How To Citizen with Baratunde

How To Citizen with Baratunde

How To Citizen with Baratunde reimagines the word “citizen” as a verb and reminds us how to wield our collective power. So many of us want to do more in response to the problems we hear about constantly, but where and how to participate can leave us feeling overwhelmed and helpless. Voting, while critically important, simply isn’t enough. It takes more to make this experiment in self-governance work! Listen in to learn new perspectives and practices from people working to improve society for the many. Join writer, activist, and comedian Baratunde Thurston on a journey beyond politics as usual that will leave us all more hopeful, connected, and moved to act.... Show More

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August 27, 2020 59 min

Baratunde shares the four pillars of How To Citizen. Eric Liu, founder of Citizen University, schools us on power - what it is, who has it, and how the practice of citizenship is empty without this literacy. They also discuss how this power needs to be coupled with civic character to prevent us from becoming finely-skilled sociopaths. Eric answers questions from the live audience and Baratunde gives you some ways to practice understanding and using power.

Show Notes + Links

We are grateful to Eric Liu for coming on the show and schooling us on power.

Buy his books here at our online bookshop for the show that supports local bookstores. Check out Citizen University for more tools for how to citizen and follow @ericpliu on Twitter. 

We will post this episode, a transcript, show notes and more at


External Action:  

Start or join a club. Practice power by being in relationship with others in a self-organized environment. 

Interacting with a group of people who are self-organized around a shared interest but who may be very different from you otherwise, allows you to experience and practice being a part of how groups of people make decisions, self-govern, be accountable to each other, negotiate different needs and perspectives, collaborate, and resolve conflicts. Because it is all self-selected, the dynamics are more peer-to-peer, mimicking how we work together as members of society as opposed to a work or family environment.

Internal Action:

Practice seeing and understanding power. 

It will literally become your “super-power” as a citizen. 

  • Pick an issue that you care about that impacts a specific community or the general public.
  • Who benefits from the current state of things, and who doesn’t?
  • Lastly, how are the decisions about this issue made - is there accountability, transparency, and participation by those most affected?
  • Who influences the decision-making process and what types of power do they use?

  • If you took either action or both, share with us what happened or how you felt - Mention Episode 01 in the subject line.

    We love feedback from our listeners -

    Visit Baratunde's website to sign up for his newsletter to learn about upcoming guests, live tapings, and more. Follow him on Instagram or join his Patreon. You can even text him, like right now at 202-894-8844.

    How To Citizen with Baratunde is a production of I Heart Radio Podcasts. executive produced by Miles Gray, Nick Stumpf, Elizabeth Stewart, and Baratunde Thurston. Produced by Joelle Smith, edited by Justin Smith. Powered by you. 

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