Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

It Could Happen Here Weekly 17

It Could Happen Here Weekly 17

Sat, 15 Jan 2022 05:00

All of this week's episodes of It Could Happen Here put together in one large file.


Join us on 2/17 for a live digital experience of Behind the Bastards (plus Q&A) featuring Robert Evans, Propaganda, & Sophie Lichterman. If you can't make it, the show will be available for replay until 2/24!

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Robert Evans here and I wanted to let you know this is a compilation episode so every episode of the week that. Just happened is here in one convenient and with somewhat less ads package for you to listen to in a long stretch if you want. If you've been listening to the episodes every day this week, there's going to be nothing new here for you, but you can make your own decisions. Welcome to it could happen here, a podcast about things falling apart. And today it's it's there's, there's, there's a little bit of getting put back together, but today is mostly them falling apart. I'm your host, Christopher Wong. With me. I have Lucy, who is a teacher in Chicago Public Schools and is part of the teachers union. And today we're going to be talking about just the absolute **** show that is being inflicted on teachers and students in public schools. And Lucy, how are you? Be doing. You know, it's it's been kind of weird, but All in all, I'm in good spirits. I think my sisters and brothers in CU are in good spirits, so we're going to keep fighting the good fight. So before before we fully start to get into the teachers union. And Lori Lightfoot's ******* I I want to sort of get a bit of context for people who don't live in Chicago or just don't know much about only politics because. Lori, you know, if if if you read sort of like media accounts of this, like you, you, you you may be sort of misled into into thinking that there's like even some semblance of good faith going on here from Lloyd Lightfoot. And like, I just, I just want to like do a great like a Lori Lightfoot greatest hits real for a second. So Lightfoot like immediately after she got elected, like the like the first thing she does is she she she's like, OK, there's too much crime on the subway. We're going to put SWAT teams on them and so, you know, just be on the red line. There's a SWAT team. And you know, because again, this is what happens when you put a SWAT team on the ******* subway. They immediately shot a dude in the back for nothing. You just literally no reason that he shot him in the back. That that was like that was like like the the first like few weeks of of Lightfoot and then during the uprising she like she she turned the rich part of Chicago into like a medieval castle. Like she like raised all the drawbridges into the middle of the city so that no one could get into the central part of the city. It was like it was awful. And then, you know as as as we sort of like there's more and more sort of bad Lightfoot stuff. I most recently so Chicago got a bunch of aid money from the federal government and she spent $281 million of it. Paying the police. Not the schools, yeah. Nope. And CPD like these again, I think I've talked about this before but like when when the CIA was like our initial torturing program failed. Where do we go to like find people who know how to torture they brought in Chicago police detective like and you know and this is the CD like there's there's two have CD, right. There's, there's like the torture CPD and then related to them but not necessarily identical is the part of the CPU that just a cartel. Like there, there there was a thing in in at the beginning of the 20 tens were like it turned out that like the almost like the the huge parts of the CBD were literally just a cartel. They were running drugs. They were just like doing shakedowns for and and like one person total, like got arrested by the FBI for it and everyone else is just still there. It's great. It's a it's a time. So this is this is who Lori Lightfoot is. She sucks like everyone hates her like her. The people who should be her political allies hate her. Like Chicago. Chicago got like a. These reform bill, and the reason it was like a very mild one. But the reason it happened was just that like like the like the Alderman passed it out of just pure spite because of how much they don't like Lightfoot. So this is, this is the, this is been my, my, Christopher shouts at Lori Lightfoot. Sure did this, but yeah, Needless to say, life would not acting in good faith. Just absolutely awful. Man villain. Yeah, Batman villain. Incredible. No, actually, that's not fair, because a lot of Batman villains are kind of right. Yeah. Yeah, she, she she she she she's like the nightmare fusion of like Batman and a Batman villain. Like, what do you think? The worst aspects of both. And then made them them Bayer. It's it's yeah, I think kind of. So I I moved here almost a year ago from a smaller city and. I did not like the mayor in my city and he he really was a big fan of like the Lori Lightfoot playbook, but I guess people weren't as politically involved there. And my first week working in Chicago Public Schools, somebody mentioned. The mayor mentioned Lori, and everybody kind of groaned. And I was like, oh, you don't like her. You don't like your mayor. And I mean, I knew they didn't, but I was just kind of testing the waters. And this lady looks at me and goes, we hate her, I swear. Like if you mention her name. The city people practically spit on the ground. It's like, it's amazing because like, you mentioned a demon. Yeah, it's like, like Chicago. Chicago, notoriously. We all hate our politicians. But like Lightfoot, like, like there were you would find Rahm Emanuel supporters, right? Like. Like, I don't know, a single lawyer. Like, outside of the schools, within the schools, everyone I know, like, even the even the cops don't like her. Like she keeps, she keeps funneling hundreds of billions of dollars into them and they still don't like her. It's like, it's incredible. What are you unite the teachers union and the police union on something that's the only thing that they've ever agreed on is **** Lori Lightfoot. Really incredible. Uh, so let let life. What's the latest scheme? Yeah. Do you want to explain? I guess go go back a little bit in in into the history of sort of. How, how Chicago and Chicago Public Schools have kind of been responding to COVID and then how they just did this stuff. And yeah, well, I guess like, yeah, give us some background, like what's going on right now. I'm going to preface with two things. One, I am fairly new here, so I don't know all of the details. And two, I really want to emphasize that I'm just here talking for myself. I don't represent CU in any way. This is just. I wanted to talk about my feelings on things. So what I do know is they were doing remote learning and when I arrived here in March we were fully remote and then in the 4th marking. So like around like after spring break. We moved to a hybrid model, so we had parents and kids could like choose if they wanted to stay online or if they wanted to be in person. I think like 60% or more depending on what school chose the online option. Like a lot of parents just were not comfortable putting their kids in. I know that there's been like a ton of talk about. Umm. You know, like. The most economically disadvantaged families need the schools open, but it's kind of been the reverse. It's been the people who have more means, are more interested in opening, and people who. Are less well off are a little more resistant to it? I mean, that's not the same across the board. I don't want to generalize too much, but that's been what I've seen. I think if I had to guess it, there's a lot of history behind that. Like I mean first of all just can your family afford an illness like this and people living in multi general generational households and I think something that CPS and our government in general really fail to acknowledge is just how. How much mistrust there is between government institutions, public schools and people of color. And for good reason. You know, they have been repeatedly just screwed over by these institutions. And I can absolutely understand why they might not trust a school district that says, hey, we'll keep your kids safe because they weren't doing it before the pandemic. So we had, I had like 7 kids in one of my classes and like 10 and another and then the rest of them were online and I'm like sitting at a computer teaching to the kids online and to the kids in their room. All the kids in the room are on their computers too, so that we can like still be like 1 cohesive class. It was hard and it was like kind of like mentally fatiguing, like just going back and forth like that, but. You know, we made it work. I was kind of, I was really proud of us. Like, we made it work, we made it happen. We stayed in contact with the families and the kids constantly. And like as things moved on and as numbers started going down, more people started warning their kids back. And then after spring break, they. Well, so like after spring break, they let people come back and then as we move towards summer, more and more kids were coming back, which it was the school I was in was. Handling it very well. Our principal was really committed, so like keeping us safe. So there was testing like once a week somebody would come by and be like, yo go get your COVID test. I don't know if kids were being tested, but I know teachers were. Then summer happens. I ended up in a different school in the Austin neighborhood, which is a lot less advantage than the one that I had been working in. And we opened back up fully in person. No remote option like at all. Like if the only people who could get remote were. Kids that were deemed medically fragile. But they had to one, submit, like, tons of paperwork to prove that, and two, their siblings could not stay remote. So at that point, it's like, why? What's the point? And if you were a teacher who had a medically fragile child in the schools? Your kid could be removed, but you couldn't. So then you know how is that going to work? And I found in the school where I was, you know, this is the issue with Chicago and with, you know, most of the country is some schools have more resources than others. And the school, I didn't know where to get tested. Nobody like told me. I think there was some kind of testing program. Not sure. Definitely nothing for students. I've since moved to a high school that has more resources but still I have not been able to figure out where the hectic at testing, which has been. One of the biggest things that ACTU is asking for is we want opt out testing instead of opt in testing. So you would automatically be registered to test and if you didn't want to test then you would have to opt out, which would end up with far more people getting tested and make it a lot easier because I mean a big part of why people aren't signing up is it's really hard like. I don't know where to find it. They everyone's like, it's in your e-mail somewhere. I've searched my e-mail. I don't know, like we get like 800 emails a day. Like, yeah. And it's yeah, like, you know, I think anyone, anyone who remembers what being in a school is like those they have. I mean just the absolute worst bureaucratic stuff. Like, it's it's it's it's like, honestly like it like my, my experiences with like academia and like even back in like high school, like their tech stuff was like worse than corporate sex stuff, which is like. Astounding. It's it is ridiculous. Do you want to jump into here, into lightfoots? Like, OK, Lightfoot has like invented a new kind of COVID denialism, which is like, like she she she's now turned into like a COVID test denialist. Like, she's weird, it's incredible. Like she she she actually went on this rant about how, like, COVID testing is a quote quasi medical procedure and how you're going to get lost. Like, it's it's bizarre. Like, so this this journalist asked her about the testing. Because and I I don't know which journalist that was, but I want to thank them so much because they I've seen a lot of the reporters are actually out there trying to keep CTA's demands in the conversation as opposed to this. Like whole oh, lazy teachers don't want to work. Like, **** *** we we do want to be working. But so I I almost thought that she had like mixed up what this person said and thought that they were talking about vaccines, but Even so, like stop it. Stop. It's not doing that. But who is having a reaction to a COVID test? It is literally a Q-tip. Like, Q-tip, like you just stick. They don't even stick it that far up your nose anymore. They just do the little in your nostril. Or like a mouth swab. Like, just like as someone who had like, I like, I genuinely did have a kind of bad reaction because the guy jabbed it up really far and, like, I was like sneezing a lot afterwards. But it's like, what? Oh no, you sneezed. A little bit like what? What? What does it even mean? Like how not like, I feel like people are acting like this test is like this weird new technology. It is. It isn't like right before the pandemic, like a couple months before I had the flu and I had exactly the same kind of test. They stuck in a thing up my nose. It was hella uncomfortable. It took like 2 seconds. They stuck it on a little plastic thing on my Bob and said, oh, looks like you have the flu. Yeah, it's, I don't know where this is coming from. I I think it's just she is not a very charismatic person and she's not someone who does well under pressure. And right now she's backed into a corner and she's acting out and it's been kind of wild like, I've seen she's she's also throwing other people around her under the bus. Yeah. Like she said something about Pedro Martinez. Like she says, the teachers aren't in charge of this. Pedro Martinez is in charge. She's the CEO, and I'm like, OK, so you're being. This is setting him up to take the blame on this. I saw everything that you tweeted about like it was she was like, no, no, it's actually the mayors. And sorry, it's actually the, it's the principles who are responsible for this. The principles were like, no, yeah, we don't, we don't. CPS is kind of interesting. This can be really good or really bad depending on what school you're in, but the principles really have a lot of autonomy over. Their school. I've now been in two schools where that's worked out great. My principal rocks. If she ever hears this. I hope she knows that I said that. I think she's great. Also, the principal I worked at the beginning of the school year was awful. So but. When it comes to like district wide protocols like that's district wide. And so CPS apparently had a meeting with principals where I heard some rumors about this too, but I also saw that letter that they had posted. The principals are one really frustrated because CPS isn't communicating stuff with them very effectively and so parents will be calling like do we have school tomorrow and they don't know. But ACTU knows and is telling their members so the teachers. I don't know. The like more answers than the principals do, which is obviously really embarrassing if you're supposed to be in charge. And then there. They were told in this meeting with CPS schools going to be closed on Friday. OK, schools closed on Friday. Great. Sounds good. And then Lightfoot gets on the Dang news and tells everybody that it will be done on a school by school basis at principals discretion, depending on if they have staff. So now all of these principals who had already told their students and families that we're closing look like they're the ones who closed it as opposed like, and that's it is rare for me to feel bad for a school principal because that's that's my boss. You know, I don't know if my boss, but I feel bad for them right now. Oh my God. Like you're just trying to like, make sure that people have the information they need in a timely manner. And this lady is up here. Making you look like a monster. It's so unfair. Yeah. Should we talk about what's been happening in the run up to the past sort of winter break and then the stuff that's happening now because it's very grim and bad? Yeah. So a lot of schools have been having COVID cases. There's. I'm not really sure what's going on with CPS's data. It kind of seems like they're not reporting it very faithfully or accurately. Like if you look at their tracker, they'll be cases and then suddenly they'll be gone. We never really get a hard number, ever. Like we'll be like if you have a student in your class who has been quarantined and we all know it what it is, but they don't say they'll be like, you know, Johnny will be out for the next. X amount of time due to health reasons. Please let him join via Google meet. And they never do. That's the other annoying thing, is like the students, I think, because they are either close contact or they're sick. You know, to them it's like a. A break, almost. Like they're not going to log in randomly like it's it's just with, I think with kids, like once it stops being consistent and it's like back and forth all the time, it becomes very difficult for them to stay motivated because they're out of their routine. Like I I sometimes hate it when people say this, but it is kind of true. Kids kind of thrive on routine. So at this point now I have like 1/3 of my class at any given moment. Will just not be there and it will be a different third of the class every you know it kind of like rolls through. So all of my students are at like different points in the curriculum. It's hard to like, know what to teach each day because I don't know who needs what. It's hard to reach out to the kids that are at home and make sure that they get what they need because I'm so busy trying to catch these kids up and move these kids on and all that stuff which I have seen some research, I'll see if I can find it after we're done. That, like pointed out that like remote learning isn't the worst thing that can happen. The worst thing that can happen is just flipping back and forth all the time and having huge numbers of kids. Absent from in person learning. So we go on break. And obviously we have omicron, like sweeping through the country and we all knew that there were going to be spikes like we knew that and Chicago had what was Illinois had some like astronomically high number of new COVID cases like breaking records all over the place. CPS has had huge increases. Yesterday we had 43,984 cases in Illinois how like, it's that's a lot, yeah. Yeah, yeah. But yeah. So over break like the last like the the Union had been trying has been trying forever to get CPS to come in and agree to. A few things. So one, in February we had a an agreement that schools would flip to remote if they reached a certain threshold. That agreement has expired and CPS has refused to come to the bargaining table and negotiate a new one. They're just like, no, we don't need it. We also have been trying to get them to do the opt out testing and a like surveillance testing program in school. So we can kind of just have little bits of data to understand like where are these cases? CPS doesn't want to do this. They don't want a threshold for flipping remote because then they would have to flip to remote. And they don't want the surveillance testing because then they would have to flip to remote and they just don't want to flip to remote. So finally over break, you know, it kind of came to a head like they were still refusing to negotiate. Like one of the Union delegates in my building said something about they've been meeting. They go to these meetings like, you know, like twice a week. They try to get these meetings to happen and the mayor never comes and the CEO never comes. Like they they will either send lawyers or they don't show up. And it's like dude sounded so tired and demoralized when he said that I felt bad for him. But yeah, so we voted that. We were going to go in on Monday and Tuesday, meet with our safety committees, get a feel for what's going on in school, and then we are going to have a vote on Tuesday night as to whether or not we will do a remote work action on Wednesday. And I know a lot of people have been like trying to make it sound like this was very sudden, but it absolutely wasn't like we had a vote about whether or not we were interested in doing this and then we had a vote on. Whether you're still interested on having a vote, and then we had the vote. And the delegates voted on if they wanted to hold an official like, should we do an action vote? We did. It was like 70% voted yes. There were some complaints that some people didn't get their ballots, but they did wait till they had enough yes votes to reach that two third majority that we needed. So, you know, CU has every step of the way really been making sure this is actually what we want. This isn't just like unilateral. Things like Laurie keeps throwing that word unilateral around. It wasn't unilateral, it was. Like at least two, there's the teachers in this district said. I don't feel safe at school. There's not enough staff in the building right now to even teach half my kids. 1/3 of my kids are out. This isn't working so. Yeah, so we voted that we're going to stay home and work remotely and then we got locked out. Yeah, which which again like I, I wanna, I wanna sort of focus on this for a second because like. Even a lot of people who are sympathetic to to the teachers unions on Twitter, you see this a lot. They'll they'll be like the the ACT went on strike. It's like, no, they didn't like, it's not as teachers on teachers are not on strike. The teachers are attempting to work from home, and the school district will not let them. Yeah, it's every morning I get up at 6:30, I make my coffee and I sit down and I try to log in and I know I won't be able to, but I do it anyway. Thankfully, I had thought to download. As much of my materials as I could prior to this one of my personal device, I am still able to like create lesson plans and making some very cool social study slides I'm so sure that my students are going to love. Lots of cool assignments for them to do too. But yeah, like this is a lockout and Laurie keeps throwing this word like illegal work stoppage around. It's not a work stoppage. We are actively working. She has illegally. It is in our contract that she can't lock us out and she did so. So yeah. Everyone's doing each other and saying illegal, but I know which side is right. Yeah yeah. You know, I'm, I am not in a normal respecter of the law, but like this is this is both. This is one of the rare occasions where the thing that is happening is both illegal and also just wrong. The the reporting on this just has not. Gotten the actual fundamental thing which is happening here, which is a lockout and it's. Enormously frustrating a lot of ways because you know the answer is OK. So the like local media reporting has been a lot better. But any like any national coverage has just I've seen, it's just been like, yeah. And it's going to be it for part one of this interview called Come Back tomorrow for Part 2, where we will talk more about what's actually going on inside the schools and, you know, generally do the media's job for them because Lord knows they're not actually getting it right. You can find us on happened here pod on Twitter and Instagram as usual, or you cannot find us. In fact, I encourage you not to find us because good Lord, the Internet is bad. Goodbye. Welcome to it could happen. Here, a podcast about things going badly and falling apart, and today we are back with part two of our interview with Lucy about how the Chicago Public School system is falling apart under the relentless assault of cruelty and malice and incompetence by the Chicago Public Schools and by the Mayor, Lori Lightfoot. Enjoy. There's another thing I want to talk about a bit, which is when you've been back, when you've been sort of teaching in these really like, sort of like, what is it actually like to teach in these classrooms? And like, you know, how, how safe actually is it? So I mean, I've been in a lot of different environments. When I was teaching middle schoolers, I did not feel super COVID safe. They are. I don't know if people know this about middle school age kids. They love to touch each other, especially boys. They love to like wrestle. They always put each other in headlocks. I'm constantly having to just be like 6 feet 6 feet apart or three feet or whatever CDC has said we are now. They don't put their masks on. They put their masks in their mouths all the time, like in their mouths. There's they're constantly finding, like, weird little excuses to have their mask off. Like they'll just sit there with, like, like they're allowed to have water bottles because they can't use the water fountains. They'll just sit there with, like a straw in their mouth. For like extended amounts of time and I'm like, I need you to put your mask up, take quick sips and put your mask up and then like, I'm drinking like. I'm going to be thinking at the end of this day. Like, I know, take a quick sip, put your mask back up. It's really, really important for your safety. And then I have other kids who are absolutely straight up, like, terrified of this because, like, they've lost parents, they've lost grandparents. It's it's really scary. At the high school level, it's been a little better. High school kids are a little more rational, but I still have a few who are just like their masks are down around their chins all the time, or under their nose. And I'm. I'll like several times the last year and like, OK, time for everybody to do a mask check. Make sure your mask is covering your nose, your mouth, your chin. I'll remind them, like, I have a spouse at home who has an underlying condition and like, please don't have me bring home a deadly disease to him. That would really not be great. Most of them are pretty good, but still they're getting sick. Like, I think we had like 40 kids out of my building on Monday and like 28 staff members or something like that were out and we had one sub. Ohh, which is the other? That's the other issue is this isn't really a question of if we should go remote. It's a question of when will we be forced to go remote. And we can either do that now before everybody has gotten sick and wait for this to subside and get some better mitigation strategies in place. Or we can do it after everybody is sick and then we're going to be scrambling to figure it out and also be sick at the same time. I don't really see how that makes any sense. Also, part of this that I've just been like. I just like, I don't get it, like I could just like, fundamentally there's there's like a mental break where it's like, I I don't understand why. Like, Lightfoot and CPS are so insistent about not going remote. Like, I I get that. Like, yeah, it's it's hard on kids, but it's like, it's it's, you know it. It is the years 2020-2021 and 2022. Like, no matter what you do, it's it's hard on the kids and it's like. Yeah, just yeah. I also I wonder how much of it is the remote learning that's hard on them and how much of it is just the everything around them is crashing and falling and burning around their ears because the messaging that they've been getting is that they don't matter. They're not important, their safety isn't important, their families aren't important, and some of them like, want to be remote. A lot of them, a lot of their parents want them to be remote. They're like, you know, it's not as good, but at least I feel safe. Some of them even thrived in remote like actually did pretty well. And I really wish that it was just an option for those students who actually did well with it that they could. Just like if we even ended up with like a third of our students choosing it, it would mitigate this so much because that's a third of the people not there to spread it around. So can I ask like how how big, how big your class sizes are? Umm. Right now the building I'm in now I have like 25 to 30 in some my it was kind of similar. At the last building like they're in that range 2530 I have like always have like one or two that are like 20 or below that are usually special education like inclusion classes where I have Co teacher. But yeah, it's, you know, some of them are pretty crowded and it it really varies by school. Like there's definitely schools that have over 30 kids in a room. And don't have the staff because it's just that's the other thing is like they keep talking about, you know, I keep seeing people be like fire all the teachers and I'm like good luck. Like, yeah, yes, is chronically understaffed. What are you going to do? Like, yeah, I think again, like this job is really hard. Like it's being a teacher. It's hard, it's exhausting, and it's very, very rewarding. Like when it's good, it's great. When it's bad, it is miserable. So yeah, and like what it looks like and I mean. That's, you know, it depends. It really depends on what school you're in. I think everybody can agree that it is difficult right now. So we we have, like, air purifiers going and masks on. And I cannot understand what my kids are saying a lot of the time. Like, I do not know. And they speak so quietly. Like, I need you to shout it, say it like you mean whatever it is so that, you know, that's been challenging and frustrating and exhausting. But. The worst thing ever is finding out that one of my students is sick like it. I hate when they're I hate it when they hurt like whenever that one of them is hurting, I feel bad. And knowing that they're homesick is it's it's really upsetting and just it's, you know, it's distressing for teachers to know that their kids are struggling in a way like that. So that's, you know, we want them to be safe. You know, like like these kids, it's like and and this is, this is true of the staff too. When you when you're getting sick, it's like, yeah, like some of these people will be OK, but enormous numbers of people are like some of the people are going to die. So many people, a lot of people are going to get disabled. Yeah, I mean the the long term, long term effects are really bad and we, you know, one of if people remember. We, we did an episode with one of our friends who's a nurse and like, yeah, like he he had long COVID his long COVID was like, he he couldn't do more than, like, like, getting out of bed or like just walking across a room would just put him in bed all day because like, there there's, you know, there's there's an enormous range of sort of like. Of of long COVID side effects and. Yeah, it's like it's. It's just the CPS is just charge public schools it's just in like they're they're getting people killed and it's and it's you know that's like the question like they keep talking about percentages and I'm like these are human beings. Every one of those numbers is a human. So when you say like only you know point whatever percent are going to be long term affected like. OK, those are people. Can we stop, like, dehumanizing them with these, like data points and? As for like the the issue with like. How like kids are less affected by or whatever. Like the the fact is like the more we allow this to spread around, the more variance we're going to see. And we don't know that the next variant isn't going to be the one that is really significantly harmful to children. And we are basically turning our schools into these Petri dishes where this thing can mutate and become stronger. And now we have vaccinated people who are in that mix and it's becoming resistant to the vaccine, so. I, you know, I'm I'm a social studies teacher, not a science teacher, but this seems like a bad move to me. Yeah, yeah, it's. I don't know, like it. It's just sort of heartbreaking in a lot of ways. I mean, it's just. Like they've just decided that. You know, and again like I don't know why lightfoots doing this. Like maybe it's just like if she wants to show up her base thing because she's trying to build a base among like the just like rich weird indoor spiders or something. But like it's she's a small business person that's always been the people are the small business owners who don't want to close schools because then you know, their workers won't come in and. I, you know, I want to feel sorry for them, but I don't, I don't know, like, I'm like, **** you. Because yeah, there's also a lot of small business owners who have been very supportive of us. We had there was like a a Taco place offering free burritos to us. Like, I really appreciate this. Like there's enough in the community who understand that, like, the lives of our children are so much more important than you missing 2 weeks of profit. Like, you will figure that out and if you want to bail out businesses. We can figure that out, but right now and also like is is saying like. We have. We aren't. We refuse to do anything that might be inconvenient for business owners. Like, what is that? And it's like, it's like, yeah, so, you know, and also, yeah, but like, business owners did get bailed out. Like, they got, they got, they got 0% loans. Most of those loans got written off. And meanwhile, yeah, it's like, well, OK, what I'd like to do with the COVID, buddy, she she gave it to the cops. And, oh, hey, guess guess who's also just a reference butter of COVID. Oh yeah, it's the cops. Yeah, yeah, resisted vaccines the most, the cops, I mean, actually there there is one funny thing which I'm actually very excited about, which is that the cops are doing, they're having their first, so they have a new class graduating from the police Academy, which is really bad, and there's a whole. One of the like Lightfoot things was that there was a huge campaign against building more police academies because, you know, everyone hates Trump Police Department. They're awful. And if you have $100 billion for a new police Academy, why? Or 100 million or whatever it was? Why can't you put some better ventilation in the schools? Because like the CPD are like basically feudal Lords. They have Knights, they go out, they can shoot you like they rob you. They just like any any any large number of like black kids on the streets like if you just have like 15 kids walking around like 8 quad cars will show up and you know, there was an Lightfoot was like no no her like one of her campaign thing. Big things like no, we're going to make sure we build these academies and they're but they're so they're they're having their first like round. They've been having trouble recruiting because of COVID, which is good. Yeah. And and they're they're about to have their first police Academy exam and it's going to be in person and I am this is the only one of the few. Is this in Jair Bolsonaro, where it's like, I am rooting for the virus here. Like, please God, save us from these cops. But yeah, I mean it's it's. Woman spread it around. Yeah, yeah. That's the sad thing. It's it's just, it's grotesque and. Yeah, yeah. It's been this thing where I'm like, watching like the school system is just throwing their hands up and saying we don't care, we're done. The health system, the healthcare system is like crashing and burning all around us. Nurses are quitting. Hospitals are like, we don't have room for more patients. Like, did you have a cancer treatment schedule? Sorry, did you have a surgery scheduled? Sorry, I just saw somebody on Twitter saying she has a brain tumor. And she's supposed to have a surgery for it, and she can't now because of COVID because they have no beds. There aren't any. And you're telling me that the right move right now is to keep the schools open, which has always been in every every pandemic that we've ever had, schools and hospitals and prisons are like the place where the whatever disease that spreads. And I know we've been claiming that like there's not been spread in schools, but we've now seen the data that there in fact is a huge amount. Which I've been like screaming about this since we started that their contact racing models are. They're absurd. They are like Kafka esque like basically. So we start from the assumption that everybody is 6 feet apart and wearing their mask at all times. Which they're not. It's not, it's not even, it's not even physically possible in a lot of classrooms for that to be happening. And then two, we start with the assumption that those things work. And so you'll get a call from a contact tracer that's like, hey on, you know, like. Last Tuesday of Tuesday of last week where you within 6 feet of any of your 8th graders for more than 15 minutes a **** if I know. Tuesday of last week, was I near an eighth grader for 15 minutes? I don't know. I have no idea even if like even if I did know, what difference does it make? It is an aerosolized virus. It is in the air. And the more you sit in classrooms, the more it accumulates. Like we have seen like studies about this. We've seen studies. About how CO2 accumulates in the air when there's crowds, we know that stuff accumulates like that in classrooms very, very quickly. And you're going to tell me that as long as I wasn't within 15 or within six feet for more than 15 continuous minutes, not even like. Not even 15 minutes like added up throughout the day. Just 15 minutes continuously. I'm not going to get a virus. Are you ******** me? Like that makes no sense. And so then if and if and if your answer to those questions are no. Because whatever, you were following the rules, then they're like, OK, you got COVID somewhere else. It wasn't at school. Yeah. No, it doesn't. Yeah, it's nonsense. It's like I go to work and I go home. I don't do anything else. So I don't know where else coming from. Like, yeah, like. And I also just wanted to do a brief digression about like, OK. So like, like, like, I I went to like a like a pretty good, like, like a pretty well, like a very well funded, like Chicago area sort of school and like. OK, those places, those places. Ventilation sucks. Like again. Like, again. I I went to a very well funded school. Like we had a we had drowned dead rats falling out of the ceiling. Like, wow, it was it was incredible. Wait, wait, wait, wait. Great high school memories with my principal. Just like running full tilt pushing a trash can because dead track caught on the sea like, God, that's horrible. The school was wild. We had how bad it was a we had like a kind of a chemistry teacher let a kid set off a smoke bomb like that. They made like in a classroom, but it didn't work. So it just like actually blew up. Like it was a time. But like yeah, like this project based learning OK to light the school on fire like like this is like, yeah like these schools are not like. They're not, they're whole mints. Yeah, they're building. I worked in at the beginning of the year, was 100 years old. It was built in 1920 and there was always this, like sewage smell around the bathroom because the pipes were messed up. It was weird, like they couldn't fix it. I think it was the IT was the second or third time my building glued on fire like we there was a there was a whole thing of the building that was made of asbestos. And they just had left it there because it was like it wasn't exposed. Yeah. Schools still have asbestos in them over like, again, like I, I, I, I went to like a good, well funded one of these schools. Right. Like it's I think there's there's like there's, there's these, there's two things I think it like is actually like there's when you like talk to like the people who want the schools to open back up, right. They're also talking like, Oh no, it's fine. Everyone wears masks. Everyone's vaccinated. Everyone supports like, no, no, they're not like this. This is how it works in this like, imaginary play. World you've, like, created your have you ever met a child? Yeah. Like, have you met your own children? Like, ohh. And that's the best is like, well, I've been having my kids where I'm asking like you have. You're full of **** OK? Because I pulled that kid to put their mask on like 15 times yesterday and I love them. Beautiful face. I hope they get to show it off someday. But right now, you can cover it up. Please, I'm begging you. And I'm like, I'm not like that teacher who's really authoritarian. Like I've never been good at, like. Writing kids up and getting on them for stuff because it's just like. I don't know. I hate doing that. I hate being that person. So it's been like, really, it's like a struggle. It's like, am I going to be the person who nags them every five seconds or am I going to be the teacher that they like and want to learn from? Like, you know, this isn't sustainable. So but you're asking, like the attitudes of people who want to open schools back up and I. It's it's hard because I I have talked to parents who are worried, but they are also very upset because they see that their kids are struggling and. I really do feel for them on that, like I really, really do. It is hard to see a kid struggle, but it is harder, I think, to see a kid sick. That is really hard. And it's just this like, there are ways that we can overcome the difficulties of remote learning like we we can find ways to give them the emotional support, we can find better socializing outlets. But I don't know how we fix like you. Become very ill and your body isn't going to recover in the way that you thought it would like. I don't. I can't fix that. So something I've heard from other teachers that like that preparing remote learning stuff like is harder and takes more work than. Yeah, it does. It's it's really rough. I don't like doing it. I want to be in classroom, but yeah. And I just, I just wanna like once again yell at all the people who are like the teachers are lazy and it's like no people like they're like, yeah like you know, like you're you are advocating to do more work because that's that's the thing that will keep the kids safe and it's. Yeah, I think a lot of people don't understand like the behind the scenes, how the sausage gets made of a classroom. But I think a lot of people have this idea that, like, we are given curriculum and plans and materials pre-made and sometimes that's true. It depends on your subject. Mine is social studies is not a subject where that happens very much, which is part of why I like it, because I I like to be creative. So, like my week looks like. There are a lot of hours after school where I am sitting down. I'm looking at the standards that I need to teach, the topics that I need to teach, and I'm researching it and learning it and finding a way to teach that to kids who don't have the same, like baseline knowledge that I have. And then I'm creating like an activity for them. I'm creating you're. I'm finding like material, like sources and like. Videos and stuff that they can watch that are going to help them or things to read. I'm modifying those things for the kids who have, you know, learning differences. I'm translating some of those things into Spanish for kids who don't really read very well in English yet. So, like, that's a ton of work on its own. And then when we switched to remote, we have to figure out how to do all of that on Google Classroom, where now it has to all be typed like or, you know, like, how do I figure? Like, how do I do a group project? Online. How do I let them do something creative that isn't just sitting here answering questions on a worksheet? That's hard and we've been really good at it and I've found all kinds of really cool tools to to do that with. But it's so much work, and it's work that I'm willing to do because I care about my job, I enjoy my work, I love my students. But. You know, and I want them to be safe, but like, you know, it is a ton of work. I'm not just sitting here eating bonbons all day or drinking cocktails. And I think there's there's like a larger sort of like. Like, Americans have this, like, this sexist sort of like hatred of like or in disrespect to people who do both care work and in a lot and creative work, absolutely both. And then simultaneously there's this sort of like. You know, the the There's, there's, there's a resentment to people who get to actually do something that helps people. And you know, I think like right now we're seeing just the most toxic fusion of that, which is that like. Yeah, no like these like you know instead of like you know, recognizing the enormous amount of work that that's going into all like that's going into into teaching like the amount of sort of. Like the care and love that's going into the creativity is going into it and just like. The people, people, people's willing that like you're willing list to make like enormous sacrifices to try to keep these kids safe. They're just like, no, like the teachers are lazy, they don't want to work, they're going on strike like. And it's yeah, you know, and and and it's like they're doing this and it's like, yeah, like you, you were like they're killing their own kids and it's just like it's. It's this weird fusion of like we we I have the space. This is like combination of like. Feminized care labor, emotional labor, and that sort of like. Like intelligentsia, like professional, white collar, intellectual kind of thing. And then also we're teaching a more introductory level of our subjects. So we're seen as like discount intellectuals who are also women who do care work. So it's it's very frustrating and I don't think a lot of people understand the amount of skill and expertise it takes to be a teacher and be effective at it. Like it's not just. I need to know social studies to the level that a 12th grader would know it. It's I need to know social studies beyond that level and know how to communicate it to a high school student. And also I need to know a lot of stuff about like child development. It's it's really it's something. And I, you know, I find that to be fun and challenging, but I wish it was respected. And, you know, and then you're talking like people are sacrificing their own kids. I want to point out a lot, like, I think there is a, a racial component to this. The people who are in wealthier schools and who are mostly white know that their kids are going to be fine. Like they are in schools that actually do have the resources to distance, that have air filters, that have good ventilation. They're vaccinated. Their kids are probably going to be fine. The kids that aren't going to be fine. For low income students of color, and it has always been this way. It's always been this way with schools like when schools were desegregated, we started with private school vouchers and we started with all of these, like state testing requirements and withholding funding from schools that don't meet those, you know, test standards and all of these like. This extra oversight on teachers like that stuff all comes back to white people don't want to have to worry about black people's kids. That's it. And you know they will move their kids out to the north side or to the suburbs or whatever. Notice that all of those suburbs schools have flipped. Noticed that Lori Lightfoot's kids are in a charter school that is not remote? Well, and more like Lightfoot. Lightfoot Lightfoot won't eat like Lightfoot will not put herself in a room with the with the same number of people. Like a teacher has to go to every day, she won't do it. She was telling people at the press conferences they had to wear their masks even though she wasn't wearing hers, which was very strange to me. Like, that's the thing. Like when you get to the politician level, they know it's dangerous. Like they know it. They, they they and you can tell if you they do right now. Yeah, like they won't do it. But like, no, no, they're they're perfectly willing to just send to send you off the dye to send all these kids off to die and it's just. Yeah, sometimes I feel I get kind of doomer and I wonder if like. If that's not the plan, like, is it that? I mean, I don't really believe that. I think what it really is is this just like malicious neglect, like. If you're somebody who's a policymaker. And someone comes to you and it's like, I need you to care about this population here that doesn't have a lot of money and needs a lot of things. And you, the policymaker, are going to be like, oh, that sounds like so much work. And then somebody else is going to come to you and be like, I need these things over here. And I do have a lot of money, and I do have a lot of influence. And I'm gonna make your life difficult. If you don't do what I want, they're going to do with that other side wants. And what that other side wants right now is for kids to get back into school so that they can have free daycare, so parents can go to work. And that's. And that's it. And teachers are standing here being like, I didn't get a masters degree and do, you know, countless hours of professional development to be a babysitter, you know? And no, not to knock. Resetters, I was a nanny for a long time. That is hard work, but. I didn't get a masters degree to be a babysitter. I got a masters degree to be a teacher, and I'm in an environment right now where I can't really teach effectively and all I'm doing is babysitting. They want to warehouse kids. That is what we're doing with the schools. That's why they want them open. And it's, you know, it's it's hard not to feel like they just are doing it because they hate us. Even though I know it's not it's just it does feel that way. I I wasn't like I will say that like so you're so if if you become elected as the Mayor of Chicago like your job is to break the teachers union like that's that's like that's that's that's that's like the role you're auditioning for and they have been they have been trying to do this for literally my entire lifetime. They've been trying to do this like since before I was born like that's and honestly like wouldn't surprise me if this was another part of this was just them once again trying to break the teachers union. Absolutely. Like and if and not even just like, yeah you know, unlike like not just on the sort of political like on the incredible cynical level of we'll just kill them. And well, it's it's a laborer thing. Like it's not just a a Chicago teachers union or even a teachers union thing. It is a labor movement across the board thing that the largest, I think the largest unionized workforce in the country is teachers. And we on top of that are a union of workers who have the power to absolutely bring our economy. Grinding hole. If we want to, we could all go on strike right now, and nobody's gonna do **** until we go back to work. They could if they, you know, they could try to like, replace us with like, people who were basically like hall monitors and give kids like canned curriculums. But they wouldn't really be learning very well, and parents wouldn't be happy with it, and they wouldn't be entering the workforce with the skills they need to make money for the economy to, you know, make money for the Almighty Dow. So. The IT has been a project for decades in this country to try to break teachers unions because teacher unions occupy this space where they allow other unions to happen. We have, you know, enough influence on politicians that they can't just disband the Labor board and make unions illegal, which they would absolutely ******* love to do. And if they could just get rid of these damn teachers unions and they could do it. So, you know, and that's what you see with the education reform movement where you have. All these people advocating for vouchers and charter schools and it's, you know. I they want to break labor. And I I see a lot of. I mean, now I'm going to, I'm going to scold some of my comrades. But I see a lot of leftists who are really skeptical of teachers and don't want to support the teachers union. And I I get it. Like there are a lot of teachers who really suck, and there's a lot of teachers who are not radical. Like most teachers are not radical. A lot of them are pretty conservative. But at the same time, if you. Were to abolish schools immediately, right now, and break up the teachers unions and all that you're going to end up with. Rich people go to school. Poor people don't. If you're poor, your kid goes to work, probably won't be in a coal mine. But you know, they'll probably be like soldering my computer chips or coding or something for like pennies an hour. And I don't want that world. And if you actually care about labor, then you need to support teachers unions, because. The public schools are central to all of these communities that we want to be reaching, and the unions are the only thing making sure that they stay public. So yeah, it's like, like, again, like 2222 Hyannis comrades were anti school. It's like, yeah, like. OK, I hate school. I'm for it. D schooling is great, but we need to do other things first. You have to like again, like you. You need to like, like support the workers, not the institution. Like, this is it's like, it's like saying I'm a vegan, so I'm going to go after McDonald's and place. Like, like, so, like, I I my high school was like, oh, like, all this was, like, incredibly conservative, but everyone was still in the Union. That was like, the one. That was the one thing that was like, well, OK, there, there, there, there. There were two countervailing forces. One was that the Christians didn't seem to understand what liberation theology was. So occasionally they accidentally hire leftist because they were like, oh, you're Christian, you're fine. You're from America. Yeah. We're not gonna question you further. The second thing was that even everyone, everyone was in the Union. And that was like, that was that was literally the only. Those are the only two left. Thing like, even, like, vaguely things. I've gotten into so many teaching spaces by talking about how I like critical pedagogy and they don't understand that fairy was a communist or being like, oh, I'm really, really, really into Chicago history. I specially love the history of, like, labor in Chicago because it's it's huge. People here care about it and they don't get that. Like, I'm an anarchist. But you know and and a lot of the like sort of like education reform language. I think it's very funny. It is 100% just lifted from radical like sociologists and anthropologists and educators who are trying to find ways to. Dismantle like authoritarian structures and schools and so they'll come up with these like, you know, like restorative practices and all this stuff. And then they kind of get they they make their way up to the ivory tower and then get repackaged in this. It's it's like, I don't know, it's like a machine or something that, like, sucks up radical ideas, brings them up to the Academy, repackages them to make them nice for politicians, and then spits them back out into the world. And it is exhausting. And I hate it. It makes me so mad. I'll never forgive people for what they did to the term restorative justice. Yeah. Yeah. Do you have anything else that you like? Want to make sure that people like understand about what's happening in the schools right now? I guess just the biggest thing is I want people to understand that like. If this is a question of. When and under what conditions are we going to be forced into a remote learning situation? This isn't like we want remote learning because we like it because it's fun, it's because. It's going to happen if you like it or not. The schools are going to close if you like it or not because the unless you're OK with just like, people are going to get sick and die and or going to work sick, which I think most of us agree, that's insane. It is. There are you. We're going to be in a situation where we don't have enough staff to keep buildings open. So either we can try and mitigate that now and keep that from happening, or we can just throw our hands up and say fine, let let the schools collapse. I don't want the schools to collapse, so if we could just government for two weeks and get some good testing in and have a vaccine requirement. And personally I would like to advocate for remote as an option for parents who want it. I don't think that's on the table right now, but I think more parents out there should be demanding it and I also would like to say to parents. You have a lot of power that you don't understand. The school districts listen to the parents so much more than teachers. One parents voice is worth like 10 teacher voices. So if you see something going on in your schools that you're not comfortable with, if you have questions, contact your principals, contact the district, talk to people, talk to the other parents that you know, organize yourselves. If we had, you know, strong parent organizations on our side, we would be absolutely unstoppable and we could have the school system that we want and that our kids. Serve. Yeah. And I think I like the the right figured this out a long time ago that you could. Absolutely. And, yeah, look at what they're doing to the school board meetings with CRT. Yeah, we could have that for people who are actually good, people who care. Like, there's no, there's no reason that all of the other parents couldn't be going and saying, I want my kids to learn about race and I want them to be wearing masks and I want everybody to be vaccinated. So I think, I think that's a good note to end on. We, you know, we can make this better. We just have to. You know work together, right? Yeah. Do you have anything that you want to plug? Like do you have a way to support the teachers or? I think I'll send you a flyer that we have. It has some information for contacting Alderman, getting COVID tests, and a petition to sign. If you could post that, I would really appreciate that. We can definitely do that. Awesome. Thank you. Thanks for coming on. Yeah, good talking to you. All right. Robert, do you want to open us up with something I don't know. You're opening the opening is is that is what you just did. OK, well, already opened. Welcome Ticket happened here at the podcast about how things things do be crumbling sometimes, including our ability to introduce the podcast. It's actually, it's actually a very meta art piece about the yeah, we started off very polished and slowly commentary on, I don't know, something. It's called figure it out, figure out what? It's a commentary on it. It's called metamodernism. It's the, it's post postmodern. Anyway, where are we talking about disinformation and various ******** today? So among the many disinformation vectors online. Joe Rogan's podcast is obviously one of like the largest single, single, single vectors. Yeah, I mean, I've said this before, but I'll say it again. I don't think there's a cable news station as influential as Joe Rogan. You know, and you could, you could make commentary on like, oh, maybe they have a larger viewership. But in terms of like their actual ability to influence large numbers of people, there's certainly no single cable news host that comes close to Joe and I would argue probably no network that does. He's extremely influential by virtue of the fact that he's a meathead of people seem to find friendly and engaging and he is very charismatic. He's good at what he does. He's good at talking, yeah. So multiple times during the past three weeks Rogan has brought on two separate quote UN quote doctors whom have started to peddle something called mass formation psychosis, which is kind of a new vector in the anti VAX kind of argument and like. Space O for like, As for like. the IT could happen here. Portion of the episode. This one's pretty simple. It could mess formation. Psychosis happened here. No way. Not this time. We created it. Not this time. No, not this time. It's totally made-up. Pure fiction. It's fiction. It's fiction. We made it up. We made this one up. It's a made-up tale. It's a total fabrication. Nope, not really. It's it's fiction that ever happened anywhere. I might also argue no. Nope. Fiction. Solve the podcast. This is not a thing. Total fabrication, made-up tail. So yeah, well, but wouldn't whenever these like, kook doctors bring up aspirations? Like he says, you can actually kind of watch them get close to understanding something real and but then they veer off into reactionary nonsense. Like most powerful nonsense. There is an element of truth that it is spinning off of, you know? So let's start off with some of the more kind of deranged examples. And well, then eventually providing at least some background onto the whole ************ cycle because this idea. And then we'll kind of discuss some of the more slightly interesting aspects of this argument that Rogan seems fond of pushing right now. So the first game to talk about is Doctor Peter Mccole, which is not the not the guy that was trending on Twitter last week or whatever this was. This is someone else that Rogan brought on a few weeks previously who actually started talking about this first. The background on McColl? By most accounts, he was like a a top cardiologist for many years. I know he he shares a similar story to other doctors who've become kind of COVID conspiracy celebrities, former friends and coworkers say he was a pretty reasonable guy and a good doctor, and then COVID he realized he could be worth millions of dollars. They started to kind of go off the rails and he he initially began developing conspiracy theories, in particular around hydroxychloroquine. And McCullough was also in the news earlier this year due to a or I guess in 2021, due to legal dispute with his former employer, Baylor University Health. So, according to a lawsuit, for nearly six months after Michelle's employment had ended, he continued to use his professional titles, such as the Vice Chief of Internal Medicine at Baylor University. And this represented himself as a Baylor employee dozens if not hundreds of times in media interviews in which he spread disinformation about the pandemic. So the type of misinformation. He talks about, you know, pretty basic stuff. Vaccines are neither safe nor effective. He was a very early hydroxychloroquine proponent. He claims that there's no asymptomatic COVID transmission at all, even if you're not vaccinated. And he claims that you cannot get COVID twice once you have it once. The post infection natural immunity is 100% protective against all future COVID disease. Which of course not all of those thing works that way. That way, yeah. No, everything I just said is not true. All all of it can individually be disproved by the existence of Jair Bolsonaro. Every single one of these claims you said you say that, Chris. I'm looking over at my digital picture frame that is just loaded with like a dozen photos of Jair Bolsonaro in the hospital dying. Yeah, so recommend everyone do that. It improves every morning. As soon as I walk up to my recording studio, I see Jair Bolsonaro getting **** sucked out of his nose from a tube, and I just feel ready to take on the day. It beats coffee. Wow, that's strong words. The other big thing, and this is how this is how we want to get into the mess psychosis ******** is that he he McCall also asserts that 50,000 Americans have died from the vaccine shots. This is not true. And looking at like deaths possibly associated with it, it is like a maybe 1000 or 2000, which sucks. But like that's that's the highest amount because again it's not even a lot of these things are not necessarily direct directly causal. So it's hard to figure out what is what. But if there is a number, it's around the two ISH 1000 range, not 50,000. And McConnell thinks that or at least promotes that. And the idea that like the vaccine is a conspiracy theory to suppress hydroxychloroquine and therapeutic treatment for COVID and this conspiracy is organized at every Level 3 different regions, corporations. Big Pharma, Hollywood and and this is this is the mass formation psychosis is that we've believed that both COVID is like a big problem and that the vaccine is the solution. So I'm going to, I'm going to play a clip. Hopefully you guys can hear this of of of Maccoll talking about mass formation psychosis. Dope. We've seen mass psychosis in history before the horrific group suicides that have happened with religious cults we knew in Nazi Germany. Where people in a sense offered their children up to eugenics programs in a progressive mass psychosis, and they themselves walked into gas chambers and we're gathered that they didn't kick fight go kicking and screaming. This type of that's a mass psychosis. So what Desmond says is there must be 4 conditions met for Massachusetts. The first is the population must be isolated, people must be isolated from population #2. We must have things taken away from us that we previously enjoyed. #3 there must be constant free floating anxiety, anxiety of more viruses, more disability, more death, more anxiety. And then the last one is the capper, #4 is there must be a single solution offered by an entity in authority, the vaccine. The only solution to the pandemic is the vaccine. We're in a mass ecosistem. And what Desmond says is, with the vaccine, there is no limit to the absurdity that we will see, no limit to the absurdity. So this idea of here, take a vaccine, take any vaccine. That's absurd. Vaccines are different. There must be a winner. There must be a loser. There must be somebody you know, why would it be any vaccine? It's the same with the mask. Wear mask. Doesn't matter what kind of mask. Just put it over your face. Absurdity? Mm-hmm. The absurdity of well, I've already had COVID. The CDC says you can't get COVID again. They've. Nope. OK, so listeners at home should know so that you understand what this video is, that the entire time he's talking, there is what appears to be the eviscerated corpse of a black woman lying underneath him like it's horrifying. It's very like, like meat. I I think it's like one of the dolls that medical students learn how to do autopsies on. It's not a real person, but it does look like the corpse of an eviscerated woman as he's just, like, chatting with the face. Really does look like, Jason, it took me. I thought it was like I couldn't figure what was going on for like, yeah, I mean, yeah, they're real person. The the cadaver dolls that they have for trading are quite good. I kind of want to get one for the next time I'm in Texas and want to use an HOV lane, but that's the story for another day. So yeah, that's that's pretty dumb. Especially the notion that people were hypnotized into peacefully walking into gas sweepers. I I just need to state like, that's the not not only is that like that, that is objectively untrue to the extent that I could provide anyone interested with thousands of pages of reading from people who survived concentration camps about how they worked and why people walked into them. And a lot of it just boils down to the fact that it was they were making a very rational. Choice, which was I have no options here. I cannot get out of this, but I can at least make sure that my children are not panicking in the last seconds before were killed. And a lot of the people the, the, the because a lot of the actual like grunt work of of of loading humans into the gas chambers was done by other inmates who were also not going through psychosis. They were given a chance to survive longer by helping to operate the camps and those people you can read some of them did survive and some of them wrote about their experiences. Which is some of the most harrowing **** like imaginable for a human being to possibly go through. It is all tremendously well documented and the most offensive thing I can imagine is saying that these people were somehow is is saying, number one, it's incredibly offensive to say that they were going through some sort of psychosis and that's why they walked into the chambers and not this was the best option available to them given what was going on and what like the situation they had been forced into. They did not have other options. It was that. Or get machine gunned to death. Yeah. And maybe you think you would choose a different option, but if you're critiquing them or trying to claim that, like, the only reason they would do that what they did was that they had lost their minds, I I will hit you in the face with a brick **** you like that. That that's my answer to that actually. If you are someone who is interested academically and why people did some of the things that they did at at the death camps and like why, how that actually functioned psychologically. It's like a A a short book. It's this way for the gas, ladies and gentlemen, and it is a quasi fictionalized book by a guy named Tadius Borofsky who was a survivor of the death camp. So it's based on his experiences at Auschwitz and Dachau and he he describes the way in which the world of the camps worked and the psychology of the camps worked. And he's not, he's not a ***** ** **** grifter *******. He's a guy who lived through all of this. So if you actually care about any of this, just read that. Everything this guy says is wrong, and if I had a chance to, I would hit him in the face with a brick. Please continue, Garrison. Yeah, it really sucks, because it's not just a combination of medical misinformation, but also just the most **** sociology. And it creates this a really. A really disgusting package of of of really bad sociology, medical misinformation. And like, yeah, he's doing this to, like, because he can make a profit off of it. So he's saying these things. So I know he mentioned a name. Desmond Desmond's the guy who kind of coined this term. Well, that we'll talk about more about him at the end. But for now, let's go on an ad break and we'll be back to talk about Doctor Robert Malone, the other other guy who's been pushing this nonsense. So here's what I probably will want to hit with a brick even more so honestly. Yeah. Good. And we're back talking now about mass formation psychosis and the dumb people who are well or smart people who are using idea. I think they're they're they're evil, not tough. So yeah, so after after McCall went on Rogan show, it got that that show got pretty popular. 11 big right wing kind of Trumpist media personality named Melissa Tate was permanently banned from Twitter after posting about the podcast and making the following post to her half a million followers. Global Bombshell Dr Peter McCall on the Joe Rogan Show says Moderna made the code vaccine long before COVID actually hit, and that the pandemic was a premeditated and concerted scheme by government and medical entities to then force vaccinations as the solution. So that's the type of narrative that they're trying to foster. Because the pandemic has been so good for Biden's approval ratings, it's really working out great for everybody. Us US Senator Ron Johnson also promoted the interview, saying Rogan asks excellent questions and McCall provides the answers. So yeah, so apparently the mass formation psychosis Dr Guy was enough of a hit that Rogan's team decided to very soon after bring on another lying conspiracy Dr Doctor Robert Malone. So during the last week of 2021, Rogan invited Malone onto his show malones of of of, of, virologist and and immunization Doctor Who claims credit for inventing the M RNA. Vaccine in a pair of papers from the late 80s. Spoilers, he did not. There was work on the vaccine before him, and work continued after him. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, in in 89, he published a paper. Kind of positing maybe M RNA can be binded with with other kind of proteins he did not really do any work on it to besides just saying I wonder if this could maybe happen. And then we decided to dig into this dude a bit. There were people asking similar questions and publishing papers at the same time. The question well and before and before. Yeah yeah. So Malone actually thought this was too hard and abandoned this project to very soon and then went to work. You're like the military develop other random like he thought the RNA vaccines were too hard. So he went on to develop more stuff around DNA vaccines and has been working with like the military and various like big pharma companies on vaccines for a while. More accurately, Dr Carrico and Drew Weissman are are are two doctors that are widely agreed and acknowledged to have put the most development work an actual like like actually doing the science to make M RNA vaccines a thing. And of course, the development of them was due to, you know, work of hundreds of researchers. So it's it's not, you know, one person does not invent something like this. It's a group of a lot of people, but it makes it for an easy title for your viral video. Yes, and in fact, actually. Logically, the that's a journalist website reached out to Malone and for an article, and Malone replied back, stating that he did not actually literally invent the the the vaccine, but instead developed a vaccine technology platform. He then he presented logically copies with nine patents, none of which are the patents for functioning M RNA vaccines, of course. But but he he claims to have patented M RNA technology. I mean, he did. It's technology that doesn't work and never has and never has worked. And the patents are expired anyway. I need to paint some ****. That just sounds like a real easy way to make a good grift. Yeah. So, you know, as we've seen with my. Oh, but because because Malone has crafted this, you know, narrative that I'm the inventor of this thing. You know, look, just like we've seen with my, like, COVID grifting doctors episode behind the ******** just a little shred of, like, medical authority can be morphed and transformed with propaganda into something much greater than what it is, you know, whether that be claiming to be the inventor of the M RNA or, you know, claiming to be the former head scientist at Pfizer, neither of those have to actually be true to work because. Propaganda makes it true via, like, repetition. So yeah, it's the kind of thing we're like, dunking on these guys. Like, it's important here to correct the record. It doesn't do anything. No. The fact that they're lying and nothing that they say is true does not matter when it comes to them having an influence in the community they have. If you get on Rogan, it doesn't like, like you've already done the thing that you need to do to be able to, to, to profit from this. It doesn't matter that you're lying. A few months ago, Malone went on to Steve Bannon show to talk about how the vaccines make copies. Worse. Worse actually, and, you know, this is this is the quote from Steve Bannon, you're hearing it from the individual who invented the M RNA vaccine and has dedicated his life to vaccines. He's the opposite of an anti vaxxer, right. So it's that type of narrative that it's made. So yeah, starting around June of 2021, Malone began to make the rounds, you know, Bannon Tucker, Glenn Beck and now Joe Rogan. So, you know, starting in June, he had like less than 5000 Twitter followers. And just before his suspension at the end of December for spreading misinformation, he had like, over half a million. So yeah. So right after his Twitter suspension for lying about COVID and causing, you know, misinformation to to to run rampid around a health issue, that's when Rogan invited her mom was right after he got suspended from Twitter. And there's been one particular clip from the interview that has really caught, like, the far right's attention, you know? That the tweet that gets it's connected to is captioned on Joe Rogan. Doctor Robert Malone suggests we are living through a mass formation psychosis. He explains how and why this could happen and its effects. He draws an analogy to the 1920s and 30s Germany. They had a highly educated population and they went barking mad. They did not. They made a series of logical the Nazis did not go mad. They were not crazy. They were not out of their mind. They were doing. They were. A large part of what they were doing was saying things that they knew. We're nonsense and lies in order to get elected because it riled people up. And then a large chunk of their policy was figuring out, well, if this is the **** that we've been saying, how do we, how do we translate that into policy? Again? Reams have been written on this by credible researchers. The people who ran the camps were not insane, although they were often deeply depressed and suicidal because it's not good to run a death camp. They were all making rational decisions, and the people who let it happen were letting it happen. Because it was dangerous and scary to interfere in any way. They they were all making rational decisions. There was no insanity responsible for the Holocaust, which is worse, like, and then much worse. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Like they're what they're doing is like they're they're they're trying to give people a way out, right. Like, you know, this is sort of like. Oh, it's like, well, then Ossies went insane. All the people who follow them and it's like, no, no, they don't. You don't get that way out. Like you, they they chose to do this. Yeah. The the scariest and most meaningful lesson to take from the Holocaust is that you yourself could be a part of a Holocaust even if you didn't support the killing. Because it's extremely easy to not get involved and stop something like that once it reaches a certain level. And it's easy for the kind of political organizations that can make things like that possible to reach a point where they can carry that sort of **** out because. Again, it's scary to ******* fight them. Uh, let's watch the clips like a minute long. And I think it's worth watching to see both in the context of when Rogan decides to interject and when he decides not to. Basically, European intellectual inquiry into what the heck happened on this guy already in the 20s and 30s. You know, very intelligent, highly educated population, and they went barking mad. And how did that happen? The answer is mass formation psychosis. When you have a society that has become decoupled from each other and has free floating anxiety and a sense that things don't make sense, we can't understand it and then their attention gets focused by a leader or a series of events on one small point, just like hypnosis. They literally become hypnotized and can be LED anywhere. And one of the aspects of that phenomena is the people that they identify as their leaders. The ones typically that come in and say you have this pain and I can solve it for you, I and I alone. OK, we can fix this problem for you. OK? Then they will lead. They will follow that person through. It doesn't matter whether they lie to him or whatever. The data are irrelevant. And furthermore, anybody who questions that narrative is to be immediately attacked. They are the other. This is central to mass formation psychosis, and this is what has happened. We had all those conditions. If you remember back before 2019, everybody was complaining, the world doesn't make sense, blah blah blah, and we're all isolated from each other. We're all on our little tools. We're not connected socially anymore, except through social media. And then this thing happened and everybody focused on it. That is how mass formation psychosis happens, and that is what's happened here. Horrible, completely wrong in every single way. The They, the Germans, were not confused because nothing made sense. They were angry because of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. There were also angry because of what they saw as and what like, because of a myth that had grown up about why. They had lost the First World War, which was spread by people who were the equivalent in that time of Joe Rogan. They were scared of the left of communism, of disorder, of riots in the streets, and one when Hitler took power. Most Germans did not like him. They did not blindly follow him. He gradually gained the vast, the support of the vast majority of Germany through a number of different, very logical things. One thing that he did that got him a lot of support was he took businesses and homes and money from Jewish people. And from members of other groups that the Nazis were targeting, and he gave it to Arians, there was a direct financial interest for a lot of people who got in line behind the Nazis. And he established a series of programs like the strength through Joy program, that really did benefit in a way that they had not known before the German working class. And a lot of this was again subsidized through the appropriations of things that had been owned by people that the Nazis were targeting. People fell in line behind Hitler for logical reasons. He did not reach the highest point of his support from the German populace. Until the taking of Paris, which obviously that was something that a lot of Germans supported. They had spent four years failing to take the city in World War One. Anyway, sorry, it's all nonsense. It's all lies. I I think the reason why this is latching on so much to people on the right, like people on the right who don't consider themselves fascists, who who think, who would say Nazis are bad, right. There's they still are latching on to this because it provides a way for them to not understand how fascism actually works, right? It provides an alternative explanation that makes them not have to actually think about what fascism is, and that's why they're latching on to it. And it also is already. It's already a part of the conspiracies they have around vaccines and power structures. So because because that's the conspiratorial basis, instead of like, thinking about power structures from like an anarchist or like like hierarchy lens, it it it it reinforces the worldviews they have and makes them not have to interrogate the ones that they don't want to. It sucks, uh, malones sub stack goes into more of this and it's it's it's pretty bad. There's a there's a few quotes that I think really kind of tied this together, and then he has some horrible statistics, he says. As many of you know, I've spent time researching and speaking about mass psychosis theory. Most of what I've learned has come from Doctor Desmond. Dr Desmond is like the guy who pointed this term. And Malone writes, Desmond realized that this form of mass hypnosis, the madness of crowds, can account for the strange. Phenomenon of about 20 to 30% of the population in the western world becoming entrenched with the noble lies and dominant narrative concerning the safety and effectiveness of the genetic vaccines and both propagated and enforced by politicians, science bureaucrats, pharmaceutical companies and legacy media. Of course, the obvious examples of mass formation is Germany in the 30s and 40s. How could the German people who are highly educated, very liberal in the classic sense Western thinking people? How could they go crazy and do what they did to the Jews? How could this happen? To a civilized people, a leader of a mass formation movement will use the platform to continue to pump the group of new information to focus on. In the case of COVID-19, I like to use the term fear ****. Leaders, through mainstream media and government channels and government channels, continuously feed the bees with more messaging that further hypnotize their adherence. Studies suggest that mass formation follows a general distribution. 30% of people are brainwashed and hypnotized, fully decorated in the group narrative, 40% in the middle. Are persuaded and may follow if no where the alternatives perceived and 30% will fight the narrative. Those who rebel and fight against the narrative become the enemy of the brainwashed and the primary target of aggression. So that's the way he thinks. That is how, which is really, it's really something like in terms of how he's building a narrative in his head and specifically building a narrative for other people's heads to, to view. Why do I feel distrustful of certain pieces of power, but to love other pieces of power. Yeah. And it's again like this idea that like, well, Germany was liberals like there. Germany had an enormous right wing movement. Like it was a hugely conservative country in a lot of ways. It would also had a lot of. Leftist organizing and a lot of leftists in it, especially after World War One. But like the freicoin **** there were these massive, million strong, right wing armed St movements that existed for the entirety of the Weimar Republic. Like it's again, everything he says is wrong. Yeah, and again, it's like the the notion that like 30% are fully brainwashed, 40% are in the middle and persuadable, and 30% fight the narrative. It's like these people who are upset these like these specifically conservatives who are obsessed about thinking like I would have fought the Nazis, and because they don't understand how fascism works in power dynamics, they don't understand how. How they're actually getting pulled into the same thing, but they still view themselves as the rebel, right? They they they're somebody wants to be the rebel and. Right. Yeah. They're so focused on being too. Yeah, absolutely. Like, they're so focused on being the rebel and like, we're rebelling against the vaccine that that is just, like rebelling against the Nazis. And you're like, what? Also, I just want to say about those numbers. If if if they're two completely made-up, yeah. Yeah. When people start throwing even number statistics at you like that, it's because they're lying. Yeah, because they're full of ****. Yeah, yeah, 304030, absolutely not. You're not. That's that's complete nonsense for one. Yeah, it's. So again, because now the other thing that happened around this interview, because it did get a lot of traction among the right is that whenever these things gained traction, they also developed conspiracy theories that people are trying to suppress it. Like look at the Google algorithm. When you type in certain keywords, like I know the the the day this was trending, it was like if you Google Doctor Malone, the interview is only like the 6th results. The first one is this YouTube video debunking it and like I did this and like, no, the 1st result was the obviously viral video of him saying the thing. Like, they just, they can take one screenshot that maybe someone made or maybe because of one person's computer algorithm that's what gave them, and use this as like, evidence that this is the entire system of the Internet suppressing the thing. Like, no, the Internet wants things to go viral. Now, there's certain things where they, like, try to shut down the spread of dangerous stuff, but this got very viral. This was not contained in any way, but because of this notion, like, they're trying to hide it, you know, it plays into their them thinking they're like they're them thinking that they are the rebels or something. And there's also a very practical reason why the people who particularly know that they're lying do this. And it's because all of their success is based on a foundation of the way in which YouTube and Facebook and Twitter algorithmically amplified them and their predecessors. And they know that creating controversy over the fact that they're being suppressed leads to more content that gins, that basically algorithmically spreads their stuff more because more people are talking about it because other people's channels. Start debating it because idiots on the left are like, well, we should at least have them on a platform because we're anti censorship too. So let's debate them and like all of this stupid **** feeds into spreading their stuff. It's a very intelligent strategy. I hate it, but just just in terms of how ridiculous it is, I know a few days ago a congressman Troy Nels said that I submitted the transcript from the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast episode with Doctor Malone to the congressional record. Big Tech wants to restrict your access, your access to information, but they cannot censor the congressional record. Non tech is the entire reason why you know about these people. Yeah, yeah, entirely. So we're not for big Tech Joe Rogan. Would be narrating videos of robots fighting. So like, Jack Zodiac got real into this because he loves anything that goes viral. If it weren't for big Tech, Jack Posobiec would have died in a ditch of an Oxycontin overdose. So he he got real into it. He changed his like he changed his Twitter name to Jack. Mass formations. Psychosis, psychosis or some ******** like that. Stupid. And it was, it was tweeting about it nonstop for a week. And like, like a kid learning about a new topic because of synchronicity, he's he's gonna, like, project it onto everything he sees now. He's like, listen, this new, all-encompassing topic that makes you avoid what fascism actually is and then point out at the things you don't like. So of course it's going to apply to everything. He he made a tweet right before January 6th as the anniversary of the capital attempted coup thing. Regime Media has launched a propaganda. Push against Ashley Babbits today to psychologically prep their flock for the upcoming mass formation event planned for January 6th this week. This this is called priming and it's a textbook mass formation theory tactic. Wait till you see what comes next. And like it, it is the 6th today has anything. You know what happened? Not a *** **** thing. They got ******* Lin-manuel Miranda to sing a song that's great. She got Lin-manuel from Miranda Sings side. Did you see that that wasn't. He might have said something in the beginning that was due, but the performance has been played before on other things and I I am you know what if we're taught trying to reach across the aisle. I am willing to to admit that the popularity of Lin-manuel Miranda might be a mass formation. Psychosis, absolutely, yes. If you look at the popularity of Hamilton is a mess for mission psychosis, absolutely. We're just being ********. But like like, seriously like it again. It but it doesn't. It doesn't. The **** is what when it when it comes to again like the fact that he said there's going to be this whatever psych mass formation psychosis event on the anniversary of January 6th and it's going to be huge. Watch for it. Nothing happens. Doesn't matter. Never matters. Will never matter because. A git, like it's it's I think one of the issues that we have here is the degree to which brain brainwashing and hypnosis and stuff are talked about within kind of discussions of a cultic milieu, when they're not really a factor, not a factor in cults, not a fact, not nearly as much as you think. Yeah. Not in the way that you think. There's things that like you could call brainwashing, but the and you could even maybe call hypnosis, although that's a lot murkier. And that is that is a very technical thing. Yeah. Yeah. But but what actually like the the stuff? That's actually happening again. It's always much more logical and rational if you can just inhabit the mental space of the people who are in those communities because of what they're primed to believe 1st and because of what is happening socially, because of the degree to which they isolate themselves from people who are outside of that bubble. Like that's why you it's so hard to get them out. It's not that like magically their brains have been taken over, it's that they have pretty methodically been put into a position where rejecting. What is being told to them within this context is immensely more painful than just continuing to believe things that are not true. And there are more consequences for it. You know, you lose a support network, you lose a great deal of of of your own opinion of yourself and yourself worth if you start to reject this stuff. And once you can trap people in that, it's the same way that, like Scientology works. Once you can trap people in that it the evidence of their eyes and the fact that. Like, they're obviously being lied to and the things that they're being told about don't come to pass. It's this. It's the reason why you have a bunch of apocalyptic cults who say the days the world's going to end on this day and time that day and time comes, the world doesn't end and the cult goes on, you know? Yeah, it's pretty it's pretty ridiculous. This, this whole thing was started by this Professor of clinical psychology at at a university in Belgium, Matthias Desmond. He seems to have a pretty bad understanding of history and actual like power structures, and does not know the least bit about fascism, and is trying to craft this thing to fill in the gaps in his own knowledge and applies it to everything. And I've read some of his stuff. It's it's nonsense again. Just like the doctors who talked about it, like, yeah, he's using this also as a way to explain how covid's not real and how the vaccine is a is a ploy to do X bad thing. It's it's all ridiculous. It's irresponsible. And they're using it as a tactic, and hopefully it's just going to blow over, but I'm sure it'll pop up every once in a while again, just like it popped up, you know, a few weeks ago. But that's that. That's really all I all I want to get into it. I, I I could say more, but I think we have said enough. I think we've said enough. Alright, well. **** it. Yeah, that's it. My life got read this way for the gas, ladies and gentlemen, by Thaddeus Barofsky. It will it will have a major impact on the way you see the entire world if you if you actually read it. There's some incredible pieces in there. One of one of the things that the Tadius points out is that, like, people only ever have like one kind of language for for talking about like, the things that they feel, but whether it's something they they kind of vaguely care about or something they care about enough to murder over. And so when people engage in acts of like, horrific violence on a mass scale, they often do it looking and acting like they would if they were irritated at somebody in traffic. It's the most unsettling thing about being the victim of a genocide that you don't see the kind of hate and the kind of rage and the kind of like what you would expect someone would need to be amped up to. It's more of like you see more like kind of boredom and and irritation and all that stuff, like it's not anyway. Read, read, read. That is browski. It's I desperately wish Joe Rogan would just sit and narrate this book on his show, because it would do actually a service to the world anyway. That's the episode. Could it happen here? It may be I, Robert Evans, host of this podcast, to introduce this today's episode, which is not my episode. It's it's Andrews. Episode. So hello. How are you doing, Andrew? How did you feel? Good. That introduction. I'm good. I think it's could use some work, but, you know, we'll chop it. Yeah, we we never workshop anything. We just we just roll right ahead. So abolish work and all that. Abolish introductions. Start in the middle. Why don't we just do that now in Media Res podcast. Yeah, we'll make every podcast like Finnigan's Wake, where the opening of the podcast is like halfway through a paragraph that the end of the paragraphs. At the end of the episode starts, everything will be a circle. Let's just Sophie. I think that's the new plan, OK? OK. Andrew, what do you got for us today? Right. So today I wanted to talk about bioregions and bioregionalism. Uh, it's uh, philosophy slash movement slash way of viewing things. It's it's a lot. So today will be exploring what it is, where it came from and. The role I see it playing in our strides towards anarchy, but first of course, which really gets some context. Bioregionalism and if you heard of it, by the way. I have heard the term in my options, yeah. Right, right. So it's actually a pretty recent, all things considered. It was coined as a tomb by a guy named Alan Van Newkirk, founder of the Institute for Bioregional Research, in 1975. And as a movement, it really gained a lot of popularity in the late 1970s in the Ozarks, Appalachia, Hudson River and San Francisco Bay area regions. They had a conference, you know. Prairie, interestingly enough, Nekkanti city in 1984 and they've also had conferences in the Squamish by region of British Columbia as well as the Gulf of Maine by region on the Atlantic. And of course, with all these different people coming together, sharing all their different ideas, talking about cool nature stuff, they developed this sort of a platform which they outline in peoples on subjects ranging from agriculture to forestry to art to economics to community. So while it was a very North American focused movement and philosophy at first, it has also expanded to Europe and Australia. And these groups, there are hundreds of them all over. They get involved with local ecological work like preservation and restoration culture a lot, and they also form networks so they would link on specific issues like water conservation or organic farming or tree planting. And of course by regional groups also get involved in attempts to make communities more self-sufficient by mapping and utilizing local assets and well as you come to see bioregionalism and maps kind of go hand in hand in a way because it really is about that sort of big picture looking at the Earth and the environment and our place in it. So what is bioregionalism exactly? In essence, it's a philosophy based around the organization of political, cultural, and economic systems around naturally defined areas called bioregions. So what a bioregions. There are areas defined through physical and environmental features, including watershed boundaries, soil and terrain characteristics, flora, fauna and climate. By regionalism also stresses the determination of a by region is a cultural phenomenon and emphasizes local populations, local knowledge, and local solutions because. Humans. Are actually surprisingly part of nature. Our cultures, our settlements, the arise from nature, they arise from the characteristics of the bioregions that we inhabit. So I mean that to me is a clear bridge routine by regionalism and land back. And it also points to me the fact that while the originalism may be a fairly recent philosophy, slash movement. Its roots and the ideas it presents are nothing new. You know, I mean by regionalism posits that, you know, human societies must learn to honor our bioregions and the connections between them if we are to be ecologically sound. And this was activists really old news, you know, for the indigenous peoples who have maintained these lands and been stewards of these lands for thousands of years. I think that thinking, you know, by regional scale, allows us to establish regenerative and circular economies, effectively restore local ecosystems, restructure our systems using ecological design principles, and of course, deepen our cultural connections to the land we inhabit. So. That to me. Really stresses the importance of bioregionalism in. Our approach to environmental issues. Before I continue, I just wanted to say that for those who want to like visualize because I know this is a podcast, you can only hear my voice. One Earth has a pretty decent map of bar regions on their website, so you could just Google by regions 2020 and it should come up. They basically have like. 185 by regions on their map and well according to that map. Trinidad is parts of bioregion, NT21E and T signing for Neotropic and E signing for East and Trinidad's. Grouped with South America and particularly the Venezuela Guyanas region for obvious reasons, being that the Orinoco and other rivers that come from the Amazon. Flew out to, you know, Trinidad's shorts? Really? So clunky segue. There are a couple of different concepts that. One might want to keep in mind when. Approaching or attempting to curate a buyer regional. Understanding of the world. Of course, perspective and by regional perspective is important, and it's basically one that seeks to ensure that political boundaries match ecological boundaries. Highlighting the unique ecology of the bioregion, encouraging the consumption of local foods were possible, encouraging the use of local materials where possible, and encouraging the cultivation of native plants in the region. I will point out like from now, that's from what I've read about bioregionalism and the talks that I've seen, they're definitely some, you know, liberal sensibilities, some capitalist realism in the way that some. By regionalists talk about, you know, things like. Organizing our politics and our States and stuff around bioregions. Obviously, you know, they are pushing things pretty far because they do talk about. You know. Going and really orienting our economy around. You know, bioregions and thinking in terms of that, but then at the same time there's still like an almost positive acceptance in some of the readings that I've seen of capitalism. You know, I think that's pretty common in a lot of. But I like to call almost radical ideas and philosophies and stuff. Of course, when I approached these ideas and these philosophies and stuff, I always try to, you know, keep that. Anarchist analytical framework in my head, understanding that you know. These ideas are still being filtered through. Announcement. They like compass society and compass world, and so you're gonna want to try to. Navigate that and sift that oats and really get the Nuggets of gold within these ideas. I don't see States and I think you would agree with me being the path out of, you know, utter climate catastrophe. For those who have been reading like you know, against the green and you know grievous, we would know that states have been pretty equal side of from the very inception. So. I think that if power, regionalism would be effective, I think it would be best if it stayed away from that sort of statist. Conception. They do emphasize localism. As the, you know, political localism, but it's always in the context of. Was often within the context of like. The relationship between the local and the state. And that sort of thing almost like a kind of. I don't know if I'm using this team correctly, but like minarchism. If that makes sense. Was there some kind of was it some kind of like municipal or something like that but. Yeah. Yeah. We should probably talk a little bit about like what what minarchism and municipal ISM are. Just so people don't get kind of caught up on the terms and and particularly I think that like within a context of like the United States Municipal ISM is kind of an easier way to sell folks who may be more conservative on certain anarchist principles. That's basically the idea of, yeah, strong community, sort of control and autonomy as opposed to. Strong, overarching kind of federal or state control over over, you know, different communities. Yeah. Yeah. Say mannerisms, kind of like a weird grab bag thing. That's like, yeah, it's sort of like, OK, so you want to be an anarcho capitalist, but you can't because you're just smart enough to realize that you can't have property rights out of state. So either the American state is the only thing it does is enforce property rights. And yeah, I think that's a slightly terrifying vision, but I think, but you know, it's it's. Yeah, it's a bit more self aware than the average anarcho capitalist, yeah. But you know, this is yeah. And I I think that's a little ballism is, is less of a focus specifically on property rights and more of more based out of an understanding that like strong hierarchical federal or even state level control generally winds up creating a lot of a significant amount of like regional. What's the word? I'm looking for inequalities and and is responsible for a lot of like ecological devastation and whatnot. This idea that you can have like like one of the things that you would have with an actual municipal system is you wouldn't be allowed to operate a company like Coke Industries that's able to, you know, be based out of, I think Kentucky, but operate a series of refineries in the Gulf Coast that render large sections of that area uninhabitable because you would leave kind of. Of control over what can be actually done in that area to the people who live there rather than being able to have a corporation buy land there and have its right to pollute enforced by the state. Right. That's kind of like 1 little example. There's municipal list. The system in northeast Syria and Rojava is, is sort of a municipal list system and one of the specifically libertarian municipalise. Yeah. I mean there's a distinction between like communism or generally and libertarianism. Yeah. We're we're getting into the weeds a little bit here, but these are, these are. Like that's kind of the basics of what those terms mean, just so that people don't get lost when you when you bring them up. Because I think a lot of folks you know don't have necessarily that kind of those definitions don't just pop up in their head when you use that word. Right, right. Yeah, fair enough. I also mentioned that states have been ecocidal from their inception, so I feel like I should probably try and find that as well. Equal side and equal sidal. ISM is basically this idea that came out to the environmentalist movement. Sensitive points to these severe harm to nature, the last damage and destruction of ecosystems that's, you know, caused over decades by, you know, these companies and really by the system as a whole. So it's often viewed through like a legal lens, as in, you know, these companies should be tried for their. Crimes. And as like for committing ecocide and that kind of thing. So it's it's it's often viewed like as like a legal like laws you put in place to classify equal side as a crime and that sort of thing. Only a few countries have done that like actually qualify ecocide but it is something that so environmentalists push to you know really raise awareness of as a crime against humanity and the planet. Yeah. I think it's also kind of important to understand with ecocide is that like there, there's a lot of focus, I think, in like left like environmental movements just purely on corporations. And even if you go back to the like 100 companies meme, just like 100 companies destroying the planet is like, well, yeah, like how like half of them are state owned. Yeah. And so you know, yeah, this is something like like with equal side, it's like, yeah, it's like it's not just corporations that do this. It's you know, it's it's this the state as a structure, it's the status institution. It's the state. Exactly. Yeah, it's their agencies. They're sort of. And that's that's when I try to like what I realize is is kind of important and I guess this is kind of like slowly like shifting away from bioregionalism, but that's fine. What I will say that I've tried to like consciously. Sort of put into practice is emphasizing that like capitalism is not the only issue, you know, like, I know people like try to separate capitalism and the state as if they could ever truly be separated. Even people who understand that, you know? Article capitalists are misguided and that, you know, the state is necessary to maintain capitalism. There's some sort of like disconnect where there's like. A whole ton of, you know, organization and meaning and all that about capitalism and, you know, oftentimes these sort of efforts are. Like particularly with reformist types and unions and stuff, they tried to mediate with capitalism through the state, you know, through the government. Look very local government or federal government, whatever the case may be, and. What I really tried to emphasize is that. It's not enough to have like a theory of capitalism. I think it's. Even more important to have a theory of hierarchy because I think it avoids. It helps to avoid getting into these sort of traps of like. Well, class reductionism for one, but also like. Recreating certain structures within your organizations and. In your efforts to change things, recruiting the very, you know circumstances you are fighting against you can't like. Condense everything into one problem, because try as we might, it's not that everything is one problem, it's an interconnected mesh that. Binds all of our problems together, and you can focus on, you know, really big extensions of that mesh, but it still is kind of justice. The mesh and the mesh isn't the thing, but it connects to the edges of all of the things. And yeah, that type of ecology can be useful in even even relating to bioregions in terms of. How they also connect with other territories and entities? I think it also. You know, it was one of the sort of problems that you have. If you know it's like, OK, so your plan is to take sort of solvent state power, it's like, well, you do it, right. But I mean The thing is if if you if you, you know, you seize control of power of a state, right, your borders are essentially just like where the state's war machine ran out of steam. And, you know, and this, this becomes an enormous problem because like, I mean if if if you look at the bioregional maps, right, it's like there's there's literally no way you could ever have states with these borders because yeah, it's it's not like this. It's impossible. Like you just you, you, you cannot do it. And you know what that means is that states are sort of necessarily going well there either going to be like a small fraction of a by region or they have multiple in them. And that's another sort of that becomes a sort of logistical problem because you know like if you want to look at like a lot of the worst sort of. Ecological, sort of like human disasters, it's when you get states attempting to apply. Like? Stacey logic to environmental issues. Yeah. Yeah. Is it more specifically like it's it's, you know, they they have something that like sort of works in one test environment and then they broadly apply it across, you know, an enormous sort of variety of areas and regions, have their own biospheres and have their own and that stuff that's like, that's like the fastest way to kill an enormous number of people. Yeah. I just like, it's like forcing a jigsaw piece that obviously doesn't fit into a spot where you want it to, but you're just breaking the pieces. I just want to say as well that like that sort of. I mean at least the states are testing it, right? I remember, I can't remember the exact name of like the. The sort of like ideology or whatever, but I think it was like this early Soviet Union, probably 1 old name. This early Soviet Union practice related to like farming that they just applied over like. A vast, vast region end up with like a huge decrease in like food production. I can't remember the name of it. Lysenko ohh yeah, yeah, yeah. He just had this. He had this theory and he was just like. Pushing it. And yeah, it led to some serious issues. Yeah. And I think, you know, if we're gonna talk like, what's important about sort of bioregionalism, it's you have to have. If you're going to implement anything right, you, you know, it's especially when you're trying to sort of manipulate biosphere to preserve biospheres. You have to have local knowledge from the people who have been living in these biospheres for, you know, enormous amounts of time. And that's something that states are really bad at and, you know, tend to actively suppress and something, you know, I will say this there there's, there's, there's a kind of like. There's like a kind of neoliberal version of this stuff. It's like, Oh well, do you know, we'll have like local knowledge, blah, blah, blah, and then they're like, well, we'll have local knowledge. But they that this will help them create market solutions to things like that also doesn't work at all. Is basically just realize like, yeah. But. Because that I really like sits. That doesn't sit well with me, you know, like, yeah, these sort of like, you see, like, and you see a lot of liberals like doing it a lot these days where they'd be like. Doing the whole land acknowledgements thing, and they're doing the. That thing where they were just like, see that, oh, this is from Sue and Sue culture and would have fun and just like, boom. Yeah, carry on with business as usual. Yeah, which is I I learned this technique from so and so tried. No, let me work as a consultant for your company or something. And it's yeah, yeah, it's it's it's commodifying the thing and that that both produces a warped replication. And then it also kind of makes the original thing seem. Like used in a weird way as well. Like it wasn't designed. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I want to remind it a bit of. Alienation and how we are just sort of separated. From. You know aspects of our actual humanity because of the structures we live under, right? So instead of. Relating with the environment or relating with our culture or relating with other people, we just relating through like these commodities and these products and these. You know. Just bastardized versions of things. And I think that is also something that sort of plagues. Like some environmentalists, in terms of this, there's there's almost like this subtle illusion from the nature that many of them seek to preserve, right? Where? On the one hand, yes, you're trying to, you know, preserve it. And protected, and that's commendable brand. The other hand, the way you're going about it is. Basically like antithetical to those schools because you don't have that connection with the nature that you're trying to help. You know, what I see like a lot of people not recognizing is that you know humans are apart nature, right? And this is not a bioregional concept, right? This thing called birational rehabilitation. In, in being that. Meaning that we must come home to the geographical and biophysical during reinhabit, understand its ecological uniqueness and familiarize ourselves with the stories woven into the fabric of Zetland. It's history, it's people, it's cultures, it's flora, it's fauna. You know, it's only once we come home to the Albany regions and to our ecosystems, to our places that we can really work together to see its potential to see. How we fit into it? How? We can facilitate its healing, you know, by region, by region. Yeah, that definitely mirrors stuff I've been working on relating to that type of, like, cognitive dissonance that you're talking about and that alienation not just from like, human to human, but human to human to place. Because yeah, we have like developed this like. This commodified other version of nature that isn't actually what nature is. It's it's it's. We've formed this thing that is separate from us, which is. Not how we need to think about it, because it should be. We are all part of the same of, of of that same system. We are not separate from it, and we're not isolated from it or its effects. We are just another part of it. So it's about. Getting in. Like getting a sense of ecology with. Both your bioregion and then the biosphere as as as a whole and getting that ecology, which kind of will break down this notion of nature being an other and and I think because of the idea of nature being another that really kind of fosters our extraction. That's led to a our our current problems because we don't use exact problems affecting us, we view them as a as affecting the territory. And if we're, if we're not the territory, then we can be safe, but that's not exactly. Sorry, go on. I think, I think I may have talked about this on the show before, but you know that there's another aspect here, which is that viewing humans as sort of like, separate from like this abstract nature is how you get a lot of really bad. Like racist environmentalism. Like I if if you haven't read the trouble with buildings by, yeah, croning. The trouble with Wilderness is one of the things that like if if you studying. Yeah. If you do environmental studies at all, like, this is one of the first things they hand you. And the reason they hand it to you is because it, you know, so the image of wilderness that we have is sort of like, oh, it's like completely untapped thing. And it's like, well, yeah, OK. So the reason, the reason we have this image of, like a wilderness with nothing in it is because there used to be people there, and we killed them all or forcibly deported them. Pulled up and stuff, you know? Yeah, yeah. And it's and especially like touch wilderness, we'll end up. Yeah, it was for us. We're literally planted and cultivated. Those forests were, I I think even more pointedly, you should, it should be stated those forests were a work of engineering that's on par with the pyramids at Giza. If not like absolutely, massively in excess of it. They are. They are a work of engineering that's every bit as impressive as any city ever built. And every bit is like, intense and required. Much knowledge and scientific understanding people just all we had all of those people had died by the time white folks got there because of the spread of disease or just because of act like, yeah, like, I think that's true, especially in the East Coast with the West Coast, I think it's even grimmer because the West Coast you and this this happened you still see this. We're like a lot of like the American National parks were literally like like people would go in an ethnically cleanse the population that was there and then be like, oh, hey look it's it's now wilderness. This is now. And this, this is like the origin of of the environmental movement. All of these, like, just like the most racist people you've ever seen in your life. Like people literal fascists. Yeah. Well, and even even even before them, like in, you know, like early 1800s, like, not late 1900. People like those guys. The late teen hundreds. Yeah. It's like when when when those guys are talking about, like, the purity of the wild, like they're everything they think about. The wilderness is also just about the purity of the white race. And it's it's awful. And and if, if, if, when. When you start making that, this, like, that's the separation between humans and nature. Like that's that's how you get this, like, that's that's how you get these, you know, ethnic cleansing, like genocide forests. I've been reading this very good book just started last night, and I think we're gonna have the author on the show soon. Chris Begley, he's an underwater archaeologist, and he wrote a book called The Next Apocalypse that's about collapses throughout history and how they actually differ from the popular conceptions of them. And he actually talks about a lot of the stuff we talked about in this show. And one of the points he makes is that the this idea of like, lost cities in dark jungles and whatnot is based entirely on misconceptions, first of all, about like, what jungles are, and then second on like, the these these very Eurocentric ideas towards what lost means. Like, he points out that every time there's been a lost city or civilization discovered, it's because archaeologists just, like, asked the people living there where the ruins were and they're Oh yeah, it's like right over there. Like we we've known about this since forever. It was never lost. We just stopped living. In that specific area. And the other thing he points out is that, like, this idea of a jungle as like a difficult and primeval place is ridiculous. If you had to pick anywhere to be stranded in the world of, in terms of bioregions, you would pick a jungle like the Amazon because it's pretty easy to survive there. That's why people live there for so long. Yeah, there's a ton of the Amazon. Amazon was, you know, as we've discovered, you know, there were cities and stuff happening. Yeah. Amazon, you know, it was like a planted. Jungle like food forests. And what is the term people use within the jungle? Like, people set the people set the jungle in the Amazon up to provide them with food in a way that isn't exactly, isn't the same as like what we consider to be agriculture, but it's absolutely a kind of agriculture. And because people don't see it as agriculture, just like, oh, that's just, you know, they were just running around the forest before we arrived, you know, it's like, yeah. No, they had. They had essentially built themselves a big smart house in in the middle of the woods that provided them with everything they needed with upkeep that we would consider minimal based on like what a lot of our European ancestors certainly like did in terms of Labor to keep farms going. Like if you compare, I mean, you could also talk about how like peasants in the medieval period probably worked less than a lot of people in the United States do today. Like everyone works less than we do now, but it's a lot. Harder to keep like a monoculture farm going than it is to to keep a food forest going. Yeah, because I mean, once it's established, it literally maintains itself. What was the name of the book that you were talking about just now? It's called the next apocalypse and it's it's very good so far. Chris Begley is the author. I think we're gonna have him on next week, but yeah, I've I've found it so far about 1/3 of the way and very good. Or someone check that out. OK, who wants to say we're back? You just. That's the intro. Now I know it's back. Baby turn. That's the exit activity. You're welcome. Here we are. Awesome. So yeah, once we have like embraced our understanding that you know, we belong to the land and not vice versa and was therefore pattern ourselves or societies business needs. You know, that's when we get to that place of bioregional regeneration, which is another key concept of bioregionalism. And lastly, there's the concept of bioregional sensibility, which was developed by Mitchell Thomashow, and it's about developing the observational skills. To observe the by regional history, to develop the conceptual skills, to juxtapose. You know the scale of, you know the community and the region, and by the ecosystem, the bioregion, all these different levels, ability to like, think in terms of all of them, to develop the imaginative faculties to. Really, I would say play with multiple landscapes and to. Developed the compassion to. Empathize with and work with both local and global neighbors. Not just local and global human neighbors, but also, you know, the flora and fauna. Living next door. There are a lot of different by regional practices happening all over the world. I didn't know that it started in North America, but I noticed a lot of the big projects happening in like South America, you know, in Brazil signal devil, in Costa Rica, regenerative to then Colombia regenerative, and the Annapurna Curiosity in the Himalayas as well, and many others. They're basically engaging in efforts involving applied education. Insurance, agriculture, systems mapping, Greenbelt restoration, there's the, you know, the Greenbelt project in Africa as well, and these are all efforts to. Really understand and work with the bioregions that these people inhabit. So just a few tips that I wanted to end this off with, you know, before we. And things off. I was trying to link the things that I talk about in some way to what people on the groups they are part of, the organizations they're part of, the communities they're part of can do, you know, as an action. To strengthen their resilience or to develop. You know autonomy, right? In this case it is the strength and resilience and also to develop the vitality of the bioregion you inhabit. So first of all. I think it's important that. We learn as much as we can about our areas. And Luna, especially through action. Whether it be through clean ups, you know, observing the space around you, whether it be through observing weather patterns. Gonna be through looking at the, going on hikes and looking at the way that the. Temperature changes and the texture of the soil changes as you go up and down in altitude. I think it's also important to try to get involved with actions to. Restore natural features and to understand the police that those natural features have in the broader by region. Of course, there are lots of sustainable projects happening all over the world. You know, if they aren't any in your area. Be the change you want to see. Start one, make it happen. And really also I would see. Find ways to link projects for environmental sustainability and restoration with projects for human emancipation. Find reasons to like supports access to, you know, basic human needs within your locality to find ways to sort of because. When we speak of by regions and you know living within our by regions and so on and so forth, that's all well and good, but. If for example. Your region has to import whole bunch of food all the time to support the population. I think there needs to be ways to. Decrease that sort of import and to find ways to. Live sustainably within the area, raise awareness of course, as well about by regional thinking, systems thinking, social ecological thinking and yeah, just get to work. Anti workwork, prefiguring the structures of a more horizontal by regionally ethical and sustainable way of life. And of course. Disrupt the projects that get in the way of those schools and. I see that. As tentatively as I can to avoid legal trouble. That's it. Take care of everyone and be kind to every little thing. Peace. Welcome to Ethan here, a podcast that is remarkably today, not really so much about things falling apart, and is mostly about things in fact getting better and how we can do that. I'm your host, Christopher. With me today is Garrison and we're also joined by Nick and Max, who are two members of the artist collective, Solarpunk Surf Club, who have released a very, very interesting new game that we are here in part to talk about called Solarpunk Futures. How? Hello, nick. I. Max, how are you doing? Doing well, thanks. Yeah, doing great. Thanks for having us on. Excited to have you on so. I guess my first question is how did you 2? Get into game design and sort of first have the idea to do a sort of like political gaming project like this. That's a good question. So we're not, we're definitely not game designers by profession or trade. We're members of the artist collective solar punk surf club and we're particularly interested in. Creating artwork and social practice that prefigures these kinds of egalitarian features that we'd like to see in the world. And so this game was something that we've been kind of a project that we've been thinking about and sitting on for a little while, and was. Kind of something that made us excited, got us excited and we think there's a whole bunch of other reasons that we think it's a really cool project to work on, important project and. Yeah, so we kind of took a took a deep dive head first into the world of game design and. Learning how to how to do that over the past year or so. OK, so. How about we, I guess also start with, I guess, explaining what solarpunk features is and sort of how it works, and then we can get into the sort of political aspect of like, this sort of game design project. So solar power futures is a storytelling game where players imagine pathways to a desirable future by collaboratively overcoming real-world challenges. The object of the game is to collectively remember one of the stories that grew into our Utopia. The idea is that through. Backcasting. Where you assume within the context of the game that players are already in Utopia and merely remembering back to their ancestors struggle. That players can transcend. The idea that what currently exists must necessarily exist, which social theorists Murray Bookchin described as. The acid that corrodes all visionary thinking. So we wanted to make a system. To facilitate collaborative performance, sort of a we call it a collaborative performance of memory. But one that combines sincerity with laughter and speculative storytelling. The game also combines a lot of different elements that we saw in other games. Collaborative, you know, collaborative storytelling, cooperative gameplay, some elements of role-playing and different kind of mechanics that we thought would build out that kind of, like I said earlier, those pre figurations of those egalitarian. World, so we were trying to. You know, we're trying to make a game that had the fiction and the idea of Utopia built in, in terms of the goals of the game, but it was also we wanted to build it into some of the mechanics of how the game was actually played, too. Ohh my my question from here is sort of, well I mean I guess firstly is I think what sort of specifically drew you to solarpunk as sort of an aesthetic for for this. Like I know there's been a lot of sort of like the kind of social cology solar punk fusions, but I'm interested in what you you specifically to it. So we see solar punk as a visionary utopian politics and aesthetic. That critically engages the reality of capitalist catastrophe while maintaining a radical optimism about humanity's hopes for a communal ecological future. Nick was just speaking to this. Umm. We see it as a restorative justice process on a planetary scale. Among people, between humans and non human nature. So that means reclaiming pieces of the past pre pre capitalist culture. That means material accountability for old practices, and it also means radical adaptability towards new ones. I think it provided a useful. Way of synthesizing? Several currents that we had already been thinking about and involved in between new media and social practice. Thinking not just about images and objects in space, but also the set of social relations that those things produce, yeah, we're also, we're like partisans within solarpunk. I don't think there's, I don't think there's too many pro capitalists within solarpunk, but I think there are some people who are maybe drawn to the aesthetic but don't necessarily have a politics. But we do think that there's a kind of a latent horizontalism a latent anarchistic politics. In a lot of the aesthetics around solar, punk and so. As a. As a collaborative. As an aesthetic that is being defined collaboratively by people online and elsewhere, you know, we wanted to kind of stake out a position about what we thought a really realistic utopian world might look and feel like. Yeah, and I think. This is something else I know YouTube I'm very passionate about is about specifically using games as a medium to do this and sort of and this as. Like? This kind of storytelling remembrance as a specifically political intervention. So could you talk a bit more about, you know like a yeah you know questions like so why this and not on, you know, on the sort of less like. Like why this and not a gorilla gardening or why this and not some other kind of organizing etcetera, etcetera. Yeah, I mentioned to you dude, say about that? Yeah, well, I'm not going to hate on gorilla gardening. I definitely think it's a both and situation. Yeah, it's also in the game. Yeah, that's true. It's it's one of the cards, one of the tools that you get to use as an ancestor. Yeah, I think, you know, there's a lot of different things that we were thinking about when we were thinking about why, a game that I got a little bit into earlier. But you know, for one I think it helps reach a broad and often depoliticized audience with. A fun way to kind of engage in some thorny political questions. I think that games as a participatory medium were especially interesting for people who are interested in sort of anarchistic. Modes of teaching and education like education through doing rather than lecture. Although, you know, we're also read a lot of good political theories, so I'm not, I'm not opposed to that. And then I I think. You know. Games are also fun, and there's a lot of, there's a lot of political organizing and activism work that happens out there that feels that's hard and that is necessary to do. But just because a lot of the important work to be done is hard doesn't mean everything that's hard is important. And everything that's fun is, you know, trifling or. Not going to help us get where we're going and and overthrow capitalism and build a new world. So. Yeah, those are. Those are some of the reasons, yeah. And I think that's especially sort of interesting point because I think. A lot of what happens in leftist spaces, you get a bunch of people doing stuff. And they burnout really fast because, you know, you're doing an enormous amount of work. It's all miserable a lot of the times you're getting physically assaulted and. Like I think that's one of the things I need to be about this is. You need other. Forms of sort of. Community building and sort of like. You need other forms of organizing that do not involve you being repeatedly traumatized over and over again. And that. Yeah, and especially. Just working on something like this and then, I don't know, just playing with your friends and having having things that are like collaborative and joyful and community building is I think very important as a way to just, you know, you just this is not a very basic logistical level, but prevent people from burning out. Yeah, and and. I definitely think that there's a a role there to prevent people from burning out and and inspiring people with some of the fun ideas, the ideas that they come up with when they're not looking at a Google Doc meeting notes. But instead they're playing a card game and maybe drinking a couple of beers and they're like, oh, how would I combine gorilla gardening and, you know, performance art to bring about, you know, to solve a specific challenge of capitalism like deforestation or. These are some of the cards in the game. And so I think it can be inspiring, you know, it's also. It can be educational. I played with some family. I think the first time I played when we got the physical copy that wasn't a play test was with some family. And they don't necessarily identify as leftists of any kind. But we had a really fun game where we explored ideas of deconstructing borders and. You know, they were. It wasn't like I was guiding them in this direction. It was just kind of the assumption of the game that there was Utopia got beyond this ingrained capitalist realism that there just isn't, that there isn't an alternative. And they're like, OK, well, the game says we're already in Utopia. So that means there's no private property. And I was like, whoa, that's a that's a jump I didn't expect from my from my family. One thing I'm interested in in terms of how it functions as a game is like balancing the actual more, I don't know, fun based, like role-playing game elements with like. It's kind of structure as. A thought exercise and like a world building game like how, how, how, how did you approach trying to get a balance of like fun role-playing as well as this type of like reverse world building. I was kind of, I was still a little bit on the the why a game in the 1st place? Question, but I'm also intrigued by the balancing. Fun and politics question, if you don't mind. I wanted to go back to the wire game for just a second. Well, I think maybe it will lead into this. Yeah, yeah. Games are, you know, an ancient form of art. I know I said we work in new media before, but games are actually an ancient form of art and I would argue social practice. There's a game called Senate. There's a game called the Royal Game of Ur, which both date to 5000 years ago in ancient Egypt and ancient Mesopotamia respectively. We did. In making the game we did a bunch of research on the history of of games. There's a 15th century game called the game of the Goose from well present day Italy that paired like these gorgeous illustrations. Also, with, like, didactic moral instruction in the early early 20th century, the surrealists created a series of games. With the intention of breaking through traditional thought patterns and. Unleashing the the potentials of the unconscious, they also wanted to subvert academic modes of inquiry. And then today, you know some of our most. Popular tabletop games, you know you. I think Nick was mentioning this earlier. How they can sometimes inscribe. Oppressive logics, so you know, rather than. A game where you're competing against other players to drive them into poverty, or a game where you're trying to colonize other players land. You know, for the purpose of world domination, we wanted to make a game that actually practices the cooperation, interdependence, care. Consent these things that will be needed, you know, for it actually to transcend the social, ecological crises of our day. And kind of to that point, you know, I would say that games always reflect the the beliefs and norms of their historical context. So with solarpunk futures, we wanted to kind of flip the script and. Project using, you know, the modalities of like speculative fiction, collaborative performance as I mentioned, the the values and. Mores of a of a desirable future. So games are very you know, human thing. An ancient human thing. And. Why do people play games? As I mentioned, you know, education is part of it, but also building social bonds is another important piece and that always is a company. It's a very like academic way of talking about it maybe, but it is it is fun. It has to be fun. That's why people do it. In terms of the to get a little deeper into the balancing question, you know every game is a balance between a bunch of different competing factors. There's a lot of people who were talking about the balance between randomness and planning in in games and the balance between structure and freeform, and it's definitely something if if there's any game designers out there thinking about making, you know, games like this play testing, it will help you so much. Because you know the. The game. In a rough form, existed in the spring of last year, but playtesting really helped us refine a lot of those questions and find that kind of balance between structure and. Freeform Ness. We wanted it to be accessible to people who aren't D&D players, but we've also played with people who play a lot of DND and GM and all this stuff, and they took it in a lot of fun and wild directions that we didn't expect. That helped inform kind of new ways that we could. You know, we added some optional rules in there for people who want to take it in a different direction or or add more complexity, or or even or for other people who need a little bit like a hand. Pulled in one of flip a coin to decide something rather than. You know, come up with it totally on their own, so I think. Yeah, it's a hard. It's a hard. Thing to balance, you know all the different factors that go into a game, but I definitely think play testing and all the people who played with us in those early games really helped, helped us figure out the right balance. And to your earlier point about burnout like activist burnout. Some people who we've invited to play the game. Maybe have have expressed this idea of like well? I I'd. I'd love to, but I don't have time. And maybe, uh, maybe they. They think of of gaming and and I know I've certainly been guilty of this too, of feeling like guilt over things that feel like an indulgence, like you should be doing the the real work all the time. But you know, I think. It's important to hold that in the perspective of the tradition of. Of feminism, civil rights advocates, others on the left that have talked about the importance of. Joy that needs to be integral to our struggles. There's the famous Emma Goldman quip if I can't dance, it's not my revolution. So perhaps, you know, these ideas of like guilt and shame or martyrdom or whatever are kind of toxic parts of the old world that we need to to let go of. So I guess this is kind of coming back to say that there's. As as Nick was saying, there is an ethical prefigurative case of. Of how games can allow people to. Express themselves through play. But there's also a tactical 1. And that games can be a structured way of thinking about how do we create a liberated society. Everything I think is sort of interesting about, well, I guess this is. Somewhat less true of tabletop games. As in medium, because tabletop games are. A lot of. Sort of. Collaborative storytelling ish stuff. But like, I know, like, like, so like I'm I play a lot of video games, right? And it's like. It's like a lot of the structure of what? Gaming is is sort of. Like it basically turns into like another job that you have. And it's interesting. Yeah. You know and and you like you get you get the same you even get like Boo like crossover between the terminology of like like you know like like I I think like grinding is like a grind. Yeah like grind. I I think I think that came from giving 1st and then moved over into the weird grind set stuff. But like I think you're right. Yeah. Yeah. And and gamification, right. That's another way that like gaming is being almost like weaponized by capitalism. To get squeezed just a little bit more out of everyone. Yeah, there's a really interesting article whose name I am forgetting because. I am. Yeah, I but Vicky Osterweil wrote it like a while ago. That was about how like. Games are like it it's, you know, it's, it's you sort of mechanically doing the same thing over and over and over again. But it's it's a problem because it's like it's it's labor that's like too perfect. It doesn't create anything. There's no sort of like. I like there's there's no sort of like. Like aspect that produces like value that could be extracted, you just sort of just doing the thing over and over again and it's like. And you know that and then that, you know, becomes a problem for capital in some sense is why there's all these panics about like, everyone being addicted to gaming because it's like, well, OK, you're not making money for us and but I think it's interesting. Truck Simulator, you could be driving some actual truck. Yeah. Yeah. But you know, I think it's interesting that. I think this is a political intervention into that of creating something that's, you know, precisely the opposite of that, that it's, you know, you're not sort of like, it's not just like an incredible intensification of the sort of like reward systems of working. It's, hey, we're going to come together and we're going to tell, we're going to, you know, make collaborative decisions and overcome challenges. And I think, I think that's a very interesting sort of political angle to come at this from. Yeah, I think a lot of. A lot of. Tabletop games in particular compared to video games, I think. Well, I'll say role-playing games in particular put you in a driver's seat in a way that I think can is is hard, right? Like sometimes I'm too tired to or if I think of, you know, I have a I have a D&D night and I'm like, I don't know if I have the energy for this after working all day. Whereas I might have energy to play, you know, a video game RPG that kind of walks me, you know, hand holds me through a story. It's kind of more like watching more passive. But I do think that there is. I just think there's something. So. Important about. Thinking through what it might be like to live in this utopian society. And it's important, I think, because if we don't. Well, for one, a ton of people just don't even think about it. And so to the extent that this game is something that gets bought or played with families of people who are, you know, one of the many people who have been depoliticized in this country. I think that can be really helpful, but I also think that. I've played it and I've found really fun and exciting ideas that I wouldn't have thought about if I was staring at a power map or something and thinking, where can we intervene in my city to, you know, help. Help solve this or that problem. So I think, yeah, I think there's power there. So I think one of the other things I think is interesting to me about how YouTube sort of the team put this project together. And it's also like, you know, so like you can buy the versions of it that have like very, very nice art, but you also just put the cards and the rules up for free and you can sort of Prince and play it. So I wonder, yeah, if you could talk a bit about decision to do that. Democratic accessibility is really important to us. It's part of the concept that we. Wanted to integrate into every aspect of the game's production and distribution, and so yeah, the whole thing is available as a free. Print and play PDF download. It's all Creative Commons licensed. So that's yeah and you know at the same time as you mentioned we. We are interested in materiality and want wanted to create. Umm. Something that could could accompany, you know, a face to face interaction as well, which is, you know, frankly well, I'll just speak for myself. That's probably more my interest, even though I think, you know, like that we have a tabletop simulator, version two, which I think is really cool. But as far as the decision to make the game, you know, free, free forever, we want people to play. We want it to be genuinely useful. This is not a. This is not a capitalistic business venture. We're running a break even budget and want to just keep doing projects and, you know, elaborating like the solar punk tradition and connecting it to social, ecological communalist politics. So. If this can be a catalyst towards being able to do more of that than. Umm. Then that's, you know we'll have, we'll have succeeded on our on our terms at least. What's the status of physical copies? How can people if they want to use? Cards and stuff. What is how? How would one go about getting those? Yeah, so there's a couple different ways people can download the free print and play if they like. If they really love it, they want to buy the physical copy. We sold out of the kind of 1st edition that we were able to afford to print. But we're raising money on Kickstarter for a second edition, so if people back us at a certain tier there, I think it's $45 or higher. You get a copy of the game when we're able to print them, and so yeah, so it's a. Of course, as Max mentioned, you can also play on Tabletop Simulator, but yeah, we're we're really excited about it. I think we're also hoping to take it around to some political workshops, probably on zoom for the foreseeable future. Get maybe game convention, tabletop game conventions and stuff, and also some art art shows. TTB announced to be announced, but there's a couple art shows that we're excited to be showing it in, so yeah. Yeah, one thing I'm really excited about in terms of playing this at some point is the. I think starting from the point of like. You're trying to build the world now you can really easy. It's really easy to run into ruts. Starting at the endpoint, then working backwards, I think, because that produces that reverse type of thought. I think it's a little bit easier for it to find the path than just starting here and looking at the world. Be like, oh, how do we do anything to make it better instead of being at the opposite place and being like, what's what is the way to backtrack? I think we can. Maybe give you some connections and ideas that you may not have had otherwise, because we're kind of always stuck in the now. How do we get to now better? So I would be very excited to try try this out at some point and and experience that. Backtrack thinking because I think it's a. Yeah, I'm, I'm, I'm really intrigued with that specific aspect of the game because yeah, I'm sure there's gonna be a lot of solar punk games within the next decade probably. And this is 1 aspect that I think actually is really unique and something that's not just intrinsic to solar punk, you know? It's something that's kind of been added on so. That's something I'm really excited about, and. Yeah, would love to love to pick this up soon. Yeah, thank you for saying that. I think one of the things that we hope that the game does. Is help people breakthrough that capitalist realism, yeah, like there is no alternative. It's easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism, et cetera. And, you know, similarly if you ask people to imagine the future. It's very hard is and and if they are able to at all it is often extrapolating sort of the worst trends of today into a dystopian future. Yeah, I remember just slightly out of I remember so when when I was in I was in middle school or something we had this assignment. We had to like write a you like write whatever perfect like utopian society would be and we like did it and like 3/4 of the like society people come up with were just like the worst imaginable. Estonia. And it was just like, it's just like, grim. Sort of, yeah, if I was going to, if I was going to make what I thought was an accurate prediction of the future, it it it might be more similar to the first season of this podcast, then. Yeah. Some of the hopeful futures, but I don't. I also don't think. I don't think the door is closed on. Any kind of solarpunk future, I think it's important. One of the important aspects that we included that that is that makes solar punk different than just kind of vague utopianism, is that we think we ask people to also think about the barriers they run into, to think about, you know, what? Who's going to, who's going to oppose you if you're trying to? Umm. You know, deal with polluted water and you find some really great system and improve a region's water supply. You know, Nestle might come in and buy the rights to the whole region, the whole watershed. So, you know, imagining those that opposition, the material conditions that might change and how you'd adapt to them, we hope that's something that people also benefit from. You play this game and and. Make some predictions about the strategic decisions that capital's going to make to oppose your your utopian vision. And I hope there are more solar punk games. Like you said, I hope there is a preponderance of solarpunk. Art in the in the next decade? That would be amazing. And you know to what you were just saying you're right. Solarpunk doesn't mean the end of politics doesn't mean the absence of conflict. Umm. So I think we tried to integrate that into the game. What makes a good. Solarpunk story is that it is plausible, yet distinctly anti utopian. Anti dystopian rather. It, you know, provides a a glimpse into. A future possibility for, say, the reharmonization of. Humans with other humans. Humans with non human nature. And that is going to involve some amount of opposition on the one hand, and reconstruction on the other. In short, to to critique by building, as the slogan goes. Alright, yeah, plugs time. What do you what do you 2 have plugs? So yeah, we have an upcoming live stream on Twitch with veterans for peace. They have some gamers for peace, and Tuesday night on the 18th at 8:00 PM they're gonna be playing solar solar punk futures with us. If people are interested in the game, they can download it for print and play on our website at HTTP: slash slash the future dot WTF. And people can also find the link to our Kickstarter on that website. If they're interested in preordering a physical copy, which we very much appreciate, we're getting close to funded. That's very exciting. I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope it gets funded. I wanna see more of these because the art is extremely cool and. Yeah, well, thank you to you for coming on this. This has been naked. Happened here, and we'll see you the next time an episode goes up. I don't know when that's going to be right now. So yeah, wonderful extras. Hey, we'll be back Monday with more episodes every week from now until the heat death of the universe. It could happen here as a production of cool zone media or more podcasts from cool Zone media. Visit our website coolzonemedia.com, or check us out on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts you can find sources for. It could happen here, updated monthly at coolzonemedia.com/sources. Thanks for listening.