Created with Sketch.
Wine, Women, and Revolution
60 minutes | 10 days ago
Breaking Down QAnon
In this extended episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather is joined by Christian Perez to talk Qanon and other conspiracy theories. Who are they? How did the come to cause so much chaos? And where are they going under a Biden presidency. They repeat patterns of conspiracy theories that are centuries old, but have capitalized on social media and modern technology to spread their dangerous thinking. Transcript auto generated Christian Perez 0:00If you re still a Trumper or are you still adhering to Q anon, probably not that big of a critical thinker. So if they don’t disappear they’ll just morph into something else they’ll become something else. Heather Warburton 0:16This is Wine, Women and Revolution with your host, Heather Warburton. Hi, and welcome to Wine, Women and Revolution. I’m your host, Heather Warburton coming at you here on Create Your Future Productions. You can find us online at www.YourFutureCreator.com. Follow us on all the social medias and get us wherever you get your podcasts from. Tonight I’m welcoming back a friend. He’s been on my show. God probably this is like fourth or fifth time, I think. And I always love having him on the show. Christian Perez welcome back. Christian Perez 0:49Thanks for having me. Heather. Glad to be back. Heather Warburton 0:52So you are my man on conspiracy theories. And the reason I wanted to have you back tonight is because it feels like conspiracy theorists are just getting more and more prevalent, or at least more and more people seem to be falling victim to conspiracy theories. And I saw somebody I pulled up to Walgreens the other day in my little town that I live in this, you know, cute, quaint little South Jersey town, and somebody had a Qanon bumper sticker. So I’m walking around Walgreens like, well, who’s the crazy person in here? And it’s just so weird. People used to hide the fact that they were like crazy conspiracy theorists and Christian Perez 1:31Now they put it on their bumpers. Heather Warburton 1:32Right? Am I wrong in thinking that it’s more prevalent now? Christian Perez 1:36No, I mean, I would say it’s definitely more prevalent. conspiracy theories have always been around, you know, since the beginning of time since the beginning of modern history. You know, you can go back to the Middle Ages. But I think now, with the rise of the Internet with, you know, the election of Barack Obama in 2008, there’s definitely been a rise in conspiracy theories when it comes to social media, when it comes to the internet. Conspiracy theories are now more than ever able to spread, proliferate, change, evolve, mutate, I guess. They’re definitely more prevalent today. We have an emboldened Republican Party headed by President Trump and any number of his his followers that now we see post election , an election that they’ve clearly lost still pushing this conspiracy theory that that the election was rigged, that there’s some kind of movement against them. And you know, it’s not going to stop, these people aren’t going to go away. And I think Trump has shown a, you know, a playbook almost for future conspiracy theorists or future megalomaniacs who want to rise to power, all you got to do is lie, the media will have no idea how to cover you will give you all kinds of free publicity. And you could make your way into power. So I think you’re absolutely accurate and thinking that they’re more prevalent today because they are. Heather Warburton 2:57And even in communities like that you would not expect conspiracy theories and fascist thinking to be prevalent, like I learned from a friend who teaches yoga that she can’t even go to yoga retreats anymore, because conspiracy theorists are taking over new age groups, yoga groups, all these enlightenment groups that you would think would be nice places have become vile place. Christian Perez 3:20The problem is a lot of that stuff like like yoga. Like I’m not gonna diss yoga, right, yoga is good. In terms of athleticism ,stretching, but when, you know, like some white woman or some white guy is trying to get deep into like, Eastern philosophy that they don’t understand. It’s like stick to the stretching aspect. Leave the philosophical aspect to some some religious leader. But yeah, I mean, if it’s martial arts culture, one of the things that bridges Brazilian and American martial arts culture is conservative politics. One of the major families in Brazilian jujitsu, the family that invented the Gracie family of Brazil, they’re an extremely conservative family. And it’s, it’s all throughout health, culture, fitness, culture, and wellness culture, a lot of wellness culture is, you know, I’m gonna I’m gonna upset a lot of people, a lot of it is based in pseudoscience. And, you know, silly thinking people think about chi and an energy. It’s like, can you even people even define energy, like, this isn’t a movie where people are throwing, you know, magic fireballs at people. That’s, not a thing that doesn’t exist. So, as I’ve said, in the past, when people already have beliefs that are pseudo scientific or conspiratorial, it’s not hard for someone else to come along and piggyback on those beliefs. So if you already don’t trust, an admittedly shady pharmaceutical industry, if you already don’t trust, an admittedly shady federal government, state government and so on and so forth, if you already have maybe, you know, some kind of fears of pedophiles running around, it’s not hard for you know, some some Q believer to come in and spread these conspiracy theories and we also have to understand these aren’t always true believers and zealots that are spreading these conspiracy theories. It’s having a conversation. Well, you know, I was at dinner the other week, and I heard from my cousin, and he said, X, Y and Z that you know that there’s government pedophiles. It’s not like there’s true believers in every single one of these groups, but all it takes is two or three of these ideas to spread into a group. And then and then they just, they just mutate a conspiracy theories like a virus, and that’s what it’s going to do. And when you prey on, you know, people in yoga groups in jujitsu culture and martial arts, culture and health culture, you know, they might, they might, I don’t know how to put it, like, if they’re already leaning towards these beliefs, it’s not hard for someone else to just just come in and, and sway their thinking, if you think chi is real, and there’s like magic inside of you, it doesn’t take much for other people to prey on that, that belief of magic. So when it comes to Q anon and like, you know, fear of government conspiracies are preying upon children, you take a young mother or a young father, who isn’t that much of a critical thinker, it’s not hard to sway them, sway them sway their opinion, sway their, you know, their thinking, and,, you know, and that’s what conspiracy theorists do. They they prey on people’s fears and insecurities. Heather Warburton 6:14And the next thing, you know, a yoga group is all of a sudden, becoming fascists or proto fascist and thing like it. Christian Perez 6:21I wouldn’t even call them fascist or proto fascist, they just become like, like, fascist adjacent or fascist sympathetic, and it’s like, you know, these aren’t people that are going to be sig heiling, but kick the can down the road, they have now become more susceptible to bad ideas. I mean, I gave an interview not long ago, and I talked about how, like, we talked about this fear of pedophilia, and in the 80s, they had the satanic panic that like, you know, there were these these devil, these devil worshipping pedophiles, that were preying upon children in and daycare centers, and this was the era of Dungeons and Dragons, and heavy metal music, which are Satanists and whatever. And it was, and America was ripe for that. Because in the 1960s, and you’re gonna love this because, you know, I, we’re both we’re both dirty dirty communists, and the 1960s, as women were getting jobs, right, the conservatives were freaking out. And what they what they charged, was that daycare was a communist plot, because daycare allowed women to join the workforce. So in the 60s, conservatives are freaking out spreading conspiracy theories about daycare being a communist plot. So by the time the 80s comes, that already exists in their minds, that already exists in the conservative Zeitgeist. Now, what is it 80 you know, 80 years later, they believe the same thing. We’re 60 years later, I mean, now it’s, it’s that that already exists in their mindset that that fear of, of pedophiles and you know, that’s all it takes, Qanon came in, and Qanon is not original Qanon is not new. And I’ve said this in the past, the first time I heard about Qanon, I crumpled it up and threw it over my shoulder, this is trash out of my face. It’s unoriginal, it, there’s nothing new about it. But you know, it just, it just came in piggybacking on all these other bad ideas. And I think that that’s why it’s taken off in these these communities, because all it does is piggyback on it on ideas that are hundreds of years old. There’s nothing new about Qanon Heather Warburton 8:20Well, let’s start actually, from what the beginning, let’s take it back a step in case somebody has heard Qanonbut really doesn’t know what it is or hasn’t really done a deep dive on it. Christian Perez 8:30Yeah, so I mean, so again, with conspiracy theorists, you’d be hard pressed to find two that that believe everything the same that agree on everything, but in a nutshell, there’s this idea that that the world or the US government, or the west or whoever, has been controlled by this, you know, shadowy group of individuals, you know, the Illuminati or the Freemasons or the Satanists, whoever they are the Zionists in the past, whatever we’ve called them in the past, but But this time, you know, they’re, you know, they’re responsible for wars and famines and diseases, but now they’re also responsible for the coronavirus pandemic, which may or may not be real depending on who, who you’re talking to, which conspiracy theorist but basically, this idea is now instead of the Illuminati being all powerful, or this cabal, it’s basically just the Democratic Party, a number of bankers, they mean Jewish people, and, you know, members of Hollywood and what they call the government deep state, and when when conservatives talk about the deep state, basically, it’s just government bureaucrats that are whistleblowers. There is no deep state, it’s people holding Trump accountable. It’s, oh, the deep state No, dude, this isn’t a movie. And I mean, that’s the idea is that is that the Hollywood elites, the Democratic Party, and I’m sorry, the democratic elites, the Hollywood elites, the banking industry that they get together and they rule the world and some people believe they kidnap children and they’re molesting children. Other people believe that they’re drinking the blood of children or drinking adrenochrome it’s not just that they’re molesting kids. Some people believe that was it Hillary Clinton, a la Bloody Mary drinks or babes in the blood of children to stay young and powerful? I don’t know. I mean, it’s literally these are the same conspiracy theories that existed in the Middle Ages about Jewish people, they’re gonna steal your kids, they’re gonna perform these rituals where they drink their blood, be afraid and then hate. It’s just evolved from Jews, to bankers and Hollywood actors. And you know, but in reality we see it’s Donald Trump. We see it’s Prince Andrew, we see it’s Jeffrey Epstein. We do see that it’s Bill Clinton, that it’s not just one party or any other party. It’s the wealthy. It’s the powerful. And to quote George Carlin, it’s a big club and you ain’t in it. Heather Warburton 10:49So what are some of the biggest conspiracy theories that have come out of the Q anon community? Christian Perez 10:54Oh, boy, I mean, Heather Warburton 10:56Well, you said just The Deep State is made Coronavirus. That’s one. Christian Perez 11:02Number one would be the deep state like the deep state is this idea that there are government, government bureaucrats, like people in the government that I guess the conspiracy would alleged there’s hundreds or 1000s of people and are just plotting to take out Trump and know, right? Like, like government bureaucrats just want to do their job and hope they don’t get someone like that’s Betty Devos in charge of their organization. That’s all they want to do. Right? They want to get paid, do their jobs. You know, they want to work at the, you know, the Department of Education, but the deep state conspiracy theory is that they’re running around plotting to take down Trump. And they’re running defense for these pedophiles. And, you know, some of them are even, you know, kidnapping children, and so on and so forth. And you have a number of conservatives high ranking republican saying, well, it’s the deep state this it’s the, it’s the deep state that No, it’s just bureaucrats holding, holding Trump accountable. And as we see, we have democrats that aren’t even willing to really go after Trump in the way we’d like. So, you know, that doesn’t really mean anything. So the deep state isn’t really a thing there. Another one of the problems with Qanon is the fact that we get people riled up looking for, you know, pedophiles thinking that they’re hiding under trash cans, or that they’re their government elites or so on and so forth. But in reality is it’s all misinformation. So one of the problems with conspiracy theories is it preys upon people that can be well intentioned and you know, if you’re a scared mother or a health enthusiast, you know, you usually are pretty, pretty well intentioned, but what happens with conspiracy theories especially like Qanon when you spread misinformation about you know, democratic elites, kidnapping kids, or there was something about the I think it was in England there was a supermarket called Wayfait, or no, no, I’m sorry, in the United States is a supermarket that someone had printed something about how Wayfair was involved in like the kidnapping of children. And there was this hotline, it was like, I can’t remember the name of the hotline. Sorry. I was like looking for it. Heather Warburton 13:09Wayfair like the online sales place. Like there’s commercials for the Wayfair its got just what I need. Like that? Christian Perez 13:15Yes, they have stores. So the thing is, it’s like, like, it’s not the New York Times that’s releasing this information. It’s messageboards in the middle of nowhere on these these these creepy websites. So people were calling into these national hotlines about information about the Wayfair you know, Wayfair child molestation plot or whatever. And in reality, you know, there were people waiting for accurate information, so they clog up the phone lines, they they muck up the conversation. So when you think about Qanon and the problems that they cause, it’s not that it’s just misinformation and people are misinformed. They’re actively getting in the way of investigations looking for or investigations of child molestation and if you look at the, the the facts I mean, the 91% of children are that are preyed upon are endangered runaways, right? They’re not snatching kids from daycare centers. They’re not snatching kids from your schools. Like there’s I remember hearing stories of years ago about this woman who claimed Yeah, I would go to school then they take me and this was on these were experiments that they claimed to have happened in Long Island but it was the same thing it was, you know, these that they were kidnapping kids and they would take them away when they sign into school, they would take wisk them around the world, molest them and then send them back home at the end of the day, just before brainwashing them to forget everything right so I mean, these are like this is what I mean when I said like the first time I heard Qanon, I was just kind of I kind of blew it off. Right and now it’s been around for like three years it was just like there’s nothing new about it. Like I keep saying that but it’s the truth. I mean, they get in the way of accurate investigations. It’s basically pizza gate when we talked about pizza gate years ago, it’s pizza gate on steroids. Whereas pizza gate was just a bunch of Democrats in DC at this crappy pizzeria. It’s now it’s all democrats everywhere. And it’s all these powerful people but not Donald Trump. Not the guy taking pictures with Jeffrey Epstein not the guy wishing Julian Maxwell well. It’s just, it’s anybody. It’s anybody but him. Heather Warburton 15:23So now if this person that I saw at Walgreens with the Qanon bumper sticker, are they walking around in the store, literally thinking that Wayfair is selling children? Christian Perez 15:36That’s the thing. I mean, you’d have to talk to it to each and every one of them. I mean, I had a cousin Tell me her, her kids, her kids might like she had stepdaughters and the mother had a Qanon bumper sticker. And it’s you don’t know what each one of them believes. Right? I mean, I’m of the opinion that if they have the bumper sticker, they probably jumped in, you know, they’re they jumped in with both feet, like they’re in the deep end at that point. I’ve run across people who are well intentioned, that made comments about government pedophiles, and I kind of had to roll my eyes, but they weren’t like, Qanon or anything like that. But I mean, I don’t know what this person believes. I mean, if you have the bumper sticker, it’s like, Alright, well, you probably voted for Trump. Which means you know, you’re probably not living in the real world. And, you know, you like, I mean, I just, if I see somebody with a Qanon bumper sticker, I’m like, all right, that person’s not a critical thinker. That person is probably closeted, racist. And probably I, for me, I see a Qanon bumper sticker. I’m like, that’s a negative. I don’t know why anybody would want to advertise that. So if I see somebody with it, I’ve got some some negative views of them. I can’t. I can’t claim to know what they’re thinking. But, you know, I guess I tapped him on the shoulder next time, say, hey, do you think that there’s, you know, pedophiles running around? Where are the kids what kids? Where do they come from? I mean, I don’t I don’t know. Heather Warburton 17:04I don’t know. They were least wearing a mask, because everyone in the store was wearing a mask. So you know, I’ve got to give them that Christian Perez 17:10The anti mask people are still the still the worst. They’re like well see “It hasn’t worked”. It hasn’t worked, because we’re not wearing a mask. Heather Warburton 17:17I did see a good conspiracy theory about that. With the flu like that. They’re just reporting that any flu case, they’re calling it COVID now, and they’re like, Well, why haven’t there been any new flu cases to which I responded with like, Well, yeah, it’s almost like wearing a mask, washing your hands and social distancing prevents the spread of disease is why maybe there’s less flu cases? Christian Perez 17:40Yes. It’s some guy today I saw something. And he made some comments about, well, we already had, what did he say? Like, however many 1000s of deaths a month? I’m like, What are you talking about? Even if we had 1000s and 1000s of deaths a month? We’re having 1000s and 1000s of deaths more a month now. Right? Like it, they like try to play like this weird numbers game. About percentages are like, well, it’s only got, like, a 2%. Like, mortality rate. I’m like, that’s 6 million people. That’s still more people that they can fit in our hospitals. It’s just, it’s just so many people just thinking that they’re smarter than the scientists. Heather Warburton 18:22Right? Actually, I had this discussion with my husband like, we were curious, like, well, what’s something that we consider like an acceptable number of deaths a day like driving a car, for example, some people get killed driving a car? So we’re like, Okay, well, how many people in New Jersey, for example, die per day in an auto accident. And I think it was two was the number that we found from doing our research. Now, compared to how many people are dying every day, from COVID in New Jersey, like right up into the 30s 40s 50s. Again, now, like, if there was a gunman who was killing 30 40 or 50 people a day, like we’d be in a panic about that. Christian Perez 19:00Could you imagine if, like, you know, like popcorn was killing 50 people a day we’d be like, ban popcorn. Heather Warburton 19:10But like, you know, just put it in comparison. You think of these things as being giant killers, like auto accidents, or shooting. And you know, like, it was like the only one person was killed a day by shooting and being shot in New Jersey, like these numbers are miniscule compared to Christian Perez 19:24They’re miniscule I mean, we’re talking almost one 911 every day. At this point. We are at now I actually had to had to write it down. We are at over 96 911 we have 286,000 deaths in the United States that’s over 96 911 and why do we even have a 911 Memorial now? Right? What does it mean? What like, if a conservative or an anti masker because you know, they’re gonna overlap if like they don’t get to complain about 911 I don’t ever want to hear a republican complaint about 911 ever again. Or cults of personality, for that matter because these people are like lemmings, you know, following Trump off the hill, but, I mean, it’s just the amount of death is it’s staggering. Heather Warburton 20:12We’ve lost 15,000 and some people in New Jersey, I only have 14,000 people that live in my town. Yeah, like that would be more than my entire town that I live in just wiped off the planet. Christian Perez 20:24I saw this interview, I think it was with Michael Moore. And he was like, and this is like a week or two ago, he said, this would be as if the entire population of Richmond Virginia just disappeared. Wow. Yeah, I mean, that’s a city. I mean, 280,000 people, 286,000 people, that’s a nice sized city. And it’s it’s not like it’s some some zombie apocalypse that we couldn’t fight that there was nothing for. All people had to do was wash their hands and wear masks. And we have a president like, I still don’t understand with Trump like why, like it was a slam dunk to tell people to wear masks, like Trump. I fully believe and I believe this wholeheartedly that if it wasn’t for Coronavirus, we would we would have a second Trump term. Heather Warburton 21:09Probably. I think we would have to .I really couldn’t guess who was going to win up until maybe the last month or so I’m like, okay, it’s probably gonna be Biden. Christian Perez 21:16Yeah. But like joe, I’m just like, Wow, we had 70 X, you know, 73 million people that still voted for Trump. It’s like, no, if it wasn’t for this virus, he would have he would have steamrolled Biden it would have been an embarrassment. But I just, it was a slam dunk. Like, he’s the president who wants to be the leader. We get this virus that we could have easily handled. All he had to say was wear your masks, wash your hands. He could have he could have inflated the numbers of lives. He could have saved, but he totally punked out. I mean, and that’s, I mean, that’s the thing with Trump and I think that that’s kind of like the fear of the future is it’s like Trump’s a buffoon. He’s a jackass. Even like, he is like this failure, but because he’s rich, he gets to exist. If he was a blue collar person like you or me, he would have been you know, he would have never survived. He would have been he would have been gobbled up. But like it was a slam dunk. All he had to say was wear the masks. And he could have he could have been a leader. I mean, even now, did you see a couple weeks ago when they had that there was a rally in support of him in Washington, DC. And he drove past the rally like it didn’t even matter. Heather Warburton 22:31Wow. Christian Perez 22:33And I’m just like, could you imagine if this guy was competent, like the amount of damage he has done by being a buffoon? Heather Warburton 22:39Right? Christian Perez 22:39Can you imagine, it’s, it’s terrifying. Like for me, like, election night, I was scared. I’m not even gonna lie, like, you know, triggered terrified. I was legit terrified. I was terrified for myself and people that I care about, because it’s like, people in this country just don’t think critically. Party identification. You know, what, what political party, what red team, whatever team you’re on means more than almost anything. So people will vote for Trump, just because they’re on Team Read without realizing that the ramifications. Heather Warburton 23:10And yeah, I’m terrified because I mean, we know you and I both know Biden’s going to be a horrible president. He’s not going to make anything better. So then when 2024 rolls around, what if that competent fascist that actually isn’t such a loser shows up? I’m thinking Tom Cotton possibly. Christian Perez 23:27Yeah, I mean, let’s hope it’s not Ted Cruz. God I hate Ted Cruz. But yeah, Tom Cotton. It’s like Trump is an idiot. Like, all it took was for him to be a little bit like a little bit less egotistical. I mean, I don’t know. I mean, I guess that’s a good thing that his ego gotten away. This virus was a slam dunk. It was a slam dunk, especially after we saw what was happening in Italy. Right? We should have just, you know, just mask up. I’m Donald Trump. I’m the wartime president, but it was just sloppy. Heather Warburton 24:00So I guess now we need to talk about the coup and the Qanon coup that happened. You know, who would have predicted we have somebody that was gonna wear a buffalo hide and paint his face blue and call himself the Qshaman and try to take over the Capitol. Like, what was that? Christian Perez 24:21Heather, I don’t even know where to jump in. And you’re talking about the Q anon shaman? I believe the guy’s name is Anjali? I don’t know. I mean, if you would have asked me if I thought there would be some kind of like, lashing out by Trump supporters. I would have said, Yeah, I believe it. Right. This is what they do. This is white fragility. This is male fragility. This is this is the reaction to a loss of perceived privilege, right, whether consciously or subconsciously. Did I see this coming? No. I believe last time we were talking about how like how Trump basically just left his supporters behind. There was some kind of rally that he had, and he got them all all excited. And then he got in his car and he drove away. Oh, no, what had happened was they were having a rally in support of him and then he showed up and drove away. And then on the 6th, we see him egg on this crowd and get them all riled up and he tells them we we are going to march to the Capitol, and then they play YMCA and he got in his car and he drove away. And that was how he was able to deny all of this. I don’t know how we got here. I am, you know, I’m lying. I guess I do. We have a bad president. We have a conspiracy . We had it. We sorry. We had a bad president. We had a conspiracy theorist in charge of the country. And this is what happens. He lost the election. He got walloped in the election, and he couldn’t deal with it. And these Trump supporters lashed out as a result of that they feel like, I don’t know. I mean, I I can’t understand thinking Joe Biden is Mao Zedong. I don’t know where that comes from, I can’t fathom thinking that Nancy Pelosi is some kind of communist dictator. Right. As I said earlier, Joe Biden has a member of Raytheon in his cabinet, this guy is not a communist. This guy is not some kind of, you know, Mao Zedong, that’s going to overthrow the government, and he’s going to lock up true patriots. January 6th was the last gasp, I don’t wanna say the last gasp, but just the gasp of ignorance, the gasp of white supremacy, the gasp of people who just don’t know how the world works. And they were living their lives believing that Donald Trump is some kind of genius, some kind of great leader, some kind of man who is going to, you know, bring on the storm. And there were people who thought that, you know, during the inauguration, Joe Biden was just going to get arrested, the cops were going to show up, and Trump was going to show up at the military. And it didn’t happen. And that rambling answer was my response to January 6, that was a coup. It was an insult. And I don’t want to say it was planned. Well, it was definitely planned by by some people. I don’t think Trump had anything to do with it. I don’t think he’s that intelligent. But it’s very similar to who some of the things we’ve seen in some developing countries, be they Honduras be they Venezuela, be they Bolivia. Heather Warburton 27:26And I think this is kind of changing things. It’s sort of was a spark of change of how we all kind of viewed the Q anon supporters a little bit that I almost maybe thought at times that they were a joke. And then you see this and now moving forward, you’re seeing them sort of merging with some other kind of fringe groups. Christian Perez 27:48Yeah. Qanon is no longer the mainstream unfortunately. That was a mistake I made that was a mistake. A lot of people made, there’s nothing original or new about Qanon, it brings absolutely nothing new to the table, other than its just its size. Back in when Obama first became president, we had the Tea Party and the tea party doesn’t exist anymore. But I’m not going to assume that those people all just evaporated. Right, they’ve taken on a different form. They became trumpers, they became the Qanon supporters. Qanon dropped the ball, right. Qanon is a joke, it was always a joke. It’s so silly that even Alex Jones turned on it. So I mean, if you’re a Qanon supporter, you have two decisions, two options, right. One decision, two options. And one is, do I, you know, see this for the joke that it is? Or do I dig in deeper? So for those people that dig in deeper, what does that entail? What does that look like? Well, part of it is, you know, just maintaining Qanon, a lot of it is taking on other conspiracy theories and joining other organizations. So we see sovereign citizens movements, three percenter movements, militia movements, all taking on the iconography and the language of Qanon. This is something that was bound to happen. Always, when you look at trumpers, trumpers, are really just a mixed bag of individuals. So when you look at those rallies, when you look at January 6, when you look at, you know, like the Trump rallies, you see a bunch of different people. Yeah, they’re all trumpers. But what brings them together is Trump so these are people with different ideas, different viewpoints, of varying, perhaps right wing organizations, all brought together under Trump. And when you bring different people together, there’s going to be some intermixing, right? There’s going to be some sharing of ideas. And this is what we see right there. The right wing is not known for its critical thinking skills. It’s not known for its attention to history, it’s not known for its attention to reality. So when you get this many people have, you know, similar but, you know, we’ll say different backgrounds coming together. They’re going to steal each other’s ideas. Just because someone is a Qanon supporter doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not going to be a militia member or a sovereign citizen one can be a Qanon supporter and be a religious fundamentalist, one can be a militia member and and be a religious fundamentalist, one could be a religious fundamentalist, and also hold a number of right wing views. So we shouldn’t assume Now I’m not saying you’re saying this, Heather. And I’m not saying a lot of our supporters are saying this, but we shouldn’t assume that, you know, these people are that Trump supporters are just members of one organization or a number or another, there’s, there’s going to be a good chance that a lot of these people are going to have alliances or ties or sympathies to a number of organizations. So I mean, it’s not really surprising to see this. If you are a Qanon supporter, you might be disillusioned, right. Joe Biden is the president. The predictions did not come true. Well, I mean, we’re dealing with human beings or we’re dealing with American so people aren’t just going to say I was wrong and making an about face. People are gonna dig in. These are trumpers. Right? They’re going to double down on their ignorance. So what does that mean? That means moving from Q perhaps to being more of a religious fundamentalist to joining a violent, a white supremacist movement, joining a sovereign citizen or militia, militia mens movement. It can go it can go any of those ways. We’re dealing with with a mixed bag of individuals that are not critical thinkers that are pathologically drawn to anti government, anti journalism, anti anti scientific, anti intellectual movements, so they’re gonna prey on one another. Heather Warburton 31:33And earlier today, we were talking, talking about the sovereign citizens, you were kind of teasing me with one of the conspiracy theories of that sort of merges the Trump and sovereign citizen movement, can you tell the listeners about that? Christian Perez 31:45Yeah, yeah, I gotta stop giving you these tidbits, Heather. What happened. I mean, so again, with the sovereign citizens, it’s you’re dealing with all kinds of like kooky types. So very much like a conspiracy theorists can see the truth in politics and media, the sovereign citizens have like these weird philosophies and theories on law in the United States. And I’m not an expert on sovereign citizens. But one of the claims is that in 1871, I think it was the United States, I can’t remember what law it was or what Act, the United States ceased to be a country and became a corporation. And in 1933, of course, Roosevelt is getting blamed for it. Apparently, Roosevelt had something to do with selling out the United States to foreign investors. I don’t I don’t know what that means that that’s called capitalism. Right. That’s called the status quo. But anyway, so the a lot of these sovereign citizens believe that the United States ceased to be a nation state as we know it in 1871. So there are people that believe that on March 4, the original inauguration day before it was moved to January 20 20th, in 1930s, that on March 4, Donald Trump will be President of the United States, and he will be inaugurated as the 19th President of the United States, because all the Presidents we’ve had since I think it was Ulysses S. Grant, have been illegitimate, I don’t know, like these conspiracy theories are weird Heather. As anti capitalists and socialists, you know, we could look at a history of just like government overreach and governmental violence that can can that has led us to where we stand ideologically. But it’s not the same with these people. Right? There are these weird arcane laws, these things in history, that didn’t even happen. And they have built these ideologies based on that. And they’re violent. And they’re organized. And it’s it’s kind of scary. But yeah, I mean, that’s what it is. I mean, I don’t know what to say to somebody who says that, to me, it’s kind of like when you see the LaRouche people outside the DMV, you know, you don’t make eye contact, what do I say? What is there to say? I don’t know. But yes, I mean, these are the sovereign citizens. On March 4, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as a 19th. President United States, I don’t know what’s gonna happen to Joe Biden, I don’t know what’s gonna happen to all the elected members of Congress. I don’t know, we never know with these types. Heather Warburton 34:09Right. And we obviously know, this isn’t gonna happen. We know that’s not how things are going to play out. And so then again, we’re gonna have these people that had this belief, and now again, their sort of psyche gets fractured. You know, we don’t know what they’re gonna do after that, but it’s either, you know, you’ve got two choices, Are they’re gonna start reaching out and apologizing to people in their family, like, sorry, can I see my grandkids again? Or they’re going to keep going down the rabbit hole until eventually, some other thing worse than this inauguration or this? January 6, coup will happen? Christian Perez 34:45Yeah, I mean, all it takes is for someone more intelligent and organized and Donald Trump and that’s not hard. Right? I mean, Trump is really just scarring the republicans but in many ways he’s just held a mirror up to them up to the leadership. Right, because the leadership of the Republican Party wanted to act like these people didn’t exist. They wanted to sweep these deplorables under the rug, and they didn’t realize these people are organized, and they very much will take over the party. You know, these are people that want change, quote, unquote. But this change always seems to be in lockstep with the status quo. They want change, but they still want gay people to shut the hell up. They want change, but they still want brown people to have a second class status. So I mean its scary because these are not rational people. So with these types in power, we don’t know what we’re going to get right we can get and we’re seeing now this Marjorie Taylor green, I mean, she’s she’s, she’s crazy. She’s loco. I mean, this is not a rational person. This is a crazy person, and she is a lawmaker in the United States. I had a video last night because she was she’s so frustrating to me. I just, I had to say something about it. If you were the government in North Korea, if this is the government of China, or the government of Iran, any country where there isn’t democracy, they are now showing their citizens January 6, they are showing their citizens Marjorie Taylor Green, and they’re saying this is what the United States wants. This is American democracy. Right? Look at Iraq. Look at Afghanistan. Look at January 6, look at Marjorie Taylor Green. Look at Donald Trump. This is what democracy brings. So unfortunately, I mean, we will never really know the damage done by the Trump administration and just the ignorant people in the Republican Party. It’s not just local, its global. Its International. It’s historical. Right? Donald Trump is a stretch mark on American history. Heather Warburton 36:36And I wanted to kind of tie this back to the beginning of the show where I talked about the person that I saw at Walgreens that had the Qanon bumper sticker. And I kind of wonder like, where they are now, like now that they’ve been through all Christian Perez 36:49Where were they on January 6. You know, I dont want to know where you are now, where were you on January 6, wasn’t it? I bet you weren’t at Walmart. Heather Warburton 36:59They scraped the Qanon on bumper sticker off their car now or you know. Christian Perez 37:05It’s lately. How’s your brother? How’s your brother in Minnesota doing Have you spoken to them? Heather Warburton 37:12Yeah, it’s scary stuff, though. It really is all these conspiracy theories. Like I know we like to joke about them, because what else can you do other than laugh, but it is scary stuff. Christian Perez 37:23It’s It’s terrifying. Heather, they have guns. They’re organized. They’re violent. And we have a political system that doesn’t know how to deal with them. We have a justice system that is sympathetic to them. So it’s it’s scary on the night of the election, I legitimately went to bed scared. I woke up in the middle of the night, sick to my stomach. Because I was legitimately scared of a second Trump presidency, because that meant me and people that look like me. Could be targeted. Right? I mean, whether they’re Qanon supporters whether they’re blatant white supremacists, these are people attacking synagogues, attacking black churches, attacking mosques, attacking police officers, attacking government institutions. So I mean it these are these are, we have to laugh, Heather, because if we don’t laugh, it’s very easy to get depressed thinking about these people. They’re getting elected to Congress. This is a fault of education of law enforcement of politics of economics. This is this is the American nightmare. Heather Warburton 38:32How frustrating is it that we’ve got an a legitimate crazy person in office, and we can’t get a socialist elected? We can’t get a real leftist elected. But we’ve literally elected a crazy person. Christian Perez 38:45I mean, you have Joe Biden. And it’s like, all right, Joe Biden is the return to normal and for the brunch, liberals, I guess that’s a good thing. For me in my everyday life, I’ll admit that’s a good thing, right. But for people that look like me on the other side of the border, it’s not a good thing. For people in, you know, the Arab world or in Latin America and Africa. It’s not a good thing. And I think one of the big disconnects about someone like you or me, Heather, and your run of the mill, liberals or boomers or whoever is they aren’t global citizens, right? They don’t take into consideration, you know, the extent of their voting and what that will mean, you know, throughout the rest of the world, and part of being a socialist is being an internationalist. And knowing that I do have responsibility to you know, these people that I’ll never see it, I’ll never meet on the other side of the world. Heather Warburton 39:34Yeah, I wish more people could get that and understand that there’s consequences for any of these people that we’re voting for. And sure the Trump consequences were horribly damaging. But you know, if you live in Venezuela right now and Biden saying, I’m still supporting the coup. Christian Perez 39:54Yeah, I mean, it’s like Juan Guiado Like, like we used to play, for how many like since the coup happened, How long have we been playing? Where in the world is Juan Guiado. Heather Warburton 40:03Seriously Christian Perez 40:06And this is liberals, I got into with a bunch of liberals. I know last week, if Maduro was in any way the dictator that they think he is, do you think they would have allowed Juan Guiado to just walk around freely as he does? Right? Heather Warburton 40:20He would be very very dead. Christian Perez 40:22He would have been locked up, and I’d have been eating popcorn yelling “Do it, Do it”. You know like i don’t care like this is not North Korea. It’s not Iran. It’s not Nazi Germany. It’s Venezuala Dude, you don’t get to just like, like I had this just will say people I know like liberals I know who are just like, well, Maduro is a dictator. What? How? Why is he a dictator, because we antagonize his country, because we’re stealing resources from them? That’s like seeing a stray cat picking a fight with a stray cat, antagonizing it, and then when it scratches you saying it’s a wild beast? No. Like you you have targeted this country, specifically because they don’t want to fit into the neoliberal agenda. You antagonize them by choking them economically and politically. And when they lash out because there’s organized right wing mobs very similar to the one we saw on January 6, a matter of fact worse, attacking a number of government institutions and citizens and elected elected officials. Right? Reacting against that reacting to that makes you a dictator? It’s absurd. I’m not gonna say Nicolas Maduro is the nicest guy in the world. He’s not. And I’m not gonna say he’s a great leader, because he’s not a great leader. But most of those problems in that country are because they can’t seem to be left alone. And that that’s a problem with this country. It’s, I mean, and we could tie it it’s it’s this white fragility, it’s this white supremacy, this idea that brown people don’t know what’s best for themselves, right? We know what’s best for those brown people in Latin America, or these brown people that are voting for these democrats that elected Biden, they don’t know what’s best for this country. So we need to storm the Capitol and steal democracy from them. Because they don’t know they don’t know any better. Let’s not confuse ourselves. January 6, was an attack on multiculturalism. It was an attack on multiracial democracy. You know, I mean, that, that that’s exactly what it is. And that’s what they’re dealing with in Latin America today. And, you know, to bring it back, I’m sorry, like, this is this is what Joe Biden represents. I mean, it’s, they did everything that he could to stop Bernie Sanders, who is, you know, a European style, social democrat, not the end of the world. And they give us Joe Biden, and it’s more of the same. And as we said earlier, we might not have president Qanon on in 2024. But the republicans are going to really pull somebody out of the out of the depths of Hades to to run for office, because I don’t know like, Who do they have? Josh Holley, Ted Cruz, oh, these are just just just grotesque individuals. Just as as a man, and as a human being, I have zero respect for Ted Cruz, the guy is the epitome of sleazy politicians. Heather Warburton 42:57Oh, he absolutely is. And there’s plenty of them. Christian Perez 43:01Wherever there’s money to be made, wherever there’s fame to be had, there’s going to be demagogues, and as long as there’s demagogues, there’s going to be conspiracy theory, there’s going to be hatred of immigrants and people of color and, you know, the LGBT community. It happens and unfortunately, our our system, our our style of democracy, capitalist democracy, it creates these types of individuals. Heather Warburton 43:25And so now Trump’s gone, you know, or and by the time people listen to this, Trump will be gone. Trump is no longer the president. Now we have a Biden president. What role does Qanon and places like that play? Now that we have a Biden president? Christian Perez 43:41Yeah, I mean, so like I said, I got into it with a with it with a relative not long ago, it’s here’s the deal. If you believe in Qanon, if you are a trumper. Biden’s victory is proof of a conspiracy. Biden winning means that the conspiracy is real, because Trump had all those rallies, and Trump is so great. And he’s such a winner, and all he’s ever done is win. And he’s something something North Korea and he’s something Iran, and he something something to everybody, you know that that for them. It’s they just don’t get it. Right. So so for them, I mean, and this is how conspiracy theories work. So whether you’re a religious fundamentalist, whether you believe in aliens or whether you’re a Trump or because, yes, trumpers are conspiracy theorists. Most American conservatives are conspiracy theorists. They just don’t live in the real world. The propaganda is too strong. So for them, it’s just this idea that like it’s been validated like, you heard Trump say and like Trump says it and because he says it, his supporters believe it. It’s like, but we had so many rallies. Well, yeah, it doesn’t matter. But there’s 300 million people in this country. And even if 70 something million people vote for him, there’s going to be 10s of millions of more that that that don’t so for them, they See Biden winning as a victory of the deep state of the liberals. So you’ve you’ve kind of saw this meltdown leading up to the, the election, this fear that there’s going to be lists, in many ways Qanon. We’re not dealing with rational people, but Qanon should go away with the loss of Donald Trump. Because it shows that Donald Trump was not who they thought he was, he’s not this hero, he’s not this lion that’s gonna, you know, arrest all these democrats and send them to Guantanamo Bay, he’s not going to take on the deep state, he’s not going to do, he’s not going to do any of those things. So, you know, it’s they either fade away, or it’s going to evolve into something else. It is three years old, I don’t even know nobody even really knows if the original Q person is still around. If it’s even the same people, there are a number of people who have built now careers off of Qanon, there are people who have been elected to Congress as a result of Qanon on. So I mean, I don’t know, it’s what happened to the Tea Party, well, the Tea Party probably became the trumpers and became the Qanon. So you know, some people might disappear. But if you are, you know, still a Trump or, or you’re still adhering to Qanon, you’re probably not that big of a critical thinker. So if they don’t adhere, they’ll just morph into something else, they’ll become something else. Q itself might go away, but those people are never going to go away, the fears of pedophiles are never going to go away. And you know, that the fear of Democrats are never going to go away. So Q itself might not exist, but but Q will live on, you know, in other ways, unfortunately. Heather Warburton 46:33And it’ll probably continue, like, whatever new face it takes, it’s still gonna keep growing, we’re going to see probably more and more conspiracy people, Christian Perez 46:41It’s gonna be more of the same, you know, still, it’s still going to be the Hollywood elites, still gonna be the Hillary Clinton’s. I mean, I saw this, this this meme, and it was like, you know, the, the political spectrum with the x and the y axis. And it was like the upper right hand far, right. And it was like, from Trump to Biden, it was like the small tiny movement. And it was like this image of a conservative like, freaking out. It’s like, Oh, no, the list. It’s like, dude, there’s never going to be lists. There’s never going to be list the Secretary of Defense, right? The black Secretary of Defense, I had his name here. I forgot it. But it’s like something Boyd. Anyway, it’s like the guy was on the board of Raytheon. He’s not a communist. What do you think is gonna happen? Right? He was on the board of these arms manufacturer. So I mean, Heather Warburton 47:23That’s what I always wanted to try to point out to these conspiracy people like, there is a small sect of people that are running everything, and they’re corporations. It’s not the Hollywood elites. It’s not the secretary down at the DMV. It’s the people that are massively wealthy because of their corporations. It’s the Jeff Bezos. It’s the Walmart family. Christian Perez 47:45Look at Harvey Weinstein, like Harvey Weinstein owned the production company. So you can tell me the Hollywood the Hollywood actors are all powerful. No, this guy was, was treating these women like objects. That’s power. You know, it’s like you hear these, you know, they will say Beyonce is an elitist. No jackass, Beyonce is a dancer. Jay Z is a rapper. The elitist are billionaires. Right? Oprah Winfrey, Oprah Who? right we’re talking Sheldon Adelson? We’re talking arms manufacturers. We’re talking like these agribusinesses. Were talking pharma companies. It’s like, there are these fears of like these lame liberal politicians, like even Ice Cube, and 50 cent who are supposed to represent the street, they jumped in with Trump. Right? So it’s like so even like this theory that these these Hollywood elites, and these musicians are all part of this plot. It’s not true. Like it’s, they’re all out for themselves. You know, I don’t fear Jay Z. I fear the guy who owns the record label. You know, those are the people with the big money. Heather Warburton 48:48Those are the people that actually buy politicians. Christian Perez 48:51Yeah, they own the NBA and that’s the thing. It’s like, Look, corporations buy off politicians, Heather Warburton 48:58But they don’t fear those people. They fear somebody that works at the DMV is part of the Deep State. Christian Perez 49:04Like, yeah, like, it just cracks me up. It’s like guy, some nurse giving a vaccine is not trying to eradicate, you know, African Americans or it just some some nurse trying to give you a vaccine. Right? There’s this belief that that like everyone is part of the conspiracy. It’s like, well, you don’t know. I mean, I work in education. I’ll admit, you know, the American educational system is racist, it’s white supremacist. It’s sexist. But you know, I work in the education system. I’m not those things. I’m actively trying to, you know, criticize arbitrary authority, but people have these conspiratorial beliefs. They think all institutions are monolithic. And, you know, just because, you know, the person in charge believes something that everyone’s going to fall in line. And to that I reply, have you ever been a manager at a job? Or ever been a team leader, you ever give somebody a task and they just don’t do it? ever work in a group or something? And it falls apart. Like, why do you think people are just going to just do as they’re told? Heather Warburton 50:04It’s almost adorable that they think that somebody can organize like hundreds of 1000s of people into a conspiracy. And when everyone does their job, like you’ve never organized anything, if you believe that, you know, I organized with the Green Party, and we’re lucky if we can get 15 people to show up at a rally that we all really believe. Christian Perez 50:24Yeah, you can’t get people to agree on a pizza topping, you’re gonna get people to agree, like, and that’s the thing, like, we’re not talking like, like, like, like Caesar, or Abraham Lincoln, a handful of people like these conspiracy theories. It’s always bigger and bigger. It’s like, wait, so the CIA is involved with the FBI, or like, the deep state like, so we’re talking 1000s of people that are federal workers. So if there’s a deep state, like, where do they meet? How are they paid? Who’s in charge of the records? Right? And, and if you know, if one guy in the office is part of the Deep State, and the other isn’t, how do you keep it a secret? You know, like, we’re like, we’re all these deep state people like,, yeah, like, it’s like, who’s getting paid? Like, do they get paid more? Do you get a stipend for being a part of the Deep State? Or are you just ideologically at, you know, ideologically bound to it. And people just say things, they just throw ideas out into the ether without actually thinking about them. But that’s, that’s how it is. Now people talk, everyone has an opinion. And I mean, in many ways, social media is a good thing, because it’s given everyone a platform, but in many ways, it’s bad because it’s allowed the most ignorant in our society, you know, that same platform, and they’ve used it to profit and, and, and, you know, just gain influence. Heather Warburton 51:38Conspiratorial thinking of anything is on the rise, and I don’t, you know, I mean, we’ve talked before about how do you combat it? And you kind of can’t Christian Perez 51:49Yeah, I mean, so for me, it’s Yeah, it’s not gonna work by yelling at people on Facebook. Right? You have to do it with policy. And yeah, much easier said than done. Right? We need we need critical thinking in schools, right? We need to stop these attacks on history. We need to stop these attacks on science, right? We need to stop with the Moses was a founding father, Jesus was a founding father. creationism is a science type stuff, we need to stop that. But we’re talking decades and decades of conspiratorial thinking, you know, fears of like, affirmative action, or immigrants taking your jobs and all that stuff? Well, we have allowed these these ideas to seep into our society. And all conspiracy theorists have done is piggyback on that. Heather Warburton 52:36And every generation seems to build on the conspiracies of the last Christian Perez 52:41How do liberals, like liberal leadership is not pushing back when Bill Clinton says something, like, “I’m gonna end welfare as we know it”. What does that signal to everyone else? What does that signal to to conservatives other than, hey, we can we can continue this onslaught upon working people, because the, you know, the liberals were supposed to be the guardians of that they’re, they’re letting it happen. So I mean, in schools by by changing laws, and and hopefully by, by by creating critical thinkers, that’s how we do it. I think that that’s just with wishful thinking, unfortunately, because I mean, I don’t I don’t see things getting immediately better, unfortunately. And I don’t like being a pessimist. But I guess that’s just me being true to myself. With social media, especially with Trump, Trump’s not going to go away. Trump’s going to continue to have rallies, and he’s going to continue to lie and lie and lie, and more people are going to creep out of the woodwork and they’re going to continue to lie and lie and lie. So you know, we got we got to see how it looks going forward. But I don’t I don’t see them going away. Unfortunately. Heather. Yeah, Heather Warburton 53:43I sad to say I agree with you on this one too. But we’ll see if the Qanon and on Trump thing. I mean, I’m assuming for a while, it’s just going to live on pure rage, but after a year, we’ll see if it’s still around. Christian Perez 53:57Let’s hope I mean, I don’t know like you I don’t know if you remember leading up to the election. They had those stupid, those convoys. They had him here on the Parkway, I think they had him. Like, I don’t see that going away. It’s like a Trump rally. It’s like a megachurch. Right. It’s not just about seeing Trump, it’s about being a part of something. Right. And for these people that are not critical thinkers that don’t have a global perspective, you know, that that aren’t open minded being a part of something like that. It’s it’s, it’s euphoric for them, Heather Warburton 54:28Right. And to bring it back to what started this whole thing. If you put a bumper sticker on your car about something, you’re proud of it that’s part of your identity. You’ve internalized that to make it like this is who I am. I want everyone to know this is who I am. So that isn’t gonna go away anytime soon. Christian Perez 54:46It’s not it’s not I mean, it’s, it’s a shame because, you know, I mean, like, I always said, like, like Donald Trump voting for Donald Trump was just such a lack of critical thinking because you had people who like He’s an outsider. I’m like, he’s already admitted to buying off politicians. But if you’ve bought off politicians, you are by definition, not an outsider. That’s the inside. Heather Warburton 55:10That’s inside. Christian Perez 55:11That is the inside. And people just like he’s on the outside. I’m like, he just admitted that he’s on the inside. Right? I mean, it’s they don’t, they don’t they don’t get it. Like, it’s, it’s a lack of critical thinking. It’s, it’s part of like, like, identity politics, and then it’s him justifying all of their bad ideas. Why I can’t be a racist piece of crap because the president is well, you know, he is, you know, I mean, it’s, it’s, I just, I will never understand Donald Trump. I remember, like, years ago, before he ever ran, my dad is like, he’s got all this money. You can’t afford a haircut. Right? He’s got bad hair, bad tan. I mean, like, like, I always say, like, there are these images of him. Like, like, like, he’s Rambo. I’m like, like, if you are a man’s man, like, if you’re a macho, Macho Man, it’s like, Donald Trump doesn’t stand like a man. He leans forward like a bowling pin. Right? He kind of stands like a penguin. His his mannerisms could be seen as feminine. His speech pattern could be seen as feminine. And not that I have a problem with that. But if you’re trying to portray him as john Rambo or GI Joe, he’s not that buddy. His hair is fake. His tan is fake, right? He doesn’t have a tan from being out in the sun slaughtering brown people. He has a tan from not even a tanning bed. He smears the crap on his face. Heather Warburton 56:31Yeah, it’s a spray on. Christian Perez 56:32Like, like, even just just by looking at the man and hearing him speak. You can see that he’s full of it. Like you don’t even have to know Donald Trump. What he’s about, sorry, this guy’s full of it, like look at this guy. Right? But they don’t I mean, just the goofy tie, like all this stuff, all this stuff. But people eat it up. I don’t know. It’s like, it’s like it’s some Greek tragedy from 1000s of years ago. Heather Warburton 56:52And we get to live through it. Christian Perez 56:53I mean, that we have like almost 600 kids that have been separated from their family. allegations of sexual assault. women getting forced hysterectomy. diminished international standing, increased role of right wing governments globally. 286,000 deaths. Yeah, that’s America. That’s winning. That’s that’s maga. It’s an absolute failure. It was always going to be a failure. I remember when he got elected, I said he’s going to make every problem in this country worse. And he did. Heather Warburton 57:22And I mean, problems in this country just keeps getting worse, no matter who’s president. But he did a number on them. Like, he took it to a new level of making things worse. Christian Perez 57:31He did. He’s so bad. He got people to be inspired by Joe Biden. Joe Biden still puts me to sleep. I’m like, oh, sleepy Joe, like uninspiring. Lack of energy and uninspiring. That that’s Joe Biden. I mean, Kamala Harris, just ju
45 minutes | 24 days ago
Musical Activism with Ben Grosscup
In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution Heather interviews musician and activist Ben Grosscup. Ben bills himself as a labor troubadour following in the long tradition of merging song and protest, he also serves as the executive director of the People’s Music Network. They delve into some deep subject matter in this interview ranging from how neo-liberalism is actively committing violence on the world, to how capitalism can not react rationally to our modern global crises, to the “American Idolization” of our collective singing culture. Transcript Auto-Generated Ben Grosscup 0:00So Love me Love me Love me. I’m a liberal. Heather Warburton 0:17This is Wine Women and Revolution with your host, Heather Warburton. Hi and welcome to Wine Women and Revolution. I’m your host Heather Warburton coming at you here on Create Your Future Productions. You can find us online at YourFutureCreator.com . Follow us on all the social medias and get us wherever you get your podcasts from. This is a guest I booked a little while ago and I’ve been really excited for if you follow me on social media, as you probably see me a couple of times share a video by this guy. And it’s the “Love me I’m a Liberal”. I think I first saw one that was the remake, he updated it for the Obama administration. And since then I’ve seen videos of him here and they’re updating it again and again. So first off, I just want to welcome to the show Ben Ben Grosscup. Ben Grosscup 1:05Heather, thank you so much for having me. Heather Warburton 1:07Yeah, it’s exciting. I was so happy that you said yes. I’m always still surprised when people say yes. Like I write these, you know, awesome people like you to be on my show. And when they say yes, like Yeah. So it’s very cool that you decided to come on the show. So I wanted to start right in. You’re kind of a labor troubadour I think I saw you refer to yourself as once. You take a lot of these classic labor and socialist songs and either update them or perform them. How did you get into the hat? Ben Grosscup 1:37Oh, my goodness. Well, you know, a lot of my journey through political music has actually been connected to this thing called “The People’s Music Network”. But that was starting in like the late 90s. And I’m actually starting in 2013, I became the executive director of the People’s music network. So as a teen, I was very involved in anti war activism. And by a teen, I just turned 39 yesterday. And so in 1999, I was very involved in the movement in Minneapolis, where I grew up fighting against the sanctions on Iraq, we understood that to be a real genocide imposed by the United States government against an entire population. And, you know, in the ferment of anti war, pro peace activism, you know, I got involved with some music, I had been in a ska band, a very apolitical ska band as even younger than, than that, like, I mean, 17. And so, and then, and then 16, and 17. And so and then, you know, shortly after I turned 18, I got involved with this group Voices in the Wilderness. And I actually went to Iraq on this delegation, with this pacifist organization that was trying to resist the sanctions regime being imposed on the people of Iraq. And then I came home and I was on fire, I was wanting to organize with people, do activism, go to demonstrations, put on demonstrations, and also wanted to do music. So I remember I mean, as a pretty, pretty young person, you know, I actually produced a CD, that was a benefit CD. I mean, this is like 1999. So people still did this. And it was it was a variety CD of songs from songwriters about the sanctions on Iraq. And even though I wasn’t, I didn’t go to any in person gatherings. At that point, I did find through email members of the People’s Music Network. And through those networks actually found people around the country who were making songs about a topic that I felt very passionate about. So it wasn’t until 2005, you know, after college and everything that actually showed up in person to it to a PMF event. You know, I had I had like a modicum of musical skill as a teen. I was very politically involved. I started writing songs, even though I think, you know, the early songs, I look back on them as kind of mediocre, but you know, that’s okay. You know, and I’ve even put the mediocre songs on the CD with some of the really fantastic songwriters, and some of those people are people I still work with today. Heather Warburton 4:39That’s very cool. So you’ve really kind of started young in this, it wasn’t just a later in life thing that you got into you’ve been involved in activism and organizing and music for kind of your whole life. Ben Grosscup 4:54Yeah, yeah. I would say you know, it’s been it’s been a journey for sure. You know, moving from Minneapolis as a teen, you know, I was, I had a kind of an unusual path, I ended up at this school up in Vermont that was kind of a radical institution dedicated to education that was called the Institute for Social Ecology, it actually still exists. There’s a lot of interesting kind of historical things about the Institute for Social Ecology, and the green movement, various political splits, and disagreements and agreements and so forth. And that’s what brought me out to the east coast. And then I’ve been living in Massachusetts, you know, since since 2003, when I came down to Western Mass for college. And throughout that, that process, you know, for me, it’s been an exploration of political philosophy, political movements, and political songwriting, I would say, like, in the last 10 to 15 years of my life, you know, I haven’t sort of kept up an active scholarly life in the way that I did, or, you know, like, in my early, mid 20s, but as an organizer, as a leader in my organization. And as an artist, you know, I’ve I’ve taken some of those insights, you know, about what is the crisis about liberalism as a political philosophy, and tried to make some fun with it, you know, and tried to give that to people in a way that I think, leavens the conversation a little bit. Heather Warburton 6:33Right, your remake of “Love Me, I’m a Liberal” is a it’s funny, you want to make people laugh, and you try to tailor it a little bit to your audience. But you cover a lot of really serious topics, like I was going through your catalog, you cover things from climate change to Palestine, not just labor, and socialism, are these all things that you’re really passionate about? Ben Grosscup 6:54Absolutely, and, you know, I think that to sort of contextualize it a little bit for me, you know, I really see myself as kind of coming out of a tradition of a musician who dedicates their craft to the social movements that they are a part of, you know, I look at artists who I have really looked up to, and still look up to, like, David Rovics, you know, who is very active currently, and has been for a very long time. He’s writing songs, I mean, and he’s very prolific too, you know, and so in a lot of his songs are ones that I cover, frankly, because they’re effective songs, you know, if you if your goal is to bring your craft to the movement. So why does the movement need you is, I mean, one question, like, you have to interrogate that maybe they don’t need you. But, if they do, they might not need you specifically. But so you got to take the ego out of it a little bit. But the movement does need song, which doesn’t mean they need you, but it means they need song. So if you can, as an artist, sort of like make an alliance there, where it’s like, you need song, why do you need song? Well, people are able to digest this indigestible reality we live through differently. A comrade from Minneapolis, who, once kind of likened my music, I really liked this, to a digestive aid, if all the crap food that we’re getting from, you know, living in this derelict and decadent society, that is so inhumane, so irrational, in it some practices ecologically. So authoritarian, so racist, and sexist, we need a digestive aid to deal with the kind of shit that is before us. And so music can can perform that function a little bit like a probiotic. Heather Warburton 8:56Nice. I mean iart and music and what you’re doing and what I do with my art touches a different part of your brain to than just trying to have a rational discourse with someone. So you can stay in a whole different part of somebody’s psyche, with art and with music to help get those messages much better than maybe sitting down and quoting Marx at them might do, for example. Ben Grosscup 9:19Yeah, that’s absolutely true. And I think that ability to sort of touch another part of the brain is certainly one of the reasons why I like to use music, because I like to sort of bypass some of the other things. I mean, we should just also be clear that like, that’s why lots of right wing forces also want to use music, right? So that’s the it cuts both ways. You know, it’s not an all good thing that people do that. I mean, you know, singing the national anthem to just, I mean, for regular old standard nationalist patriotism and so forth. I mean, that that has an effect on people’s political consciousness. You know, Pete Seeger was always talking about the importance of singing together and peace. Seeger looms large in my organization, the people’s music network, because, you know, he was a co founding member of the organization, he was by far our most prominent member for a long, long time. And again, you know, his, Pete’s very last time showing up to a PMN gathering was the very first time that I showed up to one. So, um, you know, just to 2005 was the year ,but so we can, we were kind of like ships passing in the night Pete and me but, I know the history a little bit. And he really believed in this power of singing as as a transformative sort of, sort of thing. And, you know, I don’t know if I’m interpreting it right or not, but sometimes when I do try to like, try to understand what I think Pete was saying, I kind of think he might have had a slightly overly optimistic point of view, actually, on this question. I’m trying to make this sort of precise distinction here. I embrace the group singing the way that makes people feel the way it changes people’s brain chemistry, and part of my craft, as an artist is to do that. I don’t think that it is enough by itself. I think that, that you need philosophy. You need hard political conversations, you need self interrogation and a lot of other things. And I think that sometimes music, even in the Pete Seeger tradition, the critical thing I had to say about sometimes how I see it playing out, is that if it’s not sort of, encased in like a more like, like a political philosophy that is a little more demanding, you know, intellectually that it can, it can sort of go the way of overly simplistic political ideas encased in song. And then we’re sort of talking about simpler political concepts when there’s actually something a little, a little gnarlier that we have to get into. Heather Warburton 12:05Okay, you’ve triggered all these people’s brains. Now, what’s the next step? What are you going to do with them now that they’re receptive, now’s when the organizing has to come in and now is when you actually make something happen, other than just stimulating some chemicals in someone’s brain? Like the real work, you’ve opened the door, then the real work has to start? Ben Grosscup 12:24Yes, it saddens me that more people can’t experience this. I mean, it let’s talk about the pandemic for a second. I mean, especially now, you know, but because especially its physically sort of dangerous right now to have to do this experience. But even before the pandemic, you know, I would go to rallies, and I would be trying, you know, through the best, I know how, not that I’m the expert, not that I can do it, as well as Pete did it or anything like that, to the best I know how trying to create a situation where a crowd could sing along together. And I just had this insight that the not maybe one of the limitations was like my own skill as an artist. But then there was another issue there too, which was people’s readiness to want to sing together in the first place. So I’m, mourning, and I’ve written a song about the American Idolization of song, which kind of is mourning the loss of this kind of cultural idiom with people can sing together. But on the other hand, you know, once we get to that point where we can sing together, you know, what is it? Is that giving us a sense of unity, and then unity behind what? Is it unity behind the Democratic Party, is that unity behind sort of, like some kind of Manichaean political concept where there’s sort of like the good people in the blue states and the bad people and the red states or something. And like, that’s the way we’re going to create social change. To me, that’s, that’s where I see a lot of politics going in kind of the liberal world. And I think that some of this sort of singing tradition is sort of, sort of very much politically tied in with a sort of political liberalism. That is a dead end for for us as a people. And so I think the artist has to make some pretty discerning choices, frankly, about what is my role politically, when I’m using this powerful tool of song to unite people? What am I uniting people for? Heather Warburton 14:25Oh, absolutely. I think they’ve got to make these choices. But obviously, since we’re both on the show, you know, we’re not veering into the liberal lane so much that we’re more actively engaging and being challenging capitalism and those sorts of topics are what we’re trying to engage with. And I mean, you’re obviously I think people that listen to your songs, get sort of the lane that you’re in, you’re not just commenting, you’re just pointing towards the solution is not liberalisms. Ben Grosscup 14:55Yeah, yeah. Heather Warburton 14:58But I mean, you know, if you think about music like and how the synergy of music and activism, like the WW song book, like that’s a classic right? And IWW was deeply or still is deeply involved in organizing. Ben Grosscup 15:13Yeah, and you mentioned that I sometimes go around calling myself a labor troubadour, which is true because I mean, you know, I am consciously trying to, to draw from those wobbly traditions as a lot of people. You know, I mean, I think that there’s a wonderful event that happens in Washington DC called the Great Liberal Arts Exchange. It’s sponsored by a friend of the People’s Music Network, a friend organization. We’re actually friends personally as well, but our organizations are friends, to, they because PMN and Labour Heritage Foundation have both existed for about 40 years. So that’s, that’s a community where I think some of these wobbly singing traditions really come alive for me, you know, in my experience, and, that idea of taking a familiar song. This has been repeated many times you Utah Phillips has talked about it. David Rovics has talked about it. You know, Charlie King has talked about all these these incredible singers. Anne Feeny you take a familiar musical idiom, maybe maybe it’s, it’s what the Christians are singing, you know, in wobbly time, right, you know, early 20th century,what the Salvation Army Band is singing a song to try to like, get the workers to sort of be sort of, you know, accept their lot in life, you know, be okay with with sort of what the capitalist is giving them and such. And then and then you take that melody, that’s very familiar thing, and you turn it right around on them. And you give it a political bite that now gives a spark to your movement to increase its confidence in its willingness to resist what the the capitalists are doing to them. And not in my particular case, you know, I have been most I’ve probably developed the most connections over the years with with nurses unions, because I just have some material that is about nurses and like the specific situations, I mean, it could have been teachers. It could have been janitors. It just happened to be nurses. It’s I don’t I mean, I’m not a nurse. I’ve just learned some things about it. And so yeah, and then and then a comrade of mine from Corvallis, Oregon. Paul McKenna and I did a song earlier in the spring, about the pandemic and about nurses on the the frontline of the pandemic called “We Just Come to Work Here, We Don’t Come to Die”. And that was borrowed from not not not precisely a parody. It’s kind of kind of a repurposing of a song because the original song was by Harry Stamper, the longshoreman. And he was talking about workplace safety. And here we have a situation where nurses are really on the frontline of an incredibly unsafe work environment, made unsafe by the neglect of their bosses, by the neglect of the federal government. And I’ve played that at a few rallies now for nurses, you know, socially distanced with masks and all that kind of stuff during the pandemic, and, and it’s gone over pretty well. And a few online events as well. Heather Warburton 18:15Yeah, I think that also would apply to teachers. So you know, saying it could have been any union working with that same song probably would apply to teachers right now as well, who I do a lot of my organizing with his teachers. And they’re saying the same things like you’re sending us off to die to promote capitalism, because people don’t have babysitters for their kids like, so they can stay home and learn online safely. You’re sending teachers in as a sacrifice. So it’s the same thing that’s a lot of these public sector unions are facing. Ben Grosscup 18:42Very true. Yeah. And I’ve noticed a lot of the similar political circumstances of teachers and nurses. And then, you know, so I think, if my job was sort of, like, broad analysis of the labor movement, which it kind of isn’t, you know, like, I would, I would focus more on that, but I think it’s sort of like, how do you get the the connections made with the organizations? I mean, if you want to have music, at an event, I mean, there’s this very, super practical kind of question I think about all the time is like, where do people get together? There’s a lot of unions where the members don’t get together with each other. And so how you gonna have music then, you know, like, you’d have the union Spotify playlist. Heather Warburton 19:29Hey, that maybe isnt a terrible idea. Ben Grosscup 19:35You know, and, okay, I have my playlists to, right, just like anybody but okay, but let’s just be real, if that’s the way we’re interacting with music, that’s a very individualistic way to interact with it. So it might lift our spirits, but it’s gonna, make the playlist lifts my specific spirits, according to what my specific thing is. And this is the is a way that that sort of, so we’re not necessarily accomplishing all the goals that we want to accomplish sometimes with music, if that’s the way we’re interacting with it. And I’m just acknowledging all this stuff has gotten more difficult under the pandemic, because it was difficult enough with the destruction of sort of collective singing cultures before the pandemic to try to make the this connection happen. And I think it’s just the, there’s, there’s some things exacerbated by it. So I mean, what we’re trying to do with people’s music network is try to actually create a regular vibrant online space where members of the network can actually get together and share their songs. And then we have kind of a circle of appreciation where the person like, here’s the the artists before them, you know, and most of the songs are pretty political. So whether you agree or not, with what you know, was said, and it’s all kind of within a progressive left wing sort of context, but like, you sort of listen and sort of say, you’re encouraged them to sort of comment on the artists who just came before you. And then create this circle of appreciation, where people are actually listening to each other in a deeper way, because so much of our music performance spaces in terms of like participatory things are like very, like going to the open mic and playing. I mean, this is pre pandemic, sort of like playing to the crowded bar where the conversation is too loud, it’s not that satisfying. You kind of got your chance to sort of sing, but then, you know, who was really listening to so I mean, I think that the performance venues that are more interesting to me, and, and the sort of participatory performance venues like open mics, and song swaps, and so forth, that are more interesting to me is where there’s actually an intentional desire to create a listening environment. And you do that, I think, partly through politics, because if people have a shared political purpose, they have a reason to want to listen to each other. Whereas if, if you’re just, you know, talking about your love life, and I’m just talking about my love life, and we just I need, or my anxiety and your anxiety, I mean, what, what’s the basis of unity there, we need to build a basis of unity, and then write songs around that basis of unity. And that is going to be a lot more powerful in terms of connecting people Heather Warburton 22:24Can people check out these song swaps, even if they’re not members of the network. Ben Grosscup 22:28Yes, definitely. I mean, it’s all live streamed for free on People’s Music dot ORG, through our Facebook page and YouTube page. But then, and we often invite non members to participate, you know, just to check it out. Because, you know, you might not want to join, you might want to join, but it’s easy to join. But it’s, you know, we’ve got, you know, the advantage we had coming into the pandemic was that there was 40 years of history behind us trying to organize people in these politically intentional artistic spaces. And then, once enough of us kind of made the transition to learn some of the technology, maybe a few of us needed to upgrade our equipment and whatever. Because the quality of the microphone makes a difference in terms of like, the listenability as just even though you’re kind of like in your desegregated, you know, isolated space of listening, you know, in your home and whatever. But having that makes difference, for sure. And we just do the best we can with whatever equipment people have, and then kind of create an interesting social experience that I’ve never had before. What we’re doing now, Heather Warburton 23:49That sounds really cool. And I definitely want to check them out. When do you do them? You said you do them every week? Ben Grosscup 23:54Yeah. And we try to do at different times a day and different days of the week. The other thing you can do is you look at our archives, you know, look at all the different people who come in all the different names that show up on that archive page is quite a diversity. And sometimes we do special events, you know, so we got the open song swaps, but we also have special events, where people will be focused on indigenous peoples day music of indigenous peoples day, or artists against racism, using hip hop music against racism, various fundraisers, and just things like that, you know? Heather Warburton 24:29So check out the website, basically. Ben Grosscup 24:31People’s Music dot org. There’s a lot going on there. Yeah. Heather Warburton 24:34Very cool. So aside from yourself, obviously, who else are you listening to these days? What other artists and musicians are you checking out? Ben Grosscup 24:42Well, I mentioned David Rovics. I mean, you know, the thing about David that I think just stands out to me is he is an artist who reads, I mean, I think he really reads history, you know, and he writes songs about history. You can literally sign up for this guy’s podcast and he says here’s the song for today. And you can, it’ll be literally like, Okay, On this day, you know, December 14, you know, 200 years ago, this uprising happened in this place. And he’s got a song about it, you know, it’s amazing. I just never seen an artist like that, who, who uses song in a way that really brings you right down to earth, right down to the hardest struggle, and then just just gives it to you in this totally novel way. I just never seen somebody do something like that before, where he’s got like, this day in history, and he’s got literally a great song about this thing that happened. Heather Warburton 25:47Yeah, that’s very cool using it as an educational platform as well, too. Which, I mean, that reminds you kind of like, when I was a little kid, like, They Might Be Giants, you know, you’re singing the Istanbul song or any of their music and using it, you know, music as a way of educating people. So it’s very cool to see like the adult version of Yeah, Ben Grosscup 26:08Yeah. Also, LowKey is a hip hop artist from the UK, who I think is just incredibly moving. I mean, just great production. This guy. I think he’s Arab. But he might be Palestinian, I can’t remember. But he’s British, right. And he’s got these just absolutely heart wrenching songs about imperialism, that people should just listen to. I mean, he captures something about the the violence of the system, in his songs in a very moving way. And he, you know, as an individual, he’s been very successful with his music. So I mean, I think it’s a common trope in hip hop that people are like, accounting for their own success, if they reach this, like he has. So you know, but then, he’s just seems like, like a person who just has the sensitivity and depth of emotion to his music, and it’s just just musically beautiful. But the content is, is really getting people to face just the incredible violence of the imperialist system. And, and we just can’t lose sight of that. And having artists like Lowkey in the UK, it just really helps people to, I think, remember? Heather Warburton 27:30That’s great. I have to definitely check him out. I haven’t even heard of him. So I’ll definitely be checking him out after this as well. I’ve got maybe two more questions before you’ve agreed to do a song for us. I have maybe two more quick questions that we want to get to get through before we move into that song, which I’m really looking forward to. One of which was anyone throughout history, a musician that you could collaborate on a project with? Who would that like that to be? Ben Grosscup 27:58Can I tell you instead about a collaboration that I did do that was really exciting to me. Okay. Okay, I know it was a little bit of a fudge, but there’s an artist in in the Bronx named Dilson Hernandez and he’s he’s a multi genre artist who sings great songs does amazing spoken word poetry and he’s a recording artist. And I’ve got a song called no more sacrifice zones, which is a inspired actually by Chris Hedges book from 2012 “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt”. And in the song is telling about the ways in which this capitalist system just grinds the land and and lives of people in different communities into to a sacrifice some into dust, and what’s left behind all this, this extraction from places that are geographically centered, you know. So this term sacrifice zone has come up in a number of places around ecological issues, as well as sort of police violence issues, how the black community in many configurations, particularly poor black communities, are systematically sacrificed by the economic system we live in. So it’s got like four verses about different places and so forth, where this kind of pattern plays out. And so Dilson had this just we did a show together a few years ago, and to make the show happen, he came up with a spoken word piece that actually weaved the spoken word verses in with a song verses. And it’s just as a solo artist who doesn’t often get to do that level of artistic thing and political kind of conversation because what we ended up with is like this co written piece where he did the spoken word. And he just did such a brilliant job, I think of like, emphasizing in the spoken word verses what was being pointed to in the verses that I wrote to sing. So I am. I’m just very excited about that collaboration that we did. Heather Warburton 30:20Is that on your YouTube page? Ben Grosscup 30:21Yeah, it is. So people can check that out. No More Sacrifice Zones with Dilson Hernandez and Ben Grosscup. Heather Warburton 30:27Alright, and here’s my final question that if you follow me, you know, I asked a lot of people is, Do you consider yourself an optimist? Ben Grosscup 30:35No, I don’t consider myself that. I think that, on this on this level, I feel more in line with Chris Hedges. I mean, I think that he understands that societies can collapse. I mean, I’m not against hope, necessarily. But I don’t necessarily indulge in what I think is kind of a cultural obsession, about hope. I think it becomes kind of a a palliative to living in a society that is really, in deep crisis, we have to then have like a political understanding of how we got to the situation that we’re in, what why are things so perilous? Why is it that we’ve known about the climate catastrophe for so long, but have had no way to act adequately to address it? And, you know, it’s it’s not because there weren’t enough people recycling? And it’s not because there weren’t enough people putting solar panels on their roofs. It’s because we have an irrational economic system that can’t respond to reality. So in other words, we are living in a perpetual state of illusion, in the illusion, that technology will save us the illusion that billionaires will save us. There’s a lot of illusions like that, you know. On the right, you got the illusions that like, the enemy is, you know, thescapegoated, generally brown population, right. So there’s a lot of illusions out there. And so I think one has to sort of root whatever their politics are in reality, and react when reality is really rough. You sort of have to not tell yourself lies about how things are going to get better through means that are not real. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t sort of hold out some hope for Well, if we did do the following things, if we really did fight with all our might for Medicare for all, if we really did create a socialist system that meaningfully address the the kinds of life and death issues that that face us which capitalism cannot do. It can’t act rationally. It has to constantly grow, so it can’t act rationally, then, we have a chance. So you have to cut through all the bullshit about why we can’t do this, why we can’t do that, you know, we can’t take a real stand on Medicare for All because then, you know, it might threaten Nancy Pelosi, I just been reading about this controversy recently. I think we should definitely be pressuring AOC and all the other progressives to withhold any kind of vote for Nancy Pelosi as the speaker until she allows a floor vote on Medicare for All I mean, that’s a minimum, that’s a minimum demand, but like a good demand, I think we should be supporting that. That kind of courage, you know, could give cause for hope. But this bullshit stuff about oh, you know, we’re gonna get more co sponsors and just wait a little longer. Come on, people are dying right now on this pandemic. I mean, I just think that sort of wait and see attitude is is so so transparently bankrupt. And so I don’t know if that leaves me as a strict pessimists. I think that that can get a little problematic, but am I an optimist? No, but I think that I try to only limit the things that I have hope in to things that are based in reality. Heather Warburton 34:47Okay, yeah. I can totally see where you’re coming from. And, you know, as far as expecting any politician to save us, that’s not going to happen. They’re not having a floor vote because they don’t have the votes. Probably and they want to protect their members. That’s something we see, at least in New Jersey politics. Like, as long as I’ve been involved in New Jersey politics, they just don’t call a floor vote because they know that’s not going to pass and they want everyone to still be able to have that illusion of Yeah, we’re working on it, when really yeah, they don’t support it. Ben Grosscup 35:16Yeah, and right. Because to do that kind of thing to, to fight for a vote that you are going to lose. It means sacrificing, right? It’s like short term sacrifice, you’re going to have a short term sacrifice in order to serve a longer term goal. And that’s one of the things that this culture of neoliberalism and compromise and unprincipled political behavior, unwilling to do. Absent, so you have a whole class of political operatives who just don’t have really principles, you know, and so they can’t really be trusted. And that’s what we have running the Democratic Party. And that’s what we have running a lot of the sort of standard organizations out there that say, even the ones that are say they they’re organizing for justice is like, you really have to have, I think, a very thorough going and critical attitude toward, you know, is this person really willing to, to sacrifice it’s like, if I’m going to, in perilous times you’re faced with difficult choices? Like that’s the thing about being in perilous times, which we’re in, you know, I mean, I don’t know. It’s like, I look at my own life. Things have been kind of easy for me. You know, I’ve had a What do they call it? What’s the opposite? Tailwind? I’ve had a lot of tailwind. headwind is when things are more difficult for you, tailwind is when things get a little easier for you. So, you know, I don’t mean to say this just for other people to think about, it’s like, well, what am I willing to sacrifice? That’s also the way that you kind of have to approach a question like that. But I, you know, I’m not gonna sit here and try to pump myself up, say I made all these amazing sacrifices, but I’m just saying, sacrifice is part of what gives you integrity. Heather Warburton 37:13And integrity is so very important. But we’re gonna run over time, a little bit here. So I want to give you a chance for a quick last word, and then let’s hear your song. Ben Grosscup 37:22This has been a lot of fun, Heather, I really appreciate you doing this interview and inviting me on I’ve enjoyed talking with you. And I feel like we’ve gotten into some really interesting stuff. I’d love to show you this song. Heather Warburton 37:33Alright. Ben Grosscup 37:35So Phil Ochs actually wrote this song “Love me, I’m a Liberal” in 1965. And he sang it at this demonstration organised by the Students for a Democratic Society against the Vietnam War. And in this demonstration, you know, like any demonstration, you know, you had your music and you had your speakers. And so one of the speakers was IF Stone and one of the singers, as I mentioned was Phil Ochs. So Phil Ochs started, he’s sang the song a biting sardonic takedown of the liberal elite of the 1960s. And then he was followed by IF Stone. And now the the accounts that I have read about this is that there was a conflict with a little bit of a fractious because IF Stone was not impressed, frankly, with the political position that was expressed by by the song “Love me, I’m a Liberal”. And I think that IF Stone he was he was a hero of the anti war movement because he was actually highlighting the crimes of the US government in Southeast Asia. And people were relying on that reporting to understand their own opposition to the Vietnam War. But then IF Stone took exception to the dismissive sort of attitude that I think Phil Ochs was taking toward liberalism. And, you know, I although I’ve heard this challenged, you know, my understanding was that IF Stone at some level considered himself a liberal, although I actually have met people who knew IF Stone who said he didn’t really think of himself as a liberal. But I mean, you know, that there is the way I explain that a little bit is there is this category of kind of the honest liberal, who sort of still believes that, like, in the end constitutional values will sort of save us and everything. But when it comes down to like the crimes of the US government, we’re going to tell the truth about them as IF Stone did and we’re going to face the reality as I was saying earlier, you know, face the reality is very important. But anyway, that so the frac has happened, I think IF Stone said something to the effect of, Oh, you know, I’ve seen these Marxist Leninist punks come and go, you know, but here in Washington, DC it’s difficult being a liberal because, again, he sort of was trying to use the instruments of liberalism as as a tool to, to to organize against the war so, so the song has been controversial for a long time is the ultimate point of this story. And this is my effort to keep it current. I am mourned the Tiananmen martyrs whose free speech was so brutally quelled. And I cheered when Mandela walked freely, after so many years in a cell, but Mr. Assange can rot in prison. Those secrets were not his tell. Love me, love me love me. I’m a liberal. I attend sensitivity training. And I leave feeling so reassured. I love Oprah, and Magic and Foreman. It’s great to see blacks become entrepreneurs. We’ve got diversity up to the White House. Revolution would just be absurd. So Love me Love me Love me. I am a liberal. I cheered when Obama was chosen. My faith in the system restored. And I’ll never forgive Ralph Nader for the race he stole from Al Gore. And I love hard working Latino, as long as they don’t move next door. So Love me Love me Love me. I’m a liberal. Something’s wrong with working class voters who disgraced America’s name. Someone’s controlling the way that their minds work. And Vladimir Putin’s the man who’s to blame. But if you think you can win single payer, you must be completely insane. So Love me Love me Love me. I’m a liberal. I listen to all things considered. I consider anyone’s views. I watchColbert and Rachel Maddow. Hi, you use irony in everything I do. But when Trump set his sights on Maduro, there was no one more red, white and blue. So Love me Love me Love me. I’m a liberal. I vote for the Democratic Party. They’re strengthening NATO command. I saw Bono at the Live Aid concert. I buy anything endorsed by his brand. We’re gonna make Poverty History. I’m on Facebook, taking a stand. So Love me Love me Love me. I am a liberal. Sure, once I was young and impulsive, I wore every conceivable pin. I fought for a socialist future, which I actually thought we could win. But I’ve grown older and wiser. And that’s why I’m turning you in. So Love me Love me Love me. I;m a liberal. Heather Warburton 44:40Thank you so much for that. That was really a pleasure to hear. And to my audience. Thank you so much for joining us here today. We would not be here if it were not for you. We try to be the voice of underserved ideas, underserved people and underrepresented communities. And let’s be honest, corporate sponsors are not lining up to give me money. For some reason for doing that, so I do have to keep asking you if at all possible, go onto my website, click on the donate tab, you can donate, you can support me on Patreon or donate through PayPal. And I appreciate everything you do to help us out. The future is yours to create, go out there and create it.
29 minutes | a month ago
The Radium Girls
In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather is joined by Kate Moore, author of Radium Girls. Radium Girls tells the story of a group of women who were slowly poisoned by radium paint their job encouraged them to ingest, and their fight for justice against overwhelming odds. This is a tragic story of capitalism, exploitation, and death. These women changed the world because of their strength and dedication. We all owe them a debt and need to learn their names and histories. Transcript auto generated Kate Moore 0:00But the company told them no, it’s absolutely safe. There’s no reason to be afraid. But of course, that wasn’t true. And actually, it wasn’t true even at the time. Because yes, you know what’s marketed it all the newspapers and magazines and the drugstores is that radium is a wonder drug. But actually, when you look at who was funding the research that supposedly said that, it was the radium firms who were making money out of all those products, the radium chocolate and radium water and the radium dressings and so on. Heather Warburton 0:36This is Wine Women and Revolution with your host, Heather Warburton. Hi, and welcome to Wine Women and Revolution. I’m your host Heather Warburton coming at you here on Create Your Future Productions. You can find us online at www.YourFutureCreator.com. Follow us on all the social medias and get us wherever you get your podcasts from. Today, I have an interview that’s been so long in the making. I’ve been so excited about it for so long. I think I reached out to my guest today, not this past summer but the summer before to have her as a guest on my show. And she’s like no, no, I’m working on a new book. Hit me up again in the spring. Well, we all know what happened in the spring, COVID destroyed everything. And then over the course of the late summer, I dissolved my previous company and started up this brand new company here so. But everything finally worked out and all the stars managed to align so I’m so excited to have my guest today. Today I have with me New York Times Best Seller author of the basically modern classic of Radium Girls, Kate Moore Welcome to the show. Kate Moore 1:45Thank you so much. Lovely to be here at last. Heather Warburton 1:49It took us a while but uh, you know, your book pretty much i think is on the shelf of every leftist woman that I know. Kate Moore 1:58That’s that’s an amazing thing to say. Heather Warburton 2:03But for anyone that hasn’t heard of Radium Girls, can you give me a little summary of what the general gist of the book is about? Kate Moore 2:12Sure. Well, I think the most important thing to say is it’s a history book. It’s all true, it’s nonfiction. And it tells the true story of a group of American women from the First World War and roaring 20s era who were poisoned by the radium paint that they work with. Their employers refuse to admit responsibility. So these incredibly strong women embark on a landmark fight for justice. Heather Warburton 2:38So what got you interested in this subject? Kate Moore 2:42Well, I came to the story of the Radium Girls through a play actually, and didn’t know anything about them. It literally was just looking. I typed into Google great plays for women. Because as a female director, I like to tell stories about women I wanted to put on a play with great parts for actresses. And one of the plays that came back was called These Shining Lives by Melanie Marnich. And it’s about the Ottawa, Illinois dial painters. So I got into the story through a play. And what really connected with me about it was the women themselves. For me, it was always about the radium girls and the individual radium girls as well, because I think if people have ever heard of their story, they just know the sort of moniker “the radium girls”, and they don’t know about Grace Fryer, and Catherine Donahue and Pearl Payne, and all the individual women that I write about in the book. And for me, as I connected with the story is I directed the play, I just fell in love with these women, I think their strength was extraordinary. Their sacrifice was off the scale, they impacted so much in health and safety and legislation in science. And I was outraged that people didn’t know their names and didn’t know their individual stories. And so for me, my connection to the story was always about the women, their strength and the heartbreak of what happens to them as well. And I just felt this sort of burning passion to help them be remembered. And that’s why I’m so excited to be talking to you. Because you know, any opportunity I have to share the story of these women, you know, I want to take that and communicate it to people because they’re so special to me and so important to the world. Heather Warburton 4:24And since I live here in New Jersey, you know, it definitely does have a very personal connection that you know, I think everyone in New Jersey has at least tangentially heard of the story. But I don’t think they had ever heard the names of all the specific women and their life stories. Like they weren’t just the radium girls, they were women outside of this as well. So you managed to capture a lot of that. And you actually found a lot of their personal writings when you were doing your research, right. Kate Moore 4:50Yeah I mean, those moments as a writer and researcher when you’re sort of in a dusty backroom of a small museum and you’re sort of scouring through these sort of dusty archives and you find, you know, handwritten letters of, you know, Catherine Donahue, in this case, absolutely spine tingling moment, because to be able to read the words that the women themselves have left behind, you know, to understand their experience through their own way of expressing it is obviously absolute gold to us. And so important in terms of giving them a platform for them to tell their story. And for me, that’s what it’s all about, you know, and I think if anyone reads the book, you’ll see a, it’s written almost like a novel. But as I say, it is entirely 100% nonfiction. But it’s written hopefully in a way that’s engaging and introduces you to these historical figures as people always like friends that you can sort of go on the journey with. But secondly, the thing about the book is, it’s scattered with these quotes, you know, from the women’s first person accounts that I found in my archival research. And I hope through that to read the radium girls is always to hear from the radium girls themselves, you know, to, you know, it’s almost like you could perhaps sit down with a coffee with Grace Fryer, or Catherine Donahue and you can hear from them what it was like to be a radium girl, because, as you say, I’m quoting from their letters, their diaries, the court transcripts, for example. So it is absolutely then, in their own words, telling us their story. Heather Warburton 6:22Yeah, and I thought that you did that very well. It was very personal. And that’s kind of what I try to do with my show is, you know, it’s like you sit down and have a glass of wine with someone, it used to be at my kitchen table that I did this, Now, of course, we’re doing it across the Atlantic Ocean. So that’s, I love that kind of conversational like, you really do feel like you get to know something about these women. Aside from just what happened to them. What happened to them was horrendous though. And that’s kind of what I wanted to dive into first a little bit was, I guess, at the time radium had just been discovered, or by the Curies. And people thought it was good for you at the time at first. And it was in all sorts of things. And even as things they were starting to realize maybe this isn’t good for you, that women these women were never given that information. Right. They were encouraged to almost ingest the stuff. Do you want to talk a little bit about that. Kate Moore 7:14Yeah, absolutely. I mean, yeah, you’re right. I mean, this was early days, you know, radium was discovered in 1898. And as I say, this is still sort of the First World War era when radium dial painting becomes big business, partly because of the First World War, you know, happening and people needed glow in the dark dials, which is what these women were partly painting. And yeah, you’re right, people at the time thought radium was this cure all, this sort of wonder drug. And it was put into chocolates, you know, to sort of give you an extra pep, you know, not just the sugar and the cocoa but a little sprinkling of radium as well. It was you know, just using everyday dressings and pills to treat hay fever and things like that, almost taken as a kind of vitamin to give you you know, energy you know, people drank it as, you know, radium water was a health tonic. And so this is the world the radium girls that are operating in. And, and you’re right when they go to work, you know, fair play to them, they’re given the instruction to do something called lip pointing, which is where they put their paint brushes between their lips to make a fine point on the paintbrush for the delicate painting work that they’re having to do. But the radium girls, one in particular called May Cubberley. Who I write about and, you know, she said the first thing we asked was does this stuff hurt you? Because even though it was seen as this wonder drug, obviously you’re told to put this paint in your mouth, you’re going to check is it safe. But the company told them no, it’s absolutely safe in. There’s no reason to be afraid. But of course, that wasn’t true. And actually, it wasn’t true even at the time. Because yes, you know, what’s marketed in all the newspapers and magazines and the drugstores is that radium is this wonder drug. But actually, when you look at who was funding the research that supposedly said that, it was the radium firms who were making money out of all those products, the radium chocolate, and radium water, and the radium dressings and so on. And actually they sort of, you know, funded the scientific research and funded the literature that promoted radium as a cure all, but they were the ones making money out of it. So they sort of found in the science what they wanted to find, and they discounted all other evidence to the contrary. But of course, Grace Ryle, and Catherine Donahue know nothing about that they’re simply assured, not only that radium is safe to work with, but that they’re perfectly safe to swallow it and to put the paint brushes in their mouth and that’s what the radium girls have to do. That’s how they painted on how they were instructed by their companies to paint. Heather Warburton 9:49At the same time though the men that were working in the factories in the back had like led aprons on Kate Moore 9:55Exactly yeah, this is the crazy thing. So the sort of the difference, other than gender is the man in the labs, we’re handling large amounts of radium. And at this time, even though it’s very early days in radium discovery, they already know that radium can cause you know, radiation burns on human skin, they know that it can travel through the body and treat cancer. They know that they need to protect scientists and lab workers from that immense radiation because people have already died from being exposed to radiation. So yeah, the men in the labs were handling large amounts, given all this protective equipment, the women are told it’s perfectly safe to swallow it. But they were only using a tiny, tiny, near miniscule amount of radium in the paint, which is why they thought it was safe. It was only a small amount put in the chocolate, etc. But as I say, actually, who said that a small amount was safe, where a large amount is fatal. Well, it’s the radium firms making the money. Heather Warburton 10:55Right. Isn’t that kind of always the way? They’re funding their own research and find, surprisingly enough finding exactly what they want to fund. Kate Moore 11:02Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I recall when I was doing my research. And you know, the story stretches into the 1930s, as well. And I was looking through the newspapers and so on. And there were loads of adverts for cigarettes, saying a cigarette a day keeps the doctor away. And obviously, we see the same thing happening in that industry as well, you know, exactly the same thing. you’re told. it’s beneficial for health. And actually, as we all know, you know, it will kill you. Right. Heather Warburton 11:31Actually, it’s a great parallel because at the time, cigarette smoking was considered this very glamorous thing in the early days. And much like the radium girls, they were painting, like their eyelids and their lips, and they would go out to clubs that night and be glowing, right? Kate Moore 11:46Yeah, exactly. I mean, it’s sort of it’s heartbreaking to look back on it, because these women thought they were so lucky to work with it. And also, not only was it glamorous, but it was very well paid. So radium girls were sort of, you know, they’re almost like matinee, idols, you know, and they were known within their town as well, because they were immediately identifiable, as you say, they’d be covered in this glowing dust and this and this glow from having worked in the studio all day. And they would wear their party frocks to work so that when they went out in music halls, the speakeasies and the roaring 20s, the radium girls would be the ones shining and shimmering, like fireflies on the dance floor, because they were covered all over in it, you know, and, as you say, also would, you know, use a bit of the leftover paint, to paint their fingernails or, you know, highlight their sort of dress buttons, or the buckles and that sort of thing. You know, one woman, it was said, even painted her teeth with it, for a smile that would glow in the dark. And for me, it’s just heartbreaking that that because you can imagine the joy and the thought of, you know, joy for life, and not just that sort of energy that the women would have had to be these glowing, glorious creatures, you know, so excited to have this job that everyone wanted, that was well paid, that was glamorous, that got to work with this wonder element. And when, you know, we’re obviously looking back on it, knowing exactly what that happens to them, and how awful it is that they were being so free with this dangerous substance. But of course, they were told it was perfectly safe. Heather Warburton 13:24Yeah, I think that is one of the more tragic elements of the story is because they were such good paying jobs, whole families, people would get the jobs and then bring their relatives or sisters in. So ultimately, when the effects didn’t start happening, they were devastating entire families. Kate Moore 13:40Exactly, I thought was one of the things I found really moving actually, you know, reading about sisters sharing hospital rooms, for example, you know, facing the end, together, when you think about the reality of what’s that, like, you know, your sister that you’ve grown up with all your life, and you’re they’re facing the end together. And as you say, this is devastating entire families because, of course, those sisters are part of a family they have a mother or father losing a daughter before their time they have a husband losing a wife, you know, many of the women were mothers as well. Those children are having to grow up without their moms you know, the whole thing is just absolutely heartbreaking. When you look at the family repercussions of losing these people as I say that’s always to me what was essential to remember these are people being ripped from their families and their lives before their time. Heather Warburton 14:30And there was one story in particular I can’t remember if it was in your book or if I found it when I was doing research for this interview of someone who just shared a bed with one of these radium girls ended up getting sick as well. Kate Moore 14:41That’s right its in my epilogue and say yes, that’s exactly what happened. And you know these because these women obviously were taking home radioactive material, you know, they were covered in it, whether it was on a party dress or simply on a work smock. And, and you know, they would walk it all over town, they would bring it back home with them. And yeah, there was a story in the archive of a sister of a radium girl who herself did not dial paint. But she died of radiation poisoning because she shared a bed with her sister. Heather Warburton 15:11Wow. That’s so heartbreaking. And the companies were intentionally not only gaslighting, but falsifying reports. They were totally the mustache twirling villains of like, you know, a John Grisham novel or something like, yeah, they were falsifying reports at the time, right? Kate Moore 15:32Completely. Yeah, I think, for me, it was one of the most shocking things that I was researching the book was, you know, to look through some of the company’s records, which were available to look through, and seeing in black and white, exactly what they were doing, but they knew it was dangerous that they knew, you know, it was killing people and killing their workers. And yet, they don’t admit responsibility. And in fact, they go out of their way to try and discredit the women, you know, they hire private detectives to dig up dirt on them. They hire so called specialists to put out misleading data to you know, reach opposite conclusions that radium is not dangerous, even though all the evidence points to the fact that it is. That they pay their own experts to come up with their own, you know, verdict of what’s going on. And just absolutely the most egregious and greedy and callous behavior you can imagine when you’ve got these women who, you know, are literally dying before them, you know, and that they do things like trying to stretch out the court cases so that the women will die before the cases come to court. And it just absolutely appalling, really appalling, appalling corporate greed. Heather Warburton 16:45Yeah, that was it was if there’s ever a good example of how evil capitalism can be, yeah, it’s this story, because these people were making a lot of money on these girls lives, you know? Kate Moore 16:57Yeah, exactly. And saying, you know, the workers were expendable. Basically, it was all about the bottom line and protecting the bottom line. Because of course, once the women do start to get sick, and once they start causing a fuss and, you know, people are starting to realize well actually is radium dangerous. The companies of course, try to do everything they can to shut it down. Because if radium is dangerous, then who’s going to buy the chocolate, the dressings, the radium water, you know, their whole industry is at stake. And so they fight tooth and nail to try to protect it. Heather Warburton 17:30And at the same time, they’re firing women for getting sick. That was also one of the heartbreaking stories in your book. Kate Moore 17:38Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah, you’re, you’re giving a bad impression to the company, you know, because as I say, you know, they, they wanted to quash the rumors, you know, as the women are sort of saying, well, we think it’s our work that’s making us sick. And this is a story where very much it’s a sisterhood of women, you know, sharing stories of their bodies hurting and their doctors discrediting them, they’re not listening to them, which often happens, I think, when women are raising medical issues, you know, if the doctors don’t understand it, they kind of say, Oh, it’s all in your head, it’s just nerves. And so it’s the women sort of banding together, seeing those connections joining the dots. And, you know, they’re the ones that are sort of bringing this to public attention. And obviously, that that leads to people’s lives being saved. But it is the women totally who are who are making this happen. Heather Warburton 18:29So they did eventually band together and try to file some lawsuits. But at the time, workman’s comp was very not good in the state of New Jersey, right? There were some workman’s comp that was very limited when these women were trying to file lawsuits Kate Moore 18:43Very limited. I mean, that there was actually some, which is something that it was a very limited, it was limited to just nine specific compensable diseases. And if you didn’t have one of those diseases, you know, you’ve got nothing. And I think one of the, for me, one of the really interesting things about the sort of legal aspect of the story is the way they fight to try to get that legislation changed. And sort of some of the machinations of industry that they sort of agree to change the rules in some way, but they write the law in a way that means actually, no one can ever claim compensation. I thought I thought those sort of machinations are quite interesting as well about, you know, even when a story in a scandal is exposed, how businesses will still protect their interests, and now work with politicians and legislators, in order to do so. So you think you’re winning a trial, but actually, they’ve sort of pulled strings in a way to protect their own interests. Heather Warburton 19:41And in the lawsuits was one of the other things that really struck me was, in one case, they’re like, Oh, well, this doesn’t apply to you because radium is a poison. And in the very next case, so like, I don’t know, radium is not dangerous. Kate Moore 19:54Yeah, it’s I mean, they, as I said, they tried every legal loophole that they possibly could you know. The thing that was a real sticking point for the radium girls was something called the statute of limitations where you only had, you know, for the limited. workmen’s compensation laws that were available, they had a two year limit on filing suit. But radium poisoning in the way that the radium girls were poisoned, you know, having ingested this very small amount of paint that then settled in their bodies, it took years to show itself, it’s an incredibly insidious poisoning. So usually, it wasn’t till about five years after she had been poisoned, that a radium girl began to get sick. She’s obviously three years after the statute has expired. And so that was a big part of trying to, you know, find their way around that. And obviously, you know, once you know, you’ve got a disease that it takes that long, you know, it’s you can’t justify having a law that has a statute that says that and so you’ve got to try and battle to overturn that to protect other workers in future. So all of this is part of the story as well of them, battling, you know, a world that is stacked against them, you know, these powerful corporations, and these women who are seemingly powerless, and certainly the companies underestimate exactly what the radium girls are capable of. Heather Warburton 21:16Right? In some instances, even the entire town was against them. Because then by this point in time, it was the depression, there aren’t a lot of jobs. And so this company says, you know, we pay so well, so the town is standing up for the company over the girls that are dying in their own communities. Kate Moore 21:33Yeah, exactly. And that, for me, really emphasizes you know, how strong they were because they weren’t getting supported by their communities. You know, it really was something you know, where their neighbors would turn their backs on them that there wasn’t that support there. And these women went out there on their own fighting, not only for themselves, but for their friends and their sisters, and for future dial painters to try to protect them to ensure that no one else would suffer in the way that they did. And, for me, I think that’s one of the most special things about these women was the altruism with which they embarked on their fight. You know, they were really driven by the fact that they didn’t want anyone else to go through what they were going through. Because for the radium girls know that, you know, there is no hope, there is very little money, but they’re doing this and they’re putting themselves through this fight, you know, literally giving evidence on their deathbeds using their last breath, to speak out against this company who has poisoned them systematically. And they’re doing it all for the good of others, because, you know, they personally don’t have any hope left. But they hope that in their sacrifice, there will be a greater good. Heather Warburton 22:47Well, I guess that’s what I wanted to move into now. Is the amount of contributions these women have made to the world, you start kind of listing some of what they did and people learned from them, and the changes to the world that they made. Could you list a few of those things, ways in which they drastically change the world. Kate Moore 23:06So I mean, for me, the sort of killer one really is the impact they had, long after they died. Firstly, moving into the Second World War, and the Manhattan Project is going on. And, you know, obviously, everyone working on the Manhattan Project is handling radioactive materials in a way that’s never been done before. And the lead scientist on that project said he was haunted by memory of the radium girls and what happened to them. And because of that, he put in place safety protections for his workers, because they investigated the radioactive materials they were using, they were found to be biomedically, very similar to radium. And so because of that, he said, Well, you know, look what, what happened to the radium girls, we cannot have this happening to our workers. So all those 1000s of workers were protected because of them. We’re moving into beyond that the 1950s. And this, to me is the real thing. There was a nuclear arms race going on, you know, radioactive fallout, coming back down to earth, because of these above ground atomic tests that are happening, that is polluting the entire world. There was something called strontium 90, which was a new radioactive isotope that was part of the fallout from these atomic bomb tests. Again, they ran tests was found to be biomedically, very similar to radium. And but it was newly created, and they were like, well, how can we how can we figure out if actually this is going to be okay for the human race given? It’s raining down all over the globe? Or is it going to be okay? And the radium girls were studied for decades to try and give scientists the answer. So that was any women left alive, voluntarily submitted to scientific testing, to give the scientists the answers that they wanted, and the women who had not made it had often donated their bodies or the science You know, to use what they had learned from these women who had passed away, in order to tell us that actually strontium 90 is way too dangerous, you know, it gets into the human food chain, it gets into our bodies, it settles in our bones, just as radium did in the radium girls, and therefore it’s not safe. And so partly thanks to those studies, President Kennedy signed the limited Test Ban Treaty, which prohibited those above ground atomic tests, which stopped that radioactive fallout, which protected every single person on this planet. I mean, they save the world, I don’t think it’s, you know, to much to sort of say that, that, you know, the scientific legacy they left was extraordinary, or not only, you know, through that very specific sort of political point. And, but also, then they gifted the world, the scientific knowledge of what happens when you have, you know, internal radiation, you know, there was no group of people in the world that had been poisoned in quite the way that they had. And so these women voluntarily submitting to the scientific tests, the women who had died, you know, donating the gift of knowledge from their bodies, we are all enriched by that sacrifice, because of the scientific knowledge that we’ve gained from it. And, you know, people working today in nuclear industries are protected. Because of that, because of these women. Heather Warburton 26:22Yeah, I don’t think you can overstate their impact of these truly remarkable women, it was such a pleasure to learn about them from your book. Hopefully, if anyone hasn’t yet read it. I know, it was a New York Times bestseller, but there may still be some people that haven’t read it, and that they can pick it up and meet these really extraordinary women. But like I said, at the very beginning of this interview, you couldn’t come on back a year ago or so because you were working on a new book. So let’s tell me a little bit about your new book, a little sneak preview. Kate Moore 26:50I can tell you, I can tell you a little bit about it. So it’s out in June 2021. So where are we at is about sort of six, seven months ago now. So I’m excited for people to read it. It’s called “The Woman They Could Not Silence” and and it’s a very different story. But I think I hope that people that enjoyed “Radium Girls” will also engage with this story. So it’s a very different era, certainly American Civil War. It focuses on one woman, and it starts with a simple question. What would happen if your husband could commit you to an insane asylum? Simply because you disagreed with him? Heather Warburton 27:32Oh, wow, that sounds like a really good one. We come back on the show again, and tell me once that new book is out, and I would love that would be Kate Moore 27:41I’d love to talk about it. It’s, it’s a fascinating and inspiring story. And, you know, I think a lot of women I hope a lot of people will be both shocked and inspired by this again, historical true story. And as a for me, I had a lot of similar elements to the radium girls. So I hope that people that enjoy that book will also come to “The Woman They Could Not Silence” on it and find something to enjoy and be outraged by and be inspired by as well. Heather Warburton 28:13If people want to follow you on social media or you on the social medias. Kate Moore 28:18I am on twitter at Kate books. I need to set up a Facebook page before the new book is out. But I haven’t done it yet. But yeah, at kate books, the Twitter is probably the best way or I’ve got a website at Kate-Moore.com. Heather Warburton 28:31Thank you so much for being here today. It’s been great talking to you. Kate Moore 28:35Likewise, thanks so much for having me on Heather Warburton 28:37To my listeners. Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate you more than you could possibly know here. We strive to be a voice for the underrepresented the voice for the voiceless. So we appreciate when you join us and hear those voices. The future is yours to create. Go out there and create it
41 minutes | 2 months ago
Amistad, Equity, And Social Studies
In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather hosts a panel discussion about the revolutionary social studies curriculum in NJ directed by the Amistad Law. New Jersey is the first state in the country to pass a law and implement a truly racially inclusive social studies program. Today, Heather is joined by Gary Melton, Dr. Stephanie James-Harris, and Tamar Lasure Owens. They talk about the successes, challenges, and plans for what can be done in NJ. Can a social studies curriculum change the world? It just might be able to with the dedication of hard working educators. Transcript Auto Generated Gary Melton 0:00We as educators must, must learn to infuse, right and it’s not a standalone, it’s not something that should be siloed and put to the side and only brought out when when people feel like it’s necessary. African American History is American history. Heather Warburton 0:22This is Wine, Women and Revolution, with your host, Heather Warburton. Hi, and welcome to Wine Women and Revolution. I’m your host, Heather Warburton coming at you here on Create Your Future Productions. You can find us online at www.YourFutureCreator.com. Follow us on all the social medias and get us wherever you get your podcasts from. Tonight, I’ve got a really amazing panel. So I don’t want to do too much introduction other than just to tell you, we’re going to be talking again about the Amistad curriculum and some other really good successes we’re having here in New Jersey and some of the challenges that we’re having. But like I said, I don’t want to give you too much intro because I’ve got three amazing people here tonight. And I want to jump right in let them introduce themselves first. Let’s start with Mr. Gary Melton, would you like to introduce yourself? Gary Melton 1:11Yes, good evening. Thank you so much. My name is Gary Melton, I’m the Associate Director of the New Jersey Education Association. Its executive office. And part of my duties are well really, the whole listing of my duties is racial, social and economic justice. But I also do governance for the organization, and so have been a part of Amistad since its inception as a classroom teacher, and kind of carried that over and trying to make sure that implementation is being successful in the state of New Jersey. So we have really been driving our members along with the Amistad Commission to make sure that this is being done appropriately and effectively to every school district in the state. Heather Warburton 1:59Who would like to go next. Dr. Stephanie James-Harris 2:02I’ll go next, how are you? Heather Warburton 2:04I’m good. Hopw are you Dr. Stephanie James-Harris 2:05I’m good. I’m good. I’m Dr. Stephanie James-Harris. I am the Executive Director of the New Jersey Amistad Commission at the Department of Education for the state of New Jersey. And I’m excited to be able to be with you today. I’m always excited to talk about Amistad law, implementation across the state, some of our successes, and some of our challenges. I’ll call them challenges not failures as we try to really move social justice issues as well as make sure that there is an infusion of a variety of histories into our K through 12 curriculum for the state in the attempt to try to make sure that our next generation of leaders are global thinkers and understand our collective contribution to this world history. Heather Warburton 3:02And last but not least, Tamar Lasure Owens 3:05Hi there. I’m Tamar Owens. I’m a teacher at Leeds Avenue school. I teach first grade I’m also the district AMHOTINO coordinator, which stands for Amistad, Holocaust, Latino history. I have also attend the Amistad Summer Institute since 2017, as an educator, and as an NJEA member also helping to bring the instruction on to the level into into the classroom, especially hitting it kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, and fifth grade. We want to make sure that we are starting as early as possible, and following what the mandate states. And on top of that the importance of training, professional development, the importance of the Amistad Summer Institute, and the impact that plays with teachers providing the instruction of Amistad implementation in the classroom. Heather Warburton 4:03All right, so you can clearly you can see we’ve got a good expert panel here tonight that they should have lots of great information for us. So let’s start with the first the basic question. Anyone can jump in on this of what is the Amistad curriculum and the Amistad commission? Dr. Stephanie James-Harris 4:19I’ll answer the question as to what the the law is. And then I’m probably going to take kind of a step back, because I think we’re using the term curriculum, and I just want to make some modifications, I think would be helpful for your audience, as well as for those that might be thinking that it is something that is packaged and is able to be sort of thrown into a school district so that they’re looking for something this is a specific curriculum in the way I think most particular people think about curriculum development or a packaged curriculum that you get. So in the state of New Jersey in 2002, we became actually the first state to actually look at how the teaching of African American history is done. And the law was actually, crafted by Assemblyman William Payne and his actually his nephew, who was also in the currently in the assembly at the time with him, Craig Stanley. Who both said that in their formative years in their educational years, they always felt that their stories about African American people are always really segued, and never handled sort of, in a way that fully infused it, or made them feel that they had a contribution that history always they thought they would learn outside of the classroom, but never a part of history, both to the textbook or the the conversation. Liam Payne tells a wonderful story about how in his school the only place he ever felt like heard himself, or when people thought they’d heard about children that looked like him, was when they read the book “Little Black Sambo”. He said how was it insult for him that they felt that that was the only narrative in which he had any contribution. And so the Amistad law was drafted, to make sure that within the content area of social studies, and it’s very important that we do understand this, because it is not something that is made for actually creating a separate Afro American history course. That is, of course, a prescriptive remedy, that can be done as an ancillary, but it cannot be the way in which we are attempting to do this as a state, because even that messaging says that this history is something separate outside of we are teaching the rest of our students. So the content area of social studies at all areas applicable, which is I think, very important. Ms. Lasure Evans is going to talk about is not just one content area, but if you’re really going to talk about a full infusion of People’s History, and their arts, and their, you know, writings and their scholarship and all the scientific inventions, it’s across the board, um, would be done in a way that would, you know, kind of make school districts have to reassess and sort of redesign their teaching strategies, but also their content. And so the law has been on the books now, since 2002. I think one of the challenges is that the people think that the prescriptive kind of curriculum. They think that is something that you can just kind of purchase and buy or, you know, borrow and drop. It is something much broader than that. And I think that has been one of our challenges, which is why I think it has been so important for these kind of partnerships, especially with teachers unions, that you know, because we understand that in order for this to be done right, is going to have to require the teachers expand their content base, expand their ability to understand both the facts but also where it fits in, understand, you know, and kind of have a collective bias, even on the importance of doing the work. This is hard work, right? This is, this is hard work. And also understanding that all these narratives are not negative, we do not always have to talk about these kind of inclusions, from a period of dread as if we’re only going to tell these horrific stories. You know, this is a reality of where we have been. It runs the gamut. But we need to get teachers very comfortable with being able to teach it. And so because it’s not going to be a prescriptive curriculum,they’ve got to be very comfortable with being able to learn it and know how to teach it. And to understand that this is going to require a redesign of how we do curriculum across this nation. And we’re going to start with New Jersey, because right now New Jersey is the first in the nation for the law, the only state the nation with an office. And the only state in the nation with these kinds of partnerships to really see that this work kind of moves forward. Heather Warburton 9:11I think now it would be a good time to throw to either someone from the union or an educator themselves to talk about a little bit, how it’s applying what they’re seeing in their either in the classroom or in their union. Gary Melton 9:24So I’m speaking from the New Jersey Education Association’s view of this and we are definitely in sync with Dr. Harrison what she is saying that we as educators must, must learn to infuse, right and it’s not a standalone, it’s not something that should be siloed and put to the side and only brought out when when people feel like it’s necessary. African American History is American history. And as long as we have that view, we can begin to show our educators That, especially in this time of social justice, which has always been here, but now is being magnified just by events that are happening in society, that this is a must. This is legacy work. This is work that that exactly, as Dr. Harris said, This is hard work, this is legacy work, this is work that is going to make our nation and you know, we think broadly, we think New Jersey, but even more broadly, our nation to become more inclusive to, to become more empathetic to become really something where we don’t see each other as combatants all the time. But we see each other as recognizing that we all have a story. And one person’s story is their story. And if something is not being taught, that is inclusive in education, then what you’re really doing is is that you’re harming the movement, and not helping the movement. And so it’s very important for us as a union, a union of educators, teachers, of ESP members, of nurses, of guidance counselors, that we all are on the same page, and recognizing the fact that there has been a group of people that have been traditionally disenfranchised, and but yet have achieved through that disenfranchisement to a certain level. And that equity must be at always at hand, when we are talking about educating our students of today. Heather Warburton 11:36And when I was looking for an example of a really good school, and one that integrated it really well and was really a shining example for the rest of New Jersey, I was told I had to talk about Pleasantville school. And so I would like to really hear a little bit now about kind of the philosophy of Pleasantville school and the successes you’ve guys have had and why it’s really working there. Dr. Stephanie James-Harris 12:08I know that Miss Lasure Owans is going to talk about the why it is working in regards of the work that she’s doing. But I need to step back and make sure that people understand why it is working is because people like her. I just need to say that, before we go any further, it, she’s going to talk about the work. But what this requires is the heart of teachers like her make this happen. So as she tells you what she’s done, I want to make sure everybody understands it’s her. She is the ingredient for why it’s working. I love you. Tamar Lasure Owens 12:44Thank you, Dr. Harris. And Heather, honestly, it does take it’s a team. The training, again, from Amistad Summer Institute, every year is key in regards to helping develop the idea, the creativity, that has to come when putting together curriculum, and that’s going to be engaging, interesting, that’s going to help not only motivate students, but also teachers. Then you have the NJEA union, that helps to give the resources, the voice, the materials, the the platform where you can talk and dialogue and get the information that’s needed. And so yes, putting all those elements together is what helps to put together what I’m able to do. So then that is where I’m putting together the curriculum as we call it in Pleasantville, because it has to be something that is tangible, it has to be something that starting at the kindergarten level students can understand. And it has to fit into what social studies is. Yes, we integrate it into language arts into writing into our sciences and things like that. But before you get there, you have to take the first step. And the first step is looking at the social studies curriculum, looking at the topics that are part of social studies, for example, citizenship, and how do you fit black lives matter? How do you fit peaceful protests? How do you fit those things? Where does it go? And for example, you have Thanksgiving coming up next week. What are we talking about with thanksgiving? We are introducing also the National Day of Mourning, because we understand that Amistad also includes Native American history. And so when we’re looking at that, and we begin that, you know from the beginning, we’re looking at the fact of history on perspectives, we need to have that Native American perspective, the Latino perspective, the African American perspective. So we’re engaging topics like citizenship, and talking about and teaching about the late Congressman John Lewis. We are including peaceful protests. And what that is, and showing students what that looks like today, what is Black Lives Matter, and that that is a part of citizenship. That is a part of their rights, and their bill of rights. And so you know, when we’re getting into this, you now have an engagement of students that are interested in topics, because it’s understandable. It’s relatable. It’s current. It is something that they hear themselves talking about at home, with family with mom with dad. It’s happening in the community. And now here it is in school. And what’s also great about this time of the year is that parents are home too. So either they’re able to ask students go and ask mom, dad, grandma, what is the peaceful protest? What’s going on? What does that mean? And they were able to have a conversation of social studies. But now we’re including now the engagement of talking about it. Now we can include engagement of writing about it, and and really getting out the ideas of the students and really having them connect to their community. So when you’re looking at Pleasantville, and you go online, and you see theAMHOTINO link, again, that stands for Amistad, Holocaust, Latino history, we have chapters for each grade level for kindergarten through fifth grade. And we have in those chapters are samples of infused curriculum. So when we’re dealing with the topics, like I’m just talking about, you will see the late Congressman John Lewis, you will see Black Lives Matter protest pictures, and police hugging protesters and children protesting. You will see all of this in the chapters. And that is what it’s about is actually providing a visual of what a elementary social studies textbook can look like. When you’re including everyone’s perspective around that topic. It helps to give that background. It gives the template, okay, it’s a starting point. And so this way, we’re able to build upon that. And then from there, we’re integrating that into our, into our subject areas. And that is where it starts. Heather Warburton 17:43And did you guys start integrating it right away? When did Pleasantville really get in into the meat of diving into implementing this? Tamar Lasure Owens 17:52We took it step, first step by step. And we did begin and the 2017 / 2018 school year with just Amistad, just Amistad, and just, you know, really wrapping around Amistad and social studies. And so was taking that one step at a time that started with the first grade at Leeds Avenue school. And then the following year, is when I took the initiative to talk to administration to try it at Leeds Avenue school as this, you know, school wide. And so from Amistad, we then took it school wide and stop focusing on social studies and integrating it into language arts, when we’re talking about language arts, we’re talking about the fact that you can include it into like retelling key details of the chapter describing and making connections between individuals, events, ideas, research, the recalling of information, again, writing informational texts, that kind of thing, speaking and listening, these are all the skills that we add into, and that we’re talking about when we’re dealing with language arts. So from there, the following year, we then added Holocaust education. And that of course includes our empathy, our tolerance, things like that. Following yeaer was then Latino history. And that’s where we are. So this way we took it component by component beginning with Amistad. So when we started with Amistad and the following year was in Amistad and then Holocaust and then Amistad, Holocaust, Latino history, and we continue moving it that way. So right now we are on district wide, K through five and that is why the curriculum is on the website. And we do have professional development. We’ve had our third professional development district wide for K through five elementary teachers and instructional aides and both Dr. Stephanie James Harris and Mr. Gary Melton, along with the Hispanic association of Atlantic County, even the our executive county superintendent, Mr. Bumpus, has been on the professional developments that have been held virtually on introducing each chapter. And we get feedback from the teachers in regards to that, to continue developing the curriculum. Heather Warburton 20:23Yeah, it really sounds like you’re building each year on the progress you’ve made the last year and really developing a great plan. Dr. Stephanie James-Harris 20:30And I think, Heather, it’s important to understand that even when she’s really developing, because the way New Jersey is set up, and you know, and I know a lot of people don’t maybe not understand or see the mechanics of how it necessarily works. But New Jersey school districts in themselves sort of are on an island. They have the ability to kind of figure out specifically for themselves, particular curriculum apps, or particular curriculum inclusions, as long as they get to the end goal, which of course, is the standards, the content standards that are set by the state. So there’s a lot of autonomy that districts have to be able to do this level of work. It’s very interesting about the law, it’s one of the only laws on the books for the state of New Jersey in regards of curriculum development is very specific about what they want to see for inclusions. So a lot of this and a lot of challenges have come in that law seems simplistic, but because of the structure of New Jersey, it requires that each particular district has to do this work, sort of the same kind of veracity that Pleasantville is doing, because we can give some examples, but that would mean that the state would give them or my office would actually be doing a curriculum for them, andt hat doesn’t happen, it’s just not even possible. So these districts have got to take the responsibility to be able to take on. I can provide whatever resources, whatever instruction, whatever successions, whatever help, um, we have created model curriculum to this online, every teacher and district is able to access even college programs so that teachers entering the field understand what that Model Curriculum looks like, what we understand is that a lot of the districts are utilizing the textbooks and the sources that have already been purchased. So our job in palms is what Ms. Lasure Evans is talking about, is building the meat, on to those resources so that they can give a much broader narrative. So if you have a textbook that is being used, or resources, this district has to ask who’s missing from that story. And so when we think about who’s missing from that story, and it gives an opportunity for you to go back and have to do the kind of very specific and intentional work, that was Ms. Lasure Evans is doing, right. We got a broad standard that said, students will be able to understand the contributions of, you know, a number of people to, you know, colonial America, etc. We have a book that might, we might generally use for those things. But now, we now have to go back and say, but we haven’t told that on the perspective of native peoples that lived here in this community, and if that is also a standard for third grade, then we want them to understand what the living life has been, like, who they were, how they thought, you know, the ideas that that could shift in regard to even different thought students, we have these ideas that like that history, or even the translations that we tell them are objective. Nothing is objective. Everything is subjective contributions and bring to that right. And so all of a sudden, things that we have kids believing are plastic, and, you know, just a given. We’re opening them up to them understand, even maybe from that perspective, this is different from the other perspective. It makes it messy, but it makes it real, right. It’s not these, these are the intangibles that we can’t sometimes teach at the end of a week with a nice little bow. But that’s the real magic of teaching. its going to require some work. Heather Warburton 24:31right? It seems like it’s gonna require every district have those passionate educators like Pleasantville has and you know, even one educator really just pushing and fighting for it and get, you know, getting other people on board. Seems like the way that we get every district in the state to where Pleasantville is. Gary Melton 24:52Yeah, and that’s why we’re really excited about partnering with the Amistad commission and ensuring that we let our educators know the importance of this of this wonderful law that was created. As most people know, we have decided, the executive committee of the NJEA decided to give a $75,000 stipend, so to speak to the Amistad commission for a journey, when our hopes are when COVID breaks that we’ll be able to travel to those places, to Jamestown and travel to Africa, and do all these wonderful things that will get educators excited about this curriculum that many grew up not knowing about it at all, you know, not having a course and not understanding the contributions of people who were not a part of what was perceived as a majority. And so, you know, we’re so so excited about partnering with the commission and getting the work done in our state. Heather Warburton 25:59Yeah, and the NJEA has some amazing educators, I know so many educators in New Jersey, and every one of them seems to be more awesome than the last. Like, there’s some really great educators here in the state. And we’re running a little short on time. But there was one thing I did want to bring up now is kind of in the past, I guess, probably only about a year or so we’ve seen the 1619 project pop up. And it was a project of the New York Times, sort of reframe history narrative, centering the effects of slavery. It got a Pulitzer Prize. And even out here in like rural, South Jersey, I’m seeing like 1619 reading groups pop up. So I wonder kind of how that’s affecting the implementation of the Amistad curriculum in New Jersey? Does it help? Is it pulling resources away? Dr. Stephanie James-Harris 26:52I don’t think there’s a definitive amount of resources that you could ever feel like it’s pulling it away, it’s actually a very good example of what the law is supposed to do. It’s like, it’s like a national example of what the Amistad law is supposed to be do. It is supposed to be a space where we can all look to our collective conversation or collective contribution to any particular struggle moment, right. And I think the real, the thing that is pulling most people into narrative about 1619 is is that, you know, what is being brought forth is not fictitious, it is part of our American story. However, most people, before really thinking about the 400 year commemoration for the arrival of those 23 individuals into the Jamestown settlement, and then their enslavement and lawsuit formulated around them, most people just kind of thought of it as given. And that given did not really come into play with how perhaps from their perspective, this American history, as unfolded, what it has meant, um, in regards to, you know, looking at how infrastructure has been developed, or how enslavement laws have developed, or whether or not, you know, the spirit and fervor of freedoms, and democracy also flowed through both individuals as well, and what it meant to be a part of that period of history and growing this nation in the same time period of being left out of it, and then be included back into it. And so it’s even, I think, another touch point for people to re examine our history, from multiple perspectives. And I think that’s the real crux of why people have become so interested in and really delving into that. Because if you look at, you know, American history, through that lens does look different. It looks different, the lens of human, right, it looks, it looks different, through the lens of a lot of marginalized groups, it doesn’t make it wrong, it doesn’t detract away from someone else’s perspective. It shouldn’t threaten anyone to be able to say that we might have different opinions of the same event. It should allow us to enhance it. Um, and so although I know it’s coming under, either being, you know, pushed forward as a wonderful, you know, way of looking at American history or it’s being attacked, as you know, it’s time to revisit or, you know, to do a revisionist or to do to say something negative about American democracy. I think it’s doing nothing more than really just giving us an opportunity to just look at history from a different perspective. And, and to examine it. So we’re doing that’s all it’s doing. But with this 400 year, you know, commemoration the happened last year, it has given I guess, a lot of, of African American peoples a point of pride, to be able to see how far we have come from being brought to these, to the to these lands, not voluntarily as enslaved people. And so I think that for us, the 1619 Project is giving us a window to be set up and be reflected, and others up and be reflected for our contribution to American history as well. Heather Warburton 30:39Yeah, I think that’s great. And last thing I wanted to talk about is the impact that all this must be the positive impacts is must be having on students. And you talked about that pride, I imagine that prides being instilled into students from a really young age. So that’s something I’ve kind of like to close out the show talking about. Dr. Stephanie James-Harris 31:00I mean, I would just say this, and I’ll leave that to Tamar because I know she’s with the kids every day, I think it’s not only a point of pride. But I think for them, it gives them a sense of that, that for all students that they’re going to be able to look around the room, and they’re going to understand that just like this room, you know, might be reflective of, you know, a multitude of races, or American stories, too. And, and be you know, the underlying message is that this is an Of course, right? Oh, you know, I say this to my teachers, all the time is it when I took this job, and I’ve been the executive director now for 14 plus years. And when I took the job I had children that were in early elementary school that are now college students, and I used to say all the time at, and I’m a college professor at college for 14 years, on top of everything else, because I’m really a history geek. And I love being able to give it to students directly so I teach college courses, and I always say that I want my students to not look so surprised, as 20 year olds about something that I am just talking about, sometimes even implicitly, that I recognize that they have never, ever been exposed to. When I get to the place where everyone in my classroom, nods their head, and says, of course, thats when I know we’ve gotten here, right? I want them to be the “of course” generation. That’s our goal, right? We want them to be in that space where everything tis not unknown history. This is not unknown territory. This is something that, it becomes just as commonplace as that would be understanding of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were presidents. Right. So they know who who Geroge Washington Carver is just as much, right, we got to get there. Um, it sometimes saddens me that I’m still saying that I now have college students. And when I started this job, I had elementary school students. So that means we bought an entire span of children’s k-12 curriculum, trying to still get this right. We can’t afford for four or five more generations to not get to college and say, of course, we can’t. And so we’re depending on teachers, like, like Ms. Lasure Owens, to make sure it gets done correctly, they can really be the “of course” generation, because for a lot of us, we weren’t. For a lot of the teachers that are now teaching as kids, we would have loved to have the experience. But thats not where we were. So teachers are dedicated to doing this work, because they took this profession for that reason. And so we just got to get the resources to do it. Tamar Lasure Owens 33:57That is so eloquently said, all I’m adding to that is the fact that this is what motivates me, this is what gets me to want to run, you know, another 1000 miles. And when I do that, that is also what we bring to the classroom. And so students are, you know, are that engaged and that excited and learning. And when that happens, I mean, all I keep saying is the fact that already looking at K through five, I mean, when they hit Middle School, look how much they’re going to know. Wow, look how much they’re going to ask and be ready to go with and feel so included and part of and can make a difference and want to be the next you know, environmental engineers and historians and wherever they want to go because they have, you know, they’re excited. They’ve learned so much and they feel as though they are and can be the next contributers, you know, to society. So that is what kindergarten and first grade students already are bringing that inquisitive learning that questioning the you know, talking about it, and and their faces, you know are so lit up, you know, you can tell when they’re interested and they get closer to the zoom camera you can see their faces bigger. And that’s what it’s about. So when you know teaching the curriculum is really giving the story and everyone feels they are part of. And so that is what is making this a success. Heather Warburton 35:40Yeah, this whole thing seems to be about so many connections, how the union supporting the teachers who are, you know, giving this information to the students, it really is a whole takes the whole state connecting to do this, doesn’t it? Dr. Stephanie James-Harris 35:54It really does. I mean, that’s, that’s the synergy that is needed for any kind of statewide overhaul social studies, right, especially in the States, when it is not an edict from on high. I mean, we created a system for New Jersey, so that each district would have some autonomy. But if you are going to have autonomy, but at the same time, try to meet everybody down the road. Other than the only way to do it is to collectively create the partnerships and the bridge so that it can happen together. If not, we’ll have pockets all up and down the state at our, which we do with our doing it differently, which are doing it a different pace, which are looking at it differently, which are invoking different strategies. And never, that’s never a bad thing. As long as we’re all gonna get to the same end goal is partnership partnerships are needed to at least make sure that we’re having cohesive conversations, and we can share the resources that are needed. Yeah, Tamar Lasure Owens 37:02Let me just say this, Mr. Melton, when Gary Melton and Dr. Stephanie James Harris are on the professional developments with teachers, it is dropped it they have everyone’s attention. That is what motivates staff. They’re like you’re listening to them now. That is what motivates staff. They are engaged. I mean, where they’re just like, who’s going to be Oh, I will be on that professional development. Oh, we’re having this Mr. Melton will be on Dr. Stephanie James Harris. Okay. Yes, I want to hear what they have to say, the minute they say you’re doing a great job or whatever they have to say, listen, everyone in Pleasantville is ready to go for it. And that is, honestly how important the partnerships are to staff. I’m sorry, Mr. Melton, please go ahead. Gary Melton 37:50No, thank thank you so much, Miss Lasure Owen. And Dr. Harris, look, let me tell you, it’s so encouraging. Just sitting here and realizing from whence we came, and to where we are now and feeling like we’re really about to go over that mountain and really get the ball rolling on ensuring that black history is infused within our history here in the state. And as I keep saying, I have bigger sites, right? This could be a nationwide initiative that New Jersey has started. And it is so very important for us as a union to ensure that we are preparing our educators to move forward in this process. And and that sometimes, and as you know, we have over 200,000 members and getting to every single local and to ensure that every single local knows the importance of having an inclusionary curriculum. It’s so important. And let me tell you this, when I look at the numbers of the conferences that we have now, and the numbers of people who are asking for information, not only dealing with racial, social and economic justice, but dealing with in particular, the Amistad curriculum, Ms. Lasure Owens, Dr. Harris, I’ve done workshops within the NJEA convention workshops within the conferences that we have. And I’m telling you, they’re booked up every single time because people want to do what’s right. And I just have a belief in the work that I’m doing that eventually it all comes together. And as long as we keep pressing and pushing, and letting folks know that this isn’t going anywhere, we’re not going away, that this work is important. And it really can change the life of all students, not just our black, indigenous and people of color, but all students can be changed in this. And we all can be the America that all of us want to see. So I’m just so excited to be on this call and to listen to these strong educators speak with passion about the importance of this work. Heather Warburton 40:09Thank you all for being here tonight. It’s been an amazing conversation. I’m honored to have all of you here, being so passionate and so dedicated to this work. It’s really great to have you all here. Gary Melton 40:23Thank you, fior having us Dr. Stephanie James-Harris 40:25Thank you, we thank you for giving us the platform. I know this is sometimes not um, this isn;t fun stuff. This is not the stuff that people want to talk about. It is necessary stuff. So I appreciate the platform to be able to spend some time with you guys today. Heather Warburton 40:40To my listeners, thank you so much for joining us here. This is what we’re here for. We’re here to be a voice for these ideas that need to be heard. They’re begging out, like, please get these ideas out to people. That’s what we’re here for Create Your Future Productions. Were here for activists, we’re here for people that are trying to change the world. And we appreciate you so much. And we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you. And we just did set up our Patreon and our PayPal if you want to help donate and keep me on the air. This is literally just me in my office here. That’s what we have right? so far. Create Your Future Productions. And I appreciate you for joining me The future is to create go out there and create it.
35 minutes | 2 months ago
School House Burning
In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather is joined by Derek Black author of “School House Burning”. They talk about the concept that public education has been an integral part of American democracy through the earliest days of the founding of the country. As much as racism has attacked these ideals, the idea of a public education for all is so ingrained in America that is has even survived racism. Public education is under attack from both sides of the aisle these days from Betsy Devos and Chris Christie to Cory Booker and Obama’s appointees. The push for charter schools is a new form of racist attack but Derek shows us how much we can learn from studying the history, so we can move forward with an even deeper commitment to protect our education system. Education is the true path to citizenship and without it, we have nothing resembling a democracy. Transcript Auto Generated Derek Black 0:00So we had three things Common Core, teacher evaluation systems, and charter schools being pushed out on public schools during the Obama administration. Heather Warburton 0:15This is Wine Women and Revolution with your host, Heather Warburton. Hi and welcome to Wine Women and Revolution. I’m your host Heather Warburton coming at you here on Create Your Future Productions. Create Your Future Productions is the only place you can find new episodes of Wine, Women and Revolution. And you can find us online at YourFutureCreator.com follow us on all the social medias and get us wherever you get your podcasts from. Today I am going to be talking about education, which you know, is a topic I’ve covered a few times here. But I’ve got with me today the author of “School House Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy”. Derrick Black, welcome to the show. Derek Black 1:01Yeah, thanks for having me on. It’s a pleasure. Heather Warburton 1:03So I guess you know, the most important thing to talk about is when we’re recording this, Betsy DeVos is kind of going to be on her way out soon. By the time people listen to this. She may be in our last few weeks of torturing American education. So that’s kind of exciting. Derek Black 1:20Yeah, it is. I had a post I put up the other day and said after watching the, you know, the the results come in. People were enormously excited for the end of the Trump presidency and the end of him as President, but running a close second, I think was the end of Betsy Devos as Secretary of Education. I mean, if you were, if you were looking at things, they were immediately articles going up, and I actually got one of the biggest responses I’ve had and Twitter, in the last few weeks at least, and it was just mentioning that Betsy was on her way out. And certainly folks are looking forward to that. Heather Warburton 1:56Absolutely. But we can’t just pretend that all the attacks, the recent attacks on public education just started under the Trump presidency. It’s been a while now that the public education has been under attack. And whart you sort of laid out in your book is that you talk about the current political climate a little bit and dove in to the history, which that’s kind of what we’re going to do here today is a little bit of talk about how it kind of where we are and how we got to right now. And you said, you know, under Obama when he appointed Duncan, that was a pretty bad sign for how they were going to be dealing with public education. Right. Derek Black 2:35Yeah, I mean, already, Duncan had been superintendent in Chicago public schools, and had been part of a pretty massive expansion of charter schools there. And there was also clearly a divide at that moment, a lot of folks were talking about Linda Darling Hammond as being the Secretary of Education. Her name is coming up again, although she just said she wasn’t interested recently. But her name was in the mix. And the far or I should say the right sort of came out vehemently against her saying, look, you know, she’s too committed to the status quo. We need somebody to shake it up. And so when Obama appoints Dunkin, he appoints him in the idea of being the he’s someone who could speak to both sides, both the traditional public education side and the privatization side. But what I lay out in the book is that he ends up really giving quite a lot to the privatization side and not really doing any while not doing much to firm up the public education schools themselves. Heather Warburton 3:30And he did a lot of it through executive actions. Can you talk about some of the executive actions that he took while he was in office? Derek Black 3:39Yeah, I mean, I got involved with that actually ended up being an expert witness in a case against Arnie Duncan. Seems like a lifetime ago. But yeah, so during the No Child Left Behind era, there was this requirement that all schools get students up to proficient levels by 2014. And by about 2012 2011, it became clear that was not going to happen. In fact, we knew it wasn’t going to happen for quite a while, the numbers were showing it, showing us as much, but at that point, something like, I think it was 70 or 80% of schools were set to be labeled as failing or needs of improvement under No Child Left Behind. So there was going to be all these sanctions and targets coming at our public schools. And what Duncan does is use that moment in time to say, look, I will relieve you of the sanctions of No Child Left Behind, if you will accept a new set of conditions. And amongst those conditions, one was adopted the common core curriculum. It didn’t say the words common core curriculum, but it talked about a nationalized set of standards. So it was adopting the common core curriculum, also adopting a set of teacher evaluation systems, which was also underway in some states, which would basically, as he said, hire fire and retain teachers based upon how their students were doing on standardized test scores. And so that was an enormous deal as well. The other thing that he had done, although it wasn’t part of those conditions it was part of Race to the Top, which was new money that was given to schools to try to deal with the prior recession. And he said, Look, if any school maintains or any state maintains arbitrary caps on charter schools, they will jeopardize their eligibility for federal funds. So we had three things, Common Core teacher evaluation systems and charter schools being pushed at our public schools during during the Obama administration. Heather Warburton 5:34And I think you talked a little bit about the in Florida, they started putting in vouchers, although vouchers were technically illegal under the Florida constitution. So they ended up just calling it a scholarship program to send kids to private and charter schools. Right. Derek Black 5:51Yeah, that part, you know, we can’t put that on, on Duncan. And to be clear, you know, I do think that Duncan was, was well intentioned, I don’t, I don’t think he was out to harm our public schools. I just think we didn’t, we didn’t get the mix correct under him. But there are a lot of folks who were dead set on actually privatizing and harming our public schools. And that’s through vouchers. And in the aftermath of the recession, you saw a lot of states starting to say, look, we can’t afford public education. So maybe we can pay for something cheaper on the side, or maybe we can remove our higher cost kids into the private system. And Florida was, and has been the leader on this. So as you know, at one point, or initially, during the Jeb Bush administration, those vouchers that moved money from the public schools to private schools were deemed unconstitutional. But then they cook up this scheme whereby they’re going to give out all these tax credits, or they call them tax credits, to people who will pay for the tuition at those private schools. And that system just exploded during the aftermath of the recession effect at this point, now, Florida is spending roughly a billion dollars a year on private tuition in the form of, you know, tax credits and other sort of workarounds. Heather Warburton 7:11Right. And you also mentioned in the book, you may not know this, but I’m from New Jersey, so former Governor Chris Christie was definitely one of the people who was leading the charge to try to vilify public education teachers, and that was something kind of new that we’d never seen before of actually casting teachers as the villains in the story. Derek Black 7:32Yeah, I mean, you know, it’s really a sad state of affairs, which, you know, our public school teachers have always been paid, relatively modest wages, but the idea was job stability, you know, respect from the community and a good retirement, and people would sort of make that trade off, and also a passion for teaching itself. But during the recession, all of a sudden, we had governors like Chris Christie and Scott Walker in Wisconsin, saying that it’s our public school teachers are the problems themselves, right. They get paid too much, they don’t do anything, you know, education would be a lot better if we could just get rid of the bad teachers. You know, Chris Christie said, you know, he would like to give a lot of those union folks a punch in the mouth, and they’re the most destructive force in American politics. So there is a lot of targeting of teachers and teacher unions as being the reason why our schools are not performing. So it’s like our long serving, suffering public servants are all the sudden are the problem instead of the folks who were actually being mistreated, Heather Warburton 8:34I’m proud to say that, if you saw that classic picture of Chris Christie, like wagging his finger in a teacher’s face. That teachers, a friend of mine, and she’s been on the show a few times, so I’m always supporting of Melissa and all of her work with public education. But also in New Jersey here, we also had Cory Booker horribly pushing for charter schools in New Jersey. So it’s kind of across the aisle, they reach across the aisle to really try to attack public education now. Derek Black 9:04As to Cory, I wouldn’t, I’m not gonna say, characterize him on education policy. And I definitely disagree with him on a lot. But I think what you have is, you know, a certain portion of the Democratic Party got captured by by the possibility of charters as opposed to the reality of charters. And even I and you know, a decade and a half ago, didn’t know their reality and was willing to at least listen their possibility or think of this, you know, this isn’t really even a big deal at all. But the reality of them has become far more problematic than the idea of them. And the other thing we have is, is the tail wagging the dog, right sort of rich philanthropist who have been successful in the private sector, you know, the, the Gates and the Walmarts of the world. And they think that if our public schools would just operate like the private sector, that everything would be better and they spent, you know, millions if not billions of their own dollars to push that agenda. So if I’m the mayor of Newark, and Mark Zuckerberg comes to me and says, Hey, Mayor, you know, would you like $600 million for your public schools or $600 million for your, for your students? And in Newark? I’m probably gonna feel like the answer is yes, before I hear the rest of that sentence, you know, I mean, Newark schools were severely underfunded. And so I think we have rich philanthropists playing in a sandbox that they really knew little of, and moving, you know, democratic mayors, Democratic governors, etc, in a direction that that, in the long term has been harmful for public education. Heather Warburton 10:34But despite our current climate of lots of attacks, kind of coming from all sides on public education, the US government has been really interested in educating its citizenship. And that kind of goes back to the very beginning the founding fathers. So I mean, I’m not one to canonize the founding fathers at all, you know, I think they were pretty bad people. But they really were deeply committed to educating the public. Can you talk a little bit about that? Derek Black 11:01Yeah, I mean, what this book, I think, does it in the biggest sense is to try to re articulate the American narrative about public education. You know, so many folks are committed this idea that these local schools are ours, they operate based upon what we want to do with them, and the feds need to stay out of it, and maybe even the state needs to stay out of it. And what this book does is is says that that may be the fiefdom that you’re operating under. But that’s not the idea of America that if we go back to the idea of America, it is that all citizens need to be educated. And our government at the very highest levels has to make that happen, that we cannot have, you know, sort of some communities providing education and some not or some providing good education and others not, that we need at the highest levels of leadership to guarantee expansion and quality across the nation. So we go back to the founding, and I say, look, you know, the idea of America in 1776, is a radical idea. At that moment in time The world is ruled by kings and queens, the notion that you would hand this over to regular folks. And to be clear, like you said, we shouldn’t be shouldn’t canonize them, incorrectly, by regular folks, they meant regular white men, not not anyone else. And sometimes they didn’t even mean regular white man, they meant regular white men who owned property. But that was still a much larger chunk of the world than just kings and queens, right that farmers could vote, right? That’s a radical idea. And so the founding fathers say that if we’re going to turn this thing over to regular folks, they’ve got to be educated, they have got to be able to find the common good, they have got to be able to resist tyranny on their own terms, and to separate the hucksters from the good faith politicians. And so in the Northwest Ordinance, before we even have the United States Constitution, the Continental Congress carves up the rest of the nation, and sets the rules for how the territories will become states. And what they do is to say that every single town in the remainder of the United States shall be divided up into squares and the center square, and each of those towns shall be reserved for public schools, and the outer lying lots in those towns shall be reserved to generate resources for those public schools. And again, that was the manifestation of this idea that if this radical experiment of democracy is going to work, we have to have a system for educating that democracy. Heather Warburton 13:22Right. In the book, you kind of said, they didn’t have money to give yet there, you know, the country was just being formed, they couldn’t give money. So they gave what they had at the time, and that was land. And that was showing their commitment, even though it’s a little different than what we do nowadays. That was laying out they were putting their land where their mouth was, and you know, they didn’t have money. Derek Black 13:42Yeah, that’s right. I mean, America was also poor in those in those early years to go along with that, and land itself was not that valuable, because there was always more of it westward. So why is it that one piece of land is going to generate, you know, enormous resources unless it’s actually got something valuable, you know, underneath it, so land itself is doesn’t generate the money that they thought it would, and land sales didn’t either. And, you know, the Civil War brings this to the forefront, which is we, number one need not just an idea of public education, but we need actual guarantees of it. So following the Civil War, Congress forces the southern states as a condition of readmission to adopt constitutional clauses guaranteeing education. So in all of the state constitutions, there’s a clause that mandates the provision of often called a uniform system of schools open to all right, and so that’s a that’s a radical new thing. Not that we’re just going to say, hey, education is a good idea and make a lot in the middle of town for but rather now we have states guaranteeing as a constitutional matter access to this public education. And by the same token, they also adopted poll taxes. poll taxes today are thought of as a dirty word, a way to disenfranchise African American and poor people. But during Reconstruction, it was literally African American who came up With the idea of poll tax, so they said, there’s one thing that we know everyone wants to do, in the aftermath of the Civil War, and that is to seize the reins of democracy and vote. And we know that land isn’t worth much, but maybe people will pay, you know, $1 to vote. And so that’s what the Freemen came up with here in South Carolina, they were the majority of the Constitutional Convention said, we are going to impose a poll tax, and every single dollar of it will go to support public education. But they did have an exception there, they said, but if you can’t afford to pay for it, we’ll let you vote anyway. So they weren’t trying to exclude folks from the ballot box. They’re just trying to raise funds for our public schools. And that moment in time, that period really changes the entire course of history as it comes to public education, because now it’s becoming a constitutional right, as opposed to just this voluntary thing that that some states but Heather Warburton 15:50I did want to talk a little bit more about that reconstruction period. But before we moved on to there, you had one quote in the book, that I particularly like that it was from Jefferson, which it was a kind of dealing with consent, which is, I know, not a good topic to talk about, usually with Jefferson. But in this, he said that the government basically derived its powers from the consent of the governed, and you have to be educated about what’s going on, and able to even be in a position to give that consent to your government. But I thought that was an interesting quote from him. Derek Black 16:21Yeah, and it really, really is a mind bender, in many respects for for folks who haven’t thought about it. So you know, Jefferson is someone who’s skeptical of government. And if you if you’ve seen Hamilton, or listened to Hamilton, you know that Jefferson was concerned with all these Federalists and the Hamilton’s of the world sort of seizing power. Jefferson is skeptical of that, right, this sort of exercise of government power. And his argument is that the only way that governments exercise of power is valid over an individual, as if that individual consents to that power. But he says, if you don’t understand government, if you don’t understand its issues, if you don’t understand what it’s doing in the world, then your consent is ineffective, so to speak. And so the way that government becomes legitimate is for citizens to have enough knowledge to freely and validly consent to the exercise of, of governmental power. So yes, for him, public education is a linchpin of the democracy that we have today. Heather Warburton 17:24And now I did want to move on to that reconstruction period, because that’s when, you know, public education really expanded. And that was mainly driven by the hands of the freed slaves, they were more committed to public education than anyone and started putting these things in place, kind of, you know, leading the way there. Derek Black 17:43Yeah, I mean, one of the most eye opening parts of doing this book, and I think, really, the emotional heart of this book, is learning about the experiences of African Americans during slavery, what they did to actually learn to read and write in secret knowing that it was a crime and knowing that they could be killed or punished for it. And so it was an incredibly valuable thing to them, because it was the thing that could secure their freedom, too. And, and so they wanted it right, that was the thing that they could use to share information and organize. And one of the things that was was startling to missionaries, as they went south, right at the end of the Civil at the end of civil war, was that actually, a lot of slaves already knew how to read and write, they’d been teaching each other in secret. And so there was a base to build upon there. And then when they begin to flee to freedom, they want that education to be far more formal. So before the Civil War is even over, schools begin to pop up, freedmen schools here in Virginia, and South Carolina and elsewhere, and the Union troops are are struck and amazed by how much the freedmen wanted to learn and how much of their time they were devoting towards it and, and how they were willing to give what little funds they had, you know, as people who were just enslaved and giving away money and raising money to support this, this public education system. So that provides, you know, the backbone for these constitutional measures. And if I might just take liberty for just a moment for those who, who who may have seen David Chappelle on on Saturday Night Live the other day when he talks about his grandfather, great grandfather, a former slave in South Carolina, that when when he became free. Dave Chappelle said that he devoted his life to three things, education, the freedom of black folks, and religion, or Jesus Christ as he said it and I think it’s just really important for people to understand how education was part of freedom and how completely unified African American community was into creating this system of publication. Knowing that it was the gateway to freedom, and they didn’t just free themselves, they help free a lot of poor white folks that weren’t getting education, either. And that’s an important thing to think about in the modern era as we have all these divisions about who’s getting what or who it’s for, and racial and other sort of divisions that ultimately the public education system is the gateway to freedom for all and we owe an incredible debt in the south, at least an incredible debt of gratitude to the freedmen for that. Heather Warburton 20:29And you talked a little bit about how that became when states were rejoining the union. They had to sort of solidify into their state constitutions, something about public education. And didn’t you actually say furthering that out when New Mexico was first trying to get statehood? They were rejected because they didn’t have an education provision, right. Derek Black 20:53Yeah, that’s right. So in the middle of the Civil War, there are 10 states that are still not readmitted. You know, Tennessee, had come back into the union, before the Civil War was even over right at the end of the Civil War, they were never really in full rebellion for the Civil War, because as a border state, it was just taken back over very quickly. But the remaining Confederacy, Congress says, to re enter the union, you have to extend the ballot to African Americans. And you have to adopt the 14th amendment. And you have to rewrite your state constitutions. And, and all this debate about what it meant to rewrite state constitutions. They said, Look, it has to be a republican form of government, which takes us back to those Jeffersonian ideas, those Adams ideas and Washington ideas, which was a republican form of government is one in which the people are educated and consent to power and can participate in government. So Congress is very clear that we want education clauses in there. And in fact, the last three Confederate States to be readmitted Mississippi, Virginia and Texas, the statute under which Congress re admits them in 1870, explicitly writes into the statute, that is a condition of readmission. They shall never deprive any citizen of the rights they had just vested in their state constitution. There’s actually litigation going on right now as we speak, in Mississippi over that condition of readmission. So that’s the Confederate States. And as you as you point out, like, I say that that idea of education is being conditioned for being a state carries on even after the Civil War. So New Mexico, when it is trying to become a state files, its papers filed its constitution, and that constitution, it’s got a few problems in them. And a big one is public education is not in it. So Congress says, nope, not admitting you, New Mexico needs to rewrite your constitution. Again, they rewrite it make some change, including putting public education in there. And then, you know, New Mexico becomes a state just like everyone else, and it has public education in its constitution. Heather Warburton 22:51Yeah, so it was clearly something that was really important to the federal government, continually throughout the whole formation of the country. So not surprising, you know, that, that would sort of keep this blossoming and blossoming during that reconstruction time. But unfortunately, after reconstruction, we did lead into the Jim Crow era, and attacks while everybody was still deeply committed to educating white kids, then they decided, well, maybe we don’t need to extend that to Black people anymore. And that’s when sort of the attacks on public education for certain segments of the population. And you laid out a few of them in your book, you want to talk a little bit about what happened in that time period? Derek Black 23:35Yeah, it’s, it’s a curious, it’s a curious time period, because what you have is this expanding commitment to the right to education, but this resurgence of racism at the same time, and those two things interconnect. And the question is, can we can we separate them out in our minds any. So you know, and Mississippi when they come together for the Constitutional Convention of 1898, they say we’ve come together for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to disenfranchise the Negro. And that meant taking away the right to vote as best they could, and restricting access to public education. So most people know, the voting story very well. And most people know that. That’s where we start segregating schools again. But there’s this curious debate that happens at the same time, which is, you know, I mentioned that a lot of white folks were getting education they never had before. Well, that public education system was really a product of black aspirations and a black idea. And so there are some in Mississippi and the Constitution convention that said, let’s just take public education out of the Constitution altogether, let’s get rid of this black idea. Let’s get rid of spending money on black kids, etc, etc. And there are others that go that that’s a bridge too far, that ultimately public education had become an integral part of government. And there were a lot of white folks that wanted it. So what happens are the silver lining I tell is that public education actually survives racism. Racism tried to kill public education, but racism was not enough to kill public education. And because they didn’t kill it, that constitutional right lives on even today for Well, I mentioned litigation just a moment ago in regard to it. And the same thing in other states. So is this sort of tension between this commitment to the idea of America where everyone gets public education, juxtaposed against sort of the rise of racism created a struggle during that period of time. Heather Warburton 25:34But speaking of litigation, eventually, the NAACP starts launching a series of litigations, which ultimately leads us to Brown versus Board of Education, which you talked quite a bit about that series of lawsuits in the book, do you think we can real briefly kind of touch on you know, some? Or summarize all of them sort of together? Derek Black 25:57Yeah, I mean, the short story there is that most people think of Brown versus Board of Education is purely about segregation in schools. But when you look at the briefing, and the arguments that bring the United States Supreme Court to the point at which it is willing to strike down schools segregation, it’s one of these democracy arguments that for two decades, NAACP had been building this theory of education as a gateway to citizenship and how can you really be a citizen in the United States, if that gateway is blocked, or there’s two different gateways to citizenship. And so that idea, you find it in Brown versus Board of Education itself, it says that public education is the very foundation of good citizenship and no child could be reasonably expected to succeed in life, if they were denied it, and so that it wasn’t sort of segregation, per se, is bad, but rather, education is a foundation of democracy. That’s a key moving piece of the puzzle and making Brown a reality. And so that idea, right, this stretches all the way back to the founders, you see it again, coming to life and Brown versus Board of Education. Heather Warburton 27:04And the Supreme Court actually was a real ally to education for a good chunk of time, I guess, up until sort of the Nixon era, right was when the Supreme Court sort of took a turn to be not so friendly to education. Derek Black 27:18Yeah, it’s like too much democracy or, or sort of status quo couldn’t, couldn’t tolerate too much democracy. And so Nixon campaigns on and is clear that he wants to reverse and limit school desegregation. And so he makes appointments to the United States Supreme Court for the explicit purpose. And folks who have explicit backgrounds and being hostile towards Brown and some of the cases that came after it. And so as soon as Nixon begins to make makes two appointments to the Supreme Court, we see the promise of Brown began to unravel, and all these sort of new rationales for limiting integration, and also for limiting the concept of equal school funding, they all begin to, to make their way into the Supreme Court jurisprudence at that point. Heather Warburton 28:05And you also talk about one of my kind of favorite mustache twirling villains would be Justice Powell, you know, anyone that’s listened to this show, you’ve certainly heard me talk quite a bit about the Powell memo, and his attacks on organizing groups and how businesses need to get together and act as if they themselves were an organizing group. And so he’s definitely one of the mustache twirling villains in history. And he was one of those people who also was part of the new the supreme court that does not support education, which shouldn’t be surprising. If he wanted to corporatize everything wanting to corporatize education was kind of par for his course. Derek Black 28:46Yeah, I mean, Powell is a an enigma on many levels. Because I mean, kudos to you for looking at it so closely. You know, he, there is, he puts a good face on some things. He’s ambiguous as to others. And you try to get a sense of where he’s, he’s coming from, I can tell you, the African American community thought he was coming from a bad place, particularly given the fact that he had been on the Richmond, Virginia school boards and had been part of the foot dragging following Brown. He had been on the State Board of Education when they had authorized vouchers for for white families who wanted to close down public schools rather than integrate. So he’s part of that whole story. But I guess he’s also a politician that he’s cagey. And he sort of keeps this low profile, so you don’t really see his name or his votes or his arguments in those debates. You just know, he’s part of the story. And so he can arguably hide behind this notion of Well, I was just representing my clients. I don’t know that makes it you know, whether that makes any better or not, you can leave it to the listeners. But, you know, he writes a brief you know, and and Swan versus Mecklenburg, which is About bussing children for integration where he’s completely opposed to it, or his clients are completely opposed to it. And, you know, the the Legislative Caucus African American caucus, you know, they they start releasing all this information saying how in the worldcould we put this guy on, on the Supreme Court, when his agenda would look like would be a reversal of Brown. But nonetheless, he gets there. And when he gets there, he sugarcoats a lot of these things, you know, there’s a case out of Denver, Keys versus school district number one, that ends effectively ends school desegregation in the north, for the most part. And he, you know, it’s a very complicated case. But basically, he is expressing enormous sympathies towards integration at the same time that he’s trying to limit it. And it’s kind of hard to see where, where he’s coming from. But the net result is power on the Supreme Court ends up being very bad business for the right to education and school desegregation. Heather Warburton 31:01And so, you know, kind of running up on time now. But one question I often ask people is, are you optimistic? And before you added on the COVID, ending to the book, you do express optimism about public education, you think that it is part of this country, and despite our current system of attacks, that public education will prevail? Right? Derek Black 31:26Well, you’re you’re a wonderful reader. First of all, you’re right. I mean, if you take if you take that COVID piece, which I actually put in, after the book was done. When the book was done, COVID hadn’t happened. And then it’s about to go to press, and I sort of add that in there. I am very optimistic, right? I say, you know, look, you can’t look at 10s of 1000s of people in the streets revolting against this, this assault on public education, and be anything but inspired by these folks. Right? You have to believe that this or the power of their voices in their feet, it’s going to make a difference. COVID resets a lot of that. And, you know, I have new worries, I’m less optimistic than I was before. But I do remain that. I do stay true to that fundamental notion that, you know, the idea of this nation is interlocked with public education. And it’s also an experience that 90% of the people in this country have gone through. And it’s a very personal experience, and most people value those public schools. And so I don’t think it’s something that that folks are going to throw away, easily. Part of the book is actually to help people understand how much is at stake, because it’s easy to lose something when you don’t know someone is trying to pick your pocket. So what I’m really trying to convey in this book is there as a group of folks are trying to pick the pocket of public education. They’re trying to turn the public against public education, and we need to open our eyes, listen clearly and push back. And if our eyes are open, I do believe public education will survive and can be stronger than it was before the pandemic and before the last recession. But if we don’t have our attention turned to it. The pickpockets are still there waiting, waiting to steal our lunch money. Heather Warburton 33:11So if people want to get a copy of your book, because we’ve only kind of barely skimmed the surface. There’s a lot of information in this book, it’s I learned a lot reading this book. And I always appreciate that when I can learn something from an author. How can people get a copy of it? And how can they get in touch? Can they follow you on social media? Derek Black 33:30Yeah, so the book is, is available anywhere that your favorite books are sold. So I don’t want to endorse one or the other. But in the publisher is Public Affairs, you can go there. And then all the regular places that you’d find books, it’s for sale, they’re also in a lot of public library. So even if you buy a copy for yourself, you know, put a request and the public library for folks who may not be able to afford one themselves. As for following me, I’m on Twitter daily @DerekWBlack always talking about you know how these issues are playing out with with current policy, and trying to keep tabs and hold folks accountable on this. So look forward to interacting with folks and readers there as well. Heather Warburton 34:12All right, it’s been such a pleasure talking to you today. I’ve really enjoyed it. Thank you for being here. Derek Black 34:19Well, I really appreciate it. It’s been fun to talk to you, Heather Warburton 34:21To my listeners, thank you so much for joining us here today. We appreciate you more than you could possibly know. We strive to be a voice for stories are maybe not hearing everywhere for you know standing up for people. And standing up for people’s education is one of those commitments that we take really seriously. If you have chance, we are now on Patreon and you can donate. you can go on to our donations page, donate through PayPal and Patreon. This is brand new, really excited about that. And thank you so much for listening as always the future is to create go out there and create it
38 minutes | 3 months ago
The Tragedy of Heterosexuality with Jane Ward
In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather interviews Jane Ward about her book The Tragedy of Heterosexuality. Jane describes herself as an ally of heterosexual women. You could call her book a self help book that hates self help books. In her book, Ms Ward attempts to tackle the underlying causes of pain in heterosexual relationships which she refers to as the heterosexuality paradox. If straight men claim to love women so much, then why do so many of their actions seem to center hating women instead of loving them? She draws inspiration from the lesbian feminist writings of the 70s and 80s and offers a brand new prescription for straightness. In short, the answer is to take a page from lesbians and to honor "the human capacity to desire, fuck, and show respect at the same time.” Transcript Auto Generated Jane Ward 0:00One of the things that became really clear, especially as I was, you know, getting older moving into my 40s was that straight women seemed really miserable in their marriages. They spent a lot of their time complaining about their husbands, there was a lot of divorce happening that was initiated by women. And so I guess I want to reconcile this long standing narrative about how being queer makes for such a difficult life with what seemed to be the reality which is that most queer people I know really love the queer parts of our lives. Heather Warburton 0:46This is Wine, Women and Revolution, with your host, Heather Warburton. Hi, and welcome to Wine, Women and Revolution. I'm your host Heather Warburton coming at you here on Create Your Future Productions. You can find us online at www.yourfuturecreator.com Follow us on all the social medias and get us wherever you get your podcasts from. I've been really excited about this interview ever since I booked it. And I booked it kind of a while ago. This is another author that I'm bringing to you guys today. And she had a really interesting concept for a book and I was so excited to talk to her. The book is called The Tragedy of Heterosexuality. And the author is Jane Ward. Welcome to the show, Jane. Jane Ward 1:28Thank you so much for having me. Heather Warburton 1:31So I guess my first question, as I was reading the book, I wanted to ask Who were you writing this book for? Who is your audience you had in mind? Jane Ward 1:41Oh, gosh, that's such a good question. I mean, I, this is my third book. And I am a professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies. And so you know, when you have an academic job, you who you're supposed to be writing for is other scholars. However, one of the beautiful things about being at the later stage of your career having tenure, and all of that is that you can decide, you know, I don't just want to write for other scholars, I want to write for a popular audience, I want more people to have access to my ideas. So this book is published with NYU press. And I have a great editor who was very happy for me to try to write in an accessible way that everyone would be able to understand. And so my hope is that this is a book for people. Anybody who's ever been in a heterosexual relationship, any queer person who wants some affirmation about the beauty of queerness, so pretty much everybody. Heather Warburton 2:44Again, I thought you I thought it was interesting that you actually call yourself an ally, to heterosexual people, like you're kind of flipping that script of Usually, people say they're an ally to the LGBTQIA. community. So you're kind of flipping that around in this book. Jane Ward 3:00Yes. So that was that was one of the original ideas or like an epiphany that I had. And when I say epiphany, I mean, really just kind of about my own life experience that motivated me to write this book. So you know, on the one hand, we have this story about how it's really difficult to be a member of the LGBT community. And we often, you know, that story gets reflected back at us, many of us when we first come out to our parents or other family members, and, you know, a very common sentiment that's expressed, it's like, well, of course, I love you, but I'm just worried about what this will mean for your life, that you're going to experience a lot of discrimination, it's going to be really difficult. And so we have this understanding that being gay makes for hard life. And, you know, it wasn't that long ago, just a few decades ago, that that was really amplified that people believed it meant that you were going to be lonely and family-less, and depressed and suicidal and all of this. And so that's one narrative. But the thing is that in my own life, and in the lives of most of my queer friends, there's something about that narrative that just didn't fully ring true, especially in comparison with the experiences of my straight women friends, I you know, I'm now in my 40s. I have a 10 year old. My wife and I have been together for 15 years. And we now have no a lot of straight people because we have a kid and we meet these straight couples through our friends and through our child's school. And one of the things that became really clear, especially as I was, you know, getting older moving into my 40s was that straight women seemed really miserable in their marriages. They spent a lot of their time complaining about their husbands, there was a lot of divorce happening that was initiated by women. And so I guess I wanted to reconcile this long standing narrative about how being queer makes for such a difficult life with what seemed to be the reality, which is that most queer people I know really love the queer parts of our lives. We, at least for me, anyway, and I think a lot of lesbians in particular, feel a lot of relief to have escaped heterosexuality. And heterosexuality often looks pretty miserable to us. And that was a perspective that I just hadn't seen people writing about talking about and I wanted to share it. Heather Warburton 5:53Well, yeah, and I think under the capitalist society we live in, people like to, they love the pain narratives, you know, that they never really want to talk about joy. And certainly you don't hear nearly as much as you should about, you know, lesbian joy and gay joy and bisexual joy, You know, we only focus on this pain aspect. And we really should celebrate, um, you know, the good and, you know, there's a lot of good that comes with it. It's not all pain. Jane Ward 6:20Exactly, there's a tremendous, tremendous queer joy. And a lot of that joy isn't just what we do see on television, which is like pride festivals and dancing and like hot sex, I mean, we do get a version of our joy. That's kind of mass marketed to us. But I think there's another even deeper component to that, which has to do with the freedom that many women experience to not be living with the daily disappointments of heterosexual marriage. And, you know, we have so much feminist research now, that reveals to us exactly what those disappointments and inequalities look like, you know, tremendous inequalities in household division of labor, how much of the household work men do versus their women partners, the parenting labor, the emotional labor, the often kind of just an undercurrent of, of alienation from one another, boredom, just so much that's built into straight culture. And it's important to say, this book isn't about like, individual heterosexual couples as much about straight culture, and straight culture often celebrates the tension between men and women, it kind of presumes that men and women are attracted to each other physically, but they don't actually like each other very much. And then it normalizes that, and sometimes even romanticizes that. And that's just really not only bizarre, but quite sad, from a queer perspective. Heather Warburton 8:06Right. And I think there's so many examples of exactly what you're talking about that, for example, I was just on vacation with my husband. And we were talking about in popular culture, the show Mad About You, that was like this romantic comedy that was on I think back in the 90s. And the whole premise of the show, when talking about it was, there was a couple that all they kind of did was lie to each other. Because they so didn't believe that each other would understand their experiences, that they just lied to each other. And then as the audience, we were supposed to be shocked when they cheated on each other. And so like, it's just something that's reinforced over and over again, in culture. I mean, even now, with COVID. You know, there's so many jokes about, oh, well, if you're both working from home together, I guess you're either going to be pregnant or divorced by the time it's over. That really kind of reduces heterosexual relationship to not a good place. Jane Ward 8:59Exactly. I mean, every generation has a new spate of these television shows and self help books that convey exactly the message that you just mentioned, which is that men and women don't really get along, they don't really respect one another very much. They don't trust each other. And so what's best is if they can kind of learn to manipulate each other to keep the peace, and also not spend too much time together. And you're absolutely right, that we're, you know, it's tempting to think, Okay, well, that was the message in the 1950s. That was the message in the 1980s. But to get to think that maybe it's gone, but we have a beautiful I mean, a tragically beautiful illustration of this exactly, as you said with the Coronavirus and the New York Times has been covering all of the separations and divorces that the Coronavirus has initiated. And the way that's been framed and it may very well be true, I think we have evidence that this is true is that when you have heterosexual couples spending too much time with one another, it illuminates these conflicts and inequalities in a way that makes it pretty hard for women in particular, to tolerate them. Heather Warburton 10:22So you start to sort of open up the book asking a fairly big question of, you know, do women lose more than they gain by being heterosexual? And would you say that during the course of writing this book and doing your research, your answer changed? Or would you say you kind of stayed in the same place with that? Jane Ward 10:43Well, you know, I think it's a complex question because it's, it's that heterosexuality is viewed as love's gold standard. All of us are raised to imagine that it is what will make us happy in many cases, we're raised to imagine that it's our only option, you know, there's not any other way. And part of the way that it's marketed to women in particular, is I can get some women that a degree of self sacrifice is part of what makes them a good woman that, you know, one of the features of being a woman is kind of resilience and ability to endure bad men and to kind of stand up triumphant. And this is what the whole in many ways, this is the pop feminist message that you know, women are survivors, men are trash, but women somehow make it still work. And, and, and so I think we're not even really yet at a place where most straight women could ask themselves honestly, like, Am I getting enough out of this to make this makes sense for my life, because I think what most straight women are getting out of heterosexuality, aside from, you know, sex with men to whom they are attracted, is all of those, all of that cultural legibility all of that recognition as a successful woman, you know, as somebody who's figured out how to play the game, and, and I think that's all really amplified for women who are younger in their 20s, and 30s. And that's why we see so many women, unlike for gay men, who come out as bi or lesbian later in their lives, you know, they will have often a marriage to a man. And then, and then find that that marriage really didn't meet their needs. And so it's later in life that many women wake up to the ways that the privileges of heterosexuality didn't quite deliver to them what they anticipated. Heather Warburton 13:12Do you think it's possible to really separate heterosexuality from the misogyny in our culture today? Jane Ward 13:22I do think its possible so we know that the corrective to misogyny, which is men's hatred of women, is feminism. And I think one of the mistakes that we have made often is to imagine that feminism is something that is for women, or only for women, and to imagine that it is utterly political, that it exists in the political realm, but isn't really a an emotional or spiritual part of who we are. And so in the, in this book, I look back to lesbian feminist writing of the 1970s and 1980s. And part of what I find there is that lesbian feminists didn't just imagine that they were attracted to individual women or to women's bodies, and that that's what made them lesbian. I mean, certainly, that's what was a big part of what was going on. But they also understood that if they were oriented to women, if they loved women so much, if they desired women and lusted after women so much, that was really inseparable from also caring about women as a group and being invested in women's collective freedom, that if you want, if you are so into women, then you care about women collectively. And so the answer to your question, you know, do I think it's possible to separate misogyny from heterosexuality is yes, but I think what needs to happen is that men come to understand that if they're as heterosexual as they think they are, then they necessarily also have to be feminists. Because that means caring, being so oriented toward women, that they actually really like women, they respect women, they're invested in women's freedom. And so part of what is a little suspicious about straight men, from a lesbian perspective, is that their desire for women often looks kind of weak, a little bit feeble, a little bit half baked, because they claim they're so into women, but they need women's bodies, usually to be really hyper modified in order for their bodies to even be attracted to them, you know, they need them to be shaved and waxed, and dieted, and makeup, and all of that kind of stuff. And they also seem to not really care very much about women's rights. And that's just like, how can you actually have such a core feature of yourself, your sexual orientation, be all about women, and care so little about women's well being? So I offer a little roadmap at the end of the book for how straight men could pick up some of the insights of lesbian feminism and apply it to their own desire for women in relationships with women. And then I do think it's possible to separate misogyny from heterosexuality. Heather Warburton 16:33So in your book, you actually talk about you call it the misogyny paradox. And you gave one example that really kind of struck me is, yeah, this is right. You know, this is one of the things I underlined. You talk about the fact that straight men don't really just get together and talk about, like, how they've been, you know, pleasing women or being, you know, a good lover to women in bed that almost, that gets them described as being kind of gay. Like if they love women too much, that actually is sort of not considered masculine in our culture today. Jane Ward 17:04Right? Yeah, it's really interesting, the double standards, I mean, if you, you know, so much of male sexuality is very selfish. It's very self centered. And it's funny, because when it when women are like that, I don't know maybe this concept doesn't exist in straight culture. But in, in lesbian subculture, if you're a woman who really just likes to be pleased, we call that a pillow Princess, you know, you're just gonna lay there, as someone, you know, do things to you. But when men are like, give me a blowjob, you know, no one's like, Oh, what a pillow princess. But why, you know, we should think that because it's a kind of passive, utterly self focused sexuality. And so we have a way of taking a lot of men's sexual habits and recasting them as masculine, even, you know, whether that actually makes sense or not. And a big part, I mean, for me, the misogyny contradiction is about the fact that we claim that straight men are people who love women, but that love is supposed to take shape and express itself in the context of a culture that totally normalizes misogyny or men's hatred of women. And we haven't really reconciled that problem. And it makes sense that we haven't, because if you think about something, like white supremacy, you know, we are aware now as a country that we cannot snap our fingers and undo or heal four centuries of violence against black people in this country. And similarly, you know, patriarchy is so baked in to the gender binary into relationships between men and women and has been for centuries. And so that we're just still very, very much living with the legacy of that. And until we really reckon with it, it's going to show up over and over again in straight people's relationships. Heather Warburton 19:30Well, I think the perfect example now is, you know, we're having as we're recording this, there's a woman who's been nominated for the Supreme Court, who believes that women should be subservient to men. And I mean, when you hear about stuff like that, do you just want to shake your fist and like, see, this is what I'm talking about? Jane Ward 19:49I do but you know, I have to say, I don't know that I would have been able to write this book, or that the book would have landed in the same way. Had Donald Trump not been president? Because part, you know, and had there not been all of this other like you mentioned Amy Coney Barrett, I think I'm about I would say, you know, 10-15 years ago, people were still really believing that we were in a post feminist moment that feminists had really achieved everything they wanted. And we shouldn't, you know, in girl power and, and women had money and, and sexual power and all of this. And you know, anybody who had even a superficial awareness of what research was telling us about the state of women's lives around the globe knew that that was absolutely not true. Or that it was only true for a very small subset of white, wealthy women. But I think most people really wanted to believe that. And when the Access Hollywood tapes were, you know, were revealed, and we all got to hear Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women, and then the country elected him to the highest political office in the nation anyway. And then when we started to hear in 2017, all of the testimonials from women who, by the way, most of whom were very powerful women, you know, white, beautiful, wealthy actresses, in many cases telling us about all of the humiliation and sexual objectification and sexual assault they had experienced in the entertainment industry. And in the tech industry, I think people woke up that this was still continuing. And in many ways, it seemed to be getting worse. And so I think, that emboldened to me a little bit to be able to tell the truth in this book, without needing to walk people down such a long path of trying to convince them that we still have a problem with gender inequality. Heather Warburton 22:06I definitely think it kind of primed the culture to be ready for a book like yours. Because I would think, you know, especially when you've got a word like tragedy in the title, you could have generated a lot of pushback against your book. So I think that's a good point that society probably would not have been ready for your book, like five years ago. Jane Ward 22:25Right? I mean, I, you know, I have to say, there has been a good amount of pushback for this book. The New York Times just ran a very lovely and positive review. And because that was in the New York Times Book Review, many people read it, including a bunch of conservative, straight white men who know, you can imagine how the manosphere responded to that. So that's just par for the course. You know, we know that it's funny to me, because I think men who respond that way to my writing, think that somehow they're showing me, you know, and all but instead really, it's always just more evidence of the very points that I'm making when they unleash their misogyny at me, Oh, absolutely. Heather Warburton 23:18I would expect pushback, probably from those kind of segments of the population to anytime a woman says anything. Anything. You know, I'm a woman online that has some fairly occasionally controversial opinions, not even specifically about men just about society, and I get so much hate and pushback from certain segments of the population. So I think that just happens to any woman that has an opinion about something. Jane Ward 23:43Right, right. Heather Warburton 23:46Um, so I did want to touch a little bit more of something, you go into your book, you kind of lay out the history of this giant industry that sprung up around trying to normalize and save heterosexuality. And you actually found out that that started all the way back with the eugenicists, right. Jane Ward 24:04Right. Yeah, I really was surprised to discover that. I mean, I was interested in is this all of these self help books I was familiar with, because I was, you know, born in the early 1970s. And my mom had a lot of these books in the 80s. Like, you know, "Men who hate women and the women who love them" and these kinds of self help classics. And so I wanted to know, you know, what did the earlier ones look like when did this industry start because in part, you know, as a, as a scholar of sexuality, we know that the the classifications of heterosexual and homosexual weren't invented until the late 19th century anyway, so the industry that is forming around, you know, determining what does healthy heterosexuality look like is actually quite recent. You know, we're Relatively speaking so. So I went back to find the earliest marital self help manuals, and I discovered that several of them emerged between the 1910s and the 1930s. And that they, by and large, were published by the eugenics publishing company. And for folks who don't know, the eugenics movement was basically a white supremacist and deeply classist and ablest movement that was about encouraging reproduction of people who are imagined to have, you know, good genes. So white wealthy people and then discouraging reproduction among everyone else. And so the very first self help books were written by white eugenicists, who were really invested in white people reproducing, they wanted white women to have more babies. And they saw that there were some obstacles in the way of that happening. And as I read these books, I discovered that the primary obstacle that they described was that women and men hated each other. Women were frequently raped on their wedding night, they had a lot of trauma from that they often did not want to have sex with their husbands. And there was a lot of, you know, I'm using language that they use, you can read the book and see all the quotations. You know, they talk about mutual loathing, hatred, mutual disgust. And there are a lot of reasons for that. I mean, men and women at that time had have often had very little opposite sex contact before they married. So even just the sight of the opposite sex, a nude body, you know, a man's nude body was described as kind of horrific to women. And so many of these writers were trying to figure out how are we going to keep white women feeling invested in marriage, when marriage is a site of so much violence, and that was really the the original impetus for these books. Heather Warburton 27:18And then the industry is just kind of taken off from there. And I love that you mentioned, a book that I've always hated since it first came out was the "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. That book is just so much sexism, rolling into self help that like when it came out, like, why is anyone reading that? Jane Ward 27:36Right, and so many people, it actually was the number one nonfiction bestseller of the entire decade of the 1990s. Actually, I think it was second to the Bible, globally, and it was translated into multiple languages, it sold millions of copies of that book. And it just as you said, it's so telling because the book is so sexist. But in many ways, it's kind of such a perfect exemplar of the messages of the self help industry, because John Gray makes it really clear, that men and women don't like each other, you know, he starts out he describes that as men and women are so fundamentally different. They have so little in common, they so misunderstand each other, they so don't enjoy each other's company, that they might as well be two different species from two different planets. So that's his first premise, and then a second premise is. But of course, you know, we have to keep heterosexual marriages together. So what we're gonna have to do is teach men and women to fake it till they make it, you know, to learn a set of tricks that they can use to tolerate each other. So, you know, he teaches men you should touch women, X number of times throughout the day, because women need that kind of affection. And you should listen to them talk about their day without offering solutions. Even if you find the sound of her voice so irritating, you can hardly stand it. He teaches women that they need to understand that it has, you know, the home is a man's castle, and you need to respect that and provide a man cave for him because that's how he recharges. I mean, they'll it's just so ludicrous, but but the point is that John Gray really picked up all of the pieces of what at that point was basically you know, 88 years of heterosexual repair what I call you know, the heterosexual repair industry, put it all into one book, made it pretty cute with the whole you know, different planets metaphor and, and then figured out how to very successfully market This as a set of techniques, marital techniques, and because, you know, no one actually wanted to do the work that really needed to be done, which was to, like, actually grapple with feminism and what that would mean or look like inside heterosexual relationships. And no one wanted to do that. Because remember, feminism had been so stigmatized and associated with man hating Butch, lesbians and all that. So people were really hungry for what looks to be like a really easy and practical, step by step approach to saving your marriages. Of course, it did not work. But books that have come on the market since then, continue to just repackage the same exact approach. Heather Warburton 30:52Right, and they're making probably millions upon millions of dollars selling this crap to people to, which is, you know, trying to be a band aid to like a gunshot wound. Jane Ward 31:02Right. Right. Heather Warburton 31:03So yeah, go ahead. Jane Ward 31:06Oh, I was just gonna say one of the ironies is that, you know, my, this book that I wrote is, definitely it's a critique of the self help industry. But it at the same time is sort of a self help book, in and of itself. And so I also hope people will pick it up as a corrective to all of those horrible books and see if it might offer them something new. Heather Warburton 31:31Before I did let you go, you had a whole section of your book, where you talked about seduction coaches, which I honestly didn't know, this was a thing until I read your book, and it really creeped me out. Could you talk a little bit about what that industry is. Jane Ward 31:50Yeah, I mean, I think many people who haven't heard of seduction coaching, maybe have heard of the whole pickup artists subculture, because that was kind of a, you know, got a lot of media attention about 10 years ago. So there, there were these men who created a whole network, whole subculture of pickup artistry, which was some rules that they had developed for how to seduce women. And usually the goal was to get women into bed that day, you know, you meet women at a bar, and then you do whatever it takes to get them to have sex with you that night. And they were trading these techniques. And they were actually traveling around the globe using them on women. And they got some media coverage. And of course, it was quite critical, people thought this was pretty disgusting and manipulative. And so that whole scene, sort of rebranded itself as not about being a pickup artist, but about being a dating or seduction coach, and it turned into an international industry. So that these companies would offer maybe a weekend boot camp, sometimes even a longer, you know, a week long event, where men could pay thousands of dollars to work with a male coach, sometimes a woman coach, who would teach them how to seduce women. And, you know, the more attention they got in the media, the more they they tried to, again, you know, rebrand themselves in a way that was more aligned with the self help industry and with self actualization, and not with, you know, just kind of your basic misogynistic manipulations. And so I felt really fortunate to, to investigate this right at the time when a lot of that rebranding was happening. So that a lot of these coaches and the men who, who were their clients, understood themselves to be doing the opposite of what you just said, which is to try to be less creepy that they were learning how to understand the world from women's point of view, and that if they could do that, if they could learn to be more empathic with women to bond with women to understand women's perspective, then that would get them the sex that they wanted. And so it's a really complex and and yet not surprising. framing these coaches are teaching these men how to trade empathy for sex, how to trade humanization for sex, because women want basic decency from men and men are willing to give that or at least perform that if they think it means that they're going to get the sex they want. Heather Warburton 34:56And you also found there was a lot of racism in this to that It was kind of training of how to get a blonde white woman was the goal, you know, that was like the, you know, prime that everybody was going for. And that was just kind of built into the culture a little bit. Jane Ward 35:12Yeah, I mean, it's probably my own whiteness and naivete, that made that really surprising to me, I guess I thought, you know, because we are living in a time in which, you know, the Kim Kardashians and like, and Cardi B, and I guess I just thought like, it's all about curves. And it's all about, you know, um, like, the broad array of different kinds of women and women of color. And, but really, these men all wanted skinny, young, blonde women, I heard that over and over again, they wanted women who were much younger than themselves. And they were obsessed with blondes. And so the industry actually, if you are willing to pay a lot of money, it will take you on a kind of global tour of countries, where you can try to seduce a lot of blonde women. So they'll start they start in Las Vegas, but then they go to Sweden and other other Scandinavian countries, big cities and Scandinavian countries so that men can seduce those women. Heather Warburton 36:22Yeah, that's really equally gross. And creepy is the whole industry in itself, just that it's got this racism built into it. So we are just about out of time for today. But I wanted to give you kind of a moment to do a last word of summarization and let people know where they can get your book if they want to read it. Jane Ward 36:42Sure. So you know, I'll just say that this book is really intended to be a loving book, I think sometimes people think, Oh, this is going to be a really difficult read. But I tried to write it in a way that would invite people in. And I'm really glad that so many straight women in particular, have picked up this book and read it and felt affirmed and also felt empowered. And it is available anywhere where you can buy books, though, of course, I hope you will buy from a local bookstore rather than Amazon. And you can find me if you're interested in my work at JaneWardphd.com. And I also tweet @TheQueerJane Heather Warburton 37:26All right, thank you so much for being here today. It's been such a pleasure talking to you. Thank you. To my listeners. Thank you so much for joining us here today. I hope that you enjoyed hearing about this and I hope you're going out and looking into this book and kind of investigating why it is that you believe the things that you believe and are they really true or is it just you've been manipulated into thinking that and once you open up that, okay, I can evaluate things differently. That opens up your entire world. Thank you so much for listening. The future is yours to create, go out there and create it.
41 minutes | 3 months ago
AC 411 with Henry Green
In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather interviews Atlantic City activist Henry Green. They talk about everything from Henry's run for office, to cannabis legalization, to the Green Party, to Steve Young and the Expressway 7. Henry also highlights his new show AC 411 where he is back with his longtime friend and media partner Kevin Hall from The Kevin Hall Show Program. They were off the air for a little while but they are back and just as good as ever. Its always a pleasure to hear Henry's thoughts about how Atlantic City should be the shining jewel it deserves to be. Like always, it comes down to having people looking to serve the city. Henry is a true servant of the people. Transcript Auto Generated Henry Green 0:00I'm still trying to do to be passionate about the things I'm passionate about still trying to have the positive spirit that that I was that my mother instilled in me. Moving forward despite the conflicts and the battles and the ups and downs of life. Heather Warburton 0:19This is Wine Women and Revolution with your host, Heather Warburton. Hi, and welcome to Wine Women and Revolution. I'm your host Heather Warburton coming at you here on our new home of Create Your Future Productions and loving my new home here and I figured it was time to catch up with an old friend on my new network. If you followed me back in the days, you know, I had on a couple of times Mr. Henry Hank Green and when he ran for mayor I supported and endorsed him. And now it's probably been a long time since we've talked Henry. How long have you been? Henry Green 0:58Oh man, it's been too long. It's been too long. I'm happy to just feel your spirit, that feels like you feel like you happy I was looking at your pictures the other day your anniversary. That was really cute. Heather Warburton 1:09Yeah, we took I needed a vacation so badly. I just needed some relaxation. So that was good. Henry Green 1:18It was cool, though. Man. I really like those pictures of the tux Heather Warburton 1:26So everybody knows what I've been doing. I've been launching this new network, but what have you been up to? You've been a busy man too, right? Henry Green 1:33Well, kinda sorta. It's, um, it's been kind of hectic. This virus, this pandemic coronavirus, has changed our lives completely and how things have been going. And it's really, it's been really frustrating. And it's been bad, it really hasn't been good. A lot of good people that I've known. And I've passed on throughout this process. And it hasn't been good. You know, I mean, for for a lot of people that I know, and you know, things like that. But what we can do is just keep moving forward and try to move forward. I keep trying to be positive, optimistic. I mean, about what's to come in the future, something something. Oh, it's been hard man, you know, man, I've been in a depression battling depression and all this stuff. And it's been difficult. But what you know, I've always been told is that you know me, when you fall down, you know, I mean, long as you get back up, you know, what I mean? You know, that's all you can do, really, at the end of the day, so we get back up. I'm swinging again, and trying to take my best step forward and build on some things far from where I would like to be physically, mentally, and everything, At the end of the day, but I'm still trying to do, to be passionate about the things I'm passionate about still trying to have a positive spirit that, that I was, that my mother instilled in me to keep moving forward, despite the conflicts, or the battles and ups and downs of life. And, and, and just be honest to yourself, and be honest about whatever it is that you're doing. You know, I'm being honest right now. And so with that, you know, we try, I tried to do some positive things me and my friend Kevin Hall, we were once on WOND for seven years. And now we've taken on this new podcast, and we're trying to build upon that as we do on a Facebook Live, it's not even a real podcast, podcast yet. We're trying to build it and get some backing and support and making that the best it can be. But we're doing what we have, you know, trying to be resourceful. I think that's my big, best quality is resourcefulness and especially in troubling times and hard times. And I've been able to, we've been able to put together some really good shows on AC 411, you have to check it out, is on Henry Hank Green, but you're gonna see it real soon, under his own name of AC 411. And I'll be reaching out. We doing promotions and things like that. But it's really been getting a great response. A lot of hits and shares on Facebook, and things like that. I don't even know about those things. Thats what people are telling me so I don't even know how you even see those things. Heather Warburton 4:22Yeah, I've seen some of your episodes, too. That was one of the first things I wanted to talk about was you know, it's really great seeing you and Kevin back together again, cuz I always love the dynamic of the two of you together. You know, when Kevin's being a little skeptical when you're being passionate about things and Kevin's kind of sitting back being a little like, cynical like what are you doing? You know, I love the two of you together Henry Green 4:44You know what, that's the dynamic and the beauty of the dynamic of this is why I am so passionate. Kevin and I go through our ups and downs and because we were battling a lot of different things with being in Atlantic City saying the things we said and having this platform and expressing our views. And it comes with a lot of backlash, you know, A lot of times and many people don't understand it and know that, especially with the growth in our city and trying to be great and have a family and take care of your family, your bills, your responsibility, and still be true to the community and be an advocate and things like that. And then have to fight an uphill battle against the people who you think that should be understanding where you're coming from and supporting you. And it's been it's been difficult. And, but but Kevin has been great, it's showed me so much. The confidence that he has in me and my ability to be able to translate to media or to the radio and things like that from an advocate format from you know, someone that's working with children and things like that, to this particular platform. And it was, I, you know, I don't know what he saw, but he helped me along. He still has faith in me and believe in me, even when I'm out of control sometimes on the show, and but, you know, he's told me, he showed me a lot. And you know, I mean, and I appreciate the opportunity to to give me this platform to be able to try to share some of this stuff with the community with people that are you know, me with ideas and things that I'm passionate about. Heather Warburton 6:15Right, you can see that you guys just have such a mutual respect for each other, you know, mutual admiration society there, Henry Green 6:21Martin and Malcolm. Heather Warburton 6:23There you go. I wanted to you know, one thing that I think everyone knows from your run for mayor in Atlantic City, or just hearing you speak, you are passionate about Atlantic City, that's, that's your home, you know, that's your baby. That's where you grew up. And there's a lot going on in Atlantic City that I hoped we could dive into a little bit here today. Henry Green 6:49Oh, yeah, well, I guess it's a lot, it is my home, and I do love it, I do care about it, I'm just as passionate about it as anyone else. You know, I love the world and see it for the beauty that it has been, and what it could be. I think our our, our sites are..the bar is set real low. At this moment, for the community for as a whole. And we have to have bigger and better expectations for everyone, my children, our schools, and everyone else has to be held to a higher esteem to expect excellence. And if we striving for excellence, and you fall somewhere in between, it's okay. You know what I mean? It's okay. But, um, I think that's where we lacking now, where we have a dummy down effect, where people who don't want people to, they want to control people, they want people to be docile, and controllable, and not involved and not speak they voice, you know. They have to be able to think for themselves, and to make decisions, you know, to be able to hold folks accountable. And so I've seen too much of that. And that's what pushed me to run, you know, the mean, all those other times that I ran? Heather Warburton 8:05Well, I guess that's the big question there. Are you gonna be running again? Henry Green 8:09Well, I feel like it's unfinished business, personally, and I believe that it's a certain culture that has been laid and has a foundation in the city, and has been laid. And as long as people from that core value of power to politics should be ran and things should be done in the city, Atlantic City has the same understanding and mentality, that it will continue probably to operate in that manner. And I think, you know, now's the best time right now to be able to jump in and do some things would be when the state is in there. And so you can change some of the things like police having a law or something saying that they can live in the city, they can live outside the city, when they probably should be living in the city and being a part of the city and things like that. But they say that, there's some type of law or some type of thing where that can't happen. But if you can take over the whole city and control the whole city, then you can change it all about some police moving in and out of the city. I know that's something that could be done. If the state can have that type of power to take over someone's civil service. And people in the city of Atlantic City don't even have civil service at the end of the day, and no protection for their jobs and the rest, everybody else in the state of New Jersey have civil service. But the people in Atlantic City don't have no civil service. How discriminatory is that? You know, how unequal is that? And then to say that you can't have you don't have the power to make some police or whoever that works in the city of Atlantic City makes sure that they work here. They live here. You know, I mean, they they, you know, they they pay taxes and are living in the city of Atlantic City and things like that. Heather Warburton 9:50Right laws are written by people. It's people that can change those laws like they're just something written on paper. You can write something else on a piece of paper and make the police have to be accountable to a community that they live in, rather than who knows where they're from and what they're doing when they go home at night. Henry Green 10:07But, you know, I think it applies that, you know, when they try to make these, you know, this law, you know, throw this law out here, I'm gonna hold up, you just did a bunch of laws that contradicted the law, you can't tell me that we can't change this law, if you just did all of these different things, you put the PILOT in place, you know, taxes, everyone's supposed to be taxed equally, but yet, the casinos have a stable set of tax base for them, that they only go and pay a certain amount of taxes. And then the residents and business owners have to figure out if the city needs more money, how to get it out of them, you know, things like that. So that's unfair and unequal. There's a lot of unequal things that are going on in Atlantic City as far as the revenue that is coming to the city. And actually where it's going and how it's being utilized. A lot of money is being utilized from CRDA and AC Dev CO into this new Stockton thing. And, you know, when people want to know about that, you know, how does that benefit actually, the people who live where I live, you know, that just walking around like me whoever, the people was paying tax and people just paying rent, but people just buying these, you know, these high packs of cigarettes and things that they prices that they jacking up, gas, these tolls? How does that.. how do those things translate back to them and helping them at the end of the day, because I don't, I don't see that happening being on the ground. Heather Warburton 11:26Right, like a lot of the stuff like the Stockton and the tourism section sounds a lot more like gentrification than it is actually helping the people in the city. It sounds more like it's hurting the people in the city than helping. Henry Green 11:38It's all about contracts and land usages. And people getting kickbacks, the jokers from AC Dev Co and all those guys from Christie, that they put up the head of that particular organization, what not, and they get that free money from CRDA, our money to, to to to flip that money, they hustle them for real, they hustle in the state and everything using other people's money, using our money right here CRDA to flip to buy land and different things South Jersey gas and Stockton, and all these other things like that they own the land now, you know, you mean, and we pay for it, basically, but they own it. Heather Warburton 12:11Right? And they're gonna make the profits off, but not people like us profits Henry Green 12:14So what's the city? What's the benefits for the city? I don't even think they have a real clear cut plan on how to inject Atlantic City students into Stockton or to Atlantic City itself into that property or anything over there. You know, what's the idea of including, especially systems way on other end of the town? Heather Warburton 12:35Right. And we saw what this model looks like in Camden. You know, there's like this walled city almost for all the businesses. And it's a total campus, that's a city unto itself, surrounded by the rest of Camden. And it doesn't do anything for the people of Camden. And it sounds like Atlantic City is like following that model, and not in any sort of good way every wrong thing they did in Camden, it seems like they're trying to do in Atlantic City. Well, when you have no opposition to leadership, opposition, or the couple of people like me to get that, that had been fighting against really fighting against it. And they've been pointed out for you, this is how I learned about it. You know, it's the only certain people's point now talking about what the state was doing. How it was a civil rights violation and all the things that they were doing, and then me learning for myself, reading some of the statutory laws and laws that they put in place with this particular PILOT program was based off of the Camden program. And the fact that no one really objected to everything that the state was doing. They basically signed off on everything. But where they get caught up is that you signed off on it. It doesn't say that the state made me do this. They said, these are the things we want done. You guys voted on it, and said, check. Yes, yes, yes, yes. You know, when you could have said, No, no, no, no, no! Because I saw Marty and everybody else can said we can't do anything. The state has the power to do what he wants. So you could say no to it, but the state you got the power, they now do what you do. So the state ultimately is off the hook. Because none of them said no, all of them said yeah, look like they were okay with it. And it was their decision. You can't go back five years later and be like, well, it doesn't say you're here nowhere. That staging thing I said use check. Yes, you check. Yes. You said yes. You said you guys put this in under your name and signed off on it. And no, it doesn't says nothing about the state are no one in the state… nobody. Right. So you didn't quite answer my question of are you running again? You know, you've got a lot of changes tht you want to see, Are you gonna be on the ballot next year for people to vote for you and vote for these changes you want to see. Henry Green 14:47I don't know what what I don't have. I have I haven't made that decision. But what I have been thinking about was establishing the Green Party in Atlantic City. Heather Warburton 14:58Right, yeah, my listerns know I am affilliated with The Green Party Henry Green 15:03.And I wanted to reach out to you to make sure before I do anything, that we establish the Green Party and walk through and have our platform and go through the city and talk to people about the platform of the Green Party with the expectations that they would have, if I was to bring it as a candidate, these would be the expectations of the types of things that I have listed out, you know, to me, what Green Party is about. And it's about all of us collectively, having input on different things and building a framework, and a body that represents all of us as a whole. And then, you know, the equalities, you know, of course, some of the equalities of things about minorities will be at the forefront of a lot of the issues. But at the end of the day, you know, any poor person is going to agree to the types of things that we're talking about. Any liberal, fair minded person would agree to the platform that we're talking about with the equality, justice, climate change, you know, fairness for for LGBTQ people to be who they are, what they want to be. How they want to live. Heather Warburton 16:10Yeah, I think we're gonna have to have some conversations off the air, because you may not be the only green running in the Atlantic County area next time around, you know, Henry Green 16:20So what I'm just saying, it's time to build Atlantic City, and Atlantic County Greens, and build around both of those, those agendas. And I could, I would definitely need your help to get started. And I would like to have your help to get started and getting that rolling. And sharing those, those qualities because the democrats are falling apart and falling out in this area, they not to be trusted. So and people don't trust that they just don't know what they got to do right now, given that you know, what they have on the list, but we can start creating a good list of a slate of individuals to run for and that third column or first column However, they want to put us wherever you want to put this, because I think the light will shine. When we started earlier that light was shining, definitely bright, so bright on us. And you I mean, what we're trying to do in the type of people that we've tried to put, you know, expose and bring together you know, me as one we can we can change a lot of things. We can unseat, we can change all the school board seats, everything. And but we just talking about the vision that we have a unified vision that we are in the platform that we already have working. Heather Warburton 17:32Yeah, I'm down for it. Henry Green 17:33So Maybe Maybe I don't know, I don't know the answer is maybe. Heather Warburton 17:37But it sounds promising. And sounds like you are not done with politics in Atlantic City by a longshot. Henry Green 17:44I think that you can, you can probably get, there's a lot of stuff that maybe you can get done with if you get the other people the right people in the right places. And everyone is everyone don't have that same vision. That's the one that's clouding our area. There are other people who feel like I feel who just believe that they need an opportunity to get in and make and do something and think a different energy in a different or that really, that affects everyone in the community that wants to rise up and build our community. And that makes us better on every level, no matter what you're doing. I send anybody but you know, all right, we can all do more and be better and you know, and we'll have better expectations of what's supposed to be for us. They don't have expectations for things, but I'm the person who say, Oh, no, no, no, it's your right to be provided with a proper education for your child and the proper services for this in a proper representation for that. You know, to me, that's just how I was just naturally supposed to be you shouldn;t have to work for it or demand or beg for these particular things Heather Warburton 18:55It should just be your rights for being a person. You're a person they have certain rights and that's not something that you should have to negotiate for. Oh, please recognize me as a person. Fuck That! Henry Green 19:09That's cool. You got a lot of people doing.. Did you see that video of all those Trump cars riding through Pleasantville and stuff like that. Heather Warburton 19:15No, but I actuallt saw them one day I was in Absecon which for my listeners who don't know is right outside of Atlantic City, and I must have seen probably 20 big trucks like lifted big trucks driving down the pike. Which is the Black, no… the White Horse Pike there and I'm seeking them blocking traffic with Trump flags blaring music I was scared like I was reaching out to people like is there like a takeover happening? Henry Green 19:44You know they came to Pleasantville and they got it on video. They started fighting. Grabbing the one guy broke one of the guys windows and they got a little loose. Somebody is talking about in the paper today. One of the guys. Young boys young kids, young guys broke the lights got charged. Heather Warburton 20:04But of course these people that are driving around creating a nuisance aren't getting charged. Henry Green 20:08Like, like, why are you trying to just go make trouble. Just go vote, if you feel that you love them like that, go make your vote. You're not going to change nobody's mind who already hate this guy. Heather Warburton 20:18Right? I've already got my I already voted already. You know, I put my vote in the mailbox. Like, my vote is locked in, you're not going to change my opinion. You're just doing this for yourself at this point in time. Henry Green 20:29I mean, what's today Tuesday? Heather Warburton 20:31Yeah, we're recording this on Tuesday. The 13th. Henry Green 20:35Oh, today's the last day for voting for registration. Heather Warburton 20:38Yep. So So by the time people hear this already be too late for voter registration. Henry Green 20:45Okay, okay. Well, yeah, we've got a little late for that then. But um, yeah, today's the last day for voter registration. So we just got to keep on banging people telling people to turn the balance and make sure that your addresses um, you have the right address, you know, check maybe you might want to call the county clerk's office and then check and see what you have down for your address moved or, you know, something you know, something crazy is having different No, right yeah, post offices act is kind of funny right now. Heather Warburton 21:15Yeah, it's taking forever that's why I mailed mine so early. Henry Green 21:20I said this money order off, man. I'm still waiting lady go call me back complain about this money. And I'm like, Man, I've dropped that thing and the mailbox. Heather Warburton 21:32Right. That's another thing that people are defunding the postal system. Henry Green 21:37Geez, this lady for the election. Because I didn't file the last time when when I ran. She charged me money because she couldn't find me. I don't know what it whatever it was, but because they were investigating Frank Gilliam. I had to send them my stuff or whatever it is. So I never said You know, when I finally sent it to her, she's like, Oh, well, you got to fine now. Heather Warburton 22:02They fined you for running before? Is that what you just said? Henry Green 22:05She fined me because she couldn't find me. She sent the sheriff to my mom's house. And everything else. It was crazy. Yeah. We came up with a low fine, or whatever it is. Because I told her you know what? I'm got a right to a hearing, man, because I'm the only one that probably got a fine out this whole deal. Because you mad because you probably couldn't get your report in the time or whatever it is that you want to fine me when really you just you know, I didn't make no money I didn't get no you know, so but I said I'm but she said Oh, you you only owe this amount to 287. But whatever it was, I got the money order, and was stamped it, whatever it is, I put it in the mailbox. And I was wondering if the mailbox maybe the mailbox ain't even working. I don't know what's going on. All I know is, Heather Warburton 22:57Well, you should not be fined for having run for office. You should not be paying fines for having run for office. Like you should set up a GoFundMe for this or something. You should not be on the hook Henry Green 23:08And I don't know what's happening, when is gonna ultimately, ultimately arrive there. Heather Warburton 23:14It sounds like you need to set up a GoFundMe to raise money for that. Because if you're getting fined because you ran for office in the past, because you didn't even do anything wrong. It was somebody else who, you know, was doing something wrong. Henry Green 23:27She just couldn't get in touch with me. And she's gotten in touch with everybody else. And so she, I guess she was she was, you know, whatever. Heather Warburton 23:36She was taking it out on you. Henry Green 23:39This was like, we just got I've been reaching out looking for you. I was like, Well, I don't have money. So well, you need I had to do something send her something. I don't know, saying I didn't have money. I didn't get no money. But I did that part that she said, Well, you still I'm still fining you this amount of money. But anyway, yeah, that was something crazy with this election, so some but but something that I'm gonna have to deal with, because Heather Warburton 24:10They just don't like your vision and what you're saying, you know, you're you always get pushed back on. Henry Green 24:15She just didn't get that check. That's all she was waiting on. And that's what it's really about. I just got to clear it up and get that money too early. Like I said, already sent it, but I don't have $287 another $287 just sitting around. I got my receipt. Right. You know, so. Heather Warburton 24:36Yeah. Do you want to talk anymore about, you know, the former mayor of Atlantic City and what's going on with Steve Young and all kinds of stuff going on in Atlantic City? Henry Green 24:48Well, former Well, I think I haven't heard much about Mayor Gilliam. I guess he's going through his thing. I know he had a case, he postponing his case and whatever's going on with. So hopefully he works that out for him. Steve Young. He's no longer part of the Democratic Party. He's dropped them said they'd haven't had no respect for black folks. And you know, in this area, they've taken advantage of them. And they use them. And, you know, a bunch of accusations but he resigns for some of these posts from Atlantic City and Atlantic county Democrats. And besides that, he has a case going on with the expressway with black lives matter. Him and the expressway seven, as they call themselves. Heather Warburton 25:36They actuallty went out onto the expressway during a protest and have gotten in trouble for that. Henry Green 25:44So with Steve, so no, they still have that that's all going him in the mayor's are bumping heads with that. That particular issue. There is a big thing going on tonight at the school board meeting. So I'm waiting to hear about that because the school board race also the school school board race. Well, we're looking forward to having some of the school board candidates probably on our show. sometime this week, maybe as early as..whats tomorrow's date Heather Warburton 26:12the 14 Henry Green 26:13The 14th. So sometime this week, I'm really looking forward to having some of the candidates that are running for school board in Atlantic City on our show and get a chance to talk. And the last couple of shows that we had an AC 411 were pretty intense . And were pretty interesting. We had Tom forking on also way we have Celeste Fernandez on Heather Warburton 26:35Yeah, she's running for Freeholder this year, right? Henry Green 26:38Yes. So we are on and see, with some of these topics and issues that are going on, we want to be on top of those things. We've been talking about a lot of news with Donald Trump where I don't necessarily want to talk about his COVID or anything like that. I want to talk about the supreme court hearing that's going on and how they change the rules. As usual, we'll say one thing. And with Obama, the black man, he said he can't have no justices in an election year. And they pulled the old switcheroo on them and right now, but I'm just so upset with Democrats because they don't have no fight in them. You know, what can they do? I don't know. But they should try to figure out something maybe they shouldn't have showed up. None of them should just let them have the hearing by themselves. Not all of them show up. And none of them show up to the to the hearing. And just America. No, that person said what you saying? Nobody, none of the democrats show up and talk about none of that mess. You know what I mean? But they did this, this what they said last time, and this is how its supposed to be period. You know, to me, and they're gonna be showing up and no democrats won't be here. And if you do that, then you this is what you've done the American people wrong, and they see how wrong you are. And then once they do it, you go on to your, and then y'all go on attack, or you're going to mean, but you know. Heather Warburton 28:02I've heard I forget who made the quote, I wish I could remember. But you know, it's democrats aren't… they call themselves the resistance, but they're not the resistance they are the assistance. Henry Green 28:13Yeah. Yeah. Because, you know, whatever they doing right now, basically said, Why why even fight it then if you're not even gonna fight it. Then just step and get the hell out the way and let them go? But they won't do it? Heather Warburton 28:25I think that's a big thing is you've got to stand by what you say, you know, if you say you believe in something, then you've got to show up for it. And that was one of the things with Steve Young, like people are saying, not so pleasant things about Steve Young. But do you know how many things I've been to that I've seen Steve Young at? You know, how many events how many marches? How many Freeholder meetings, I've seen him on the ground, doing stuff that I haven't seen any of these other people at? You know, like the chairman of the Atlantic County Democrats. What have you seen him at? You know, what have you seen? Henry Green 28:58Thats why I resepect him. The rest of those Democrats aint in the streets doing nothing. Heather Warburton 29:03Right, yeah. Henry Green 29:06All these issues, concerns, whatever it is, like you said, you see Steve, and all of these things. So those people are not even there. He's, he's, he's everywhere. He's there. He's on the ground. He's participating with other people who are saying what they're saying. I don't think no one's perfect. But the fact thatthey are talking as if he's, he's, he's this monster. Nah, he's not far from it. Heather Warburton 29:39Right. I remember there was a Freeholder meeting in Atlantic County, they were going to pass this really bad policy that kind of supported ICE and was very derogatory towards immigrants. And the immigrant community asked people to come and show up. And Steve Young was there. You know, Steve Young got up and he spoke And I was appalled at how few people showed up to support the immigrant community that day. But Steve Young was there. So, you know, he should get credit for that, you know that he's always there. Henry Green 30:14And so, you know, what that like, you know, sometimes some stuff I might not necessarily agree with, but I'm not going to turn my back on Steve. Nah, he's too valuable to our community to do. So when you don't I mean, when stuff get tough for him that everybody going to take off running? You know, so he needs supporters. You know, I'm one of those supporters. Heather Warburton 30:36Yeah, I'll always give him credit for Hey, you know, I think you've got to be an activist before you can be a community leader. Before you can hold office. You've got to be an activist first, and he's an activist first. Henry Green 30:47Mm hmm. Definitely. I don't know. Other than that, it's there's a lot of stuff really happened in Atlantic City. There's really no real good transparency with the using the Coronavirus as an excuse to not open up the coffers or to see what's going on. A lot of services like a lot of these services been going on conference calls and things like that. And yet now he's like, Oh, it's Coronavirus. You know, we know we're not doing business in administrative law department. You know, I got an administrative law case going on. We've only had conference calls. I'm trying to figure out why are we not working there? Why are we not still now working. What's going on? What's the holdup? You know, why is the administrative law out of business? He doesn't have whatever it is when we've been just talking from our phones on conference calls anyway. Not face to face. What do you need to be home for? I bet you're still getting paid. This government people still getting paid this money, right getting this money, and they not even done was not even doing the service of the people. At the end of the day? Yeah. Just you know what I mean? You know, waste of money. stuff is crazy. Heather Warburton 32:00Oh, there's one more thing I wanted to talk about. Cuz we're already at a half hour. And usually I like to wrap it up at a half hour. But I can't let you go without talking about this year on the ballot. Legal Cannabis. Where do you stand on? are you voting yes or no? Henry Green 32:14I;m voting No Heather Warburton 32:18I said, I'm voting no as well. Same, because there's no justice in this. Right. Henry Green 32:23It's just a bad bill. You know, the first thing is, how do you vote for something that… Firstly, I don't even know the rules? Or how is it being established? First and foremost? Why are they going to make the rules of after they establish it? Right? It's crazy. But they base it on social justice. And there wn't be. I truly believe that there will be no social justice. And I think that people still will be incarcerated . Personally, I believe it's just access for for white folks to have easier access so they can get marijuana. So they can get rich with the corporation. We don't have the new corporations. They, you know, they might install one minority here and there to say they have a minority, but really, you know, they they're a token, they've really not making nothing out of it, really. And they're using a couple of them here and there. But black folks and minorities, how do you get left out of a Social Justice Initiative, and you're not part of it. I need a billion dollars to be able to participate and be able to you know, when really we know that all we don't need that in order to get into the marijuana market. It dont take much to get started before you can grow. There's you know, if you have a good plan, and save good, and take out the taxes for the government, hey, why cant I do that? Heather Warburton 33:44Right? And I mean, we've got to be honest, look who this industry is built historically on the backs of. Who's put in all the labor who's put in the groundwork, who's risked their lives and gone to jail over this industry. And now the guys in suits are swooping in, you know, it is not the white guys in suits who went to jail for this industry who lost years of their lives for this industry. And now they're just showing up to collect the paycheck. Henry Green 34:13Well, I think that most of the politicians are taking kickbacks and funds and support from these cannabis industry insiders, lobbyists. And you need to check their lobby check their money, where they get some of that money from and you know, who support and why they're supporting it. And what this is all about at the end of the day. But again, we don't have the platform to to inform our public and making to get them more sure what's going on. You know, I've seen some platforms in Chicago where they had some of these programs where they will go into all the meetings to have somebody documentaries its called. And they go to all the meetings and is the whatever meeting in a city: school board meeting, in the public safety meeting, whatever meetings are going on, whatever its on. The public meetings and things like that. Someone goes take down all the notes and put them on a platform, whatever it is, and put them up for people be able to see on a website and things like that all the things. Whatever initiative, there's initiating things that they change in whatever it is. So people know and understand what's what's going on. That's something that's a nonprofit that people itself had to do had to go about, and put that together, that were wanting to, you know, make sure people were informed of what was happening. And I just found that to be a really good program. And I, you know, I plan to I had planned to go out there to Chicago last year, to actually go and be a part of one of their programs and try to sit in for six weeks or something like that to be a part of the program. But I would love to be able to, to, for us to have something like that implemented here in Atlantic City, Atlantic County, so so people really can be informed that they want to. Heather Warburton 35:55Yeah, it's a good idea, because there's not good independent media, in Atlantic City or Atlanta County, like, you guys are doing independent media, I'm doing independent media, but how many of us are there that are really doing independent, non corporate owned media, it's not much in Atlantic county at all? Henry Green 36:17Well, we got to make sure we, we share so much with negative stuff and tick tock and this and that we need to share some, you know, within our community, some of the wisdom of things that people should be looking at sometimes. It takes some of us other people to be brave enough to say, hey, you've been telling me, you know, we'll talk about the shows like AC 411, or Wine, Women and Revolution, these shows that are locally situated where actually the regular people of the community have an opportunity to share insights from their perspective actually on the ground, what's happening, and how things are affecting people and things like that. And so, you know, many people don't know how to, to, to utilize those social media. So we have to be on the forefront of figuring out how to use it and make sure they get it and and be able to use it so they can benefit from it. I don't have the answers to that. I don't have the answers to that. That's just a theory. Heather Warburton 37:16No, I think you're, you know, we've got to get the message out. And the community needs to understand they have these tools in their hands that they can use that, you know, until really the community starts using and learning from and hearing different opinions and perspectives like you guys are doing. And like just last week, I had some people from a police abolition collective that started out at Stockton was where I originally and then they released a list of demands for the police in Atlantic City. And they just got a lot of pushback, even though like what they were saying was, hey, maybe the people should be in chargeof the police in Atlantic City, they got all this pushback for their organization, when really like what they're asking was kinda resonable. Henry Green 38:00Its reasonable, right. But see more people with what happens is few people are sharing and getting a chance to hear that idea. Probably, the more people get a chance to take the time to listen to hear that idea. They'll probably more or less agree with you, you know, whether it's, you know, something they agree with or not, like, wow, you know, I've never heard anybody say that before, then, you know, maybe you started thinking about that. You say well "that's different". And then you share it with someone else that maybe normally wouldn't have heard that or took that and thought people would think like that. They don't think like that. But I would think that I could get in trouble for thinking like that. People who are too afraid of this stuff like that. Yeah. So yeah, you know, stuff is, but my but I really would like to see minorities be involved in Atlantic City, Atlantic County, and have the opportunities to be involved financially, as owners, as growers as whatever store shops, whatever ideas that ultimately come up right now with limited thought that the city of Atlantic City should have had before even the legalization just sat down with the community and talk to the community about what they're willing to accept and what they will not want, what they don't want. and present them with some ideas of what could be done or how those things could be done with taste. Before the state, you know, figure out you know, or someone else come in and figure out what to do you know, I mean, we can set the market right we can put them things where we want to have them outside of our children and you know, make the rules where we actually benefit from from having it Heather Warburton 39:43and let's be honest, the state weed kind of sucks the state weed is not good. Henry Green 39:48Yeah, I've heard such things and I don't know I don't know I've never had any you know, Heather Warburton 40:06Well, I think we're just about out of time for today we went a little bit over I like to try to keep my episodes for a half hour, but it's been so much fun talking to you. And we need to keep doing this more often we need to not go so long without doing this. Henry Green 40:20Next time we'll add weed man on it. Heather Warburton 40:22Absolutely. I love weed man. To my listeners, thank you so much for joining us again here today. We strive here at Wine, Women and Revolution to be a revolutionary voice from an intersectional feminist perspective. We want those that are marginalized and beat down by society to have a chance to really say what they want and what they need and everyone deserves a what a voice and an outlet for that voice. So thank you so much for joining us here today. The future is to create go out there and create it
33 minutes | 4 months ago
Drag Queens and Beauty Queens with Laurie Green
In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution Heather interviews activist and author Laurie Greene. Laurie wrote the book "Drag Queens and Beauty Queens" which tells the often overlooked LGBTQ drag history in Atlantic City and the undeniable impact drag culture had on the Miss American pageant. She discusses how people competing in both Miss America and the drag pageant Miss'd America use it to access power structures that may otherwise be denied to them in this Cis, Hetero, White, Male, Capitalist world. Now Miss's America is struggling to reconcile its more subversive roots with the goal of capitalism to make everything consumable for the bland mass audience. Only the future will tell if they will be more successful than their beauty pageant inspiration, Miss America. Transcript Auto Generated Laurie Greene 0:00But the history of this event which you would never know from looking at any press anywhere, including the Miss America page is that "show us your shoes" started because drag queens used to be at the corner of New York Avenue and the two buildings would sit up on their balconies during the parade and lean out the windows. And tease the contestants, because they saw they weren't wearing shoes and they're wearing slippers but you couldn't see their feet they would yell "show us your shoes." Heather Warburton 0:34This is Wine Women and Revolution with your host, Heather Warburton. Hi, and welcome to Wine Women and Revolution. I'm your host Heather Warburton coming at you here on Create Your Future Productions. You can find us online at your future creator. com. Follow us on all the social medias and get us wherever you get your podcasts from. Today, I'm talking to someone that's a friend of mine. They're a fellow activist from South Jersey. And specifically what we're talking about today is they're the author of the book, Drag Queens and Beauty Queens. Welcome to the show, Laurie Green. Laurie Greene 1:08Hi, thanks for having me, Heather. Heather Warburton 1:10So you're actually joining us all the way from London today. Even though you live locally here, you're all the way in London when we're recording this Laurie Greene 1:18I've been here for two weeks, I'm actually going to get out of quarantine tomorrow. And I just found out today that they're closing down the country again. So it looks like I'm gonna be in quarantine for another week. Heather Warburton 1:30Yeah, things are definitely challenging in these times of COVID. But that's not what we're here to talk about today. We're talking about Drag Queens and Beauty Queens, which is an awesome title for a book, by the way. And I think what really compelled me was you kind of tell a lot of like the not so well known history of both the Miss America pageant, which if you're local here, you know, you know, Atlantic city's tied to Miss America, and Miss'd America, which may not even be as well known, but it's getting quite popular. And one thing that really stood out to me was when I first moved to the area, I had a friend of mine who was like, Oh, I'm going watch the shoe parade for Miss America. And I'm like, Wait, what? Like this was something I did not know about living outside the area and they were like, yeah, we go and they show us their shoes. I was like, well, why do they do that? And they had no idea why. I don't know, it's just something that happens and you actually explain the history of where that all came from. Do you want to give a little like, quick teaser about what that is, before we dive into the meat of the book. Laurie Greene 2:35Well, the parade is actually called the show us your shoes parade. It is trademarked that way by the Miss America Pageant. And what happens during that parade is that the contestants get dressed up in costumes and funny costumes that spoof or somehow over emphasize the characterizations of their state. And they decorate their shoes, which is the hallmark of this. And they have to hold one leg up ideally as they parade down the boardwalk in convertibles in these funny campy costumes with their shoes decorated. So it's it's a particularly fun event as a parade, which used to be originally the contestants in their evening gowns looking very demure with white gloves on sitting in the back of convertibles has now become this event. And it's the most popular event in the Miss America Pageant. And it continued to be so even when they move to Las Vegas for a while they continue this tradition. But the history of this event which you would never know from looking at any press anywhere, including the Miss America page, is that show us your shoes started because drag queen used to be at the corner of New York Avenue and the two buildings would sit up on their balconies during the parade or lean out their windows and tease the contestants. Because they saw they weren't wearing shoes, they're wearing slippers but you couldn't see their feet, they would yell "show us your shoes" out of these windows. And the girls were taught not to respond until they eventually did. And this is the origin of the parade. Heather Warburton 4:16Right? And I think you mentioned a little bit about that's kind of like an altering of history of how it really started. Like you'll find none of that mentioned anywhere in the official they're like, Oh yeah, it's just this family friendly event we dreamed up not that it actually as an origin out of the drag queen community. Laurie Greene 4:34You know, this is typical of writing history of marginalized people. And so we call that restorative history when we do it and what I aim to do with restorative history is to tell the voices of the community that are never heard. This isn't that it can be in addition to the history because I like to present it because it is the history. It's not the history of gay people or drag queens in Atlantic City, it's the history. It's just not told. And yeah, it has been characterized as a family friendly event. And so much of the part of the book is that are part of the emphasis of the book is that so much of the Miss America Pageant has been influenced by the gay culture of Atlantic City. And this is something that nobody knows. Heather Warburton 5:30Well, I think even just the fact that Atlantic City had this very thriving drag community. And I think people maybe know more about that there was a thriving gay community for a while. But even that maybe isn't as well known as it should be. And that's kind of sad that when I moved the area, I had no idea and even my husband who's lived in the area, his entire life, had no idea about it. Laurie Greene 5:56You know, the, it's interesting, because one of the one of the reasons we don't know about it, is that if you look at the evidence of how Atlantic City evolved, or how cities involve in general, usually see the story of like a thriving city. And then there's white flight, and people move out, and there's just sort of this natural event how a city goes into disrepair. But that's not what happened here. Even though that's how the story is told. What happened here was because this, the city is based on tourism. And there was a natural economic decline in tourism. But during that decline, when Atlantic City really went through its first phase of, you know, losing all its jobs and going into disrepair as a sort of posh resort, the gay community on New York Avenue was thriving. But instead of capitalizing on that as a tourist destination, the economic concerns of the casinos, once casinos were brought as a way to really, you know, reinvigorate tourism, the gay community had to go because they were on expensive property. So it's an interesting look at economic forces at power, and politics, because they could have made Atlantic City, Rehoboth, they could have made Atlantic City, Asbury Park, they could have done any of that, but they chose not to. Yeah, they chose to ignore what was a thriving. The only thriving part of the economy, which was New York Avenue, and the gayborhood. Heather Warburton 7:36And it's really sad that, you know, everyone that listens to the show knows that I talk about capitalism and the destructive influences of it. And we'll dive into that a little more later, because I really want to get into capitalism and the power structures of both of these pageants. But first off, you kind of gave a little bit of a history of beauty pageants in general. And it may have actually started with PT Barnum, the circus guy. Laurie Greene 8:01Well, he is the acknowledged, originator, I guess, of the modern beauty pageant. He used to do all different kinds of contests, in the context of his industry of entertainment and popular entertainment was new then nobody ever had leisure time before. So he's sort of the Father, one of the fathers of popular entertainment. But he had all different kinds of contests, dogs, pets, of other kinds, all these different things. And one of the things he had was a beauty contest. And it was really went against the Victorian standards. They thought it was obscene. And so he ended up not having live beauty pageants. But in the newspaper, he would print people's pictures and the people that read the newspapers would vote on who they thought the most beautiful woman was out of those pictures. And so he started it that way. And then eventually, it it sort of evolved into other sorts of live in person pageants. The first one was actually in, I think it was in Rehoboth and Delaware just for one year, before the first Miss America Pageant occurred in Atlantic City. So Miss America one is one of the earliest live pageants after PT Barnum's attempt at pageantry. Heather Warburton 9:19And some of the earlier parts of your book reminded me of another author that I had on the show who wrote, fearing the black body. And there's a lot of attention at the time given to what is the ideal specimen of whiteness kind of was a lot of what beauty pageants were about. And you actually mentioned, what was it rule number seven? Was that an unwritten rule or an actual rule? Can you go into that a little bit that rule Laurie Greene 9:46That rule said, you had to be unmarried, of white race to be in the pageant, and I don't remember the exact date but I think that was enforced into the 1970s. So that was a rule and in fact, PT Barnum on one of the shows that were the exhibits that he did have was an exhibit called the circassian beauties, which literally was a display of the perfect white female specimen of sexuality and beauty. And this was something that he toured with. And the way that he presented these women was very much like the Miss America Pageant and beauty pageants, present women in the swimsuit competition. So he would have them sitting there just maybe painting or doing something else demure and they wouldn't speak, there would be a voiceover, which would talk about all of their interests, and where they were from and why they were such a specimen of beauty, similar to the swimsuit competition, where the women walk out without speaking, turn around and walk back as there's a voiceover, from the pageant director, or from one of the judges talking about their qualities. There's similar valorized qualities. So this idea of whiteness was very much or ideal whiteness was very much part of early beauty pageants. And it happened to coincide with emancipation in the United States, where whites in the north were, you know, the north in general was afraid of the impact of Black people, who were free slaves, who were coming up from the south to the north, and what impact that might have on their areas. So it is not disconnected. Heather Warburton 11:30And you talk a lot about you know, and this is a perfect example of how the women competing in Miss America has to be something very easily consumable that even now when they ask them political questions, they have to answer these political questions in a way that's very palatable to everyone. Laurie Greene 11:50Yeah, they're actually instructed to do that. If you go online and look at any of the thousands of books, maybe, on how to compete in pageants. The advice that's always given is, make sure when you answer questions that you don't alienate anybody. So I know I've heard one pageant director say, "We want the girls to have opinions, we just don't want them to express them openly". That's also another way, you know, they, of course, we know they should have opinions, but there's things that need to be expressed. And there's things that don't need to however, I will say this, to their credit, in terms of the skill set, you have to have to perform that kind of femininity, right in pageantry. They always ask them hot button political questions, if you actually go through the kinds of questions that they're asked. And it's almost like they're trying to get them, they need to go up and answer these questions, which we know they have strong beliefs about, and we know are dismissive. And they have to have the skill to answer them in a way where it seems like they're answering or agreeing with both sides. And that is very much a part of ideal femininity, don't offend anybody. Heather Warburton 13:05Right. So I want to shift gears now and talk about the Miss'd America pageant, which is another thing that is started off as very hyper local, to Atlantic City. Can you tell us a what is the pageant and then the little bit of that history? Laurie Greene 13:22You know, so the Miss'd America Pageant is a drag pageant that spoofs Miss America. And it was developed in Studio Six, which is was a bar that John Schultz and Gary Hill own, which was in snake alley, near New York Avenue. And it first started as a number of skits that were being performed by some of the local drag queens in order to both psychologically try to keep them upbeat, as AIDS was really becoming epidemic in the city. And people were dying. And then eventually, in the after the first few years to actually raise money to try to combat AIDS in the city. And in fact, the South Jersey AIDS Alliance, which used to be called originally South Jersey, against AIDS, which was one of the very first AIDS or AIDS research organizations age, AIDS philanthropy organizations is a better way to say it, in the United States, was funded by the proceeds that were gained through these fundraisers that were the Miss'd America Pageant. So it started out just to skits and eventually took on the format, which was identical to Miss'd America, and they started crowning people in 1993. So the pageant started in 1991. And in terms of the skits, and they started crowing people in 1993, and the pageant grew from this very local venue to eventually be contested in the Hard Rock casino or the Borgotta Casino in their giant events room. Heather Warburton 15:10It started off as something just very community oriented, like it was not originally set up to be something easily consumable. It was a little risque at times in the beginning, and it was just sort of more geared towards really uplifting and celebrating a community. But that's even kind of changed now as things have progressed. Right. Laurie Greene 15:31Absolutely. That's, that's really one of the hallmarks of the pageant. And one of the reasons that I wrote the book and found this interesting that the patent started out as a very local event with local references, and local people talking about things only locals might understand or laugh at. It was campy, it was bawdy, it was deliberately offensive. And it was packed, just packed and, and everybody came not just people from the gay community, everybody went to it. So much so that they didn't, they really didn't have enough room to have this pageant. And then it stopped for a while because Miss America left Atlantic City. And I believe they didn't feel like they had their reference anymore. And then it started up again in Boardwalk Hall when Miss America was no longer in Atlantic City. They were still in Las Vegas, they decided we'll just take over the hall and the Alliance. They decided as their Hallmark event when they were formed. And that is the alliance of LGBTQ people Business Alliance and social alliance in Atlantic City. They were going to make this their Hallmark event and continue to raise funds. And this is when everything started to shift. And very quickly, the pageant shifted to a professional production in professional venues. And with that, a lot of the campiness a lot of the offensive jokes, certainly all of the local references were diminished, or eliminated from the pageant because people outside weren't going to be able to, as you say, to be consumed this material in the same way. So that is one of the interesting things about the pageant, it gained things and it lost things in that transition. Heather Warburton 17:26And I think a lot of what you talk about in the book is how both the women competing in Miss America, and the people competing in Miss'd America, how that they use that to relate to power. How they use it to gain power that may have otherwise been denied to them in this, you know, white hetero capitalist world that we live in today. Would you like to talk a little bit about how that relates to both of the people competing. Laurie Greene 17:55Yeah, of course, I know more about the drag pageant than the Miss America Pageant. So I would beg for forgiveness, in terms of the details of talking about beauty pageants in particular. But yeah, in the context of certainly Miss America, we can see that these highly intelligent, talented women are not able to get scholarships, or don't choose to try to compete to get scholarships, and therefore get a college education and power and notoriety even for their talent through writing a paper or entering an academic competition, but through a beauty pageant through the display of their bodies on stage. So we can see that for women who don't have access to power in the same way as men do, that a beauty pageant is one way that they can access this door to power in their lives. In the same way, gay men don't have access to the power of hetero normative masculinity. And in some cases, they don't have access to the power of even homosexual masculine masculinity, which may require them to be, you know, have beautiful bodies and be very attractive, which is very much a source of power for men in the gay community. And so drag provides them away to achieve the power of masculinity outside of these normal contexts. Whereas their feminine and he might mark them as disempowered in the heteronormative context. In the context of drag, it affords them masculine power they have they're powerful as men, we might that might surprise us because we might think they're acting as women, but they're gaining the power of men in these contexts, and even within the gay community where they may have been too skinny. Or unattractive or awkward. When they dress up in drag, they take they gain a power within the gay community which is highly revered, that they may not be able to access as men, according to the standards of homosexuality and attractiveness for men. So it is it is really interesting. Heather Warburton 20:22And there were two examples that you brought you mentioned in the book, both of which I thought were great examples. One was where I guess somebody was heckling, or hassling some people, one of the drag performers at a bar, and they like, kind of came off the stage and like, you know, got physically in somebody's face, like, yeah, I may be wearing a dress, but I'm a guy. Laurie Greene 20:45Yeah, that was a very famous drag queen from Atlantic City in the 70s. Yeah, and that, that I, you know, people say it all the time when they work in the drag industry behind the scenes. And they don't call them divas and Queens for nothing, I like to say. So both of those categories Queen and diva. These are not normal women with normal power. Queens have more power than other women do. And divas, I guess represent women who demand whatever they want, even if it's excessive, and expect to get it. So we can see the power that drag queens have in those terms, and we see that it's they don't have the power that women have, they have more power, they have the power of men. And yes, they may be wearing dresses, but they're men, that's how they access and express their power, whether they're on stage or off. Heather Warburton 21:44And I did love one example you gave you didn't go a whole lot into, you know, race, really, you know, race interactions that much. But there was one particular drag queen, you reference that flat out refused to perform somewhere, because the venue was highly racist, do you want to tell their story. Laurie Greene 22:01Yeah, um, race, of course, plays a very important role within the drag community, because it's part of our culture. So the dynamics of race and racism are the same. That was actually Honey Davenport, very famous drag queen, also, now ex RuPaul, Queen, it was at Monster Bar in New York, where she felt rightfully so that the owner had tried to pressure her to change her advertisement, because they felt that there were too many black people in it. And they wanted to appeal to a broader crowd, then they wanted some better looking dancers, I think is what the statement was. And Honey, who had been performing there for quite some time, and had a regular show, went up on stage and told everybody why she would not be performing it there anymore. And it was quite impactful in the community and led to numerous discussions about racism in the drag world, both in New York and in Philadelphia. And that's a discussion which is continuing to happen today. Micah Rasmussen 23:11I just thought it was beautiful. Using that power they created to, you know, use that platform to affect change from is really, as highly impressive thing. Laurie Greene 23:23And drag queens feel very strongly about that, you know, they feel very strongly about the fact that they have a platform that others don't, as some will say, when you're eight feet tall with your wig, your heels, and you have a microphone, people have to listen. And they they use that power for activism, some overtly, they see that as the role. And so maybe less directly, but still, they definitely see that they have a voice and power that others don't. And that drag queens have always been on the front lines, for example of LGBTQ movements, activist movements in the United States. And so they they do see that as their role. And they see that their role is part of the legacy of activism. Heather Warburton 24:12And I couldn't let you go without referencing the dichotomy you mentioned, of how kind of everyone loves drag queens now, drag queens are so you know, bachelorette parties go to drag clubs, and like everyone loves a drag queen, especially after RuPaul. You know, it's a media thing. But yet trans people who aren't drag queens are still some of the main sufferers of violence, that they are just attacked. And it's a weird dichotomy of how we love someone on a stage but hate someone in real life. Do you want to talk about that. Laurie Greene 24:45Yeah, um, without getting using any sort of academic technical terminology. What happens on the stage is interpreted differently than what happens in real life, you know, off that stage. So when someone's on that stage, all the actions that take place there are different. We can love somebody in that space of the performance, as long as they don't step off and act like that. Outside of this context of the performance, the same drag queen that is loved on stage will be beat up in an alley afterwards if they walk outside like that. And so that's true, whether we're looking at in performance theory or from perspective of anthropology, our identities change from one place to another. I think one of the things that happens is when something's on a stage, if it's curtailed in a way that it'd be that it is denuded of its danger, it's happening up there, but if it steps off, it becomes potentially subversive in a way that isn't accepted. And so, we do need to remember that that just because people love drag queens, doesn't mean they are aren't homophobic. Just because people love drag queens doesn't mean they're not transphobic. It just means that they appreciate a kind of popular culture, which is what drag has become. Alexia Love one of the Queens that I interviewed, that's a local Atlantic City Queen and also a MIss'd America, former crown holder titleholder said it really well, she said, "everybody used to want to have a gay boyfriend. Now they want to have a drag queen as a friend". So this is how he described, you know, cisgender heterosexual women in this country, they used to want to have a best boyfriend that was gay. Now it's a drag queen. And again, this is it's this kind of exceptionalist thinking, right? Just because you have a friend who's gay again, doesn't mean you're not homophobic. So and it's it is difficult for us to understand that. And remember also that there's transphobia, in the gay community. And this is very much something that I tried to deal with in the book, and talk about that being the next frontier, really the next challenge for the Miss'd America Pageant in particular. But the gay community in general, this is the challenge right now. Heather Warburton 27:34Right, you actually mentioned that like someone that's in mid transition, and taking hormones isn't allowed to compete, or at least hasn't historically been allowed to compete right. Laurie Greene 27:44In the beginning of the pageant when it was local, there weren't these rules. In fact, one of the earliest winners, Miss Tunay, who's local queen is a transgender female. And she won right in the beginning, and there was no nothing. It wasn't a big deal. It wasn't an issue, then it was about being local. Everybody knew each other. These issues didn't matter. But as it moved to the national stage, it takes on national issues. And that was when it was decided that traditional drag, meaning cis males were the only ones that were going to be acceptable competitors, there had to be rules. And transgender females or for that matter, cis women that we call them bio queens, dressing up as drag queens. We're not going to be allowed in the pageant now that is, has been discussed, and is going to be a challenge for the pageant as it goes forward. I think it's ironic, and also not surprising that the kinds of challenges to be relevant that Miss America has gone through in the way that they've struggled, and one could argue failed to meet those challenges are the same sorts of struggles that Miss'd America is going through. And the question for me is, are they going to stand up and meet that challenge in a way that doesn't make them irrelevant? Heather Warburton 29:19It's a good question. Only time will tell. So I have two more questions before I let you go. One is what was your favorite thing you've learned in researching this book? Laurie Greene 29:30Wow. That is that's such a hard question. I have a favorite anthropologist. Her name is Ruth Bahar. And she says that when an anthropologist goes into a situation where we're living with people like we do, we do something called participant observation, which means in our fieldwork, we go and live with people for a long time. And we allow them to We allow ourselves to form relationships with people and really get to know them in a way that research from outside doesn't allow that it has the potential to break your heart. And I really feel like this research for me did that. And I mean that in a very positive way these are people that I know, in my life, many of them, I've never had the opportunity to do this kind of research. And I learned so much from all these people that I thought I knew about things that I didn't know. And it's hard for me to pick one thing, maybe that's it, maybe that people are fragile. People are always more interesting and more complex than you know, people's identities are malleable. And we are different things for different people at different times. And it's all authentic. And maybe that's the thing I've learned the most for doing this particular research. Heather Warburton 31:04Good answer. Very good, answer So final question. If people want to get your book and read, you know, learn more about this culture, where can they get copies of it? How can they find it? Laurie Greene 31:15Well, it's it's actually being released December 18. But it's available on all the major booksellers, including Amazon, if you go to the website for Rutgers University Press, and they actually have a great discount for people if they go for friends and family. If you go to Rutgers University press.org one word, and put in the code, RFLR19. You get 30% off as my friends and family, if you order it before the release date. And that's just US. Yeah, yeah, although I have codes for other places. But that, you know, it makes it I tried to make sure with my publisher, and they were so good about this, that they made this book, inexpensive enough that the people that I wrote it for can purchase it. So it that puts the book under $18 for anybody who wants to buy it so hoping people do and I'm hoping Most of all, my goal in writing anything as an anthropologist, isn't really my analysis. It's to allow the people who I who are my informants for their story to be heard. And my mostly, I hope I do justice to the story. Heather Warburton 32:41Thank you so much for being here today. It's been a pleasure talking to you. To my listeners, thank you so much for joining us today. Hope you enjoyed this interview. I hope you go out and buy Lori's book. It's definitely we barely scratched the surface of some of the stuff that she goes into in this book. It's it's a good read. It's not a fluff book at all. She really dives into stuff so I think you'll enjoy it if you do go out and get it. Thank you so much for listening to us today. We would not be here without you guys. The future is yours to create. Go out there and create it.
39 minutes | 4 months ago
Is Climate Change A Chinese Hoax? No!
In this classic episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather is joined by conspiracy theory expert Christian Perez to break down the conspiracy theory that climate change is just a hoax. Christian also delves into conspiracy theory origins, which are usually rooted in anti-semitism and how to inoculate yourself against conspiratorial thinking. As always, Christian packs a ton of info into a short time frame and keeps us entertained while doing it.
51 minutes | 4 months ago
A Brief History Of US Imperialism
In this classic episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather is joined by Christian Perez to talk about the United State's long long list of imperialism and military intervention into other countries. It is a bloody and violent past that we often aren't taught about in schools. As always, Christian laws out the history in an accessible and approachable fashion and leaves us all a little more informed that we were before listening to him.
58 minutes | 4 months ago
Be a co-conspirator, Not an ally
In this classic episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather interviews 3 organizers from Black Lives Matter NJ about their organizing work and a local police involved shooting. They discuss the shootings of Rashawn Washington and LaShanda Anderson, state sanctioned racial violence, “allyship”, gentrification, and what people can do if they really want to help support justice and equity (Hint: It involves not calling the police all the time). Talking about racial issues can be hard. These women give an open and honest account of how racism hurts. White people need to do better. If you are committed to doing better, listen to these women. Don’t get defensive. Sometimes we need to shut up and support people doing the work. Listen to the wisdom these women share and learn from them. If you have the means, support them financially.
33 minutes | 4 months ago
Ranked Choice Voting In NJ
In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather interviews Micah Rasmussen from Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Ryder University about the Zwicker bill to institute Ranked Choice Voting here in NJ. They discuss the pros and cons that may come with ranked choice, as well as other possible voting systems besides ranked choice and first past the post. They discuss how this system could encourage or discourage marginalized voters and marginalized candidates. There are over 20 cities that have passed ranked choice voting as well as the state of Maine. They are leading this experiment in democracy that has to be better than the failing system we have. (Transcript Auto Generated) Micah Rasmussen 0:00runoff elections are notorious for screening out minority candidates who do well. This is Wine Women and Revolution with your host Heather Warburton. Hi and welcome to Wine Women and Revolution. I'm your host Heather Warburton coming at you here on Create Your Future Productions. It's my brand new home and my brand new website. You can find us online at your future creator.com and great news. Breaking News just today I am pretty much anywhere that you get your podcasts from now you can find Wine, Women and Revolution. They're in our new home and new format. So if you can click on follow, give us likes give us ratings really helps me out since I'm just starting out this new venture on my own. And I'm very excited about what the future is gonna hold. So today we have a great topic. one's definitely important to me. I think most people listening to me today would agree that the state of our electoral system in this country is kind of rough. Like we have vote shaming we have division, we have some of the least inspiring candidates for president that the duopoly has probably ever run. Voter apathy is that one of the all time highs barely more than 50% of people vote. So we kind of need some sort of solution. And my guest today, I think maybe has one of those possible solutions. And it's a solution I've been talking about for a couple years now that I really think is the best possible solution. And that's ranked choice voting. So I'd like to welcome to my show today. Micah Rasmussen. Thanks for having me. So let's get a little bit about your credentials. Why am I having you on to talk about this today? Unknown Speaker 1:50So I'm the director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Ryder University. And so, I've spent most of my career as a practitioner of politics of New Jersey politics in particular. And I was governor McGreevy's press secretary was the last job that I held in politics. I also have managed a number of campaigns, I worked in the state legislature, I worked at the Department of Transportation. So I've seen a lot and done a lot. And really the strength that I bring to my students and to my work at the Institute, is that I bring that practical political experience and try to leverage it for the students advantage. And so there aren't too many people who study New Jersey politics in particular, Dr. Rebovich, the guy that the institute is named after was my mentor, when I was a student here at Ryder. And I'm so happy to be continuing the work that he did, and to do the same for new students that he was able to do for me. Micah Rasmussen 2:51And so today, we're talking about ranked choice voting. And I think people have probably heard about it. Now, there's a couple of states that have been trying to get it on the ballot. And here in New Jersey, we actually did have an assembly person put forth proposal to try to get it on the ballot here in New Jersey, right? Yes, Andrew Zwicker. He is an Assemblyman from the Princeton area. He represents parts of Princeton, parts of some parts of Mercer and Somerset County. He is sort of the intellectual heir apparent of a Rush Holt. We have actually two politicians in New Jersey who have been rocket scientists. So he's a thinker. He tries to bring a scientific based approach to decision making in the state legislature, and he's working with colleges and universities across the state to bring evidence based decisions to government. And to that end, he has offered this proposal to move to a ranked choice system of voting in New Jersey. And, and so what it would do is it would allow voters to rank candidates in their order of preference. And then if no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, it automatically transfers their next choice votes to the candidates who have the highest number of votes, okay, so you're not forced to vote for every candidate. You don't have to rank every candidate you can if you want to. And very simply, if a candidate gets a majority of first choice votes on the first round of voting, and then they win the election very simply. But if there's no majority winner, then the last place candidate is eliminated. And any voter who had that candidate as their top choice would have their votes automatically transferred to the next choice, and their votes will be a portion to the candidates who got the more got more votes. This process will be repeated with successive rounds of voting until only two candidates remain. Then the candidate with the most votes will be the winner. Sometimes it's called an instant runoff system. Or if you can think about the process that we just went through in the spring with nominating the nominees for the Republican Partyor the Democratic Party for president, it's the way Iowa does things through their well known and sometimes controversial caucus process. But it would be an automatic caucus process where the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated. And then we have in the next round with the candidates who got over the threshold of votes. So you wouldn't have people have to show up in the same room and try to bribe people to your team with doughnuts, it would be different from that sort of caucusing. It's all done. You just vote sort of normally, like you vote now. Correct? Exactly. Right. Yes, it would be automatic. It would be done on the machines. And in fact, that's one of the one of the things that we'll probably talk about is infrastructure wise, you need machines that can handle it. And right now, the machinery that we use in New Jersey is not really equipped to handle it. And so what Assemblyman Zwicker has said there is we're pushing for machines that have paper backup anyway, so wouldn't be the end of the world to me if we had to get new machines that were able to handle paper backup and able to handle this new system of voting, Are there no counties in New Jersey that have a system that has paper backup currently. We do actually. And that's sort of the…that's sort of the weakness of that argument is we actually do have some counties that have invested in new equipment, have the new equipment, have paper back up. I couldn't tell you which ones off the top of my head, but I know that we have clerks, county clerks come in and talk to our students from time to time. I can tell you Warren County just invested in new equipment. There are a number of counties that have and they do have that paper backup. Yeah. Okay. So that Okay. So that would need either a software update or actually new physical equipment to be able to rank choices. It's just not set up that way. Currently. Yes. Exactly. And how and this is different than what we currently have? What we have currently is called first past the post voting, right? Yes, exactly. And, you know, this is this is what you it's not, it's not an entirely unfamiliar concept to us. But the part that you might be most familiar with the New Jersey is the concept of a runoff election, right? So I can think of several cities in New Jersey like Newark, or like Vineland, my hometown, where if neither candidate or for none of the candidates who are running for mayor achieve 50% of the vote, currently, now. There's a runoff election that's scheduled for the next month later. But you know, a lot of people think that this is always been a bad idea, because you're asking people to come out twice, you're trying to sustain interest. It's there's always a lower level of participation for that second runoff election. It's just, it's not that people aren't paying attention to their mayor's race, people pay a lot of attention to who's mayor of their town. But it's kind of tough to sustain that level of interest and that level of enthusiasm. So it's, widely regarded. And in fact, I will tell you, Heather, that I have some problems with the runoff process that I wonder how it would play out in an instant runoff process. For example. Runoff elections are notorious in the south, for screening out minority candidates who do well, right. So for example, if you've got a black candidate who does very well, and you've got two or three white candidate to do very well, in an election, that a runoff forcing the black candidate who doesn't achieve 50%, but does very well, forcing that candidate into a runoff can sort of force them into a situation where they not only have to do well now that they have to achieve over 50%. And this is what happened to Stacey Abrams, right. And her in her run for governor of Georgia, right, she did very well. But when the other candidates got dropped out, and we were down to Stacey Abrams versus Brian Kemp, white votes consolidated behind that, and he wound up winning the race. So I, I understand that rank choice voting can absolutely sometimes encourage independent and third party candidates to get into the race. And sometimes you'd get better candidates and better campaigns, because they're not you're not just going for the first choice now or the lesser of two evils. You're actually trying to capture people's imaginations so that you get those second round votes and those third round votes that can help you in the successive rounds. of the of the rank choice, voting the tabulation. But I'm also concerned that the runoff elections of the past have not always been the kindest to minorities. It's been an exclusionary tactic in some cases, Heather Warburton 10:20Right. And I kind of wonder if that would happen as much an instant runoff as it did with that delayed runoff, where everyone has to come back again. Because we all know that people from marginalized communities are already struggling to get out to the polls. So to ask them to come out again, twice, is really asking a lot from marginalized communities, where if it all happened at once, maybe some of that would be alleviated. Micah Rasmussen 10:46It's a good point. And you may very well be right about this, because we see a number of examples of urban areas across the country that are adopting rank choice voting like New York City just did. And I don't believe that there by any means the first. They are about 20th city across the country that is embarking on this, you know, this experiment. So you know, there's nothing to be lost by trying, you know, if New York City finds that it's not a good system, and it is an exclusionary tactic, that I'm sure that they'll move away from it very quickly. So I think, to some extent, we can say, we don't think this is what's going to happen. We don't see any evidence it's going to happen. But we have seen this tactic in the past with run offs. And you know, if we start to see it again, then we're going to want to move away from it, because we're certainly not going to want to see a situation where an innovation like this leads to, you know, discouraging people from getting involved. Heather Warburton 11:36Right Micah Rasmussen 11:36I think can happen, not just to a minority candidate, but I also think it can happen to third party candidates. I think I know, I know that one of the goals here is to increase participation. But I'm not sure that this does anything to change the chances of a third party candidate from winning, in fact, you not only have to do well now, but you have to give 50% now, right, so this, you know, under the under the current system, you don't necessarily have to achieve a majority unless the law says you do, you can win with a plurality of votes. Now, we're saying, We no longer want to achieve a plurality. That's a bad thing. We want consensus, which was one of the nice things about rancors voting, we do achieve consensus and that way, it helps us to achieve consensus, because nobody has any longer elected without a majority of the vote. That's a positive thing. That's a wonderful thing that we can now say that most of the electorate supported, every person who's elected is no longer possible to be elected without a majority of the vote. That's a good thing, except it raises the bar for a third party candidate. Heather Warburton 12:42I guess, as a third party person, you know, everyone knows I'm associated with the Green Party. I was the chair of the Green Party of New Jersey a few years back. And like, quite honestly, I think our best candidate, other than the ones who have won, you know, we have green people holding office here in New Jersey. But you know, we generally at max get five or 6% of the vote, and a lot of that is that lesser evil and fear and vote shaming. I mean, look at, you know, the presidential election this year. We have Joe Biden, we have Donald Trump, we have the Libertarian candidate, we have my candidate, Howie Hawkins, and openly saying that you're a Howie Hawkins voter definitely stirs up a lot of Oh, you're well, that's just voting for Trump. You know, that's kind of the myth, at least now, votes are never reassigned. My vote for Hawkins is never going to Trump, there's no way in hell I would ever vote for Trump. But this rank choice voting kind of eliminates that narrative, I think it does free people up to not be abused for their vote. Micah Rasmussen 13:49That's a really good point. And I think the third party voter, you're right, it does create the option that you can vote in the first ballot for the candidate that you really like that third party candidate. But at the end of the day, if that candidate does get eliminated, you don't have the fear that you've wasted your vote or that your votes been thrown away, because your vote is allocated to your next choice. So that's absolutely true. And I get that that helps participation that way. But I also think if you look at it from the other end of it, you know before let's let's look at the classic example, Jesse Ventura, Jesse Ventura would have had a much harder time being elected governor of Minnesota, if he had had to achieve 50% of the vote, instead of just getting a plurality of the vote. So this raises the bar for Jesse Ventura to win The governor of Minnesota Heather Warburton 14:44I think history will have to decide if that would have been a good or a bad thing. Jesse Ventura, not being the governor. But I guess what I did want to get into next in the conversation was that Maine, for example, this year is specifically going to have rank choice voting for their presidential election. So I think this is going to be a good experiment to see all these things that we're kind of theorizing about right now. We can see what they would play out, like, what percentage do the greens usually get in Maine? What percentage do the libertarians usually get in Maine? Does that increase to help the party grow? You know, does it eliminate voting out of fear? You know, it'll be an interesting experiment to say Micah Rasmussen 15:30it will. And the Supreme Court in Maine just decided within the last couple of days against the republican party that was trying to eliminate rank choice voting for president and said, essentially, for the first time just a few days ago that we will be deciding the presidential race in Maine by rank choice voting. They have had ranked choice voting for a couple of years now, in Maine. And actually, in the last congressional race in 2018, a house republican was ousted. In the second congressional district, that more conservative district in Maine, he was the winner on the raw machine vote. The first round, he had more votes plurality, but he did not have an outright majority. So that triggers again, exactly what we're talking about here, where, and it was Peloquin, Bruce Poliquin. He had more votes on the machine for the first choice, but not a majority of them. They go into the second round, and Jared Golden picks up votes from the independent. There were two independent candidates. They of course drop out because neither one of them reached the threshold. And their votes that they earned were reallocated. More of them were reallocated to Golden. So Golden actually picked up a couple of thousand votes, and was able to overcome that first round deficit that he had. And he was actually he filled the seat, he won the election Poliquin sued. He said that vote shouldn't be allocated this way. There's no provisional constitution. There's no provision in the US Constitution for this. And ultimately, it was it was rejected, the court said, Look, Maine has the right to set the rules for its election the way that Maine wants to set the rules for its election. And so you know, the extension now they moved to this system. Four years ago, they had the house races decided this way two years ago. And now they're going to try this for the presidential coming up. And the Senate in Maine as well, that this year, there is a green running a very strong campaign against Susan Collins, you know, one of those senators that we're hearing quite a bit about now with the appointment of the replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, you know, we're hearing, she's in the news quite a bit. And Lisa Savage, who was just on our women's panel that we hosted last week, is running a really strong campaign. So it'll be interesting to see how she does there, it'll be very interesting to see. Because if you want to vote for her, you don't have any fear that you're spoiling the race between Collins and Gideon, you don't have to feel that you're throwing away your vote between you know, like, let's say that, you know, the third party Savage doesn't wind up winning. Um, and let's say one side of the other of the two major candidates winds up winning, you can still participate in that race with your second or third vote, that'll be reallocated, presumably, to either get in or to Collins. And so that will be very interesting. I do think that it'll go to two rounds, obviously, electronically. And I do think that those third party voters will have the chance now, to participate in that second round question between, you know, now that we've eliminated Savage are we going and I don't mean to be depressing to third party candidates. But if that's the way it winds up, then the votes get reallocated. Yep. Yeah, I think it'll be interesting to see how all this stuff does play out. And what would the percentage that the greens did end up with on the first round, it will be higher than what it would have been without ranked choice voting. And I think also in a state here, like New Jersey, it's kind of decided how the outcome we pretty much know how the presidential we're gonna vote blue in New Jersey, it's a pretty, it would take something really astonishing to happen to New Jersey not to go blue. So a lot of people your vote doesn't count in New Jersey, there's only so many people whose votes do count. So with something like rank choice voting, you might actually be able to make your vote count a little more. Yeah. And one of the things that , I participated in a story that Matt Freeman wrote about this worker proposal from Politico, and one of the things we both believe may happen is that it does increase. Here's where I really like ranked choice. Okay. And and, you know, the description we just had about the Maine Senate race is a good example. I love ranked choice for a jumble primary situation where you have a bunch of candidates, and you're trying to wittle the field down to one nominate, right? That's a great system because now you're really not just getting that first choice, but you're getting next preferences as well. It's a really nice way. And when you think about the way Iowa does it, or when you think about the way that Nevada does it with their caucuses, which we may lose now, because the problems that they had with implementing them this time around, we may not see them again. But there is a very nice element there, which is that you're not just getting that gut first round reaction, you're getting some depth of preference, you're getting some depth of of earning votes, right. You're getting a a richer, final outcome. Right. And so I like it for that, that that primary situation. And I think you could encourage more participation that way, let's face it, the parties in New Jersey are notorious for not having an open candidate selection process in their primaries, right? It's, you know, it's all done by party line, it's all done by party, boss, right? It's not an open process. This really has the potential to open up the process to candidates who want to get involved for candidates, the barrier to getting involved the barrier to having an impact to getting involved. If you don't make the next round, you don't make the next round, you're you're not feeling like you go out and vote in a primary. And the cost of voting for a third party candidate is so high that you would never contemplate doing it, you can still do it. If that's what you really like, without fear that you're going to have no impact on the final outcome of the race if that candidate is eliminated. Heather Warburton 21:45Yeah, so but I'm thinking Zwicker is not really getting a great support from his fellow colleagues for this bill. Can you kind of tell me what the reactions have been? Micah Rasmussen 21:55Yeah, it's been, you know, it's been? I would say that people say, Oh, it was an intriguing idea, right? Nobody says, nobody says I hate this. Nobody says it's DOA. Nobody says it will never go anywhere. But you know, all this. That's intriguing. That's a novelty. Right, treat it as sort of novelty. It hasn't, it hasn't moved legislatively. I don't know that it will move legislatively. It's a thinking person's idea. Right, quite frankly. And you need to be willing to set aside the existing way of doing things. And I guess it shouldn't come as much surprise to us that anybody in the legislature now has come through the existing process, and is part of the existing process, and has a vested interest in the existing process. And so therefore, they're not so eager to reject it, and to try something new. I wouldn't say he's going away, I wouldn't say the idea is going away, I would say it'll Hang in there. The more we see successes with other places trying it, the more we may say, let's try this once, you know, we had experiment, we've had electoral experiments before. In New Jersey, for example, people may not remember this, but we had a public financing option for a couple of legislative districts in New Jersey for a very short period of time. There'd be nothing wrong with trying this in a primary election at some point and seeing how we do we like it great. It'll be you know, an experiment we don't like it will come back to the old by their, you know, again, do I see that happening tomorrow? there? I don't. But the more we see successes in other places, the more we may lower the barrier to the level of resistance to it. Heather Warburton 23:40Right. And, you know, for people who are trying to change the world, then, you know, changing the electoral process is just another hurdle that we know is going to be a barrier. And we know it's going to be a challenge. But if we believe that change is important, and necessary, then it's just another thing we have to fight for change for. Micah Rasmussen 24:00Absolutely, yeah, no, I think now, here's here's sort of a little bit of a downside. And I know this may be discounted by proponents. But there is a significant potential for voter confusion because it's different, right? Because it's new. It doesn't mean that can't be overcome. It's nothing that education can't overcome. It's nothing that's showing people how the system works. When you explain it very simply, in you know, in one sentence, you allow voters to rank candidates and their choice a preference and transfer your votes. If no candidate gets more than 50%. How hard is that? Right? I think it can be done. I'm confident that that that that can be educated. However, we are we are now going through an election in which you know, I almost want to say it's cognitive dissonance , right? It's almost like where we want to be confused, right where we want to say that the new process of voting by mail is confusing to us. I don't think it's terribly confusing. I don't think anybody is really confused by it. But if one side or the other wants to be confused, then they'll be confused if one side wants to say it's chaos, and I guess it can be chaos, and this is a new way of doing things. So I think, you know, coupled with any experiment, and this coupled with any new system like this, you'd have to dedicate a significant effort to making sure that voters knew what was going on. Heather Warburton 25:23Well, that kind of brings me into the other thing I wanted to discuss today was, there are other options other than first past the post and rank choice. There are other methods of voting, we could have a conversation about, for example, approval voting, where you would just go in and you wouldn't rank This is my first choice, this is my second choice, you would just vote for everyone you like, as one option. And then there's also one that I think is a little possibly even more towards the voter confusion of Score Voting, where they give you 10 points, and you allocate those 10 points, however you want to any of the candidates. And I'm sure there's others that I haven't really thought of. But there are other options. And you admittedly, he said before the interview, he wasn't as familiar with these, but he kind of wanted to give a gut reaction when he hears about them. Would they hurt with voter confusion? Would they help? I know that with approval voting machines could accept that now because we are allowed to vote vote multiple candidates on things like school board already. Micah Rasmussen 26:24Absolutely, yeah. Yeah. No, you Yeah, let's say vote for three instead of vote for vote for five or vote for three year vote for two or whatever. Right. Exactly. That's, that's not a hard concept to grasp, right. And then, but I think people still have to understand what's going to happen to those choices. You want them to understand what's going to happen to those choices. So yes, I agree that that's possible. Here's the other thing, the more we are voting by mail now, instead of by machine, the more that's really theoretically possible, and you don't have hardware issues to overcome. The other thing that can be said about voting by mail, is that you're voting by main, you're voting at home, you're voting in your dining table, you are laying the ballot out in front of you, you're stopping to really digest things. I don't know about everybody else. But I know that when people go into the booth today, there's pressure on them to get in and get out, there's not a lot of time to sit and digest. That's why you have drop off when it comes to ballot questions that are on the side, because people think, oh, there's somebody behind me a lot, I better get the heck out of here, a better get done as quickly as I can, if you had the chance to really sit down and digest and say, Oh, I have 10 points here. Let me see how I want to allocate these right? Let me really stop and think about how I want to do this. If you're sitting down over the course, you know, a loved one, whatever, by yourself, whatever, you may really take the time to put some thought into this right, especially if there's some good instructions that come with it. So I think, you know if this is in fact, where we're moving to, and I realized we're in the middle of the virus, but I don't think we're going to go back to a day in which a lot of us aren't voting by mail. So I think the idea of sitting down and having the time to really plan this out, is a good way and a good time to have to introduce some of these complexities or some of these nuances or some of these new rules and ways of doing things. Right. And I mean, these those last two, I don't believe have been tried anywhere in the country, to the best of my knowledge. I don't think there's any towns that have used them yet. But you know, there's various ways and as long as we're having the conversation, we may as well talk about all the upsides and all the downsides of all the options we're talking about. You could theoretically try one in each county, you know, again, if you're talking about a primary, remember and generals. I think for the reasons I talked about, I put in a little bit of a different bucket. But there's absolutely no reason why a party Let's face it, a primary election is still a party affair, right until you open it up and make it a completely open primary, which is a different story as well, or, you know, completely open primaries, but there'd be no reason why you couldn't conduct some experimentation with different parties and different candidates in different counties trying different systems and getting some voter feedback on that. I think it'd be a good idea. Heather Warburton 29:20I know, our party does usually use rank choice within our party, the Green Party wherever they can. I mean, there's some states where you vote in a primary like California along with everyone else. But in states where the Green Party sort of runs their own internal primaries, we do generally try to use rank choice voting whenever possible. So it's a very small scale experiment. Micah Rasmussen 29:42No, I'm sure it works just fine. Yeah, absolutely. Let's see, what else did I want to bring up today? I think we've covered most of the topics I wanted to touch on today. Actually, I do. I think that's it other than I wanted to give you a chance for sort of a last word about ranked choice voting or voting in general, or words of wisdom you want to pass along to the listeners, if people do like these ideas, how could they learn more? Can they reach out to your center and get information from them? Absolutely. Anybody who wants to learn more, check out https://www.rider.edu/offices/services/rebovich-institute-new-jersey-politics I'd be glad to discuss it. One thing that I do want to say is that a lot of times with new proposals like this, it is important that we think through unintended consequences again, you know, I think it's a it's a great way to encourage participation, does it give a minority candidate full access? does it increase the potential of the possibility that it sort of screens them out before you get to, you know, those final two results? So that's the kind of thing you want to think through? And maybe you have to test and see how these 20 cities that are looking at it that are doing it? How is their experience going? Is that actually encouraging more people into the process? Or is it discouraging people from the process? And I think there's a lot of reason to believe that it's a latter. And let's see if that's what's happening in real time. Right? I mean, it's science, you create a hypothesis, this is going to be a better voting system. We test that hypothesis on larger and larger scales, until we reach the conclusion, yes, this is a better voting system. And I think we're into the steps of that experiment now. Yep, I agree. And listen, we can't do worse than the system we have. So it is certainly worth seeing what we can do better. Absolutely. To my listeners, thank you so much for joining us today. This was a really important discussion to have. And I know speaking as a third party organizer, it kind of seems sometimes like it's like our only chance at actual democracy is to have some sort of alternate system that's created with more openness in mind. There are a lot of barriers put on if you're trying to run or organize outside of that duopoly. There's already huge financial barriers placed against you. And then there's just some arbitrary barriers, like you've got to get X percent of the vote if you even want to have about wine. So something like this could kind of help deconstruct some of those things. And I appreciate you if you want to reach out, you know, to me, or to any of the Green Party or you want to reach out to your local Congress person and say, Hey, I really want to talk about this rank choice bill, voting bill from zwicker. All those would be great things for you to do and I would really appreciate you if you do. Thank you for joining us today. The future is to create go out there and create it
29 minutes | 4 months ago
New Jersey Abolitionist Collective
In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather interviews 3 women from the New Jersey Abolitionist Collective. Heather's former intern and show writer Leah also joined the interview. NJAC strives to bring the message of police abolition to South Jersey and across the state. Also, they push back against the reformists. Finally they act as a network for abolition workers across the state. NJAC released a series of demands for Atlantic City, and the Stockton campus. Unfortunately, they weren't well received. But, that just shows the need for more organizing in South Jersey. The people hold the power. Abolitionist have a very different view of the future. In their vision, the community redirects their resources. Money serves the people.
34 minutes | 5 months ago
Rust Belt Femme
In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather interviews author Raechel Anne Jolie about her book "Rust Belt Femme". In her book Raechel explores the intersection of gender identity and socioeconomic status. Her coming of age memoir follows her journey through alternative culture, activism, and the punk scene to becoming her fabulous femme working-class queer self. Some have called her memoir a love letter to the working class, and Heather and Raechel talk about the roles the working poor must play in a socialist revolution. Its all about solidarity and intersectionality.
37 minutes | 5 months ago
A Is For Activism
In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather interviews 2 badass women activist. The twist of this episode is they are mother and daughter. They discuss their family and how activism impacts their family. They talk about what inspired them to be activists, and if activism runs in families.
0 minutes | 5 months ago
A Is For Activism
In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather interviews 2 badass women activist. The twist of this episode is they are mother and daughter. They discuss their family and how activism impacts their family. They talk about what inspired them to be activists, and if activism runs in families.
0 minutes | 5 months ago
A Is For Activism
In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather interviews 2 badass women activist. The twist of this episode is they are mother and daughter. They discuss their family and how activism impacts their family. They talk about what inspired them to be activists, and if activism runs in families.
0 minutes | 5 months ago
A Is For Activism
In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather interviews 2 badass women activist. The twist of this episode is they are mother and daughter. They discuss their family and how activism impacts their family. They talk about what inspired them to be activists, and if activism runs in families.
0 minutes | 5 months ago
A Is For Activism
In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather interviews 2 badass women activist. The twist of this episode is they are mother and daughter. They discuss their family and how activism impacts their family. They talk about what inspired them to be activists, and if activism runs in families.
0 minutes | 5 months ago
A Is For Activism
In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather interviews 2 badass women activist. The twist of this episode is they are mother and daughter. They discuss their family and how activism impacts their family. They talk about what inspired them to be activists, and if activism runs in families.
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2020