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The Poplar Tapes
101 minutes | Jul 27, 2021
Anarchism, Decolonization and Solidarity Publishing w. Benjamin Pillet
In this episode, Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos are joined by Benjamin Pillet, a PhD grad from Université de Québec à Montréal who now lives on a sustainable farm with his family in Paspébiac, to discuss his journey from France to Turtle Island, the concept of Anarcho-Indigenism, settler solidarity publishing, activism, decolonization, anarchism, postcolonialism, theories of the state and more. Special thanks to Benjamin Pillet for sharing his time with us and to Jacob Irish for postproduction. Thank you to our listeners for joining us. You can find Benjamin Pillet's PhD thesis here (in French): https://archipel.uqam.ca/13505/ and “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor” by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang here: https://clas.osu.edu/sites/clas.osu.edu/files/Tuck%20and%20Yang%202012%20Decolonization%20is%20not%20a%20metaphor.pdf
133 minutes | May 17, 2021
Is America Fascist? An Historical Analysis
In this episode, Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos are joined by Montreal-based poet William Vallières for an enriching discussion on the nature and history of fascism and what the legacy of studies on fascism can offer us when interpreting politics in the world today. Special thanks goes out to Will for generously sharing his time and thoughts with us. You can find his most recent book of poetry Versus (2019) with Véhicule Press if you follow this link: https://www.vehiculepress.com/q.php?EAN=9781550655377 We also extend our gratitude to Jacob Irish for his generous and continued support with postproduction. And thank you to our listeners for sticking with us!
63 minutes | Dec 17, 2020
Community and Autonomy: Migrants in Greece
Feeling lonely? As the first round of vaccines rolls into Canada, a yearning for the revitalization of social relations long severed and strangulated by the social distancing and confinement required to fight COVID-19 grows stronger. But what kinds of social relations are we going to build now and commit to the future? What can we build together in the face of crisis at home or abroad? In this episode, Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos are joined by friends Ryan Faulkner and Héloïse Muller to discuss how community organizing in Greece has handled one of the EU’s worst economic crises and the growing “refugee crisis” and to walk us through their experiences volunteering for autonomous zones in Greece. Donate to Khora here: https://www.khora-athens.org/donate
92 minutes | Oct 19, 2020
Post-Capitalist Desire: Mark Fisher 2020 Vision
Seven months into the global pandemic, Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos revisit one of Mark Fisher’s papers called “Post-Capitalist Desire.” At a time when societal collapse, economic recession, world-historical crises, homelessness, unemployment and fascist tendencies are on the rise, we believe it is crucial to think about the situation of the political left in public discourse and how it is taking shape today. What could a post-capitalist world look like? How do we think through capitalism to its end and beyond in the settler colonial context of Canada? In what ways are Fisher’s reflections on the challenges the political left faces adaptable to our lives today? How have things changed and what are some ways that we can fight for a better future together? From Occupy to #WetsuwetenStrong, new Left media to fashion and music, we explore all of these questions and more! Special thanks goes to Jacob Irish for his fine-ass editing and postproduction work! Thank you to our listeners for joining us.
78 minutes | Aug 31, 2020
Erin O'Toole and Conservative Politics in Canada
In this episode, Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos are joined by Mike Fong to discuss Erin O'Toole's recent conservative party leadership election, the legacy of Canadian conservative politics and Canadian political economy. What shape is Canada's right-wing discourse taking? How do today's conservative party politics tie in with right-wing radicalization practices and what are some of the stakes at play for the political left and Indigenous politics? What strategies could the liberals implement to impede a conservative government if a vote of non confidence is held in the upcoming Fall? Join us in this episode as we consider all these questions and more! A big thank you goes out to Jacob Irish for postproduction! And thank you to our listeners for sticking with us.
80 minutes | Aug 23, 2020
1492 Land Back Lane, The Twentieth Century and the Character of Canada
In this episode, Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos discuss some of the events transpiring at 1492 Land Back Lane, where Haudenosaunee land defenders and allies have been actively holding Haudenosaunee territory since July 19, 2020, before diving into a film analysis of Winnipeg film director Matthew Rankin’s The Twentieth Century. Join us as we revisit the plot, themes, historical resonances and symbolism of Rankin’s film in effort to comprehend what this film can tell us about Canadian history, politics, identity and the construction of a national psyche. Huge thank you goes out to Jacob Irish for his ongoing commitment and work to postproduction for this podcast. Thank you to all our listeners for sticking with us! Donate to 1492 Land Back Lane: firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.gofundme.com/f/legal-fund-1492-land-back-lane
131 minutes | Jul 1, 2020
Canada on Turtle Island: Early Settler History, the Fur Trade, and Lost Futures
In this episode, Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos revisit and contemplate historical moments and trajectories that trace out certain facets of the encounter between Europeans and Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island. Taking a dual historical approach that blends Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s decolonial methodology of Indigenizing discourse with a historical materialist analysis borrowed from Marxism, we consider some of the effects of the colonial dynamics of the European-Indigenous fur trade on both Indigenous and European societies and examine the structure and evolution of specific French trading companies to pinpoint their roles both as vanguards of European economic trading practices and as founding components to the Canadian settler colonial state. These accounts are followed by a look at the Treaty of Niagara and the Royal Proclamation of 1763, two significant historical events and documents that, had their principles been respected, could have changed the course of history in Indigenous-settler political relations. Bibliography: Borrows, John. “Wampum at Niagara: The Royal Proclamation, Canadian Legal History, and Self-Government.” Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in Canada ed. Michael Asch. UBC Press, 1997. Delalande, J. Le conseil souverain de la Nouvelle-France. Québec: LSA. Proulx, 1927. Hill, Gord. 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance. PM Press, 2010. Hill, Susan M. The Clay We are Made Of: Haudenosaunee Land Tenure on the Grand River. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 2017. Innis, Harold. The Fur Trade in Canada: An Introduction to Canadian Economic History. Revised edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999. Kimmerer, Robin Wall. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2013. Marx, Karl. Selected Writings. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994. Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake. A Short History of the Blockade: Giant Beavers, Diplomacy & Regeneration in Nishnaabewin. CLC Kreisel Lecture Series. University of Alberta Press, 2021. We would like for any listeners out there who have critiques of the production of this episode, particularly surrounding Indigenous histories and decolonization, to please contact us at email@example.com or on twitter @thepoplartapes to engage us in dialogue and hold us accountable for our ignorance on these subjects towards improving Indigenous-settler relations and our work as we continue with this project.
88 minutes | May 28, 2020
Demystifying Climate Science with Anna Bishop
In this episode, Kiegan Irish, Alex Boos, and Alex Edwards are joined by guest Anna Bishop, who recently completed a master’s in biogeochemistry from the University of Alberta, to elucidate the world of climate science and its methods of understanding climate change. Join us as Anna demystifies climate science with language that balances the rigour of science with clarity and accessibility.
93 minutes | Apr 24, 2020
New Media Roundtable: Free Speech, American Politics and the Left
Now, something a little different for The Poplar Tapes. This time around, Kiegan Irish joined a roundtable with other creators to discuss left media, free speech, contemporary American politics, the differences between socialism and liberalism, and more! A big thank you goes out to Toby Buckle from the Political Philosophy Podcast for organizing the roundtable and to everyone else who took part! Check out their projects here: Jerb: https://twitter.com/Jerbivore https://www.spreaker.com/show/jerb-th... Political Philosophy Podcast: https://www.politicalphilosophypodcas... https://twitter.com/PolPhilPod Chrisiousity: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn1b... https://twitter.com/chrisiousity Embrace the Void: https://voidpod.com/ https://twitter.com/ETVPod
96 minutes | Mar 31, 2020
Bernie and Populism: Failures and Lessons
In this episode Alex Edwards and Kiegan Irish discuss the Bernie Sanders primary campaign. Bernie had a huge amount of momentum and grassroots support, yet a ripple of electoral losses led to a struggling campaign. We discuss in detail what went wrong at the level of strategy and rhetoric. We look at the campaign through the lens of populism and enumerate our diagnoses as well as offering prescriptions for building genuine power on the left.
74 minutes | Mar 28, 2020
COVID-19: Origins, Agribusiness, Climate Change and the Future
In this episode, Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos discuss the novel coronavirus, a.k.a COVID-19. We investigate its origins and draw out the connections between industrial agricultural practices, globalization, climate change, and the spread of the virus. We then do a deep dive into the relationship to nature embodied in the global economic order and how our lasting social, political, and economic problems have shaped the current crisis. What does this mean for our future? How does the left advocate for change rather than a return to the normality which led to this situation in the first place?
71 minutes | Mar 19, 2020
Wet'suwet'en and the Age of Finance Capitalism
In this episode, Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos discuss an essay entitled “Racialized Accumulation by Dispossession in the Age of Finance Capitalism: Notes on the Debt Economy” from Jackie Wang’s book Carceral Capitalism. Distilling Wang's critical reworkings of Rosa Luxemberg’s concept of hybrid capitalism and her reflections on systems of expropriation and indebtedness specific to the age of finance capitalism, we consider how they can be reapplied to the context of Canadian settler colonialism, Coastal Gas Link and the RCMP raid into Wet’suwet’en traditional territory in the early hours of the morning on February 6th, 2020. To donate: http://unistoten.camp/support-us/donate/ firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.yintahaccess.com/becomeadonor
54 minutes | Jan 19, 2020
Coulrophobia: The Evil Clown as Cultural Metaphor
In this episode, Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos discuss the history of the figure of the clown from the Feast of Fools to Ronald McDonald, and its eventual development into the 'evil' clown, which plays a recurring role in particular as a signifier in the popular culture of today. Taking the horror genre as a pivotal point of departure, we then consider the political anxieties the evil clown embodies for our contemporary political moment. Special thanks goes out to Dan Boos and Jacob Irish for editing and postproduction!
106 minutes | Oct 18, 2019
2019 Federal Election Blues
In this episode, Kiegan Irish, Mike Fong, and Alex Boos discuss Canada's upcoming federal election with a conversational approach, covering a broad range of topics. We talk through how to orient ourselves towards the different political parties and the political system in Canada as a whole. We talk about voting, not voting, democracy, the concepts of "voter apathy" and "strategic voting," Canadian history and identity, party rhetoric, the Canadian media and the construction of the Canadian public. Join us! And get yourself set straight (or maybe crooked) as you go into the voting booth this Monday! Special thanks goes out to Dan Boos for editing and Jacob Irish for postproduction. Han, Byung-Chul. Psychopolitics: Neoliberalism and New Technologies of Power. trans. Erik Butler. Verso, 2017. Simpson, Audra. Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States. Duke University Press, 2014.
65 minutes | Sep 10, 2019
Corruption in Canadian Banks: Is There No Alternative?
In this episode, Kiegan Irish, Alex Boos and Alex Edwards discuss reporting from 2017 and 2018 on corruption in Canadian banking culture and embed these reports in the wider context of our capitalist economy with a reading of Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism. We look at the banking practices of Canada’s banks and the federal government’s response to these banking practices and draw from Fisher’s concepts of market Stalinism and bureaucratic anti-production. What constitutes the discourse around “legitimate” and “realistic” banking practices? How have technologies changed the face of Canada's banking industry? Are there alternatives? We discuss all this and more. Books: Fisher, Mark. Capitalist Realism. Hants: 0 books, 2009. FCAC report: https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/programs/research/bank-sales-practices.html Media reports: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/td-bank-employees-admit-to-breaking-law-1.4016569 https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/td-tellers-desperate-to-meet-increasing-sales-goals-1.4006743 Special thanks goes out to Jacob Irish and Daniel Boos for post-production work
73 minutes | Jul 10, 2019
False Dichotomies in Politics: Hillary vs. Trump; Green New Deal vs. Labour Rights
In this episode Alex Edwards, Kiegan Irish, and Alex Boos discuss false dichotomies in our political discourse. We look at how these dichotomies are set up intentionally by those in positions of political power to divide an electorate and achieve their goals. We look at three examples of these false dichotomies. First, the 2016 American election of Hillary vs. Trump, second the Green New Deal vs. its detractors who oppose it to the labour rights of workers in the fossil fuels sector, and third the distinction between pragmatic and utopian politics in the face of a climate crisis.
26 minutes | Jun 15, 2019
There's Nothing Wrong with Counting (Part3: Surveillance and Subject Formation)
The third and final instalment in our series on algorithms and the digital condition. In this episode Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos discuss what kinds of people we are becoming in a world dominated by communication media and surveillance. We talk about some of the implications of data collection for our daily lives and the way that companies and governments use data to incentivize certain kinds of behaviour. In the end, we speculate about ways of living and organizing around digital media that could serve as alternatives to the digital mechanisms of control and domination in the hands of the current ownership class. Partial Series Bibliography: Foucault, M. (1979). Panopticism. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Mehta, P. Big Data's Radical Potential. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/03/big-data-drones-privacy-workers?fbclid=IwAR1Tlicw6EtD-qPvm7SjYJdYqKDvykzB3ecrwJsxJf0yBQdUmKoSkVJoNxU McLuhan, M. (2001). Understanding media. London: Routledge. O'Neil, C. Welcome to the Black Box. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/09/big-data-algorithms-math-facebook-advertisement-marketing/?fbclid=IwAR1Tlicw6EtD-qPvm7SjYJdYqKDvykzB3ecrwJsxJf0yBQdUmKoSkVJoNxU Stalder, F. (2018). The digital condition. Trans. Valentine A. Pakis. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. Tufekci, Z. (2014). Engineering the public: Big data, surveillance and computational politics. First Monday,19(7). Tufekci, Z. (2016, May 19). The Real Bias Built In at Facebook. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/19/opinion/the-real-bias-built-in-at-facebook.html Zuboff, S. (2019). The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for the Future at the New Frontier of Power. London: Profile Books. Corrections: It is said that Edward Snowden worked for the CIA when in fact he worked for the NSA, Kiegan gets his acronyms for shadowy government spies mixed up.
22 minutes | Jun 11, 2019
There's Nothing Wrong with Counting (Part2: Algorithms and the Market)
In the second of our three-part series on algorithms and the digital condition, Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos discuss the relationship between algorithms and the market. We live in an age of social media and to understand what that means for ourselves and for our society it's important to learn about the market forces that motivate and organize the networks we use everyday. How do new digital technologies affect markets? How do algorithms affect the conditions of labour today? What kind of infrastructure is necessary to sustain our complex digital economies? We cover all this and more! https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/09/big-data-algorithms-math-facebook-advertisement-marketing/ https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/03/big-data-drones-privacy-workers
30 minutes | May 30, 2019
There's Nothing Wrong with Counting (Part1: Polarization)
In Part One of our three part series on algorithms and the digital condition, Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos discuss what an algorithm is, the history of algorithms, and the way that algorithms function to polarize our political culture in a digital environment.
57 minutes | Apr 30, 2019
Chris Hedges on Hate
Kiegan Irish and Pat Case discuss a chapter from Chris Hedges latest book and decide if his criticisms of antifa are warranted.
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