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 21

It Could Happen Here Weekly 21

Sat, 12 Feb 2022 05:01

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

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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 back to it could happen here, a podcast about things falling apart, and occasionally even about how to put some other things back together. Today we're going to be talking about something that is increasingly a part of what we like to call the crumbles around here, which is the healthcare system in this country and the hospital system in this country as it kind of gets crunched by COVID. And we're going to particularly talk about a really critical. Aspect of our entire medical infrastructure that a lot of people don't know about traveling nurses. And with me today is our guest, Anne, and you are a traveling nurse from New York to California all around the country. Thanks for being on the show. Glad to be here. Yeah. So I live in Colorado and I was a regular staff nurse until COVID hit. And you know, at that time we expected it to crunch everywhere. But my home hospital, like many places that worked on the coast and ended up being really empty when everybody locked down and stopped getting into car accidents and going to parties and all of the other things that bring people into the ER and ICU. So at that time I quit my full time job. And went to New York as a travel nurse. And then I've been dancing around hotspots since then. So New York, Texas, Ohio. Rural New Mexico, I just finished my third contract in California. I've been up to Oregon. So I've seen the healthcare system working and not working and a lot of different places and also look like how much disparity there is in different communities related to COVID as in the healthcare that we can provide. Yeah and I I am kind of before we move on to some of the specific things going on with travel nurses, what is your sense of like how often are you in a place and feel like well this the the. Hospital system here, this particular hospital, they're they're like right on the edge of a breaking point. Most of the time. OK, that's good to know. What are your seat belts, folks? Really, since everyone was able to get vaccinated, right, like to me, I really feel like that, that that point of like the tipping point of like the quote UN quote crumbles. Kind of like after everybody was was able to get their second vaccination and we had so much hope last May and June and things were reopening and it was kind of like, WOW, things could go back to normal. And then, like, I don't believe that's going to happen. And since then, I've seen so much more despair in my coworkers, and I've heard about so many more healthcare suicides, staff nurses, travel nurses, RT's, other ancillary people. And, you know, the kind of running joke in a lot of workplaces is like, well, I hope I test positive for COVID cause that would be better than coming into work another day. Or I hope I get hit by a car so I don't have to come in. Your job, I think, is what a lot of people would is the people who you know are reasonable human beings and and see what you're doing is incredibly necessary find the would find the work to be something of a nightmare. I mean it sounds like horrific to have to to deal with this. I mean it's it's it's not an easy job in the best of times being a nurse, but like with COVID and stuff it's it's just there's so much else on y'all's plates and one of the things that has happened over the course of the last year or. Well. Almost two years now, UM is that from January 2020, the advertised pay rates for travel nurses around the country have gone up by about 67%, which in staffing firms have, you know, increased their building of hospitals by like 28 to 32%. So like this huge raise in what travel nurses are demanding and what is getting paid out? And I think a reasonable person would go well, yeah. Of course. Yeah, I think anybody would go, any reasonable person would go, well, yeah, of course, you guys deserve much more money than that for what you're dealing with right now. I have no problem with this, but people who do have problems with this are the American Hospital Association. Among other folks, generally the folks who are seeing this primarily as well, now we're spending more money issue as opposed to a, hey, maybe we don't have enough nurses, which, right. Yeah. So I guess I have maybe a couple of comments on that. So one of the things about travel nurses, so if if you're not in the travel field and you say I want to change hospitals, even if you're an experienced nurse, they will take between a month and six months to go through their hiring process and then they will give you a week, two weeks. Before weeks of orientation. So that's a long process to hire A nurse. Normally for me as a travel nurse, I will talk to a recruiter. I will say yes, I will be on the road somewhere between 4 hours to 24 hours later. I will get to the hospital. I will do a bunch of paperwork that is for compliance and makes no difference at all. I will get between two and six hours of orientation, which is basically here's the bathroom, here's the storeroom. This is what we're going to edit in the charts. And then I'm expected to take care of complex, actively dying patients. So, so, you know, people complain about how much we're getting paid, but if you only have two hours of like, where's the bathroom and like, this is how you get and most of the time when you're spending with it being like, hey, I need computer access, buddy. And then there you are, and you're in the thick of it with no backup, you know? So you already have to be an expert in your field, and you have to be able to walk into an unfamiliar, chaotic situation and hit the ground running immediately. So yes, making 120 bucks an hour is a lot of money. But I don't know that that's so super unreasonable for two hours of like, yeah, it's exit now. Take care of people who are actively dying and don't screw it up. It's the way we're told the system is supposed to work, right? Like, this is how capitalism is supposed to function. The demand for something goes up and the demand for nursing is way the hell up. So the price goes up. If you believe in capitalism like, 1 assumes these people who are responsible for, you know, paying you and are currently lobbying. So what's happening? I should go back. Repeated note this, but the American Hospital Association and a number of other folks are lobbying Congress right now to put a cap on the amount of money that traveling nurses can can can receive. And a number of Congress people have said that they're going to be looking into the issue. Several states, Oregon, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Kansas, and Kentucky, have introduced legislation that's attempting to cap nurse pay rates. So there's like this huge backlash attempting to. Locked down the amount of money y'all can continue to get paid because of all of the things this country, I guess, has money for the people dealing with the I don't know what. What I don't know how many millions of additional sick and dying people are, are are kind of beyond what these folks are willing to shell out for. Have I gotten the size of that and I mean to clarify, so in a FEMA contract, So what a lot of the contracts I take are, so the nurse is making between 100 and $125.00 an hour. And maybe you also have a tax free stipend or you don't kind of depending on how you are in that and then but the bill rate to the hospital is usually like 220 to 40? So the legislation is against the agencies because the agencies are making between 40 to 60%. Of course the agency is then going to say, hey, well, we aren't going to pay you as much because we still want the same cut. My understanding. So the trickle down effect is likely going to be travel nurse wages. But my understanding is it's asking the FTC to take enforcement against the travel nurse agencies because the agencies, they're the ones that say they have the person on the phone that says hey. You have these credentials. We want to send you to this hospital, yes or no. We've got this hotel arranged or we don't or, you know, those types of and we're going to do this type of onboarding. So they have their own kind of infrastructure and they take, you know, half, 60% of the cut. And so some of those people are making a lot of money too. Yeah. And it seems like it's kind of the situation where the way this is being framed, they're trying to crack down on these people who are kind of profiteering or could be argued to be profiteering off the situation rather than trying to cap. The amount that the nurses can make, so to speak, or at least not by as much, but the overall effect will be that because of the way these companies work, y'all will still wind up making less money. Yeah, how within the traveling nurse community, what is kind of where are people right now with this? Like what is, what is kind of the mood? So I think there's a couple of things to note. So in the FEMA contracts, they're usually 60 to 72 hour contracts, so you're working back-to-back to back-to-back. So I'll do 80 hour weeks sometimes. And most people are not white women like me. This is mostly 1st and 2nd generation immigrants and generally people of color. So these are not people that are saving for Lamborghinis. These are people that are paying off their student loans because a lot of them went to private nursing schools because that was kind of what was accessible. To them, because of all of the disparity in education and opportunities, these are people that are trying to pay off their mortgages. These are people who are paying off their parents houses. So this kind of idea that like nurses are greedy is I think really unfair because most of us are just trying to like, you know, make a life that works and also you can't do 80 hour contracts. 52 weeks out of the year. No, it, I mean, doing it for any extended period of time. I've I've worked those kind of hours in in a generally less stressful working environment and it like it breaks you down over time, like you. You can't do that and it it at any time in your life for one thing like and you can't do that forever and it sounds like this is kind of a lot of people are taking it as as like this is an opportunity. Can get my parents out of debt. I can. I can get a house I can save for my kids to I can pay off my own college like it's a chance for a lot of these people by putting in an unbelievable amount of effort to get ahead. And I can't, can't even imagine the frustration at seeing so many people be like, well, no, not so fast. And I mean one of the things that people are bringing up is right like. It. In the same way that, you know, we struggle to want to pass minimum wage laws for the undocumented immigrants that pick our food and, you know, support this infrastructure that is totally unseen now that we have, you know, what is mostly, for instance, second generation immigrants that are working these FEMA contracts, right, like you're targeting. A section of the population that are not the people that have doubled, tripled their wealth in the pandemic, right? Like these are not all of the people that got the small business loans that didn't need them. And you know, and have are just putting all of that money into stock, right? These are not. These are people that just want a middle class American dream and we're willing to work really, really hard for it. And I mean. There. These are people who are asking, can I have the thing where all promised if I spend 80 hours a week watching people in a lot of cases choke out their last ******* breaths, is that OK? And a lot of people are saying, oh, of course not. Right. And, you know, so we're taking care of dying people while we're getting yelled at the phone of, like, is cursing allowed on the show or not so ******* lutely. Yes, of course. Yeah. So, I mean, I had a family member saying you're ******* imprisoning her on a ventilator. I'm gonna come for you. Where do you ******* live? You know, we have to get security involved, you know? We get death threats. I've had people like threaten to find where I live and raped me. Christ. And so I mean, yeah, yeah, 67% isn't enough of a race. Taking care of your dying loved one, who also probably would say those same things to me because I would say, hey, please get vaccinated and they would say, **** you. But I'm still going to do everything I can to take care of them. And I'm going to endure this abuse. And like, yeah, if I'm going to leave my home and the safety of a hospital that works and go into these total cluster ***** of hospitals where the educator has left, the manager has left, the director has left. So there's no leadership, it's 80% travelers, some of which are great, some of which are also hot messes and trying to take care of these people. And like, yes, I want to be paid accordingly for it. Now would I trade that for a social, a social safety net of health insurance? Because I have to get private health insurance, which is shady. I don't get any disability insurance. I have no sick leave. Right, because you're you're you're a pinch hitter. You're not like salary anywhere. Yeah, but would I trade at this high salary for a social safety net? Personally, I would. But I mean nobody's going to say like yes, you will be able to retire with dignity if you play by all of these rules. They don't believe that I want to make the money. Yeah it I mean we're all always in this kind of like yes sock away as much as you can while it's coming situation. And she's especially if you're especially if you're doing something you're going to need to recover from later. Right. Like this is I I you know I've I've done overseas work. I understand kind of the nature of like. Trauma. And while you're doing the job at the rate you're doing it, you're also, like, pushing off a day of reckoning mentally and great. Yeah. God, having a cushion of savings helps with that. Yeah. Like in the middle of it, you're in it. And then, you know, sometimes it's weak, sometimes it's months. I hiked the Colorado Trail for mental health, and half of those nights I had ICU nightmares. So I was in these beautiful middle of nowhere places where everything was quiet. I would wake up with all of the beeps and people dying in my head night after night after night, you know? So I mean, yeah, I'm angry that they don't want to compensate me for that because, I mean, they're definitely not paying for my therapist. They definitely, like, aren't giving me access to disability if I need it, right? Like, yeah. Because obviously, again, you're you're a contractor. Effectively there's not like a union for traveling nurses, is there? Or am I wrong about that? No. So I mean the only thing you have your negotiating power. So I have eight years of experience between emergency and ICU. And a lot of very big and highly regarded hospitals. So I'm a hot commodity to them. So I can kind of pick and choose what I want to work with compared to someone that has less desirable specialties. Not that those specialties don't also work as hard, but they're just harder. They're easier to staff. So they're they're not a market thing. Sure, right. It's a market thing. I definitely don't believe that my specialties are more like inherently valuable just in terms of the market. So, you know, so I get, I can I have the luxury of turning down contracts that aren't what I want. But I mean, I have no idea what I'm walking into. So on Monday, I'll walk into somewhere. They said you'll do some paperwork, you'll get your orientation, you'll have it'll all be, it'll be a busy day and then you'll be on your own. And I have no idea. Sometimes you're oriented in one unit and you never see that unit again. So. And I, you know, you have no idea what you're walking into. And how how long are these contracts generally for? So before COVID, the standard nursing contract was 13 weeks. Since COVID, a lot of them are shorter and I've only done short contracts because if it's a decent place then I can renew and stay longer usually. And if it's a bad place then I'm pretty happy to get out early. So I do between 4:00 and eight week contracts. And I usually do 60 plus hours a week. Is there any kind of like? Organization that you've seen come together a little more between people who are doing this, this gig. Since you don't have kind of representation, is that something that started to take form in the last two years since COVID? I mean, there's definitely a lot of talk about it. I think like those of us that started traveling since the pandemic, you know, I would say that I've only done crisis contracts. Like I've never done a normal 13 week, 36 hour a week, not crisis assignment. Like, I've only gone into the **** show hotspots. And so therefore, like mine needs and desires are different than somebody who likes that previous lifestyle. So in some ways it's a little bit hard for us to kind of agree on common goals because. We have a lot of different, you know, we're a very diverse group of nurses. Definitely. The Million Nurse March is kind of a step towards that. Yeah, tell me about that. What? What is this? Because I just learned about this pretty recently. Yeah. So I dropped off the grid for the last five days, which was fantastic for me, but it means I'm also just starting to figure it out. So the kind of general idea is that, you know, we have, I think I'm going to hopefully I don't get it wrong, 4,000,000, some nurses in the country, a huge number of nurses in the country and a huge number of dropping out. You know, hundreds of thousands quit last year. They, I think one estimate is 500,000 May quit this year and we were just so people know, 10s of thousands of nurses understaffed before COVID nationwide, right? And you know, I think one of the things to understand too is that, like, if you work. I don't know what's what's a normal type of job that people work. I don't know if you work at the DMV, Bookman. Oh right. If you work at the DMV and the DMV is slow, you will still stay there 8 hours and you'll still get paid for your 8 hours. If you are a normal nurse and you work 36 hours and the ER is running slow, they could say we're just cancelling you for the rest of the day. Go home. We won't pay you for those plastics hours. And so, like, we've always had pretty, like flexible, like we've never had, like most of the places I've worked, I've never had guaranteed hours. And so one of the reasons to go to travel contracts too is also so you can at least have guaranteed hours. So there's a lot of kind of protections that nurses have never really had, like guaranteed hours. Like uh staff ratios, so some states, California and Oregon are two of them. If you go into the ICU, which is the highest level of care, so people are actively dying, actively unstable, things can go bad within seconds. Usually it's a one nurse will have two patients. Which is pretty much all you can handle because they're on multiple trips, multiple types of life support keeping them alive, so ventilators being the one that we see the most. And it's really your responsibility to know every inch of that person's body and everything going on with them, and you really direct a lot of their care. So 2 to one kind of makes a lot of sense. Since the pandemic and not having enough nurses, sometimes that's slid to three to one, or even in bad situations, 4 to one. So one of the statistics that Umm one of the kind of nurse influencers and comedians nurse Blake talks about is that for every additional patient that a nurse takes on and I believe he's talking about Med search not ICU, that that patients mortality increases by 7%. So yeah, so asking a nurse to do more with less is not just like hey just suck it up, be busier. This is actively contributing to peoples. Disability and early deaths. So one of the things that the millionaire smarch wants to talk about is mandated, mandated staffing ratios. So ICU would be 2 to one. Med surg is usually 4 to one. I think ER, they're asking for three to one. So these have been studied by the American Nurses Association and other sort of nursing organizations. Umm. And not only do they make your job as a nurse so much better because we go into nursing because we want to fix things and take care of people. We want good outcomes, right? Like you don't go into nursing to just run around with your head cut off and watch everyone die, right? Like, that's terrible. You go into nursing because you want the people to get better. Under your care and you want to be able to give them that. And so when you're asked to take care of more patients than you're able to, you're not able to do that and it just crushes you. So not only is it better for nurse satisfaction, it also saves patients lives and also prevents things that give cause lasting disability like ventilator associated pneumonia or bed sores or delirium or things like that. So, you know, mandating patient ratios is. One of the really big things that the million Nurse March is for, there's a lot of talk about pay and living wages. You know, like every section, housing prices and inflation have gone through the roof, and you've got to like, be renting a spot whenever you're like, the hospital ain't putting you up. Right. Well, and for staff nurses too, right. Like if you're, you know, maybe you're maybe they gave you a 2% raise, but hey, rent increased 30%. I used to be on the interview board at my old hospital, and we would just tell people, like, if you're moving to Denver as a single person, we lose most of our nurses because they haven't looked at housing. So, like, they'll accept a job, and then they'll look for a place to live and be like, oh, I can't afford to live here. So hey, like, I mean, we can't ask if you're single moving here, but, like, you probably can't afford to live here with what we're going to pay you. I mean, cool. I it's just. It's so eternally frustrating that, like, the one thing that everybody, when you sit them down, agrees is, is incontrovertibly necessary medical care. We can agree on a lot of things, but not how to make sure the people doing it have a good quality of life and good income like we can. We have all these fun, fun rules that make it possible to charge X number of $1000 for a dose of insulin, but we don't just have a law that's like, hey, if if you're working full time. As a nurse, maybe you shouldn't have to be housing insecure. I don't know how do you make that into a law, but it seems like there should be some option for a country that can make some of the things we make. Yeah, I mean time wages to housing prices, seems like, I don't know, me not being an economist and not being an administrator like that sounds super easy to me, like housing goes up about 15%, everybody gets a 15% raise and like. I'm sure it's more complicated than that, but it seems super simple to guy around with a stick to threaten landlords when they raise rent. Like, there's we could debate the answers to this. Sure. What do you think? I mean, not not that, like, you have any sort of comprehensive knowledge of all of the people doing this, but like, do you think there's a possibility of like a Wildcat strike, which is again for people who maybe is when there's a strike of workers who are not unionized? I mean, to some extent, with everybody quitting to do travel nursing, it's not so different. I mean, some units have lost 80% of their staff. Yeah right. Some like when a unit says, Oh well we lost 50% of your my staff I'm kind of like, well you did better than most you know Umm. So in some ways it's already happening and and in that same way I am seeing hospitals give better incentives to their this nurses that have stayed either retention bonuses or increasing bonuses for pick for core staff picking up extra shifts or kind of other perks like increasing education. Benefits or things like that. So I think hospitals are responding to like, hey, we don't want to lose these people to traveling like can we tip the balance a little bit and I think, you know, overall hospital leadership is moving slower than they need to. But I mean, at least they're moving a little bit. So I mean, in that way I can see a Wildcat strike just coming from the kind of laborer forces at play, and I could. And I mean, there were one of the hospitals in the South, I think it was Alabama, all of their staff, their staff coordinated so that the ship that was on agreed to stay late because you can't, because abandoning patients can put your license at risk, right. So if we all walked off in the middle of a shift. And said **** you to the hospital and patients died then like our license is at risk, so we also have to kind of balance that a little bit. But there was a hospital they organized for the day shift basically to stay as late as they needed, and night shift all stood outside the hospital and wouldn't refuse to clock it in. So sometimes these things are happening in small levels also. Really interesting. Yeah. Yeah. Because it is, it is like, yeah. I mean, and that is like such a tough thing to balance. Just the idea that like, well, you are healthcare workers, like, withholding your labor is a thing that's going to be necessary from time to time. There's also consequences for it that are not present if you're making, I don't know, tires, you know, yeah. As much as teachers and nurses are the same, like, I I don't think our country cares about educating children as much as it cares about their parents dying, you know, like. For better or worse. That's another subject. Is there anything else you wanted to get into today before we we close out for the for the episode? Umm, I mean, if it's OK with you and you can cut it. If it's not, Umm, you know, I I try and tweet about kind of what's happening on the ground and the things that I'm seeing. And I'm mostly finished with a book about the first year on the frontline and seven different hospitals and kind of the disparities of between, you know, critical access in New Mexico versus trauma hospitals and, you know, the Bay Area and and kind of what that first year looked like. So if you want, you can follow me on Twitter. It's an Anne like Anne of Green Gables and RN 2020, which is when I started traveling nursing, Umm, you know, and so that I kind of talked a little bit about like what I'm seeing and what's going on. I was recently in an ER where, you know, people often had to stay outside under the heat lamps for 30 hours, waiting for hospital bed just because everything was so packed. So they couldn't even come inside the hospital and they were, you know, waiting. To get their appendix out and things like that. Again, so wear your seat belts and the helmet. You know, be real. Be real careful right now, guys. And I mean, I think the other thing is the blood shortage. So most hospitals are revising their guidelines of who will get a blood transfusion. So you now have to be much more critical before they will give you a blood transfusion. So there's a lot of politics around blood donation, but if you feel like you can donate blood. It's really, desperately needed, yeah. And people are going to wear your seatbelts because people are really going to legitimately die because we run out of blood. Boy howdy, please wear your seat belts, folks. Just just hunker down for a little while. No, no new risky experiments in life for for just a minute. Not the time to take up skydiving. Yeah, yeah, maybe avoid that. Maybe don't go skiing if you haven't gone skiing before. I just did that and broke my wrist, cuz I'm. I'm exactly as dumb as the people I'm trying to warn. And then I guess just check in with your mental, with your the mental health of your healthcare workers, because I mean so many people. Of. You know, I think a lot of us are dealing with at least passive, sort of like, **** maybe I should just drive off the road instead of going into work today. Sort of thoughts, you know? And for a lot of us, that's just stuff leading thought and then we get our **** together. But for some people, it's going to be more than that and you know? Nursing is one of those things where people have to find themselves by their career and they need people in their lives saying like if you are never a nurse again, you are still valued, you are still loved. Just being alive is enough. And this is how you know we can help take care of you if you need to quit for three months, you know? And supporting people with their intrinsic value rather than, like, you are only productive and valuable because you were there saving lives. Because I think a lot of us really get stuck in that, and a lot of us are drawn into nursing because we feel some lack of worthiness without it. You know, that's the hard thing to get other people to do because in part, this is a society where we just have such generally crummy attitudes towards mental health. But, like, we're great at saying things like, oh, you know, there's a pandemic, our healthcare workers are heroes. You're all heroes. Because of the work that you're doing, the work makes you a hero, as opposed to saying, hey, thank you for doing that. I know things are still ****** ** right now, but if you decide you gotta, like, take a break or whatever, you know you're you're you're. That doesn't mean you like what you did was still wonderful and you're still great and valuable and maybe the best thing is for you to take that break and not drive yourself off of a Cliff. Yeah. So yeah, that's that's harder to get people to like wave banners that say outside of their apartment complexes. Maybe be good if people were like banging on pots to, like, let healthcare workers know that no matter what they do, they're valued members of the community that people love. But yeah. All right. Well, Anne, thank you so much for talking with us today, I hope. You you hold together and help the people in your life hold together, which is all any of us can really do other than wear a seat belt. Yeah. And thank you for being a part of the conversation and thank you for, you know, listening to hard things. And you know, that's one thing that I think we really appreciate is people who will actually listen with open hearts and and witness this with us so that we're not alone in it. It could happen. Here is the podcast that you're listening to right now. I'm Robert Evans. All right? That's that's my job done. Who? What are we, what are we doing? What are we doing today? Hey, what's up? Hey, Andrew, back at it again with another podcast today. We're doing something a little bit different from the previous episodes that I've done. We're having a bit more of an open discussion about a certain book that has been passed around for. About a decade now and. Has polarized members of the anarchist community could put it. That way, today we'll be talking about the book, the infamous polemic. Desert by anonymous. For those who. You know, not aware of this extremely controversial text? Desert is a nihilist anarchist text first published in 2011 that is mainly directed at other anarchists. And seeks to address issues of climate collapse and revolution. It became somewhat of a meme to tell folks to read Desert. I'm not sure when that was, but I just remember seeing it a lot, I think in like 2020. Yeah, around 2019-2020, read Desert became a meme. Yeah, yeah, all over Twitter and Instagram and. Reddit. But of course. Being a thing that exists on the Internet, people naturally became torn on the subject of it. And so there are a lot of perspectives and opinions and think pieces about desert, some more or less accurate than others. But we are here to discuss the book, our personal experiences, reading it, things we think it gets right and wrong, and what we could potentially learn going forward. So I see the floor is yours. Whoever wants to. Go first. I mean, I'm a huge fan of the quote that the book takes is or that the that it takes its name from, which comes from, you know, Tacitus who was a a dude writing in the Roman period. And the exact quote that it comes from is and he's talking. Tacitus is talking about the Roman Empire robbers of the world. Now that the earth is insufficient for their all devastating hands, they probe even the sea. If their enemy is rich, they are greedy. If he is poor, they thirst for dominion. Neither E nor W has satisfied them. A loan of mankind. They are equally covetous of poverty and wealth, robbery, slaughter and plunder. They falsely name empire. They make a desert, and they call it peace. How a good *** quote. It is. It is. It is a solid, yeah. And obviously I think people living in the shadows of every empire that's ever existed can identify with that quote. It's, it's a powerful kind of central idea to hang your extended essay. I don't really know what the best term to refer to it is all. Yeah, it's a, it's a, it's a log essay. Yeah. It's a very long essay. As we talked about kind of coming into this, it's extremely 2000 tens. So free Arab Spring pre all the big uprisings and revolts we had in 2019 and 2020. There's definitely some stuff that it gets very right. And and I think kind of one of the ways in which it's had an impact on me is kind of I've, I've thought about what happens to sort of culture as the result of this kind of Hollywood engine that is heavily tied up with the United States military industrial complex as a process of desertification, of, of ideas and the ability to like, conceive of, of, of new futures. That said, I I I don't really. I haven't reread it in a very long time and haven't really felt. Called to in many ways, because I do think, I don't know. I think there's an extent to which it's been kind of left behind. Yeah, yeah, some of the things that have happened since, I think, yeah, I will see that. As someone who really. Came into my own as anarchist in like 2020, early 2020, although I had identified with it before. When I had read the book, I think it was in late 2020. We were late 20, late 2020. So when I read the book first time, I read it and honestly. There was some good. Some. Bad some some very outdated stuff and also some stuff that. I don't know, maybe the author felt it was like. Drone breaking at the time, but. You know, at this present stage just feels like. Common. Knowledge, yeah. Sense, you know, I mean it was it was groundbreaking in a way for like climate realism, right. Like this was this was written before you know this is written before climate Leviathan. This was written before the uninhabitable Earth. This was written before a lot of kind of the texts that view climate change is an absolute like this was written one year before hyper objects, which is really interesting actually because you know the whole premise of that book is that climate change is is done like it happened. We're we're like there there's no turning back the clock and the desert was written even before that like it was it was one of the first things. Now it of course it it's it's it's much more niche. But like it was if I if I if I look back and books and like impacted me is is one of the first books like that came out like timeline wise to take climate changes like yeah it's there's no saving it like there's no living in the 2000s there's no living in the 90s again it's like things are the like the world's not going to end. But things are going to get worse, right? Like that. And that is kind of a big, a big part of the book, because it's it's also, it's also not pro collapse. Like, it doesn't take collapse as an absolute, it doesn't take it, it doesn't, it doesn't subscribe to global collapse. And that's one of the misconceptions I think people have about the that they just assume it's like this collapse tumorous like misanthropic kind of text, but. I did not read it as that. Like, I first started around the same time you did. And I read it as a part of a lot of books I was reading to prep for the show when we, when we were writing our first five episodes on, like, on climate change and and and like the Crumbles. So I read read as a part of my kind of general research. And yeah, like, at that point, it was already kind of meme unified to be like, you know, like an anarcho denialist, like Doomer manifesto. And I read it and like, that's not what it's. They get all it's actually saying, like the opposite of that. Once I had read it, I was like I was really taking it back at how, how easily popular perceptions of a piece of media could, I mean honestly corrupted beyond recognition. Yeah. You know, like if people are bunch, people are telling, you know this that or the other about this in text or whatever, you know, it's kind of. She it kind of shakes you up to, like, actually consuming for yourself and then realize. How did you all get that? Yeah. How did you read that out of it? It is really interesting because I'm not even sure if they did read out of it or if that was the perception they had going into it. So they read it through that lens, and that lens basically, you know, changed the text in their head to fit that thing. Yeah. It is really interesting how, how it is so associated with, like, Dummer ISM. Yet, if you like, engage in good faith with the text. It's very much not a doomer manifesto anyway, although there are aspects of it that I am. That I think attitude wise that I am critical of but I think Chris was going to say something. Yeah. So just like I I really I I've always not liked this book like I read it back in I think she doesn't 17 2018 when it was first sort of like coming back. Yeah and I didn't like it then and I reread it this morning and I I like it even less now than I did then and and I think I think I actually I actually OK so like I I think. It's true that most of the text doesn't do the doomer thing, but I think I understand where people got it from because, you know, you have quotes in this, like, here's one. Yet I can already hear the accusations from my own camp, accusations of deserting the cause of revolution, deserting the struggle for another world. Such accusations are correct. I would rejoin that such millenarian and progressive myths are at the core of the expansion of power. And this is, this is what I really like. I think from an ecological perspective, it's sort of OK. I strongly dislike. Desert as an anarchist text because I think that's just wrong. I think, I think, I think there's there, there's, there's there's an ingrained defeatism in it that is so strong that it it it it it just it it, it like warps the author's perception of the past. Like you, you you get these things where he's talking about these, these counter he's talking about like, you know the what you call the classical anarchist movement from roughly like 1870 to really sort of ends with the defeat of the anarchists in Spain and like 37 and and he you know, they say things like. From Spain pre 1936 to the Jewish anarchists in North America, the illegal list of France and the Italian anarchist syndicalist of Argentina, the inhabitants of anarchist counter societies were always by definition active minorities. The minorities may have gotten larger in an instructional moments but they remained at minorities always and that's just wrong. It's factually wrong like these. These movements were not minorities like the like, the entire like the the like the the largest union in France was the C like in in the early 1900s. It was that that I usually see the sheep, that all all of the the. French, Spanish and Portuguese. Crunch speaking countries have a, they have one union that's called the GC and one union is called the GT. And I can't remember which ones which, but like like that was that was the largest union in France and it was a syndicalist union, right. Like it was like there's, you know, the same thing with Argentina, right. Fora like for a while was the largest union in Argentina. And I think, and this is this is sort of my problem with this, which is that, you know, this is the person who's basically like they talked about like they were born in the 70s and they've, they're writing this 2011 in just the midst of the collapse of sort of. Like the complete and total destruction of the old anarchist movement, right, the anarchist movement that had been borne out of sort of like the Zapatistas and the anti globalization movement. And they've been beaten so badly that, you know, I mean they were crushed, they were completely destroyed and they've been beaten so badly they they, they can't and they, they they literally can't imagine winning and think that like. Like revolution in general, like is is essentially a is a secular theology. They repeat this over and over and over again. It's like revolution is the theology, revolution is a myth, this and it's like. And this is, this is something that's just a product of, of defeat. It's not a product of sort of. Taking seriously the conditions. That are emerging around them. And you know, I was talking about this before the recording. It's like right after this is written. It's you get the movement of the squares and then you get occupy and it's like basically like every major city in the world goes into revolt. The revolts are anarchists inspired and. You know, and then desert like This is why desert vanishes for like 6 or 7 years because desert is is a piece that's written like it's it's, it's a piece that's that's. Only happens in a very specific part of a revolutionary cycle, which is when all, like every everything, has been crushed, all resistance has been crushed, everyone's losing hope, and then everyone starts reading desert again. And then the revolutions restart. And and at that point, like once once once there's like, you know, 200,000 people in the streets, again, like fighting the cops, it becomes less and less sort of like like that that part of its analysis becomes less and less relevant until, you know, inevitably everyone, like there's, there's a defeat and then everyone goes sort of. Like, and I think I think that's why it has the dumor Rep because it's it's it's the text that people read when you've been beaten in the streets. See yeah that's that's an interesting look at it because I mean I definitely agree with the revolution is an ideal like is a myth thing. Like I specifically within the context of the United States, which I believe that's what the books trying to mostly focus on they they do bring up other parts of the world and stuff, but it's definitely written by you know by an American. Like citizen that that is. I mean, I mean that that could actually be wrong. It it it may not be written by an American, but I in terms of reading it, it is kind of through like a very like Western lens of like revolutions not happening here. And I I definitely sympathize and agree with that viewpoint. And I mean, if you're in a point of being like, it was 2011, then occupy happened, I'm like, yeah, but occupy didn't. But that that also fit like every, every attempt has not succeeded in this country to get any kind of big meaningful change that we can push towards something that's like post capitalist. So yeah, I mean. I do think, I think it's it's it's it's mostly targeting people specifically like Communists or Marxists leninists who like are just waiting around for the revolution to happen and then don't do anything like that, right. That is, that is the thing that's trying to point but, but, but but but I think this is This is why it's a text that's like, that's not good for the moment. Because our, our problem isn't that like like the, the, the the problem right now isn't that there's no like there's no uprising on the horizon. Like everyone's in completely beaten down. No one's ever gonna go into the streets again. Our problem is that. Like, there's just, there's, there's, there's there's periodic uprisings everywhere. And every single time everyone is caught off guard. And every single time, no one's able to actually sort of mobilize off of it. And, you know, like, like, like, no, no, no one's been able to like, pivot it into something that's actually, like, transformative. But I think that that's a very different problem. Then the problem that desert is because desert has already abandoned the possibility that an uprising can win. That's, I mean, it's, I mean, I think it abandoned too. Yeah. And then let's specifically abandon the idea of, like, global revolution, right? That is, that is the thing that specifically targeting. They're saying smaller, specific, they're saying, like smaller local things actually can succeed in in a lot of ways, but they're trying to tie this idea of global revolution. It's like a pacifying idea, right? Just waiting around for this to happen and tying that to this. At at the time much more niche idea. Now it's now it's way more popular. But the idea of like global collapse and how people think if they can. People think believing in global collapse is smarter than believing in global revolution. They think it's more realistic. But the book saying no, this this idea of global collapse actually falls under all the same issues that Global revolution has. I think I'd want to sort of comment here. With regard to like the defeatist sort of reading in the text, I understand that reading. I mean, personally I distinguished gene like defeatism and Dummer ISM and I was thinking like my own personality and my own perspective, kind of like. Inoculates me in a way from like. Adopting that kind of defeatist attitude towards, you know, change, but I don't think the book is entirely. You know, dismissive of like. Revolution it just. I think the main thrust of it is that it's critical of the idea of like one global revolution, one global collapse. What it really emphasizes is that. You know, climate change brings new possibilities for new anarchies, plural, to develop worldwide in response to changing circumstances. But at the same time, you know, in some areas, things are going to. Get worse. In some areas things are gonna get better. And it's not that really 1 broad brush could be applied to the entire Earth, you know? But I I think, I mean, I think like this, this is another thing that they're really guilty of. Especially like there's an entire section in here where they just keep writing about Africa. And it's like, well, and then, you know, and they'll get pressed on it and they'll be like, no, no, we mean sub-Saharan Africa. And it's like, what, what are you talking like they, they, they, they won't name countries, they won't name movements, they won't name people. It's just they'll just write something about the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. And it's just like, well, I think that's evidence of the kind of what Garrison was talking about this. Right. And this is something you see all over the place with people writing about politics, with people trying to write about, like, particularly revolutionary politics in a global sense. I think it's usually a mistake to do that, for the reasons we've kind of discussed. Anytime I see a left wing, even as somebody who I think is generally on point, who starts talking about, for example, like extending their theories about revolutionary politics to places I happen to know just a little bit about, it's always very clear, like, oh, you don't know **** about Syria. Oh, you don't know **** about Libya. Oh, you don't know **** about Angola, like. And that's, and that's like, not even a moral failing. It's just that it's it's it's impossible really, to have in-depth knowledge of like, what's actually going on in those places and what's going on in those revolutions. It's why people default so much to the whole well, whatever side the US is on must be the bad side, and whatever side the Russians on must be the good side. It's the easiest way to look at that ****. I don't. I think that's. I think that's a worthwhile critique to make, and it's a critique to make any time that it happens, I I agree. With Garrison and with Andrew, that I think the thing that is that desert gets right. And the thing that I've seen in my own life is that, like, the opportunities we should be looking for are not suddenly that some sort of global revolution sweeps all of the things we don't like out of power and magically institutes something better comprehensively across the globe. It's it's it's room for little anarchies. It's what we saw in northeast Syria, right where the government pulls out. And people have an opportunity to do something not perfect, but better. And I think that is that's kind of one of the things we talked about a lot on this show. That's why mutual aid is valuable. It's why building these connections are valuable. It's because as things crumble, there will be opportunities to in local areas, piecemeal institute and and push for more just and and better ways of living. And I I think that if you're looking at kind of the. God, that level potentially optimistic point is that when you have enough of those and when they spread well enough and if communication is good enough, maybe the things that work will get adopted on a wider scale. And there's always the opportunity that when enough when ideas spread far enough, they have a tipping point and and they go viral, you know, so to speak. But I I I don't I I think that while there's a lot of specifics that desert gets wrong. I I do think they were ahead of the curve and recognizing that and I think it's it's a more productive. Way to look at the idea of revolutionary change, then we're going to finally have 1917. But everywhere, you know. With regard to the African chapter. The impression that I got while reading that chapter, and I think the book itself, references samba. I got the impression that the author had read. Economic ISM history of a movement by some number and they were just kind of like inspired by that I would see because as I do point out, they didn't like specify. The specific cultures, which is an issue considering, you know, the tendency that Westerners have of you know being to Africa, this large brush as if it's, you know all one way or the other. But I think what's. We do see now is, you know, from the Horn of Africa to South Africa to Nigeria to, I mean recently Sudan. I believe there are Africans smaller number organizing under the banner of anarchism and there are anarchic elements that continue to persist on the continent. Yeah, I mean, I I think that's like. You know, I mean one of the things that they sort of got, they got right was about how like this, this sort of the, the, the sort of renewal of the spread of urban anarchism they're talking about like Chile in particular, they got right, Indonesia, Bangladesh. Somewhat but, but but I think, I think there's there's another. Like my biggest issue with them in terms of the way they think about ecological stuff, that this comes, this is something I talk about with. Like they they they have this thing where they think that forager societies are like, OK, they're, they're they're more careful than most people to frame it as like the foraging societies can be egalitarian. But I I think they they they they wind up talking about these sort of like. The way that sort of foraging nomadic societies sort of inherently defy the boundaries of the state and like, that's true, but you can also have like nomadic foraging societies that have that are, you know, hereditary slave societies. And this is, yeah, this is a problem because there's a there's a lot in here about that that that's about sort of like they're, you know, they're they're taking this sort of like soft anti sieve. Yes, right. I was about to say that there's. Yeah, like it has a few lines where it does specifically say generalization is the cause of like, I think it's like civilization is genocide, which. Yeah, and that can't silly. Yeah, some of that is heavily influenced by civilizations commit genocide. Sure, they're saying that they do cause genocide. If you're, if you're trying to make the case that it seems to be that civilizations, well, I don't know. Every civilization does not commit genocide, but civilization gives you constant. Yeah, civilization gives you the framework that makes genocide possible. Well, like intentionally genes like intentional genocide possible. I don't know that I would agree with that because I think you see examples of genocide from hunter gatherer societies and from from, so possibly the societies and that. Obviously documentation on that isn't as extensive because we weren't documenting things for a lot of it. But you do have examples from from what we know of like the Americas of there were genocides committed by societies we would call stateless. So. I think I might argue that like genocide is a thing that human beings do in civilization. Yeah, because it allows us to do everything on a larger scale allows us to do way better genocides. That's definitely an argument. I think that's Fair. I I think I think my problem with it is, is that they they're going back into this sort of like they're going back into the the the you know, there's this inherent binary between foragers and settled societies and that you know, and and specifically they think that that that these sort that the foragers ideas are you know inevitably going to become Galatian. It's like that's not true. And it's not true in ways that you can see right now. In like, like they're like, they're like, there are lots of places right now where you can look at, you know, foraging societies that have incredibly right. Like there's there's like for example you, you get sort of, you get the Fulani joining like right wing Islamist groups, right and that like that kind of thing, I I think. It has a problem with. It's the same thing as looking at indigenous societies and and seeing them all on one side of the the fight with with colonizing nations. As opposed to I'm reading a book about the history of the Mapuche right now, which are historically like the indigenous group in Chile that resisted the law, and the indigenous group really. And you could argue in all of Latin America that resisted the longest and most effectively, but even then, when you look at like the campaigns of the Chilean government in the 1860s and 1880s, large. Like, significant chunks of the Mapuche sided with the government against other Mapuche. And like, that's the like, it's it's always a mistake. I think this is a good one of the things that you get out of the dawn of everything. It's always a mistake to like, look at any of these groups, hunter gatherers, stateless societies. It's like one thing or another, they're people and some of them sucked. Just like yeah, they're yeah. Anyway, though, there's there is one thing that I wanted to sort of push back against. Robert, you had said that genocide is a thing that humans do. I don't think I agree with that assessment. In this sense, or at least I rather I would like to clarify or give you an opportunity to clarify what you mean by that. I, you know, I don't know that it's just humans, but I think that genocide is a thing that as long as we have evidence in recorded history, it seems like we have done not just against our, not just against other humans, but against other kind of hominid species we have. We have examples of things that it seems fair to call genocide going back further than we have any kinds of written records, you know, villages in the Balkans that were, you know, burnt and people who like groups of people. Tribes and whatnot who seem to have been killed in mass. And you know, there's, there's other theories for some of that. Some of them may have been like people trying to stop a plate we don't plague or whatever, like there's not any kind of comprehensive solidity. But what we do know is that as long as we have documentations of humans doing things, we have documentations of things that we could call genocide. I see, I see. I think also look look into that a bit more, but I appreciate the clarification. Yeah, can I do a Balkans pivot? Go ahead, because there's, there's a, there's a thing I like. I like it genuinely disturbed me reading it in here about. The Serbs dream during the Bosnian genocide were so they they're they're quoting disturbing about that Oh yeah. But this is this is a I I OK so they're doing they're reading a quote from the book Gypsies Wars and other instances of the Wilds where he's talking this is about the Bosnian genocide. How is this possible in Europe at the end of the 20th century was the question that played obsessively through my mind what the war in former Yugoslavia forced us to adjusts the fact that people proved willing to make a conscious and active. Wish to embrace regression, barbarity or return to the wildness. Take the serve fighters who dreamed of a return to the Serbia of the epic poems where, quote, there was no electricity, no computers, when the servers were happy and had no cities, the breeding ground of all evil. And then this is, this is the next thing, that's that's the tax coming back and commenting on it. That some modern day militias reflect romantic desires while shelling towns, massacring villages and being and killed in turn should neither surprise us nor necessarily fully invalidate romance. It does, however, suggest, along with the honest expression of joy and destruction mouthed by some soldiers in every war as well as many anarchists, that there was a coupling of some sort between a generalized urge to destroy in a disgust that a complex human society. And there's another part slightly later on they're talking about. Ethnic diversity and autonomy will often emerge both from mutual aid and community and animosity between communities. I like to think in our history back this up, that self identified anarchists will never inflict such pain as Serb nationalist militias. An example I chose purposely for the Republicans. But we should admit that our wish to **** **** up is partly driven by the same urge to civilizational dismemberment that can be found in many interethnic conflicts and in the minds of fighters more generally, and I I I think that's ******. I think that's true. That's just, that's why I don't know. You know, I think there's commenting on a specific type of anarchist literature, which is like the make total destroy thing. And yeah, I've definitely, I have observed that in people the same the same urge that you're you were so broken down by everything that the only urge that is the only creative urge you have is to destroy the things around you. I've, I've seen that. I don't think they're necessarily celebrating that, but they're pointing out that that urge can be there. What I what I think they get really wrong here is that I don't think that's the urge that that is is like that. That's when you're dealing with interethnic conflict and you're dealing with genocide. I don't think that's the that's going on. And it's, you know, especially with the Serbs because the Serbs like, you know, like when an anarchist is doing make total destroy, right. They're, you know, they're like there's there's a very specific set of things are attacking or you know, attacking, attacking the physical infrastructure of the world. When the Serbs are doing the Bosnian genocide, like they have a very specific thing they're doing, which is killing Bosnian Muslims. And I think that's. Extremely different. Urge then the sort of like, I like, I I don't I don't think that's about sort of what it's civilizational dismemberment or whatever. That's about Islamophobia and genocide and and I think that's a different I I think the genocidal impulse is a, I think a very different one than the sort of the like the impulse to break the society that has harmed you. Yeah. I think it's important to draw a distinction between you can kill a **** load of people without it being a genocide. And I I think, and it's also one of those things, I think. Sometimes where people I think why there's hesitation to see certain acts in early histories, genocide is that they're not as complete as modern genocide. But but what a genocide really is, and I think it's important to lay this out, it's not necessarily killing every member of an ethnic group or religious group or whatever kind of community. It is stopping their ability to propagate and continue themselves. That's why things like destroying churches and destroying cultural destruction markers are part of genocide, and it's also why a lot of genocides they left. Women and children alive, they would kill all the men and they would take the women in and they would breed with them. They might kill the kids sometimes, but it was this. The goal was not necessarily we need to kill all of you. It's we want to kill this, this culture, this population. I think the, I think the, I don't. Yeah. I think the parallel he's trying to make here or they or she is that that like. That type of like genocidal cultural destruction is targeted against specific groups. The difference here is with this type, like, you know, he's writing this for other anarchists. He's pointing out like our destructive urge, our cultural urge, isn't even for a specific group. It's just for everything. And that can be unhealthy sometimes. Sometimes you. There's ways to do make total destroy. That's totally fine, but that can go to unhealthy places. Now he's not equating like ethnic cleansing with that. He's like, they are they, they are different. But when you when your total destroy urge is against all of culture, then yeah, that that can like, that's something you should probably ponder. Yeah. I mean that's definitely I I would agree that that's the thing that's potentially problematic, right? Like with a number of different desires, there's a way in which that can lead to people doing really ****** ** things. Yeah, it's like, it's like it's pointing out the that type of accelerationism not specific to ideology, but just like. Accelerationism in general. I mean I I think when I when I talk about things like the the fact that because not every culture commits genocides and every civil civilization does and throughout history there have been more that found the idea repugnant than found the idea acceptable. But it is really a consistent thing in history and I think the lesson with that isn't necessarily that everything could ending genocide. So I don't think the lesson is necessarily like oh you should look at make total destroy is if you know the this kind of trend in anarchist thought could lead to genocide. It's that. People in groups are nearly always capable of killing a **** load of other people for a variety of reasons, if plied in the proper ways. And so those of us who seek mass movement should always be conscious of that. Because human beings in large groups can do wonderful things, but there's a long history of them doing really ****** ** **** sometimes in ways that surprise the people that got the large group of human beings together in the 1st place. The other thing I wanted to bring up is kind of more circling back to like the doomer kind of idea. Because yeah, a big, a big part of the book is trying purposely is to disillusion people with this idea of global revolution and dissolution, people with the idea that we can save the earth because we can't. So that's a big thing. And 1st, I think I think for some people if you stop right there and you that's how you end that thought, yes, that does lead to numerous them obviously like that, that is, that is. But the books, the book doesn't stop there. The book continues on from there. Now they continue on from a nihilistic. Standpoint I'm not a nihilist. I prefer absurdism, I prefer discordianism. But those two things are pretty caught like they are. They are more similar than not. Is that you? You can be disillusioned with global revolution and the idea to save the earth, but that should not change what we do or how we feel or operate as anarchists. It's not that we should be disillusioned and then do nothing and step aside that we should be disillusioned and then find that. Disillusionment itself a form of liberation, like the freeing nature of being free from this idea of revolution is that, like, you know, we are living our lives now. Don't live for a revolution. Live your life now and do things now because that's what you actually have. So it's like that type of nihilistic, absurdist, Discordian thing. This is, this is, this is, this is where I come back to having problems with it again, because this is literally just, there is no alternative except it's it's, yeah. And that's. Two anarchy. But I mean but that's how I live. Like that's like that is like, I think, I think this is a bad, I think that's a bad plan. And I and I think if you, if you look, if you look at what happens with because we, you know this this was the thing that was really big in the American anarchist movement like in you know, from about 2017 like to roughly now. And it's like. A lot of people were in the 2020 uprising, too. Yeah, most of that didn't succeed like that. Like, not really like, but I think like, like, this is like, I think, I think this is like. One of the reasons it didn't work, like, OK, this is like the the the thing that's important. One of the things important revolutions, even when they don't succeed, is that for a very brief window you actually can like, it becomes it becomes possible to imagine another world. Yes. And what, what, what this entire thing is saying is don't do that. That's not that's not. No, no, that's. That's that's that is not what it said. It is absolutely not. This is. No, no, no. OK. Can I finish this sentence? Yeah. Like, yeah. OK. So what? What, what, what? What I'm saying here is that what? What? They've. Abandoned, right. The thing that they're giving up when they when they give up revolution, when they're like, this is a progressive myth. This is like I theology. What what they've abandoned completely is our human capacity to actually shape a different world. What they're arguing is that like the, the, the, the, you know, essentially the the combination of of ecological and social forces are strong enough that humans, humans no longer have the capacity to reshape the world into a way. That is different than this and that this is now the eternal presence and, you know, and and yeah, inside of the eternal present, they're saying you should be fighting for the same thing you should be fighting for. Like, you know, you should. You should be in in in your own sort of local domain. You should be like. I mean, there are some other recommendations are wild like I I think. I think their conservation stuff is. Sketchy given. I mean it is, but it doesn't. It doesn't apply to an eternal present though. Like they lay out like the world is is changing a lot and will for the next 50 years. Like there will be massive changes in how things are set up in the next, like in the next century, and we need to take advantage of that. We need to turn those liabilities into assets and start making those little anarchies like that. That is what it's trying to do. And I would add as well that as it points out, the situations in Basingstoke and Bangladesh are different in the present and will be in the future. You know, what I think is, is trying to be sort of. Drilled in here is that? And it's in the text and how I read it is that. Yes, things will be different in different parts of the world and. Probably, maybe they won't be this, you know, or as the what this is. They won't be, you know, this one global revolution. But. At the end of the day, I think. What it's trying to emphasize is that we don't have the structures. And I think what part of what is trying to emphasize is that we don't have structures in place right now to launch an instruction we can meaningfully defend. And so that is the sort of thing we should be focusing on in the end. But they, but they, but this, this, this, this is going back to my problem with it going going back to the thing with the they they go on the rants about how anarchists are like a permanent cultural majority and will never become a majority. Is that even even in situations where people had that capacity and did it, they go back, they they project. Back onto it. Go no, no, no, no. They could have done that. Like it's it's not about. It's it's it's they they have a belief and this is something that they do explicitly say that at that anarchist will always be a permanent minority right there. There will always be an active but permanent minority and that is the. Like like that specifically, I think is just a an actual rejection of. The belief that we collectively can make a better future because if if if you think that our idea is that you know if being free, right if if society was mutually if you think that that is permanently always going to be a minority, you are, you know, you are condemning. You're condemning the future to. Like the people who don't believe that and. And I understand why, especially if you know if, if, if, if the only thing you've ever known is 50 years of when the neoliberals actually did the thing right. They took over the entire world, restructure the entire world economy, seized every government. Like if if if that's what you lived through. I understand why you would think that. But I I think the fact that it was possible to do it from the other direction is in some ways a sense that like, yeah, we could do it too. I don't know, sorry, I will stop harping on this one specific point. It just. Extremely annoys me. I think it's not giving up the idea that the world can be better. It's that like we don't need to have the majority of people be anarchists to make the world better. We can still spread our own anarchies and people don't need to self subscribe as anarchists, but as long as we start building those systems in the places around us, people start using them and people might start like living them out even if they don't call themselves anarchists right? Like the majority of people will probably prefer some some type of state or government. You can even look at Rojava and be like, yeah, it's still is state ish in some ways, but some ways not right. Like, yeah, it it it it's going, we're not going to get an anarchist world. That's not going to happen, but we can make it better through the lens of anarchy. And I think that's what it's kind of trying to say, yeah, I I think it's it's worth acknowledging that, like, yeah, the majority of people are never going to be what anarchists are right now, which is people who comprehensively reject the systems they live in. Most people are always going to think more like. Well, I want to be comfortable. I want I, I support changes kind of that that, you know, fix this thing that I've noticed as a problem or that thing. Most people are never going to comprehensively reject the system. But I do have hope that in time and given, you know, space to build things and show people other ways and improve life for people, you can get to a point where most people believe a lot of the things that I think are important. And I think that's what's on time. I think that's what they call themselves. Sorry. I think that's what the specific lists tend to advocate for in terms of through the process of social intuition in these larger movements, generalizing the ideas of anarchist ideas as a whole, making them more common throughout the population. It's only trying to get each and every person in the world to self identify as an anarchist, communist or whatever. It's more so that you're trying to. Spread these ideas to the point where they are. I I suppose the the common sentiment, the popular will. Yeah, like, I it's it's that's like the point of culture jamming and and and **** like that. Like, it's the the idea that, like, it doesn't so much matter. Like what? Like what matters is inserting the things you think are important into the culture and getting people to identify with them and understand them. The the terms that they specifically use aren't aren't as important like that. That's not really what matters. Well, OK, I I don't think they're arguing that, though, because, I mean, like, they have lines like this. We cannot, however, remake the entire world. There are not enough of us. There never will be. But then, you know, like they they they they specifically talk about the Oh well, they don't have to all be anarchists and, you know, I mean, here's their line. There is unfortunately little little evidence from history that the working class, never mind anyone else, is intrinsically predisposed to libertarian ecological revolution. Thousands of years of authoritarian socialization favor the jackboot. Neither we nor anyone else could create a libertarian or global. Or ecological global future by expanding social movements further. There is no reason to think that in the absence of such a vast expanse of global transformation, congruent to our desires will ever happen. I think, I think, think the keyword there is global. Like, yeah, that's they're trying to write about that and it's important. Like they're writing this specifically for anarchists who are kind of already nihilistic, kind of already anti slip, right. They are writing this for other anarchists, that this isn't a book to radicalize a normie or a communist by anarchists. For other anarchists to be like, hey, you already kind of think the world's kind of going to ****. Here's a way that we can still do things despite the world being ******. Because once you're once you're disillusioned, it's hard to be delusioned again. Like it's it's once you give up on the idea of global revolution, once you give up on the idea of global collapse, it's hard to reenter those even if you see things happening there. Like there can still be uprisings and revolts, absolutely. But there is a distinction of between uprisings and revolts and, like, a global revolution, right? And especially specifically like the Marxist Leninist sense. And I'd also like to continue the paragraph you're reading from there. We had said that as anarchists we or they had said that as anarchists we are not the seed of the future society in the shell of the old, but merely one of many elements from which the future is forming. That's OK when faced with such skill and complexity there is value in non survival humility even for in sugar. Yeah but this is this is just this is just giving up this is this is the old it's too complicated it's too like and like I I think I don't know like it's it's it's it's giving up on it's giving up on trying to do any kind of on on like humans as a whole trying to do any kind of large scale. Like, you know, like it's trying to do, and I just feel transformation of what the society disagree. To continue that, that quote, to give up hope for global anarchist revolution is not to resign oneself to anarchy remaining any protest, seaweed puts it well, revolution is not everywhere or nowhere. Any bioregion can be liberated through a succession of events and strategies based on the conditions unique to it, mostly as the grip of civilization in that area weakens through its own volition or through the efforts of its inhabitants, civilization didn't succeed. Bright ones, and so it's undoing might only occur to varying degrees in different places at different times. Even if any areas, seemingly fully under the control of authority. They always places to go to live in to love in and to resist from and we can extend those species, the global situation may seem beyond us, but the local never is. And I I think that's beautiful. I think that's like a that's one of the things that keeps me alive is ideas like that, honestly and at the same time I will sue hold the opinion that. None of us, including this author, is a fortune teller. You know, that's that's picture of the future is not the only possibility, you know, and I think in a lot of ways, in a lot of ways, I believe that. They can and have already been proven wrong, you know, like and there's an issue that I really take a lot of contention with the book. Part of the book that really ****** me off is the sort of persistence of the overpopulation myth. Yeah, that was. I don't remember it being so consistent. It's. I reread it a couple of weeks ago. Yeah. And also this sort of nonchalance the author seems to have about like mass die offs and that kind of thing, you know, I think that's. That's very troubling to me. That's very specific to its type of antitussive literature. That's like we view civilization is going to progress towards genocide anyway, and the way to actually avoid more deaths is to kind of help the collapse along, because that'll end civilization quicker. So therefore less people, less people will be born, so less people will have to die. So that's the type of thinking they have. I don't necessarily agree with that. Necessarily, but like yeah, that is, that is very typical of this type of literature. So again, because it is written mostly for other anti save anarchists. But like, yeah, it's not like pro genocide. It's saying genocide will happen. So the way to make less of it is to actually kind of slowly start kind of help helping the crumbles along essentially. And while still, you know, making people's lives better in your immediate community, like with that, with that very local focus, which. So again, not saying I necessarily agree with that, but that's the, that's the type of thought it's engaging with. I mean, I I think that's true of some of it, but there is definitely a lot of like. Panic about there's going to be 9 billion people and. Like population growth, yeah, out of all of that, all of all the older population stuffs a little iffy. You know, there is a, there is a discussion to have on carrying capacity, but we are not there yet. We right now we way overproduced for them for the amount of people we have. Yeah, that and that. I don't know. That also frustrated me immensely. They're like, yeah, we we have because they're talking about carrying capacity, right. But they're like, oh, we already can't. We have a billion people going hungry. And it's like, yeah, but that's not about the carrying capacity. That's just that's about distribution, which is literally distribution that that idea gained more prevalence after dessert was written. We kind of more understood like like culturally that it is a distribution issue, not necessarily a production issue. Now we do over produce, right, because and the amount of production we have contributes this tough like climate change and that is bad. So we should tone down production, but we should make ways that it's more sustainable and ecological. Yeah, that I think that does point towards the data nature of the text. I think also my my last like thing with it is I. I I think I think it it it could have benefited a lot from like in an indigenous stewardship perspective because the way it thinks about particularly like the way things but wildness versus conservation is just very messy and. Yeah if it falls it falls. It it it it does a better job of it than some other anti save things that I've seen. But it definitely falls into the like trap of like here is the Wilds and then any attempt to manage it is you know is, is, is civilization and you need to go back to the wild and it's like well it does already stewarded and managed. Yeah yeah that is the one. Yeah it does fall on that slope of like nature being. The other that is sacred, which isn't necessarily a great idea, nor is it really true. Yeah, this is very 2010, very true. Very 2010. Yeah, yeah, right. I think the the book is. Critical of conservation and sort of that sort of binary way and I agree that. An indigenous stewardship perspective was sorely needed, but at the same time, I do think that the. Whether the book criticizes or rather just. Points out the SU conservation we may have been on May still be new for some people. You know, the idea that these sorts of. Government conservation projects, which sort of. Preside over this sort of static vision of nature and ecology and stuff that is supposedly threatened by humanity. I think criticizing that approach to. Nietzsche is good. I mean this sort of romanticization of the wild that is very typical of anti sieve text and thought is. Very much, Auntie Sue, but. I do believe that people should look. Or should rather resist these sort of. Conservation impulse. As I was rereading it. A couple weeks ago. I wanted to know what you guys thought of. The section of the book that speaks of the different. Modern different the the idea of 4th and 5th generation war. Oh boy, that's a. Hmm, I feel that that has been sort of. A controversial approach to. Analyzing conflict so I figured out as you have been in, you know, actual warzones robot, that you might have a thing or two to say. I mean it's the kind of thing that we should probably cover in in detail on because this is a lot of like William Linde stuff. I think he's the guy who came up with the idea of like 4th generation, warrantless leased and it's it's basically the, it's the idea that warfare today is conducted through a lot of stuff that's not conventional weaponry, right. So stuff like, like, like like putting bot networks together to like. Push social division, you know, through social media or carrying out cyber attacks on infrastructure, disinformation, all of that kind of stuff, which is I I, I think, accurate. I've been reporting on what you could call 5th generation warfare since some 2014. I think it's. I think to the extent that it's relevant here, I think one thing that people on the left need to acknowledge is that they have been blindsided by the effectiveness that the far right has adapted to. The key components of this kind of warfare, and I think nothing is more key than social engineering and disinformation. And they've been much more successful at it over the last release, since 2015 in particular, than the left has by basically everywhere, every single invite, I think, every single measure of of success. And I think this is something we should save in, in depth for another day. But I I think that it is worth acknowledging that this is and I I also think that and this is again part of a bigger conversation, we talk about the concept of like culture jamming. When we talk about like operation **** **** you know, which is Discordian idea, all of which you can see is kind of pre predecessors to the concepts of fifth generation warfare. I think there's a strong argument to be made that those efforts by leftists in the 80s and 90s in particular actually contributed to the substantial right. In victories that we're seeing right now in this space. And I I think maybe it's I think there's a number of reasons for that including some to some extent the idea of arrogance that that what that we were just too smart that they were never going to figure out how to utilize the same means we had or to kind of judo like take the momentum for that and spin it around on us. But they were and they did and yeah that'll that'll lead into another episode. We'll have to talk about this in more detail that's something like Grant Morrison actually talks a lot about in regards to discordianism and this type of. How, how? You know, he used to work for a company called Disinformation Back when disinformation was. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And now it's like one of the leading causes of mass death in the world. Right. Yeah. So he that is something that Morrison talks about a lot in terms of how they did have that arrogance and now the same forces that they used in hopes of making the world better and now being used to regress the world and make it worse. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I had a big copy of disinformation on my coffee table. When I was 19, I just ordered 10. Good. There's some fun essays in there, Gary. There sure is. All right. That'll probably. I mean, did you have more to say on that, Andrew? I just wanted to say that, you know, regardless of the uncertain future, regardless of your stance on that, this message, however flawed. You know, as the minor birds in Aldous Huxley's Island so often repeat. We can and should pay attention to what we can do to support ourselves for whatever outcome, you know through, you know, projects within the species we inhabit. I believe that. I guess it could be the seed of the new world. I I do believe that we have. An impact, a huge impact on society and on politics and. I believe there are still many possibilities for liberty. Still. Yeah, I I do as well. I think that acknowledging you know failures both of of of, you know ideas and of of methods doesn't mean giving up hope or or ignoring the successes of of those same things which, which were are also present. Yeah. So I don't know. Stay optimistic. Read something doesn't have to be dessert, but just go. Go read a thing. Go read the back of your shampoo bottle. Yeah, back of your shampoo. But especially if it's. Your branners a lot of good stuff in there. Alright, that's gonna do it for us this week. Take care. Yeah, for today at least. Welcome to it could happen here, the podcast we already recorded and I messed up, or something happened with the zoom and we lost the audio. So now we're recording it again, as is, as is the cycle of life. Hopefully I can. I'm now on my 10th shot of espresso of the day and it is 8:00 PM. So I'm, I'm ready. I'm, I'm ready this time. Today we're gonna be doing another one of our chronicles into open source and oscient style research or open source verification and this kind of side of of generally, you know, this is kind of a field of like anti fascist research and journalism. So we're looking at one of these case studies. But today I have someone. With me, Alistair from Opossum Press is here to talk about OSINT and and this type of research. Hello? Hey. Thank you for being with me again on this, on this call, on this very deja vu experience for us. I would, uh, actually first like to, uh, talk about how a possum press got started as like a collective of of people dedicated towards this goal of, you know, surveying the the the fascist creep. Uhm, I I had an interest in in journalism. I have no experience in it, but I have other friends that are into writing and stuff and I I just kind of. Reach out to friends like, hey, would anybody be interested in doing this? And there are several friends that were like, hell yeah, let's do this. And that's pretty much it. After we got it all formed, we set up some open source until like workshops and we've about every other week we get together for two to three hours and learn stuff. Lovely. Actually, most of my stuff is usually done alone in my computer dark when I'm on my again 10th cup of coffee of the day doing OSINT in a group of people like that sounds like it could be actually kind of fun. So yeah, we're going to. In our last episode, we talked about how I tracked down and found out who Rittenhouse was the night of of that happening in Kenosha. And today we're gonna be talking about someone related to January 6th of the the infamous zip tie guy as he became known for like 2 days on the Internet before he got his actual day. First I guess I probably I probably, if in case you haven't listened to the previous episode I did on Rittenhouse, should probably kind of explain what open source stuff is and what like OSINT is and verification so. It's about trying to track down information using open sources, huh? On the Internet. So in terms of like, nothing is it's, it's all it's, it's, it's, it's it's already sitting there. Nothing requires like special access. Nothing requires, you know, you to hack into anyones system. It's it's stuff is just the stuff that's already sitting there. The data, whether that be, you know, geographical data, personal data, data from social media accounts, data from every time you've entered your e-mail into a random website that you maybe didn't know. Quite what's going on, but you did it some that's that gets stored somewhere as data and someone can probably find it. So all this stuff about you on the Internet that is all open if you do the digging. Often cases this results in going through social media profiles. That is a a good portion of OSINT work is learning how to use Google really well and how to how to how to go through social media. Start using like Google search operators. Start using social media tools that help you sort through information. Is there information? Is there? You just have to learn how to sort through it, right? Because there's just so much of it? So that's kind of the gist of what open source stuff is. You know eventually you can get into stuff like using like Python, using code and scrapers like all that stuff is, is, is, is there too. But for our purposes we're going to stick to the more simplistic stuff because this is an audio format and I'm, I'm not going to start explaining Python code on a podcast, right? So let's, let's, let's turn back the clocks a year, a little over a year and it's a January 6th. What's kind of you or your collectives reaction just to kind of watching things? Unfold, you know, like as a researcher, every every time I look at these types of, you know, protests, you know, whether they be big or small, always part of my brain is like trying to make connections and do stuff, right. So as January 6 is unfolding, what's what's kind of going through everyone at a possum press his head. The the first thing that seemed to be collective in everybody's mind was, Oh my God, none of these people are wearing face mask. Like, the immediate thing is this is probably going to be really easy for a lot of people. There is nobody, nobody is in any type of like block or trying to hide their identity in at all. Something you see the European fascists actually doing more often. There was a, I think a video from Germany of a whole bunch of far right dudes, just Ian Black bloc because black box atactic. So yeah, but in the states there, specifically on January 6, it was yeah, no one was really worried about keeping their identity. They really do not think what they were doing was wrong. I think the other thing we were a lot of us were really angry. Like, we had been, like, yelling that this was going to happen, screaming it out, like trying to get people to pay attention. And we got blown off so much. I remember just, like, a few days before I got in an argument with a Facebook friend. I'm like, people need to be paying attention. Like, they're planning something. They're like, oh, it's fine, it's fine. And then, you know, just a few days later, I'm like, oh, is it fine? Like, that is kind of always the curse of surveilling all of these things. Would they be like a specific event or some movement in general? Right. People who are really into Q Anon before the libs knew what Q Anon was and were warning about it for years before, you know, it resulted in people dying, right? That's that's kind of always the curse of these things. So it's it you get, you get the mix of the shock and horror of the thing finally happening and a weird relief. It's, it's, it's, it's, it's, it's it's a very bizarre feeling to watch these things unfold because you're like, oh. Vindicated. But it sucks that I'm vindicated, right? I remember like, the December watching all these groups, like, I was just, it was just filled with dread. I knew something was going to happen. I didn't know what was going to happen, and it was just so much anxiety. And then, like, it's funny January 6, after it happened, like, it all went away. I was able to get a decent night's sleep just because there was. I didn't have that buildup of suspense of what what it is it going to be. What's it gonna look like? How bad is it gonna be? Actually kind of had that release, yeah. Unfortunately they they were all like amateur and didn't know what they were doing and it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Well, I think As for the open source stuff, I'm gonna kind of walk us through chronologically of in terms of the the journey of the zip tie guy because I was doing like archiving on January 6th, but zip tie Guy was really the only dude I was interested in identifying there was. There was a lot of other people doing really great identification work. I was also generous 6. I was going through all the social media history of Ashley Babbitt, archiving all of her Twitter and Facebook like. Years of stuff. I was to chronicle how she went from like an Obama voter to Q Anon from proponent. So that was what I was doing and I was writing an article with Bellingcat about that. But the only other guy I wanted to like identify was zip tie guy because he was really interesting. He was one of the few guys that was masked up. He had what he had visible weapons on him. He was obviously carrying zip ties. You know, it gives you images of like, Oh yeah, it's like they're planning to capture and execute people. That was like the general. The vibe of that. So he was the only person that was actually put working to identifying and I put a decent amount of work in. Now I I failed where other people succeeded and we can talk about like why in a SEC but. For like a day at least, all we had to go on was the picture of the guy holding the zip ties in a mask. There's a few other pictures of him around from that day, but it's mostly mostly one picture. And the the the biggest clue that we had to start with what, what, what, what? Why don't you explain what the what the first clue is and how that maybe peaked your interest. He had two patches on his vest and one of them was a thin blue line patch, but it was in the shape of the state of Tennessee. So so yeah, in terms of having a decent lead that is like, OK, well that that narrows it down to one of 50 states probably, right. Yeah. I should say I'm, I'm from Knoxville. So like it being Tennessee that I picked up on that because that's my state that it becomes a local problem. I and as someone in Oregon I definitely understand that. Feel like of of, yeah. Would fascism becomes a local problem of. Yeah. So that definitely peaked your interest. Specifically, but then also gives a really good lead for like where to look, because all odds are he's not trying to do a meta thing by tricking us into giving us a false lead. Generally, people don't do that as often in real life as they do in television. But there's still plenty of other ways to detect. I mean, I I love, I love detecting, and there's there's enough, there's enough stuff to do otherwise that making it needlessly complicated is honestly, I'm I'm I'm fine with it not being that. So yeah. We had, we had that to go off initially. So starting looking for like far right activity in Tennessee. Now I was an outsider so I didn't really know where to start in terms of specific rallies, but I know you at what point did you start looking, trying to like go through pictures of specific rallies to try to like match clothing or stuff. I think it was probably, it may have been that day or the day after. Is it when I started going through the notebooks that I had? Like names of just people we suspected may become problems. And I started looking at their profiles again and you know. Didn't find anything and in our research that we had already done, we didn't see anything on it. Yeah, that was kind of the kids for me as well with just the picture of the zip tie guy with the patch. I mean, it's it's a lead, but there wasn't tons to go on. But thankfully, thankfully our our, our good friends at January 6th were giving us more clues as because as The Simpsons meme goes, videotaping this crime scene was the best idea we ever had. So I'd like January I think 7th. There was a a live stream video that was kind of circulating through like anti fascist group chats. It was, it was posted like publicly to get everyone's attention on it on January 8th. But for like a day it was kind of passing through back channels and throughout in this live stream which is yeah there was so many people were live streaming that night and it is kind of surreal thing to watch of them. This, this live stream in particular is zip tie guy if he was friends. I think his mom and a few and just ran into people from January 6th all hanging out at a hotel room afterwards. Like it's it, it is it is the night of the 6th and they're all just hanging out again, totally like. No masks. They're they're they're in a hotel lobby, no masks. And they're just, like, hanging out and chilling, like, sitting on the couch and chatting for, like half an hour. It's one of the weirdest videos to watch all all of the live streams from that night are so surreal because it is like this transitionary period of, like, after the capital attack but before every before. Like, people, like, go down on them so they don't really know how to behave. They still think what they did was kind of fine, even though at this point I think, like four or five people are dead. But it's so weird. Just watch. You know, just interact like such normal people in this moment. Like after they did this thing, then they go in this hotel room and they're acting completely normal. So it's it's just a weird video in general, but what it does have is someone in the same outfit as a zip tie guy with no mask on. You actually can see his full face. Yeah, getting to see his full face was a. Big moment for big help, big help because we everyone, everyone was looking for pictures of this guy without his mask, all like for the entirety of the day. So now having a whole video where we can see like all of the angles of him was great. It was perfect, the best that the best thing that was really the beauty of of all of of all of all the January 6 documentation is how many people will live streaming themselves doing crimes and their friends. It did. It did make the archiving and well, not the archiving part. Archiving is always painful. Tedious, but it made the actual research afterwards a lot easier because there was so much documentation of it. So yeah, we we got, we got this video. I'm gonna explain how I kind of took this video and failed to reach the conclusion, and then we can talk about how you succeeded. But first, but first we're going to hear some ads from our lovely products and services. Robert was here for our previous recording that we tried and I failed. And he made some very good jokes and very good segues about how all of our sponsors support insurrection, just like January 6th. And if I try to repeat the jokes, it'll be stupid. So I'm just going to, I'm just going to give you the sense there was a joke and now you're going to be left with that dissatisfaction. So bye, goodbye. Here's some ads. OK, we're back and I'm going to give a extremely brief rundown on how I failed to do well. I I didn't fail to do research. I did research. I just didn't reach a proper conclusion, and I knew that. So the, the, the other, the other thing about zip tie guy. Was he he had he had the patch of like the thin blue line in Tennessee and then at at at then I soon after got the the video of his face and interacting with people. And the the other thing is I think we the hat he was wearing in this uptight guy photo was I think was tracked back to be our favorite coffee company. Black Rifle, coffee merchandise. It was it was like what was what was one of the hats they sell so. Me being clever. I'm like, OK, here's this background for coffee hat, this patch in Tennessee. I know Black Rifle coffee is based out of Tennessee. I'm gonna go look through everyone who works for black coffee, which I mean isn't a bad instinct as an outsider, but it it it it it did not it did not succeed. But The funny thing is, is that look while looking through all the employees have black rifle coffee. All of them do look identical to zip tie guy. They all say characteristics. They all look exactly the same, all their their beards, their nose. Their forehead their hair all of them identical every single one of them to the point where the only way I could tell that it wasn't zip tie guy was being like OK. No, he has a mole here. He has like a birthmark here this way. His like his eyes are his eye wrinkles are different. So it's like it's going down to the very like fine-tuned facial features because all of their face shapes are like identical. I think there was a point that I had the same instinct. I think I I know there's a point that I went through the black coffee rifle. All of their people look at yours. I don't know if it was for Eric Munchel or if it was like maybe around the Rittenhouse stuff. I don't know. Yeah, so that that's that's what I spent my time doing is going through everybody who works there. Uh, but but by the time I kind of gave up on that, the identity was already discovered and posted by your team at a possum press. So how how did you get from, you know, the zip tie guy picture, then the light, the archived live stream video of him without a mask to to the point where you could say, hey, this is his name. It's a I wasn't even really in contact with like, we as a group weren't messaging each other, trying to figure this out together. But we were like, it turns out a few of us were working separately. So while I'm going through social media, a friend in Nashville was going through pictures of the protests from there over the summer, and they ended up finding about five different pictures, I think. And we knew. And we knew most of the people in the pictures that are maybe like one or two that we did not know. And one was always Eric Munchel and he's wearing the exact same gear he wore January 6th. I say Eric Munchel, we didn't know his name yet then, so. From there we kind of, we went ahead and posted what we had to Twitter and then we went back to the social media and I started looking through the. Profiles that were the people we knew, and sure enough, one of them, Kurt Dennis, had a live stream that was telling the story. The same story that Eric Mitchell told in that 30 minute video and he actually, while telling it, he's like, yeah, my buddy Eric. Great. So at that point, we go to his friend's list and sure enough, he only has one Eric there and it's Eric Munchel. And there we go to that page and find some of the same gear in the background of the pictures that he has publicly posted. Yeah, Healy posted pictures of him and his gear with like, guns. And yeah, you can, you can track all this, like, facial like, like, like, like birthmarks and stuff. They're all the same. So yeah, you and that. That's you. You definitely got him. Yeah, their own mistakes. Yeah, that's that's my favorite part. Like they they gave us his identity. They often, if not handled themselves to you on a silver platter. They at least have a platter. They they often there's often enough front, right? The reason why these things are solved because there are enough bread crumbs to follow. And often they kind of leave pretty big chunks of bread. Just the the fact that, again, adding to the surreal aspect of that whole live stream video, that the fact that he's like you, you matched it. By telling the same, you could hear them someone tell the same story. It's just such a weird, surreal thing. Yeah. So I think in terms of like ocean stuff, what this case study in particular really highlights is the importance of archival stuff, right. The reason why you were able to solve this and not me is because I wasn't. I mean, I, I, I, I I did my own archival thing for archiving like the video, but the way that you were able to really crack this open and. Everyone else who worked on it is because you had like those lists of connections of people who are already kind of active in this, like Alt right far right scene within your local community. Like you already have documentation of the major players who they interact with, or you already had pictures of this guy in gear with other known people. So the fact that there was already previously work archived really made the success of this so much more possible. That's what they got. People's Plaza in Nashville during their protests they were really big on documenting. They documented everything with the police and any counter protesters they would. They had professional photographers out there making sure we had good clear quality pictures of like everybody on the other side as well and that definitely helped us a lot. Yeah because off especially before January 6th they there was they did a decent job of archiving themselves. Well not not archiving, but like filming themselves and documenting themselves and then you know it takes takes out the research to then archive that. So not only is it important just to like look at the research and look at like the documentation that they that people do of themselves, but then make sure that you have a source for that that's not their own uploading of it, right. So like a great example is like. All of the live streams from January 6, including like this one from the hotel room. Pretty soon it was deleted by the person who posted it because they realized, oh, maybe I shouldn't have this living record of my crimes, but at that point people already saved the video they they already like. I already ran it through a video saving program that I had. So it's it's important not only to again archiving, having, having, having previous documentation of people and known players, but then as new information is coming out, make sure you make separate. Copies of that for your own sake, so that you actually have it. And then you're not going to be stuck looking for something that's gone, right? The worst case scenario is like, you know that there was an important thing, but you just don't have access to it anymore. It's like you you remember seeing it, but you didn't save it, and now it's gone. That's a horrible feeling to do when you're trying to get this kind of research done. And like it happens, we all we all make mistakes like this. I definitely have. That happened to me, actually, this week. Yeah. It happens all the time. It happens to be. Happens to be all the time. I'll I'll look at something and be like, I should probably save this, I get distracted, or I just don't want to because archiving is boring and tedious. And then I check again. That's gone. I'm like, well that's I should have archived it. So on on top of all of the archiving stuff, which in general anti fascist research is really that. That's the thing it really excels at. Even like above above journalism is like, you know getting like traditional journalism is like getting a good documentation of like key fascist players in your area. Key people who are kind of pushing far right stuff and far right violence. Actually getting like a good, a good a good idea of who they are and having that knowledge always handy is something that. This type of research is, is, is really that that is really what it excels at or like what, what the, what those researchers excel at. This is the thing that they do very well. I think a lot of us probably started doing it just out of curiosity, looking into people. And I said that's that is certainly how I started. Like I've been doing it long before. I just didn't know that's what it was called because like I'd see somebody make a messed up comment online. I'm like, who is this person? And then you know. Trying to find as much as I can about them. Yeah, that's that is certainly how I got started with this type of thing, because it it it it can be fun to look for bad people. It is, it is, it is kind of pleasurable. And one of one of the again another big contributing factor in how you got zip tie guy, how, how I got written, how how a lot of this stuff works is the beauty of Facebook as a research tool because often. In order in order, in order to do the archiving, you need to have stuff to archive. And a lot of the stuff that gets posted from these things by the people doing them is, is, is, is done on Facebook. Or at least it used to, right? The past five years really, Facebook has been the main main source of this. Now it's maybe now people are kind of getting wise and maybe sometimes moving to telegram. Facebook's becoming a little little bit less important of a platform for this type of research, and I know Facebook has changed the way that they that you can like. Was their service. So it does make research kind of harder in some ways, but but even still it is. It is one of the better tools to to dig into certain types of people because there is certain types of people who are going to be more likely to use Facebook. And yeah in terms of how getting Facebook was the method, it not where the the place where you're able to make the link between the fascists you already knew and and Eric because of a because you are you already, you already knew who the players were and then Facebook had the visualized network to actually make those connections. So Facebook itself and social media in general is really, is really useful and and in terms of how this operates like going through friends list is really easy. But oftentimes a lot of people will not maybe have those public and which which. Then there's again, it's not a dead Rd. You can still look through likes, you can still look through shares, you can still look through like if you like if people are tagged in photos. It really, it really is a is a great is a great system that is good at making you not have privacy. That is the thing it really, it really excels it. Yeah, and even even if people don't have, like, an active social media presence per se. It can still be really useful in getting specific names of people or or just make or just having a connection be known like this. This was mostly how I was able to identify the all the anonymous riot cops in 2020 when when the Portland Police Bureau took took away their badge numbers and names. Is that I could get like a list of cops and we could start figuring out like OK, this is this is this is this is cops previously on the right team, right. You can start doing facial matching and then if I want to learn out if I want to, if I want to learn more information about like their first name and more information about them in general, even if they don't have a social media profile, often their wife might or their mom might. You know, there's a an in terms of funds sentences to say. Really learning how to exploit people's family as a weakness is is is wonderful for this type of stalking, stalking violent, bad people. Because yeah, because a lot of, a lot of, a lot of the, a lot of the riot cops were smart enough to not to at least to either not have a presence at all on the Internet or to have it very locked down in terms of, you know, no one can see their posts, no one can see their friends, no one can see anything. But still, their wife will occasionally tag them in photos or maybe not even photos of them, but like they'll they'll just take them in a photo of like their kid or something. And then this just creates more ways to make connections so that you can, you know, learn more about these specific people because. Sometimes that's fun and interesting. Yeah. I've noticed some people with socks that I found their identity. It's by going through the likes and seeing, you know, the same woman is always the first to put a heart. React there and you can go to their page. It's sometimes it's as little. If you go through their pictures and you see a picture of the guy they're with, they'll have like somebody in the comments, oh, Mark looks really good there or something, you know, naming. The husband, and from there you can get the last. You know you've now the wife's last name. You have a good chance of that being their last name. Yeah. So family, family is really is really great. For fighting people because because like all all all this stuff recent research is is learning how to make these open source connections, right. A lot of it is connections and networking. And people usually always have an an innate connection and networking and that that that is their family. And often this like extends out in terms of, you know, political organizing, whether you're part of, you know, militias or just kind of smaller groups. Yeah, that is another network. Friends is another network. But you know for people who are kind of are are more locked down. It is possible to find information about people you know if especially if they have like, if they have like a not very common last name, you know, that can make finding information about them much easier. If you're using tools like Facebook, then it's, you know, just a matter of doing all the other, you know, open source research of, you know, comparing clothing you know, and comparing to what other kind of information you already know about the person. E-mail addresses, phone numbers, if you can, you know, get that, get that kind of stuff as well. But I think that's all I had on zip tie guy out mostly. Yeah, here's a really easy one. There's not a whole lot to really dive into there. Yeah, no, for for someone. For someone who was one of the few people masked up, wasn't, was not, was not that hard to find. I mean, yeah, of course. The fact that he was found by local people in his area, not surprising. Uh that's another thing anti fascist research is really good at is that type of local research because you know they they have they have all those local connections they have those local documentation of like a political events that have happened in their area. So again it's the the importance of of having stuff archived and having stuff like sort it and having stuff organized well so you can access your archive information is really important. It's it's it sucks that it's it's the. Carnival, since I hate the most, we every all of us. Everyone. Everyone hates, everyone hates. I'm sure there is some sicko out there who likes it, but everyone else? Everyone else hates all of the we hate all this organizing and sorting, and I find archiving to be tedious. Archiving videos, live streams. It's tedious. It's difficult. Time consuming, time consuming. It's repetitive, it's not generally not a good time, but it is so useful. And in the long run of trying to get these like a list of of like established players in your area, you could. This is how you start seeing patterns, right? You need to have this information already laid out so you can actually watch the patterns unfold. Otherwise it's just a whole bunch of chaotic information that means nothing. So. It's super important, as as much of a bummer as it may be. Yeah. Let's see, is there anything you've been working on since then that you like, that you would like to talk about or any upcoming research projects? Right now I'm really focused on our local school board and you know, like many towns across the country, we have fascists trying to take it over and going to the meetings. And so I've been watching that group very closely for the last several months. It's probably about. October our school year we started out without a mask mandate and a couple of parrots. Children need like they're they're. I mean a compromise, like they're their kids need the everybody else to wear a mask, so their parents sued the school board and our governor. To have a mass Band-Aid and the judge issued an injunction and like the next Monday, all the schools had to wear a mask and the anti mask crowd is like losing their **** over it. Still trying to figure out how to fire the judge. It's like, yeah, we have a member of Patriot Church who's involved in it and, you know, they're the ones with the Church of Planned Parenthood. It's Ken Peters, who I think he's from Washington. Spokane, I believe. Yeah. And he's he's moved down here. I think he's still goes up there to the to the church stuff, but most of his time is spent down here in Tennessee and causing just as much trouble as he does up there and his followers. So I'm curious to see how how does a research project like this school board thing differ from like the research surrounding, you know, trying to identify someone at January 6th? Ohh for one. This is local. It's you know I'm going to the school board meetings Umm I know it's easier to know where to look for this because like I'm watching it as it happening where like you know January 6th most of those people you have no clue where to even start from. So this more now it's it's monitoring and documenting as we've you know figure out who these people are like linking telegram names with Facebook names and. All of that. So I guess now it's more record keeping and getting that documentation done early. So when one of them goes too far, we have, we haven't ready that's that's. That's the sad part where it's like you're watching an inevitability almost as you mean, but that yeah, that's also how like January 6th works, right? We were able to identify these people because there was a lot of documentation of a lot of major players already, right. So a lot of the work in between these big protests and events is is the, is this is the slow, tedious documentation because we have to do it now so that it's a useful later, let's say no, a big part of. Research is like, yeah, trying to spot potential, you know, issues and archiving it. And then if the issue ever becomes a bigger issue, you already have information on it, right? Whether that be, you know, watching someone online who you might think is who, like, watching someone who's like a Nazi who you might be worried that, like, they're posting and plans about how to kill people, you're like, OK, so probably look into this dude because he's doing this in case he does something in the future. It is it that is. What kind of a? It sucks because yeah, you are watching this thing where you feel kind of helpless, but you know that documenting it is worthwhile. Then yeah, it's the same thing. We're like, you don't want to be vindicated, but if it does happen, it's better to be prepared, right? Right? Because I don't think people realize like how much anti fascist research, how much of this type of like. Ocean stuff like my journalism, like most of the work that you put into it, is never seen. Even if you do complete investigations, sometimes by the end you're like, it's it's getting getting them, getting them out and enough time for them to be useful sometimes isn't even worth it. So, you know, a lot of it is, you know, writing stuff and doing research that never actually sees the light of day for a long, long time, right? With Eric Munchel, we have like probably 20 people we had on our list, too, and he wasn't even one of them. Yeah, so you you do all this and like, on one hand, it it almost felt in a moment like all of that we did was really for nothing. But no, it did lead to did it? It did lead. And even when you do find the correct answer sometimes. Sometimes could via circumstances. You know, it's not something you need to post about immediately. Sometimes it's worth just, you know, hanging on to and not being super, super public about every horrible thing you fight, right? It's not like you you don't need to post every time you find a horrible thing on telegram. You you don't. You don't need to tell Twitter that it's like it's it's about collecting these things and keeping them there for future use. Well, thank you so much for coming on to talk with me again after after already already discussing mostly the same things. Where can people follow your stuff online? Where are where on Twitter at? At a possum press? Really easy. Yeah, we're on Facebook. We don't actually do much on Facebook, though. Yeah, as we've discussed now, you probably probably shouldn't be like. In in in a lot of ways a lot of like fascist organizing that used to be done in primarily like Facebook groups or just even just like through like like incidental organizing through just through like posting and cross posting. A lot of that has been you know moved over to Telegram. At this point. Telegram is kind of the new main Nexus whereas Facebook and like the days of the early Alt right Facebook was a pretty big Nexus for like the more normies, right. You know it's there there is actually fascist forms that we're doing organizing but as a place for again. Like a lot of people in January 6th who didn't really know what they were doing was wrong. They, they they were mostly you know make America great again. People are queuing on people a good portion of like most of them were not you know swastika waving Nazis. They may they may agree with fascist ideas but they don't they don't self describe as Nazis so like but we're even seeing after, after January 6th with you know Facebook like cracking down on these groups other platforms like parlor going offline. A lot of these normies themselves are even migrating onto Telegram. So, you know, Facebook used to be a really great research tool, and I'm using it less and less and less often now. Unfortunately, because I mean it, it really did have a lot of strong suits. Telegram does have its own strong suits, but you know, it's it's still it's still different. I think the norm is moving to telegram is troubling though because I'm having a way easier time. That is, the obvious thing is, yeah, now that those groups are in closer proximity, it's easier for one to seep into the other, whereas before there was more of that distinction. Yes, that is a worrying thing that I believe we've talked about before and we'll talk about again in the future. In terms of having this like fascist milieu or cultic milieu of a place where the the amount of, the amount of overlap between, you know, your uncle who's a regular conservative and you know, a member of Adam Waffen or you know someone who wishes they were a member of Atomwaffen is very small. It's a very these they are, they are very close together. Well, thank you for talking about all of these things on our on our second osend case study episode like Guess Big, big big Takeaways is archiving is great. Archive, live streams archive things because it's better to have them and not use them than not have them and need them. And then, you know, archiving and documenting local fascists is really great even for things beyond your locality like in January 6th. So those are those are my main takeaways from this. And, uh, you know, also everyone at Black Rifle coffee, they all, they all look like everyone at day six. All of them do. They do. Alright, alright, that does it for us. Thank you so much. I can follow them at a possum press. Goodbye, everybody. Welcome back to it could happen here, the only podcast you are legally allowed to listen to right now. I'm Robert Evans. We talk about things falling apart, putting them back together. All that good stuff with me, as is like 70% of the time, is my co-host, Garrison Davis. Pearson. How you doing today? I'm doing great. This is early for you. Yeah, this I they had to, they had to drag me out of bed. But I I made it just and I'm excited to talk about a hair after three. OK, I have my second coffee already. So yeah, our topic is gun culture. And to discuss gun culture with me, and a number of aspects of it, including how to maybe make a better one, is Karl Kasarda from Inrange TV. Carl, welcome to the program. Hey, thanks for having me. I'm really stoked. To be here, and it's a topic, as you can imagine with my work on Inrange TV, is a near and dear to my heart because it's a challenging one. We've got a lot of great things in this community and a lot of challenges too. Yeah, gun YouTube has gotten some really interesting places in the last really it feels like most of the growth happened like the last 5-6 years, like there's been a real significant increase in. Yeah, I feel like there's been like a wave. I feel like there's generations of gun 2. There's like Gen 1, Gen 2, Gen 3 in there. PS Russian back in the day and stuff. Totally, yeah. And so there's a whole thing there. There's there's generations of what was addressed in the conversation and the cultural significance as well as the gear impact. I think we've got different kind of generations of it. Yeah. And I think the stuff, obviously, when when aspects of gun YouTube Go viral, it tends to be stuff that's like particularly problematic. But in my experience, most of it is just dudes shooting stuff to see what happens or, you know, trying out different guns and stuff like it is mostly if you're someone who. You know, believes in the right to bear arms. It's mostly pretty much just like people drying out guns and stuff with guns. Yeah, yeah. When things go viral, it's like my, my experience with that. There's a number of reasons. One is that it's particularly gross that someone does something or says something ****** **. Somebody's out there dressed as a Rhodesian, you know, and stuff like that that tends to tends to push the buttons. But yeah, most of the time the stuff that gets the largest volume of viewership are quite honestly, more banal. It's things like. A A 50 caliber AK exploding or shooting a gallon you know a 55 gallon drum of gas. That kind of stuff is the that stuff that appeals to people that aren't just gun people so they're like oh I want to see shoot explode so let me click on it. One of my favorite things is to look at videos of people destroying safe life vests is one of my favorite ways to watch gun YouTube. But I guess this is probably what we'll probably talk about this as the episode goes on. But once you watch enough of those from like 1 channel you'll you'll get to a video when they fantasize about. Shooting Antifa or something, you're like, OK, well, yeah, that. Yeah, that's that's just the way it goes sometimes. And it is, you know, the thing that my first, I guess the first time I became aware of, like, online gun culture was a site that's still really near and dear to my heart. I'm sure you're familiar with it. Call the box of truth. And it was like, and I think with this like 15 years ago or something like that is when I started reading their stuff. And it's just like some kind of bubby dudes in Texas who will take different, who will try out like, hey, there's a myth that. The specific round in Korea got stopped by people whose were wearing multiple layers of, like clothing in the cold. Can winter clothing stop this bullet? And they would, they would, you know, mock up the clothing on like a target and they would shoot it and. Or like, how many books does it take? Like if you have a full backpack, how many books would it take to stop a round of 9 millimeter? If I like, it's, it's all very much like practical. Hey people, you know, say this works this way or this works that way. Well, let's go out and shoot some stuff and test how it works. And I think was like it, as you said, the kind of thing, I think. And if you don't own guns, you might find interesting just because, like, a lot of it is dealing with here's things you've seen in Hollywood what actually happens. So I I I do think, like fundamentally there's always going to be a place for that kind of content because it's it's not just like stuff that people who like guns are interested in. It's just stuff that has kind of objective value. You know, you're trying to expand what people's understanding of things. Yeah, I call that Gee whiz content. It's like, Gee whiz, what happens if. Right and so on in range. The closest equivalent to that, which are the videos that get the most views are, are somewhat now infamous mud tests. And it started off six years ago and it was literally, it was Gee whiz. Let's go do this. And of course there's this long standing lore it everywhere outside of the gun community and in it about the AKM being this unstruck indestructible Unicorn. You write into combat that no matter what happens to it, it fires and they are 15 being this fragile ***** ** **** and in our mud test of which we've now done multiple of it, while initially it was just Gee whiz, over time and aggregate, it turned out to actually have really interesting data points in that the AK doesn't do well in mud and they are excels in mud, which is completely against the law about Vietnam, which is a different problem. But that kind of thing extends beyond the gun community, because people are like guns and mud. What happens is, Gee whiz, it's Mythbusters kind of stuff. Yeah, yeah, and I think, yeah. But it's interesting how you can learn from it. Yeah. And I I think one of the problems that is we, we could say like has is an issue on on gun YouTube. And one of the things that has become an issue in this isn't just within the gun culture, it's everywhere. Is that like if you're into that stuff and if you're if you're coming into it. Like I want to see people do this Gee whiz stuff or I just want to see reviews of different guns because I I might be buying one. Google's algorithm is going to feed you a lot of stuff and some of that stuff is going to be people who yeah, are preparing to like shoot folks at protests and are filming. Videos about that and stuff. And that it has this, it has this radicalizing effect on a lot of people. And it also has this kind of can have this kind of radicalizing effect on content where, you know, most political stuff you see isn't kind of that overt, but it does if somebody has a video where they're being more explicitly political outside of, you know, you know, arguing in favor of gun rights. But if they're getting kind of political in a broader sense, and that does really well, the way that content works is other people might be like, Oh well, folks want me to do a political video. Books, what me to talk about, I don't know Nancy Pelosi or whatever and that that's, you know, not just a problem with gun culture or gun YouTube, but it has increasingly become a thing and and the NRA kind of very famously there's a good podcast on the how that organization has kind of gone from where it started to where it is that talks about like NRA TV. But they their YouTube channel had some pretty outrageous **** for a while and I I think it left an impact even though it failed in this eventually. Well, the NRA is a tool. We can get into that later. The has changed so much since its origins to what it is now. It's not even the people have found that it wouldn't recognize it, I don't think at all. But you're touching on a topic there that's also near and dear. I'm not trying to promote in range. That's just we're having a conversation. But years ago I decided to proactively demonetize. I turned off my Adsense and I take no money from any views. So it's not like advertising doesn't drive what I do. And I feel like the reason I did that was partially just **** you, YouTube. It was the hacker manifesto of you. Come watch my content. I cost. New money versus making money, which is kind of a statement on my part. But additionally, I do feel like whether it's firearms or any other content that is completely advertiser supported, there is a dangerous thing there in that you have to pursue the clicks like a heroin addict and the clicks make you the money and therefore you're going to make the stuff that's going to make the clicks because that's how you make your income and even if you don't want it to do, it can affect you. Yeah. And I'm curious like how do you kind of? How do you, how do you, how do you approach sort of dealing in this space where it is so easy for things to become politicized like do you, is that is that a kind of thing that you have to be consciously sort of? Picking your battles, I guess I'm just kind of interested in in in how you because you definitely have been more open about having kind of more on the left libertarian side of things politics than a lot of people talk about in that space. How do you decide kind of what is worth inserting and what is worth? Kind of just, you know, no one needs to to hear that within this context. Oh yeah. I don't think that that's an easy thing to answer, right. It's hard like there's a lot of landmines, but when? Retrospectively, for me, the answer, for me at least, was I'm just going to come to this content as my honest self. Like, if I'm just going to produce what I want to produce, it's. And since I don't have to worry about advertising dollars, I'm just going to make this **** I want to make. And as a result I I guess it's sometimes considered an alternative voice, but I don't think it really is. I think that the loud, loud mouths have made it sound like there's only one voice in this community, but there isn't, and so by just being legitimate and honest and being me. There is turned out to be a lot of groundswell if you want to use grassroots type people out there that want to hear something that's not just evangelical American Taliban. So, but, but in terms of what, where to where, what, where to put your foot on what landmine, I guess I did. For me my decision has been to do topics that have been intentionally ignored that shouldn't have been like I've done a bunch of videos about the confluence of civil rights and firearms ownership, which there's a lot of it and it's it's really amazing how much there is and no one talks about it. Yeah, I mean we, we, yeah, we, we've chatted about that a little bit in some of our episodes. It was like 1919 when there were all those like race riots around the country or even if you're looking at like the post construction. There's a history both of like gun control being used for racist purposes, but also just of communities arming themselves, black communities arming themselves that is is woefully under told, although it is people are starting to deal with it more, thankfully. Kind of interested in talking to you about sort of the culture jamming aspect of we have this huge gun culture aspects of it are very toxic and becoming politicized in a way that is aggressive. How do we, how do we have a positive influence and kind of hopefully pull things back? Because I I do think within kind of the issue of gun rights, there's more actually more possibility for people to sort of come together and reach an accord than there is on something like abortion. And I I think a lot of that conversation is going to start in spaces like the one you inhabit. Yeah, no, I yeah. I like what you said, culture jamming, because another term I've heard is subversive. Well, that's not the intent. But like you mentioned the red summer of 1919 and I talked to when I I talked to a lot of people that that are really historically interested and minded. And I was astonished how many people had not even heard of it, never mind knew only like the explicit realities of it. And so when it comes to the culture jamming thing, there's one video I did about two of the events of Red Summer of 1919, one of them here in Bisbee locally, and it's an interesting problem. It was someone who normally would be considered a a very standard issue firearms content creator. In that particular Red Summer 1919 episode, it turned into the local police attempting to disarm the 10th Cavalry soldiers who are off, you know, military soldiers in Bisbee on recreation. And so you've got this interesting cognitive dissonance. Do I support the cops that a lot of firearms people are like just blindly support? Or do I support the military, which a lot of firms people blindly support? When both of them converge and the and it's a racist agenda in it, that poses a question that I like to do with like this kind of content, because it means that the viewer has to really, if they get through the video, have to introspectively go, holy **** which do I support? Or do I support either? Or is there a problem here I haven't been considering? I think asking questions like that really matters. When you try to like start these conversations with people who are kind of in the same space but but not, you know, I haven't considered talking about this stuff before or on what would traditionally be seen as kind of very opposed political wing. How do you kind of start these conversations in a way that makes it most likely that you're going to have a positive dialogue that actually moves forward as opposed to kind of getting bogged down in the in the things that cause people to just kind of lock horns generally when you we start getting into these areas? Yeah. You know, I don't know. It's totally possible you're gonna have that problem no matter what, right? I'm sure you see that with you see that with your work, for sure. Absolutely. Yeah. When you take a honest approach to history and just be like, here's the facts, there's going to be people that are just going to be completely resistant to that. They're not going to take it. But I think the best way to do that is to just be that honest approach to it. Like one of the things that I think we do with firearms content, gears cool tech is cool. Guns are neat. They're fun. I enjoy shooting with guns. I like the sport of it. I like going to competitions. But one of the things that gets left out of the conversation a lot is what are the implications of firearms and the sociological economic environments that we live in. And I think that's one of the things that doesn't get talked about. And so if we talk about it fairly and also tend to, I think it's hard to do, but have people from all sides of this perspective as long as they're not. Completely dangerous and toxic. Being part of the conversation. We can have a better middle ground. That's the hard part. Like so being inclusive, ironically even of views that you aren't necessarily your own as long as the person you're dealing with isn't. My line is if you're actively supporting bigotry or the the harm of other people, there's a no go, we're done. But if we have different views, but we realize that that's not the intent, then then we should have a conversation. I think that that's a big difference. Now I think one of the areas in which this can get murkiest is when you are talking to people, and I've had a few of these conversations who are convinced that there is, that they're kind of on the precipice of of a violent conflict sparked by someone coming to take their guns. Right that and and and you know there's the version of this that is like I'm worried that the ATF is going to do some ******* and a bunch of my ****** going to be illegal which is pretty reasonable and then there's the I'm worried Antifa is going to come to my small town and and and take my you know guns or do whatever light because they there are often people in that who are just kind of. Tragically misinformed and radicalized in a way that they're not so much eager to harm people as they are just like broken and frightened because of the things that have been fed to them. Do you have any kind of best practices when it comes to sort of approaching those conversations and trying to improve the information those people are getting? I guess for me in that regard, what I hear when I see people like that, and I think all of us have those people in our world, whether it's your your aunt or your uncle or a friend, right. Like, we've seen that over the last couple of years, for sure. I think the best thing you can do there for me, and again, I'm just talking to my approach, is break the echo chamber if you can. And so the echo chamber is the problem when we suck from the fire hose of only one source, like, nonstop, yeah, that's going to be dangerous. That's the kind of stuff that pollutes your mind to the point where you can't think outside of that box. So, like, being more inclusive. And that word is kind of a trigger word, a catch phrase, but being legitimately more inclusive and presenting a lot of different diversity that really is part of the firearms community. Can I can in some circumstances break the Echo chamber? Like, I'm really happy with this one project on the channel where I'm working with Annette Evans about specifically a female or woman's approach to to self-defense with firearms. And you don't really see that. You'll see like channels that are only for women and you'll see like all the majority of gun channels that are only for gun. Fascinated dudes, but like throwing that into the mix, there's going to be some subset of people that will click and watch it out of that Gee whiz level and that kind of stuff can break a paradigm in terms of, well, I never thought of that or never looked at it from that perspective. And that's at least that's what I think is the right answer is do your best to make sure you're approachable and try to break the echo chamber. Yeah, that makes complete. Yeah. I mean, that makes a lot of sense. I think on the other side of this is also worth talking about because we've kind of been focused on how do you break the echo chamber? How do you get people who are, you know, in the gun culture on the right to be more open minded. The other side of this is you have a lot of people who are kind of liberals or on the left who have a really reflexively negative opinion to the reaction to the the very idea of gun ownership or gun rights and have these, you know, you will generally see there's there's a mix of people who can come do it. From a very reasonable and argued point and a mix of people who are just going to like, in the same way that folks on the right do, throw out a handful of quotes that they've seen on memes that they can use to kind of, you know, shut down debate. How do you do you have a lot of those conversations where you kind of trying to make people at least more open to because this is something my work has dealt with a lot, is kind of trying to sit down to like, I get why you don't think these things should be legal. Obviously, I, I, I see the same mass shooting news that you do. There's a problem, a deep problem with guns in this country. I don't deny that. Like, let's also talk about the idea that the state should have an absolute monopoly on on the ability to do violence. Let's talk about the ability of marginalized groups to defend themselves. Let's talk about the history of gun control and how it like it is. It is. There's a lot of conversations that kind of get wrapped up in that. I'm wondering, do you have thoughts in terms of, like, how to kind of broach those and progressive avenues to go down to when you're having that side of the conversation? You know, it's totally interesting, I think I feel like, and I'm curious what you think about this. Your work as well, I feel like over the last. For good reasons. Over the last couple of years, more than a couple of years, I think I've seen it. Maybe it's just my own echo chamber. I've seen a lot of people on that side of the political spectrum coming more and more around to being pro gun. Yeah. I mean the statistics backed that up. Support, yeah. And so in the United States is the lowest it's been in quite awhile. It's that like if there's that joke on that side of the political fence, but you go far enough left, you get your guns back, right. So, but I think there's been a real wake up call for a lot of people that used to be. Very much. Vehemently against the idea with some of the stuff they saw and went whoa. This isn't these aren't going away. And if you're reasonable, if you're willing to have a rational thought about, at least in this country, the reality of firearms ownership, whether you like it or not, it's not debatable. This is real. It's what it is. We're not like they could ban everything tomorrow and there's going to be air fifteens in this country for the next 100 years, so that ain't going to change. So with that realization, maybe there maybe the better idea with which I think is with all technology, is instead of being afraid of it, is to actually learn about it and understand it whether you want it or not to you. But like learning and understanding it is at least a step further. Forward than just complete abject fear. Yeah. That that is often kind of where I start the conversation with just like we have to deal with the reality as it is on the ground, which is that there's 400 million firearms in private hands here, which is not all that far from half of all of the guns in the world. So any, any sort of like plan you have. It's the kind of like one of the things that often comes up in those conversations is Australia and people say we're like, well, they were able to do it after no Port Arthur was Scotland. I forget the name of the massacre. But there was a massacre in in in in Australia that they banned most kinds of firearms after and confiscated them. And it gets brought up a lot. We're like, well, they did this in the short frame of time and there was this, this impact on gun violence deaths. Why couldn't we do it? And the reason is that they had to confiscate a total of 200,000 arms and there's 400 million guns in private hands in the United States. It's it's a different scale of problem and that's before we get into sort of the legal barriers because Australia didn't have a Second Amendment, obviously, like whether or not you like it, firearms have a level of protection that is equivalent to the protection free speech enjoys in this country and you can't just pretend that's not the case. There's a tremendous body of jurisprudence around it. Yeah, no, totally. And like so that that's that's part of it is the reality of the Australia and here is a completely different beast as well as culturally like the people that were into guns there. And I don't mean to offend any Australians listening, but it wasn't like here like in a place like Arizona like in places like Arizona guns are just. If you're in arizonian, they're just intrinsically part of life. Whether like, they're just constant. They're everywhere you go to, like, you see them open, carry you. Not always do she open carry either. Sometimes it's like reasonable open carry. Sometimes you see the other side of it, but they're just everywhere. It's just part of the deal. And it's like a lot of that in a lot of the country. And so I actually think that that fear based ignorance of them is more dangerous because then we don't teach people what to do around them or how to be safe around them. Kind of like abstinence, like education and school teach people not to have. Yeah, that's ******* dumb. They ain't gonna work. And guns exist in this country. Just just be afraid of them. That don't work either. So in that regard, I think that the reality is it's much better to to approach this. What? What I think, I guess the way I try to deal with that is if you don't fetishize them. People that are more afraid of them are less likely to just click away. If you talk about them like this is a thing, here's what they are. They're not a totem against evil. They're just a tool and here's a historical story or narrative or sociological impact of this that's not fetishizing it as some religious item. I think that that helps break that barrier a little bit. And and I I think that that does bring me to something I think about a lot, which is the how we were in and actually has I think gotten a bit better than it was prior to Sandy Hook. But the very sorry state in a lot of cases of of advertising of gear and guns, I think the most famous example was a, I believe it was a Bushmaster ad that got pulled after Sandy Hook that was like an AR15 that came with a man card that you would get like with your gun. Like, I think it's. Yeah, get your man card back. Your man card has been reissued because you have this gun here and that I you know, I've seen a lot of different gun cultures because it's actually like, we've just talked about how unique US gun culture is, but a lot of people actually own firearms around the world. There's a lot of even, like in Europe, like France has a very significant gun culture. And in Germany, you'd be surprised. Like people can own a lot of the same weapons you can hear. There's a lot more hoops to jump through to, to get access to them. But there's still like, there's gun cultures. All around and especially places like Iraq and Syria, it was really going to when I saw kind of the gun culture that I I most wanted to deport some things over to hear from there. It was in northeast Syria in Rojava where like damn near every, not every individual but every like family had an AK. Because in part there was this understanding that you have a duty from time to time to like patrol and and watch your neighborhood and not in sort of this like I'm going to set up a checkpoint for Antifa, but in a like, hey, ISIS just carried out a big attack. Let's let's get some folks out into the streets to like, watch our neighborhoods, because that's just the reality of the world and we don't, we don't do. We don't just have like a group of militarized police rolling around every neighborhood, like we also are responsible for protecting our communities. And so we trained with weapons, and there was a lot of conversations I had with women about like, well, the fact that I have this and know how to use it now means that things can't be done to me that were before because I have an AK47. And that means something I would like to port. The kind of like what you were talking about, not just seeing it as a tool, but seeing it as a tool with societal responsibilities. You don't just have a gun so you can hold up in your house in the zombie apocalypse. You have a gun because you're part of a community and because there's there's some value that we see in members of the community being armed and not just the state. Yeah, no, totally. So I mean that goes, that kind of goes way back to the old, like now sort of silly sounding thing, but like God made man, Colt made them equal, right. So before that, like if you were a frail human being for whatever reasons, you really were sort of defenseless, especially in places like the frontier. But skill at arms could change that and and that's it puts it can put a more balanced power infrastructure in place. Not that I want to live in a world where we're always like at this point of mutually assured. Instruction. But it is much better to have more power balance than power imbalance. And firearms absolutely provide that in trained, responsible, educated hands. And that's what I think the story should be, right. That's the emphasis. Like when when the whole thing happened, went down in Iraq like you're describing. I think it was ironic. One of the things that that the US military did was allowed every home to have an AK, like, because you get to keep one gun and it's one of these. And and you talked about gun ownership worldwide, like once you jump through some of the hurdles in some of these countries. It's actually easier to own certain things than you can. Like like a machine gun, for example. Yeah. Like a machine gun in the US is highly regulated since 1934 and pretty difficult and highly expensive because of a specially closed market. But like bloke on the range, one of the guys I work with on, on on YouTube, once he gets his permit, like he's like, I'm just going to go buy a fully automatic stend and he just does. And it's not at an exorbitant price like it would be in the United States. So it's not apples to apples like these controls, whether we like them or not. Some of them are actually more liberal than we have in the United States. Yeah. And I think a good example of that and an example of where like a lot of folks who might kind of reflexively. I think this is insane. But like, it's silencers, you know, suppressors being the more accurate term. But Silencer is what you call. It's the thing you see James Bond screw on the end of his gun to make it quiet. And there's the like this attitude that they should be heavily restricted because there's this misnomer that for the most part, they make things sound like stuff in James Bond. Now, there are some ways to get a a firearm that is incredibly quiet, particularly using like a smaller round and subsonic ammunition. There are some very some weapons you can effectively make quiet enough that people won't notice it, but when you're putting a silencer on an AR15, it is not quiet. No one will miss it firing, but what it won't do if you have to defend yourself in your home is shatter. Your eardrums forever, right? Or this is honestly the bigger case for suppressors. If you are hunting with an animal, as a lot of people do with your dogs, you can have a suppressor on your shotgun as your bird hunting or whatever, and you will not destroy that dog's ears. You know, it's the same thing like hunting for deer, you know? It's it's it's easier. It's like less dangerous for you potentially. Like I one thing you notice, if you've spent a lot of time around hunting dogs, they don't have good hearing by the time they get older because they're hunting trucks. You know, it's funny. Suppressors, like everything that's that's more controlled is gotta a lure of magic around it, right? Like, ohh, a suppressor, a silencer or or for that matter a machine gun. And like therefore it is the forbidden fruit and everyone wants it more than they ever would have. Once you own. I have one transferable machine guns with tax stamp the whole 9 yards and I shoot it like once a year because you shoot it and then you're like, wow, that was expensive and it was 150 bucks and it's like, oh we that was fun and then you put it away. And the truth is that semi automatic stuff is far more interesting. Actually, generally more effective once you use full autofire. It's got very limited use fully there, there. I mean there is like if we again are being complete, there's one mass shooting I can think of where a fully automatic weapon made the shooter more dangerous. And it was the the Las Vegas shooting because he was in a set fixed position, he was holed up and he had, he was not like moving and standing. He was like braced while firing into a crowd from a building. As a general rule if you're talking about like. What someone going to be more dangerous with if there somebody who decides to shoot up something? It's a semi automatic weapon because an automatic weapon #1 going to jam more often, requires a bit more understanding and know how on behalf of the user and also is a lot harder to hit with and we'll run out of ammunition very quickly as opposed to an A semi automatic AR15. The reason they are so often used in mass shootings is it's kind of the best weapon to use for that if that's also prolific, right? There's like it's so easy and if they are fifteens are cord wood in this country you can like they're literally everywhere. The Las Vegas shooter, though I don't know that he had actually any truly select fire guns, weren't they was, yeah, he was using a bump stock. I think it's close enough to yeah, well, no, it's a good analog, but it is interesting to note. And that guy, what's interesting about that guy is, well, of course his act was horrific and evil, but he used a bunch of AR fifteens with like ****** bump stocks, and he had planned something like this for years. Apparently he had Tannerite in the setup too. Which is yeah, no one knows. I mean, as we know, no one currently. I don't know anyone. Knows what his motivation was, at least it hasn't been released. But he had been planning something like this for a very long time. And what's ironic about that is that if he had bided his time he could have actually had a real select fire like belt fed machine gun. He just didn't millionaire. Yeah, he could have done that and this is could, but he just went with this bump stock kind of garbage, which is weird. That's a whole other topic, but it is. And it is like that is one of those cases when you talk to people on the right where it's like. After that shooting, UM, Donald Trump and his administration banned bump stocks, which is more gun control than we got out of eight years of Obama. That's like, you know, oh boy, you point that out, at least on the federal level, you know, in fact. There's always this narrative that you know, this political party will take your guns in this politically party Walt. But the truth is statistically and historically speaking, both tend to err on the side of trying to add more restrictions over time. Like if you do it over time like Obama didn't. In fact, Obama opened things up. I think he liberalized concealed carry of pistol or firearms in national parks. He actually, he actually made guns a little easier to deal with. But then via essentially as executive order edit, you got Trump banning bump stocks. Whether you like bump stocks or not, I think the way that went down is questionable legally speaking. But that's another topic. And and obviously bump stocks were also somewhat questionable. They were speaking, yeah, right, right, totally, totally. But yeah. But that sets an interesting precedent with what he did with just like Fiat edict. But that that said, like historically over time there's always been more restrictions, not less from both sides. And when you point that out, the people that just kind of drink the kool-aid from one side or the other want to just immediately. He jerk on you and you're like, Oh no, this is weird. This is coming from all directions, really? Yeah. And I think it is. It is. A big part of it is just that, like, as a general rule, people who are rich and powerful do not want poor people to be armed. They tend to work out in their favor. The only time they want poor people armed is when they send them to a war they decided to have. Yeah, and obviously the history of gun controls would heavily tied to racism and the Black Panthers and a whole bunch of stuff around California's gun laws being started to curb black people from owning firearms. And so it would be, we would be. You could argue in some ways that Reagan had a big role in inventing our modern concepts of like what gun control means and what kind of gun control laws like liberal states tend to go after. It's on open carrying bans on, you know, concealed carrying of arms, that kind of stuff. Yeah, it's deeper than this. There's always nuanced options. It's really hard, right. But like, like, California, which is kind of one of the flagship states of gun control, and I think that their methods are bizarre to me and almost not interested. Understandable. But like, you talk about Reagan's pretty much, they were like, guns are cool. And then the Panthers walked around with some guns are like, whoa, ******* scary, we better do something. And of course, the. The the image of the Panthers with their guns out walking down the street, which was their legal right. Yeah, absolutely. And it was rad. And it motivated, of course a lot of things in California, which now we see where where that has LED in California gun control laws as also changed the narrative for so many people that are unwilling to look at things from a truly broad historical perspective. That's only one tiny thing the Black Panthers did, and the rest of their actions are so lost to just the pictures of them standing around them one. Arbans, and that's another example of leaving out like the sin of omission. We'll talk about one thing but not the rest. And therefore the historical narrative is only one thing. And it is also, there's a lesson in that for people who are on the left and who are advocates of gun ownership about what happens in terms of media and in terms of how your movement is thought about and remembered when guns are a part of it. Because that's always going to for a variety of reasons, and we can say a lot of those are very unreasonable reasons, but if you are a political group. From who is armed and makes that a visible part of your activism that is going to really dominate a lot of conversations? It doesn't mean you shouldn't be, but it means you have to go into that understanding that, like, that's just how it works in this country. Yeah. You will immediately get, you will immediately, from at least some part of the perspective, whatever, whatever side you're on, you will immediately get someone slinging extremist militant at you. Yeah, but by the way, I mean, those are real things too. There are those. I'm not saying there aren't extremists. Sure. Obviously talk about them all the time. Yeah, this country is full of them. This is the world. So that's not, that's not an unreasonable thing that does exist. But the minute you go ahead and stand with that gun, you're going to get that label whether it's truly something you earned or not. There's a very deep conversation that we've talked about you know we've had it in, in pieces on this program and other shows that we've done in cool zone about like. Win makes sense to be openly armed and win makes sense to be openly armed as part of a group, because that is a very fraught question. As like the the what happened in the Chaz in 2020 made abundantly clear. But in, you know, a bunch of cases, you know, Kyle Rittenhouse and whatnot, there's a ton of different reasons why choosing to be openly armed. There's a debate to be had about, like, how that influences everyone around you, how that influences, influences the demonstration. And I I've seen and. Heard it used in in good ways, in an irresponsible ways. I've seen people carrying guns at political events in order to intimidate others. I've also seen people carrying guns at political events to create essentially a buffer where it's like, OK, there's going to be people fighting at this event, there's going to be clashes if we're standing here as a group with guns, there's a place people can run back to and the fighting won't continue because nobody wants to push that. And that's without talking about specifics of intent for any of those situations you already talked about, because I can't. But yeah, I think, I think it does like it always comes back to this thing. Intent, right. So to me, you're right for the firearm, absolutely true. Regardless, like, even if I disagree with you, this is a right. Like we said, it's protected. Like the First Amendment, it's the second. But I think the the problem starts to come when you've decided to bring the firearm. Solely for the intended purpose of intimidation. Like that's that's where I start getting like this is this is troubling, right? But if you're bringing it for personal defense or community defense or there's a need because your community is really at risk, I mean one of the examples of a civil rights one was a this is on someday I'll do a video about this. A community knew that the Klan was coming to intimidate them and they armed up with surplus M1 garands and and steel pot helmets, literally dug fighting positions and fought them off. The clan ran for their lives. No one was killed, but they literally used M1 garands to to stop the Klan from infiltrating their community. That was not used as a weapon of intimidation. It was used as a weapon of Community defense. I think that's intent goes everywhere. Yeah, that's ******* dope too. And yeah, I uh, I think. One thing that that that kind of. I I think there's a conversation that needs to be had when we start talking about when is reasonable and what situations are reasonable to carry a gun open or concealed about. Also what should be carried. I've certainly seen because I don't. I I think that the most harmful thing is certainly people carrying a gun to intimidate. I've also seen people carry guns as a fashion statement, which is not the same thing but is bad. For example, people on the left, people that are protests, bringing a loaded mosin to because it was the gun the communists used, which is like. You know you don't want to be in a firefight in a dense urban environment with a mosin nagat. Did you bring your rubber mallet to beat the bolt open when it gets stuck? I mean, yeah, like, yeah, it is a gun that doesn't function without a sizable hammer, you know? Not generally speaking, yeah. And of course people on like I I remember outside of this anti mask rally, these two guys who were up and carrying AR, one of whom had an AR-10 with with 100 round drum was talking about it. We had like 400 something rounds on him and it was like and in case stuff pops off and it's like, what are you. Number one, like, if you're talking like that, you've spent no time thinking about what actually happens in the situations in public areas in which gunfights occur. Because none of them that have happened in any time in the recent future have involved people needing to 400 rounds of ammunition or or drum magazines or whatever like you are. You are not in Fallujah, you are in Salem OR the extent to which a firearm can be useful for self-defense. And that does not like bragging about the number of bullets you have is just like. Weird and gross. You know, this is gonna come off maybe a little strange or even counterintuitive, but when I hear someone like that of what you just described in that particular person, first of all, that guns barrel would burst in 400 rounds. But that's a whole nother topic probably. But that said, when I hear that, I almost have like. It's kind of sad because the reason that's sad is that person is doing that one because they've been sold. The idea that the firearms Talisman like that, to me, that person's acting like that's a Talisman. Secondarily, the reason they have 400 rounds is because they've been sold a pretty big bill of fear, and that's that's sad for anyone to live a life based on fear. Yeah, yeah, I would agree with that entirely. Anything else you wanted to get into in this, uh, this conversation? Well, I don't know. I mean, we're just here to talk about, like, community. I just, I, I I think one thing that's really important and it's something that is is is a positive and I'm happy to see this is that it was kind of a happy accident with my work. I didn't even think about it. It just sort of happened. But this is a much the people, people that love. First of all, just a sport. There's a lot of us. There's a lot of us of all spectrums across the board, people that believe in the right from the person people, purposes of personal defense and community defense there across the board. And I think that one of the things that we need to do is not let the narrative be only one, which is we see so much of. Uh, very much. Just like right wing. I'm gonna usually say Christian white males need like completely dominating this conversation as though and they think they owe as a result. Own the space. Now it would be in their interest too, from the perspective of preserving firearms rights to be inclusive and have everyone that believes in that particular thing work together to make sure we don't lose a right because a right on exercised is lost right. So even if I disagree with you on economic policy, but we agree on firearms rights, we have an agreement. There. And that makes us somehow, interestingly, in the same space, we have something in common versus something diversive. And I think that part of the conversation, at least within reason, I mean, there are people that are legitimately dangerous. You don't negotiate with them, but within reason, like agreeing on that topic means, well, we got something in common here. There's probably other things too, and maybe that could be a place where we kind of try to make that conversation better, not worse. And so by being more open, inclusive and saying, hey, there's people here and people there, and here we are all together doing this together. Perhaps conversation can be had that's better than what we've been having. Maybe it can be actually a community builder versus a community destroyer. Yeah. Yeah, I would like to see that. Well, I think that's as good a note as any to uh to close out on. Carl, you wanna, you wanna throw your plegables up before we we right out of here? Yeah, sure. I mean, so I run in range TV. You can find me at Leave your supported. Like I said, I don't want any sponsors or anything I like. I like the idea of the people liking, watching IT support it. So if you like it cool come check it out all over the place. YouTube bit shoot decentralized video content distributions and other thing I believe in strongly. For oligarchy, but yeah, come out if you want to have a little bit different take on firearm stuff. If you're interested in the confluence of civil rights and guns and stuff, come check out in range TV. I'd appreciate. I always appreciate new viewers. And thanks for checking it out. Awesome. All right. Yeah. Check out in range TV and check us out somewhere. We won't tell you where, but you can find us if you keep us in your hearts. Cybernetic ex. All right, this is this is me. Christopher Wong, realizing that I have done like 16 consecutive actual real introductions, and that if I keep doing them, everyone's gonna expect that I do a real introduction every time instead of, like, randomly yelling something. So, yeah, welcome. It could happen. Here I am trying to make my job. Function as it should and not. Professionalize it, and this is this is a podcast about things that are bad, but it's also occasionally a podcast about things that are good and how, in fact. There can be a society beyond this one, and to talk about some of the shades of what that could look like, I have with me the cohost of the general intellect unit, Kyle and June, which is a it's a podcast on the Emancipation Network. That is, this is the tagline, the podcast of the Cybernetic Marxists. I am. I am very excited. Yeah, so it's really exciting to be here. Absolutely. Thank you for coming on. Yeah, I guess, OK, we should start at the the very, very beginning because. I don't think most people know any of this, but what is cybernetics? Great. So cybernetics is I guess, a term that comes from a what is it, the kybernetes right steering, the idea of steering a boat, so using your order to navigate the waters? And so essentially it is a science of control. And that sounds really scary, but what it means is that it's that kind of connection between the steers person. The OR the boat? Their body and the water around them and getting all of those things In Sync in such a way that the steers person is going where they want to go, the ship or the boat doesn't capsize and they don't lose the OR. And so that's what control means. It's a kind of balancing, a kind of connection between. The Organism and the environment in such a way that it can survive and thrive. Yeah. And that's what Cernex is focused on. Yeah, the thing I love about them, the steersman metaphor, is that, like, it's all about, it's controlling the sense of regulation, but also like very importantly in cybernetics, it's almost always self regulation because like the one of the kind of core principles, again, like. The because the term usually calls to mind this like kind of Terminator, like, like Cyber Gothic kind of domination. And it's actually not what the field is about at all. It's. Because one of the core insights of cybernetics is actually that any given system. And the only thing that can really control it is itself, because of the sheer complexity of systems so that like. Like? The kind of like top down external domination of an Organism that we all fear is kind of like actually if you look at the cybernetics literature, that's not actually really possible because the external controller would never have enough complexity to match what the Organism is capable of. And and you know, organisms are self regulating systems. The the, the steersman with his boat is a self regulating system that like regulates sits upright position in the water and regulates its course that's directed towards its goal. And so it's it's that's why it's so important. I think that's why we think it's so important for the left. And like people who are concerned with these like you know, visions of and a politics of autonomy and liberation, the really need to look at this stuff because it turns out there kind of is a science of like autonomous self guiding organic systems, you know? Hmm. See, I know Terminator here, yes. And yeah. I mean, you know, when you see a scary videos of militarized robots and they're learning to, you know, jump and fire weapons and all that kind of stuff, there certainly is cybernetics involved there, but that is a kind of domain application of cybernetics rather than defining what cybernetics. Is it's really kind of holistic systems thinking in general is what cybernetics is. Yeah. Yeah, that that's that's that's probably worth emphasizing, right that like. Signetics in some ways is kind of like out of fashion these days, like it kind of evolved into systems thinking and like I guess a lot of its lessons got kind of absorbed in general. But we find there is great value in going back to them, the kind of originators and like focusing on that field and it's like we on the show we got into the cybernetics angle by reading Andrew Pickering. And here's what the cybernetic brain in which he kind of acknowledged that. Like there's he kind of split it into two. Like there's American cybernetics like, which had that kind of like dour kind of military domination sort of flavor to it that like it's kind of an earned reputation there. But Pickering was more concerned with like British cybernetics and so like a lot of British thinkers that and it had a very different flavor there where it was more open-ended. It was kind of had more of a focus on kind of liberation and like politics and stuff and in fact some of those like great. Walter was like explicitly an anarchist and like wrote an anarchist like journals and stuff like that. And for him, like those two things went hand in glove, right like that, like liberatory politics as like. The politics of like human flourishing, like as human human beings, as autonomous units flourishing in their own contexts and of like social systems that would enable that kind of flourishing. To him, that was just hand in glove with cybernetics. There was no real distinction there. It was just like, yeah, these two things fit each other perfectly, which you lose later with like, general systems theory sort of stuff, you know? It's like there's plenty, I don't know, who am I thinking of here? Like them like the Talib, that guy with the like Black Swan sort of stuff. Like he's big into system and stuff, but like isn't so much isn't so much into the liberatory politics. I guess, you know, a lot of that angle is kind of lost. Yeah. And I think this is also, this is, you know, this is sort of a product of, I guess, the, the broader ideological course that's going on while cybernetics comes in and out of fashion. Right. I think, I think we should go back a bit to the beginning to sort of situate this because I know like when when I like before I like ever did any reading on cybernetics. Like my immediate assumption was that it was, it was, you know, this is the thing that was entirely just. Based off of computers, right? That this is like this is and that's not really true from my understanding. You can we go back and sort of like. Talk about where this came from a bit and how it sort of. Moves over this over sort of the 60s, seventies, and yeah. Go from there. Yeah. I I think you can kind of trace it back in. It's sort of European origins to you could probably say Hagel. You know his his move towards like. Understanding, being not just a substance but a subject, I think is a move towards a kind of cybernetic understanding where you understand the whole system as. A holistic entity, as opposed to just an individual interacting with an external environment. And you can also see this come up in, say, A. There was a ecologist who eskill in the German ecologist in the early 20th century, I believe, who was trying to understand, you know, the Organism in its environment. The sort of precursors to ecology, can be seen as precursors to cybernetics. And then when you get to the kind of development of cybernetics as a science or as a discipline in the mid 20th century. It's not exactly about computing, it's. It's more about. Balancing a machine with its environment so that sort of prototypical. Machine of this kind was the servo mechanism which was used to help guide a like an anti aircraft gun in shooting down enemy aircraft. So making sure it tracks properly with the target and doesn't lose the target and is assisting the operator in operating the gun instead of just being a inanimate object that has trouble. Tracking what it a very fast moving target. I mean you can even think back to like the, you know, in World War One when they discovered, hey, we could actually like synchronize the timing of the propeller and the timing of our gun on the front of this plane so that our guns aren't destroying our propellers and shoot and we're shooting our own planes down with our guns when we're dog fighting, right. Like it's yeah, that's a systems understanding. Right. So that's that's that's Norbert Wiener, right and working on the automated gun turret stuff and that's he's coins the term cybernetics to like. And given name to the thing he was starting to discover. And it's like he was kind of pulling together a bunch of threads there. And like, one of those kind of important insights is that, like, like, they couldn't get an improvement in, like, targeting an accuracy without, like, basically making the gun terrorism agent of its own. That like and the like, the terrorism the gunner would be cooperative agents. That in combination would achieve their goal, but like there was something strange and spooky about that. I think that this sort of feedback mechanism inside the turret gives it a sort of weird agency that combines with the agency of the gunner to, like, guide the whole system towards a goal. Yes. And what it ends up becoming, then, is a kind of boundary space where the distinction between human and machine starts to become ambiguous, because they both start to possess. They're both understood to have a kind of agency. They're both understood to have kinds of like functions and. Then you kind of get this sort of like a human machine interface idea, and you can start to bring in all of these different ideas from like anthropology, from Physiology, from math, from ecology, and they all start to interact in this domain of cybernetics. And like the core, the core idea then that kind of ties everything together as that of feedback. So like Weiner realizes that what he needs to do to achieve this goal is, is a feedback mechanism that would is error correcting feedback, right? Like if the if the gun is slightly too far to the left, it corrects itself rightwards and so on. But as you said that that connects across all sorts of things, right? Like you start to realize that's present everywhere in ecology, in neurology, in like that learning. Is is based on feedback, you know, so it's really funny to to read Norbert Wiener like in the 50s and basically describing what would become machine learning. And he's just like, he just off the cuff is like, yeah, like if you could, if a machine could like or if any system could just, like, analyze its own performance and then feed back onto itself, it would, it would learn any old pattern you wanted it to. And he's like, yeah, turns out he was completely correct. And that's that's where kind of like gets into, like, you get later thinkers like Ross Ashby. Who was? And like other folks like were inner in and around psychiatry, we were like really interested in how the brain worked. And that's that's the other thing that feeds into like cybernetics is like. It's why Pickering called his book the Cybernetic Brains, because, like, the brain and like, nervous systems show up so much in that field, right? That, like the brain being a kind of learning and adaptation, adaptation machine attached to the body or whatever and like. Yeah, I know this. There's something fascinating there. And like the. I mean, there's something kind of possibly troubling and kind of melting down the distinctions between living organisms and machines or whatever, but like, there's also. Something very compelling and just like recognizing the same patterns happening at all these different levels, right that like. Yeah, like you, you get similar behaviors and similar kind of outcomes and then it turns out like you can kind of do a science on these things and and come up with an even better explanatory frameworks based on your observations across many fields. Yes. And so it is in a sense about computers, but the computers are really just understood to act like a kind of brain and that's connected to a nervous system, which is connected to, you know, like actuators of some kind, some kinds of like machines that actually do things in the world. So it's not about like, say. Computer science specifically. It's more about like, well, computers are a useful way to do cybernetic design because they can act as a control system and they're flexible. It's not that this is about computers, really. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And like, you brought up something very important there that like in all cases of like, cybernetics, like the systems that we're considering, are not like isolated, like brain in a box. Things there are all the things that are directly engaged with the world. So it it it's not that kind of like monadic kind of rationalism, of like computation just happening in a box somewhere and like perfect intelligence or that kind of stuff. These are always like the superstitions are always working with systems that were engaged in real time emergency situations and because of that they rapidly kind of like acknowledged that. For so many of these important like systems, the only way to figure out what it's going to do is to let it do it. And because you you can't, like, precompute all the possible outcomes, you know of these like very sticky and complex real-world situations. The best way to figure out what it's going to do is to let it do it and watch. Yes. And I think, I think that's an interesting sort of like if if you look at where a lot of the sort of like techno fetishist like. Social. Attempts to sort of like manipulate society technology of God, it's like, yeah, you get like, like blockchain smart contracts. It's like the blockchain smart contract is like, OK, we are going to think of literally everything that could possibly happen and attempt to put it in like a very small amount of code. And if anything, like literally anything at all happens that you know that we didn't expect, we're now, everyone is now screwed because we have just made this thing immutable and put it in such a way that we can't change it. Yeah, I think that, yeah, that's. I think this is a useful sort of. I mean corrective just in just in in in the way that we've we've, we've now like like we've gone backwards like we've gotten into this place where you instead of like we need to let these systems play out we need to let them control themselves. We've gotten to like. We think that we can actually just sort of like you know, turn turn the entire system into code that we can predict ahead of time and have you know the basis of some sort of social system off of. Yeah. I mean it's I think it's something that like the secretions and like I maybe Pickering would describe as like a kind of perversity of modern thought like a modern mindset like that kind of like rational like. Kind of mindset, right? Like. And like to the separations that that whole thing with, like the blockchain stuff will be just truly laughable because, yeah, it's immediate. It's immediately obvious to them that. The problem there is like, OK, proposing we're going to use a blockchain to regulate some sort of social process or whatever, smart contracts, whatever. And it's like, that thing has nowhere near the fidelity required to regulate social processes, because social processes are unimaginably complex and have just incredible variety. There's there's a there's like a law that's at the heart of cybernetics called Ashby's law of requisite variety. And in short, it basically states that given a system. Umm. The only thing that's really capable of regulating is regulating it is itself, because a regulator needs as much variety as the thing it's regulating if it's going to, like, actually succeed at it. And so that's that's the kind of thing that nudges everyone towards like. Like when you get to someone like Stafford beer, his whole model of like organization pushes all a lot of the intelligence downwards to the to the bottom layers. Because there is basically the people on the ground, on the shop floor are the people who are best informed to actually deal with their own situation. And that sounds like a banal observation, but it like it for beer that was actually quite a step forward. So like just admit that, like trying to, trying to like in his context it was like. Often the organization of a firm, like at our company, like trying to manage a company from the boardroom, is just ******* ludicrous. Like, yeah, no, nobody there has enough information to act on. They're all **** ***** anyway. So for beer it was just like, this is where it starts to get interesting and it connects to the politics, right? That, like, for one of these scientists just observing reality and like, you know, using, you know, pretty, pretty good strange tuitions and like scientific frameworks, just looking at it and going like, oh, it is obviously the case that the best way for society to organize. His bottom up self organization. And that that, like, it's not just a moral point, it's actually a technical point as well that like these these top down bureaucratic kind of micro tyrannies are not only morally objectionable, they're also technically inferior to the kind of like cyber communism we want to institute. Yeah, I have like what if? One of my. What if? One of my favorite stories about, so I worked as a maintenance worker for a while and one day my boss was like, there was some problem with the sink and my boss was like, Nah, we don't need the plumbers. I can do this. And so he goes in there and it's like, it's like a sink in like a building, right? So it's just one of those things. There's like a pipe that connects to the top of the sink to like the wall. And he goes, OK, here, look at this. I'm gonna, I'm gonna turn this valve and this is gonna turn the water off. And what he instead does is he take he he he takes the pipe off of the wall. And just like a torrent of water, it's just now shooting out of this pipe because he has removed the thing. Yeah, he's removed the pipe from the wall. This is, you know, this is. This is why I think like. Yeah, this this this this. You know this this is. Like a particularly funny example of how these sort of top down management systems and this guy like like used to be a maintenance guy, right. But he just like wasn't a plumber and so you know and he accepts into it and he's like, Oh no, no, no, hold on. I know, I know how this system works. It's gonna be fine and it just there is a guys are the guys are of water has so much force it. It's like it's like pushing out or tool cart across the room. It's just, it's just gushes like a fire hydrants walk. Now I wanted to. I guess beers is an interesting way to go to go into the sort of the politics of what this actually looks like you want to talk about. And I know I I briefly talked about this in an episode of Neoliberalism a while back, but do you want to go into sort of more detail into what Beard was up to and? The. Eventually failed attempt because of military coup to try to implement like a cybernetic system for organizing. Essentially an economy. Yeah, sure. Yeah. So Stafford Beer was a management consultant. The and the cyber nutition he got his start sort of doing operations research. Which is? Kind of a precursor to cybernetics. That is kind of like interested in. Logistics and organizing systems in the British military in World War Two. And then he came out of that and became a corporate consultant for operations, research and management and so in working in the corporate world. He saw all of the things that were really screwed up with the status quo. Way of doing business and of organizing things. You know, the way that autocratic power of management creates all kinds of ridiculous problems. The way that managing organizations according to Org charts, which are there to assign blame more than anything else, creates all kinds of perversities the way that organizations fail to. Adapt to their environments because they get into these kinds of strange neuroses. And you know, just sort of going through all of that and. More often than not. Being unable to intervene in an effective way to. Address these problems and just sort of like seeing how these little instances of perverse corporate culture are indicative of the broader problems of our society as a whole and of capitalism, right? And so. You know, he had a basis from his time in India during the Second World War in a kind of like Tantra, kind of like, you know, Eastern or specifically Indian spirituality, yoga, all this kind of stuff. So he kind of had a cult countercultural side to his personality, and he was always doing tinkering, strange experiments with cybernetics. He wasn't just the straight. Nice corporate guy. But it was a combination of that, sort of. Countercultural background with his growing frustration with corporate systems that led him to start to develop ideas about how things could be different. And this kind of meshed up with the thoughts that were happening in Chile during the Chilean revolution in the early 70s. So they reached out to him to come and help out with organizing their economy. As they were undergoing this revolutionary process of trying to sort of throw off the shackles of imperialist dependency and create a society that was focused on the flourishing of workers and of society as a whole, as opposed to one that was based on sort of, you know, resource extraction where everything flows to the top. Yeah, it's. I want to explain some more about how that went. Well, so yeah, it it it went well and then it went badly, I guess. But from from from the reading we've done and from our research, it seems like. If basically if the if the US hadn't sent in the fascists to kill them all and this would this would have worked like it was working and it was yeah, the project was actually going pretty well. Yeah. Explain briefly what it becomes. So it's called Project Cybersyn, but what exactly? Like, what was it doing? So. Beers being kind of innovation is what we call the viable system model, or VSM, and it's a model that's a model for these, like autonomous social systems that is kind of taking it. Wouldn't say it's entirely based on like, the structure of the human body, but it's like taking a lot of lessons from biology and neurology and neuroscience and and cybernetics and just kind of meshing them all together. So basically, like it's like if your body is basically a bunch of autonomous organs that all take care of their own business, plus a nervous system that synchronizes them and unifies them into a workable hole. Then you can kind of see the whole system as having this kind of mixture of vertical and horizontal aspects. Like on the one hand, it has this horizontal aspect where the autonomous like System 1 units are are, well autonomous, more or less like the heart takes takes care of its own thing, the lungs take care of their own thing, but then the nervous system. Meshes them together in layers so that it can say, oh, hold on, too much oxygen, dial it down a bit, and then the organs respond dynamically to those those signals, right? So it's kind of. Up down feedback loops right where the the lower levels of the system are the smart bits that are doing all the important work. But there's this supporting infrastructure of the nervous system in the brain that unifies the whole thing and keeps it all on the rails. And so, and importantly, it's a kind of recursive model. So like a human being is an autonomous unit and then that it's that unit is composed of more autonomous units like the organs and the muscles. And then each of those is composed of cells, which are autonomous units and then, you know, so on. But like that Lander goes upwards as well so that like a team is an autonomous unit composed of human beings. A firm or like a department is a autonomous unit composed of teams, a firm is composed of departments. Like a sector is composed of firms, and it's the same kind of structure in at each layer. So the kind of upside there is that like? And you don't like, you kind of have a fairly unifying, like set of principles and like a science for doing this kind of like court coordination of autonomous units at every level, at every every layer of society. So like in principle, the sort of like the cybernetic principles that get applied to cohering members of the team are the same sort of principles that get applied to like sectors and in the economy and with the same kind of, you know, bottom up kind of feedback going on as well. And. So. Stafford was in invited to Chile to by the Allende government in so that was like 1970, right that that election happened. So he arrived in late 1970 I think. UM. I mean, you're not 100% certain on the timeline, but we're looking at those, those first few years of the 70s as as the time when this is happening. Yeah. Yeah. And he's elected in 1970. Yeah. So it's towards the end of the year that he's, he's invited and he's basically kind of given the task of like, hey, do all this stuff, but with this entire economy. And he's like, yeah, sure, cool. So puts together a project cybersyn and there's kind of a long story there of, like, them building out this kind of infrastructure and, like, it's all highly experimental. And. And highly sensitive like they one of the big problems they run into is that like they don't have very much in the way of like hardware, especially because they're under embargo. So they had like a pretty, what at the time was a pretty crafty old mainframe that they ran the software on and. But like step one was like. Installing this like huge communications network amongst all the factories and like setting up like the workers committees and stuff would feed information into it and it would. Kind of, again, this is like feedback thing where you kind of take signals from the economy and integrate them and then go, oh, you're producing too much steel. Route some of your product over to this, this factory and it will be better used there. And then you know, you guys over there turn up this style, you turn down this style, so. And then if that plan doesn't quite work out, then you've got another layer of feedback tomorrow to say, OK, that plan didn't quite work, here's an adjusted plan. So it's it's this like. Both bottom up and top down sort of loop of feedback that's like, I think the phrase Pickering is, is reciprocal adaptation, where the economy and its firms and its workers are all kind of adapting to each other in real time, in a kind of in a in a in a full system. Yes, I'm missing anything. No, I mean that's that's essentially what Cybersyn was. It was a system designed to. Largely, I think at first. Supplement the market, although beer later realizes that, like, actually, if you have a good system of this kind, you probably don't need a market. Yeah, but essentially it was like, OK, our economy has been one that has been built around dependence to. You know, especially the United States and it's been organized in that way. And we need to reorganize the economy, both to promote the well-being of the workers, the autonomy of the workers, realize the ideals of socialism in that way, and also to create a system that is less dependent on those existing structures of imperialism. And so having this reciprocal adaptation, having systems in place to connect. Things that were previously disconnected would allow you to move in that way of increasing autonomy and increasing freedom, and that was generally the idea of cybersyn, yes. And there was something very interesting, like when we were reading the reissue of his book brain of the firm, where he has a section at the end that documents this whole experience in Chile. And there's a really interesting part where towards the end of it he's like and that this is like getting up towards the coup where he's like. He and the other cyber send operatives like on the people are putting this together. Realize that like the workers and like people in towns are like just on their own, just like using this stuff and these kind of principles to just like. Abolish the value form, basically like, yeah, but notably without the involvement from above, like as in beer and company stumble upon this just happening where they're like, Oh my God, they're just, they're just dismantling the market and it's like, it's all just kind of happening. And that's there was something really wonderful to that. Then like it indicated like there was, there really was something to it that like. You could like as in as in people, working people could use these tools and this like new way of organizing themselves to. Just like liquid Ace market relations and wage relations, like, spontaneously, but it's it's a spontaneously that's that's not really. It feels very different from the kind of spontaneity you often get in like the way leftists are like anarchist talk about it often, like the kind of spontaneity is like a magical sort of thing, which is like where freedom just arrives from out of nowhere. But this was like installing infrastructure to enable freedom, and then it actually kind of happening until the fascists showed up, you know? Yeah, what I think is really interesting. About it is that. So, you know, you have, you have like you have this sort of central Control Center from which all this stuff is being run. But you know, yeah, it's, it's, it's it's a weird system because it's trying to link together. Like a lot of different kinds of firms like you have some say you have private firms but you have a lot of, you have a lot of state-run firms. You also have firms that throughout this whole process people like workers just taking over factories, they're setting up these sort of like call them industrial cordons. I think if I'm remembering my Spanish right, it's like, yeah, they they. You know, they start setting up their institutions and it's it's this becomes this way of sort of like networking these groups together and. The thing that's the other thing is interesting is, you know, so you have them on the one hand, like just getting rid of markets and going like, oh wait, we can just coordinate. Production through this and like not have markets and then the second thing they do is it's the the freedom immediately comes political in in the sense that like yeah like one of the things I do they they're that that's going on this. Is that and there's Chile has a very, very right wing. Like? It's basically like the even today it's like really like one of the only like union, like huge unions left in Chile is is truckers unions. And those guys are extremely right wing. They're in this period of being backed by the CIA. They're being trained by AFL-CIO, as I say, like every episode. But like, yeah, and and they're, you know, they're intentionally doing strikes, try to overthrow the government by blocking production and you know, like the workers are like, well, OK, hold on. We can just use this cybernetic system to figure out where these blocks. Or figure out where materials need to be moved through and we can just, you know, we can just stop the kind of revolution. We can just sort of like. We can we can just, we can just fight our way through it and. And it's interesting it's like this happens and so and that that like the original plan of using sort of of using these truckers like this sort of right wing. Like the first attempt fails, and once that fails, it's like they have to go to the military, yes, and the coup eventually works. It's it's hard to it's hard to resist a coup outright, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah. The thing with the trucker strike is that, like, yeah, it's you can very well imagine, like the CIA and stuff going into it, thinking that this is what we'll do it right. This will sew it up, but not realizing that the workers actually had in their hands a, like, vastly more sophisticated system for outmaneuvering them. Yeah. And that system worked like a charm, like clockwork. Just like you read the accounts from this thing, like both in Eden Medina's cybernetic revolutionaries. And beers on account. And there's like, this sense that was actually kind of spooky and weird because, like, even the people involved didn't quite expect it to workout that way. And that, like, they were surprised at how effective it is. But it gets back to the core of cybernetics and, like, feedback is weirdly effective at getting things done. You know, these, like, highly tuned feedback systems, they give you a lot of power to outmaneuver the scumbags, you know? Yeah, and I think in some sense, like this is. Like, people talk a lot about Chile as sort of like the sort of foreclosed future of like an electoral democratic socialism. Like, I don't think that was the potential of the moment. The potential of the moment was this. And it's interesting to me that, well, because beers kind of traces out a political history. That never quite happened, which is so OK one of the one of the sort of big political trends over the course of 20th century is you have all these people who were sort of like they they they basically got turned into planning bureaucrats stream June, World War Two because every government basically turns into a giant planning engine. And then, you know some of them go into, some of them you know essentially stay on in the government doing planning stuff. Beers like goes into the corporate world and the corporations are also, you know they start doing, they also start doing this planning stuff. And you know it. But beer is interesting because he he pivots like he pivots in a direction that. The world doesn't, which is he pivots towards, OK, the solution to sort of, you know, the, the, the, the, the kind of like decay of these, like authoritarian. Planning systems, whether whether they be like the corporate versions of it or the sort of like state administered. Like total economic planning from the top down versions is. Oh well, OK, we need to have planning from the bottom up. And distributed planning, yeah, yeah. And he he, like everyone involved with person, gets murdered. The only reason beer survives because he wasn't in the country and it's just really interesting, like. Like, it's kind of nice story. Not everybody got murdered, but some of them did and some of them were in exile, some of them were imprisoned. Yeah, it was, it was, it was, you know, it was not a good time. Beer got out early and he knew things that were getting were getting bad and everybody around him knew things were getting bad. Yeah, like he was on him. He was on like a kind of, I guess like it almost diplomatic mission to like try and get some of the blockade stuff. Like he was trying to, I think he was trying to flog. The container ship full of iron or something, you know, shopping, shopping it around to try and try and help out the like London, time to the world. That's what it was. Yeah, yeah, but. Yeah, it's. Oh hold on. I had to park there and then like after afterwards, like beer. Spent a fair bit of his time like trying to get his his comrades out of out of Chile and get them out of prison and got them resettled in in the UK and so on. Yeah, America as well. But yeah, I I think that. This is like, that's a very interesting point about the the, you know, the sort of the real value of this moment being that movement towards autonomy, that reorganization of society, not towards neoliberal engineering of markets and sort of reinforcement of private dictatorships. But towards a kind of like holistic control system that is still informed by, you know, the principles of autonomy and and and and science. It's it's definitely like an answer to the crisis of the 70s which was not taken up. And in that sense it is a foreclosed future, but of course one that we can take lessons from now. And I think there's something else that's very interesting to me about this because. You know if if you look at how? Like if you look at how the socialist block sort of responds to to the crisis in the 70s and, you know, they're sort of decaying the 80s. Like they they have this option available to them, right? They have, they have, they have a lot of ways they have, they have a lot better technology than what the Chileans are using. They have more resources. And every single one of them goes no. And instead just sort of like transitions, you know, instead of. I think it has to do with. There, there there's a line this, this is, this is like slightly before this where there's a line in a debate Mao and Joe and Lai are having and I think it's 1967. This is like the peak of the sort of worker LED part of the culture revolution. Like the works have taken Shanghai and Mao and Joe and I are talking and. They're trying to figure out like, what are they gonna do? You know, they, they, they they they've set off this force. It's now become uncontrollable. And there's, there's this line where they're talking about, OK, well, if, if we get, if they give them, if we give them a commune, they have to have free elections and Joe and Lai is like, well, that would be anarchism. And then they're like, oh God, we can't do that and they they never do in the and you know, the end result of this whole, sort of that whole sort of process is that China like instead of doing. Instead of sort of like. Devolving any level of control down to like. Any of the workers who are doing things, they're like OK well we'll just we'll just you know we'll we'll we'll do capitalism instead. Well will you, we'll, you know we'll create markets we'll sort of like. Maintain our firm structure but, you know, subjugate the party cadres into it. Yeah, yeah. And it's, it's, it's, it's it's a very interesting thing to me too, because like, there have been other like. You know, like they're like lots of socialist parties have sort of various, like degrees of radicalness have come to power, like since 1973. And to my knowledge, not a single one of them has ever picked any of this stuff back up. Like even, even, you know, like, like the most radical, sort of like, like. You know, like or like early. Like early. Chavez never like touches this. Like even like I don't like I I don't. I don't think. Like I don't think easy lens ever done it. Like I mean they they have psychological issues there, but like it's it's, it's it's interesting to me that like. Basically, no one who's ever taken power sense has ever attempted it again. Which again is strange because this is, you know. 111 of the sort of like this you would think this is like. This is at least a potential solution to sort of. This, this, this, this problem of the stagnation and sort of collapse of of the old, sort of. Daughters planning economies, but. No one takes it up. But I'm interested to think what you think about that, like why this doesn't happen. Yeah, there's a, I think there's an interesting dimension of bureaus work in Chile that kind of I think might provide some answers to that, which is that, you know he. He was in charge of setting up Cybersyn, and Cybersyn was. Kind of a system for optimizing the economy. But. He had other concerns and other briefs that he was working on at the same time and what he came to realize was that. There was a layer of management and experts in the organization of the economy that were happy enough to sort of work on a cybersyn that was designed to improve production numbers. But they had real resistance to the idea of worker autonomy because of the. Because of of of wanting to maintain their their job privileges and because of the the prejudices of their their habitus, I guess you could say that what they learned when they were educated as engineers or managers or whatever, and and you know where the people who know things, the workers don't know things they shouldn't be in charge, that kind of thing. And so he starts to, he starts to realize that in order to really make cybersyn. Effective as an engine for autonomy, what needs to happen is that sort of what you were describing with the Shanghai Commune, the the workers need to. Learn these cybernetic principles themselves and implement them through autonomous action. And so he starts to try to kind of like write up what like write pamphlets that can be distributed to the workers so that the information that he has as theory is not being filtered through a bureaucracy, but is instead, like, you know, involved in an educational. Process of self mobilization among the workers. And so, you know, this really doesn't mean that expert knowledge is irrelevant, but it does mean that it does imply threatening. The social privileges of management and expert knowledge because in beers conception of management, management is something that is done by anyone who has the power to affect an organization or change an organization. So if the workers are able to change their organizations, they are also managers and that's not something exclusive to experts. Trippier Management is a function. It's not a person, right? Yes, in Beer's ideal world, like, management would just be these like decision nodes that emerge among among workers, right? And the management manager would never be a person. A manager would be like a kind of structural information processing, like thing that happens among people. Yeah, and yeah. And so like when you see in, for example, the USSR the option of creating a planning network, a computerized telecommunications planning network throughout the whole Union. It's basically shot down for two reasons. One, it would be very, very expensive for them to develop. It would be on the order of of doing, you know, their nuclear weapons development. Perhaps more expensive than that. And two, it is simply at odds with the. System of. Like planning the the the command economy that had that had grown up in the wake of the revolution, right. It it it it it, it's simply at odds with the power of all of the factory managers, the planners, all that kind of stuff. It just kind of makes it threatens their identity and it threatens their position of power. And so I think that when you look at the socialist countries and why they didn't adopt this system, I think it's. Because they it would require the people in power to really rethink. Their entire role and identity as members of society. Hmm, yeah. And then it's kind of, there's a dreadful irony, really, in that. Like, it's it's Stafford beer, somebody who comes out of like bourgeois, like management staff, and is deep in the pocket for that. He's the one who actually sincerely pursues the most radical project in, like, socialist history that we've ever seen. Vastly more radical. In its intent. And it's like kind of, it's the beginnings of its impact than anything any Leninist has ever done. And it's basically because he actually did want real freedom and autonomy for working people. And your average loudness just doesn't, you know, like, again, like to go back to the example from earlier. Right, that, like when when under pressure they will, they'll do capitalism before they'll do anything that even resembles autonomy for workers. They'll take that path rather than doing the right thing. You know, that does speak to the character of the thing. And it's it's it's, it's. It's that class interest, basically, of those kind of functionaries, right. Like, the thing that makes beer different is that he's sincerely actually wanted to do it, you know, and the the the workers autonomy thing wasn't just a smokescreen for him, you know? Yeah. And when when he starts to come up with these ideas of like, thinking like, OK, like an economic planning system is not adequate, we need to go beyond that to thinking about the constitution of the social body. He he quickly finds that he's being marginalized. Within those circles of planners in the Chilean government, because this is not something that they are enthusiastic about, they're actually quite concerned about this idea. Even if I end A would be, you know, all for it, right? Because he he was he was very sincere about his interest in, in, in autonomy. There were still many people around beer who did not particularly like the idea. Yeah, absolutely. And I think if we look at it, you know, in terms of a why hasn't it happened since then in, on, in all of these intervening decades, I think you also have to look at. The. International system and the way that countries figure into it, because we have all of these. Neoliberal structures of management and organization that were created in the 80s and 90s and early aughts. That a socialist government has to contend with if they are to embark on a program like this. Which isn't to say it's impossible, but what it does mean is that there are all these sort of highly complex regulatory and organizational structures that have roots deep in our societies right now and. It is the path of least resistance to not attempt to engage in a in in a an effort to kind of, you know, let the the market atrophy as you develop an alternative structure for social organization. Because all of these structures are there and you have to kind of like root them out and replace them with something new as opposed to having all these ready mades of what's already there. The markets centered solutions, the, the, the kind of autocratic solutions, you know all of the management systems that have been developed with an autocracy in mind instead of something that is truly democratic and kind of self gestating and I think as well and there's, there's a kind of other thing that like. And. Like the the the left has been kind of in a very weak position for quite a while now, like since then, since the 70s, right? And like. It's like we're just, we're just starting to come around to maybe being on possibly an upswing, but also like I think there was this kind of long depressive phase at the end of the OR at the crossing in the centuries, right where. A lot of them like leftists kind of. And this, this actually gets into like why some of the reasons why we started general intellect unit that like we felt like we needed to bring this kind of like systems thinking and like technical seriousness back to the table after the kind of weird depressive phases where like you know like say the ultra globalization stuff or the Occupy stuff where people kind of take an almost explicitly anti strategic kind of turn and like a kind of anti technical turn. You know there's that kind of depressive. Hangover of like, Oh my God, like capital and it's it's it's technology. Is is hegemonic. Like, how the **** are we ever going to get out of this? Like, it would have been hard to make an argument for a scientific and like technical kind of fusion with with the humanist kind of impulses of socialism, but that's. I think we're getting to a point where we can start actually having that conversation again, like we're seeing a bit more of a turn towards that and it can turn towards like this kind of serious kind of. Like more more serious kind of discussion of like, hey, like, OK, like, OK, like we we we ******* hate the the the current order of things. We want to, we want to see it gotten rid of. What would we actually replace it with? Like, functionally, how would things actually work? Like, I think those kind of conversations are coming back on the table in a way that those were just impossible in the 90s, like after the Berlin Wall came down or whatever. And they were impossible a couple of years ago, you know? Yeah, the, the, the market as the fundament of society basically seemed to be invincible at that time. And there was a lot of just sort of. Wrongheaded assumptions about what was and wasn't true about it and about society as a whole. And you know, we've had a lot of chaos in the years since then. That was. That affected not just the countries that were were were, you know being restructured by the IMF, but actually came in affected the the the core of the world economy as well. And I think that that that sort of like, you know in the same way that World War One kind of disproved the idea of the white man's invincibility and superiority like having. Those like market chaos dynamics come home to roost in the core of the world. System has has undermined that invincibility. That that that idea that ohh, the market is just naturally the best, and there's nothing that could possibly be better at the same time that we have all of this technological development that's happening. You know, in our economy that could be used for something different as opposed to, you know, I don't know, making NFT's or something. Yeah, absolutely right that that's all super important. I think that that kind of refines like my previous thought is refining in my head now like that like. Right now, that kind of market chaos, and especially even like the chaos of like the systems response to COVID and stuff. Really puts. Like in general and for the left in particular, it puts like the question of governance back on the table in a way that it had kind of been off the table for a while. Like, I think there was, there was a period on the left where like left activity was kind of like railing against governance. Like it was like, we want freedom from governance and that sort of thing, right? And I'm not going to say those are necessarily bad impulses, right? But I think they're also kind of a bit wrong headed as well, right? But like the kind of reality is that like. And for for human life to flourish and for our lives to flourish, we need governance and like, because like governance actually like as a word has the same root as cybernetics does. So kybernetes, the Greek word becomes Kubernetes becomes cybernetics, right? But that's also the root of governor. So Kubernetes, Kubernetes or those are the roots of governance, so governance and cybernetics are one in the same kind of concept. This question of like, if we intend to create a world of self governance and that is effective, it's viable in beer terminology like viable self governance that what we're proposing is opposed to the chaotic vortex of nonsense that we have to put up with right now. And that's back on the table in a big way that like, because I think especially with COVID, people look at like just the sheer idiocy and ineptitude and chaos of our governments and realizing like, oh, those are decrepit, completely screwed up systems. And in part because their goal is the maintenance of capital accumulation. So this gets us back to the goal directed behavior of cybernetics, right like the steersman steers the boat towards a goal. Right. And it's it's always about or like a, you know, a cybernetic device like a thermostat has a goal temperature that is trying to, like, regulate the temperature of the water towards. And, you know, we have these governance systems that are completely awful. They're just like not suitable for like the regulation of human life, for flourishing. They're only suitable for the regulation of this insane system that just keeps capital accumulation going. Like that's the control variable that it regulates. And we're now in a position where on the left. More and more of us are saying, like, what we are proposing is not like a sort of magical escape from governance. We're proposing really, you know, we should have sane governance and it turns out that sane governance is bottom up, self organized governance. And and that's that's both a moral position and a technical position, and I think they're both of those, the moral and technical valences. Feed off each other like we're we're able to be the serious people in the room. This is a very big change of pace, right for us, because like for a while we were railing against like the very serious people of like the centrists and like the ******* Blairites and the Clintonites sort of people. We're the serious people now saying. What? What this what this system actually does is absurd and ludicrous, and it needs to be dismantled and rebuilt with a totally different like feedback circus, a different kind of goal orientation. And it needs to be oriented towards human flourishing. And like that's turns out there's a science of doing that and it's called cybernetics, you know well. And we also have a runaway ecological crisis. The more we learn about it, the more the feedback that we see. We see that, you know, like. The capitalist market system is absolutely leading us all to death and the Earth to death. And so it is human flourishing, but we also are concerned with the flourishing of life and in general, right. So I think that that that is something that wasn't as much on the horizon in the 70s, you know, certainly think, you know, people were thinking about it, but breaking down this barrier. Between economics and and ecology, I think is a very cybernetic impulse, and I think one that, you know, we need to keep working at. Because, like, you know, whenever we think about these things as separate domains, we're already. We're already engendering more destruction of the environment, yeah, yeah. I think cybernetics can also help us in that, kind of like. And on a kind of for a left projects like on an aggressive footing of like if we recognize that like the capital and it's kind of governance system is it is cybernetic and like it has its own feedback circuits and like say the the, the explosive feedback circuit that we're on with ecology, right. Like how do you intervene in a system to halt and disrupt those circuits so as to as to disintegrate the system is something like you can you can learn a lot from cybernetics to get lessons on how to intervene there. The last thing I want to talk about is just what is the society that is non capitalist and based off of sort of cybernetic governance principles. What does that look like for just a person? Because I think you know, this has been one of the big sort of like. Political challenges of the last, you know, 50 years, it's just the complete foreclosure of the ability to even just sort of imagine a system that's not this. Mm-hmm. Yeah, I I think it it means. In the first instance it means. A different orientation to your workplace and your community, right? Because. When you grow up in a society where power is exercised autocratically, it has an infantilizing effect on you as an individual. And, uh, you know, maybe your relationship to work is your workplace is one of sort of emotional detachment or of tantrum throwing, right? Because these are these are reactions, these are natural reactions to being in an abusive environment. But if you. Are in a system where. The work of management is not only open to you, but expected of you. You have a different orientation to that workplace, to the community you're in, because it's your responsibility if you don't do it. You know you're going to lose your autonomy and also you're going to have real problems that you have to grapple with as an individual. So there is a responsibility that comes there. But also like that means an opening up of horizons in terms of, well, things don't always have to be the same. Things don't always have to be handed down to you for management on high, they can actually change, like you can see the possibilities in front of you. You can plan for the future in your context and you can have that meaningful freedom in your life and be, you know, a a full human being in that sense, right. And so I think that that's a very core, everyday change that you could see. In terms of, you know, sort of your horizons of where you might work or what you might do, you know, you could expect that there would be more possibilities for each person to be like quote UN quote, entrepreneurial right to to have initiative in their life and be able to envision and create things around them that. You know they they can't do right now because they either are stuck in a job that doesn't give them that freedom, or it they are actually not even able to have a job right now where they can have a reasonable expectation of survival because there were places 100% oriented around just making sure the work gets done and you know, the consequences be damned. So I think that, you know, that is another area that's important and that sort of freedom of management. Extends all the way up to, you know, working in different kinds of capacities or jobs. Like some people in kind of a middle middle ranking area in a corporation these days might get shuffled around from department to department to try to kind of get a a well-rounded understanding of what the corporation is. And how it functions. But you know, we can kind of expect that these roles would be more open to everybody because again. You know, a system in the VSM is not a person. A system is a function, and that function should be fulfilled in a way that is as flexible as possible. So there's a lot less kind of, well, I'm stuck in accounting, and that's my life now, and that's all there that'll ever be. Of course, there are limits to education, there are limits to specialization, all of that kind of stuff like, you know it. It takes time to learn these things, but you could expect some more flexibility. There without having that terror of ohh yeah. You know, in the neoliberal era, everybody's expected to have like 15 jobs in the course of their quote, UN quote career. But also each of those jobs is going to be interspersed with a period of absolute terror as they live with unemployed in a society without a safety net, right. I I think that that's that's, you know, those are real consequences for everybody's life, I think. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And I think like at a very, very high level, the way beer puts it is that we are trapped in this kind of crazy system that like it's control variable is profit. Like that's the little variable that it's like doing feedback on to maintain and. Whereas what we're proposing is like the the the sort of cybernetic future would be. A society that's optimizing, flourishing, like what? Beer, the word. He uses eudemonia, which he's borrowing from Aristotle, just like flourishing. And and I yeah, a lot. A lot of stuff flows out from that. Like imagine a world where. Because we, we all feel it, right that like everything around us is kind of like micro tuned as like a little feedback loop to keep money and profit flowing and to keep capital accumulating. Just imagine a world where that's just not true anymore. And there. That the sort of social infrastructure that you grow up in is an infrastructure that instead optimizes for the flourishing of life. Yeah. And I, I think, you know, when we, we, we look at sort of the broader patterns of society today, we see all of these harebrained schemes that, you know, very rich men are embarking on and they're they're setting the agenda for society. You know, where that, you know, Mark Zuckerberg is telling us that the metaverse is the future and you just have to get on board with this, even though anyone can see that this idea is patently ridiculous. Yeah. And in a society where that kind of management, that kind of money power doesn't exist anymore, like you don't have to live under that kind of future horizon anymore, where it's like 8 men with absurd amounts of money cook up. You know, ridiculous schemes and everybody has to follow them just like they were following the orders of Pharaoh back in the day. Yeah. I think do not be ruled by Pharaohs is as good a place as any to leave off unless you have anything else you wanna go to. OK, there's there's one little line from beers book. Well, it's actually a set of presentations called designing freedom that I absolutely love. It cracks me up every time I read it, so I'm just gonna read it for the listeners. It gives you a sense of his absolute, like, ridiculous radicalism like these off the ******* charts with this stuff. At some point, he says, and I'm quoting here every time we hear that a proposal will destroy society as we know it, we should have the courage to say thank God at last. Yeah. A real maniac, yeah. Yeah. And and and he had this, this dictum of if it works, it's out of date. Yeah. So, you know, it's it's like, like, yeah, don't be complacent, you know, don't be a traditionalist. And I think also that there's been, there's been really horrific consequences of sort of the right being the ones to, like, take the urge for creative destruction or just like, you know, what was that line? There's some. Well, I forget some some venture capitalist things like move fast and break things and it's like, yeah, well, so when they move fast, the things they break is us. But yes, you know, we can move faster and break things that are bad. Yeah. And it's to a creative and playful kind of mode of being right that like you you might be able to work wake up in the morning and and think God you know to be really cool. If we could have like a like a childcare nursery just like like out in the out in the common area between these buildings and stuff and like go to your go to your like local like your workers Council or whatever and have really plausible like way of actually getting that and like collaborating with people to make that happen and then being like OK we'll we'll try it as an experiment for 12 months. We'll keep. We'll see how it goes. And then there's a feedback cycle where it's like, OK, some aspect of this design didn't really work out. We'll, we'll go talk about it some more and then iterate on that and that's that's. I guess it's it's an entrepreneurialism that doesn't bear much resemblance to what that word means right now. It just means that human beings, living real things, real workers, will be able to actually control their environments and this the substance of their lives in a meaningful way. Yeah, and like this. I think you know, back in the 90s, the early aughts, sort of before the the 2008 crisis and and the the Hori days of yore. It's there was a lot of talk about flexibility and dynamicism and adaptation, but what that always meant was. We make decisions about what's going to change and you have to adapt, right? It was, it was, it was, you know, always this arbitrary power from outside that would just be changing the social fabric and you had to be flexible enough to cope with what you were being subjected to. It's very different if. You know, the planning is being done by you, for you, and you're moving towards adaptation and flexibility out of a sense of, Oh yeah, this would be better. And I'm going to adapt to be in a better state to to work with my environment in a more healthy and more flourishing way as opposed to just like, Oh yeah, you've got to work 3. Jobs now. So figure it out, right? That's a very different kind of flexibility, very different kind of adaptation. And you know, those things have sort of become dirty words in some ways, but they are really core to the way that we all exist as organisms in the world, and they don't have to be just synonyms for abuse. Exactly. Yeah, I think, OK, we can take this as a place to leave off. Yeah. Do you 2 have stuff you want to walk? I know you have stuff you want to plug, but plug the things that you want people to listen to because they are good. And yeah, we're general intellect unless you go to general intellect unit dot Ness, and it's got all the episodes on there. We're on Twitter as GI Eunice pod. Yeah, you can find us on all the podcast things. And we're also part of a podcast network called Emancipation. So that's Emancipation Network on the web. And and yeah, some really excellent shows on there we were. Collaborating with Swamp side chats and moral science from Alpha to Omega jumpsuit Newtopia, they're they're really wonderful shows. They're all. It it it's a variety of different sort of takes on things, but like there's a sort of common, there's a sort of spiritual common ground that we all have. Yeah, we we we're all interested in. Thinking. Systematically, we're all interested in emancipation, as the network name says. And we're all interested in sort of. Building something going forward, trying to construct an alternative as opposed to simply getting caught up in day-to-day politics or getting caught up in doomer mentality. So, yeah, it's it's systematic, it's critical, but it's also constructive. And I think that's what we're all trying to do there. Yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you to you both for coming on. Thank you. It's been wonderful. Thanks. Yeah. Thanks for having us. Yeah, and this this has been naked happen here. You can find us what happened here. Pod in. Places. There's also stuff at Colson media that you can also find in those same places and possibly also different ones. So yeah, we have a, we have a website. Everyone asked me for my sources every single week and they get posted there once a month, so. Yeah, go go to and you will find. All of the sources so you don't have to DM me every week. Alright, goodbye. 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, 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 Thanks for listening.