
divest and calling for the UC to drop charges and
drop academic sanctions. So right now, all the people who
are arrested are facing interim suspension, they're facing a viction
from their student housing, which San Diego, if we've spoken

(02:08:03):
about brazilion times, has an incredibly expensive housing market and
it's almost impossible to access to affordable housing here. And
in some cases, you know, they're facing serious academic sanctions.
It could affect the rest of their academic careers, student
workers who are arrested or also now not being allowed
to work on campus. So one hundred and eighty three
faculty signed the letter asking the university to not do that.

(02:08:25):
That came out last night, and that's kind of where
we're at in terms of what's happened to these people.
I think it's probably worth noting that the U see
Riverside settled, right that they negotiated a settlement. That's in
so Riverside is north and slightly east of here, east
of Los Angeles County. You see Riverside is. I don't

(02:08:49):
know in terms of student numbers how big it is,
but they settled I think on the Wednesday, so it'd
be mad Mayda. The Friday, May the third, I was
at the UCSD and meant that day and I heard
them announce it. They were overside settlement. I'm just going
to say it didn't achieve some of the more radical
goals of the student organizing movement, not to be divestment,

(02:09:10):
to be an academic boycott. They did get the university
to publish its investments which are linked to Israel at least,
which is a step. I guess. They got a task force.
The university is going to be very willing to grant
you task forces and panels and things which can turn
your radical aims into a bureaucratic mess. Right, And they
got the university to look into removing Sabra Hummas from

(02:09:31):
its men use as well. Get get Yeah.

Speaker 8 (02:09:36):
The biggest concession was the Hummers, which isn't isn't great?

Speaker 13 (02:09:41):
Wait that was That wasn't a joke? I thought you
were joking.

Speaker 3 (02:09:43):
No no, I'm not joking. No no, no, no, Sobra
Hummas was called out by name. They didn't. I'm not
saying they're really investment yeah, yeah, no, no, they're not
divesting from Sabra Hummas, Molly, they're looking into doing that.
In conjunction with their acquisitions procedure. Yeah, so you know,
it's a huge dub. I don't want to undermine what

(02:10:04):
these people have done. Like it's it's scary when the
cops come to get you. And I understand, but this
is a sort of visa concessions or university is going
to give you. Right, you might get a snack task force,
and you might get they're already publicly available investments listed
in one place on their website at UCSD. The administration

(02:10:25):
claims that the students were unwilling to negotiate. I wasn't
able to ascertain if what system they had, right, Like
I was trying to ask if they had delegates or representatives,
who are going to do those being different things, right,
who are going to negotiate? I was enabled to get
a clear answer, and that they did very clearly publish

(02:10:46):
their demands right, And the university doesn't seem to have
proceeded to any of them. So that more or less
is where we're at in San Diego. They're are ongoing
panels and press conferences. I'm going to attend one, so
it's going to be one by faculty tomorrow on the ninth,
the faculty have also been organizing right in a group
called Faculty for Justice in Palestine, and they've been organizing.
I think it was very impressive that they like accepted

(02:11:07):
student leadership and didn't try and like, you know, come
in and take a vanguard roll or tell everybody what
to do. But but there mostly to facilitate the student
protest and protect it. So they're having a press conference tomorrow,
so things that's definitely ongoing here. But that's kind of
where we're at as of today, which is the ninth
of me.

Speaker 12 (02:11:25):
We will be back in here about the happenings in
Chicago and I believe Richmond Charlottesville after this outbreak. Yeah
for Sobra, I hope probably not Chockolahamas. That's the chocolate
Hammas is a travesty, crime against humanity.

Speaker 3 (02:11:53):
All Right, we are back.

Speaker 8 (02:11:55):
I have a big bowl of non Sobra chocolate hummers. Actually,
so fuck all of you.

Speaker 3 (02:12:02):
Yeah, and the break Garrison got out that chickpeas and
a blenda is a really beautiful thing.

Speaker 12 (02:12:07):
Let's hear from me about what's been happening in Chicago
where there it's been multiple, multiple of these protest occupations.

Speaker 6 (02:12:14):
Yeah, so there's been four occupations so far in Chicago
that it's it's possible. I don't know. I'm actually kind
of surprised, Like the University of Ville Nois hasn't, Like
there have been a few campuses that I thought would
go up that haven't. Yeah, so we're gonna talk about
three of them because the other one I didn't get to.
We'll we'll well, we'll explain why I wasn't at the
School of the Art Institute one because.

Speaker 8 (02:12:35):
That's a shit show, sixty eight arrests.

Speaker 6 (02:12:37):
Yeah, disaster.

Speaker 3 (02:12:39):
We will get to that.

Speaker 6 (02:12:40):
So the first one I was at was at Northwestern,
And I think the other thing that's important about these
encampments is that they're really really geographically spread out across
the city. So Northwestern is not in Chicago, it is
in is it a like is it a suburb called Evanston?
Is a very rich suburb. Okay, the other thing we
should probably get across this these the Chicago camp it's

(02:13:02):
all started kind of late into this process. They're not
there's reasons for this that I can't get into, but
they're all kind of late comers. On April twenty fifth,
Northwestern one starts and it's a really chill occupation for
the most part. So there's like a police raid on
night one, but then the kids just come back and
put all the tents up again. And then after that,

(02:13:22):
like the Evanston police department is a joke, right, Like
they're not I mean, they've probably done terrible things, but
like they're not. They're not like the police departments in
the rest of the city, who are like the guys
you teach the CIA how to torture people, right, Yeah,
and so yeah, I wanted to talk a bit about
kind of the vibes of it because it was it's
a very like early occupation kind of vibe, right. It's

(02:13:44):
I mean, like I walk in, there's it's a bunch
of kids like sitting on tents doing homework. People are sleeping,
There's like people are like eating meals.

Speaker 12 (02:13:54):
Everyone's really happy, very similar to people just hanging out
in the quat at Emory and I'm sure many other
places around the country. Yeah, I think I think in
everything that that should be mentioned is you know, so
like obviously these are these are proteo, these are camps
insolidated with palessign, right, so you're you're expecting an internationalist event.
This one like I walked in there and there is
a woman on the stage in the encampment while I

(02:14:15):
say stage, and there's a woman using their sound equipment,
which made you quieter.

Speaker 3 (02:14:21):
Too, but was talking about the.

Speaker 6 (02:14:23):
Zapatistas and this is the thing you see over and
over and over again, right, It's like, yeah, these are
about these the enchampsts that I'm at are you know,
obviously they're about Palestign, But there's this real there's very
kind of there's a deep internationalism there that's very tangible
and powerful. I mean, like, you know, I was walking
through the tamp and I was I was like, you know,
there are kids like reading on the on the lawn
and I'm like I'm like pointing out like, oh hey,

(02:14:44):
this is that's the copy of The Wretched of the
Earth that I have from college. Like you know, it's
all stuff like that. It was all very chill. It
like rained on us. So we spend much time like
waterproofing tents. I think the interesting things about this is
that there's a there's a really kind of wild mix
of people there. It's it's this, it's this thing you
only really get in social movements that are like going

(02:15:05):
somewhere where, you know, I mean I was running into
people from groups like old school, like like I ran
to zone from students for a democratic society, Like I
didn't even know that groups still existed, like I thought
I thought went down well, so there there was a
second round of them in the two thousands, so I
thought they died after that, but apparently not. You know,
so you have these mix of people from like groups

(02:15:26):
that everyone thought was dead, right, Like, you know, there's
a lot of sort of very experienced, like student organizers.
There's also a lot of grad students, which is a dynamic.
I don't think it's talked about very much because it's
it's not just like eighteen year olds. There are a
lot of people in these camps who have been doing
this for a very long time. And you know, so
you have those people, but you also have people who
just I mean, like I talked to people who this

(02:15:46):
was literally their first protest, right, It's like the first
thing that evertility they'd ever come out to, And you know,
there was this very kind of there's this very sort
of camarader ReVibe. What there wasn't was a functional democracy,
and that's that's a very Dusty everything about this encampment
that was very different than the Chicago one, which I'll
be getting to in a second. It's like they there

(02:16:07):
was this sort of there was this group that was
negotiating with the administration, and no one could really tell
what they were doing. Like every once in a while
a representative would come back from them and you'd hear something.
But in the meantime, everyone is sort of running around
based on rumors, trying to figure out what these people
are negotiating. And it turns out what they're negotiating is

(02:16:31):
an end to the protests, and basically the students like, okay,
so there's a complicated set of demands. What actually happens
is that all of the entire occupation is taken down.
After a week, it's completely gone. Now there's nothing there.
What they get from it was the university is re
establishing an advisory committee on investment responsibilities. They got like

(02:16:56):
question this Northwest supposed to answer questions about holding some
stakeholders which may be disclosure, may not be. And they
got some stuff that like is real from for like
visiting like Palestinian faculty. But basically they didn't get any
of the goals of the encampment, right, there's no investments.

(02:17:17):
There's you know, a committee that can make recommendations about
the investment, and we'll see if that even happens, because
that's supposed to be spun out back in the fall. So,
you know, they take down the encampment, they get nothing,
they get no leverage, and nothing is you know, and
all of the sort of student negotiators, and these negotiators
tend they you know, Okay, so there are also like

(02:17:38):
political splits in the camp. Right, It's kind of hard
to get a sense of them just from looking at it,
but you know, if you talk to enough people, you
can sort of get the sense of like what the
splits are, right, and Northwestern was sort of split between
like the sort of liberal nego student negotiators who are
from a lot of like some of the sort of

(02:17:59):
more liberal student organizations, and the people who want to
like you know, they're sort of like Baxibleist radicals and
the maximust radicals get out maduvry because there's just not
enough of them, and so they take the encampment down.
And the people who were doing the negotiations had this
whole line by we're building power, this is just the beginning,
and there's nothing. There's been nothing else. They're screwed. They
lost everything. Their negotiating power is gone.

Speaker 3 (02:18:19):
They got nothing.

Speaker 6 (02:18:20):
So in the wake of this, the University of Chicago
encampment starts up. Vnwversit of Chicago complete other side of
the city, like Northwestern is in like the like the
fucking bougiest, like richest, whitest of the like of like
the north side of Chicago, which is like where rich
white people are, except I mean, they're not even in Chicago, right,

(02:18:42):
They're they're they're literally like they are they are a
They're a suburb. The University of Chicago, on the other hand,
is smack dab in the middle of the south side
of Chicago. There's the University bubble, and then around the
university this is like the heart, like the heart of
black Chicago, right, very very different vibe. The other thing
that's important about this is so the University of Chicago

(02:19:02):
occupation starts in the context of the massive raids in Columbia,
the raid and Humboldt, and very importantly the raids in UCLA, and.

Speaker 3 (02:19:12):
Both of both the sort of brutal police.

Speaker 6 (02:19:14):
Raid and the like absolute horrowing mass fascist attack on
the barricades where you know me of people getting beat
up the middle pipes. They're shooting. They're shooting like Fourth
of July ass fireworks, like directly into into the people
on the barricades. They are trying to kill the protesters.
They beat a bunch of student journalists like half to death.
And so University of Chicago camp when I get there,

(02:19:38):
is right in the middle of transforming from a kind
of like Northwestern style everyone's getting along like singing Kumbaya
camp to like an actual fighting camp. Because I get
there and like that day I get there at like nine,
right three hours from when I get there, they were
scheduled to be a giant rally of like right wing
frats that is going to go come and attack the encampment.

(02:20:01):
So the vibe is extremely different. It is a fighting camp.
Everyone is preparing to, like, you know, fight for their lives.
Everyone knows what happens at UCLA, and also everyone knows
what happened at Northwestern, and people are fucking pissed. People
are like, I mean unbelievably angry that then you know,
then their view is the Northwestern camp sold everyone out, sure,

(02:20:23):
and so you know, I mean, and the other thing
about Chicago that was different from Northwestern is that U
Chicago had has functional general assemblies, So there are like
functional democratic meetings where everyone in the camp goes, Okay,
we're going to like figure out what we're going to do.
And these meetings are people are not happy with, you know,

(02:20:44):
like they're not happy with what happened at the Northwestern.
They're also like really pissed off at the third occupation,
which was well, I mean, I guess I think that
Paul happened in the middle of there. But the third
occupation was the occupation at the School of the Art Institute.
The School of the Art Institute is literally right in
the heart of downtown Chicago. Like it is across like

(02:21:05):
it is like across the street from Ballennium Park. It
is like across the street from like the Art Institute
of Chicago. It is in like the corporate center of Chicago. Sure,
so they they they do. They do an occupation right
and inside of like like I think I think they
got seven hours in before SWAT teams showed up. They
rerest sixty of people. It is a brutal raid.

Speaker 3 (02:21:26):
They're they're like the cops are beating people with metal
bars like it is.

Speaker 13 (02:21:30):
It is.

Speaker 6 (02:21:31):
It is fucking terrible.

Speaker 3 (02:21:32):
It's it is. It is a bunch of swat teams
beating up art students, very switch and harsh.

Speaker 8 (02:21:36):
To make sure it doesn't become like a continued thing.

Speaker 6 (02:21:38):
Yeah, yeah, because because then and this is the thing
about but both U Chicago and DePaul to less tuge
extent too. But U Chicago and Northwestern are on basically
like opposite extremes of the city right there. They're not
in the middle of the city, of the downtown area
that yeah, like the political league care about. It's on
the north side, on the south side. Yeah, yeah, the
school the artistry, like this is literally the middle of Chicago.

(02:21:59):
And so they like it's very clear orders are coming
down from above that this encampment can't be allowed to stay,
and so they get the ship beaten out of them.
And this is important for a few reasons. One it
kind of like it kind of heightens the fear of
police deppression. But the thing that it does that's important
is that this goes fucking this like completely backfires on

(02:22:20):
Brandon Johnson and you know, so that's sort of the
mayor of the political administration, because this is you know,
it turns out people are very very angry that a
bunch of swat teams just beat up a bunch of
art students with metal bars, right, And the consequence of
this is that Brandon Johnson like refuses to or at
least openly what he's saying is that he won't use
the Chicago Police Department at at at on the University

(02:22:43):
Chicago campus. University of Chicago has its own police force
that's about one hundred and fifty officers. It's sort of
vaunted as like the largest police force in like the
largest pri one of the largest private police forces in
the world. You know, they also shot a fucking kit
while I was at school there, so you know, I
have a like depatriot of them. But what kind of
ends up happening is so there's there's that big the

(02:23:05):
day I'm there, there's this big like confentration between protesters
and kind of protesters, and you know, the kids form a.

Speaker 8 (02:23:11):
Shield protesters and counter protesters.

Speaker 3 (02:23:14):
Yeah.

Speaker 6 (02:23:14):
Yeah, so so like the the FRAT show up, there's
like a huge right wing media circus, but the kids
have a shield wall, and the shield wall fucking holds
and the counter protesters can't break it. They eventually back
off and they're separated by the cops, and from there
things get weird. The encampment gets cleared by a raid
that probably could have been stopped, you know, it has

(02:23:36):
they have one of these five am raids.

Speaker 13 (02:23:38):
You can't stop the police.

Speaker 6 (02:23:40):
Well, okay, So the thing I say about this, though,
this is this isn't CPD, this is UCPD. They have
like forty total, Like the number of people they can
amass at one time is about forty. So like this
this was the only occupation that like maybe like plausibly
could have actually beaten off the beaten off the police
tech because you know, if they only have four people
and you have six hundred like that, that that that's

(02:24:04):
about the point at which it's like plugs.

Speaker 13 (02:24:06):
It's unusual for cops to engage if they don't have
the numerical advantage.

Speaker 3 (02:24:09):
That's odd.

Speaker 6 (02:24:09):
Yeah, yeah, But what happens is that the basically the
protesters through through through, like there's a very convoluted process
of this. But the protesters decide not to define the camp,
so I everyone it gets raided and they'll and like
no one has I'm getting arrested, but they destroy the
entire camp. And Okay, I guess there's one thing that
I I probably should have fit this in better somewhere else.
But something that's very interesting about both of these encampments,

(02:24:31):
and this has been true of both of the encampments
that I've I've seen, is is who is like the
racial and gender composition of who's there, Because these are
you know, and you could see this like when you're
when when the counter protesters are facing off against the protesters,
is the counter protesters they're like exclusively white, like most
of them are white frat ros, white CIS dudes usually yeah, yeah.

(02:24:55):
And then in the camps it is basically like it
is like non it's non white people of all genders
and like non sistued people of all races. Yeah, very
very very very prominently. And this this is something that
I think is a sign of how the sort of

(02:25:16):
like American political alignment has changed and the kind of
kinds of political alliances that are kind of so normal
now that we don't even really think about them. But
if you step back for a second and look at
what's actually happening, this is this is the this is
the actual political composition of these protests. It's queer people
and non white people and obviously like people like me
who are both. And I think that's an important thing

(02:25:38):
because you know, it's it's a dynamic of these camps.
It doesn't get talked about, it en off, but is
the core thing that's happening like politically.

Speaker 12 (02:25:47):
I agree that that was the same that was the
same demographic balance at Emory. Let's take another break and
we'll come back and hear from Ali and then kind
of have a bit more of an open discussion to
close things out, comparing the similarities and differences for our
experiences at these these four different protest encampments or different cities.

Speaker 2 (02:26:05):
I guess.

Speaker 3 (02:26:16):
All right, we are back. Mollie.

Speaker 12 (02:26:19):
You saw some pretty bad police violence at the camp
in Chardsville, I believe right.

Speaker 3 (02:26:26):
Yes.

Speaker 13 (02:26:27):
The encampment at the University of Virginia was cleared on
May fourth by Virginia State Police. It was not a
pretty site, so the students at the University of Virginia
set up an encampment on April thirtieth in the afternoon
of the thirtieth. They had announced ahead of time that
there will be programming during the day on May Day.

(02:26:48):
So this sudden setup the day prior was I think
a surprise to the university. When the students first put
their stuff down, they put up some tents. The police
chief of the university Police Force, Timothy Longo, showed up
immediately and said, no tense tends to the red line.
Take the tents down. So that first night they took
the tents down, and so for three nights they slept

(02:27:11):
outside unsheltered because it was clear from the university that
the tents are going to be the problem. That's the
only issue that we have is the tents. You can
be here, you just can't put up the tents, and
you can't use amplified sound. You can't be too noisy.
The place where they'd set up was this patch of grass.
That's so if you're familiar with the University of Virginia,
there's the lawn. It's called the lawn. It's not the

(02:27:32):
only grass, but it's just the special grass. It's the
grass between the lawn rooms and the rotunda. It's like
a long narrow They weren't on the lawn. I think
that would have been a much bigger problem for the university,
just because of the optics of it, and because students
live in the lawn rooms, so they were actually on
the other side of the rotunda, in this shady, grassy
area between the rotunda and the chapel, so within kind

(02:27:54):
of spitting distance of that statue of Thomas Jefferson that
the Nazis famously surrounded in twenty seventeen, so that that
same sort of area of the university. So for three
nights they were out there unsheltered. It was pretty quiet.
It was, you know, a few dozen students. Most of
the time classes had just ended, so they were preparing
for finals, they were writing papers. I think some afternoons

(02:28:14):
they had tas come out and help people with their
with their papers, help them study.

Speaker 6 (02:28:19):
You know.

Speaker 13 (02:28:19):
It was it was chill, they were they were just
kind of out there vibing. And then on the evening
of the third they held a vigil for the dead
and Palestine. There was great turnout for that. A lot
of people came out, students, families, you know, there were
babies there, dogs, like it was. It was a safe place, right,
It was a place where people felt safe letting their
toddlers kick a ball around. Like it was not a

(02:28:42):
violent or embattled environment. There were babies there and they
held the vigil and after the vigil they had Shabbot dinner.
But as the sun was going down, it was starting
to rain, so they put up a pop up tent
to cover the Shabbat dinner, you know, the food that
had been set out. And it was at that point
that they began setting up the camping tents. And you know,
they've been told all along by the police chief, you

(02:29:04):
can't put tens up. You can't put tens up. It's
against the rules. That's that's when we're going to have
to intervene if you put the tense up. But every
UVA school policy is available on the school's website. They
have a policy database where you can, you know, search
by keyword. You can, you know, you can see every
official school policy. And the official school policy is that
tens are allowed. It's on the website. You can have

(02:29:26):
a tent. And so now this, you know, the university
is saying that this discrepancy as well. You know that
actually isn't a policy. It was a sort it's guidance
on the policy. But it is in the policy database
on the policy website where they keep the policies and
it says guideline on it, and a guideline it's a
synonym for a policy. So they are there. I think

(02:29:47):
the lesson to take away here, you know, I'm not
going to Monday morning quarterback the student organizers. I was
not privy to internal discussions. I don't think that's my role.
I think the takeaway here though, is that they're always
going to move the posts. The only protest the administration
will ever approve of is one that happened at least
thirty years ago. Right, you have to be decades removed

(02:30:09):
from progress to see it as positive. They never like
progress while it's happening. They never like protest while it
is happening. There's nothing you can do that will be allowed. Right,
Because the entire time of those first three days, when
the police were keeping their distance, they were always there.
There was always this sort of like needling back and
forth while you know, can you just can you adjust this,
can you change this kind of behavior, like you know

(02:30:30):
you're not breaking the rules yet, but just you know,
we're watching, be careful, this constant needling. And so in
the end on the fourth when the Virginia State Police
showed up, you know, up until that point, the idea was, well,
the provocation was the tense. The problem was the tents.
The police had to become because of the tents. You
know that the policy on the school's website changed Saturday morning,

(02:30:53):
like we have the you know, the cash on the website.
You can see when the PDF was altered.

Speaker 2 (02:30:59):
It was that.

Speaker 13 (02:31:00):
So it's like, is it about the tents? Did you
change this policy as pretext for the police raid? Because
now in the aftermath, since they were caught out changing
that policy immediately before the police raided the camp, they're saying, well, no, actually,
actually it wasn't about the tents. That's not really what
this is about. It's because they're saying now that you know,
four men in essentially a black block, right, So four

(02:31:22):
men in black were carrying backpacks with helmets were seen
in the area and they're known to law enforcement. And
I'll be honest with you, I did not see these individuals.
But at the same time, who care who? It's public property, right,
this is a public university. You know, this outside agitator narrative.
You know, we had to beat and Pepper's bray these
students because of these mysterious men. But at the same time,

(02:31:45):
you know, the entire time that the students were in
the encampment, they had faculty liaisons from Faculty for Justice
in Palestine, and the faculty liaison were not you know, negotiating,
because students were clear that there was no negotiation, right that,
you know, they're not negotiating on their demands, but that
all communication between admin and the police into the encampment
came through these faculty liaisons and they were in constant

(02:32:07):
open communication. And the faculty liaisms are saying, well, if
there was someone dangerous here, if the police had identified
like a you know, an actual danger in this space,
they never communicated that to us, right that before this
raid happened, no one ever said to the faculty liaison,
someone here is dangerous, there's a known criminal here, there's
you know, this is why this has to That was

(02:32:28):
never communicated. So I'm not sure these you know, four
mysterious individuals exist.

Speaker 8 (02:32:33):
I don't know.

Speaker 13 (02:32:34):
I think that is a manufactured, you know, sort of
after the fact pretext. But in any case, on Saturday morning,
the anniversary of the Kent State massacre, state police showed
up a lot of them all at once, and there
was you know, the local police set up a perimeter

(02:32:54):
around the encampment. And again, so it had been raining
all night. It was soaking wet. Like I showed up
Saturday morning to take some wet blankets home to wash them,
because things seemed fine, Things were very calm. Again, there
had been babies there the day before. It was very calm,
and so I thought, well, I'll wash their wet blankets
and socks and bring them back and then we can,
you know, they can regroup and move forward. And while

(02:33:15):
I was in home washing wet socks, I heard that
the raid was starting. And again so you know, because
it had been raining, and it was a pretty small
protest to begin with, people are doing their finals. There
were maybe a few dozen people there, like a few
dozen at most. But once the riot cops showed up,
people start pouring out of the libraries. Hundreds and hundreds
of students come to see what all the noise is about, right,

(02:33:38):
they come to see what the disturbance is about. The
university used the emergency alert system that texts students. It
sends texts and emails for emergencies, you know, things like
a fire or a tornado or a mass shooting. Right
that a lot of these students have recent memory of
a very serious shooting here that they got these texts for.
These texts are for real emergencies, but they use the

(02:34:00):
emergency alert system to tell students to avoid the area.
So of course they poured into the area to see
what was happening, and so they set up a perimeter
around the camp so the people inside could not get
out and the people who came to see what was
happening could not get in, and a lie on riot
cops marched into the camp and just bludgeoned and pepper
sprayed at like point blank range. Pepper sprang them directly

(02:34:21):
into their mouth, nose, and eyes. I think one student
was wearing goggles and they removed her goggles so they
could spray her directly in the eyes while she was
already prone on the ground. One woman was having a seizure,
but they didn't stop arresting her to let her seize
in peace, and they were just sort of dragging her
limp body away. It was very nasty and once they

(02:34:43):
made their leave twenty six arrests, they turned on the
crowd that had gathered to watch, and they started pushing
this massive crowd of students out into the street. They
didn't close the street, like there was a dean on
scene who was watching this happen and sort of making
frantic phone calls to try and close the street that
the students were being pushed into because it was an
open street with traffic. And then the frat boys showed up, right, so,

(02:35:06):
you know, the students are coming out to see. Some
of them are joining the protests, some of them are
just curious, and all of a sudden, now there's an
entire hillside covered in frat boys. Some of them have
Israeli flags, some of them have American flags. And there
were times as that, you know, the police were you know,
I'm very short, I'm about five feet tall, so there
were times as the police were pushing towards us. I
can't actually see that because the person in front of
me is taller than me, and I would know the

(02:35:27):
police were starting to advance again because the frat boys
would cheer. They would start cheering, and you know, at
one point, I'm standing next to this older professor. You know,
I don'tant to call anybody elderly, right, but this was
this sort of a grandmotherly professor who had been Pepper
sprayed and was, you know, shouldered or shoulder with students,
And she looked over at those frat boys and she said,

(02:35:49):
I don't know how we're supposed to teach them.

Speaker 3 (02:35:53):
Yeah, like it.

Speaker 13 (02:35:55):
I mean, I expect a cop to be a cop.
I've been pushed around by a cop before. I'll also
but I've never seen a cheering section for police violence before,
and like.

Speaker 12 (02:36:06):
I have a few times, and it's one of the
most disturbing feelings I've ever had, is when you have
police attacking people and there's a group of like twenty
to fifty to one hundred people on the other side
of the police cheering them on. It's it's one of
the most like like death worshiping moments in my life
that I've like felt like.

Speaker 13 (02:36:27):
It's very ugly, very very ugly.

Speaker 3 (02:36:30):
Yeah, it reminds me of how like in It's not
the same, but like like in Napoleonic Area, for certain battles,
it became a thing to go and spectate and people
would sit on hills and watch the like formations move
and literally have a picnic, right and have this is real? Yeah, yeah, yeah,
they did it in Turkey in the Battle of Kabani too.
Like people they call it media Hill until the Turkish

(02:36:54):
police take guests the BBC guys who were there, do you.

Speaker 8 (02:36:58):
Know, how do you know a round numbers for arrests
or anything like that.

Speaker 13 (02:37:03):
I believe there were twenty six arrests, the majority of
them students. One was a professor, one was a reporter,
but a lot of students and grad students. And again, like,
I think it's important to talk about this idea of
the outside agitator, right because I don't want to get
bogged down and like, oh, you know, a third of
the arrests were not affiliated with the university. That doesn't
mean anything, right, Like Charlottesville is a college town. Charlottesville

(02:37:26):
is UVA. UVA is Charlottesville. It is the largest employer
in the region. It is sort of the you know,
the iconic focal point of the region. It's a public school.
People attend sporting events there, They attend concerts that like
our largest local concert venue as a UVA property. You know,
I did attend UBA, and I sometimes speak at classes
at UBA, so like I have some sort of tangential

(02:37:48):
affiliation with the university, but I don't have to justify
my presence there, right. I mean, that's like saying you
can't protest Elbit or Boeing unless you purchase bomb systems
or work.

Speaker 8 (02:37:58):
There, right right, Yeah, it's ridiculous.

Speaker 13 (02:38:01):
What this enormous institution does with its billions of my
tax dollars. Actually is my business. It is my business.
And if you're going to beat teenagers in my backyard,
that is my business.

Speaker 3 (02:38:12):
Right yeah, And like this is yeah, the university is
part of the community. They spend their entire like three
hundred and sixty four days a year that that is
their messaging. And yeah, let's as suit if the community
shows up for the university, they change that.

Speaker 12 (02:38:25):
Let's maybe you have like a brief discussion about some
of this. I think one thing I'm afterely hearing from
from you, Mollie, is like like the presence of tents
is seen as like a massive like sign of like escalation,
like this this is this is there for some reason,
that's where they decided to draw the line. It's like
when tents are going up and that's what needs to
be cracked down.

Speaker 13 (02:38:43):
On, which makes no sense because like I said, they'd
been sleeping there for three days.

Speaker 12 (02:38:48):
Sure, not wanting to be very symbolic. Yeah, it's very symbolic.
Like I think if especially if you look at like
the images from the Columbia Quad, like it's a very
symbolic thing of like tenses, like we are like staking territory,
like literally putting down stakes. Yeah, I think like that
that is has been a massive thing. I think it's
interesting the universities that have and haven't had barricades set up,

(02:39:12):
Like there was there was no barricades at every there
was no really attempt to put barricades up. And you
have like, you know, pretty pretty big barricades in Portland
of course, and then like Humboldt being really the one
that was like no, like you could like hold down
a space for like a while if you have like
lots of barricades. We see that, we see that in
LA and I know the difference between the bear kids

(02:39:37):
going up and the barricades not and how that that
does kind of slow. That's just slow a police story.
That just slow some police response. And I think one
of the one of the one of the dynamics we
have there is like at least her a emory, right,
we had the first day people faced you know, a
pretty sizable amount of plice violence. You know, there was
like twenty twenty eight arrests. A lot of people were

(02:39:57):
assaulted by police. And for many people, this this was
their first protest. A lot of these people were too
young to participate in twenty twenty, which is kind of
you know, odd looking back on it, but yeah, a
lot of these people were quite young, and this is
their first experience of like police brutality in person.

Speaker 13 (02:40:13):
And like what a first protest though, I mean, like
I'm trying to think back to like, you know, usually
your first protest doesn't end like this. Sorry, my dogs
are going crazy right now, but I you know, I
was thinking about this. It's just I think it's a
radicalizing and traumatizing first protest experience for a lot of
young people. I was talking to a young student. Want

(02:40:35):
to give too much information about her, but she was
quite young, right, It was, you know, one of her
first protest experiences. And she said, when the cop approached
her with something in his hand, she didn't know what
it was, and she couldn't understand what he was doing
or what he wanted from her. And it wasn't until
he raised the object above his head that she had

(02:40:55):
this realization that he can hit me. Yeah, only can
he hit me, but he is going to hit me.
That like, to have that realization in real time that
you are not safe in your body, that the state
will carry out violence against you. To not have known
that before and to find it out as it is happening,
I think is truly horrifying.

Speaker 12 (02:41:17):
Well, yeah, and so we have all these people who've
experienced it now for the first time, and when they,
you know, return to the campus the next day, they
don't want to go through that traumatic event again, Like
they don't want to. And so after we saw this
in a few cities, but we saw this even in Columbia,
but like after the first police response, how people behave

(02:41:37):
afterwards on campus can be quite different because they really
don't want that, and now admin is able to kind
of use threat of police. It's a very effective to
turn to be like, hey, if you keep things kind
of chill, no tense, nothing crazy.

Speaker 8 (02:41:49):
But if you just hang out on the quad, that's it.

Speaker 12 (02:41:51):
Like that's fine, but if you do anything else, we're
gonna call in those guys again and they're gonna fuck
you up even worse. And like that is a very
very effective and scaring people away from from doing anything.
And I think a big thing to navigate here is
like how how can you get students to feel like
empowered once again, to like actually be able to do stuff.
There was this there's there's this one moment at Emory

(02:42:14):
where some like some other like like more like you know,
more militanty. I don't know their exact affiliation at the university.
I don't care, but so some more some more like militant,
need more anarchistic people. Because it's Atlanta, we're like kind
of like like shaming some of the students for not
like doing more stuff. Like they got on the microphone
and were like shaving them be like hey, this this
isn't a protest, You're just you're just hanging out, and like,

(02:42:37):
I I get it, but also like what is that
going to accomplish? I think I think shaming people for
being scared of police is not effective. You need to
you need to help them to feel empowered, and that
that's a very different thing to navigate.

Speaker 13 (02:42:50):
And you can't expect, you know, can't expect their first
protest action to be all out militant, nor should you
want it to be. Like I'm sure I think one
of the things to remember is that, you know, what
does success look like that if you know, most of
these university encampments aren't going to win divestment, right, They
all have really similar demands and they include you know,
divestment of university funds, and most of them aren't going

(02:43:11):
to get that. But I think you can still envision
success as you know, these are young people. They are
learning to organize together, they're learning to create that space together,
they are coming together to talk about this issue, and
I think that can be success. I don't think you
have to bleed to have succeeded.

Speaker 12 (02:43:29):
No, totally, absolutely. I think just this being a learning
experience for people, and now you have a lot of
both professors and students whose view of police will forever
be different, which you know, in the long run, it's
probably I would view that as like a quote unquote
good thing, even though it is you know, it's short
term trauma and possibly long term trauma. But like you
have a much more accurate view of how the world

(02:43:49):
works now, especially for a lot of these like Ivy
League kids who've never never thought of police as a
threat before. Police is always like a helper, right, A
lot of these are like you know, good kids exactly, Yeah,
and and and learning that like there doesn't need to
be provocation to entice a police response. That is, that
is not a that's not a real dynamic.

Speaker 13 (02:44:10):
I mean, especially UVA. Right, Like this wasn't one of
those encampments where there had been prior clashes or real
escalation or any sort of hardening of barricades. No, they were.
They were lying in their tents when the cops showed up.
Like the lesson is that nothing you can do is acceptable,
so you might as well do what you want.

Speaker 3 (02:44:28):
Yeah, and like keep your eyes. The other thing I
wanted to mention was like victory looks like a number
of different things in these protests, but like you should
focus on whatever that is. And like something I saw
among faculty colleagues sometimes like it was just like should
we get arrested? Like sure, suld, should we choose to
get arrested? Like and like, no, you should not choose

(02:44:50):
to get arrested, like you know, we always avoid it
if you can, Yeah, avoid it. It is not an end.

Speaker 13 (02:44:56):
It's not a good strategic goal to get arrested on purpose. Yeah,
I mean this is in DC where you get you know,
a ticket and they let you go home.

Speaker 3 (02:45:03):
Yeah, no, this will fuck up as I'm lucky if
your tenured faculty will suck up your life a lot
less than people in other social and economic circumstances.

Speaker 13 (02:45:11):
Right, but even in the most privileged possible circumstance, like
it fucking sucks.

Speaker 3 (02:45:16):
Yeah. You might be denied access to your medication, You
might be confined in a cell with people who do
not identify with the same gender as you. Right, the
cops are going to be fucking mean to you. That's
what they do, Like they do violence retect capital.

Speaker 13 (02:45:26):
That's why we have a lot of people are getting
permanent nerve damage from being left in flexi cuffs. Like
even if even if your charges get dropped, like you
could suffer forever from this.

Speaker 3 (02:45:35):
Yeah, and there's you have, no you know, it doesn't
matter how good your dad's lawyer is or whatever. They're
the cops. They're going to get away with it. But yeah,
Like when I think about the young people I was
talking to people, and like when I think about twenty twenty,
where I'm talking to young people, I'm older, I'm thirty seven.
Like I think about my own like, you know, growing
up as a little kid. Like there was the like

(02:45:56):
the anti sweatshow movement, which morphed into the G eight movement,
which morphed into like xapeties to Solidarity, which morphed into
the Free Palestine movement and moving against the British National Party,
and we got to like step up until we were
fighting Nazis, right because folks, young people who are protesting
now who didn't participate in twenty twenty didn't get like

(02:46:18):
this was just like a baptism of fire. Like the
people in twenty twenty got to go out in twenty
sixteen for Donald Trump, bright in twenty seventeen and wear
the little pink hats and walk around in the pink hats,
you know, and they got introduced to the cops and
the fact that they are just going to fuck you
up because they want too slowly. But these people didn't
And I don't think we should blame them for being
like none of us are, to be clear, but like, folks,

(02:46:38):
I've seen it too much on the internet, like don't
do that shit, like teach people to be stronger than
the state. Don't shame them for not already being there.

Speaker 6 (02:46:46):
That's something that happened, like I literally watched this like
happen at the Chicago cant was people like getting ready
to have to fight off like these rap ros and
you know, like that experience, and you know, and this
is something I think is interesting about these protests. Two
was like from UCLA, Like UCLA was like a pretty

(02:47:08):
explicit attempt to try to use these like right wing
like paramilitary people to knock out an encampment, and they
couldn't do it. Like, they hurt a lot of people, right,
like two hundred people I think went to the hospital
or at least treated by medics after it. Right, they
hurt a lot of people. It was really scary, but
they couldn't break they couldn't break the barricades. And that
happened at Chicago too. It was like they couldn't like

(02:47:29):
in the Chicago like those those like they're they're on.
But at nine o'clock in the morning on the day
of that encampment, there were no fucking barricades. It was
just a bunch of tents at a lawn, right, and
in like three hours they set up a thing that
you know, still I mean they weren't still weren't really barricades,
but like you got to watch these kids, and you know,

(02:47:50):
the people who were there, like you know, like realize
that a group of them can stand and fight and
hold these people. And they and they did it. They
fucking stood there, they stood their ground, they held them,
they fought, and at the end of the day, the
fucking trapros ran away and it wasn't really intel. And
then this is I think it's been a really interesting

(02:48:10):
element of this is that like these these per military
groups have been just staggeringly unable to actually like beat
a bunch of protesters like in you know, in in
the sort of military sense of like who holds the
field at the end of the fight. They can't do it,
and only the cops have been able to.

Speaker 12 (02:48:27):
And the other thing about that is, like you had
you have a more legitimate way to fight off these
like non state actions, Yeah, yeah, right, whenever you there
is because of the nature of the state's monopoly on
the legitimate violence, fighting off the police can be a
lot more tricky than fighting off these like frat boy groups. Yeah,

(02:48:48):
like that that is that is a very different dynamic.

Speaker 6 (02:48:52):
That was a process that like unfolded there. It was
like a lot of people who were like, yeah, we
don't want to escalate, and it was like, well, okay,
so like several hundred people are going to show up.
We also happened to us the UCLA like it has
to right, Like you know, I mean like like you
can't just keep doing your sort of like we're not.

Speaker 3 (02:49:09):
Going to engage your counter protesters thing.

Speaker 6 (02:49:10):
Where's two hundred of these people who are going to
try to beat the shit out of you?

Speaker 13 (02:49:13):
Right, there's I mean, there's choosing not to engage with
someone who just wants attention, and then there is self defense.
I think those are two different things. Yeah, definitely some
like you don't you know, you don't give someone their
viral video that they can put on YouTube or whatever.
But if someone's going to beat you with a stick.

Speaker 6 (02:49:27):
Yeah, And it's like like I'm not saying either them
are like right or wrong. It's just like, yeah, like
you can't you can't use the same tactics. And being
forced to defend yourself like had this real sort of
like impact on people, and like I don't know, it's
like like I gotta see people just like understanding what
you can do with the physical mass of a group

(02:49:47):
of people, and I don't know it was it was
like it was it was a really emotional experience for
like a lot of the people there, and it was
really cool.

Speaker 12 (02:49:55):
So yeah, I think we it would be wrong just
to like criticize these these students specifically for dropping the
ball in various ways. I think the thing that we
can completely criticize and point you as a as a
as a massive failure is everyone who has not been participating,
how they have been viewing what's going on, And this

(02:50:17):
is this is this will be the last thing I
talk about, especially even even it's on like the media
side and in this general discussion, like there's been such
a such a singular focus on the campus encampment like itself,
instead of like why the protests are happening in the
first place, what's going on in Gaza just instead just
focusing on like, yeah, the actual the actual thing on campus,

(02:50:40):
but but but not caring about why these protests are
even happening, wilfully ignoring why it's happening, framing all literally
all of the campus protests as inherently anti semitic, as
if that is the main driver, and ignoring ignoring the
many instances for people who have expressed anti Semitic things
have been being like removed and pushed out of campus,

(02:51:02):
which has happened in many places. But it's it's just
it's just so lazy to totally like reject the reasoning
for why these protests are happening, the framing of trespassing
as a form of violence, call calling these encampments violent
as if as if being on campus is violent, and
meanwhile never once mentioning the actual violence on display, which

(02:51:23):
is almost solely at the hands of police and these
other far right groups. Friend of the Pod Cody Johnston
had a had a very very good tweet quote, these
people who I despise and never agree with, should protest
the way I prefer unquote.

Speaker 13 (02:51:38):
Don't don't debate tactics with people who don't share your goals.

Speaker 3 (02:51:42):
Yeah, yeah, and.

Speaker 12 (02:51:44):
Again like these people who who who have like an
ideological opposition to every single thing that these protest are
staying for people.

Speaker 3 (02:51:52):
Doing this in the actual Bush administration just a wild
fucking mental gymnastics to be like, it is a leag
go for you to have your attempts here that is trespassed,
Therefore we can violently displace you. Also, I stand with Israel,
like exactly.

Speaker 13 (02:52:07):
Your head remind people of too is you know, you know,
the saying like, well, technically they broke the rules. Okay, Well, technically,
if you're going twenty over the speed limit, the cop
can book you into jail. Would it be a bizarre
escalation of force for him to do that? Do they
normally do it?

Speaker 2 (02:52:22):
Now?

Speaker 13 (02:52:23):
They don't? Right, So, just because just because the police
can intervene in certain ways doesn't mean it makes sense
for them.

Speaker 9 (02:52:29):
To do so.

Speaker 12 (02:52:30):
Technically, you're not supposed to bomb forty thousand civilians, right
So I think that's that's really.

Speaker 6 (02:52:36):
Weapons says are illegal the under under the Lahi Act,
And it doesn't matter.

Speaker 13 (02:52:40):
For shit because the rules, you know, the police are
only only powerful to punish you.

Speaker 12 (02:52:47):
The fact that there's more moral outrage across the country
or students protesting a genocide than there is for forty
thousand civilians being murdered is just looking at a deep
hole at the at the conscience of this country.

Speaker 2 (02:53:02):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (02:53:02):
Also, the thing I.

Speaker 6 (02:53:03):
Will say about that is if you look at the
polling numbers on this, like, yeah, there's like like forty
seven ish percent support for like banning like protesters on campus. However,
when you actually look at the numbers, like especially if
you look at the numbers of my cultures, you look
at the numbers of people in general who now like
who now support like ceasing like ceasing sending arms to Israel.

(02:53:24):
It's been interesting, so like they have been working totally.

Speaker 12 (02:53:27):
It's just that the people who control this country is
a different demographic than all the young people who are
potesting on campus, right, which is what we are looking at.
And I think it's also important to remind her that
almost every single campus protest historically has been completely vindicated
over time because they're obviously correct.

Speaker 8 (02:53:45):
And if you deny that, who are you fooling?

Speaker 3 (02:53:47):
Anyway?

Speaker 12 (02:53:48):
I think that this episode's already pretty long, but I
was happy to hear a collection of our four different
accounts from four different places.

Speaker 13 (02:53:56):
Oh, I do want to say really quick before we
wrap this up. To everyone who says these students are
too young to know what they are protesting, they couldn't
possibly understand what they are talking about. Fred Hampton was
twenty one.

Speaker 12 (02:54:08):
People forget how how young MLK was when he started
doing Yeah.

Speaker 3 (02:54:13):
And they're young enough for fucking Israel to kill them, right.
There are no universities in guars there anymore. It's just
it's ridiculous. They're also young enough to join the idea
for any other military and go and kill people. It's
a ridiculous argument. Like, you don't have to go there
and talk to these students. They know exactly what they're protesting.
They know exactly what they're talking about.

Speaker 13 (02:54:31):
A lot of them are actually fairly well versed on
the minutia of what divestment means and what that looks like,
and what the fiduciary duties are. Like, they're not stupid.
They know what they're talking about.

Speaker 8 (02:54:42):
All these dumb college educated youngsters.

Speaker 13 (02:54:45):
All these lady it's at Columbia anyway.

Speaker 3 (02:54:48):
This fucking nerds you Chicago. It's like, we don't talk
about Palestine enough in class. Is like I teach a
lot of world history classes. It's certainly not on the
little boxes you have to take. And some people came
to the encampments to learn, and that's fucking great too.
And some people taught people and that's great too, Like
it's a place where a lot of learning happened and
people became more informed over time. You don't need to

(02:55:09):
have a PhD or master's in an area to understand
that bombing children is bad and wanted to stop. We
had a world war about this, like genocides are bad.
So this will be a topic we continue to cover
on the show over the course. At summer, we'll have
I'm planning a deep dive about what happened at Emory.
Margaret has an upcoming episode about how people who were
engaged in the campus protests can stay involved over the summer,

(02:55:31):
and of course we will continue to talk about what's
been happening in Gaza. Thanks for listening, solid Air. To
everyone who's out.

Speaker 13 (02:55:37):
There, Flush your eyes with water.

Speaker 8 (02:55:39):
Flush your eyes with water again, learned.

Speaker 13 (02:55:57):
Hello, and welcome back to it could happen here. I
am once again your occasional host, Molly Conger joining me
today for a very special episode. Are my friends and yours,
Scharen and Mia so Sharinnia. We're here today to honor
and reflect upon a very somber and important holiday. It
is May fifteenth as we are recording this today, and

(02:56:17):
today is actually recognized the world over as Knackba Day,
a day to remember the first Knakba, the founding of
the state of Israel and the force displacement of the
Palestinian people. And this year, as a new Nakba continues,
as the genocide is being committed against the Palestinian people,
it's more important than ever to remember that these atrocities
did not start last year. But that isn't the memorial

(02:56:38):
day I invited you here to talk about. Here in
the United States, the holiday officially on the books today
is not Knackba Day. It is National Peace Officers Memorial Day.
In nineteen sixty two, President Kennedy signed a proclamation establishing
May fifteenth as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the
week it falls within as National Police Week. It's an

(02:56:58):
entire week to honor commemorate the brave boys in blue
who've lost their lives in the line of duty. And
I can't think of a better way to spend this
afternoon with both of you than to talk about how
this holiday is celebrated and to share some of these
incredible stories of courage and sacrifice. So one of the
most frequently cited sources during Police Week and year round

(02:57:19):
when you're talking about the mortality rate of police officers
is a website called the Officer Down Memorial Page. Highly
encourage you to visit it, make an account browse the pages.
The website is run by a nonprofit organization by the
same name and has had tax exempt status since two thousand.
According to their IRS Form nine nineties, the tax form
that tax exempt nonprofits have to file annually, they're pulling

(02:57:41):
in around seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year,
a third of which goes directly toward executive compensation and
why why shouldn't someone make a quarter of a million
dollars annually to do such important work? Public records show
the website's founder, Chris Cosgriff, is a police officer himself
in Fairfax County, Virginia. Available salary data from twenty eighteen

(02:58:04):
shows him making a policeman salary of about sixty nine
thousand dollars. According to his LinkedIn page, Cosgriff still works
for the Fairfax County Police Department as a recruiting supervisor
the officer down memorial page. Tax documents show he paid
himself a paltry twenty four thousand, five hundred dollars in
twenty twenty three as the executive director of the nonprofit,
though they list key employee compensation at an expense of

(02:58:26):
two hundred and fifty thousand dollars that year, with no
indication of who is being paid that remaining two hundred
and twenty five thousand dollars or what that person's position is.
When the organization received a thirty thousand dollars PPP loan
in twenty twenty, they indicated on their loan documents that
there were five employees at the organization. I'm not an accountant,
so I won't hazard any kind of guesses here, but

(02:58:47):
I am having trouble making sense of that twenty twenty
four nine ninety, which lists five company officers by name
and only cosgriff is drawing a salary, he paid himself
fifty thousand dollars that year. So that same document from
twenty twenty shows that the organization and had expenses of
two hundred thousand dollars for compensation of officers, but it
doesn't say where that remaining one hundred and fifty thousand

(02:59:07):
dollars went.

Speaker 6 (02:59:09):
Hmmm, I worried.

Speaker 13 (02:59:13):
Maybe they have a secret employee that they're not counting.

Speaker 3 (02:59:17):
His son, his wife, his other wife.

Speaker 13 (02:59:21):
The website indicates that donations to the nonprofit go towards
maintaining the website, making posts on their Facebook, maintaining the
site's companion mobile app, and historic research, claiming that their staff,
again those five people, have uncovered records of over two
thousand fallen officers that otherwise would have been forgotten to time.
The site has memorial pages for officers who died as

(02:59:41):
far back as seventeen seventy six, so it's as old
as America. That's not real, it's not We didn't actually
really have what is considered modern policing back then, so
they're really kind of stretching definitions, are.

Speaker 14 (02:59:56):
They including like people that went after slaves, you know?

Speaker 13 (03:00:00):
Yeah, yeah, tax collectors, yes, olive stretching.

Speaker 3 (03:00:07):
Yes a lot.

Speaker 14 (03:00:07):
I know you want to go that far back, but
I mean.

Speaker 9 (03:00:10):
Do you.

Speaker 13 (03:00:12):
Donations also help fund their No Parole for cop Killers program,
which tracks the cases of the people they call convicted
cop killers and flood local parole boards with letters advocating
against release. The donation page claims to have sent out
over ten thousand such letters in the last six months alone.
They also have a merch page where you can buy
a lovely trio of thin blue line Christmas ornaments in

(03:00:35):
a gift box for the low reasonable price of sixty dollars.

Speaker 3 (03:00:39):
Jesus.

Speaker 14 (03:00:41):
Kind of all the things I thought you were going
to say. I did not think you were going to
say Christmas ornaments.

Speaker 13 (03:00:45):
Oh yeah, beautiful, beautiful memorial ornaments. You can get them customized.

Speaker 6 (03:00:50):
Wow.

Speaker 13 (03:00:52):
The site lists information about American law enforcement officers, prison employees,
and police dogs who have lost their lives in the
line of duty. Kind of see. While the website is
the source cited in every local news puff piece when
May fifteenth rolls around every year, putting their version of
the numbers in the headlines, the organization's stats don't match
those in the FBI's annual report on the subject, an

(03:01:14):
official annual report called the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and
Assaulted or LEOCA Report. The data used by the FBI
is collected as part of the uniform Crime Reporting System,
and if you take just a minute to look at
the Officer down Memorial Page's annual data, the reason for
this mismatch is immediately clear. They're padding their numbers by
including deaths by natural causes on duty, deaths due to

(03:01:35):
accidents or incidents unrelated to the officer's duties, and they're
including law enforcement adjacent personnel that the FBI does not
consider to be law enforcement deaths in their reporting. The
FBI's LEOCA report has really clear criteria for inclusion. To
be considered a law enforcement line of duty death, the
deceased must have been a duly sworn law enforcement officer
acting in their official capacity at the time of their death.

(03:01:58):
So they have to be a real cop, somebody who
can carries a badge and a gun and has full
arrest powers. And the FBI specifically excludes death by natural
causes like heart attacks or COVID deesths that occurred on duty,
but quote attributed to their own personal situation, such as
domestic violence, neighbor conflict, et cetera, which like that they
have to list that by name. If you died doing

(03:02:21):
a domestic violence in uniform, that doesn't count. How often
is that happening?

Speaker 3 (03:02:25):
Yeah, I hope people who killed them are getting.

Speaker 13 (03:02:28):
Parole, Like good God, right, Like if your wife kills
you while you're beating her but you're on the clock,
the FBI says, no dice. They also specifically note that
they do not include corrections officers, Bureau of Prisons officers,
bailiff's judges, probation and parole officers, or US attorneys and
assistant US attorneys. So just cops, not the people who

(03:02:48):
sort of work in the industry around them but are
not cops.

Speaker 14 (03:02:52):
Not people that basically are cops, like actual cops, you know,
in actual cops.

Speaker 13 (03:02:56):
Yeah, and the FAA is really aware clearly that the
numbers on the ODMP get cited more often than their own,
Because the FBI's Crime Data Explorer page offers this weasly
little caveat quote. The FBI's LEOCA program is one of
a number of entities that report information concerning line of
duty deaths and or assaults of law enforcement officers in
the United States. Each organization has its own purpose and

(03:03:19):
may use different methods to collect and report information, or
focus on somewhat different aspects of these important topics. Therefore,
care should be taken not to compare LEOCA data to
data provided by other entities, such as the Officer Down
Memorial page. So they're specifically saying, we know these numbers
don't match. We know these numbers don't match because a
few years ago we gave them a few hundred thousand

(03:03:39):
dollars in grant money to make numbers that are fake.

Speaker 2 (03:03:42):
Wow.

Speaker 3 (03:03:43):
Incredible, Wow.

Speaker 13 (03:03:46):
So the odmp is patting out their numbers with off
duty accidents, prison guards, parking lot heart attacks, and COVID deaths.
The database includes nearly nine hundred COVID deaths, causing massive
statistical anomalies. In their twenty twenty, twenty twenty one, and
twenty two data, they include officers who died of natural
causes years after sustaining minor on the job injuries, which,

(03:04:07):
you know, if you're involved in a civil lawsuit after
the death of a loved one, you could maybe argue
that this was sort of a you know, a downhill
kind of thing. If you're trying geting a settlement from
the state, maybe you could say that, you know, the
injury sustained contributed to the death, but that's you can't
tell me that slipping in the parking lot and then
dying six years later is an experience unique to the

(03:04:27):
dangers of law enforcement. A district attorney who flipped his
car after hitting a log that fell off a truck
on the highway on a Friday night is not a
law enforcement line of duty death because that not only
was that not a cop it was a single car accident.
And when DeSoto County Search and Rescue Director Deputy William
Nichols went on a beach vacation and took his family

(03:04:47):
into the ocean despite red flag riptide hazard condition warnings.
He lost his life trying to rescue his son. And
that's very sad. But drowning on vacation is not a
line of duty death. When Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Sergeant Ed Bollman and his friend drowned in the middle
of a frozen lake while ice fishing, that wasn't a

(03:05:08):
line of duty death. It's just a sad accident while
dudes were hanging out.

Speaker 3 (03:05:13):
These people, they really, they really should have a bad
time around water.

Speaker 13 (03:05:21):
Float. There is a shocking number of drowning desks where
the cop just like the second his feet caught we
he just disappeared. Don't get them wet. It's not a
gremlin situation to.

Speaker 14 (03:05:35):
Include swimming in the cop test, right, Oh no, I
mean these people barely know how to point their guns.

Speaker 6 (03:05:43):
Like expecting them to be able to swim is the
standards or that that's a bit too high of a
standard for them.

Speaker 13 (03:05:49):
I mean, to be fair, most of these deaths are
single car accidents. One guy died after t boning a
school bus. The children were fine, the children.

Speaker 3 (03:05:58):
Were oh, thank god, okay, thank god.

Speaker 2 (03:06:00):
Weh and so.

Speaker 13 (03:06:02):
Rather than a detailed statistical analysis relying on uniformly reported
official data, the ODMP relies on user submitted content. So
people are submitting things and then Wikipedia, Yeah, Wikipedia for bootleggers, no,
no thanks. But when National Police Week rolls around, it's
their inflated numbers in every infographic, not the FBI's methodologically

(03:06:25):
consistent data. And if I'm being generous, you know you
could write that off on the ease of access to
the data on ODMP. It's very user friendly. It shows
you a little picture and a bio of each officer.
It's very easy to use. You can search by year, agency,
cause of death, state, or an officer's name. It's not
a wall of small text with little data tables and
links to ZIP files of more data tables. The FBI's

(03:06:47):
report is ugly and it's uncompelling, and it's sort of
overwhelming to navigate. If that's not something you are interested
in doing, so don't want to be too hard on
the twenty two year old news anchor scrambling to put
something on the screen at six o'clock. The officer down
the more page makes it a matter of a few
easy clicks for your local news anchor to find a
handful of local interest stories to run on May fifteenth.
But the people who run the website know exactly what

(03:07:10):
they're doing, and it's an intentional ideological project to perpetuate
the myth of the courageous, noble policeman doing America's most
dangerous and thankless job, a job that is uniquely and
outlandishly perilous, standing apart from any other profession, and that
that's not true. That's not true. And for this I
take you to another government agency's annual reports, the Bureau

(03:07:33):
of Labor Statistics.

Speaker 3 (03:07:34):
Oh, I love this report. This is the best one.

Speaker 6 (03:07:38):
The Bureau of.

Speaker 13 (03:07:39):
Labor Statistics has consistently reported, I'm talking, you know, for
the last thirty years, consistently since the nineties, a fatal
workplace injury rate for police officers of around fourteen per
one hundred thousand full time equivalent employees. You know, it
varies year to year, but it's consistently a little under
fourteen per hundred thousand. And of course, yes, that is
higher than the now average for all labor categories.

Speaker 3 (03:08:02):
So for all workers.

Speaker 13 (03:08:03):
In the US, the workplace fatality rate is about three
point seven per hundred thousand, So the cops are dying
at a rate of four times higher than the average worker.
And of course it's more dangerous if your job requires
driving all day most of these cops die in car accidents.
Or if your job involves mishandling a firearm every day,
of course it's more dangerous to do that than it

(03:08:25):
is to do data entry or be a cashier. I mean,
obviously we do not have a high mortality rate for
the average desk job. But while it is more dangerous
than being a receptionist, policing doesn't even crack the top
ten for most dangerous professions. Loggers are seven times more
likely to die on the job. Roofers are more than

(03:08:45):
four times more likely than a cop to die due
to a workplace incident. Being a fisherman is more than
three and a half times more dangerous than being a cop.
General construction work is more than three times more dangerous
than police work. Delivery drivers are more than twice as
likely to die at work than a cop. It is
more dangerous to be a day laborer on a farm
picking fruit, or to drive a garbage truck. Being a

(03:09:07):
cop has a similar level of risk of death by
workplace incident as being a groundskeeper, So it is about
as safe as being the guy that cuts the grass
at the park.

Speaker 4 (03:09:17):
Yeah.

Speaker 6 (03:09:17):
And I think there's a real issue with a labor
reporting for like the category of farm worker, because whenever
you see data that says like farm worker, that can
either mean someone who's actually a farm worker, or it
can mean like a guy who sits in an air
condition office every day. And even the bure of Laboristics
is not very good at actually sifting those out because

(03:09:39):
there's been a sustained effort by like farm owners to
make sure this data is like as non transparent as possible.
So I am I will say, I am fairly confident.
I cannot say this is nasty effect. I am fairly
confident that farming is actually significantly more dangerous than the
real labor statistics says, so like it is so much
more dangerous you like pick your food that it is

(03:10:02):
to be a cop.

Speaker 13 (03:10:04):
And because I think for a lot of industries there
is a lot of incentive to underreport workplace accidents, I
think policing is one of the only industries where they
are incentivized to over report accidents. Right, So the data
is I mean, even for as skewed as the data
may be at the point of entry, it's still a
lot safer to be a cop than it is to
drive a truck.

Speaker 14 (03:10:24):
And this is with the numbers of them like falling
into a puddle.

Speaker 6 (03:10:28):
Right.

Speaker 13 (03:10:29):
Well, so I think the Bureau of Labor Statistics is
probably using something closer to the FBI numbers, Okay, which
is still I mean, you know, on.

Speaker 6 (03:10:37):
The other hand, cops are the biggest babies about this
in the entire world.

Speaker 13 (03:10:42):
Because they can't paid leave. If every time you had
a booboo at work you could just go home for
a week, you'd do it too.

Speaker 2 (03:10:49):
Yeah.

Speaker 6 (03:10:50):
But also, I mean, just like in the media, it's
like these people never shut up about how dangerous their
job is, and it's like your job is more safe
than like most of the actual hard jobs people work,
like please shut up, Oh my god.

Speaker 13 (03:11:06):
And the one thing that all those jobs have in common,
aside from requiring you to be braver, smarter, and stronger
than a cop, they don't typically come with platinum level
healthcare paid leave for minor booboos. State subsidized life insurance,
a pension, a discount at the coffee shop, and a
license to kill.

Speaker 3 (03:11:24):
Do you know what else has a license to kill?

Speaker 13 (03:11:27):
Okay, I was gonna say, before we get into really
honoring our boys on this special day, I think we
should take a quick ad break that is hopefully not
an ad for the Washington State Patrol. Okay, And with

(03:11:51):
all that background out of the way, would you care
to join me in commemorating some of the officers our
nation is honoring this National Police Week.

Speaker 14 (03:11:59):
This is what I came here for.

Speaker 3 (03:12:01):
Yeah, so excited.

Speaker 13 (03:12:03):
Now, before we get into the handful I picked out
for us today, I want to be really clear for
the boys over at the officer down memorial page, because
their website specifically prohibits the use of their content for
commercial purposes. So I will say I found these names
on their website, but I don't trust their methodology enough
to take their content at face value, so I wouldn't
use it as a source anyway, even if I were

(03:12:24):
allowed to do that. So for each of these vignettes,
I pulled original contemporaneous local reporting on the incidents, and
in some cases actual court records, so you can't get me.
In twenty ten, Saint Joseph, Missouri police officer Dan Dacry
was participating in a training exercise. During a break, he
and another officer put down the training weapons they've been using,

(03:12:47):
which were loaded with something called simmunition, So simulated ammunition.
It's not real bullets, it's a plastic, non lethal object
that goes.

Speaker 2 (03:12:55):
In the gun.

Speaker 13 (03:12:56):
Before leaving the training facility, which was a recently closed
elementary score to walk to a nearby convenience store to
get a soda, the officers put down their training weapons
and holstered their duty weapons. So to walk down the
street to get to the seven eleven, they needed their
real guns, so they put their real guns back on
in case they encountered any emergency situations. Yeah, in case,
you know, in case they saw it. We'll get to

(03:13:18):
a dog, so they holstered their duty weapons. Upon returning
after their break, drinks in hand, officer to Cry asked
his colleague, officer Jason Strong, to shoot him with a
simmunition round because he wanted to know what it would
feel like.

Speaker 14 (03:13:35):
Oh my gosh, that's just a beautiful desire, you know,
just curious.

Speaker 13 (03:13:40):
He's just curious, you know, a day would be curious,
and so officers Strong drew his weapon and shot officer
to Cry in the back. I guess they both forgot
that they put their real guns back on and not
their training weapons. So I don't know if you ever
may you probably know this, but the if it's not

(03:14:02):
a real gun, if it has fake bullets in it,
if it is a training object, it has an orange tip.