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 66

It Could Happen Here Weekly 66

Sat, 14 Jan 2023 05:01

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So when you see the clean at Sephora seal, you know you're getting a clean you can count on. Learn more about their clean standards and shop clean at Sephora Beauty at If you look for it, every day has cause for celebration. Celebrate a friend for their promotion baby wedding life thing. Celebrate yourself for keeping the couch warm. It's no easy feat, especially if it's a big couch. Or maybe you just want to celebrate living in 2023 where you can get beer, wine, and spirits delivered from Jisley in under 60 minutes without leaving set couch. So download the Jisley app or go to That's and get your favorite drinks delivered today. It could happen here. It being the future and here being to you. This while last week when you hear this, but this week when we're recording this because we're recording this in the past for you. Garrison Davis, intrepid correspondent and myself, Garrison Davis's boss went to CES, the consumer electronics show in 2023 in order to explore the future and in keeping with our guide both to the future, which we cover here and collapse because the tech industry is falling apart. I think this was a pretty interesting time to be at CES. I didn't episode last week where I kind of talked preliminarily about some preliminaries. I went to an event called CES unveiled where some of the more prominent products were there, but we've since spent three days walking around the convention floor, probably around 30 miles on foot, something like that. My legs and back are falling apart. Yeah. We've turned you into an old man. But we have learned what the future is going to be. And I am, I boy, how do I'm excited to tell the folks what they can expect. Garrison, where do you think we should start? Let's start with some of the more collapsing type things revolving around crypto because crypto was kind of like the white elephant in the CES because this is happening right after the FTX Fiasco. So it's kind of weird. We saw it printed the word crypto and web 3.0 printed on more stuff than I heard people talk about. Yeah, people were not talking about it the way I think they would have been definitely definitely last CES. But even a few months ago. And that was really interesting. We did sit in at one crypto industry event where it was a group of like French regulators. Yeah. And French crypto business people talking about what they felt like regulations were basically in the wake of the FTX collapse, what kind of regulations did they think would make crypto work? Yeah. And you might have caught more than I did, Garrison, because they couldn't get their microphones to work. No, their microphone stopped working. Then their backup microphone stopped working. And then they got a third backup mic, which is a little tiny lava mic that they had to finish the. He was just speaking into a tiny little lava lear mic. Yeah, we're amplifying it. Yeah. And sending painful feedback into everyone's ears. And look, they're going to be defending the traditional financial system. But I will bet you when a bunch of Goldman Sachs bankers get up on stage to talk about. Their microphones work. Yeah. I mean, that was just one thing in a long line of crypto and metaverse kind of fiascos that we ran into at CES. We the first night we got here, we were going to be going to a crypto happy hour. Mm-hmm. That was supposed to be held in a bar called the nerd on Freemont Street. Yeah. If you've never been to Freemont Street, Freemont Street is old Las Vegas. So it's the worst part of town. There's a gigantic fucking football field long LCD screen above you that plays animated versions of God Bless America. How'd you feel about Freemont Street here? It's horrible. There's cigars. The smell walking back to the car. I don't think I'll ever forget that smell. By the way, folks, one of the things you're going to get from this is a travel log of young garrisons first trip to Las Vegas. Yeah. It's been a real one. So we get to Freemont Street. Nobody is in the nerd. No, the nerd is completely empty. It's a it's a bowling alley bar, which sounds like a great idea, but it was completely deserted. There was there was not a single soul in. I poked my head in. It was all under harsh purple light and completely empty. And this is like off off of Freemont Street. So there's there were plenty of people around it on Freemont Street. And the music music was blaring both inside and outside. Completely dead. So once this so we saw this being empty. So we checked the email for the crypto party again. And they said there there was another location list. It's obviously just to clarify, there was the party invitation thing that you would click in the list of CES parties. And it had one invitation one location. Yeah. And then there was also what you got emailed, which was a separate location. A separate location. There was zero indication as to which was accurate. So we decided to go to the other location listed because then one was at this one, which was which was called the go to bar. Yes. Which immediately immediately upon pulling up we got a great impressions. Yeah. It was the a hole in the wall, little box. The sign of all the box. Yeah. When the list box, all of the letters were coming off of the science. It was impossible to tell what they had. But like and they were descending in an almost artful manner. Yeah. It's like there's a photo on my Twitter. We'll probably use it to headline this episode. It's beautiful. It's like I don't know if someone could have intentionally intentionally placed those as well as they were. It was it was a perfect microcosm of this entire thing. We went inside. Very nice people. The person there said that the party wasn't happening here anymore. But that this bar is the crypto guys are usual hangouts spot, which was a glorious sentence to here. Not a big money location. And look, I've drink I've drank I've drank at a lot of dive bars. I have both been poor and in need of alcohol for much of my life. This is a this is a classic dive bar. This is really really and by that, I mean, not the kind of like like trying to play it being a dive bar so that people feel like they're getting the dive bar. I mean, like you will get tetanus from the bathroom dive bar. It was great. Just the fact that the that the person like running the bar referred to this as their regular hangouts referred to this as the crypto guys regular hangout spot is just warm into my heart. My biggest regret from this trip is that we didn't stay for karaoke. But yeah, we had other plans. Yeah. So that probably leads us into metaverse. There's not a lot else to say about crypto, which was the which is the other kind of like, but both like crypto NFTs and metaverse were all kind of trying to piggyback off each other. And I think metaverse has survived the best out of those three. It's doing better than crypto and NFTs, which isn't saying much. But even still, I think there was a slight it was weird. Some people were trying to emphasize that the metaverse aspect. Some people were trying to emphasize just the VR aspect. Yeah. The um, there I saw metaverse and meta around, but when I would go to the company's advertising various VR products, they would usually were focused more often on other applications for VR technology. Yeah. Like I kind of get the feeling again, a lot of them ordered stuff with meta on it before it became clear what it is aster it was. And there's some backing for this. So for one, we went and we saw magic leap, which is a company that makes VR headsets and VR programs. They have had pretty disastrous sales to the consumer market, even though they have a very good product because it's really high end and people aren't willing to spend $2,300 on a headset. And kind of prior to CES sort of reoriented themselves trying to sell to enterprise and trying to like move units in like an industrial capacity for people doing like training and and it's one of those things one of the things you can do with VR is you can sit a guy down and have someone remotely explain them how to fix or repair something if he is less experienced. Anyway, they were showcasing a lot of that as opposed to games and certainly yeah, no one tried to make me hop and do a fucking horizon worlds or even VR chat. There wasn't much in terms of like trying to advertise their software hard way for building virtual concerts. I probably have a lot of it was way more enterprise and like work place training and a lot more very practical applications was gaming. Or gaming but in terms of like what the high end expensive big VR producers were there for, they were definitely pivoting or at least showcasing the applications that were more for enterprise. Yeah, and that's what I found really interesting because I probably had a dozen different VR headsets on my head at some point. And not once was I dropped into like the kind of metaverse type thing that Facebook is. Yeah. And again, none of their products were on display. No. Meta Facebook was not here at all. There was another company called Meta that I think did some kind of machining. Yeah, which was funny because the Meta booth was just some completely different company. Yeah. Yeah. But in terms of circling back to the collapse aspect of the metaverse. So night one was this failed crypto party where we went to two locations and they were at neither one of them. They sure weren't. Night two, we signed up for an invite to a metaverse party. And I can't tell you how excited we were for this metaverse party. We were actually very well. For one thing, legs are now in the metaverse and Garrison's never experienced legs. So I was really excited for them to see that. Yeah. I only had the quest one, which did which did not include legs. I was also psyched to maybe make a big red robot friend like in that horrible video that Mark Zuckerberg made where his friends are playing poker on a spaceship. So the party on the invite that we request like you couldn't just show up. You need you need to like request an invite and like get a ticket. Yeah, we got four tickets. We got four tickets to this metaverse party. It was first for it first said it was at the Palazzo about. Palazzo being part of the Venetian. Yeah. And about two hours before the party, they said it was no longer at the Palazzo. And instead we were supposed to meet them at the at the fountain at the fountain outside of the Belagio, which is one of the big famous Vegas landmarks and quite far away from the Venetian. Yeah, because the Venetian is where half of CES was taking place. The other half was in the Las Vegas Convention Center. So we make our our John T. Walk over to to Belagio. We get there and we realize that we have to we have to use this application on our phones for the for the Metaverse party thing to work. It's like this AR application that they did tell you if you have a VR headset, you bring it. Yeah, I think one person did at least and bring a charged phone. Yeah, bring a charged phone. Bring your headphones. So we all you know, open up this QR code or whatever or link to try to get this software working. And around 20 people there are all are all met with perpetual loading screens. Now a few people did have I saw one or two people that this was working for. Mine loaded just the VR avatars of people, but it was on like a gray background. And but it didn't load any of the background or any or any of the way it was supposed to look because one guy had it more or less working, I think. Yeah, no, it was basically it was a video like a live feed of the Belagio fountain in front of us. It's like camera. It's scanned over it. It's using the phone camera. All of the different like a bunch of different awkwardly jerking avatars. Kind of crudely dancing. Yeah. In front of it. They did have legs. They were ringing endorsements. Yeah. So it was it was supposed to be that it was supposed to be this this AR animated experience thing synced to the Belagio fountain and to Viva Las Vegas. And that was what it was supposed to be. The thing is only one or two people it was working for. Everyone else had these loading screens or had just the just had the avatars popped in with none of the other features working as before the Belagio fountain like just like a show. Yeah. The guy who's the guy who's the last Viva before the final Viva the guy running this party left. He was gone quite rapidly. He exited the premises. He took advantage of the fact that people were confused and trying to figure out what was happening and he escaped. So we have all like 20 people not sure what to do. And then we get a need we get an email like 10 minutes later saying that thank you for coming to the show. I hope you enjoy your time at beer park which is across the street. Beer park is a place by the way. I know it's it seems like a joke name but it's a quite large business. So we were told that the party had a reservation at beer park and that we were all going to go over to beer park and you know by the way the people heading up there it's not just like pieces of shit like us. There's like some serious industry people there. No like people who like including like the CEO of arguably the most prominent virtual reality game company. Yeah. No there was a CEO or whatever. It's a CEO. Yeah. No like there was people who have been involved in very popular VR games who are industry industry professionals engineers. Yeah and other other like VR enthusiasts and then also people like us I assume who just wanted to watch it crash a bird. Yeah. Which it did. We're just there to be to be the sickos in the window laughing. Yes. So we're told they have they we're told that they have the reservation for beer park. We're like okay well the AR technology didn't work that's that's a bummer you know it would not it's not the first failed demo I've seen it's the yes stuff happens maybe they didn't test it for how many people was there. They probably was too many. Yeah like who would like like actually yeah who knows but at least we can hang out with people but so but the guy the guy running the party left so he's just gone. But everyone else makes make you know like you know like a dozen or a dozen or so people make our way over to beer park and we're told that there is in fact no reservation for this party. Nobody has called them. They don't know what we're talking about. So could we please get out of the way and they asked us to leave. Okay. So we start our way to the staircase and then we then we that we stop halfway down because someone at beer park says well there is like there's a bar in the very back of of of of of and they're not selling alcohol there but you guys can stand around and buy from other places. So we can stand there as they figure out what's going on. We later learn that the that the guy who was running the party who did not show up did have a reservation for six people at one table. Yeah. Here's an that man hung himself at circus circus within 30 minutes of the show. I do know he actually made his way over to beer park at some point but he did not go to where everyone else was going. He was at the other side of the park. Oh, oh good. But he was not talking to anyone else from the party. So that was that was the the second party we went to which was yeah of a spiring of a similar level of competency. So that is that is the crypto and people did show up for the second party. So I'm going to have to give it to the metaverse. I mean they changed locations three times. They did from the Plaza to the Bellagio fountain to beer park. Yeah. With you know, variety of issues along the way. In terms of the VR stuff we actually got to try. So Robert tried like I think three or four different haptic feedback suits. I tried every haptic product I could find and haptic again for the folks who don't know this. Whenever you like touch your phone and it like buzzes like like let you know that you're typing or whatever. That's haptic feedback and that's kind of the crudest form of it. But the idea and the hope of the people kind of playing with the technologies that you can find ways to basically like simulate a keyboard so that you would be able to touch type in a keyboard that's not really there because you'd be wearing a glove or something that would simulate the feeling so well. And so this is a key part of when you think about like what would it take to go from where VR is now which is a pretty visually immersive and can be a pretty auditory immersive experience. But that leaves the rest of your body. The tactile feedback isn't there. Yeah. To something that is kind of yeah more like a holodeck where you feel and and like can you know even people have talked about like smell of vision and stuff which is a little further behind. But like something that's actually engaging the entirety of your physical person at the very least not being able to like walk through walls. Yeah or this more of your physical person than just your head and eyes and ears. So that's that's the goal. So the first one I tried was the tack suit which basically feels like and I wrote this was in the last episode it feels like having a bunch of n64 rumble packs on your body. It does not mimic the feeling of hugging or touching a human being. Another one that we tried I tried one that was just gloves that did a pretty good job of and the tack suit gloves did a pretty good job with mimicking keyboards. Okay. Which is kind of interesting. I don't think it would allow me to touch type but it was it was neat to see that kind of developing a little bit. Then we tried one by O.O. It's like big capital O's little W. We're just going to call it O.O. Oh, oh. And that was like a full body suit where it's basically it's like a skin type like a workout shirt. Yeah. Um, with a bunch of EEG pads underneath it. So the EEG pads make direct connection to your skin. And then if you have ever engaged in the kind of kinky sex play that involves like a violet wand which is a device that erotically electrocutes you or your partner. You can also like draw on each other with it or if you've ever used like any of those fake sex cattle prods. They used to sell them at the arena in that old castle in San Francisco. If you've ever used any of those it's like that. So you're just like getting zapped a bunch all over your body. And on the low settings it's kind of like a nicer massage gun thing. Yeah. And on the higher settings it's actually really really comfortable. It's actually. Yeah. So I try this one today. I put on the little skin tight and jumper thing. And even just during the calibration settings it was really fascinating because it's even though the electrodes are only on like a few of your muscle sections that the current runs through. And it doesn't really it doesn't necessarily have like you know like a tazer shocky feeling. It just it just is like muscle pain. It's involuntarily contracting your muscles. Yeah. So it's it's it's it's not just like static-y shocky stuff. There was you know get you know the cool thing about this is that it can simulate you know an entry-rooned and an exit wound. So Robert was playing the popular VR game pistol whip where you get shot by dudes and you do like a John Wick thing basically. And you can feel you know like bullet goes in bullet goes out. Yeah. And yeah. So it's not just like a rumble pack type things actually depth to the feeling. And one of the things they simulated that was really cool is getting stabbed and then having that I've twisted. Which was the worst with the worst feeling for me is like honestly like getting shot in like the Chester Shoulders. It was it was painful but it wasn't necessarily it wasn't like painful in like a bad way. It's like oh I'm playing a game and this is this this is a punishment. It's it hurts but it's kind of fun. The stabbing was awful. I would seek to avoid it. It was very painful because all this all the stuff like below my chest was way more uncomfortable and painful. Worse like chest and arms was kind of was kind of fun. Yeah. And I I don't know again whether or not you find this appealing we'll have to do with the way that you like to do your video games. Yeah. But what I will say is that from a perspective of just like enjoying a an FPS type game. It it is the first time I've been playing a game that's had some sort of feedback when you're hit that actually is negative reinforcement. Yeah. Like you do not want to get hit. And you actually kind of dread getting hit. It actually it makes the game a lot more immersive. Yeah. And like I mean this that's that's like a bullshit phrase people use for like this is immersive like no this actually like this actually it was really consequence. I think that they put into something like how do we simulate a knife wound? How do we actually do like a through and through gunshot one and it also makes your makes your VR body feel more connected to your actual body. Yeah. Which is something that usually doesn't happen. Yeah. You feel a sense of like defensiveness towards your person. Yeah. And it like when I was trying to like dodge the bullets and shit like I actually felt it didn't just kind of feel like I was playing a game like my body felt more on the line which was which was interesting because this is purely we're talking about this kind of in the context of the stuff that matters and the stuff that matters here not that gaming doesn't matter but the stuff that actually matters here is the ability of people to simulate accurately life in a digital form because if that can be done then a lot of other weird things are possible many of which are good some of what you're bad many of what you're bad. I mean I think the next the next we're talking about has a bit more practice and then but more real world stuff because that's what I wanted to say all the only application I saw for this was in gaming. This does not I didn't see like a metaverse application of this like this is not going to help in Mark Zuckerberg like you don't want to less you can get mugged into metaverse yeah and some some asshole tenurable lock up to you with a knife and stab you well that's a good point when we're talking about is it possible that people will be living increasing quant like portions of their life in persistent digital environments one thing I would not want to have is a suit like this because people find ways to access it you can get bullied. Well and we've talked to we've talked to some people who program for these things who are like other versions of them at the metaverse party actually yeah at the metaverse party they fuck up and it's like getting electrocuted yeah you can't take it off yourself it's serious problem there is a competing model to the oh well suit called the Tesla suit not not made by Elon Musk's Tesla different company but similar similar degrees of care towards safety maybe I mean it is this is the most high end a haptic suit that does this electro shock thing and he said that he he is watched demos where people have been in the suit and the suit like glitches and all of the things turn on and like at full capacity which means you're you're you're you're not only in extruding pain you also you also just like can't move your body like your stuck frozen in horrible pain until someone turns the suit off so like there is there is this type of logistical problems with with these sort of things as well well and it's one of those like the the first that I had when using that thing was like oh this is kind of neat uh this what makes this actually would make certain video games better and the second thought I had was I would only ever want to have this on if I was playing a video game that was not connected to the internet because the instant I would never want to engage in a multiplayer game where I could get stabbed like that it would be horrible constantly be troll I mean yeah obviously like you you can have lower settings on these things to to make it not painful at all yeah you do get to pick that but I I tried to go as far as I could but in terms of practical applications beyond just gaming the next haptic suit that we tried that this company is working with governments that's a piece of the haptic's haptics yeah is the is the is the company uh we know with that's they do the thing where they like remove values yeah haptics um and they have they have military contracts we we we saw we we saw army people testing out to two employees of the but United States army but they already are working with law enforcement um well and you know uh an industrial capacity training there's fucking video of Jeff Bezos using their products to like wirelessly control a robot yes that's like based off of human hands in order to do yeah but they they work with governments they work with businesses corporations this isn't really a consumer thing at this point no because the full suit I think they said the next full suit is going to be like $80,000 no no no the the um I because the gloves are 4,000 the gloves and battery pack the next full suit that they're doing is going to be $80,000 or $400 a month subscription but that's for the suit that's not even released yet that is their next model yeah not a consumer like theoretically if you're willing to pay the monthly fee you could have this thing um but that's not the intent but I think what's interesting about it is this is kind of where all of the technology is going and the and the main difference is that the haptics that we had used on us in the lower end gaming products we're again they're basically just kind of like shocking you a bunch in specific ways or just like vibrating yeah or just like vibrating whereas this suit used air pressure is like pneumatic so it was basically you have these gloves on and the gloves are much more cumbersome than the other gloves yeah um you have these gloves on and they're like blowing air onto you parts of your hand it's it's it's it's compressed air that that that feeds into these little sensor things that actually go in that they they yeah make contact with your skin and so you're the feeling is is real in a way that the other haptic stuff isn't um and it doesn't first off it does not actually it does not feel like you're getting puffs of air blown on your hands no it does not one of the things that they did in there is they simulated holding your hand under a leak with drops of uh I think it was oil in that but like drops of a liquid coming down on your hand and it felt like having water cup pour onto your hands without wetness which is an odd feeling yeah that's bizarre um but the uh um they they had like a bonsai tree which kind of felt like a it felt like a prickly almost yeah it felt a bonsai tree and like a prickly it felt like a prickly plant running your hands through both plants if you'd close your eyes and you'd run your hands through both plants they would feel like different plants yeah um and one thing you could do is you could grab the vine with leaves on it and pull your hand down the leaves would come off the way they would in a real vine and like you like feel them you can feel it yeah and then your hand is full of leaves at the end and you feel them too as they like slide off of your hand which is a kind of fidelity I didn't really realize was possible at the moment um there was other stuff that really there was some stuff that worked better than like the turning wheels and stuff was kind of like whatever um the the knobs and buttons weren't great I actually thought that the weak point was turning knobs the radio and it just felt kind of shocky yeah um but the the straw there was one way you the rope though yeah there was a rope hanging from the ceiling so you could like pull it to like it was kind of like attached to you were on basically like a fake airship in the sky and then you're attached to a horn yeah so you could pull the rope and then you could the way you can grab a rope and pull it down hand over hand you could pull it and it felt like it felt just like yeah pulling a rope through your hand like yeah it was like if if I was if I had no like your perfect fidelity yeah if I had no like a visual sensory perception I would think I am pulling a rope through my hand yeah it felt it it felt perfect and there there were there was a moment where I was at a desk and I had to open it and so I like I pull like and normally in VR if you're like opening a desk or something you just kind of like grab and pull in the right area and it opens the drawer this I I felt like there was a big metal kind of like hook thing that you get your hand up into pull so I pull it out and I feel my hand inside that thing as I pull it and then at a certain point I stuck my hand into the drawer to push it open the rest of the way which I do on real drawers when they get stuck and it worked the same way that it does in a real drawer and it felt like one I mean the other thing that was impressive about that is that you even just I I instinctually picked up a mug by putting like half my hand inside the mug and holding on to the other side which you can't really you can't do that if you're using VR controllers and you can't even do that if you're doing like hand tracking it just you just doesn't work but that you put your hand in pinched both sides of the mug and picked it up and like just that by itself like as you're like feeling the mug in your hand is like extremely impressive right now which I kind of sound silly because you're talking about like the mechanics of grabbing a mug but it's it's actually also talking about a lot of advancement the capacity for mimicking reality with close to perfect fidelity which I would not have guessed walking into the show you could do the things that we're doing yeah and and we talked I we talked to one of the products managers there they're talking about where they were speaking about how how they're using this for workplace training but also even even talking about how you don't want to just use this tech for workplace training because then people will get too used to doing it in VR and then when they actually go into the real world they'll actually be completely lost because it's not close enough to the VR so they actually talked about how you know VR you can only do so much you want to you want to use you know VR training as a supplemental thing for also in-person training and kind of go back and forth so that you actually stay grounded in what you're going to be actually doing but then you can also use the VR as an assistant so you can you know train it on you can train on your own but also you get to apply it to the real world so you don't get stuck just doing the stuff in the in the digital world which I thought was an interesting comment from the person who's like trying to self-technology yeah yeah which I yeah and that was kind of the thing one of the neat things about CES so most of the people you encounter and CES for those of you who have never been to a trade show it's rooms that are bigger than you ever thought rooms could be filled with thousands of booths and some of the booths contain earth movers by the company cat that are like the size of a mansion in terms of their actual like mass and some of the booths are a crazy person sitting with his homemade air conditioner and his cut open gloves explaining to you the new way he's figured out how to make air conditioner coils um and so you get this mix of at the big corporate booths a lot of the time like PR people who are hired to sell a line and don't know what they're talking about and they're just trying to hype a product and then inventors and people who like have actually have actually made the thing in front of you and are very excited about it and are kind of incapable of bullshitting you sometimes they believe irrationally in their product sure sure they don't they're not PR people no um and yeah I got that feeling from the from the haptic people we should move on from metaverse yes so I want to talk about some of the other since we're doing the good the other products we saw or things that we saw dimensions we saw that that I made me kind of hopeful about aspects of the future so we we saw some AR glasses and I that again VR is immersive AR is just kind of putting an overlay from the digital world on the regular shit you're wearing glasses and you're seeing something that a computer is showing you um one of the things that we saw that I was most impressed by was by a company called vusix vus i x and it was their zander glasses zander with an x like the guy from buffy um and these are glasses that are designed to provide real-time captioning those with hearing loss so you are wearing them and you are conversing with people all around you and you see every word that's being said around you including the words you say on screen in front of you live captioning um and it worked uh yeah worked extremely well I didn't see it miss or fuck up any words it's not like punctuated or anything but it was perfectly easy to follow and it works for all of the voices around you um to the extent that I could tell and I I'm not hard of hearing in a way that I need captioning glasses but I think that if you are this is kind of a miracle product it worked incredibly well as far as I could tell and um I think a good amount of thought from what they said at least it seems like a good amount of thought went into the fact that if you are acting as someone's ears you have a responsibility to take care of their privacy because all of it was local none of it was going into the cloud there's no app there's no internet it doesn't touch your fucking phone it's it's just it's just the glasses it's yeah that's all it is there's no internet there's no app it's just the glasses so that was one of the coolest things that I think we saw there and was just also a fairly rare legitimate example of a need being met through fascinating technology that I think could really improve people's lives yeah uh one one of their pair of AR glasses I tried was by uh and reality optics they had a few different models they're the ones that make the actual lenses they had models that were that you could switch between AR and VR it was actually pretty impressive how they're they they look pretty much like regular glasses um the specific AR and VR ones look a little bit funky but they're not they're not completely ridiculous but you could with a button you could switch between having like the AR pass through mode so it's like you can like see you see the AR screen and then you put you also see the world around you then you can hit to the VR mode and it blacks out the real world and you just see the VR stuff and that that was that was pretty impressive they also had a a full frame AR glasses that again looked looked looked relatively normal in terms of like you know this is the regular pair of glasses and but this was the only pair of AR glasses I saw at the show that had the AR going over the course of like the entire lens all the other ones had like a little box that they operated in yeah then also in some cases fucked up your vision like when you didn't have a thing playing through yeah and it's like hard to it's hard for your eye to know what to focus on yeah um but this the AR was was over that was was across the entirety of the lens and that one was was very nice to uh to test out now I think one of the things that we're kind of talking around here is the fact that if you paid attention to this you'll note that none of the really cool stuff we're talking about is made by a giant tech company Facebook meta yeah yeah Facebook meta or like Samsung Panasonic LG we went to those booths those are the largest booths at the show they're fucking massive multi million dollar booth god knows how much money um Panasonic spent at one of the largest booths at the show which had to have probably was tens of millions of dollars it is not cheap to get real estate in the LBCC they they they have like the third largest booth in the entire show massive they didn't really have any they had new products they didn't have any products they have anasonic makes things no they they they had like they had like two cameras and like maybe like ten lenses but and like not not multiple ones of those just those yeah the only two cameras and like ten lenses that that's all they had for this massive massive and there's some fucking TVs and shit like nothing new displays and like like like not not not displays for sale it was like just like like projected displays of people using their stuff like yeah they they didn't they didn't have anything to show at all but they did have oh god they did have a break dancing stage and they brought up DJ funky and his break dancing crew which I swear were pulled right out of Times Square in 2003 um and just thrust into into into our reality uh it was deeply awk because it's these very like clearly people who spend most of their time doing break dancing shows out in public in streets and crowded cities and a bunch of confused Japanese businessmen just like staring back at them and they're being like come on come on make some noise and the Japanese businessmen are continuing to stay silent do not want to make any noise don't understand why this is being asked of them um it was extremely funny um um but uh yeah and and that was one of kind of the takeaways for me was the lack of ideas from big tech most of what the big companies were showing was like either a million different cars and you know our technology is this car technology and I'm sure they're all great cars sure they're wonderful cars very popular a lot of that that was like the one of the bigger trends we saw was how much people were pushing their EV cars which is I think if you want to read something about that it's bad news for Tesla I also don't think it's good news for the rest of us because just replacing all of the cars on the road with EV cars does not solve no many of the fundamental problems that we have uh including even emissions uh because even yeah it's not easy to make a lot of that electricity is generated and like yeah some of them look neat there were a lot of ebikes a lot a lot of ebikes which all look neat and of course that's going to be a huge thing a big a big impetus for the ebikes right now is that uh Ukrainians have been using them very effectively in combination with drones to murder Russian soldiers and the US militaries actually put in large orders for ebikes as a result of that so I suspect you're going to see a lot more ebikes geared towards military applications too in the near future but like what most of the big companies had were like TVs like it like it they yeah fucking Samsung like Samsung and LG mostly big TVs yeah and like LG had one that it was like stored in the little box where it was all rolled up and it would like unroll when you press a button kind of like the you've had a hotel that has automatic blackout curtains it kind of works that way um but uh which is like conceptually like oh neat you've developed a TV that can fold and put itself away but also is this really better than my current TV in a way that's going to alter my life is this like yeah there isn't there's not much in terms of actual new innovation like they were trying to make their transparent TVs seem really cool and new like that's not new tech either it's just that people don't really like using them outside of like the corporate space yeah transparent TVs are neat for if you're decorating a space if you're doing like a lobby like it's wasn't that in your living room no it's a worse experience yeah but but like like me like I think out of all the big companies LG had the best booth experience I walked through Samsung after waiting in a massive line and all it looked half like a hospital and half like an IKEA where you're walking through and they're kind of showing you all their different like smart appliance products but nothing is like actually new or innovative it's all it's all the same shit you can find it at like a best buy it's not it's not cooler interesting you're just waiting in line to walk through these little IKEA homes that that and they show you how you can you can now use like Microsoft teams from your television and you're like oh cool a lot of people bragging about their Microsoft teams integration look you and I both have to use teams for work sometimes always the worst part of my day but but now but now Robert with your new rollable TV you too can use Microsoft teams finally a rollable TV that automatically takes me into my team's room so when you put up Microsoft teams and you know what to be there when I first when I first clicked the link on Firefox and it says this browser is not supported you're going to have to use another browser does start Microsoft teams you know you probably wouldn't run into that issue if you had your rollable TV that was smart TV they could connect directly to Microsoft teams yeah I hate it. Well yeah the Samsung booth was horrible Sony mostly had PlayStation's which find that's their people love them PlayStation's. Emersonic was a complete bust. LG at least had some interesting stuff like they had this one projection powered TV extension room where you have you have an image or a 3D like a 3D video file of the of the thing on the television that then projects out into the entirety of the room at least that was cool and new it there was there was no stated release date for this no stated price point or application is honestly what what movies are going to work in that now the answer is that what you want to do is you want to combine that kind of drawing AI and use it so you can run a movie through it and it will finish the rest of the scene so for example you can put on boogie nights that opening scene where it's that one long shot as they go through it's just all around you but everyone looks a little wrong and their hands are tweaked and fucked up. You don't really have mid journey continuing up to movie to fill the frame. Lord of the Rings when you look to your right one of the elves has hands that just curl up in on themselves and then you just take a shitload of acid and permanently damage your brain. I think the funniest thing at the LG booth though although despite being corny was still miles better miles better than anything else in Panasonic or inside Samsung. Oh was the home of the future was they they had three different home of the futures which was mostly talking about how to use smart appliances and how to integrate them with your phone or whatever that was most of what they were talking about but they had three actors in each of the actual ass human beings who are like kind of doing like a kind of doing a presentation kind of doing a fourth wall breaking performance. It was a weird it was a weird mix of performance. The mom kept emphasizing that she was almost criminally incompetent at cooking and thus had to be taught by a robot how to make pasta but like they're talking about like their kids and my husband and it's like it's a weird performance art thing but honestly that way of presenting their products was much more enjoyable to watch than walking through the Samsung booth who didn't have any of that you were just walking through like it despite being silly it was still much much more enjoyable. Yeah and I so I have been attending CES since 2010 not every year but often I try to hit it every couple of years just to kind of keep abreast of what's not just like what's possible because you always see some exciting new stuff that you wouldn't guess was a thing but also to just kind of get an eye for how the tech industry is talking about itself to itself and the thing that struck me most was how completely out of the driver's seat the big tech companies were yeah and not even really even not even trying Google's big box was not in the main convention center their main booth they had it outside the convention center and it does not seem to be a focus of much coverage right now people are not do not care it's just more phones and it's like razors there right the coming makes gaming laptops and they make perfectly fine gaming laptops but it's also just like well now I can see what the new 16-inch razor looks like it looks like a razor laptop yeah um you know I can go to Lenovo and see what they had actually a couple of cool laptops it's Lenovo I was bummed because they took away the the laptop clip they did take the clitoris off of the laptop which is a shame although they have a semi-clitoris button on the side of the phone okay that's good it's red like the old anyway whatever look up Lenovo clitoris or just type clitoris into red tube don't well I don't know whatever it's your life uh so the the Lenovo has like I mean there's some like oh here's a laptop with two screens that doesn't completely suck um you know here's a laptop that is in a slightly better form factor but it's there's kind of they've given up the idea that like um there's anything kind of but iterative like here's TVs that are slightly better than your current TV but not in a way that you can notice and that's most of like the products there which is like well on paper this is slightly better than the thing I have but I don't think I would actually notice a difference in yeah and when you're seeing that from the companies that are spending 30 milli 20m and you haven't been any fucking millions of dollars to be at CES and have god knows how many billions that they put into R&D when that's what they're bringing to the table and there's just like three nerds in a tiny booth in a corner of a room that have a device that like is capable of reading all of the speech around you and translating and like captioning it live or there's those I mean that little if not a massive company although not you know clearly a decent amount of backing doing that kind of shit with haptics like that's all of the that's the I think that's the main takeaway to me is like there's big tech seems to have entirely given up driving the conversation about what the future is going to look like I mean even I don't take as a bad thing actually even we went to the John Deere booth and they had this they had this um a AI assisted way to scan your crops and locate where weeds are and another kind of and it was on like one of those gigantic um uh irrigation palmations where you like drive it around that's like a hundred yards long and it waters and sprays pesticide yeah so but it's it's the AI power thing that recognizes things that are not crops and tries to uh remove them the case in point being like trying to spray pesticides just on the weeds and not on the rest of the crops and it can it can go it can do this while operating at 12 hours an hour this this the the person we talked to they just sort of working for John Deere because this technology was developed at a different company that John Deere just bought yeah like John Deere didn't make this other companies did and then they just bought it I think that's just another interesting case of like that was just another small random company who was doing you know innovative farming technology that then you know another big company with money just decided to buy and be like hey this is our thing now and I think I want to we'll do another part where we talk about the dark side we'll talk about Palantir who was there and who we got to chat with we'll talk about surveillance we'll talk more about John Deere because there's some some bleak shit in the John Deere stuff too um but I think this is the stuff that I found broadly optimistic even the shit that didn't work because what didn't work is like big tech yeah and I kind of like the fact that big tech and seems is stumbling and crypto those are the things that didn't work what I like is the fact I like to see big tech stumbling out the gate and a bunch of weirdos putting some cool shit out there and that actually makes me more hopeful of like a future where technology makes things more accessible and I get to wear motorized exoskeletons oh let's end on the exoskeletons so we got to finally try the motorized exoskeleton which is supposed to basically increase your lifting capacity by 60 or 70 pounds it's like a backpack you were in your back with a chest piece and hooks around your hips and stuff uh and it works when you're like carrying loads and moving and squatting you don't have to move the way you normally do to protect your lower back which is kind of harder on your knees if you've ever like done kettlebell spots or dead lifts when you when you first prolonged and they had you bend over and then stand back up the first time you did that it was you kind of felt like you're getting launched in the air yeah yeah because it's pushing up with you it's assisting you yeah but you can move you it like springs and your step as you're running it worked really well it was very cool I want to and I was kind of shocked it how this is from a German biotics yeah German by German biotics okay which at least the name of the company and it was a really awesome first off shout out the folks were fans so that was nice but it was a really cool product for like the price point was surprisingly like we're not talking Toyota factories can afford them we're talking like if you are if you work in like a mid like a small automotive company or whatever like you could afford one of these suits they're not they're a sub 10k so they're not cheap but they're not like the kind of thing that only a multi billion dollar corporation could have access and it will actually improve the lives of workers like you can rintum for 250 bucks a month which is again very because it would allow you to work lifting and hauling shit all day or do stuff like on a farm like bail hay and hook hay up without straining your knees and back which you know we talk a lot about like the kind of devices oftentimes the kind of devices that make work more that are like marketed to companies in this may make work more efficient but they don't they try to they try to increase productivity yeah by just doing more numbers but not actually improving the experience for the worker like the human side of this is that well maybe a bunch of people who ruin their backs and knees working in factories every day won't yeah and that would be nice to and and it seems like it works really well so if you are currently working a job or run a company and your employees are destroying their backs and knees maybe reach out to the German biotics guys also it does seem like I could rint or purchase one and then combine my plate carrier with the chest rig purchased extra thigh and shoulder armor and have what is effectively powered armor without straining my body I can't see any reason why that wouldn't work garrison so come back next week where I will have recreated space marine power armor and and soon after that gone mad with power and take over circus circus yeah finally finally take over garrison why don't we end this by so circus circus oh god most beautiful place in the Las Vegas strip if you've never been you've ever read the book fear loathing in the Las Vegas you're watch the movie it's where hundred Thompson starts hallucinating now the the thing about circus circus is that it's a clown theme to casino and well it's it's supposed to be a circus theme to see now there's a lot of clouds but there is a lot of clans in their branding and it was it's like one of the oldest casinos on the strip so everything is faded they have not repainted it in a very long time it is the outside is a shade of like move that you only get when the sun has deeply damaged your building yeah you cannot purposely produce that color no man cannot create it even with all of our talents um and it's it's just I I purposely put garrison up there because it's where I used to stay on the strip and it's one of the worst places in the world I love it very much tell tell the people how you found circus circus gear I mean initially I wanted I wanted more theming on the inside I think it's it's a bummer that clowns have gotten such a bad rap in the past 20 years that I feel like they've kind of taken a back pedal off the clown theming yeah it's cowardice uh because without the clam without the clown theming it's just kind of dingy and depressing where instead could be surreal and uncomfortable and I would prefer it to be surreal and uncomfortable than just dingy and depressing see this is why I I I want to support you in your dream of sitting in dark corners of circus circus I brought my clown costume wearing your clown costume I brought a clown costume you could give I mean you might get stabbed I still I still have one more night that's right yesterday yesterday after I got into my hotel there was a Las Vegas police officer what what time of day at least 7 am yeah a Las Vegas police officer was walking the hallway in the very top floor where I'm staying and then I go downstairs and there's a whole team of police sweeping the ground at 7 am in circus circus probably just a murder um so this has been it could happen here reporting from CES we'll be back probably tomorrow to talk about the dark horrifying things that we saw that made us deeply uncomfortable and then we'll probably have like in in audio documentary on the way as well using audio that we recorded yeah at CES so that will be integrated at some point in the future will continue to inform you of the future that is mercilessly rushing towards you and cannot be stopped and will inevitably crush you and everything and everyone you love but in this episode in a good way so true so be happy shum brace here from brace for winnings the podcast presented by draft king sportsbook and super wild car weekend is here six games coming down this weekend and we give you a winner in a player prop angle and everyone in those games on this week's podcast now there are a lot of big money line favorites into playoffs which means it's a perfect time to take advantage of draft kings new user promo just use winnings as the promo code a little nugget for you right now don't be scared of the big spreads as last year's wild car weekend we had margins of victory of 16 21 23 and even a 40 piece yeah that's right buffalo rolled 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store for all of us in the future um last episode we talked about the stuff we saw at ces that was both cool and optimistic and spoke to some some potentially positive trends in tech and today we're going to get back to what we do best which is making you feel bad but first I want to open this up a little bit with garrison you're a Canadian you're you're you're you're a very young Canadian 20 years old grew up in a cult and now you have just seen Las Vegas Nevada for the first time did it change your life um I mean I I guess so I guess I guess it did change my life in in my perception of loss in what Las Vegas is and my desire to never return um but yes I mean we we've been able to spend I probably around half our time at cs other half just uh so soaking in the impeccable vibes of Las Vegas Nevada yeah I've been I've been tour guiding you around uh soberly and safely we went to the Venetian and the Palazzo we took a very expensive gondola ride that was an expensive gondola ride got to see the beautiful blue skies of Venice and all therefore corners uh your reaction to seeing inside the vene if you've never been the Venetian the interior of it it's this massive casino as they all are they're all like small towns inside the things yeah massive and the Venetian is like a replica of the city of Venice with a fake sky and that is one giant mall uh I believe it's the second largest hotel in the world yeah it is unbelievably large uh incredibly expensive and the fidelity of like the fakeness of all of these things that are based on real stuff is quite high too it's it's a whole thing yeah it's it's really interesting because some of the most impactful stuff is all of like the fake storefronts inside because in many ways they're kind of just all glorified malls yeah um and glorified arcades all uh slot machines and it's fun because like you know they they they make all of these facades on the inside they have they have the the the ceiling painted to look like the sky but it's it's it's just it's so dark in there like it's so like it's you see blue skies above you but there's like no light anywhere there's no light anywhere there's no clocks in the rooms no that you never know what time it is you never see the outdoors you're all isolated in these little corridors leading from one shop to another with slot machines all along the way you're flying back soon are you looking forward to not being yes and the maze of of lights designed to be wilder and and slowly damage you enough so that you sit down at a crap stable it's very very excited to see a real tree that's not a palm tree very very excited to like touch grass because there's no grass in Las Vegas no it's actually a I think a legal in a lot of parts of the city to have like a grass lawn yeah which is so one of the things so obviously Vegas is in an objective sense incredibly wasteful a huge amount of resources get poured into what is effectively just for gaming but um the other thing like another thing that you have to hold in your mind when you recognize that is that of all of the states in the southwest utilizing the very limited water resources there if I'm not mistaken because I was just reading an article about this Nevada is the one state that has reduced its water usage while it's grown by like three quarters of a million people yeah um so it contains multitudes and also Nevada like Vegas is where the the I'm spacing on the name right now but basically you have all of these different states in the southwest that are all kind of coming together to try to figure out how to deal with the fact that uh uh Lake Mead water levels are getting lower and the Colorado river is disappearing in some areas and it is the only thing that makes life out here possible on the scale that it currently exists on um and a couple of months before CES they had their big uh meeting in Las Vegas in order to talk about how to try and deal with the calamitous water situation so it is very much this city that is like filled with simulacra of the past um which it uses to try to hack your brain to get you to stay up for four days in a row gambling and spending tens of thousands of dollars and it also because it's the best place to hold a convention in in a very technical sense like it is the most prepared for a large convention they they this city can handle a hundred and fifty two hundred thousand people coming in overnight and needing places to stay and needing infrastructure in order so it's also where a lot of things about the future get decided which is when you spend enough time walking in the hotels it's kind of horrifying the fact that important decisions get made in this in this just realm of in this place that's designed to be mind altering yeah exactly it is crafted we're not like joking about this there are no clocks in the hotel rooms like the casinos are crafted to to damage your perception of time um so I don't know that somebody should maybe look into that it's I do like when you're talking about lake me just a great example of the overall vibes of Las Vegas is as as lake me just drying up we keep finding bodies inside the lake yes like bodies that have been there a long time bodies of people who had alternate ideas about how Vegas should look yeah a lot of them were probably in yeah yeah anyway but what what definition walk through ceasers palace they they had they had some nice vapor wave uh LEDs displays outside briefly went into the the the Paris one which was honestly I think they Paris handled this fan handled the fake sky the worst because not only was this the sky painted ceiling so low the the bottom part of the Eiffel Tower just stops where the ceiling stops they didn't even try they don't even try to continue the illusion it's just it's just as it is a hard stop yeah um we wrote a roller coaster we we went to New York we we went to the New York little blurry for me because you were so drunk but I just bottom I dumped the the attempt at like buying drinks from places and just got a handle of woodford reserve which allegedly you can mix into one of the THC piniacaladas that they have and allegedly it's pretty good time we we went to rainforest cafe I unfortunately but you got sicker than I did eating that rainforest cafe dessert I I I I I bought I bought this volcano cake and it was quite regrettable um and then we walked over to the New York theme to casino inside Las Vegas so if you want a city themed casino inside the city that you're in you can go there just pretty different city creating microcosms within microcosms here's like the nesting nesting all the way down and I I in an effort to make both me and Robert vomit uh we went on a roller coaster we barely survived that did feel like a very dangerous roller coaster was we were so close to vomiting everywhere just yeah it was a good time that was pretty fun I felt great so that I just felt people would enjoy your your your first Vegas experience and of course you stayed at circus circus which we just walked through earlier today one last time one final one final goodbye to see a family of four with thirty eight thousand dollars I mentioned lose like forty thousand dollars that circus circus unbelievable at the worst casino in the world well I think in order to segue into our next topic it's pretty seed I think Las Vegas is probably one of the most heavily surveilled cities in in the United States it would be hard to find one with more especially when you're on the strip obviously there's a lot of Las Vegas I have family who live here and they can go years without visiting the fucking strip because it's terrible um but another yeah another and and so kind of in a similar sense at CES there was a lot of stuff about surveillance a lot of stuff about uh you know collect different new innovative ways to collect data on you and your and your appliances and what's in your home um do we want to start start by talking about the uh the omnipure of of surveillance tech yeah um there was actually just an article in the Washington post about this about how unsafe uh quite a bit of it is and one of the things that you may have caught in some of your news because this was probably one of the more viral stories is that there was a lot of piss based technology a lot of pee analyzation yeah VIVU had a thing there was there was at least three different uh pee test kits that were on the show floor I think some of them won some uh some of the CES innovation awards were basically you can analyze what's in your urine yeah and they these are always framed as like it can let you give you confirmation if you have a UTI it can help people who have all these different illnesses it can help diabetics um and I'm sure there's a degree to which that's true but I I asked the VIVU lady and I didn't speak with the uh there was another called um you scan uh by withings and and you you scans urine sensor analyzes hormone levels in urine it's that's interesting yeah which is is a why it won some awards and also why a bunch of folks including consumer reports um put out like a warning about it saying like we shouldn't be celebrating this this is an incredibly dangerous product because it all is going to your phone the data is being collected digitally and if for example you are in a state that heavily restricts women's access to reproductive health care uh there is literally nothing stopping the law enforcement or the government of those states from demanding all of that data be handed over potentially even in real time there's absolutely nothing stopping them the companies already said they'll comply with law enforcement with government requests um and there's they don't have any kind of plan for the the fact that they are creating a way to surveil people's bodies um for the government um and when I I talk to the one of the representatives of VIVU which is another one of these urine companies that I don't believe it's texture hormone levels but but does is generating a lot of data about your body a lot of biometric data and the the most she would give me is that it the data is encrypted which great that fan that that's a fancy word for saying yeah we have it we are we are sitting here right after one of the most uh damaging data hacks of all time which has uh it was was last past it was one of the massive password collecting apps where you basically like centralize all your passwords behind one and remember and like it a lot of people are exposed as a result of that and um I I just think that like the this show such a massive part of it was we have we are debuting devices that will allow you to monitor different parts of your body at all times and get real time biometric data your body in your house and centralizing all this data about you and one in one in one place because that's the same thing with like smart homes and smart appliances were very popular smart cars were a very big thing um we're talking about like smart cities were another big thing for just other ways to centralize all the data about what you own where it is um and how to effectively provide advertising to get you to buy more yeah there's an attempt being made by Republicans in Oklahoma right now to make it criminal to do gender transition if you are under 26 years of age yeah there's no reason why a product like this couldn't be used to determine whether or not somebody is illegally taking hormones in a state where they are attempting to restrict trans people like it's this is all the we're not just being like funny studies these are all very serious implications and um there's zero thought zero evidence of thought being given to with any of the biometric companies now one of the reasons we talked about that those smart glasses um that are for people who are hearing impaired that caption conversations live around them one of the reasons I was impressed by that is that it's all a closed loop none of it goes to your smartphone none of its broadcast wirelessly it wirelessly um it is all on device and none of it is stored anywhere and when they said that that was part of what convinced me these people understand the responsibility they have delivering a health care product we should move on to the other part of the panopticon that we saw uh and talk about ring yeah the ring booth was one of the more terrifyingly disturbing bits and it's you know in it's describe it for our listeners well I mean it's they basically made like a white picket house yep um and you know again CES these are massive massive buildings and so they do people can construct a full house in there yeah so like you know there's fake fake green grass and nice little fence this perfect little idea like home and the massive massive sign above was like uh you know ring keep like keeping our keeping your neighborhood safe you know like all of all of all of that that type of messaging um the in the model home they had there was like a dozen cameras on you know ever all all around the side multiple cameras on the doors there's a doorbell camera people camera camera on the fence they had one door with three cameras on the door itself yep and mean ring zone by amazon there was you know Alexa Alexa assisted ring cameras um all of the state I get gets used by law enforcement a little ring partners like directly with law enforcement to make data like immediately available and Mcfeeds immediately available and the probably the silliest thing we saw at the ring booth was this home security tiny little drone yeah so basically they've built and it's weird because the um so the box that comes in looks like a fucking um dehumidifier that I used to have or humidifier that I used to have in my house it's almost identical um but it's like this little plastic box and a drone can take off and fly out of it uh and the drone trains itself on your house so it knows how to get around and if somebody it thinks somebody's breaking in uh a person who is effectively like works for ring like an actual human being sitting in a call center somewhere takes control of the drone and can confront someone in your house which I I guess there's a potential security benefit there but also you are signing up to allow amazon to have a random person travel around your home at any hour of the night in a in a thing they control in a little flying machine that they control and that I cannot put myself in the I get obviously I get wanting to have cameras I don't think it's unreasonable to have security cameras on your home I even understand how some people who are not as privacy conscious as I am could be like yeah I don't care if it's connected to the internet um even though that's not a thing I like I can't put myself in the head of somebody who would want that thing in their house yeah it's bizarre big eyes like obviously there's need like again like health related maybe if you've got like an illness or something you might want something like that like I I can understand how very specific purpose driven needs but like as a normal person wanting an amazon employee to be able to wander around your home seems weird to me I mean that's obviously can also all that data getting used by amazon yes scan your entire house figure out what what products you buy yep you know what what non-amazon things are inside your home what types of trends that you're using and all that can get used to help get you to buy more things that though the one of the more in the city's parts of like all the marketing and some of like the some of like the video commercials for ring that we saw you know playing on these giant giant screens inside is they're they're really trying to also push they're they're trying to push and to normalize using ring as a part of your everyday life but for non-security means like you know when you're leaving your grandma's house you say goodbye to her and her little ring camera you know when you're getting to your friend's house you do a little funny pranks in front of their ring camera it's like it's all these different ways to make rings seem like this fun and normal thing to like play with your friends and your family yeah social and when in reality look again security cameras are inherently anti-social it doesn't mean that there aren't good reasons to have one and I as someone who's been burglarized I do understand that it's not bad but it's anti-social because you are surveilling people because you're worried about what they might do that is that is a fundamentally anti-social thing and so the attempt to like turn that the attempt to kind of like merge that into normal family life and to make it like friendly is is really bad yeah I think that we I briefly stopped by the 80 T booth and this is kind of this is kind of similar to the little drone that we just talked about but a little bit more ridiculous yes they have at the 80 T booth this home security robot like six six foot tall robot with with like an like like like a like a LCD face with this big smile on it and it is smile and it's powered or not powered it is controlled by you the owner by wearing an Oculus headset and it has it has rolling feet so it can move around by rolling but it's like six six feet tall it has two arms massive smiling face and if if you have you know your headset with you and you think someone's breaking into your home you can put this on and control this robot to like chase them out yeah and I I was overhearing the 80 T guys talk about it and they're like yeah this is even this is even just like a great deterrence like imagine you're if someone's breaking into your home and then they see a massive smiling robot rolling towards you I I I would I would run away very quickly like and like like what this this thing has to cost like tens of tens of thousands of dollars and like this is what you're doing to feel like this you really just spend that much money to to create this sense of safety really really this is this is what you're doing you're you're you're getting a robot that gets powered by a Facebook headset so you can walk around your house in a rolling robot to make sure no one's gonna come you know take random shit from your house yeah when like what a number one um anyone who would do that is is the kind of person that needs to be have things taken from them um but number two like if you're actually concerned for your actual safety and again I think that's perfectly valid um none of these drones this robot is security theater it's not it's theater it's easy to to like damage it's easy you cannot get it's it's on three wheels you knock it over it can't get up put on block so that you're completely covered knock it over and then proceed to rob the house it's not useful it's it's it's it's just a security alarm at that point it's it's it's wild and like and people will find ways to hack them and stuff you know you can't hack a a well-trained guard dog which also will cost you tens of thousands of dollars less and will love you like a doberman pincher will kill your enemies if they break into your home and loves you like the same way you know there was people getting into Alexa machines a few years ago there was Alexa machines listening and sending info when they weren't supposed to there was a mass there was a pretty big incident actually in Portland a few years ago of of Alexa listening in to when it was wasn't supposed to and and and like listening to different conversations and trying to finish conversational cues um you know it's only a matter of time for someone to figure out how to control how to remotely control one of these ADT robots and you have something like rolling around in your house that you don't control anymore like it's yeah there are um it there are always vulnerabilities in these things and they always get hacked um and more to the point like well if you have some sort of security drone like your ring drone there's no way like again Amazon would comply with law enforcement requests there's nothing that says law enforcement if it was part of an investigation could not use this technology to surveil you in real time yeah um so I don't like that um not my favorite and while we're talking about surveillance uh we can't ignore uh our good friends at Palantir now if you haven't been paying attention to the surveillance industry Palantir is a company that exists to collect data and build machine solutions and machine learning solutions um to surveil people and to help equipment like drones targeting and whatnot work better they're an intelligence company right there's like lots of systems they do systems it's not like they make a single product they help build systems to collect data and enable governments and militaries to make decisions off of that data that is like the thing that they do primarily systems analysts yeah tracking me like what one of the yeah one of the things we saw was them you know analyzing home to data around like water conservation right they're trying to put a variety of their usage not just kill brown people but they do a lot of the primary the center of their booth was this massive military truck with a huge armored box on the back that was filled with computers specifically to collect data and to um like do command and control for drone fleets in theater um and one of the things you know when you see a vehicle of that size and it was very massive is that well this is not it this is intended either to be very far back from the front which which mitigates some of the uses of it or it is intended to be used in an area in which the enemy does not have air power um but so again the kind of places where you're just bombing them right like theaters like Yemen where the rebels have minimal ability to do something like bomb a gigantic truck that's a target um but you have kind of unrestricted ability to do stuff like drone strike school buses which is happened repeatedly there um we had a couple of conversations with the good people at Palantir they were I don't I think we kind of figured out they were primarily they're looking for talent because they were looking for people to recruit looking for different things to integrate into their systems yeah they would not show much of what they had no everything inside the van itself was uh uh classified here would you hear me my phone yeah find that person's name but everything in there was was classified whenever we started talking especially the first time we were there because I started asking some pretty specific questions about what was actually in that and how it worked and how it was different from current drone command and control solutions and there was a very specific woman with Palantir who no matter who I was talking to would come up behind me and kind of direct conversation and I think also was there to listen to the answers that were being provided to me and stop people from saying things on her team yeah if they weren't supposed to say them um there were a couple of occasions in which uh I asked hey can we check this thing out on the inside and we were told no it was classified no one else could get in you have to you have to gain permission from the army they said yeah I definitely saw some um individuals exited but they were Palantir people but then the next day we came back um and I watched a a woman exit the vehicle and a man from Palantir with her but the woman was not from Palantir now people were badges at CES so their names are on display and what they do is on display although it's easy to look this person up and I saw she had a badges of speaker her name was uh Mary or sorry her name was Melody Hilda Brandt um so I googled Melody Hilda Brandt uh because I wanted to know she does not work for Palantir what is she doing inside Palantir's giant class classified robot murder box uh Melody is the president of blockchain creative labs and the chief information security officer for the Fox company for the you know that Fox corporation so it looked like by the way her uh her twitter says CISO Fox Web 3 Engineering Cybersecurity Former Wargamer Lover of Farm Animals uh so that's cool um and yeah over here we've got her retweeting a post about Anderil which is um one of the uh Peter Teal companies like Palantir is uh raising 1.48 billion in their series E funding um this new funding will enable us to accelerate R&D and bring new cutting edge autonomous defense capabilities to market now I don't know why I wonder what they mean by the word defense yeah yeah yeah she's also pro NFT so that's good I'm gonna I'm gonna tweet to her in a little bit um but no it was it was very clear that there was you know there was PR people on the ground to make sure that the line of questioning if they were to if people were asking questions about their surveillance tech about this uh big Titan truck which is what it's called Titan um that there's only very very specific answers and like they were not there to talk to journalists they were not there to talk to media they were there to recruit people to you know become more capable at their surveillance tech that was that was very clear uh they were also right across the street right across the hall from the fantastic Robos and Transformers robots so on the one side you have a fun Optimus Prime robot that transforms the other side you have the rolling metal death cage so that was that was that was most of Palantir they they they had this um Skybox which was this box that had like encrypted communications technology uh drones and drone piloting technology and like uh you know a military computer that all in this little tiny box that they can drop into people who are you know inch basically drop into people who in trouble yeah they were they were they were building it is basically uh number one it would be for it could be for special forces teams it has like a laptop in there it has uh potentially several drones in there um and it has like a bunch of especially modified field cameras so you could set up surveillance on an area um and and those cameras kind of work with a machine learning algorithm to do stuff like try and identify where landmines are and again like these are the stuff that's problematic primarily about Palantir is it's data collecting its surveillance and the fact that we know that drone warfare is generally pretty fucked up uh and has an extremely high civilian casualty rate and is used in a lot of theaters obviously not in a lot of theaters where they are primarily just massacring people uh either fighting for their freedom or trying to survive this is the problem with it obviously all of this tech will also be used in generally positive things like for example dropping a box like this into the hands of some Ukrainian special forces guys to get to integrate them into a more uh advanced command and control networks they have better access to tactical data like is not a thing I don't specifically have a problem with that application the problem is more broadly Palantir um and do want to do it do want to briefly explain in case people are not Lord of the Rings fans so again these are all companies owned by Peter Teal who is a self-described fascist uh believes in ending democracy uh believes that democracy and freedom are not compatible because freedom uh he defines specifically as the ability of people with lots of money to not have any kind of restrictions on their behavior or what they can compel other people to do Peter Teal owns Palantir and Anderil um the Palantir uh Palantir both of those are names from Lord of the Rings and in Lord of the Rings the Palantir was an orb given by the big bad guy Sauron to one of his lackeys a wizard named Saurimon so that he could surveil any part of Middle-Earth he wanted in order to send his armies to crush the free peoples of the world like that is that is literally what this company is named after it is the bad guy surveillance tech to use the orokai against the free people of Middle-Earth it is it is specifically something that only evil people use um it's it's pretty cool that the whole company is named after and there were all these very nice polite people in uh Patagonia style yeah uh vests with Palantir logos stitched on them standing around um happy to answer any of your questions uh anyway i'm i'm curious as to why melody hildebrand was inside there what the chief information security officer a fox would want to do with one of those vans that is curious that is curious she's on twitter i did reach out to her that we that we also saw a few of the robot dogs we saw the Boston dynamics one which was very impressive in how it moves um then we saw one much more cheaper um uh model of of a robot dog that had not as great mobility but it seemed to be more more suited towards the types of the types of style of dogs that we've seen law enforcement start to buy yeah um the cheaper ones with less flexibility more mounts to attach you know things to the top of the robot which you don't really see with uh the Boston dynamics ones they they do not like mounting extra things on no but the the other robot dog we saw had this little arm that it was that it was that that had attached to the top that was in the robotic section pretty pretty close to Palantir that one was much less impressive than that because we saw both robot dogs and these are if you've seen video of a robot dog that people are freaking about on out of that online these are those robot dogs um the one we saw with the arm on it did not move it was number one controlled directly by a guy with a controller it was not autonomous and it didn't move very smoothly now the sitting in front of the Boston dynamics bot spot and watching it move was really seri it was number one we both talked about this garrison it's like watching CGI in real life because it's it's so fine tuned yeah it moves like a living thing but clearly is not yeah um and it moves like a living thing enough that it is not it's not an uncanny valley that's not the right way to describe it yeah no because it the movements are kind of perfect yeah it's just not it's alive it's almost it's it's it's not uncanny valley it's almost like instead it's like too perfect yeah it's it's just so fine tuned it's it was pretty it was pretty impressive to watch it was very impressive and it it's become obvious to me that like one of the things that absolutely is going on at Boston Dynamics is that they feel there is it there is and it is important to them as a business some of this may just be that they this is a personal challenge for a lot of these engineering guys but I suspect they also see this as valuable to their business to replicate physical emotionality and when I talk about that when you like watch a dog right you can tell the dogs emotions from the way that the dog moves because that's how dogs work um the robot dog expresses physical emotion and obviously it doesn't feel emotion but it physically expresses emotion in a similar way to a dog the curiosity they're very good at mimicking a curious dog in the way its body language works which is really wild yeah that would be one of the things I did not like um I mean it's impressive a lot of this stuff is objectively impressive most of the other robotics we saw there was not that impressive like I saw this this robot bartender that was making boba but it but it didn't know it didn't know how or it wasn't able to actually deliver the boba onto the secondary robot that delivers the boba so this this this one robot with arms made made the drink a human picked it up and spectered it then put it on a secondary robot which then delivered the drink and I and this technology I mean I I was eating at a at a at a at a Burmese place in Portland a few months ago where they were using this same food delivery robot system it's not it's not brand new it's just becoming cheaper and more people are trying to like make it a thing and there was so there was a lot of those types of things a lot of like R2D2 on jobless sale barge like delivering drinks style style robots that are autonomous like they do move themselves around they they don't need a remote controller but they're not that impressive but that that was like the majority of stuff in the in the robotic section was that there was a few other kind of smaller rolling robots that were and there were like elderly people like if if someone falls down this robot kind of goes around and will help you and I yeah I don't feel well that specific stuff I don't feel like well suited to describe like to to guess as to how well it would work but I think more broadly talking about autonomous tech because that was one of the biggest product categories at CES it was all over the place there were a lot of cars and a lot of companies doing autonomous software and light our solutions for cars I consider that all to be vapor where there's a great deal of evidence here but fully autonomous vehicles in the way that some of these companies are advertising is simply not they simply do do not exist and will not exist and we did talk to a couple of people so again for the stuff that's very real about autonomous tech there's things like driver assistance so for like truck drivers to allow them to strain and stress themselves less while driving and to help make certain things like backing up and parking that can be very difficult in certain environments safer by having more cameras and machine assistance that makes sense and one of the people who worked with one of those companies said to us yeah there's no such thing as autonomous trucks or cars like they don't exist outside of very tightly controlled conditions all we are trying to do is make truck driving safer and less stressful on the driver which sounds great um I mean obviously it there's problems with the way the trucking industry exists outside of that but that sounds again like one of those products meant to actually mitigate worker fatigue and discomfort and potentially makes it safer so I'm on board with that kind of stuff but um other like autonomous and smart tech that we like like smart cars EV like electronic vehicles and autonomous stuff there was some stuff at the John Deere booth which it was pushing towards automation like we talked about in the last episode and then also their their EV tractor just launched which so John Deere if you're not aware has had a series of long running legal battles particularly with farmers in Ukraine over the fact that they do not want it to be possible or legal for you to repair your tractor if you're a farmer farmers have previously in history often repaired and fixed and modified their vehicles um this is both necessary if a thing breaks you can't always get it back to a manufacturing facility in time and a lot of farmers are in the middle of nowhere a lot of farms are in the middle of nowhere which is where food comes from and you also like you can't wait you can't just be like well it's just put harvesting off for a week or two that that is a problem um John Deere sees that as a severe threat to their profits and they have fought viciously in courts uh to make it to try to make it illegal to repair your own devices um they have lost a lot of those fights in the United States and to its credit the Biden administration has taken a strong stance in favor of the right to repair and what we saw from John Deere at this CES was a bunch of very impressive autonomous products that just coincidentally will also make it completely impossible to repair your tractors like like specifically with the new EV tractor that launched so much of it is a computer that it is impossible to repair unless you work for John Deere like when we ask them like hey you know if if this thing breaks down how how would a farmer go about trying to fix this since it is a lot of it is like not it's it's it's not like motors and stuff from like a classic car it is it is like a it is computer driven um and they're like they just can't it's just it's just so complicated that an average person cannot repair this like at all it's just it just isn't possible so that's the way they could or could try to get around this uh this right to repair issue yeah we will just and and it's being done under the guys of we you know by having this much more advanced we can use a lot less pesticides which is better for the soil better for everything um using less carbon emissions less carbon tractor the farmer will have more time because the vehicle can handle this autonomously so that's eight hours the farmer you know gets to to spend doing something else and um all of this stuff that's kind of meant to distract from like well I guess yeah maybe he'll have more time but also substantially less autonomy and be completely dependent upon the John Deere corporation in order to produce the food that human beings need to survive um I'm also gonna point it out there and say I started this by saying that like one of the major lawsuits was between John Deere and a lot a group of Ukrainian farmers um the same farmers presumably who were towing a lot of Russian ordinance away with the John Deere tractors yeah um I don't know that it's that kind of stuff and one of the things that I think looking at a lot of this autonomous tech some of it's great some of it could we'll save lives some of it rather than like reducing the need for humans to do work that it would be good if they didn't have to do we'll do just what you recognize create an even less human job for a human like taking drinks from a robot that makes drinks to a robot that carries them to people because we just couldn't figure out that interstitial step so your job as a human being as a as a member of of of a species that spent millions of years evolving to be capable of creating nearly anything your job will be to take a drink from one robot and set it down at another I mean we the thing is like that we already had that same idea in factories like as as factories have gone towards being more made by machines there's still as factory workers who need to do all those little in-between steps so we're taking this factory model and now just applying it to customer service doing the same thing trying to optimize as much as possible and then only rely on humans for all of these little in-between steps that for some reason the robots and all of the autonomous tech isn't very good at yet or you know isn't really focused on completing and that's that's the main thing that that humans are going to be are going to be doing in the in the autonomous boba store that's going to come to your neighborhood in like 10 years speaking of bad things about the future or at least the present let's talk about Elon Musk's celebrity death tunnel so if you're not aware Elon one of the the companies actually the company he started that is based on his own legitimate ideas is the boring company which makes big tubes underground so that people can drive their individual cars through them and avoid traffic now Elon Musk is a man who takes his private jet between airports in the same city in order to avoid traffic there is nothing he hates more than the idea of being a normal person or being at all connected to the lives of regular people which is why you get a private jet when you could just like fly first class or something because even if you're flying first class you're still going to an airport and through security around like the the pores the pores Elon has been vociferous about his hatred of of traffic and public transit but also he hates public transit because you might sit next to a serial killer so his solution is dig holes underground and let people drive there and most of the cities that have attempted to have boring tunnels completed have been ghosted by the company it is kind of a con but they did build one in Las Vegas and at garrison and I used it and it took us from one side of the convention center to the other we potentially if we had made the most use of this service we we might have gotten at a five to seven minutes yeah that we didn't have to walk just just you and me alone inside the Tesla not having to be around other people in the in the RGB tunnel if you're in one of the things Elon Musk literally said is like well if you take public transit you might sit next to some serial killer the way this tunnel thing works is you tell them whether you're going east or west and they put you in a Tesla that some dude is driving that you don't know and then they fill the Tesla with other people with other people that you also don't know you're still sitting next to strangers and you're in this this tube that is lit up the same way a pair of like razor gaming headphones are lit up and you just slowly are stuck in this tunnel with two random people who you don't know very unskilled escape I horrible like one thing I feel like obviously if you're in like New York or something or Berlin I've been in a lot of cities where I've traveled on the underground and I don't feel scared traveling on the underground because those have existed for a very long time and so we know what happens when there's floods and when there's fires and there's a lot of systems built which is why you don't generally hear about a shitload of people dying in subway ice an extremely safe way to travel this tunnel is filled with vehicles that take we know about 55,000 gallons of water to put out a fire when the battery catches fire and the batteries on Tesla's we also know catch fire with some regularity and you are trapped in a tunnel there is sometimes traffic near the end of our ride we wound up in a line of like 20 Teslas and that did not feel good no because you're just you can see nothing but Teslas ahead of you and behind you and you're surrounded entirely by this tight claustrophobic wall with absolutely no emergency exit visible so in so fire suppression systems visible I don't know what they have installed but you can't see anything you cannot see a thing all you see is the razor RGB gaming mouse and then as as soon as we got off this this thing that was supposed to take us to like the central area it just took us to the other side of the convention center in order to actually get to where we needed to go we just use the monorail the thing that's been there for a long time it works fine and monorails are also not great ideas for a lot of reasons but it got us right to the other end of the strip very quickly conveniently cleanly it took cost five dollars so good work Elon love the tunnel hope you're proud we're ringing indoors can't wait for there to be tunnels like that in every city don't worry they want the boring company is not a real company yeah anything else care I mean we already talked about the digital health stuff which was a very big part of the yes yeah that's I think that's most of what we want to touch on for now to Sean okay well that's gonna just about do it for all of us here at whatever show this is we will at some point have some stuff based on oh yeah actually let's let's in by I want to talk about I guess another good thing but it's a good thing that relates to the bad things we ran across a a booth on our way out that on the first day I had seen and I had thought was just like a I had assumed it was like a GPS solution or something because the company was called off grid and it's the off grid phone we talked to the founder of the company bin Wilson who is just a guy who as he put it does not like that we consistently seated more and more control over our data and over our communications to large companies and governments and whoever the fuck else gets access to these massive and on a massive not anonymous data sets and wanted to build a thing for himself that could eventually replace a smartphone so he and the company he started to produce these their dumb phones at this moment that context and can call and do encrypted into end communication they also if you are off grid like in the middle of nowhere and you when your friends have these you can communicate through text through phone to each other even if there is no network right the phones themselves do like make a network they communicate just just to each just to each other they do not connect to the wider internet yeah which is really cool and potentially extremely useful this is this is um there's a number of applications that this could have garrison you mentioned that the Atlanta forest defense people could benefit from something like this because it will effectively there about two hundred bucks a piece anyone who can afford a few of these you can set up your own secure comms network for wherever you are and whatever you're doing and and the other the other feature of this is that you can set it on to something called sheep mode where basically if if if you suspect that that someone who you don't want to look at your phone whether that's law enforcement whether that's right other random random other people you can set it to this mode that when they when they either sees or or gain gain possession of this device all of the the data is immediately wiped before they can actually open up the phone and they will open it up they will see this fake profile that called the uh called well not fake profile like this this alternate profile called the you set up called the sheep profile which shows not not the stuff that not the stuff that you were using the phone for you can just be blank or you could like stick other numbers in there you could have like a series of fake texts but and then and but if you ever regain possession of the phone you're able to put in a special a special password that will it will send the data it'll it'll it'll it'll send the data through encryption back on to this device so you still have the thing that you would have lost and obviously there's a degree of like you would have to have some trust for the company yes which has been says like it been and Ben says like we are attempting to do this he was very open about the fact that that they have the phones we saw them like some of this stuff is still getting built out it is it is still an development they're still figuring out different ways to keep the server secure to protect the servers from subpoenas from the American government and from other from other governments like this this is still something that is being worked on uh it was just one of the you know we we see a lot of like a lot of lofty promises and a very very little thing to show for this this was one of the things that had actually you know just this one guy that had you know some pretty some pretty relatable promises and and it was very open about what they have done and what they haven't done and what they're trying to do no he was he was he was he was not bullshitting he wasn't trying to over-everside what it can do or what it can do at the moment like it's it's still being worked on but this is one of one of the one of the future one of the future things that we will we that we will want to follow up on yeah well I think we're going to try to have been on the show in the near future because they're going to be doing a kickstarter to fund one of the next phases of production of this um but you can you can look them up yourself you can buy the version one of their product which is on sale and functional now at spelled the way you would expect um so yeah check out we found it interesting we'll be following up on that um bin gave me very strong the good kind of libertarian vibes yeah reminded me of a couple of people I've I used to hang out with in my youth and uh it it's very much is that kind of like product of just a cranky guy who knows tech and is angry at all of the data being sucked up and all of the data that we just kind of agree together we're going to give away to unsavory characters because life in the modern world is kind of impossible if you don't do that no and like one of one of the things on his signs was something along the lines of don't let the popo look at your phone so like it's yeah it is somebody who gets this yeah yeah we liked we liked bin um so yeah that is uh that is the dark side of of the future of tech as this year's ces has unveiled it to us um you know this is the also the conclusion of our reporting directly on the convention itself we will have some reporting in the future that'll be influenced by things we found here that we're going to continue to look up but um and and we should have we should have some of the audio that we pulled from inside the convention center yeah uh that should be added together sometime in the near future we talk to Palantir that'll be fun yes as as a little kind of documentary little daily diary of of of what we were actually doing on the ground so that's being worked on but this is this is the as we're recording right now this is the final day of ces we are almost done we have we're both very sore we have surprisingly hard on your body we have to enter eurica park one more time but then we will be finished and then we'll have to upload this and and edit edit the rest of the stuff we've made into into a little piece for you so that is that that is still coming you say we which was very generous you're going to be doing that me and Daniel I don't yeah yeah I will not be editing anything um I don't know how to anyway go go to hell I love you attention bet mgm customers have a friend who loves sports as much as you do here's the chance for both of you to earn a fifty dollar bonus when you sign up through bet mgms refer a friend program just sign into your bet mgm account and click on the refer a friend program to send your friend a message inviting them to register a new account in the same state you use bet mgm in once your friend 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facts and personages appear so to speak twice you forgot to add the first time is tragedy the second time as far welcome to dick it happened here the podcast where we last left jayar bolsonaro he had locked himself in the presidential mansion turned off the lights it refused to leave or talk to anyone now bolsonaro has returned to his ancestral home hospital in Orlando where he's been admitted for abdominal pain joining me to discuss maybe the first man in history to be his own Napoleon the third is James hi meh if this is I'm very much looking forward to this oh god I okay so for for those of you who I don't know somehow have missed this I I woke up on Sunday and 10 minutes later this was happening now is like well okay I I guess I'm canceling my dinner plans I were doing this instead yeah I think box could have added to that quote and then as fast again and then for a third time as fast yeah we really we really we really we really have sort of left the tragedy cycle on out just in the far so for an over and over again yeah we kind of need a new word for what keeps happening because it's not it's not really a coup and it's certainly not a revolution it's just like an extreme reactionary tantrum yeah I mean I kind of like storming the capital because it is what they do but then yeah I don't know like I I'm upset that everyone calls it insurrectionism or insurrectionists because it's like they're not like insurrectionary reactionary is like a power yeah it's like like I think like auto coup is closer but the problem with coup is that coup implies that the billeteries actually cooperating which it isn't yeah and that's why they always fail yeah yeah we're we're you get into that word a bit but yeah okay so so the the thing that has actually happens is on Sunday supporters of of former former Brazilian president J. A. A. R. Bullson R. O. who I fled the country to Orlando I sacked the plaza of the three powers in Brazil which is the home of the basically the buildings are three branches of governments and unlike in the U. S. they sacked all of them they store their presidential mansion they stormed Congress they stormed Supreme Court and then having seized control the buildings as cops either sat around joking with them which is actively walked them into the building like there is a video of a a procession of bullson are supporters with just like they're they're all walking in a line towards the plaza and there's just like two cop cars like in the middle of the thing driving with them like it's wild there are cops taking selfies of them taking selfies yeah yeah yeah like that that one that was the one in particular that was like I feel like that go slightly above and beyond even what was happening with with the American cops like that was some who yeah it's so yeah it's okay so they they they they get there they do the thing with a grab metal stuff and they break the windows and then they break in and you know they they they they they they they do classic January six stuff um they take pictures there there's one picture that I found that I think it's in the Supreme Court that's a a a a picture of someone like you can't see their face it's just them squatting on a like facing backwards squatting on it on a on a filing cabinet like fully but out about take a dump yeah yeah yeah this is what democracy looks like yeah and sitting on a filing cabinet in government office yeah okay so like they they this this they don't have a great plan here um the thing that they do is that so they all do is they break in they like break stuff they like take random stuff um and then they a whole bunch of people sit down on the ground and say the national anthem uh waiting for the army to show up because they think that when the army shows up uh the army is going to join them and I said the army shows up and arrest them all yeah um there's a people who try to fight the police uh they they beat up a horse cop which I think is funny because apparently this is just every single one of these now someone beats up a horse cop um but you know by by by by by the end of Sunday like it's all over the government forces we take the plaza people try to fight the police but they lose really badly and you know okay so obviously there's a reason why I read that first strategy second time was first line to start this like okay the January Sith comparisons uh start fast and get harder which is this happened literally on January 8th like in it two days after the American one yeah like you can make a shit like oh they I mean they store the capitol buildings but this is something I I think is kind of important to understand this isn't even worse plan than the January 6th plan so the January 6th plan if people remember this so crucially January 6th happens while Trump is technically still in office and what what's going on when when they're showing me the capitol in January 6th is that Congress is trying to basically pass power to Joe Biden right like they're they're they're doing the vote to prove that the uh ballot totals from the the electoral college bubble blah blah blah but okay so this means that you know can't what when when when when on jace on January 6th right Congress was actually in session so the people who were there actually had a thing they were trying to do to overturn the results and there was like there were people they could have harmed there was like they had a they had like a goal kind of it was like Seth Abramsom but on the other side like it was like constitutional fantasy yeah but at least they have no yeah but like I can't believe this is the thing about about what happened in Brazil it was like I genuinely cannot believe that I am being made to defend the planning capacity of the January 6th crowd like at Jenny widely stunning but the plan for the plan for January 8th in Brazil was even worse because okay the the the day they do this on right Congress is not in session the Supreme Court is on holiday and Lula the actual president of Brazil has a already taken power and B is in Sao Paulo yeah that's good he is there literally they storm three abandoned buildings there is nothing there they could it's eight they could have tried it in all gracious was like three days before yeah it's funny Lula talked about it in this in his speech were he like put it like in the speech after this happens is he he has this line about how like all these people were already in Brazil but they were too cowardly to face the people who were there for the inauguration so instead they waited for everyone to leave which is true it's really funny I just said this is kind of what they always do right they always kind of take the easy thing and then grandstand like it's a big brave thing that they've done like we see this constantly on the right yeah and you know I like I think I think it's reasonable to ask what were they actually trying to do um and I'm gonna read from the the the Washington Post so the Washington Post is talking about some of the previous attempts to do the same thing quote one radicalized Bolsonaroista named George Washington they all of our year was what yeah all of all the people involved with this are named like George Washington all of our year it's incredible it's it's wow did they did they change their names or is the whole thing just being a lame parenting of American conservatives well I mean that that is like uh why it really like like like there is a lot of truth to the analysis that like for Brazilian fascist culture is just like the fourth time a Facebook meme has been passed around but this time on WhatsApp like it's it's some it's it's somehow more cringe than the the American stuff like it's what an incredible but here she is okay here he was yeah this guy named George Washington uh D'Alevaria was arrested and accused of planting a bomb beneath a bus at the Brazilian airport in a statement to police he said he wanted to quote begin chaos that would lead to military intervention so he's trying to do the strategy of tension right which is which is this thing from Italy where okay so you you you have the government running a bunch of sort of like not I mean I don't know calling them fake fascist groups is technically correct but you have that you have them running a bunch of terrorist groups and you know okay so they they they this is happening in like the 60s 70s and sort yeah it gets a little bit into the 80s is that they're doing all these bombings and stuff they're doing all these terrorist attacks and the goal is to get people to like sort of trust the government and like allow like sort of further state of military intervention but the thing about that was that crucially the strategy of tension was a strategy that was done by the government doesn't really work if you're not the government and you are in fact people causing the chaos in order to get the military to sort of join you so this is a crucial problem for Brazilian fascism because as much as the sort of the modern fascist movement is a cult of Bolsonaro it's really a cult of the military Bolsonaro was sort of just a person who embodies sort of desire the fascist masses for military rule but this means that if the military just refuses to do a coup they have no idea what to do yeah well they could deploy Bolsonaro himself if you've seen that video if I'm trying to do press ups to prove that he's like he's kind of super solitude don't worry you know but this is sort of this is a real issue for them and you know I okay so if I am pretty confident that if the military had actually decided to do a coup this would have worked like and I think they put a pretty trivially just like smashed sort of the rest of the forces of the state and Lului be in prison but and this is the thing that's been the key to everything that's been going on in Brazil from the beginning the army does not have the green light from Washington to do a coup because once again Biden just absolutely hates Bolsonaro which is why yeah you know this is a coup that was planned from Orlando and not Langley now we're on like coup number four in the last few years that was planned from Florida and notably three of the four of them have failed and this is the best failure yeah yeah that is way no one was real that was much more funnier yeah well I mean like to be fair that this is a better planned coup attempt than the Venezuela one yeah that's not hot that's an extremely low bar yeah kind of bar that you can get over by tripping but yeah you know we're so the very early process of figuring out how exactly who was involved in this and that like to what extent everyone was coordinating with each other and like you know I'm actually what extent like literally governors were involved scene to have been involved in this but we don't we don't exactly know yet um what we do know in terms of this being planned from Orlando is that Bolsonaro for literally years has been saying shit like quote the patience of the people has run out I want to tell those who will make me unelectable in Brazil only God removes me from power there are three options for me jail death or victory and I'm telling the scandals rules I will never be imprisoned they even saying this literally years and years and years and years and he was saying said like that like just over and over and over again yeah and you know okay so the other thing that we know right now and this this this is being recorded on uh what what is it this the ninth yeah this is being recorded on Monday the night so this is this is the next day uh if by the time this goes out there's more information there will be more information but this is going on what we have right now one of the things that we know is that the guy who was in charge of security for the federal district which is like the federal district is basically like what if Washington DC was a state but like a tiny one yeah so the guy who was in charge of security for that uh was a Bolsonaro supporter who just so happened to be on vacation in Orlando where Bolsonaro was staying with an MMA fighter whose mansion has a minion's theme room uh he's he's coincidentally on on vacation in Orlando with Bolsonaro well this is happening so you know okay the Brazilian state seems to be being a lot faster to sort of crack down on everything that's happening than the American state was um the the guy who was in charge of security i who was in who's in Orlando that the Brazilian federal defender has already asked the Supreme Court to arrest him um a Supreme Court justice like depose the governor of the federal district for allowing this to happen yeah it's wild i the the the Brazilian minister of justice says they've already identified people in 10 states who helped plan or fund the operation they've arrested like well the total some yesterday they said that they arrested 400 people i saw somewhere they arrested 1200 but i don't know about that that could be wrong but yeah there was at least 400 people um there's a huge like there's a huge crack down on people involved in this lula it's much better than the january six response in the center yeah like like like part part of what's happening right is like like lula literally like basically declared a state of emergency in in the federal zone and like got basically like i guess you call it like he basically sent in the feds and like has like his people now have direct control over security in the capital because the cap because the police there are so unreliable and you know he like he he's been yeah the position moving very very fast yeah to sort of fight better than the u.s. Yeah yeah with student charge and that probably yeah and it also like lula unlike Biden lula lula has like like literally like three hours like as this was happening he he he's making a speech about like that's just him vowing it to go after everyone who's involved this including bullson arrow and um a Brazilian member of congress has formally asked the foreign ministry to extradite bullson arrow to the u.s. uh who knows what's going to happen there uh there have been there has actually there's been like a surprising amount of sort of support for that in the u.s. And you know i mean that's everything that's been kind of interesting for this like before we take the ad break is that like he's gotten lula's getting support from like everyone like this is this is one of the rare uh we we we we have the the the the great capitalist triumvirate of uh Vladimir Putin Joe Biden and uh and macron have all said that they're backing him which is wild yeah real international Lincoln project vibes yeah it's uh i mean that that that that that that that is i guess like who lula is to a broad extent right like you know if you go back to lula episodes like he was close with the Bush administration but also like close with the world social forum people so he's he's always kind of like been the guy who straddles the divide between yeah like he's not overchat him yeah he's not and he's a guy who straddles the divide between the sort of like international imperialists and what was the left yeah yeah so all right uh we're we're we're gonna go to ads and then when we come back we're gonna talk more about how everything is actually sort of gone all right we're back so one of the things i think is very interesting about this whole thing is that for all of the sort of planning and organizational capacity that's gone into building the sort of like transnational fascist movement the american right like that the american right has been setting up uh the american right has just actively been making their allies worse here like yeah it's like it's probably incredible i mean this is something i think that there's genuinely very scary about the brisillian right is that their regular combination of tactics are really effective um they you know that they've been able to successfully wield this combination of sort of electoralism of law fair of sort of like using the legal system against their political enemies of sort of robloxays mass marches and you know just straight up paramilitary desquads of various kinds you know you if you sort of urban desquads you have these like genocide of logger desquads and that's been very effective and you know okay so like they they lost this one election but you know that their their position in cyber-sillion politics is still really strong they control a bunch of like governorships they like Bolsonaro's party in his coalition like control control the brisillian parliament okay so you know like that they're in a very strong position but then they talked to the Americans and they imported January six and storm the capital and at least right now it looks like it's going really badly for them like even even the sort of like right wing all great press has turned on them global which is like it's brazil's biggest his paper well i'm 99% sure it's the biggest you see right could be the second biggest i'm pretty sure it's the biggest it's funded by like right wing shit at billionaires um but you know they're entire frit page right now is just them yelling about the coup and like gleefully reporting on like like they had a frit page thing for an individual sociology professor who stepped off a bus coming back from brazilian immediately got arrested like this is the kind of sort of jubilation that it's really it's kind of it's kind of amazing too because like what kind of kind of sociologist is also a Bolsonaro's insurrectionary yeah why you okay i feel like if you're a sociologist there are exactly two you have you have three paths one is you become a cop two is yeah is is you do the Italian thing and you become the red brigades yeah uh with that which that was that was Italy's first sociology department by the way uh turn it the red brigades or three you become a Nazi those are your three options yeah yeah there are some guys I've yeah i've never been unfortunate enough to run into any of the uh the judge sociologist be a very right there yeah there yeah we we stayed away from them in the hands of the department you know like nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope yeah i've taught in sociology before and uh you definitely do get a lot of students who are there to be a cop i'd forgotten about that yeah it sucks although i will say brazil has had well at least one i feel like they've had at least a couple of sociologist presidents for for nando he reeky kudoso was what yeah well was a sociologist he was president for a while and then he got replaced by lula um this is this is this has been a tangent about what happens when you put sociology professors and let them out of their cages uh so okay and you know i would say this going back to global for a second like some of the stuff that they're saying is not exactly true like they're they're they're trying to sort of make a separation between the like extremist Bolsonaro used to and then like the people in parliament and it's like okay yeah they have this whole thing about these are straitments with no support in parliament and it's like okay buddy like there are literally people like in congress who are in congress because they they they were elected because they filmed themselves doing right wing trucker blow blocks like you know okay like and one of these other things one of their other stories was them talk was them talking about uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh Brazilian politicians frantically deleting this also media posts they were in in support of the protests yeah yeah so okay you know like i mean it it is abs it is actually true that like a lot of like even both like people in both of those own party like denounced it but you know yeah i mean we sort of same shit right and then they'll gradually reimagine it over the next two or three years to where like they're not they're not denounced again yeah well here's thing well we'll see what happens because there there is also a chance here that like everyone who was even essentially like if all this just goes to prison it's everyone's like we're back out of this i'm not a big pro prison guy but the video of them arriving in a coach at the jail was pretty amazing that was pretty funny yeah yeah so okay so right now it looks like this has gone pretty badly for them again this is this is this is being recorded one day after it happened so i don't know if the army has actually done the coup tomorrow it's not my fault it wasn't out yet oh but you know i think we should we should ask we should take a step back and ask why is this happening and i think we should we should ask why did this happen in the same way in both the us and Brazil and why did it not work and the answer to this is that the capital is a trap what what what the american and Brazilian right has ran into sort of ironically is the crisis of the 21st century revolutionary movement so to explain what i mean here i'm gonna i'm gonna read a bit of two of our friends which is a work produced in late 2014 by the invisible committee which is the pen name of some french anarchists who are most famous for writing the coming insurrection um i i'm not normally a huge fan of their work but they got they got one thing very very right and that's this occupation of the casbah and tunis and of the citagma square and Athens siege of westminster and lending during the student movement of 2011 encirclement of the parliament in midrida in september 25th 2012 or in barcelona on june 5th 2011 riots all around the chamber of deputies in Rome december 14th 2010 and attempt on on october 15th 2011 in lizbin to invade the assembly at that republica birding of the bosnium presidential residence in february of 2014 the places of institutional power exerted magnetic attraction on revolutionaries but when the insurgents managed to penetrate parliament's presidential palaces and other headquarters of institutions as in ducrayne in libya or in mosconson it's only to discover empty places that is empty of power and furnish without any taste it's not to prevent the people from taking power that they are so fiercely kept from invading such places but to prevent them from realizing that power no longer resides in the institutions there are only deserted temples there decommissioned fortresses nothing but stage sets real traps to revolutionaries the popular impulse to rush on to the stage to find out what is happening in the wings is bound to be disappointed if they got inside even the most fervorant conspiracy freak we find nothing arcane there the truth is that power is simply no longer that theatrical reality to which maternity accustomed us yeah i think that's very prescient and like i don't know we're raised on these myths right both on left and right like on the on the right like there are all these myths of these american institutions which are great and unique in shining cities on the hill and on the left like we raised with the storming of the Bastille and stuff like that is he's the winter palace right these moments of kind of revolutionary change but yeah power yeah and i want to i want to specifically i want to take a second talk about the winter palace because this is actually something that i think sort of worryingly this is a nick what is actually talked about this in one of his podcasts which is that like and he's right about this which is that like the big that there are like you can't actually just store a winter palace and take power right doesn't work anymore and but i but i think it's actually worth like taking like two minutes to delay out why that's true and it's because the winter palace was like a once in like a like a once in a century historical moment and it only worked because and and this is something that i think people forget the storming of the winter palace was not the thing that over to the czar that was later that was that was the february revolution that is a completely different revolution the storming of the winter palace and the reason why that worked was that the government that the that the Bolsheviks were overthrowing was karenskis government which is just like really shtipshit like interim interim governments that was only supposed to be there on the election happened and have like the most fig leaf legitimacy of any government ever everyone hated them they had no supporters with the but then this is why it worked right because when they they had no power at all and so when the Bolsheviks rolled in on them everyone else just stayed home and that is not going to work in any modern context unless like i don't know you're like you're you two were also like two years in a revolution and there's like a three years into a war yeah there's like an incredibly fig leaf government maybe you can pull this off but like that that that that is not that is a absolutely terrible god awful model for attempting to seize like any kind of power or bring down any governments but you know it's it's it could be because that because that became the sort of like mythology of of the Soviet Union that you know that was sort of burned the sort of false image of that was burned into the sort of memory of of scot collective memory of the left to the point where like most people don't even remember that karensky was also technically a socialist and that like and that the actual revolution was a socialist like a group of socialist overthrown you know the group of socialist and both of them have a very tenuous sort of like it's ten years of weather either of them are socialists at all yeah i think going on to take power and kill a bunch of other socialist yeah yeah okay so that aside you know this this crisis i was talking about like this is the reason why we're here in the first place right it's in large part because of the failure to overcome the movement of power out of the sort of palace where people expected to be that in the 2011 revolution failed like that that that that that that that's why we're here in hell world because people people were sort of unable to figure out a way to actually bring down a government instead of sort of being like drawn magnetically into these traps but those problems are sort of like magnetic draw the capital building to will be revolutionaries this is just as much of a problem to the right as it is the left and for right now this has saved us it's caused the Brazilian right to abandon things they were doing that actually like are genuinely terrifying and you know could could have been and have been effective like for example one one of the cleanup operations that was happening today was the Brazilian army cleared a bunch of these people who were trying to do blockage estate oil facilities and you know that actually could have worked right like yeah that's the thing down yeah and you know and yeah i'm talking about this before and the other and the other sort of both in our episodes but like that those kind of like trucker blockade things blockade highways blockings like those are tactics that the Brazilian right sort of natively uses and there's a world where the Brazilian fascist takes to their instincts and instead of doing this doom attempt to storm the capital they put these same numbers of people into trucks with road blocks and burning tires and they try to shut down the Brazilian economy you know in essence there's a world where instead of doing it October like an impossible I like gender a Sith revolution where they do an invisible committee one where they realize the power is in logistics and attempting to shut shut down its flow is how you do a revolution and that is a world that is a lot scarier than the one that we're in yeah but and you know I think we'll see how this ultimately plays out but I actually think the fact that this was planned for more land though is like you know with the help of sort of the usual American January Sith Crone I think this actually really really fucked them like it really deeply hurt sort of the Brazilian fascist ribbon which is good yeah it always like when I see the I was thinking about this recently with like me and Martin everything else like I always come back like Mark who's where he talks about the false choice of masters by slaves and like how the solution is not this like one big sort of like big I don't want to call it like symbolic kind of active violence but like the great refusal to to participate in these things which is something that lots of people have power to do as opposed to you're doing this stupid shit which centralizes them in one place and gets them all arrested yeah well I mean this is also like there's another sort of part of this which is that like both in the US and in Brazil the right is not very good at fighting the cops like they got that one horse cop pretty good I just yeah there's a couple like they'll get a couple people but like they're only they only do well when they're real like when they outnumber the cops like a hundred to one yeah like that is different in Europe that is the thing that like like if you look at where Zov comes from right Zov comes from right wing football hooligans who like yeah the front line in the my down a beep shit into the cops yeah but but in the US it's like I don't know everyone's just like they just do this like they're like doesn't fight the cops to be shooting people yeah but there isn't that history of like like that's not I'm not I'm not doing just want to pick on like where I come from but like like like crowd violence like football hooligans like that that doesn't exist in a meaningful sense in the US it's not as commonplace and there isn't like institutional memory of fighting riot police that exists all over Europe yeah well I think I think I think the thing is that like okay American sports fans do fight the cops but we only do it once a year if that like they were super bowl yeah well you know so they're doing with the NHL but thing is like it's only it's only like maybe like three cities a year that do it right yeah and it's not every week and you're serious too it's harder because the world series has this whole sort of like like they they have the parade they have this whole stage management to give people to get people to stop from writing so really there's only like two or three events per year where you can get riots whereas like in Europe anytime yeah any given Saturday you could be throwing down with a cop on a horse yeah but like it's outside of it's it's gone long beyond that like I remember in like just before this 2011 moment like the 2000 the earlier 2000s the anti-G8 movement like the institutional knowledge on how to deal with large volumes of police and still get your point across just as we saw in 2020 did not exist here and had to be imported from Hong Kong and other places yeah badly imported yeah yeah but yeah infographic from Hong Kong yeah so okay having said all this this is not to say that everything is fine um this is not I you know I think something that's that's very important that I have not seen anyone talk about in either in either sort of January 6th or January 8th is that the immediate reaction to the coup on the left and this is as true of the Brazilian left as it was with the American left in fact I think the American left the American left it way worse in January 6th was paralysis right even in Brazil which has these sort of once by social movements kind of mobilizations took almost a full day to materialize by type by you know by which point the threat already dissipated so you know for it for a full day the only thing standing between the fascists and power was their own stupidity and you know as boundless as their stupidity seems like watching these people like taking a dump on a cabinet like with a camera in front of them like it's not actually a shield against fascism like every every fascism after Bruce Lee and even Napoleon III who's like the sort of modern prototype fascism has at least one and usually two or three comically stupid like uprisings and coups that just fail and they fail and everyone laughs at them and then on quinoa before they're suddenly in power and it's like wow you can't you can't actually write these things off because they're funny because again they're always funny for the first like two and then on number three like all your friends are being barged into a camp and shot and it's like well yeah and like we don't want to be in a place where like one growing up in the room is all that's between us and fascism right like an adult making a plan and I think there's there's a specific like I actually I think social media actually plays a really big role in this because you know I remember this in January 6th like there is this kind of like the way that just turns everyone into a spectator everyone was just like you know I think it was Vicki Austin while I think was first person who said this was like Twitter Twitter Twitter is a machine that turns action into discourse yeah and so you know what while it was going on right like everyone turned the action of the thing into discourse and everyone was just sort of like sitting there paralyzed watching it and that is fatal right like the if you look at the actual stress test of the sort of machinery of power right like it's actually I think it's actually much less of a big deal that the cops were on their side of the cops didn't respond or because the cops eventually did clear them out right it took took a long time the cops eventually did it but I think I think the thing is actually more dangerous is that like there was no there like there wasn't a response on the left at all there's nothing right like there were there were rallies in cell Paulo like the next day was actually funny because both both both the rallies both like the people sacking the capital and the people in cell Paulo were both we're both seeing national anthem which is some real fun yeah politics moments that's another thing to talk about the old national yeah but yeah you compare that to Spain which is obviously where I'm most familiar with well like people immediately got guns got in the street and started killing soldiers when they had a much more effective and organized coup right and that coup would have failed were it not for fascist intervention from abroad but yeah Brazil has powerful unions who did shit yeah want it and partially I think that's that's like that's to do with the hollowing out of the unions and they they're sort of long story here but like you know and even if you look at like I think this is this is a sign really of sort of how actually dynamic the left is because you know if you want to look at like like a dynamic Latin American left like they you know there was there was there was there was a very very well organized US backed coup against Hugo Chavez in 2001 I was just one doesn't it was it was just before I moved there so I think it would uh that were other coup attempts in Venezuela too that were less well organized yeah she doesn't too yeah it doesn't too and yeah that wouldn't got far enough that like the New York Times was like had an article out about how democracy I'd been restored to Cuba and I mean it's hard to to find Venezuela and then you know the thing the thing that happened after that and that there's a very famous movie of this from from a film maker who was just there is that over over the next 47 hours like the left mobilized and they put so many people in the street that like the coup plotters had to back down and Hugo Chavez got to be president and you know I mean that that that's the thing that that's the thing that a strong left can do right they they can actually defeat the military and yeah but you know but this didn't the US just we fell down on the job like there wasn't much of that in Brazil like I like it like it it is true as Lulu was saying that they picked a day when everyone was gone but it's still I think really alarming that just by just by sort of acting first they have so much of a sort of time advantage sort of a advantage in reaction over us yeah that film by the way people want to work which is called the revolution will not be televised which is yeah kind of a great title to expect a to thing that you were talking about yeah yeah I watched that bad boy on VHS back in the day oh my god in Caracas wow yeah good times so okay finally in in a broad sense I want to ask like what are we doing here right um the sort of dominant mode of quote unquote anti-fascism and this is the model that's being adopted by Lula and the rest of the sort of liberal and even sort of moderate conservative ruling class in Brazil it's what's been adopted by the Democrats is their anti-fascism is posing their opposition to fascism as a defensive democracy the rule of law but yeah okay let's look at what's actually happening these coups aren't working this the sort of extra power military attempts to take power they're losing every time but do you know how the fascists are taking power by democracy their their greatest success has been in taking power by just winning elections like look at look at what happened in India right that is a country that has been like yeah very nearly totally consumed by fascism and it was done by just elections over and over and over again hungry yeah even here on a fundamental level like what we're seeing right now out of the sort of broad swaths of social of a sort of liberalism conservatism social democracy is an unsustainable strategy anti-fascism anti-fascism as a peer defense of democracy is just preserving the machine that will hand the power of the state over to the fascists of a silver platter and you know that like this this defensive democracy in the abstract is a death march right you know if you can you can you can look at the sort of course of the late 19th the late 20th and early 21st century right why did the ball fall over Baghdad well protect democracy when the when the Mexican government was shooting these appetistas they're protecting democracy when the cops raided the uh when the cops raided the forest defenders in Atlanta oh it's because they were domestic terrorists who are threatening democracy but what's happened here is that the threat of fascism has sort of prescained armies of people who otherwise would be enemies of sort of capitalist quote unquote democracy into protecting the various institutions that are inevitably going to bring these people back into power and that's really grim because it means that something has to change or we're just going to come back here again and again and again until eventually enough with the ruling class flips to back into fascists that they seize power once and for all so you know something we have to do something else that's not just this that's sort of desperate treading water yeah like like yeah fighting to stand still in this terrible place where people can't pay their heat bills and feed their families yeah it's it's pretty dire uh fucking outlook for us isn't it yeah but I mean you know I would say this like there was a vision in 2020 of what that something else could be yeah right like it's it's not it's it's it's not like we're in the depths of like the two thousands where no one has ever seen like anything that's being possible right yeah look there are a lot of people probably listening because they saw that vision in 2020 and it changed who they want to be and how they want the world to be and I think that's really good and uh for me at least I think once people are out in the streets which people weren't able to do in time in Brazil like they will tend to find that solution outside of institutions yeah the response has been almost entirely institutional at least in in here in this country to a fascist coup uh because people didn't and people were tired from your industry it's and they'd all been fucking arrested and half them have been shot yeah and part of the problem also is just like like there's like the US just has a sort of geographical problem and Brazil has this to a dissent which is just like yeah this is not like Belgium you can very quickly get people to the capital like you can't you can't actually like it is actually genuinely very hard to get a bunch of people to a place quickly here right which you know is is a thing where we're lucky that yeah like the the capital kind of like holding the capital doesn't you know it's it's not a thing that actually allows you to sort of take power but it's also a real sort of concern about politics in the US because it can't work the same way it works in a lot of places that are smaller yeah yeah like Bolivia for example yep yeah I even vented swedish right like so much of the institution almost everything is in Caracas even as a big country yeah yeah that that that that's pretty much all I got um well we'll see we'll see if bolsterdaro uh when when he gets out of the hospital if he gets out of the hospital um yeah he's returned to his own social home yeah yeah it's always good to see people with uh with takes on situation in Brazil who also think the capital is Rio that's always a fun thing that I can see on Twitter doc oh yeah yeah it's okay not to post uh you know I this is my okay I have what what are my rules of thumb about talking about a place as if if you if you can't name five cities in a country don't talk about it yeah yeah yeah this is a thing that like so many like people people people who get paid to write articles about places like just fail all the time it's a low bar people who get paid this is the road like like like oh like frankly you should be able to split like if if I was doing due diligence I would I would be learning I would be actually learning Portuguese right now instead of like relying on my Spanish to sort of like power be free yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah if you can't do that like maybe don't post yeah that it's fine not to post in fact yeah when dealing with kuz maybe consider uh options that are not posting yeah and yeah go go out and stop them mm-hmm make friends yeah so this this has been a good happen here you can find us in the places of social media when I drink my fuel in the morning I'm benefiting from 27 vitamins and minerals providing me with 161 health benefits my immune system is supported my gut is happy I'm full of antioxidants I'm getting 40 grams of protein balanced with carbs fats and fiber I'm full I feel great and I'm energized all I have to do is add water and shake go to he'll dot com slash pod to try 34 meals for two dollars and 50 cents a meal and get a free t-shirt and shaker that's h-u-e-l dot com slash p-o-d the world's number one complete food you work hard for your money so why not switch to a wireless provider that could save you up to half on your bill switch to consumer cellular today and get unlimited talk in text with a flexible data plan starting at just $20 a month plus you can add a family member to your plan for just $15 a month per line their award-winning 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that's code decay one only at drafting sports book 21 plus and most eligible states but age varies by jurisdiction void and Ontario and Ohio eligibility and deposit restrictions apply see draft kings dot com slash sports book for details and state specific responsible gambling resources gambling problem call 1 800 gambler in New York call 877 8 hope and why or text hope and why 467 369 bonus issued as free bets eligibility in terms of sports book dot draft kings dot com slash football terms we live in a period of increasing class conflict during the Trump years strike action reached the 17 year high and in 2022 strike surged increasing almost 40% over 2021 as workers fought back against rising inflation and the cost of living fights over unionization hit sectors previously thought to be unorganizable as workers declared victory across fast food chains starbucks and amazon and this increased strike activity is taking place against a rising course of revolt tenants are forming unions and launching rent strikes rights kickoff in the face of police murdering on average over three people per day and kids walk out of school to meeting everything from access to PPE to an into attacks on queer and trans youth it's not just that strikes are increasing but the logic of the strike a blow against one's class enemies to enact a cost generalize collective refusal is spreading as 2022 comes to a close the largest strike by education workers across the University of California system has seen barricades occupied buildings and strikers even liberating dining halls to feed themselves numbers of united mine workers have been on the picket lines for almost two years in this holiday season over 100,000 real workers stunned the brink of crippling the US economy in an effort to win sick leave as the government rush to enforce a contract and break the strike with so many people on the verge of striking it's easy to wonder what would happen if a strike across industries could be organized a general strike it's this very subject that we tackle in today's show and speaking of strikes the producers of it could happen here have walked off the job but it's going down it's taken over that's right i gd will be occupying the means of this production for five shows throughout the month of january as we address some of the major issues of today while looking back at recent examples in history about how the exploiting excluded have attempted to meet the conditions which emisorate our lives head on each episode of course is going to have special guests and a deep die from us launch in the summer of 2015 it's going down as a media platform radio show and podcast it covers a ton of social movements from an anarchist perspective as a group we represent folks from across the us tom and myself have been involved in covering and participating in social struggles for over 20 years selfies a long time educator and community organizer across multiple continents marcella is a writer and comedian this is mike andjus happy to be here i'm so happy marcella and i'm tom yeah this is a really cool thanks to all the it can happen here people this is awesome yeah i'm excited to be here and talk about strike it's gonna be a fun time yeah i'm excited about today's topic very much so just to start off it's interesting it seems like every few weeks on social media every couple months whenever there's like a big issue that comes up or something's going on in the news cycle the idea of a general strike will trend or sort of kind of get out in the ether as this is like guys that becomes really popular and you know we live in this time of increasing protests and strikes and riots but it also seems like the possibility of a general strike seems like very far off or the idea of it even being this like trending thing on social media is sort of like passe or silly and also it happens so often and we don't see it materialize it can be easy to sort of write it off or on the other hand a lot of people will say well if you want that to happen instead of just like wishing it to be on social media you should just join a union and get involved that way it seems that this drive to constantly declare general strikes though ambitious sometimes to the point of you know people being able to sort of make fun of it the reality is is that the repeated sort of call for that has normalized that idea and what we're seeing a lot in specifically in the US but we're seeing a lot of people at their workplaces recognize that the business unions have failed right it's how we got here now I live in the rust belt I live in the midst of the failure of business unions every single day in my life and that they also come to understand something that the autonomous in Italy we're talking about the 70s which is that workers are ready to control the means of production they're already there they already run the coffee shop run the restaurant run the warehouse run the tech company whatever and if they just stop nobody makes any money and you don't need a union in a formal sense to do that and so I think a lot of workers that traditionally fell outside of unions are starting to understand their powers workers outside of that structure and that is incredibly important for us going forward yeah I mean I think you're totally right I mean I don't think why quitting came out of it and nowhere and I know it's just like an idea I like loud quitting more like I prefer that but I do think this culture we're creating a culture where it is okay to be anti-work it is okay for you to say I hate my job and I actually don't do anything and I steal for my boss and we should normalize that right like I don't think striking is just this whole thing and I do want to say this before I move into that every single time I post a TikTok video somebody's always like general strike July 30th so it's like yeah it's definitely on the end and it a lot but I do think even people saying that and not doing it has an impact because it's like what is that Martin so street side you have to fight the culture and the culture that we live in now is a culture that's like obsessed with work for work's sake and so like maybe part of it is like yeah workers already owns the means of production yeah just don't work as hard on your job you know and if you're a work steal from your boss it doesn't have to be like this organizational thing because one thing is that like you have to realize that sometimes union work unions work with management so it's like even if you're like yeah like I want to wait for my union it's like what if your union is like the Fritale union that will go behind your back and like make decisions I guess all this to say is that I think changing the culture is important and I think that's happening now I think yeah like you said at the end of that just like how something that I think we'll get into a lot more in this episode is looking at how this like claims like join a union being the practical thing to do towards the general strike just isn't accurate at all and that when you look back in history it kind of any of the exciting moments of like general strikes are uprising and stuff it doesn't come from those official channels and so I'm excited to get into that more and I think yeah like we're saying like this thing where it's just become this thing that people will like say and talk about even if there's not that cultural memory of like exactly what a general strike means or what what's gonna happen there's this idea of like refusal and of solidarity that is captured just in the word and just in saying it but I think it's really like serving that energy of it and speaking of cultural memory pack your dynamite in your pitch forks because it's time for a trip down memory lane in the early 1900s the United States groups like the industrial workers of the world of the high ww which advocated for the abolishing of the white system and capitalism rejected racist exclusions of non-white workers in the labor movement and even engaged in shootouts with the KKK popularize the idea of the general strike in the United States on a large scale but the idea itself in its application US history is much older throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s anarchists socialists and everyday members of the working class all promoted and carried out multiple general strikes as a means to win political and economic concessions for some the general strike was also a launch pad for revolution in which workers couldn't theory seize the means of existence out of the hands of the capables class and run society on its own terms and it's this battle that thrust millions of everyday working class people directly into conflict with the American state and its military in US history the first large scale example of a general strike occurred in the midst of the Americans of the war in w e b de boy's famous book black reconstruction he explains how it was a general strike of the enslaved black proletariat that brought down the plantation system not present link in our union bullets the boys argues that just like the black led insurrections of today in Ferguson and Minneapolis this strike took bourgeois white society by total surprise he writes it in the south newspapers denied the very idea that slaves could ever free themselves and even claim that they quote did not want to be free he writes of white society in the north the north shrank at the very thought of encouraging surveillance erection against the whites above all it did not propose to interfere with property black people on the hall were considered cowards inferior beings whose very presence in America was unfortunate only john brown knew that revolt would come and he was dead so de boys really painted this picture of this mass care in society in which slavery is seen as very sad more terrifying is the idea of mass black insurrection which of course mirrors today situation i mean that's what the suburbs are i mean right like that's what the suburbs are it's like for you to like pretend like all the things that you have are not built on blood it's for you to like segment yourself away from the people in society then give you everything you have yet you've denied them everything so you're going to a little home and like frinky little tea and like watch your little movies and just like ignore the fact that you're an asshole you know what i mean like just like and even i'm more than an apple i wasn't going far as i think i used to say that they're not good or bad people but like you're acting like a bad person like you don't care about other people because you've been tricked to think that like you're getting a good deal and it's an interesting point uh the de boys makes about just like it was only kind of the radical wing of the abolitionist movement that was talking about open revolt there's this early anarchist a lot of people don't reference a lot but why is under spooner he conspired with john brown to various plots and he later became a member of the first in the national and it contributed to early anarchist publications like liberty he produced this really early text which is just fantastic it's called a plan for the abolition of slavery uh published in 1858 so this is a couple years before the civil war he writes our plan then is to make our war openly or secretly a circumstances may dictate upon the property of the slaveholders burn the master's buildings kill their cattle and horses conceal or destroy farming utensils abandoned labor and seed time and harvest and let the crops perish make slavery unprofitable i love the line conceal or destroy it's like you can destroy it you can also hide them this is like a parallel that we can draw now too like if you want to like have solidarity with like like other wage slaves is that like do accommodate them and help them steal from their from their jobs i mean i i i i i i i it's like these things happen in the past but these are tactics that we can still use in the present there's echoes of this quote later uh with lucy parsons right you see this during the striker in eight hour workday chicago where she gives a speech where she's talking about grabbing knives and going to the doors of the rich as a way to make it very very very clear that they weren't going to be able to live off the backs of the working class anymore right um and it's this sort of idea of direct action which now i mean if we think about now what are politicians doing they're trying to pass laws to make it a felony that home demonstration right to like do exactly these kinds of things but in much more passive ways so if we can really think back i mean this is a tried and true technique that people use in the united states for a very very long time and we can see still how much that terrifies people out there's another awesome quote from spooner i just want to read as well and this i find this one really interesting because he's speaking actually to white people in the south especially people that were in the slave patrols he says white rascals of the south willing tools of the slaveholders you who drive slaves to do their labor hunt them with dogs and flag them for pay without asking any questions you are the main pillars of the slave system that is the most eloquent way to see ecao exactly yeah exactly what i was thinking i think it's interesting to point out as du Bois writes and as Frederick Douglass said of the civil war it was started quote in the interests of slavery on both sides the south was fighting to take slavery out of the union and the north was fighting to keep it in and the mass black exodus did not kick off at the start of the war he makes the really important point that union leaders made it clear that they did not want to disrupt the plantation system at times uh generals even offered to put down slave rebellions and he says that they even forbade at least in some instances union soldiers from singing the song john brown's body but as the north pushed into the south the flood of former slaves escaping into union hands grew and grew by 1862 as du Bois writes this was the beginning of the slorming of increasing numbers no longer to work on confederate plantations a movement that became a general strike against the slave system this was not merely the desire to stop work it was a strike on a wide basis against the conditions of work it was a general strike that evolved directly in the in perhaps half a million people they wanted to stop the economy of the plantation system and to do that they left the plantations it's interesting too and Du Bois makes this point the general strike also encouraged and took place alongside many poor whites deserting the confederate army one thing that's interesting about the confederate side of the civil war you could get out of fighting if you own slaves and a lot of poor whites deserted the confederate army which further crippled it as Du Bois noted the poor white not only began to desert run away but thousands followed black people into the northern camps and just some key takeaways to like launching the discussion side of this it's interesting that the wider society is Du Bois notes before the civil war disparaged the possibility of mass collective action and I think this really mirrors contemporary conspiracy theories and narratives around black rebellion today that happen often either in the midst of the George Floyd uprising or afterwards and also the mass strike and refusal that happened during the civil war which disrupted the economy and made things like the slave patrols the policing of the plantation system impossible that helped bring down the confederacy obviously and I think it's important to ask as our contemporary society remains structured around racial capitalism what might be done in the current system in terms of mass refusal and desertion that would cause a similar effect the idea of the wider society disparaging mass collective action is because that this year is letting us know that we do have mass power you know what I mean it's like it's not a surprise that people only say that Lincoln freed the slaves when Lincoln literally said if I had to end slavery to save the union I would have ended slavery and if I have to keep slavery to save the union I would have kept slavery you know what I mean so just like this whole idea of like letting black people know you can't do shit don't even bother is because they know that we can do shit and we are doing shit because black people are always rebelling if you come to the flop push you see it in full color they realize the government doesn't give a fuck about them and they've created their own institutions to support themselves yeah so it's like this whole idea to let us tell us don't even bother and and like criminalizing like the informal sector because it's like that's a way for us like gain power outside of like the the the formal sector you know what I mean and things like that so I just think it's like it's like when they tell us don't bother trying to fight back like everybody has to suffer like that's what they always say everybody suffer and we all just suffer and it's like no we don't want to suffer we're actually doing things to ease our suffering and I think this is just like all this is to say that people who are out there doing stuff keep doing stuff and like if you want to do stuff do it you don't have to be vulnerable you don't have to put your job being being active it's by the way paid activists not really activists you can do regular shit and you know hold that you can do a free store on the corner of your street so people can have clothes it's like you could striking from the economy means like divesting your time and resources and you can do it we can all do it in some shape or well and I think it becomes a lot more possible today to think about that than it did save before 2008 right so we have this kind of collapse of the legitimacy of the American political projects sort of with the Iraq war right we all kind of saw how badly that can turn out and but what was left in America of uphold that entire edifice was the idea that even though things politically were kind of screwed up at least there's economic success and then that failed too right and so this sort of idea that built up after World War II this kind of concept of you know the labor corporate compromise the loyal worker that's going to get provided for for the rest of their life not only did our parent's generation find out that that was a lie but younger generations don't really buy it all and so what you're really seeing is I think this kind of breakdown socially of the legitimacy of the idea of the American dream because of all of its problematic elements and its impossibility and its absurdity and kind of this revival of an idea which existed prior to World War II which was an idea of social revolt right and it was something we saw manifest during the Great Depression and it's part of the reason why the New Deal exists was a way to put that down was a way to prevent workers from feeling like the only thing that they had in front of them was to take over the factories and show up at the doors of the rich and sell on sell on sell on right but that whole idea of the Buldeal that concept that the government was going to take care of you and the company was going to take care of you collapsed in the 1970s but the idea that it existed still holds on in some sectors of the of America today I mean you see this with the Maggercrupe of really heavily the idea that like nothing systematically needs to change really we just need better outcomes and we just need you know in their case Donald Trump to pay attention to us and give us the things that we want but really outside of that almost comical patriotism you don't really see a lot of adherence to that vision any further and that makes the idea of mass refusal not only a lot more possible but something that's actively happening yeah in the other part too I want to bring in is that ago when the New Deal was passed it excluded like black people right and so that's one way it's like it's like this conscience like how white people are like tricked into like submitting to the system and it happens so many times and they still keep saying trick us again trick us again it's like yeah they're gonna give you shit so you're not upset and then they're gonna exclude black people because at the end of the day black people do all the work that we need to survive as a society do you not remember who the essential workers work like who does the jobs that we need to like live like you know what I mean so yeah you can like be out of work and get you a little thing but as long as we keep enslaving and treating the people who make the society run it's fine um and now that's happening to white people too and they're like oh no this is not cute like it's not fun I'm quiet quitting you know what I mean because like they're real like the way black people have been treated is certain to happen to white people and it's just like I hope this is what I was gonna ask you how do we prevent another new deal situation from happening where white workers are tricked again like because I feel it's coming I feel like they're gonna find a way out of this and like how do we know what if it's like bullshit and like how do we call it out and how do we call it out that's what student one forgiveness was right I mean like if we really think about it the Democratic Party has been built recently since the Obama era on this idea of reinstituting elements of the new deal without threatening the existence of capitalism um very intentionally right we saw that the Affordable Care Act is a version of that right so I mean they are doing this and I think what's fascinating about this and this is something that radicals in the late 60s pointed out often about Lyndon Johnson is they said you know liberals voted for Lyndon Johnson and they put all their hopes in him so when he failed them it didn't have anything left to do except hit the streets right like there was no other option and I think what we've really seen since the Obama era is the collapse of the idea that the way that the Democrats do social assistance is in any way going to solve anything that's just going to continue to perpetuate the situation in which we need social assistance right as opposed to fundamentally ending that which is you know the language that they put forward when they talk about things like justice which we all know that they don't really have much adherence to right but I think until until the Democratic Party gains legitimacy again if they ever do which hopefully they don't but if they ever do yeah we might be able to see this kind of use of reformism as counterinsurgency again right which is really what the New Deal was but really until that in maybe saw in 2020 you know when the legitimacy of the group of people who often relies on that technique falls apart you get uprises in the streets right and so we're at kind of a different point I think then then maybe just before the New Deal kind of came into effect something I want to go back to too that I think is relevant to this is the piece where the quote was been is talking about concealing or like in secret or in public or whatever how there's like a lot of power in terms of like things like general strikes in that sort of like invisibility or whatever in that unpredictability in like not going for like building movements based on like visibility or public perception or like the media or whatever but actually building them in these ways that can't be seen as much and might be concealed and also this thing where people underestimate it like it makes me think about the revolution in Haiti in the late 1700s which is you know a long time ago but still very relevant and just thinking about how the kind of like colonizers in Paris like couldn't believe the reports that were coming out of uprising in Haiti at the time because they were so racist basically that they didn't believe that black people there who in say could rise up and could have that like I know awareness gum whatever and that gave them a lot of room you know that was like a position of power for them that like they were being underestimated like that much and I think that's something we see with like even though like the idea that's gone on from that time really of like outside agitator and stuff like in any uprising that we see that involves yeah that involves that people is that there's something in that that is also powerful and it gives possibility well speaking of outside agitators we're going to take a break and hear from some of our sponsors right now in 1865 on paper the Civil War Indian and the Union was saved a decade later the North began pulling out of the South marking the end to reconstruction efforts and the beginning of both Jim Crow and a reign of terror and white vigilanteism in the form of the Ku Klux Klan the 1870s was also a period of increasing poverty declining wages rising homelessness economic depression and exploding class conflict as the state was said for the great upheaval of 1877 a general strike that rocked multiple states as workers across lines of color ginger profession and age threatened the very core of the capitalist state as the decades were on multiple general strikes followed as did a heavy-handed government response that evolved to police and repressed the broader population wanting to know more about this history of these general strikes and their importance we caught up with labor historian and author Robert Ovetz author of one worker shot back and we be elites Ovetz argues that the often violent general strikes of the late 1800s and early 1900s showcase the ability of working people to not only confront the state and capitalism but also organize society on their own terms well general strikes have been a rare occurrence but a very powerful example of the way that organized workers and communities can transform society and hopefully transcend capitalism i think we have in the examples of general strikes in us history an example of the potential for getting beyond capitalism and so that's what makes them really exciting to to study and to write about general strike doesn't just happen and we don't actually know exactly why general strikes happen but we know they don't just happen they're not spontaneous there has to be a groundwork of organizing and engaged activists and organizers who are working quietly sometimes for months or years to work and organizing their fellow workers and to build community connections to support their strike actions and there also has to be a good communication of what what the strike is about what their demands are and the ability to communicate and spread information about that strike probably the two most important general strikes in us history were the one in 1877 and the one in 1919 in Seattle and the one in 1877 was a general strike throughout the railroad industry but it also had extraordinary microcosmic if you will a general strike that was happening in St. Louis and East St. Louis but what was fascinating about that was that the groundwork had been laid in 1877 not by a union actually because the workers had tried to form a union but it was sabotaged it was infiltrated and they tried to the organizers tried to call off the the set date to start the general strike in the railroad industry but the workers went on strike anyways and they built their own organization across dozens of different railroad companies on their own in St. Louis however there was a new left wing party called the workiemens party that was formed by various socialist and communist and anarchist who had taken over the city and for a few days tried to run it and that was that was probably closer to what happened in Seattle in 1919 where over a hundred local unions actually pressured the labor council to call a general strike and so that was kind of built up from below through formal unions but then it went far beyond anything that those AFL affiliated unions were willing to really do the St. Louis general strike in 1877 that I was just mentioning there was a multi-racial coalition of worker organizers who literally took charge of the strike there had been a strike committee formed and those that strike committee was dominated by the workiemens party activists but the workers themselves started to organize outside the confines of the strike coordinating committee and it was very multi-racial they started marching on one workplace and another there was some evidence that there were some women that were involved in it so there were strong ties to the community and various households and neighborhoods but they marched on one workplace to another and spread the strike and within a couple of days much of the city had been shut down and the irony of this was that the strike coordinating council actually freaked out about how multi-racial the crowds were that were shutting down these workplaces and leaving and leaving work and internally they became very divided based on their racism and there were some members of the coordinating committee that were extreme racial supremacists and didn't want the strike to continue and they debated how to stop the strike how to call it off and but the reality was they had lost control of it to the workers outside of the committee and when it became clear that the militias were being called into St. Louis to attack the city the workers marched on the meeting hall where the strike coordinating council was and demanded that they appropriate money to acquire arms to defend the city but they refused to do that and they eventually tried to call off the strike so that lasted a few days and race was a huge factor in why the strike spread and how the workers took over the city but it was also a factor in how it was actually killed by those who were supposedly quote unquote running the actual general strike. In the case of Seattle we don't know as much about the racial composition of the workers but we do know that it was very generalized throughout the entire city and the reason we know this is because the general strike committee which was formed by the labor council I have representatives of every union and they took care of many of the reproductive needs of the population for example they kept the hospital running they set up free kitchens where people could eat they as well as setting up and publishing a newspaper that came out every day during the five days of the strike so they took care of also of public safety so what was extraordinary about the Seattle general strike is how it incorporated many of these issues that we would say is about gender reproductive needs of the population they didn't just shut down the workplace they actually took over the city and reorganized society to meet the needs of humanity the 1877 strike actually resulted in what I show in a lot of detail in my first book when workers shot back how the state and capital reorganized themselves in order to be able to respond a lot quicker to self-organized workers and strikes and especially general strikes for example the modern police came into being in many cities as a result of the 1877 strike because up until that point the police were if you will they were kind of like gig workers they worked on quote unquote tips or bribes there were very few cities that had any municipal police and if they did they had very small forces and so that was one reason why the strike spread so quickly around the country over that 10 day or so period in July of 1877 so modern policing really came into being also as you mentioned the militias were transformed into what became the national guard the militias also proved to be undependable because they were mostly composed of working men and if they were called out locally they knew the strikers and in fact some of them were strikers and didn't even show up for their militia duty so militias were essentially deemphasized and they were replaced by a state controlled national guard as a result of the passage of a new federal law the military was also funded on a permanent basis one reason why the military was so slow to be to be deployed to put down the strike in 1877 was most of the soldiers were out in the west fighting essentially a genocide award against the planes native peoples and so there weren't enough military around then also Congress hadn't funded the military that year believe it or not and so the military was unfunded and undersized another consequence of this was that many corporations started to work together to create their own you could say mutual aid to protect one another they started forming employer groups in order to be able to respond to a more coordinated method so you started to see corporations cooperate as a result of this in fact many of the technologies that we take for granted today were a result of the 1877 railroad strike for example the telegraph was installed in many rich people's homes as a way to be able to contact the police directly those lines went directly to the police the so-called patty wagon was also invented as a result of the 1877 strike as a weapon against large crowds so there were a number of of new technologies that were implemented and became more widespread as a result of that strike in Seattle also the workers were prepared they had known their history and they formed a self defense group composed primarily of war war one veterans who had just come back from war one and they patroled the city and they did things like shutdown bars because they didn't want people to get drunk and start fighting and that would be a justification for the the the national guard to be called in but the police started to essentially line up outside the boundaries of the city and they waited for reinforcements threatening essentially to invade Seattle before the the general strike was called off but the workers were prepared they did carry out an organized self defense against that eventuality the 1946 Oakland General Strike was part of an extraordinary wave of post-war war two strikes that were happening just like after war one I and actually during war one there was a wave of strikes the same thing happened when a lot of soldiers started coming back from war two unemployment shot up women were sent as sent packing prices exploded there was a shortage of housing and workers started to organize and during that few year period there was a general strike in the steel sector and Truman threatened to take over some of the larger companies and he was repelled by the Supreme Court but as a consequence of this this up surge of class struggle the Congress passed the Taff Hartley Act which still governs us today for workers who try to organize in the private sector where they're under the National Labor Relations Act the Taff Hartley Act was an amendment to that law one of the most important things it did was it banned so-called secondary strikes which means that if workers go on strike somewhere workers can't strike in solidarity and particularly if they have a union contract with their employer it'd be illegal now there are some workers that are exempted from that for example transport workers because they're under a different federal law they're under the Railway Labor Act which is part of the reason why we almost just saw Railway General Strike before the Democrats killed it a few weeks ago but the Taff Hartley Act continues to serve as a means of suppressing and repressing the ability not only of workers but organized unions in their local workplaces but to actually engage in a general strike so again we've been listening to Robert O'Vets author of When Worker Shot Back and We The Elites just a few key takeaways from that discussion we see various examples in these general strikes of tensions developing between more radical elements and reformist ones that want to contain revolutionary expressions and also stop workers from really taking over society we also see positive examples of these strikes spilling out across lines of race gender and age and profession one thing we see of course again and again is the state responding to these strikes with the combination of militias police and of course the National Guard and finally many of these strikes lead to the passing of legislation which is interesting because far from this sort of progressive arc towards justice instead we see constantly again and again the state either reforming itself to become more oppressive engage in surveillance reconstitute the police in a certain way reconstitute the military or sometimes bring the workers into the superstructure of the state in order to better manage them yeah I totally agree it's not getting better they're just being smart about it they're like like little like slimy balls they're just like reshaping as they need to shape and form to like get workers to like the one you were reading that it felt like a writers were it felt like a a movie of like how do we control these people you know what I mean it felt like it was like this like checkered but they were like oh they make their move we make their move and it's like it's like the state is a tool and like you see that because it's like it's a tool of the elite and you see that people laws that are passed and like when they're passed like because when black and white people form then this violence like a lot of state violence like extreme state violence because it's like they they want to remind us like that's bad you don't do that and then they'll do stuff to play kid worker like white workers too like with a Wagner act like with unionization like a lot of black people were excluded from that maybe just maybe things aren't getting better like they telling you they are things are just reshaping there's something else I'm thinking about as you're talking and just like from from that history that it is like we hear that like the creativity of the state with their repression or whatever that's going on but also how people keep coming back with like new and different things you know yeah like it actually takes a lot of repression to stop these things like if you look at making some stuff or whatever it's like they kill quite a lot of people to stop that strike wave and stuff you know like it's really heavy handed and then but still a lot of strikes happen after that and it leads up to hay market in 86 or whatever and I just think again again we see like repression but then we see it flowering again and I think that what we're seeing like right now maybe is like a sort of creative non-unile when we're talking at the beginning about people just saying general strike general strike it's like whatever happens next will be something different what we're seeing is we're seeing over this time the mechanism of counterinsurgency get a lot more complex right so in the 1870s it's let's get some guns and force every week of that work but now it's why don't we get nonprofits to fund these you know public programs why don't we have community policing and coffee with cops and and so what you saw during like the George Boyd uprising was you saw a lot of this like well I know you all want to cut funding from police departments but really what you should do is you should come to our budget meeting and we could put it in the city budget and we should talk about it that way and that was a way to force the resistance in the streets back into a mechanism that's able to be more easily controlled um but we see in like rust belt cities Pittsburgh Cleveland places like this the way that the wealthy at this period of time the late 19th and early 20th century we're already talking about trying to change entire environments right so like surveillance nonprofit activity like that changes a whole environment it's not just about a single individual objective but it shapes an entire reality in these rust belt cities during that period of time I mean you have a lot of like free art museums and stuff like this that are world-class institutions but if you look at their charters and actually look at them closely the reason those institutions exist was to quote inculturate the working class and it was all about like Rockefeller very specifically Cleveland money to these institutions so the working class wouldn't kill them like wouldn't murder them and it was in the middle of really intense anti-capitalist activity in those cities right and so we can watch the development of those techniques right now it takes the form of defunding the police campaigns and things like that as opposed to abolitionism um it takes the form of trying to find softer means of policing like surveillance as opposed to just having collapsing guns and stuff or in the case of the democratic party it's a smart order when they talk about the smart order which is essentially putting a bunch of sensors and cameras in the desert to try and catch people crossing the border that's somehow less repressive by shaping the entire space around surveillance that's somehow less repressive than just having police and they use that idea that if they're not in a uniform and they don't have a weapon right in front of them or aren't human that somehow there's some benefit that emerges and somehow the state is retreating a little bit when in actuality things like body cameras stuff like that just increase the ability of the state to have visibility just increases the number of cameras on the street it increases the ability of the state to control the information and decide what information gets out um these are all things which have reinforced the power of the state but they get portrayed as you know forms of as reforms that are supposed to solve these huge social problems that people keep raising up well speaking of things rich people give us so we won't kill them we're going to now hear for some from some of our sponsors so far we've talked about general strikes that are largely over a hundred years old but now we're going to turn and look at two examples of general strikes that took place within the last 20 years in December of 2005 the publicans passed in the House of Representatives HR 4437 also known as the Border Protection Anti-terrorism and a Legal Immigration Control Act of 2005 a proposed piece of legislation that's as jaconian as it sounds the bill is the ACLU wrote push to quote militarize the border give extraordinary powers to low level immigration officials allowing law enforcement to expel without hearing anyone believed to be undocumented and detain non-citizens indefinitely without meaningful review the bill also sought to levy criminal penalties against anyone that engage in assisting someone that was undocumented which threatened both employers of undocumented workers as well as union organizers teachers clergy and beyond foreshadowing the Trump presidency it also called for hundreds of miles of border fence an authorized state and local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law as George campus wrote in the C.C.A. poidian's erection the bill would transform almost every person in the United States into either undocumented violators police enforcers or classify them as criminally complicit the authoritarian nature of the legislation and the existential threat are represented push many undocumented workers to take action organized on a mass scale as campus wrote starting in March of 2006 marches and more than half a million people overwhelmed the centers of major cities like Los Angeles Chicago New York and Dallas all team business while there were literally hundreds of smaller gatherings in many other smaller cities there were dozens of student walkouts and high schools around the country as well as a nationwide immigrant general strike called for on media that was heated by hundreds of thousands perhaps millions of workers including truck drivers who shut down the port of Los Angeles despite a series of large scale immigration raids aimed at derailing the movement millions took the streets and carried out strikes all outside of the direction of union and democratic party leadership the mass protests and strikes helped revive Mayday as a day of labor and worker action in the United States installed for over a decade right wing attacks on immigrants each are 4437 failed to pass in large part due to the mass opposition it faced on the streets in the spring of 2006 direct action as they say gets the goods and what's fascinating about the 2006 strike is that it was organized outside of established unions and political parties especially the democratic party at a key youth wing to it we saw lots of student walkouts it was able to seriously push back against this draconian wave of anti immigrant legislation and that worked for around 10 years and it seems like we don't reference this strike enough and talk about how important it was I was in a junior in high school when kids were walking out but this is how I sleep I was it didn't walk out and I just remember thinking oh my god those kids are so courageous and they're such bad asses and it's so cool that they're doing that and I wish that I could that law was like fugitive slave law act like straight up they were just trying to like re-enself slavery among people who were not here documented like you know what I mean they were trying to create a situation where people were so fucking desperate they were gonna work for slave wages and I'll say this about New York City they's a huge like immigrant population a huge undocumented worker population that we shouldn't even I mean I didn't know about until COVID hit like there's a lot of people who are keeping the economy alive that are not even counted and they pay for our existence as we're talking about those two things that always come up for me uh when talking about these strikes first is you know the entire concept of quote immigration reform as it was being talked about by Republicans at the time and then later accelerated under Trump this idea of border walls started with the American Nazi party right like this was an American Nazi party policy proposal in the 1950s and 60s they got picked up through white supremacist movements through people like George Walleness and sort of imported into the Republican party that's why it feels racist yeah because it's Nazis but I think the other thing that was really inspiring about that movement I was you know uh out of college at that point watching this happen it was one of the first times I saw mass decentralized action and happen across the entire country at that scale that sort of hit an apex like during these days right the sort of period of time in which people kind of took it upon themselves to shut the whole country down and it just shows what can happen when communities organize as communities of people and not as spectators in some sort of removed symbolic political action but actually become immediate protagonists and what's going on in front of them another thing I think is like really interesting about this is that it was such a massive response and the part of what the act was saying was that you could be like prosecutor for assisting someone who's undocumented that I think it like goes back to what we've been talking about with the other strike stuff is like the government is very aware that like solidarity between people is dangerous basically and tries to let us say to it and we see you know after that strike in you know the strike wave in 1877 you start to get all those anti conspiracy laws and stuff because that's a threat and I love that in this sense it's like they put that out and it gets like such a massive response against it that people really like win basically and that last but like a decade yeah I think that goes back to the idea of white supremacy historically in the United States being this system of how people describe it of carrots and sticks of offering incentives to be included in this bracket of whiteness then also saying on if you help that kid at school we're going to throw you in jail along with them which again is a good reason to celebrate these strikes because they were effective in beating back the legislation but also pointing out that everyone should have been taking part in these actions well hey thanks for tuning in that's going to wrap up the first episode we encourage you to follow what's going down on massacred on at IGD underscore news and we hope you enjoyed us taking over it could happen here we're going to be back tomorrow we're going to continue to look at general strikes we're going to do a deep dive into occupy Oakland that kicked off in 2011 and we're going to look at how a citywide general strike grew out of the Oakland commune after the police nearly murdered in the Rackwore veteran and 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of eight dot com slash podcast welcome back once again your listening ticket happened here with the crew from it's going down taking over this is our second show and we'll be doing a total of five episodes throughout the month of January so if you like what you hear please let the amazing folks at cool zone media know yesterday we began by looking at general strikes in us history starting with the mass plantation strike during the American Civil War we spoke with labor historian Robert O'Vets about the revolutionary and bloody history of general strikes in the United States and we also looked at the immigrant general strike in 2006 that successfully beat back to a coding legislation that sought to further militarize the border and attack and documented people on today's show we're going to be looking at a general strike that was called for by Occupy Oakland which took place on November 2nd 2011 Occupy Oakland was part of the much larger occupy movement the beginning of New York with the occupation of Zucati Park but was seen as the radical focal point for the growing struggle starting as an occupation on October 10th in front of Oakland City Hall named Oscar Grant Plaza on October 25th Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen was nearly killed after being shot with the police projectile during clashes between police and demonstrators as law enforcement attempted to evict the growing Oakland Commune following the Olsen shooting thousands re-occupied Oscar Grant Plaza and the general strike was called for a week later upwards of 100,000 people took part in the strikes associated actions which included mass marches a large anti-capitalist black block which broke bank windows and the shutting down of the port of Oakland with upwards of 100,000 people participating but before we hear from our guests on the subject I wanted to talk a little bit about the occupy movement and occupy Oakland and why it was so important the occupy movement itself grew amidst this growing anger over the economic crisis but also this fading belief and the hope and change promised by Obama while nationally it seemed to kind of sort of come out of nowhere there were certainly things that really helped influence it nationally there was the occupation by Chicago workers at the Republic windows and doors factory which signaled a real turning point as well as the occupation of the Wisconsin State capital in 2011 against anti-union legislation and all this was happening against the backdrop of the Arab Spring and then in the Bay Area the Oscar Grant rebellion and riots in 2009 and 2010 kicked off and had a massive impact centering discussions around police, race and white supremacy as well as the role of rioting and social movements at the same time students and graduate workers occupied college campus buildings in New York and across California which really spread the concept of occupying across the social terrain as well as slogans like strike occupy takeover and occupy everything now the explosion of the occupy movement in the fall of 2011 cannot be overstated occupying camards became a focal point for people angry at the general state of the world to gather discuss and act and they became a real focal point for encounter while some cities saw these and camards come and go pretty quickly many saw concrete projects and organizing come out of them people were fighting to resist foreclosures for instance in a lot of cities and for many people this was where they were introduced to anarchist concepts such as direct action horizontal organizing and consensus decision making which really brought these ideas front and center to hundreds of thousands of people in a real intangible way and while a lot of people on the left from a variety of backgrounds took part the real backbone of those involved in occupy were just everyday people who were new to social movements became activated by material conditions and just the zeitgeist of what was happening at the time occupied was fascinating for me like I was in the rust belt at the time still am at the occupy I was part of the first part of 5,000 people there there were maybe like two or three hundred people at the general assembly the night before so most of the people that showed up were not people currently connected at that point to any kind of political organizing they were just people that showed up because they heard about it on the internet and they showed up to do the thing and that camp lot lasted nine months but we can start to see the impacts of that kind of breakdown of that division between people who declare themselves political and quote everybody else when we start to move forward past occupiers we start to see that manifest during mic ground uprising in Ferguson we start to see that manifest during the church void rebellion where this kind of division between those that declare themselves to be political agents and those that have not declared themselves to be so just ceases to really exist and it's in those moments where we really actually see uprisings occur occupy pointed out an important thing which is a fallacy in the way that we think in that we think that radicals make revolts happen when any reality people make revolts happen and our job is to antagonize circumstances and it's only at the point in which that division breaks down between quote us and everybody else that revolts actually occur and occupy was a really important point in a trajectory of I think a sector of the American anarchist movement and a sector of the American political scene starting to really internalize that understanding starting to really grasp how different that is from the way that we've been taught to organize and we're still seeing the ramifications of a lot of that work today many many many years later looking at like occupy are looking at any of these big moments when we look back we can see all these things that contribute to it you know and I think that this thing that you're also can see Tom of like the kind of losing that thing of like professional actors or like political actor in a situation is like so important and I think that that is something that can like really inspire us in terms of what's happening in this moment too or like how general strikes happen or how something like occupy happens is that things happen like there are sort of moments that are kind of outside of our control it's not something that can be like planned for and if you do all the right things then you get a general strike but you can kind of like be relating to circumstances and to each other and then different things happen like thinking about the George Florida uprising in 2020 like none of us predicted COVID you know and like how that might have contributed to like what happened in that or just like all these different circumstances that come together to make these moments and I think that you know it's something like what's going on now we could look back and like look at all these different things that are happening that then make something big happen and we never really know or can control it a lot of the striking and an occupy it serves a purpose of not us just coming together collectively but it also serves as purpose of propaganda and it just reminds me of this idea and poor idea of us occupying public spaces and the reason why we're not allowed to occupy public spaces because it's like sort of taking the power and when there's lots of us occupied in public spaces the media covers it and then it's like well what do these people talking about what are they doing and that within itself also serves like as a propaganda mechanism to like spread so like I like just like listening to that and I remember one again like occupy was one of the moments that I was one of the people who viewed myself as not political but I cared about what was happening in the movement because that was the first time I heard we are the 99 percent I think about moments of radicalization and I think of this one as being one of them as a person who just like recently and as a five years ago recently awoke like these are moments that I remember like had an impact on me seeing people on the street taking public spaces and I think that perhaps that's something that we should continue to do and maybe it's not one of those things where it's like maybe not as large as occupy maybe it's not consistently large but like maybe we and civilians should just take over public spaces all the time just as a reminder to ourselves that we do have the power to do that like we can't have a free store here because we want to we don't have to ask the government for permission to do anything like I think it's a huge first step of becoming ungovernable and speaking of things that belong in a free store we're now going to hear from our sponsors for us to understand how the Oakland General Strike of 2011 took place we first have to go back to what made Occupy Oakland so important to so many people just a few short weeks in October in the following interview we speak with it's going down contributor author and translator basin mexico Scott Campbell about his memories of Occupy and what set the stage for a massive strike on November 2nd we then speak with tova who was involved in the Occupy Oakland labor solidarity committee about Bay Area labor unions becoming involved in the strike so to kick things off Scott tell us about Occupy Oakland what it looked like how life in Oscar Grand Plaza was organized and about this living breathing thing many came to call the Oakland Commune if you were to walk into Occupy Oakland I think you'd be overwhelmed it was an amazing vibrant self-managed auto-gestive community where you had folks living there in in Oscar Grand Plaza you had food child care medical care libraries all sorts of projects in a self-run sort of directly democratic assembly based communally organized space and it was open to anyone except for police and politicians who wanted to come and participate in this sort of radical experiment this radical form of being with one another outside the constraints of of house society normally constructs us to perform to interact with one another and I think what really stuck out to me the most during this time period was just the the welcoming atmosphere the sense of potential that the camp and the activities based around the camp held the the openness of people and really the wide range of individuals who were participating in collectives who were participating which certainly of course led to differences of opinions at times that made that created some dynamics that were a struggle to to work through and navigate but at the same time really added to a sense of a space that went beyond a single project that went beyond a single vision but that was horizontal communal and open in a way that I'd never experienced before and that I have yet to experience again it definitely had an organic feel to it of sort of people coming together lending what skills they had lending what resources they had across a variety of positions that maybe broadly categorized on the left or or post-left spectrum a spectrum of folks with a spectrum of capacities of needs I mean a large number of unhoused neighbors who were there who brought their own life experiences and their own knowledge and their own skills to to bear on the project which I think was a really I guess a powerful learning opportunity for a lot of people who hadn't really been in direct contact with unhoused folks and who were unfamiliar with really perhaps the the impetus beyond occupied Oakland and beyond occupied the impetus behind occupied Oakland and the impetus behind occupied Wall Street in general which was of course the 2008 financial crash and the Great Depression and the bailout of the banks while people got foreclothes on their homes especially people of color and black folks which which hit particularly hard in Oakland and so we see all these dynamics coming together and trying to work themselves out organically without being mediated by any one organization or any particular ideology and it was a powerful confusing messy lively beautiful experience how to categorize a general assembly is a great question I think for me it how I interpreted it is it added a structural framework for how to navigate issues that would arise within the camp within the sort of occupation for lack of a better word of Oscar Grand Plaza facilitating the day-to-day functionings of things in a lot of ways was a decision-making body I wouldn't call it a government as such because it tried to run on consensus or modified consensus and anyone was free to bring proposals to the general assembly they were free to bring their ideas for and promote their events and promote their actions and activities a lot of decisions were also being made by people who just showed up to do the work without necessarily consulting the general assembly so you almost had different tiers of activity and different tiers of organization occurring in the same space that seemed again I go back to this word that seemed to organically work itself out most of the time and within the general assembly that was the more formal structure where people came together at times nightly to discuss issues facing the camp to discuss issues with in terms of dealing with the police and the city government and eventually the state and federal government as they showed up to determine how to respond to various acts of aggression and attacks on the camp and attacks on the space to figure out how to better run the space even to figure out how to better run the general assembly itself was a big question within the general assembly and these were general assemblies that anyone could participate in you didn't have to show qualifications or necessarily be living in the space anyone was free except for the police and politicians to come and speak to the general assembly I remember one time G. Kwan then mayor of Oakland wanted to come and speak to the general assembly and she was told she could but she'd had to wait her turn and so she decided to leave because she didn't want to wait she didn't feel like she had to wait it was really a space to encounter for people to bring up different aspects that there were concerning in them that they were working on that they wanted to see flourish in the space the biggest general assembly was happened around when to move forward with the general strike but there were also general assemblies on on things like issues around smoking and people's health and well-being in the space issues around cleanliness issues around safety how to interact with the police how to interact with the government do we put forward demands what should the name of it be is occupy Oakland a problematic name should we change it to occupy decolonize Oakland these were all sorts of issues that were brought forward to the general assembly along with like how do we meet the material needs of the space and how do we handle the supplies that are being brought in and make sure that they're equilitably distributed who can do what for whom within the space how do people skills get the most use out of them it was a very much a lively atmosphere it felt like I don't know I know the the word democracy is contentious it felt like a directly democratic process but there were also you know it's important to recognize that there were some people who were more skilled and more familiar with how consensus works who are more familiar with the process that was behind the the running of the general assembly which has its roots and anarchist practice and anarchist forms of decision making and so those folks definitely had a hand up when it came to making decisions when it came to presenting proposals when it came to even administering and running the general assembly itself those tasks often fell into the laps of anarchists who I think did a good job of making sure that these general assemblies ran smoothly and that they were inclusive and open to all who wanted to participate and people could bring their ideas and sometimes they got approved sometimes they got rejected even if they got rejected some some folks decided they would implement them anyways and and that also worked out as well as sometimes creating conflict the city grew increasingly frustrated with the encampment as they were they found themselves unable to make any progress in trying to recuperate and trying to gain favor sort of making encampment their own an extension of of the electoral body right or the electoral body politic ultimately that's what moved Juan the supposedly progressive mayor more to the side of the police way of seeing things as force was the only option to deal with these people who are you know being unrealistic or being naive who were being entrenched in in in transition and you know at the same time the police along with the city eventually started building up this narrative of the camp as a violent and unsafe space where people were being harmed in a variety of ways and it was necessary for for public safety sake to move against the encampment I was there the night the encampment was evicted I think it was October 24th or early morning October 25th around 3am in the morning 3.30 for a.m. and I was actually arrested I was one of I believe 80 80 plus people were arrested during the process of the camp's eviction the police came in force they they masked up outside of Oracle Arena in the A stadium it was a massive operation they came in from all sides people upon hearing word that the camp was going to be evicted set up barricades they laced the entire area with string trying to impede the the possibility the police getting intrigue quickly there were battles with the police as they tried to break make their way into the encampment and eventually they came in from all sides until they took over the encampment and encircle the people who remained in the camp I was in jail when Scott Olson was shot but I do recall the prison guards or the Alameda County Sheriff's who were making these comments as we were being released finally after about 24 plus hours of being held saying things like oh go have fun riding and that sort of thing and and we get out there and then hear about all the events that had happened over the course of the day that we had been locked up of these people of folks in the thousands just like you said coming out to try and retake the space of running battles in the streets I have so many friends and comrades who were telling stories about getting tear gas to getting shot out with pepper balls of Scott Olson's devastating injury of getting shot in the head it was violence that occurred outside the normal narrative of violence deployed by the police in Oakland right and so it made it exceptional even though much more brutal violence occurs daily by the police in Oakland or against primary the black black population in Oakland and other people of color but we see a huge upswelling of outrage at the rate of the camp outrage at the injury against Scott Olson and this ultimately the attempt to use force to quash a movement tremendously backfired against both the police and the city government in terms in terms of it building up even more support for occupied Oakland and its efforts I recall going to the general assembly when the general strike was decided to be moved forward when the proposal was made to have a general strike in a week which was just a seems like a completely impossible notion and completely impractical but also within the realm of the the possible at the same time because what what had been going on especially the response to people in terms of fighting against the police in terms of taking back the encampment of basically winning against the government winning against the police forces reclaiming the space taking injuries supporting one another through that process it seemed possible that we could pull up a general strike within a week when it came around it was clear that the word had been spread that that energy that brought on that impulse to move forward with the general strike was still there a week later and I would say that that day itself was a tremendous success we had a hundred thousand people marching on the port of Oakland shutting it down we had a days worth of activities everything that encapsulated occupied Oakland I feel like found a home in particular on that day on November 2nd again we've been listening to Scott Campbell next we'll hear from Tova who is involved in the labor solidarity committee of Occupy Oakland which worked to bring in labor unions into the organizing of the general strike there were just masses of people down there at Asuka Grant Plaza some of them were working on maintaining or re reestablishing the different services that they had set up I had been involved in labor struggles in the past back in Detroit when I was in the late W so um volunteered to work on the labor solidarity committee to do the outreach to get support and participation of various unions the teamsters who played a very big role in in support for that general strike as well and that I think it's the OVA the Oakland Education Association as a teachers union and they were very much involved in so was the SCIU particularly the SCIU the city workers so the city workers were down there every day and saw what was going on and were you know very much involved and affected by it you know the teachers union had like you said been involved with in support before all the attacks by the police happened there was a lot of involvement beforehand as well one or two teamsters locals that were you know supporting officially they you know it wasn't just their rank and file members which would have been great also but you know the we had support from one or two teamsters locals and the ILWU is primarily local 10 the Long Sherman whole proposal was to march down to the port uh and shut down the port of Oakland we had people involved from ILWU although I'm pretty sure that the ILWU local 10 officially was not involved in calling for that strike but there were members who were involved in the ILWU organization who were definitely involved in helping to planet and organize it as well the teamsters added some logistical support in terms of trucking and supplies and things like that I think that the OEA the teachers also in addition to participation donated supplies and things like that so there was a lot of donations from the locals as well we've been listening to Tovo from the Occupy Oakland Labor Solidarity Committee we're now going to take a short break and be right back as the Oakland commune and the Occupy movement faded into the history it helped inspire and inform a new generation of activists as under a bomb we saw continued explosions and Ferguson Baltimore Minneapolis and later at Standing Rock by the time the Trump took office autonomous resistance movements were bubbling beneath every surface as airports were shut down against the muslim ban riots broke out against the alt-right and thousands of teachers started striking across Appalachia, Donnie Redbandanas and Omash of the so-called Redneck War of 1921 when striking coal miners engaged in guerrilla warfare with government troops and the Air Force dropped actual bombs on strikers with the current uptick and strikes under Biden continuing into 2023 and the economic conditions of porn working people continuing to worsen we ask labor-reported an author of Fight Like Hell Kim Kelly just what are the possibilities of mass strike action in the coming year you know I think we're in this really interesting moment where labor and workers and unions in general are getting a lot more attention than we're used to and a lot of that attention is positive and we have a lot of these big wins that we get to celebrate we get to celebrate you know the workers at Staten Island uh Amazon go on toe-to-toe Jeff Bezos in the Union election and winning we get to celebrate this ongoing wave of uh unionization efforts at Starbucks across the country hundreds of Starbucks that unionized we get to celebrate a lot of big wins and there are also a lot of struggles that have been kind of set to the side or not got as much attention as they deserve or kind of written off I think that's always the dichotomy of the labor movement in general right because it's so big almost everyone is a part of it whether or not they like to think of themselves that way you know I've been covering this coal miner strike in Alabama since April 1st 2021 they're still out there they've not gotten very much attention they're kind of stuck in a stalemate at the bargaining table because the bosses want to starve them out this is Alabama where workers inner outside the prison walls do not have very many rights do not have any politicians on their side they're struggling and they're still out there and that's kind of the flip side of these big energetic inspiring moments in labor right where we have these wins and we also have folks that are being left to slog or being ignored entirely like the folks that we're going to see very soon in Pennsylvania who are going to be launching a strike inside the Department of Corrections I hope that gets a lot of attention I mean we saw a similar effort by a incarcerated workers in Alabama a couple months ago that got a lot of attention and I'm really hoping that this kind of renewed interest in labor in workers rights and in discussing you know even topics like prison slavery in topics like force labor and incarcerated work and different types of work I really hope that benefits these workers as they embark on their action but we'll see you know like I am very interested to see perhaps the limits of this public support for labor actions is it easier to support a barista than it has to support a coal miner and incarcerated worker there's all these different pieces that go into this moment and I love being posy I love seeing workers win and workers organize and strike and protest and I also like keeping an eye out for the folks who aren't getting as much attention aren't getting as much support and thinking about why that is so it's kind of a long-rambling answer to say I'm cautiously optimistic and I really hope that all of the people who have thankfully and you know I'm glad they're here who have showed up in the past year in the media the political class whoever regular regular people who have been paying attention to these these worker actions I hope they keep that energy for this year because we're going to need it you know started we we've had a pretty good we're in a decent spot and I really don't want to see a squander that see I think this moment with the railroad workers I think that is something that's going to continue to resonate and reverberate out and I think that's going to have an impact the next time the democrat of party says hey where the the workers party like you need to come vote for us and keep us in power because we're the only ones who will protect you well will you did you were you there for us when we needed you or when we needed your help now you know I it just makes one wonder how much of the the pro union sluganeering that this administration loves to do how much of his pure public relations how much of it is actually attached to whatever personal beliefs that Biden has or if they just think it's politically expedient to you know act as though we're the we're pro union we're pro worker we're not going to pass any laws we're not going to investigate any worker deaths that Amazon facilities are elsewhere we're not going to use our power to help you but we're not Republicans so you know it's um I think it's going to be interesting to see how much the road strike impacts people because I think that the political calculus that the Biden administration did in choosing to crush the strike inside with the railroad bosses I guess they figured oh well it's not that big of a deal maybe not that many people are paying attention we got to make sure people get their Christmas presents on time but a lot of folks were watching that a lot of regular workers were watching that and thinking oh so if we were in that position at my job the government wouldn't help us either I think you know a lot of the chatter I saw from railroad workers from other workers just from people in general was like oh so okay this was the big moment where Biden could have proved he cared about us and instead he threw us onto the bus straight under the railroad tracks and I don't think that's a surprise to people that are sort of paying more close attention to the way the state operates but I think it was maybe a revelatory moment for folks who just sort of assumed okay like there's at least a little bit of benevolence at least you know the Democrats are in power this guy says he else unions that should help us out a little bit but seeing what happened there I think it's going to be a profoundly disillusioning moment for a lot of people that maybe had a little bit more faith in the state or at least assumed it was sort of looking out for us and I think that's kind of have an impact when you know the Democratic Party comes back knocking on our doors and mostly asking for a vote in our support because I mean you we had a classic witch-tider you on moment and we saw which were they chose to go we're gonna see more prolonged strikes we're gonna see more unfair labor practices we're gonna see more organizing I think that it is impossible to put this lightning back into a bottle right like activity and interest in unions and organizing has if not skyrocketed it's got a really nice little bump over the past few years a noticeable improvement and I know noticeable a map of new worker workplaces being organized and going on strike and fighting for their rights like I don't think that's going away and two of the the aspects of this this entire scenario that really interests me first the fact that we're seeing so many workers who some my categories is quote unquote white collar whatever folks who work in nonprofits or book publishers or in journalism other types of media kind of all of these other types of jobs that don't fit into that traditional manufacturing or extractive focused many more manual labor oriented jobs that I think a lot of people associate with the labor movement they've been going on strike and they've been making big waves whether it's the 48,000 grad student workers at the University of California or Harper Harper Collins publishing workers currently still on strike in New York City I think there's been kind of this shift in understanding of oh okay you don't need to be a certain type of worker or certain type of person or come from a specific background in order to organize to join a union unions aren't just for the classic white guy in a hardhat trope like my dad right like they're accessible to so many more of us than perhaps we thought and I think that's going to be big because work has shifted work looks different than it did 30 years ago there's a lot of different ways to be exploited and we know the employers have definitely looked into each and everyone and taken notes so we have that happening I think that's going to continue propelling the energy behind this movement and secondly I'm really intrigued by the rise and that's it's a smaller phenomenon but it is very much happening and it is kind of increasing slowly the existence of independent unions because we saw of course the Amazon labor union they're the big ones they've gotten tons of attention disorderly so but there are also efforts trader Joe's Tray Joe's united as independent union Chipotle workers formed an independent union there was an effort here in Philadelphia to form a home depot workers independent union and that one wasn't successful but I certain that that organizer has not given up and they're still going to keep working on that like and I think seeing these independent unions which are not a feeling with other internationals and not part of the FLCIO they're literally just DIY in a sense the fact that we're seeing this happen I think it just shows the cracks in the current labor movement as it stands and especially in the way that power is concentrated and the way that resources are organized and the way that the movement's priorities in terms of public statements and political power are kind of dictated by folks who tend to be more conservative and I mean that in like a Democrat way not like you know or public in chaos but just more conservative compared to a lot of the rank and file like we see with the railroad workers that rejected that deal that so many of their leaders agreed on you know I think there's more radicalism brewing in the rank and file and more militancy that and it's manifesting in different ways it's manifesting in wild catch strikes or in independent unions or in organizing outside of the traditional organized labor structure in general like what sex workers and incarcerated workers are doing and have been doing I think ultimately the bottom eyes that a lot of workers a lot of people have realized that they have options and they're exercising their rights to organize and to work collectively and to stand with their fellow workers against the bosses and against capital in ways that you know perhaps wouldn't have felt as available or seemed as possible a few years ago but now there's so many examples of other workers doing it of course they've been there throughout history too like I read about my book but I think we're at this moment where people realize okay there are a lot of different ways to do this I have people with me we have problems we need to address let's see what works you know it's not just picking up the phone and calling a union organizer though that works for some folks too is recognizing the problems we face in our workplace in our experience and deciding together what we want to do how we want to go forward and how we're going to win once again that was Kim Kelly author of Phylai Kell over the past two episodes we've taken a deep dive into the history of general strikes in the United States looking at everything from the mass strike of enslaved plantation workers during the Civil War all the way up to current examples during Occupy Oakland I think one of the things history has to offer us as a guide for the present is that these upheavals are made possible not only by people responding to material conditions but also learning from struggle in the instance of the great upheaval that general strike came after a series of other smaller strikes this fall thousands of prisoners across Alabama organized a general strike of incarcerated workers downing their tools and refusing to work their jobs bringing the prisons to a grinding halt this historic strike comes on the heels of many other prisoner led strike actions in 2010 2016 and 2018 not to mention the fact that many Alabama prisoners saw themselves as acting in the spirit of the great plantation strike during the Civil War as epitomized by the strike slogan let the crops rot in the field in my final thoughts set of putting our hopes and a call for a general strike going viral as the same goes we have to walk before we can run so strengthening our ability to engage in collective direct action and acts of refusal as well as building our capacity for community self-defense and mobilizing against state violence and repression in whatever form will ultimately allow us to expand and grow our ability to do these things in the future a lot of times we're told that like we're powerless and we're these passive beings and creatures and we have to wait for somebody to organize this but every single day we wake up in the morning and we make capitalism happen like we do it like all of us every single one of us does it like this is not like oh like this is just something that's happening to us we're doing to ourselves we're doing it to each other like these are little things that we can do like the little acts of resistance and all about petty resistance because I do realize that a lot of people don't have time for the large resistances so this is for anybody who's like yeah I hate capitalism but I just don't have the breath on the space and the time to necessarily like go out and do things if you can't please do we can walk the fuck out do but if you can't like this still stuff you can do that's it for me by you know what strikes me often about general strikes are two things first is that general strikes actually function very differently than they do in leftist discourse like in leftist discourse it's workers do general strikes but in reality if we really look at general strikes there are these moments of convergence right there's these these sort of points in which distinctions break down right the distinction between like organizers and everyone else or the distinction between workers and non-workers completely break down right it's not just railroad workers on strike in 1877 it's also their families their neighbors their whole communities on strike and this the second thing that that raises often for me is again this kind of long-term cultural implications of that sort of form of action so growing up in a place where you know strike culture is a thing still where there's still actual union density and people do walk off the job to grow up with that as an idea right that you don't just walk off the job but like the restaurant around the corner also gives out free food and people bring coffee down to the picket line and you know workers from other unions show up the block entrances because the judge said you can't you know so on so on and it becomes this huge community initiative of autonomy and self-defense and what that creates is a sense in which class struggle is perpetual like you understand always when you grow up in a place like that then when you go to work you're making somebody else money because you've been told that your whole life right and that if you get angry about that the way you're supposed to is organized and go on strike and that's a very normal sort of narrative that was because we all grew up in families where we were taught to do that that if the wealthy were taking advantage of you you just leave right that is not a normal thing outside of the rust belt of America right like people don't get brought up with that but I think as we're starting to see this kind of rise of the idea of the general strike and we're starting to understand that is something that's not just connected to employment but we can start to think of general strikes as social strikes and not just economic strikes we can start to understand like even if those they immediately not succeed the long-term impacts of those over time really create the conditions for them to succeed later and if it hadn't been for that flame staying alive I think in parts of America this wave of worker action wouldn't be happening there wouldn't be a foundation for it there wouldn't be a way to understand it right and that's what's so critical about this moment is I think in some ways we're almost reviving a thing that my grandparents lived in the midst of just as a very normal part of their lives I think that's like a really important piece about this revival and I think that something that feels really important about general strikes is the idea of like solidarity and the ad liberation is collective you know that it involves each other and I think that I feel like what happened between like what you're saying to me about your grandparents generation and now is like near liberalism in a lot of ways and just like this really strong promotion of the idea of like individualism and that if you want to make your life better you have to like do it yourself and like it's down to you as an individual but I think it was pretty effective at decimating a lot of ideas of like solidarity or the idea that are like freedom is with each other and I think that that is starting to fall apart like people are realizing how much they hustle or like have side hustles or whatever they're still hugged and just like I think that we're seeing like a resurgence of this idea of like solidarity and that we have to fit together that is going to do it for us this week thank you so much for tuning in check us out on Macedon at IGD underscore news and be sure to tune in as the workers that could happen here into their two day strike and return to the job but stay tuned we'll be back next week for even more episodes until then 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 for more podcast 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