Hybris. How are you doing, buddy? Yeah, well, I'm sorry to hear it. Can you taste anything? Can I taste I mean, I can't taste anything normally.
What does that mean? Because you eat Soylent? Because I eat Soyland. Because you vape vaping affects your taste buds.
No, vaping doesn't have any negative effects on the body. OK? All right, children. Obviously, that's not true. That's true. All right.
Well, I hope you're feeling better. What is going on in the news this week that can distract you from your ailments? I don't know. You told me.
Well, there was this little tidbit in which our elected government, the most powerful people in the country, are asking what we can do for them.
But Ed Markey had already flipped that Kennedy discourse on its head and re-establish the land of big government and our expectations of government being sky high. But no Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer and a third person who I can't remember took to the TV and the airwaves to tell us to lobby Joe Biden to give us student debt relief.
Should we roll the tape, roll the tape so people folks listening, whether you have the debt, have a friend who has the debt, believe it's the right thing.
We're asking you email call, right. President Joseph Robinette Biden and tell him you want this done. We're trying to get as many people to contact the White House as possible. And frankly, we told this to Joe Biden and he said, go ahead, let it rip. So let's show them what kind of support there is out there for this great plan that Elizabeth, Bob and I and many, many others are pushing. Let's get this done.
OK, who elbow bumps at the end now in the middle. Elizabeth Warren also gave a little push gesture with her hands. So you you know what we really need to do?
So is Chuck Schumer telling us to email Joe Biden when FDR told Philip Randolph to make me do it, when he really meant to start a call and email campaign, get that hashtag trending, folks, and we will get civil rights in America.
I don't know what this is. I don't know if this is a fever dream or a reaction to medication that I'm having. That's Chuck Schumer, one of the most powerful guys.
And this is like an email from Frigged MoveOn dog.
Chuck Schumer is powerful, but he's not the most powerful. I think the list is like Joe Manchin, the parliamentarian, my preschool teacher, 15 others, and then maybe Chuck Schumer in terms of who has influence in government.
He's like, you know, I can't get I can't get a hold of this guy. But maybe you can make a call to the White House. Maybe you'll get through.
So you're Joe Biden's wife when you call. That's how you get past the secretary or sister either or already exchangeable.
What do you make of the weaponization of the middle name there, Joe? Sort of Robinett by. I don't I that was just a surreal video.
I'm sorry if you you know, if you're just listening to this, they're all grinning during this video. So I can't tell if this is a joke or not.
They're matching to they're all wearing bad faith. Purple. Yeah, they're all wearing bisexual colors. And like, I don't this is just a weird joke that the senators are playing on us, as far as I could tell.
Like, go ahead, email Joe Biden, tell them we want the student dead.
Yeah. Look, I obviously the reason we find this to be absurd is because these are people who have the power to put forward legislation, to bring legislation forward for votes, to talk directly to the people about the need for a 50 sorry student debt cancellation, not just fifty thousand dollars of student debt cancellation, but all of it. They could have used this time to do a video, produced a video that talked about how Joe Biden helped get us into the student debt crisis and what his obligations are to the people in this moment of unprecedented economic crisis, how little it would cost the country, how much the government profits, all of our student debt, all of those, I think would have been meaningful calls to action.
And instead we get this one.
You got email, Joe Biden, let him know that, you know, maybe he doesn't know.
Maybe that's the premise of this.
Like, he doesn't he doesn't know that this is people want this thing is what they're actually telegraphing, that Joe Biden is so out of touch and also attended to kind of popular norms that he really is making decisions based on how many things he gets to his inbox or how much something trends.
Yeah, I mean, it's a very dim view of Joe Biden, this theory of governance. You reminds me of this. When Obama started this, I think he made a website that the White House could maybe go to the website.
And it was this thing where you could write petitions to the president. And if a petition like a hundred thousand signatures or something, he would respond to it.
And the responses were always just like just like boilerplate. Right.
That's like, you know, it's like if you write your congressman about something like this is the kind of response you get that's like a.
Very important issue to me, and, you know, we're looking in a way, that kind of stuff, because I remember some of the more like about, you know, like stop droning people because one of them. Yeah. I mean, what did you just say?
OK, you know, America's national security is very important.
It's like a weird, like, game show idea of of government. It's like I feel like a family feud type idea, like we've got the applause meter here.
And if enough enough citizens clap for this thing, you know, then we're going to you know, then we're going to address it. That's going to be then that's a problem we'll solve. Otherwise, you know, go to hell.
Yes. But regrettably, Joe Biden is not Steve Harvey and he is motivated for some fact by some factors other than public opinion, because we all know that public opinion militate strongly and the direction of a whole panoply of progressive programming, the statistics of which the poll results, of which no one needs me to announce.
Again, this moment is Steve Harvey ask how is Joe Biden like Steve Harvey?
He says sassy things like Steve Harvey does.
OK, so when Joe Biden says, you know, that's malarkey or listen, fat, the thing that's a little bit is Steve Harvey Energy, right.
Is a little peppery or a little off color at times. He insults people to their face.
OK, yeah. Kind of like macho energy, kind of big man on campus energy. Yeah.
I'm sure Steve Harvey has said, listen, that's before.
I'm confident you can dig up that three episodes of our show, they both like a tailored suit, different style choices, but they really like like a dapper, particularly designed suit.
Yeah, it worn some loud suits in the past.
Has he been worn out? Seems to me he's a sharp man. Like, I think he he looks good. That's not my issue with him. He's, you know. Yeah. Well maintained. Also, you know, I want to mention this.
I called the you mentioned the parliamentarian and I thought you were talking about I think we should we're talking about the minimum wage.
Right. Let's say, you know, we're going to come back to it.
You know, we're going to we're going to do it again. We're putting the next, you know, the reconciliation bill.
And this time we're going to make better arguments to the parliamentarian and to keep it in. So don't worry, we're still fighting for you.
Yeah, let's actually read Ryan Grim tweeted out an article saying News Schumer setting up a second confrontation over the minimum wage, telling allies he plans to put it into the next infrastructure reconciliation package despite Democrats buckling to a parliamentarian advisory opinion last time. So in the article he writes, Schumer has suggested to progressive groups that there's a glimmer of hope at the parliamentarian would rule differently this time. OK, why are we perpetuating the fiction that the parliamentarian's ruling was dispositive, had any control over what happened the last time?
It never mattered. So, you know, reporting like this show we're putting something like this out is only shoring up the fiction that they ever had to listen to the parliamentarian. Now, there is a sliver of an argument that because Kyrsten Sinema expressed her refusal to vote for the fifty dollar minimum wage in procedural terms, that this would take away her cover of being able to do that.
Remember last time she said, I won't vote against what the parliamentarian says now that was stupid and should have been called out on its face. But yes, if the parliamentarian were to rule in favor, that would take away at least Kyrsten Sinema excuse. But it has nothing to do with Joe Manchin s rationale. And obviously, again, it has nothing to do with anything at all. And no one should be advancing Chuck Schumer statement uncritically as though it is meaningful in any way other than it is an additional cover for the Democratic Party's chosen ineptitude, the parliamentarians, just as the most powerful person under the Constitution.
I guess that's the fourth branch of government like you got to get got to get it past the parliamentarian. It's like working the refs. And I'm just I'm just really curious, you know, to see I mean, you were saying you have a lot of hope here. You know, the fight continues here on your side. We're going to come out with some really good arguments. We're going to get the best friggin debate club people and we're going to have them come in and just like, absolutely dazzle this person.
We're going to have a pitch deck and work.
We're going and we're going to take her out to dinner. We're going to, you know, really just put on a real charm offensive here. We're going to get her liquored up. And that's that's how we're going to do this thing.
I mean, of course, they don't care. So, I mean, you're just saying you don't care. You don't care about the frickin fifty dollar minimum wage. If you would just either disregard the parliamentarian, what you could do, you know, just say, well, thanks. That's, you know, thanks for the advice, but we're going in a different direction.
Or you could just fire the person, fire them. You're just like, oh no, we're going to have the same person who we are now blaming for the entire holdup, which is false. But our our stated position is that the only reason this failed is because of this one person and their decision.
We're just going to we're not going to do anything about that person. We're just going to get.
To show this deference to that person, so I want to make that little girl with my shirts, but it's a picture of the parliamentarian and above her, it's just like the 15 dollar minimum wage with a big cross through it, like a big, jagged red line through it, and just a proud, smiling, beaming symbol of gender representation in lieu of substantive politics.
Well, if you want a fifty dollar minimum wage, you want to raise for 40 million or so Americans, email Joseph Robinette Biden and tell him, you know, we need you to make some good arguments for the borrower.
Libertarian, email the parliamentarian. I don't know. Screw it.
That's how that's how all politics is working at this point. Yeah, just just email that one person.
I don't know, maybe you maybe you have the good arguments. Maybe you have the baby, you have the winning argument. Maybe you have like the trigger phrase that calls would be like, oh, I've been wrong about this this whole time.
I think the trigger phrase is here's a campaign donation linked to ActBlue.
If you can pay Joe Biden more than his corporate donors, then maybe we can get a 15 dollar minimum wage and student debt relief.
So that was a little bleak. But we have a conversation this week that really gets to the root of why our systems are so fucked.
He can actually give us a Marxist analysis of what's going on and help us chart a path to get out of this malarkey.
Let's check it out. Joining us now, he is a Marxist economic geographer, professor of anthropology and geography at the graduate center of the City University of New York, David Harvey.
Hi. Welcome, Professor Harvey. It's so wonderful. It's such a privilege to be able to talk to so many preeminent Marxist scholars in the course of this podcast.
And what I'd like to do first, but I'd like to ask you is to help us understand how a better understanding of Marx helps us appreciate this moment, how we got here and what we should do to get out of this economic and political crisis moving in the right direction, which is to say the left as opposed to to the right.
If you go back even before the coronavirus struck and everything that happened around that happened, if you looked around the world at that time, you'd find all kinds of social movements of discontent in almost every country, on every continent. I mean, if you had a sort of a map from outer space and there were little fires burning where there was a protest movement going on, the whole planet was aflame in protest and the protest was of two sorts. One was that the economic system, which is supposed to provide for us, is not doing a good job and is not doing what should be done to the majority of the world's population.
Secondly, it was a feeling that somehow or other democracy had disappeared and that therefore representation was irrelevant and decisions are being made in the political system. So a lot of discontent about the economy and a lot of political discontent. The question then arose as to where was was that coming from and what was it collectively about? And of course, one of the things that Marx is great at is actually identifying the internal contradictions of a capitalist society, why it cannot meet the needs of the mass of the people in spite of having a theory which said it would.
And similarly, in terms of the politics of the thing that the state apparatus which should be working for the people was in fact generally going to be corrupted. And behind that lies the idea that the ruling class has some rooting ideas and it has a pretty good job with the help of a bunch of academics, of course, propagating those ruling ideas in such a way that they support corporations and support the existing system rather than critique it. So Marx has a critique of all of that.
And I think it was incredibly helpful to me to start to read Marx many years ago now, but I didn't start reading it till I was thirty five years old. Oh, good.
We're in good company, right. Good chance for all of you. Yeah, it's very important. And I and I was self-taught and I one of the things I am very, very impressed by historically is the role of the self taught person, the autodidact. And that was who Marx was talking to. Because if you're self-taught and you have no kind of ideology rammed down your throat, then you start to see the world in a different kind of way.
And there are still a lot of self-taught people around itself teaching people around. And I guess part of my work has been trying to help people self teach themselves about about Marx if they can.
Well, I love that because I was very much doing a jog around D.C. yesterday listening to your podcast series, trying to do exactly that, learning, learning what I for some reason managed to not learn in college. Exactly.
You mentioned some of these contradictions, inherent contradictions to capitalism.
I wonder if you might talk us through some of those and try, if you can, to provide some examples in what's going on today, because I think that part of what happens when people say Marx, there is there's a section of the population that checks out part of them because they've been right wing indoctrinated. Others think that Marx is synonymous with Satan, part of them, because it just feels inaccessible and ancient and somehow irrelevant to their lives. So what does Marx teach us about what's going on right now at this crisis point?
What do you anticipate?
I actually have three reading Marx. One of the things he kind of says is that knowledge at any particular moment is guided by the issues of the moment so that the issues that were paramount with Marx back in the sort of eighteen, fifties and sixties are not the same as the issues which are today. So if you like the primary contradictions that he was working with, a rather different from the primary contradictions that I'm working with, one of my primary contradictions is that capital is always about growth.
You always have to grow. And historically, capital has grown at about three percent a year since its founding. Now three percent compound growth when Marx was working was not an issue. I mean, capital was only really established in Britain, part of Western Europe and the eastern seaboard of the United States. The whole world was was open. Now you're talking about a three percent. Rate of growth on pounding, on everything that's going on in China, everything going on in India, everything is going on in Latin America and of course in the United States and Europe.
And three percent compound growth from now on is creating all kinds of problems because of the mass of the product. And the mass of the capital is now absolutely huge, is doubling every twenty five years and the doubling the size of the economy means tremendous problems have absorbed, absorbing this surplus, which is being produced. And the absorption of it, of course, is putting immense pressure on the environment. So the idea that you can somehow rather keep three percent compound rate of growth going at the same time as you can solve all the environmental issues like climate change and all the rest of it, it's a nonsense.
You can't do it. This is a real significant contradiction, is the environment.
I mean, obviously, we all here care and are deeply invested in stopping climate change, reversing climate change.
But I wonder, even outside of that, are there just kind of economic limits to growth that are the kinds of things that even capitalists are concerned about, regardless of whether or not they're concerned about the impact?
I mean, one of the things that interests me is that if you one of the ways in which you can absorb the surplus is produce things that have almost zero circulation time if you produce things that lasted 100 years. And I was used to the fact that I'm still going to dinner every night with my grandmother's knives and forks. And if capital produced knives and forks that lasted a hundred years and wouldn't have a market. So it has to start producing things which are instantaneous turnover.
Now, that means that there has to be a form of consumption which is instantaneous. And what we've seen over the last 30 or 40 years is an immense growth in the consumption of spectacle, spectacle in terms of our Netflix series and all those sorts of things and sports events and other podcasts and tourism.
Give you an example of this. The last crisis of 2009 between them and break out of covid international tourism increased from eight hundred million units to one point four billion. And that was tourism, which is an instantaneous kind of form of consumption, increased enormously. Now, cruise liners and all that kind of thing, so that so capital start to move into areas where the turnover time and consumption was almost zero.
That makes me think of I listen to you in a recent interview, talk about freedom and the difference between kind of negative freedoms and positive freedoms and how Americans seemed obsessed with the concept, but only in terms of negative freedom. So they want to be able to have a gun. They want to be able to not wear a mask and do all these kinds of things. But there isn't as much of a focus on freedom from want or hunger or free time itself, which you characterize as the mark of a real freedom.
And so there's a part of me that says, oh, yes, I'm being tricked into wanting a vacation. I'm being tricked into wanting to go to Sicily. But also wait, isn't that the sign that I've actually been able to break free of some of these capitalist strictures? Like, isn't that a good thing for us to to have more free time, more vacation time?
Well, one of the things about contradictions is you always find it's like the Joni Mitchell song where she talks about I've looked at clouds, both sides now on capital, both sides now. And it has produced the capacity for tremendous self education. The capacity is there and some people take advantage of it. But at the same time, it has done it in such a way as to take that other negative freedom. And it uses freedom to exploit people's dreams about the future.
In terms of all those ads, about what will happen to you when you go down to one of these sort of tropical beaches and the fictionalizes all of that. So you get the positive and the negative. So whenever you're talking about contradictions, you never say it's all bad. You have to say there's a potentiality here, which is very important. And I think the potentiality that comes with international tourism is very important. But on the other hand, you find many cities now, for instance, in Barcelona, there's an anti tourist movement because tourism is wrecking the city.
There's an anti tourism movement growing up around the ecology side because ecologically is doing tremendous damage. So something that is is brilliant turns into something negative. And if you want a prime example of that in recent years is the Internet. When the Internet started up, it was seen as a tremendous device for green people. And now what you've got you've got a few platforms that are controlling everything. And so this positive, negative, you know, on the dialectic, if you like, of this is very important.
You mentioned earlier the kind of narratives that are deployed to keep people invested in the system as it is. And part of I think what's so frustrating as someone who is on the left is that a lot of the contradictions that you describe, a lot of the contradictions that Mark describes seem pretty apparent, especially as we move into a crisis point like this. And yet there is such an infrastructure that exists to create narratives to justify the status quo. I heard you in a recent interview talking about the Powell memo, which has become a recurring theme on this show in the concerted propaganda that has come from the right in order to shore up the kind of institutional status quo that we don't even see today because it is become such a natural part of the firmament.
And you told this story about the propaganda to make your college no longer free because the Rockefeller is understood, the power that came from the kind of having free institutions and free public education, rather.
And reminds me of this ongoing conversation that we're having about these rights, freedoms and privileges of college debt cancellation, free tuition, et cetera, that feel never ending. Can you talk a little bit about why it is that it seems that we can't surpass these narrative battles and that the right seems to be so much better at making the case than the left does?
Well, I think that one of the big things that I think is consumed, this is very much this notion of individual liberty and freedom. And that was something that was launched big time. It seemed to me and what I would call the neo liberal turn of the 1970s, 1980s, that people felt that they were not individually free and therefore there was a great deal of public support for Reaganism and Thatcherism. I think it was mistaken support, if you want to put it that way.
But nevertheless, there was a lot of popular support for that, that transition. And people started saying, well, you know, welfare state is really messed up. It's individual responsibility is all that matters. Freedom of the individual carries with these responsibilities. So you get that kind of kind of language, which is very, very powerful and significant. And for a while it worked to many people brought into it. For instance, African-Americans want to become small business owners and want to become small capitalists.
Women wanted to become small capitalists, wanted to join the corporations. So liberty and freedom and that style was very, very significant in supporting the totality. But then what happened was in the 1990s, the things started to go wrong. So to get the bad and by the time you get to two thousand, there's a crisis, economic crisis, and then the other things that were going on globally and so on. And by 2008, a whole thing is a real mess.
And now it's a total disaster. And everybody starts to recognize that this system, which purported to solve the problems of the world in the nineteen ninety nine is nineteen nineties so that somebody like Fukuyama could write a book called The End of History. You know, we're not the end. We finally arrived at the totality of the bourgeois state and the bourgeois life and everything is great, you know, and then you kind of look and see something like Enron going on and crash in the dotcom bubble and so on.
So all of these things are going on. So, again, history tends to move in these kinds of things where there's contradictions at a certain time which gets solved, as they were by Reagan and Thatcher and Pinochet and all the rest of it. And then those those solutions become the problem. But right now, we've got the problem of dealing with the excessive notions and the peculiar notions of individualism and freedom in a world where you can't have individualistic solutions to the climate change problem.
That has to be a collective solution. That has to be collective solutions to the to the pandemic.
And what we've seen in the pandemic is a large number of people refusing this collective solution in favor of the individual one, which in itself is going to create a crisis because, you know, we got half a million people died because of the causes that it does feel like there's a certain kind of scientific realities of covid and certain kind of economic realities of covid that have in some minimal but meaningful ways force the hand of a neoliberal state to acknowledge that we have to do some things collectively.
So stay at home orders and mask mandates and vaccine roll outs and the bailout, the new covid bill, the old all covid bill.
Yeah, what is interesting is that there seems to be so much consensus around doing those kinds of things and a lot of consensus around doing, you know, supporting programs that are even beyond what the state is currently offering. Do you think that there is revolutionary potential with that door being opened, with the public seeing that this kind of collective way of acting is? A theory that it's useful that it's working, but they feel in their pocketbook and how should the left take advantage of this moment?
There was a point where, you know, for instance, Reagan famously said the state is not the solution. Government is the problem. We've now got to the point where people recognize that good government is actually part of the solution and should be part of the solution. And that obviously is an angle to enter into the the state apparatus, towards elements of the social democratic left who I think want to take advantage of that. And in a sense, there is a little bit of a rerun of the New Deal thinking coming back in, and that therefore the state is going to have to become much more regulatory and all the rest of it.
And it's going to be a fight over how much regulation and so on. And that regulation will carry over things like Facebook and Amazon. And there's going to be some very interesting. Do you think it will? I think there's going to be pressure to do it. But I think that actually those corporations are, in a sense, too big and too powerful for the state to be able to do very much with them. It'll probably nibble at the edges and try to create some regulatory framework.
But I think that the left, if you like, a there is a revival of the kind of social democratic left, but the social democratic left is not going to challenge the growth syndrome. It's not going to it's not going to get to some of the fundamental kind of questions about how labor is actually set up these days, the disempowerment of working people, that it's not going to deal with a lot of those kinds of things. So there is a kind of a room for what might be called a reformist left to start to nibble away a little bit.
And I'm not against that. I don't think saying, oh, you're just reformist. You know, reform is one of the path which you can get a revolution because you're talking about a long term shift and a long term shift is going to take a lot of work and a lot of lifting before we get there. So I'm kind of saying, yeah, I support I'm glad to see some of these reforms coming through. Some big reforms are passed.
Reforms are going to going to be there over, for example, housing, the moratorium on evictions. What's going to happen when that's lifted? We're going to see a large foreclosure going on all over the place, a bit like Echo in 2008. And that's going to be a lot of discontent about that. So what happens?
There is going to be a big issue is getting rid of this right wing idea of individualism. Is that a necessary precondition for the kind of revolutionary change you're describing?
I don't like to call it a necessary precondition, because that makes it seem like the only thing you've really got to work on is changing people's minds, that once you've changed their minds, everything works well, people really change their minds out of experiences, which is why I think Biden is doing the right thing by saying your experience of government is going to be very different. So your attitude to government is going to be very different. That will be true also with the infrastructure program that's coming that is setting up.
In other words, people change their mind because they get different experiences. Let's face it, the experience of the welfare state in the nineteen seventies was rather bad. So when people chose the welfare state and the left was challenging the welfare state at the end of the 1960s, and I think this was this was a form of oppression which is being organized through the state. So to say that we will get back to that is not exactly where we want to go.
We would want to go to a different kind of state, different kind of notions of of welfare, and set up something rather different from what existed back in the 1960s and 1970s.
Well, if people change in part, at least because of their experiences, how do you get people to start experiencing the kind of. Socialist world that would actually get to the heart of the growth problem and some of these bigger contradictions and move us away from, let's say, more reformist solutions to the more serious structural movement that we want.
Well, this is one of the things that I get frustrated with my own style of life right now. But being on lockdown of the age on that, I'm not I'm not out there saying what's going on on the ground. And I think a lot of stuff going on on the ground right now. I mean, about a third of the nation's children are living in poverty and have food problems. And you've got this whole kind of public food provision, meals and all that kind of thing.
And it's being organized through the voluntary sector and all the rest of it. But what we're seeing, in effect is the socialization of consumption by these mechanisms. And then you look at it and you say, well, that's already going on. Why don't we have a political organization that takes all that over and says, OK, this is what we're going to make as a permanent form of food provision in the country. So there are things happening. And when I say experience, I think the fact that people experience some generosity and help and sociality in these in these mechanisms which are which are going on out there, that seems to me to to start to create a different sensibility in terms of not what the state is about, because Washington is Washington.
You know, it's it's it's more about creating political institutions. And I think we're seeing some of that going on by the by the election of radical mayors and the like who are trying to sort of organize their cities to deal with the concrete issues on the ground and so on. But a lot of faith, if you like, that there is there is something going on on the ground, which is which is already the experience of an alternative. And that can then filter through when somebody kind of says, well, you know, a decent diet is a human right.
People can say, yeah, I can. Yeah, I can see that. I can see that. And therefore, we ought to organize a society that meets that human right.
I guess my my skeptical concern would be that so much of what's going on right now is framed as crisis contingent and that even people who are operating in good faith and doing their best are still framing it as temporary in nature. So we all just went through the fight with a 15 dollar minimum wage being the only part that got kicked out of the covert relief bill happened to be the only permanent structural part. You have Cedric Richmond, one of Joe Biden's senior aides, in an interview recently with many Hasan on MSNBC, where many asked him, hey, why give all this money and pay for insurance through COBRA subsidies, which are just a sop to the insurance industry, when you could set up something more along the lines of a Medicare for All program that would ultimately be cheaper for the state and give more benefit to people.
And Cedric Richmond, after falling all over himself and his answer basically says, we're only doing this because it's covered.
I'm saying if you can afford thirty five billion dollars to give to COBRA, which is a very inefficient, overpriced way of giving people health care, why not spend that money on a universal health care system that helps everyone, not just insurance companies?
Well, remember, this is a response to a pandemic. If if we didn't have covid-19, you wouldn't see us doing that COBRA appropriation. So remember, so we're probably saying close to the same thing. But remember, this is in response to people losing their jobs through no fault of their own. And if you don't have covid-19 out there, people are not losing their jobs in record numbers to no fault of their own.
We're only willing to spend this money because it's short term. And so as much as I would like to think that this will this will radicalize some folks, and I'm sure that it will. I guess I want to say I'd like to see some of the elected officials move from some of the reformist talk and push the front edge of what the conversation is.
I agree with that. But that's where the struggle is. Yeah, that's one thing you shouldn't I think dismiss is what the sentiment is on the ground. And I don't I don't know what it is because I've been out of it. And I suspect you don't know what it is either.
And I know what it is. Well, good. Tell us what a future episode while you get into it. But one man on the street.
But but but you know, a crisis if it's prolonged enough. And that's the interesting thing that can actually have a big, big impact on changing minds. And then I came to political consciousness, believe it or not, in World War two in Britain and in World War Two, everybody around this were part of the world now will say, oh, it was all about Winston Churchill and what a great person he was. Well, my grandmother used to rail on about that bugger, Winston Churchill and the working classes, and after the war was over, they were going to kick him out and they were going to create a Labour government that was going to give us universal health care.
And it happened. It happened, you know, and a lot of it came out of a shift in the people's experience. I mean, people saw people who've been evacuated from the east end of London and saw that they had whole families with only one pair of shoes between all of the kids. I saw those kinds of things and said, this isn't the society we're fighting for. We're fighting for something different. And after World War Two, along came a Labor government, nationalized a lot of things, gave us a universal health care system, gave us a lot of other things.
Well, there were a lot of problems with the Labor Party did at that time, but it was partly that change of mentality which was achieved through the collective effort of World War Two, which had to be collective. I had to be collectivized. And so we've seen some of that collective kind of sensibility beginning to emerge around covid. Now, the problem is maybe the Courbet's will be over too quickly. If it lasted for four or five years, then people will be gone.
OK, now we've really got to change the whole world and society as it is right now. In 10 years time, if people look at the stock market trajectory, they'll see a little blip around March of 2020 and say that was covered. In other words, if it was just an epiphany. And I think that the Biden administration at all, I think is down there, hope it is an epiphenomenal and that's that left with no radical change is going to occur.
Our job is to kind of say we've got to talk about the radical changes which are possible and which are in the could potentially be in the works because some of these things are happening on the ground.
So we're in the middle of a little bit of a spicy moment on the left that's really foregrounding some of these questions about what's to reformist, what's ultra leftist, where should we be pushing, who should we be holding accountable? That's really centered around the fact that for the first time in American history, we have an unprecedented number of socialists, self-described democratic socialist, elected to Congress. And the question has become to what extent should they be willing to risk it all?
And what that all is is largely unclear and often overstated, but basically attracted a degree of political ire to stand for more than what is kind of currently on the table because of covid. So should they have withheld their vote for the coveted bill, over 15 dollar minimum wage? Should we now be talking about a twenty four dollar minimum wage? Should they be talking not just about student debt cancellation, but more broadly critiquing capitalism if they're going to be called democratic socialists and talking about the fact that this growth rate is unsustainable and that capitalism is incompatible with environmental sustenance.
Do you think it's fair for poor folks to be wanting to push harder right now?
Yeah, no, I'm I'm I'm glad some people are. But one of the things that has always bothered me about the US politics very distinctively us, is it's very often sort of situated in relationship to some sense of moral purity that you have to be a good person. And the only physician a good person to take is this or this or this. And I think that what we need right now is this is a movement, a political movement and a political movement, the compromises and all the rest of it.
And I'm glad that we start to see the people getting elected because it says there is a bit of a political movement out there in the same way that somebody like Stacey Abrahams by politically organizing can do what she did in Georgia. You know, this is the kind of effective political movement activities that seems to me, it seems to me to be crucial so that, yes, it is good. The only things that are out there and being debated and we can discuss the reformism versus revolution to, you know, until the early hours of the morning and God knows what.
But I think that the biggest thing right now is let's get together and create this this this this movement, which seems to be movement of people around the idea that with the commodification of health care and commodification education, that the commodification of the housing and the commodification of basic food supply, those are the crucial issues that we should be pursuing.
Are we having a movement about the commodification of health care, though? If it seems and I don't just mean seems people who have been vanguards of this left movement have very openly stated that because Joe Biden is president, that there's just going to be no movement on that issue and where we can talk about it on a 20 year timeline. But today, we're not going to agitate for Medicare for all because Joe Biden is someone who has said he would veto it even if it did pass the House and the Senate.
I think that's kind of the tension. Yes, there is some unnecessary, I think, flailing around and attacking about litmus tests that seem artificial and very personality based, I could not agree with you more there. But there's also this bigger question of what is the umbrella under which this movement is going to operate? What are the operative principles? And there are some who are, let's say, more ultra left, who I think have a reasonable claim to say that if you why are you calling yourself a democratic socialist?
If you aren't willing to articulate the critique of capitalism, if you're still saying you should be a capitalist, you can be a capitalist and democratic socialist at the same time. And at the same time, there are people who are like, OK, we know we need to move. We need to do some more work to get the people to a place where they can want to get on board and not necessarily do that by striding out in the streets with a little red book or what have you.
It's difficult conversation we're having right now about how we design, how we characterize this movement so that it has the maximum effect while not overly limiting its appeal. And I wonder if there's any kind of historical examples that we should be looking to or that could inform this kind of decision making process.
Yeah, I mean, the sort of the history of socialist parties and different parts of the world and the pressures they set up or are all there. The problem is that right now we have an economy that is so structured and so powerful that it's very, very difficult to find capacity for a really revolutionary transformation on our being severely criticized for saying things like, well, you know, contemporary capitalism is too big to fail. If the thing failed, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
I wouldn't have computers and I wouldn't have this, you know, I mean, we're not in a position to say, let's crash the whole system and then rebuild it from the we can't do that old stuff in the process. So my view is to kind of say, look, we have to be about this question of what do we do about, you know, very, very practical things like who's going to make the computers in the revolutionary age, how computer technologies and platforms are going to be organized.
I mean, there's a lot of questions of that kind. Now, I have no illusions about Joe Biden and the Democrats and what they're going to do, the pro capitalist organization, a pro capitalist party. And therefore, I can't expect them to be sort of sign on to to talk to my anticapitalist thinking so that I would say there's two things here. One is the kind of question of political education. And the second is going to be the question of really trying to find, as I mentioned earlier, those transformative things happening on the ground which people could experience.
And the experience of them can start collectively to organize around a different kind of political agenda, which is going to be anticapitalist, particularly in those areas I already mentioned, like saying, well, OK, Nasti, commodify housing with the commodify education educationist, commodify health care and the commodify food supply. So everybody has a decent basis for their life in those at least on those four dimensions. And that seems to me to be I don't know whether those reformers demand or revolutionary demand.
You can call it whatever you like, but it is it is a political demand that I think that people can understand that all of those elements should be right, not commodities. And access to them should not be rationed through market power.
If you are anticapitalist, some would argue you shouldn't even be a member of the Democratic Party and that perhaps those socialist who have managed to gain entry into the Democratic Party should at a certain point defect as a way to draw contrasts and highlight the extent to which the party itself is so often working directly against the interests of the people who elect it. And that, you know, another another feature of American political system is that we don't have the advantage of a multi-party system.
And do you think that there is are opportunities there or maybe even that it's kind of a necessary move to put pressure on the Democratic Party, at the very least, to embrace some of the these universal programs that seem like a really important starting point?
I think that's a technical question. Many say it depends upon where the factions are and maybe a point where it wants to leave the party and set up on its own or something. There might be something of that kind. It's very difficult to do in the United States. I suspect it's going to will condemn people to irrelevance if they do that. So there a tactical question, but we can talk about talk about that. But I. I really think that the question of how to get this program moving should not be confined to saying, well, how can it be inserted into the Democratic Party platform or party congresses or something of that kind?
It should be on the ground and it should be happening on the ground. And there are a lot of things occurring on the ground. I mentioned I have much more faith in radical measures of radical city councils doing things which are which are actually really progressive. I have a fantasy, I can tell you this, which is that at some point or other, there's going to be a league of socialist cities with socialist mayors all over the United States who are all coordinating with each other and saying, screw Congress, we're going to do this.
We're going to support each other this way.
We've got surpluses and you've got surplus that have OK, I'm going utopian in about about this. But on the other hand, it does seem to me there are there are levels of political action outside of what's happening with the Democratic Party in Congress.
Which mayors are you thinking of? The demise of no major American cities that have a socialist mayor, not a socialist mayor.
But there's a bit of a history for a long time, Milwaukee, for example, had a socialist mayor, which was which was kind of fantastic.
How does Chokwe Lumumba identify and and Jackson, Mississippi.
Jackson, Mississippi. I was going to say Jackson the Jackson Rising and so on. And, you know, I'm not going to pass judgment and say, well, that's good and that's bad. I'm kind of saying, look, we're in a situation right now where anything that moves is good and it's moving in the right direction. It's good. So that's why I'm not particularly interested in reform versus revolution debate. I'm interested in just getting things moving in such a way that we're going in the right direction.
Certain things can happen at the municipal level. For instance, I live for many years in the city of Baltimore, and Baltimore is one of the first cities to pass a living wage ordinance. And a living wage ordinance was done at the municipal level level and then eventually became a state thing. So, you know, this is this is something that can and we see things happening in Seattle, you know, so there's a lot of things of that sort.
And in Europe, for example, there are quite a few places were run by not revolutionary mayors, but by radical mayors who are trying to transform things.
I think the reason why I mean, we've had Kshama Sawant, Seattle city councilwoman socialist, on the show. And, you know, I'm very interested and compelled by the kind of interventions that have been pursued on a local level, her advocacy for a fifty dollar minimum wage, pre stage, the national conversation, and was integral to us even being where we are today in terms of that conversation. At the same time, I feel like there's a tension between understanding that, as Naomi Klein says, there's an opportunity here to take advantage of this crisis and a kind of a deflection to local politics.
It seems like if we are going to take advantage of the crisis, it's going to have to be in large part, at least on a national level. And I think that that is why so many on the left are looking to national politics. It's not just because it's like sexy and like that's those are people whose names we know, etc. It's because it does feel like we're in need of something big and structural that is necessarily national.
I can agree with that. But the trouble is that at the federal level, the institutions are so set up to be so totally undemocratic. The chance to get anything, anything really done is very, very, very minimal. I mean, the Senate, for example, is a situation where 20 percent of the US population controls about 60 percent of the votes. And we see what that means. And then, of course, there's a huge reform required to make democracy work in this country so that one person has one vote and we see all the stuff going on around that.
And for that reason, the idea that something can get through the Senate and something can go through a really radical way I don't think is terribly feasible right now, which is why I'm interested in the state level. And I think taking back power at the state level as well as at the municipal level is very, very crucial right now because most of that state power is held by Republicans. I mean, that's part of the process and that's going to be a long term project, the long term project to democratize the political system in the United States.
That's very long term project. It should be there. And I think it's good to be people to participate in it. But nevertheless, I think the reason I'm looking at these local initiatives and so on is not because I think that's where the real revolution lies or anything of that kind or whether it should only stay there. But that is one place where things can happen which are difficult to engineer. They at the national level, there's this apocryphal story of a.
Philip Randolph goes to FDR and lays all the concerns of labor and civil rights at his feet, and FDR says, yes, sure, I agree with you, I guess, but you've got to go out there and make me do it.
And then obviously, we got the New Deal, not because FDR was just sitting on his in his office thinking, I'm the boss, I'm I'm great. I'm just going to get points to the masses. But because he was under a lot of pressure from a lot of left wing movement, including the communists, etc.. Right. And they were in some ways you could see it as the whole New Deal, as an appeasement strategy, because there were a much, much bigger demands being made that the New Deal even did not even begin to touch.
That doesn't feel like the place we're in now for myriad reasons. One, as many on the left have diagnosed, organized labor is much weaker than it has been historically, and that is a longer term thing to remedy. But it also seems true that even those voices that are in a position to raise more significant demands are choosing not to do so. As I describe saying. OK, well, Joe Biden said he's not going to do this, so there's no point asking for that coming from people who represent the left flank of our political discourse.
Moreover, those organized groups that do exist and I've heard you talk about how powerful it would be if there were, for instance, a strike of airport workers, how the country would grind to a halt. As a consequence, those organized groups that do have the power to exert the kind of influence in the supply chain also, for whatever reason, are choosing not to do so. And I'm not saying that the strategic considerations in that unions don't have obligations to their workforces, et cetera, and that labor protections are much weaker on all of these other kinds of things.
But what frustrates me, these conversations, is that even if we diagnose that there are fewer levers of power to draw upon, there are still levers of power and doesn't feel like to me there are very many people asking for accountability from those sectors that do have a degree of power still. I don't disagree with that.
I mean, I think that there's a there's a real, real problem there. But you're dealing with us now. You started the social democratic movement in this country, if you want to call it that started at a very, very low level when basically all of the forces on the left were depleted and it had to rebuild and has been rebuilt. And I think that's that's a very positive thing. But this is a long way to go. There's a long way to go before somebody becomes the Democratic president of the United States, is forced to listen to the equivalent of what happens to Roosevelt.
And somebody is going to say, well, unless you do this, we're going to do that. And I mean, we're not in a position to do that right now.
Well, isn't part of the cooking part of the doing that be something like abandoning the Democratic Party, voting third party? It's a mutually assured destruction. Yes, I understand that the consequence might be someone very unpleasant indeed, being elected. But isn't that ultimately why it's a powerful move?
I don't think it's a powerful move because you will isolate yourself from all kinds of things. We're doing that. I mean, I know I understand individuals who want to do that. I would probably do that. But I don't think politically I would be something that I would advise. A third party isn't isn't going to isn't going to go very far.
Well, it's not the idea that the third party candidate will become president, that it states. It's the idea that you're withholding your vote under conditions and that if you could deliver a constituency the same way that unions historically were able to deliver their constituents to the Democratic Party in exchange for certain promises, a third party could do the same.
When we had Ralph Nader on talking about how we had a list agenda for Al Gore and say, hey, if you take three out of the 10 or 20 things on this list and incorporate them into your program, I'll drop out of the race. And Al Gore chose differently. Al Gore chose violence, as they say.
I don't you know, I think, again, that's a tactical question. I don't think there's an absolute answer to it for all places and all time. But right now, I don't think there's much to be gained by this idea of a third party.
What would Mark say? I mean, if you can imagine, that's one of the foremost experts on Marx. If Marx were transmuted into the body of ACEA Qaeda to liberate whatever and we're operating in Congress right now, what what do you think would be his strategic or rhetorical choice?
Well, first off, I dispute your characterization of me as a great expert on Marx, like and all that kind of thing. A lot of experts on Marx dislike intensely what I do. I'm not an expert on Marx. I just I just find what Marx is doing is extremely revealing and helpful. He has this dual kind of notion about capital. On one hand, capital brings you to this point of fantastic possibility at the same time as it creates a world which is an.
Meaningless alienation. We've never really talked about that is the loss of meaning, and it's that duality, which is what we what we live daily between the potentiality, all the things we have, all the household gadgets we have, all of the technological gadgets we have, some of which terrify me. On the other hand, what was the meaning? And you're find in people clutching at meaning, which is where white supremacy comes from, where all these crazy kind of beliefs come from.
We have to start to think about creating a world in which meaning can be created in a constructive kind of way, about a different kind of society and social order.
I'm going to follow up. I'm going to double down on this, though, even if you don't see yourself as an expert on Marx, I'm not an expert. I'm curious what you imagine how Marx would meet this political moment in particular if you were in a position of relative power like a member, one of the progressive members of Congress?
Well, it depends what you asked in the nineteen fifty eight, he would say something very different from eighteen sixty seven, which is very different from what he'd say in 1840, for he was always changing his mind about things. But I think one of the things he would do is to try to say, look, we need a coherent political organization, we need to create a party if we want to call it that, or the infrastructure of a party which is going to actually transform things.
And this comes down to something which is really a complicated question, which is to what degree would a left wing party have to be authoritarian? I mean, are you going to sit there and sort of say happily, cuddle all those right wingers who start yelling sort of fascist slogans at your door? Are you going to round them up and put them in jail? I mean, you know, it's kind of a very this is a very this is a very big issue.
And when you get close to the power and therefore the there are limits to the democratization that can occur.
The argument made by I argue most in the left at this point is that there are a significant chunk, I think a significant majority even of people who comprise Trump, voters who adopt or embrace or tolerate the kind of nationalist xenophobia that aspect of.
Trump Trump ism, because the core attraction, or at least a significant part of the attraction, is a kind of populism that has more energy or at least in twenty sixteen, had more energy in Donald Trump than the Democratic Party candidate and Hillary Clinton, and that the same forces that made Trump so popular unexpectedly made Bernie Sanders so popular unexpectedly. And if there were a leftist to rise to political power and the presidency that the issue wouldn't be so much needing to violently suppress those working class right wing populists, even if they still have a certain degree of racial animus, just like, frankly, a lot of Democrats do.
But the real issue is to what extent are you going to need to use force to combat the kind of revolution that comes from the elites? And what kind of pressure are you going to get from the bourgeois class that it's actually benefiting from the system as it is, and then which is very much empowered through the military and other kind of more privatized the police state to defend themselves and defend, quote unquote, property?
Well, I think that you're going to have a left wing organization that is going to have to confront the bourgeoisie. And so doing it has to do it in a way that is rooted in its own experiential world. And one of the things you mentioned that is an interesting one. I spent some time in France in the 1970s, and that was a moment when quite a few people in the Communist Party who'd been in the Communist Party for a long time transferred their allegiance to Le Pen and the neo fascist party.
And it was sort of working class movement, if you like, in the Communist Party. It was very difficult for the Communist Party. And of course, one of the big issues there was the questions of national identity, immigration and the like. And that sort of issue hasn't gone away. In fact, that has been very much heightened in contemporary contemporary world, the anti-immigrant stuff. And it's no accident, it seems to me that that's the thing that Biden is the rest is sort of doing OK on the popular level, migration stuff, serious, serious, serious difficulty that he's running into.
And I think that question is going to be one of the big questions of the coming years. It also is connected very much to the issue of labor, where the labor question becomes crucial. And what people don't realize is in the 1960s, Germany, the German state, subsidized the importation of Turkish labor. The French state subsidized the importation of Algerian and North African labor. The British drew on the come on the empire. The United States opened up its immigration laws in nineteen sixty five to the whole world.
This was a bourgeois capitalist requirement of wanting to have surplus labor. And so that was therefore the whole immigration policy was around surplus labor and disempowering indigenous labor and indigenous labor looked on that, knew that very well, which is why some indigenous labor in Europe moved to the far right because they were anti immigrant. So the whole kind of question of the migrant question is a really thorny one, which I think is going to be possibly an Achilles heel for the Bush administration.
Is it still the case today that there is a continued need for more surplus unskilled labor, or is it more the case that what we've kind of through technology and efficiency is that we've reached a tipping point?
Well, a surplus of unskilled labor is one thing. Silicon Valley feeds off the surplus labor of highly educated people from Eastern Europe and from South Asia and all the rest of it so that the corporate requirement is strong. Then then the whole kind of question of, you know, agricultural labor is very, very significant. And the fact that the border was blocked a little bit had created all kinds of problems for California agribusiness jobs. It was harvesting and capacities and so on.
So there's a lot of issues there. The labor issue is still foundational. And unfortunately, a lot of this has got turned into a cultural issue which which is not irrelevant. But we're not looking at the labor side of things very, very clearly what in effect is happening. And this is what is a bit scary about the situation as you move from a situation where the disparities in wage rates around the world and say nineteen seventy were very great, they've lessened since since there's been a globalization of labour supply and therefore there's a through the globalization of labour supply that depresses labour.
Right. Depresses remuneration throughout the whole capitalist world, and that is, of course, very much to the corporate benefit.
Well, it seems like the problem is fundamentally that this is not a it's not a domestic issue.
There's almost there's just no domestic issues anymore. It's not a thing that exists. You know, AFC, who's come under a lot of heat this week to an Instagram live last night where she made this point and she said that, you know, you're not going to solve what's going on at the border unless you were willing to address American foreign policy. And unless you you're willing to address labor policy, unless you're willing to address all of these issues. And so there are these gestures to the substantive critique, but it also feels like we can say that.
But it's one that stays on the fringe in two. It still feels like, to your point, you call it a thorny issue to even acknowledge. And I know there are myriad studies on this and it's not so clear cut, but there that there is any negative effect on indigenous labor from immigration is tantamount to saying something discriminatory about an ethnic group in the current discourse. Right. And that makes it very difficult to have a conversation about how to fix the problem in constructive ways that near to the substantive benefit of human beings who would really prefer not to be leaving their home.
Right. I wonder if having a better understanding of some of these labor dynamics and maybe you can help us. I know that we're coming to the end of our time, but it can help us to be able to better have that conversation, have those conversations and move us forward without getting caught up in this wheel of a Democrat saying we've got to help kids in cages. And a Republican saying, but what about American steel workers or whatever? And the Democrats saying, well, you're a racist and then the Republicans saying you don't really care about kids in cages because by locking them up and everyone's a little bit right.
And we go round and round and round.
Yeah, it's not an easy answer to this. And you're right to kind of say, well, this is the sort of situation where the the global labor force is what we should be looking at. One of the things that we have to understand is that the global wage labor force has expanded enormously since 1990, increased by about one billion wage workers. And when I was working with who they are in competition with. So one of the things that's happened with the relaxation of capital controls is a capital can flow around pretty much wherever the labor force is now.
And so you're getting this downward pressure to equalize the labor wage rates, which is I'm not saying it's that, you know, the US workers are now being paid the same as sort of a Filipino or Chinese workers. No, I'm obviously not. But there is a tendency towards an equalization of the wage rate on the global basis. And you're right, you're not going to able to do anything about that unless you have a global politics. And I have to say, you know, I'm OK with some of the things that Biden is doing domestically.
His foreign policy is horrible, is really, really horrible. It's imperialist and it's doing all the negative things that you really don't want, saying negative things about what's what's going on in Bolivia and so on. I mean, this is terrible and I don't like it at all.
Do you have a vision? Do you imagine do you fantasize about what it would look like to transition into a post capitalist society?
I mean, you talk about how we are so enmeshed. Our expectations are such in terms of what we are able to consume, the technology we use, you know, all of that kind of thing. That would be difficult for us to pivot quickly. And you've also said that some of these arguably reformist changes are useful insofar as they give us a foothold and broaden our expectations of what we can have.
So what does the path forward look like in an ideal world where we make the best of this crisis? Where do you see us going? And do you imagine us actually moving past capitalism?
I certain things that I think are very critical from what comes from my my reading of Marx is very much about individual liberty and freedom is very much about what he's saying. Basically, you can't have individual liberty and freedom unless there is a collective will to create the kind of society where individual freedom and individual will can be truly exercised. And we live in a society where that's not the case. So we have to have a collective movement to create the form of society which is going to maximize individual liberty and freedom.
Do you then ask the question, well, what is your measure of individual liberty and freedom? And that's where this thing of free time comes in. If we could take care of basic. But working sort of one day a week, we have six days a week to do that. What the hell are we pleased?
Yeah, whatever. People want to play music. We can go roller skating. I do whatever we want. Marx is kind of saying, well, that that's what true individual liberty and freedom is, but it's going to take collective action to do it. The paradox here is that those people who believe in the natural right of individual liberty and freedom, which is the bourgeois conception, deny the solidarity, will allow the construction of society, which will give you to individual liberty and freedom.
So my fantasy is we will collectively recognize that we need collectively to establish ways of being, ways of producing and ways of distributing, which are going to maximize individual liberty and freedom for everyone. For everyone, not just for the bourgeois can sit on their yachts of Bahamas and ride out the Corona virus epidemic that way. No, no. This is this is this is what we're looking at. And we're looking at the commodification, not a society which is all sort of homogeneous.
We're looking at one which is full of diversity. Diversity is one of one of the greatest strengths that human beings have to to enjoy. The diversity is one of the reasons I love living in metropolitan areas, is because of the diversity. And one of the things I'm missing by being on lockdown is missing the diversity. No, I have this fantasy. Yes. And I think that that fantasy is very, very important to have in my in your mind.
And the reason I just don't think the connectivity is good for the sake of it being good. And of course, the right wing view of Marxism is all about collectivity and you subsume yourself inside the collectivity and that's it. No, you create the collectivity in order to create individual liberty. And when you turn to people right now and say how much individual liberty you really have, the answer is not very much, particularly when you say how much free time do you have right now?
People are saying, I have no free time at all, you know? I mean, and you kind of go, well, wouldn't you like to live in a society where you had sufficient food and housing and most of it to have a decent life and lots and lots of free time, which you like, that we have to have a vision, it seems to me, as to what socialism might be all about. It gets out.
I just have one last question, which is we often get requests from our audience to recommend things to read.
And I'm curious, do you have any recommendations? What should our audience read and what would you like for them to take away?
That's difficult to say. I mean, I of course, I write books, and so I'm bound to say, well, they can be your books. Yeah, OK. Well, I yeah, I think the enigma of capital, for example, is a good place to start. The last one I did a Marx Capital of madness where communism is a bit more advanced I think.
But that shit which newbies like myself. Thirty five year olds who are just getting hip to Marx, what would you be read again, it depends upon how much time.
And by the way, it's very important to these things to do it collectively. As you know, I have a Marx course on my own line and I get a lot of feedback from it because, you know, we sat down as a group of ten of us and we decided to go through capital using online online course. And it was great. We started with ten. We ended with seven. But that was seven of us got through it. We had a great time doing so.
So if you feel like going out that that sort of effort, on the other hand, a lighter touch of some of the other texts which are around, I really do encourage people to go back to the originals and make what they will. I have my particular things I take from Marks, but I don't expect anybody to agree with me. In fact, many people don't. And that's that's OK. It's very revelatory to spend some time with with Mark's text.
You heard it here, folks. You got to go back to the source material.
So you don't believe me, believe Marks.
I mean, I'm sure a lot of people will be interested in your seminar. Where could they where can they find you on the YouTube website? I have a David Harvey dog, which is which has all of my lectures and all of my online classes. You can do volume one of capital. You can do volume two and volume three, and you can do the country's online. So there's a lot of online materials if you want to follow up on it.
And of course, The Anticapitalist Chronicles with the podcast and the book that came from the podcast.
Sometimes that's a good entry because it's all over the place and it mentions, you know, all kinds of things from a Marxist perspective.
As I mentioned, up top, you can find the reading the lecture course on capital in podcast form, which I've been enjoying because you can multitask and walk through the beautiful spring days you've been having and.
Or clean your apartment while getting some good book learning, so thank you so much, Professor Harvey. I hope to have you back and for you to help us weed through some of these difficult issues as they continue to present themselves.
Thank you for your time. Thank you. Thank you. I am beginning to feel like I am perhaps admittedly looking in the wrong places for.
The kind of commitments. That I feel like are necessary and that what I am ultimately doing in a way that at a certain point stops being productive is. Looking for validation for what I already have kind of decided is the way forward, as opposed to engaging with people who are willing to be the revolutionary actors to effectuate that plan.
I have thoughts about what needs to be done. I feel like on some level, the responsible thing to do is to vet those ideas, to bounce them off. People who are much more learned, who have more historical perspective, who have more organizational and activist experience. But at a certain point, what I'm looking for isn't any further validation. What I'm looking for is who is going to be willing to do this with me? Who's willing to say the thing that gets you political exile or do the thing that gives you political exile or or go into the streets despite covid or ask people to ask to risk something of themselves.
And I understand that that's hard. And I understand that it's very difficult to ask others to take risks when you don't know how it's going to pay off. But those are the conversations I think I want to be having. Like, let's talk about the cost benefit of doing certain kind of direct action, especially in the moment of it. But that's, I think some of the first I am having frustration. I'm having feelings of stagnation and frustration, stagflation.
But you'll take the validation. Yes, I'll take validation. I mean, like not everybody validates me is not that everybody agrees with me. I mean, you heard Professor Harvey and I disagree about the utility of voting for someone like Joe Biden or I think that we could have teased out more disagreements about the risks of leaning into certain kind of reformist measures. And you know how one goes about figuring out which are the reforms that enables people to get a foothold in your movement and which are the reforms that are ultimately just ameliorating the pain enough, alleviating the pain enough that you never get that revolution.
And those are hard questions.
That was actually something I would have been interested in hearing more about from him.
Is this tension between reformism and revolution and the idea that this current socialist movement that we're in faces the threat of cooptation, both from the, you know, Josh Whorley, right. Populists and from the Elizabeth Warren type reformers. You know, the conscious capitalists. Yeah.
And to the point of the discussion this week from people who are self-described democratic socialists and some people who are members of that organization as well, that is the question. I don't know the answer because there are people, you know, us weighing in with our AFSC episode on Monday has caused a bunch of people to think that we are reformists and apologists for Athy and a bunch of other people to think that we were much too hard on her and that we're dividing the left.
And depending on your angle, it's obviously a very subjective question. Yeah, I mean, I agree.
A lot of people are the winners and the players and the haters and losers.
And they think we have you know, we have the wrong political take about the monumental issue of how independent from the Democratic Party this one legislator is. And I can't I can't do anything about it. I mean, I could I could go to those people and tell them, you know, just knock it off, Buster. If you have anything to say, it's got to be validation or else we're not going to care otherwise.
I mean, I am interested in this idea that you want to have the gas on and engage in a kind of dialogue to engage in any kind of a kind of dialectics with them, out of which will come a new new synthesis that or you're trying to surreptitiously recruit the gas into your revolutionary country.
And it's like that's not why I have gas on it all. That's not how I'm treating the gas.
I guess my feeling is that, you know, some people will say, Brianna, and I know you're talking about you haven't read enough books. All true. But I feel like if I happen on an idea and I am privileged enough to have access to all these folks, then let's talk it through. I'm happy to be disavowed of something. I'm happy to be told that I'm wrong. Some people say stuff like, Brianna, if you if you feel so strongly that, you know, the airlines need to go on strike, airline workers need to go on strike.
Why didn't you say that to Sara Nelson? Well, I was working through it. And at the time we talked to Sara Nelson. I hadn't quite gotten so confident in that belief because I hadn't spoken to a lot of enough people, including Sara Nelson, that I felt confident enough kind of putting that question to her more directly. I mean, we floated it, but it wasn't we didn't really press her on it.
And I'm evolving. I'm evolving my political beliefs. And I think that what we don't have enough of on the left is people who are willing to acknowledge that they don't have the answer and engage in dialectics about how to how to best move forward. What everyone on the left could do a little more of is treating all arguments that they are in good faith until people. Go off the rails, and to this day, I have no interest in maligning anybody or fighting anybody an enemy, but stop trying to make enemies when you could just have a dialogue.
I hope someday that we are able to have a dialogue about all of the ways in which we are frustrated by AOC, with AOC, the way that we were able to have a dialogue with Roxana that was constructive and not about me owning him, because that proves something about how real a socialist I am or some absurdity. My character and my beliefs and my values are not created relationally.
They exist in a vacuum outside of whether or not I'm better or worse than your other favorite public figure. It's absurd. Guys, we're adults.
Some of us are. For the record, we didn't own him.
So you're going back to something you said earlier about Reid not having read enough books so that she's just making stuff up.
I mean, you know, who else was just making stuff up?
Marks, you know, he read a little bit of Hagel, got the gist of it, and then just this went off and just started writing.
Saying if anyone ever criticized him or disagreed with him, you know, he just said, well, go read, he'll leave me alone.
And that's how I that's how I respond to most criticism as well. So I thought that's why I why I liked having Professor Harvey on.
I would love to have him on again to us out. What does he do? Geography. Yeah, talk about maps.
Maybe they'll be a good panel with Ken Jennings otherwise because he wrote a book on maps.
So I don't know, maybe most people aren't going to get that. He wrote a book about maps. Maybe I, along with Rand McNally, got some more. That would be the more accessible reference, I think.
Well, we'll play that clip from the West Wing. You know, the one I'm talking about, the map expert comes in and tries to lobby the Bartlet administration on why they should use a different kind of map projection that fosters more equality, like a more equitable perception of the world.
Why are we changing maps? Because, C.J., the Mercator projection has fostered European imperialist attitudes for centuries and created an ethnic bias against a third world.
Really, the German cartographer Mercader originally designed this map in nine as a navigational tool for European settlers. The map enlarges areas at the poles to create straight lines of constant bearing or geographic direction, so it makes it easier to cross an ocean. But yes, it distorts the relative size of nations and continents. Are you saying the map is wrong? Oh, dear, yes, this is actually good.
It was good, politically good. But of course, the thing about the West Wing is that they take everything that good that happens and frame it so that the audience is supposed to buy into the wrong side of the argument.
I know that. The thing is, I know that's a real thing. The thing about the map project.
Yeah, it's really use like the you put America in the middle, you divide it up, put all America. Looks like it's the same size as Africa. Exactly. All the polls are skewed, you know, like I know that's a real thing.
I'm just thinking of like what kind of fucking loser ass TV show has a subplot about maps.
Do you really want to know? Yeah, you just told me the episode is about how there's a day in the White House where they entertain all the crackpots so they can say that they did. Everyone who has a weird claim to make to the government, they have one day we'll they'll agree to talk to the mall just to get them off their backs. There's someone who comes in to talk about UFOs, this kind of thing. And one of them is the map people.
And so, C.J., the press secretary and one of the others goes in to talk with the people, thinking they're going to be just dismissive of them because who cares about maps and the map guy and woman, I think make a make this point, which is actually legitimate. And then the Bartlet administration goes on to, of course, ignore them.
OK, I mean, the idea of a crackpot day is very interesting to me.
It sounds like a very kind of like like Isaac Asimov type idea of, you know, just maybe not as well with, you know, the kind of like post-war sci fi satires that were like you. Well, what if a computer ran the Senate and stuff like, what if, you know, what if we had one day where all the crackpots have been listened to and they take over the airwaves?
What's interesting about the episode is that I think without exception, all of the crackpots have legitimate claims, like the UFO guy. He doesn't necessarily think it's aliens. You know, there's stuff going on in the air and he's just trying to get the government to take it seriously because it could be a security threat. And there's someone who is from Wisconsin who has a qualm about cheese. But I think it's a substantive concern about, I don't know, hormones or some public health issue.
Like the irony is the show sets up crackpot day, illustrates how often things that are described as crackpot are really legitimate. But it's really just like the powers that be that don't want to address interest groups that are too marginal and don't lobby enough, basically.
And the show, like tiptoes up to acknowledging that and that our system is broken and that, like, small people need to have a hearing, too, and then just completely backs away from it, doesn't even see the point that is tacitly being made in the episode. And it's just like, oh, yes, we are the big important people in the White House near crackpots in the world moves on as usual. And there's going to be an episode justifying the murder of a foreign leader leader extrajudicially and on and on and on.
So I didn't mean to make this into the West Wing thing, which, yeah, I don't know if that's alienating for the audience or getting messages saying, you know, more of this or doing more of it.
And that's how you that's how shows become decadent when the audience starts commenting and you start listening to the commentary and you're like, oh, you want more of this.
That's why you and I, we are charting our own path.
You're right about that. I realized last night I was in a dark place and I started like Instagram ing all of the things that I wanted to tweet but knew I shouldn't tweet to my, you know, like private Instagram. And then I realized that it was sad and I just needed to go to bed. I need I wish I knew what to do with Instagram.
I haven't the faintest idea. You should use it to express yourself creatively. I want to do that. I just don't know what I would put on there because I'm not I'm not a good photographer.
And I'd like I don't have the patience for it. I don't see interesting things on a regular basis. And I don't want to just be an account that's like, hey, here's a dog I saw. And here's here's a song.
A lot of people post their tweet.
See, I don't wanna do that. That's redundant. Like, I'm not going to be that person. It's a way to reach a new audience.
I guess the kids are not on it. And Twitter, you're going to hit more young people.
Yeah, that's a good point. But I mean, it's also, you know, I find that aesthetically displeasing.
Yes, I agree.
But I think there are things that are distinct about Instagram and there's know unique Instagram aesthetics that I would like to play with. It will just take too much work. And I will also need something to express their opinion anyway.
I don't know. That's that is a that's a future project. You know, that's one of the ions I got in the fire. I you know what, if that's the feedback we'll take, if you have ideas of what you want to see for my Instagram account, that would make it go viral, trying to hit one hundred K on there so I could start getting brand deals. I just you know, you don't put in the comments section of this episode, which I think I have not figured this out yet.
If you are not a subscriber, can you comment on the free episodes that get posted? The Patreon? That's a good question.
I don't think so. I feel like if that were the case, we would have a lot more comments on those and there would be a lot more vicious.
Yeah, I think that's right. Especially given that we're now enemy enemy number one.
We're definitely still behind enemy number two of the. Which again, leads that I have no qualms about the belief that I'm not getting in a freaking posting war against Trott's because then I won't have time to do anything else like post Instagram. Virgile, are there Trott's on Instagram? There's Trott's in your podcasts. That should be OK.
Well, you are a poster, your true poster.
So it makes sense. It makes sense. Why don't we close out here, you know, speaking of Adriaan, so if you want to comment on this episode on Patreon in a place that maybe we'll see it, you've got to subscribe to the show for five dollars a month. You know you know how subscribing to things on the Internet works at this point. Pretty sure people have been asking you to do that sort of thing for years now. So we're asking you to subscribe to Bad Faith on Patriota Patriarchal Bad Faith podcast.
You can also go to Bad Faith podcast dotcom.
That just goes to the patriarch. I know I've been meaning to put other stuff there and I just haven't had the time.
Yeah, you said that people know how it works, but as someone who frankly has never subscribed to something before we started this, Patrón, I think that folks don't necessarily know that you get an extra episode every week.
You get a Monday episode that's paywall and then the Thursday episode free. And we even had a bonus episode drop this week on which Virgile and I debated whether or not I am attrite and other interesting things. And moreover, that you can use the RSS feed so that, you know, you can put the RSS feed from the paywall episodes so that you can listen to them in your feed, on your phone, through the app where you normally listen to podcast, which is the thing that I personally don't know how to do.
But I know that you can do so if you want that seamless integration of getting to episodes of bad faith that week instead of one, go ahead and subscribe at page on Dotcom Slash Bad Faith podcast.
Also, you know, it's a good opportunity to do a little housecleaning here. The bad faith discourse that we have been teasing for a while now that's coming out, that is coming out, that is only for subscribers to the Patriot.
So if you want to go on the bad faith discord and you know, it's like it's just like a chat room for gamers. I don't know if I'm selling this Flello it's like a chat room, OK, that you pay for.
I'm going to use it to put all the things that I know I shouldn't tweet. And also I'm not going to put on my Instagram because that said, I'm just going to go to the lowest level and stick it in the Dischord brand of grey. Two thirty in the morning. What have you. Didn't get my joke.
This will be this will be a fun this will be a fun experiment. Sociality. See how deeply invested the three of us get in this show.
Discord, discord dedicated to us.
I was the one being sarcastic. Let me explain it to you in detail.
Get get get Briese director commentary on the episode of Hard Disk or who knows what you're going to get there.
I don't know. It's going to be like a cargo cult.
You're going to make your own culture there. It's like we are we have we have ceded the population with one of those cubes, one of those rectangles from 2001, A Space Odyssey Odyssey and that and then a civilization built around that. So subscribe Adriaan is you know, that is the bottom line there.
Finally, we made I made the error of t oh I did. I made the of it cost it cost eighty dollars to make it.
Oh my God.
That's so many patrons just wanting what Marx would think about that statement that we like, we, we, we value things in terms of patrons.
Now I didn't mean to ask Professor Harvey about an is we're going to have to find yet another Marxist scholar to come on and chat about it. So maybe I'll do it. All right.
I'll be when we make the damn NAFTA and that's available for sale for the price of one etherial.
How much is that in American dollars?
I mean, it varies. Last I checked, it was like thirteen hundred, maybe six.
Oh, my goodness. I was just trying to figure out how we recoup our eighty bucks or not.
Yeah, well I mean the bidding starts at about 1:00 a.m. I wanted to give the profits to a charity and I couldn't figure out we going to figure out what the charity would be.
Well, make your suggestion when you bid. We're not saying we're going to listen to it, but you can make your case. We're targeting an environmental charity. We're trying to offset the environmental implications of making it.
And we were trying to do what the situation is called, determining. We were making an ironic artistic statement. The problem is we couldn't figure out an environmental group that wasn't run by like Tom Steyer.
Yeah, it was an already backed by a billion dollars.
We'll have Naomi Klein on Sam Larcker, but thank you all, as always, for staying with us on this journey.
Bit on our NFTE. Join the discussion during the discord and keep the faith.
Keep the with now the only morphos. Day rain and snow on everyone. So many. Things I would have done. Clouds got in. I've looked at. Still, somehow it's cloud illusion. I recall Harry. You don't know. And Umar Farouk. Dancing with. Thierry.