Episode 20 – Alienation
With suicide, depression, mental health, and the opioid epidemic, its clear that something is wrong with our society. But what is it? While most often you will hear that this shows the need for more, or better, drugs or for more access to therapy and other kinds of cognitive behavioral help. However, what is not often discussed is the role of alienation, particularity the alienation experienced by the modern industrial working class, and its affect on our mental health. In this episode I go back to Marx’s amazing 1844 Manuscripts to reveal his genius in discussing this serious issue that still greatly affects our lives and society 150 years later.
Episode 19 – Intersections
With me this week is my friend and comrade, Sarko. Sarko and I are both in the DC Branch of Socialist Alternative. We have had many wide-ranging discussions, but I’ve had the feeling, and I think she would agree, that we haven’t really seen totally eye to eye on some pretty important issues – namely race. As a white guy from Minnesota and a black woman of recent immigrants living in the DC area we have had significant different experiences in our lives. However, we have both ended up in the same organization, the same political and geographical communities, and share the same goals. So what I would like to do in this conversation is to attempt to understand each other and have a useful and productive conversation on the very important topics of race, class, public health, and of course, Socialism.
Episode 18 – Dialectical Materialism
In this episode I briefly go over the idea of dialectical materialism. So often a buzzword is Marxist circles, the idea off dialectics and materialism to understand history is a fundamental idea to understand if one is to ever understand what Marx was really saying and how he thought. At the same time, the notions contained in Dialectical Materialism have not faded from public life, but instead are part of the narrative on how to understand and orient the coming future.
Ending Song – Catch 22 – Epilogue
Episode 17 – Capitalism vs. Socialism
In this episode I have the big debate with some great fellows I found at the CapitalismVSocailism sub-reddit. This long conversation covers several of the large controversies in the way the two sides view economic and philosophic arguments. Specifically, this conversation gets a bit bogged down in the question of value and of profit. The aim of this was to have a discussion and too speak sensibly about these issue to get at what the real disagreements are, and to that end, I think we succeeded. You can decide for yourself if that’s true – its up for debate!
Episode 16 – The Question of Elections & More – with Ginger Jentzen
In this episode I speak with Ginger Jentzen an activist and organizer with Socialist Alternative. Ginger was a candidate for Minneapolis city council in 2017, the executive director of 15 Now, along with previous working including Occupy homes in the Minneapolis area. The strategy of electoral politics has long been debated within the Socialist community. Here we talk about a number of different issues, including the whole questions of elections and the view from the so-called flyover states.
Ending Song: Stop Drop – Stitches
Episode 15 – Socialism or Social Democracy (or Democratic Socialism) – with Nima Ghafari
In this episode I talk with my Law school colleague, Nima Ghafari. Nima is working on a software project currently, but was able to take some time to discuss with me some of his issues with socialism. Now Nima is no standard capitalist, but rather considers himself a Democratic Socialist (like Bernie or Ocasio-Cortez) but has some serious issues with the more nitty-gritty details of socialism and communism.
Episode 14 – Review of “Sorry to Bother You.”
*Spoilter Alert* I do ruin the ending if you haven’t seen this movie. You have been warned.
This week, before we get to some good interviews, I wanted to briefly talk about what I thought about Boots Riley’s Sorry to Both You.
Episode 13 – Myths, Misunderstandings, and Strawmen (Ft. Ben Shapiro)
In this episode we discuss Ben Shapiro’s “arguments” against socialism. What we find is that he is a disingenuous interlocutor when it comes to socialism – and much else. However, Shapiro’s arguments are quite common and mainstream, so in this episode we try to dispel some myths, misunderstandings and straw men, as displayed by Ben Shapiro himself.
Episode 12 – Why I am a Socialist (A Response to David Pakman)
In this episode I reply to David Pakman’s video – Why I am not a Socialist. I give my responses to his critiques and shed some light on where I come from as a (hopefully sensible) socialist.
Ending Song – Andover – Revonda
Episode 11 – Russiagate (w/ Michael Melinchok)
Russiagate – the tangeld web of lies, deceit, hacking, and – of course – Russia. In this episode I speak with Socialist Alternative DC member Michael Melinchok about taking some perspective in a time of hysterics. We cover Russiagate, the Helsinki press conference, American Foreign Policy, and much more.
Ending Song: Stop Drop – Cheap Box Wine
Episode 10 – Worker Self-Directed Enterprises and Socialism (With Dr. Richard Wolff)
In this episode I speak with Dr. Richard Wolff, of Democracy @ Work, about worker cooperatives and socailism. Dr. Wolff was named by New York Times Magazine as the Worlds Foremost Marxist economist. I am a proud member of D@W-DC, a working group for Democracy at Work in the nation’s capital. We discuss what a worker self-directed enterprise is and how it relates to socialist ideas.
Ending song – Propagandhi – Resisting Tyrannical Government
Episode 9 – Marxist-Leninism
This week I speak with Daniel who hails from the Marxist-Leninist tradition of the radical left. In this episode we discuss what Marxist-Leninism is, how Marxist-Leninists view the Soviet Union and China, among many other topics. Check it out!
Episode 8 – Towards a Coalition of the Radical Left
Download: .mp3 | .wav
Donate – Donate to IWOC
In this short episode I talk about the news articles below and a subject we’ve touched on in a few episodes- the need for a new united workers party. I talk about why I think a congress of the radical left for the purpose of founding a new radical left party in the United States. Introduced in this episode is the League for the Emancipation of the Working Class (more soon!)
An Interview With Cynthia Nixon – Jacobin
The Importance of Being Uncivil – Socialist Worker
One Year after $15 an Hour Passes in Minneapolis – Lessons for Saint Paul – Socialist Alternative
Trump executive order lets bosses bully federal workers – People’s World
DSA Grows To 21,000 – Toward A New Socialist Party! – Socialist Alternative
Other Useful Links
Episode 7 – Socialist Organizing and Identity Politics
Download: .mp3 | .wav
This week I speak with Eljeer Hawkins about Socialist organizing and identity politics. Eljeer is a community, labor and antiwar activist, and has been a member of Socialist Alternative/Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) for 23 years and writes regularly on race, the criminal legal system, Black Lives Matter and the historic Black freedom movement and has also lectured at a number of different places around the world including, but not limited to Harvard University, Hunter College, Oberlin College and University of Toronto.
Ending Song: Andover – Silhouettes and Sirens
Episode 6 – A Vision for a Communist Future
In this shorter episode we talk about a vision for a communist future. What do we mean when we say a communist society? Isn’t it just Utopian?
Is there an example we can look to?
I think so, the final frontier.
Ending Song – Hard Times- The Starlight
Episode 5 – American Communism (with Josh Morris)
In this weeks episode I talk to Josh Morris, a historian at Wayne State, about the history of American Communism. We cover a lot of topics and it goes for a while. Buckle up and check it out!
Episode 4 – 20th Century Socialism
Socialism doesn’t work, just look at Russia, or China or Cuba. Communism killed millions of people! Communism inevitably leads to dictatorship and violence. How should socialist think about these criticisms. In a nutshell, this is my version of the “not real communism” argument.
Closing Song – Two Tone Runts – You’re Not Alone
Episode 3 – The Communist Manifesto
The Communist Manifesto is usually the first stop for many who want to know about what socialism and communism is all about. It is important, though, to put it in historical context and explain a little bit about what was going on when it is written.
Closing Music: Operation Death Squad – Iconoclast
Episode 3a – Text of the Communist Manifesto
Episode 2: Definitions
In this episode we discuss some important definitions of words that are often misused and will be used (hopefully correctly) in future episodes. I tried to be succinct and clear, If you disagree with these definitions, let me know.
Frederick Engles – Socialism, Scientific And Utopian
Episode 1: Introductions
Welcome to the Sensible Socialist podcast! This is our first episode of the podcast so it seemed appropriate to begin by way of introduction to give you a sense of who I am, what the podcast is about, why do the podcast and what do I hope to achieve with it. So in this 30 minute episode I quickly talk about why am I doing this podcast, how did it come about, who I am, how I got here, and why should you care what I think.
Ending Song – Operation Death Squad – Punk of the State
If you’d like to hear a version of the lecture mentioned in the podcast you can see it here