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 67

It Could Happen Here Weekly 67

Sat, 21 Jan 2023 05:01

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This episode is gonna be a bit of an update and an interview regarding the Defend the Atlanta Forest and the Copsody movement that's been ongoing for almost two years now. If you're unfamiliar with the topic, I made a three-hour two-part deep dive last May, titled On the Ground at Defend the Atlanta Forest that you could find up on the, it could happen here, feed. And I've been doing random updates like in our history of the old Atlanta prison farm episodes from last August. But the TLDR is that the city of Atlanta and the corporate funded Atlanta Police Foundation are trying to tear down a large section of the Wollani or South River Forest into Cab County to construct a massive $90 million militarized state-of-the-art police training facility complete with a mock city. On top of that, Ryan Millsap's Black Hall movie studios are planning to cut down an adjacent section of the very same forest to expand their film production studio in a shady land swap deal that's currently the subject of a lawsuit. The past couple of weeks have seen a massive increase in the intensity of repression efforts by the state and local police inside Atlanta and Cab County against the copsity movement and people in the forest encampments trying to prevent the construction of the police training facility. Last month on December 13th, there was a raid on the forest by a task force of local, state, and federal law enforcement. Police were shooting pepper balls, rubber-tipped metal impact rounds and tear gas canisters into the woods. They destroyed tree houses while people were still inside and tore apart other infrastructure like the communal kitchen that was built inside the forest to support the encampment. Police fired chemical weapons at tree sitters, arrested multiple people and pushed others out of the forest at gunpoint. One of the things setting this apart from previous raids is that six people have now been charged with domestic terrorism as well as a number of other felonies. The people charged were initially denied bail and essentially held as political prisoners for trespassing in a forest with the terrorism enhancement charge added on top. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation alleges quote, several people threw rocks at police cars and attacked EMTs outside the neighboring fire stations with rocks and bottles. Task force members used various tactics to arrest individuals who were occupying make shift tree houses. Unquote. The Georgia Department of Homeland Security, which was formed as the result of a 2017 bill, which is also responsible for the expanded definition of domestic terrorism, has chose to designate the defend the land of forest as quote, domestic violent extremists unquote, which has led the state attorney general's office to also get involved in the case. I think it's worth mentioning that this 2017 domestic terrorism bill was first passed by the Georgia legislature in response to the neo-Nazi Dylan Roof mass shooting at a manual African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which killed nine people. So now we have this law allegedly created in response to a murderous white supremacist targeted attack against black people now being used for the first time as a bludgeon against anti-racist protesters who are fighting against the expansion and further militarization of police facilities. This is a reminder that any expansion of state power will always come down the hardest on people who are actually pushing back against the power structures of the state, like the police. After being held in jail for two weeks on December 27th, the six people were finally granted bail. But as of two days later, the jail was refusing to comply and release someone, instead saying that they will be quote, held while the prosecutor had additional charges, unquote. This abnormality was soon resolved and by December 30th, all six people charged were released on bail thanks to the Solidarity Fund, everyone who donated and people working jail support. Our interview today will be focusing on the jail support aspect and bail fund organizing. And for note, this interview was conducted prior to the release of the forest defenders. With me here today is James and Ralph. James is from the Atlanta Anti-Rapression Committee and Ralph is from the Solidarity Fund. Greetings. Thank you for joining me here. Thank you for having us. Yeah, good to be here. So first, I would like to see if either of you have any kind of extra input on what's happened the past few weeks and how you think, I mean, I can't quite ask you why, because you're obviously not the police, but what might be some reasons for some of the increased repression and to use extremely high charges being levied at people at this point in the movement? Yeah, they are extremely high charges. They're really unprecedented charges in the state of Georgia. I don't think that those of us in the entire questions face have really ever seen anything like this being used against protesters. And I think the reason why is pretty clear. And I think that reason is because there's been an extremely effective social movement that's involved thousands of people from Atlanta and from across the country. Over the last year and a half, two years that have brought a serious challenge against a very unpopular proposal from the city to build a police mega compound. And I think that the police and various other agencies that they are working with, Atlanta Police, the Atlanta Police Foundation, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations at a county police department. All of these different agencies, I think at this point are really frustrated. And I think that really shows up in the charges that they've given people because what we're talking about are people who have been literally pulled out of treasants. Like this is the most classic example of nonviolent direct action civil disobedience you can think of. And you have people who are allegedly being pulled out of treasants in charge with domestic terrorism. And I think that really shows it's both very, very scary in terms of this severity of the charges. But it's also has like an element of just being a little ridiculous. And in terms of using these types of charges, they make you think of like the school shootings or like 9, 11 or something like this. Like these are the sorts of things that come to mind when you think of domestic terrorism. And yet what we're talking about here is people who are allegedly being pulled out of treasants after being shot at with pepper balls and tear gas were in hours on end before they were pulled down. And I think that the point of that is to scare people is because they are having a very difficult time gaining any sort of public support or sympathy for this project. And I think they're just really out of loss. And so what they need right now is they need to scare people. They need to shut down this social movement by whatever means that they have available. And right now the technique that they're employing is just fear. And so the point of this is to have a chilling effect. It's to say that anybody who is protesting, who is a part of this social movement could be liable to extremely, extremely heavy charges. And that's what they're making of. They want people to be scared. They want to separate out people from the movement who feel like they can no longer participate because the charges or the potential repression is too severe. They want to be able to scare away people that support the movement by saying, look, you're supporting a terrorist movement or you're supporting something that is extreme to some crazy degree. But we know what the real extreme position here is that they know that the city doesn't want this. They've had countless protests and all sorts of different examples that just public outcry against this project and they proceeded with it anyway. And so now they're forced to be in this position where they're going to have to use whatever sort of either violence or force or extreme charges to shut it down. Yeah. Atlanta police department since 2020 has had a huge, like the largest in the country, by percentage, budgetary increase granted by the city. And this was done after the most amount of public comment there ever was in the history of city council, which was all done to say, to lower the police budget, to defund the police as it were and to send, put that money to other use. And then the second most amount of public comment the city council has ever received was 17 hours of public comment where over 70% of the respondents were saying to not build cop city. The Atlanta Police Foundation, the Atlanta Police Department and the city of Atlanta does not listen to the popular will from below, from the people that they allege to represent. But all of this pressure, the pressure to charge nonviolent protesters with domestic terrorism is coming from their corporate, their corporate sponsors is coming from BB&T, is coming from Baker America, AT&T Equifax, the Arthur Blank, Arthur Blank, who is the billionaire who runs Home Depot, it's coming from the people they actually represent, which is their corporate backers. They're seven months behind on this project, Raspheel and Gory, the company, that is the general contractor who also funds the APF. They're all, certainly behind doors, we're like, what's going on? We're seven months behind on this project. Why have we not broken ground yet? And they're still being denied the land, the land disturbance permits, because they can't get their own act together. They can't prove that this would be an environmentally friendly thing to do, because it's simply, it's leveling over 500 acres of land, a forested land. And instead they just try to use brute force, because that is what the state knows how to do. They know to use brute force, and then they want to put up trumped up charges onto random people who they are trying to pin the whole movement on when the movement is thousands of people all over the city and all over the country. Yeah, from some of the recent hearings and based on the DHS documents, they're really trying to do the thing where they frame an autonomous decentralized movement as a group. And if you're part of a group, that means that you're involved in the domestic violent extremist group, which is just not how these types of things work. It's the same thing that the right has been trying to label things like quote unquote, antifa as for years. Some prosecutors and cities around the country have tried to charge people with similar kind of domestic terrorism or like a gang violence charges due to their involvement with the antifa group. And it's the same tactic here in trying to frame a decentralized movement as like an organized group of people. And it seems like one aspect for why this is happening is like some of you have mentioned, it's in the form of like a deterrent, right? They're trying to scare people away saying that if you associate with this movement, we will charge you with terrorism, right? It's this thing to try to push people away, try to prevent anyone else from organizing in any capacity or just showing up on like just showing up to the forest. It's pretty comical, but it's also quite frightening in some ways, which is part of the intention. Part of why I wanted to talk with both of you here today is to kind of discuss the role of both the solidarity fund and anti-repression organizing. And discuss the role of that in how they support like activism movements and how they support land defense movements like like in the case of defending the Atlanta forest. And yeah, what kind of what the role of this type of organizing is in the context of this type of activism. I guess let's start with the solidarity fund because that was one of the things that I saw in the aftermath of these charges in the raid is a lot of calls to donate to the solidarity fund to help people out who have been hit with these outrageous charges. So I guess a Ralph, we talk a little bit about some of what the solidarity fund is and kind of how this type of organizing operates. Yeah, for sure. So the Atlanta Solidarity Fund formed just to have a bit of context for the organization. We formed in 2016 in the lead up to a counter-demonstration against some Ku Klux Klan members who were trying to burn a cross on Stone Mountain. In 2016, this was like after a sequence of them having protests there after the Dylan Roof massacre. And people organized a counter-demo. And we thought it would be intelligent to form a bail fund in case anyone got arrested. Because in the past, bail funds in Atlanta like refused to bail out anyone who they deemed as committing crimes that they deemed violent. And we wanted to create a bail fund that does not discriminate against activists based on what the state alleges that they did or did not do. And we formed in that. And like after that, we would add different protests throughout the years. We would bail people out. We would fundraise to get them lawyers. And we would support them, however, we could like organizing court vigils. And court support. And then, and also suing the police, like counter-suing them for when they did like, egregious acts of police brutality or intimidation. And then in 2020, with the George Floyd uprising, we went from being a like small bail fund to getting widespread support. We got tens of thousands of people donating money to us. And in Atlanta, over 900 people were arrested by the police that summer. And we supported all of them. All the ones who were not given signature bond, we bailed out. All the ones that were given signature bond. And all the other ones, we got them lawyers. And we have been supporting them every step in the way. A few of them have sadly gone to prison. And we support them financially while they're in prison. We're like putting money on their commissary every month. And we helped them out with their phone calls. And we set aside money for when they get out. There won't just be in destitute poverty, which is like what usually happens to people who have to sit in prison. And in the case of the Defend the Atlanta Forest movement, we've supported it through anti-repressant by when people get arrested getting them lawyers, bailing them out. And when there's been door knocks or whatever from law enforcement agencies, we have lawyers who will represent them as well. Because oftentimes those people aren't given charges. But they're being intimidated by law enforcement. And when you get a lawyer in between them, that intimidation normally stops. And we also do jail support for anyone who has to when they get in jail, they have a number that they can call us and we can help get them out. And for the six people who are currently charged with domestic terrorism, as of the time of this recording, they're currently locked up. And we are supporting them. And we've hired lawyers to advocate for them at their next bail hearing. And hopefully we will get them out. And they will not have to sit in jail during their pre-trial. We are a volunteer organization. Like none of us are paid to do this. We do this because we believe in the power of like, libertory social movements. And we want to support those movements and give them strength. Yeah, because I would say I think a lot of relatively big cities around the states have some form of jail support organization, whether it be formal or informal. And it's this type of organizing, which happens kind of on the periphery of a lot of these types of movements, right? It's not the excitement of throwing back a tear gas canister at a cop. It's all of the things that happen afterwards that can assist people who are facing, in some cases, very significant state repression. And it's definitely not the most flashy work. But I would argue is pretty crucial to any type of functioning system that allows protests to happen as a part of democracy, as a part of long term revolutionary strategy, whatever kind of ideology you have, these types of peripheral jail support and bail fund organizing, it's definitely just as crucial as a lot of the on the ground support stuff, bringing water bottles or helping up people in the moment. Totally. Every movement needs a rear guard. It needs people who are out protesting and organizing there on the front lines. And we're able to be the rear guard for when the state does attack. We're able to not have them be completely taken out of the field. They're able to get back in, we're able to support them, and able to keep people safe from police repression, and from what essentially amounts to legal kidnapping and torture in the carceral state. Yeah. And in some cases, in Portland in 2020, it very much was a legal kidnapping. Absolutely. Something that people are still dealing with on the jail support side and helping people out with making sure that the state cannot get away with stuff like this, because the thing they want the most is for nobody to push back on it, because that means they have permission to do it in the future without any possible consequence, or even like any attempt at consequence. How could, so I know a lot of cities have jail support stuff. A lot of this is also run on donations. What are some ways that people could assist in these types of things? Obviously, people can donate to bail funds. And I think there's a lot of, I mean, even just showing up outside of jail or prison after these types of events is something that happens a lot in terms of ways to kind of start getting plugged in in this type of peripheral bail fund and jail support organizing. Totally. Yeah. I mean, people should donate to their local bail funds and even become reoccurring donors. But people can join jail support teams. There's like, in Atlanta, we have a training. And you train on how to be a jail support person. And yeah, we have like, once you're plugged in, you can like do jail and jail vigil like for when people get out so that they're not alone. Jails are often not always, but often like in like remote areas of the city or even outside of the city. So like, it'd be hard to like get a bus back. So you can offer them rides back. You can get plugged into doing court support. And like, currently the six people charge of domestic terrorism are like being denied bail. Hopefully that will change. But in the case of like people being held, you can write postcards or letters to people and let them know that there are people on the outside who support them. If you're in an area that like doesn't have a group that helps people out who are like who are having to sit in jail, like you can put money on their commissary directly and you can write to them and you can send them books. And in the sense of like people showing up pretty immediately outside of the jail, like it is really inspiring what happened the day in the evening after the first five people were arrested, that evening like a crowd of dozens of people showed up outside of the cab county jail and had a noise demo to like make noise outside of the jail to let the five know that they were not alone and that there's people outside who support them. Now I think we will shift the conversation over to James. James, you're with the Atlanta Anti-Rapression Committee. We've already talked about the role of these ridiculous charges as a repression method. Could you briefly explain what the Atlanta Anti-Rapression Committee is and its role in the periphery of these on the ground decentralized movements? Yeah, sure. So the Atlanta Anti-Rapression Committee is a group that started in 2020 in the aftermath of the George Floyd protests. And we started because we recognized that there was a need for a kind of specific type of anti-repression work to be done, which is to say that there's a lot of, you know, it's like the bulk of anti-repression and the single most important thing is keeping people safe, right? And so what that entails is a lot of legal defense for people that are arrested, people that are incarcerated, people that are imprisoned as a result of their activity and protest movements and social movements fighting for liberation. That said, there's also a whole other type of work that needs to be done, which is the sort of, what we like to call political defense. So in other words, we want to see these movements continue. We want to see these movements grow. And we want to see these movements be powerful and a part of that is understanding the specific mechanisms of repression and fighting back against the narratives that are being used against protesters in the media. So a lot of what we do is media work because there's a lot of things that, you know, once you're arrested as a part of a protest movement, there's a lot of things you can't say. But there's a lot of things that need to be said. And namely that the people that have been arrested whether we're talking about people in the Black Lives Matter movement at 2020 or in the Defense of the Forest movement today are fighting for a just cause. These people should be doing what they're doing. And that's something that needs to be spread as far and wide as possible. And so we do a lot of media work to justify and support not just the individual protesters, but the things that they're fighting for. And then we also do a lot of essentially research and analysis to understand the overall patterns of repression as they play out. And so that's something that's like, that's really interesting, particularly in this case because, you know, I said we've never seen this before in Georgia, but we have seen this before. We've seen exactly these tactics used against, you know, protesters in the Standing Rock movement. We've seen it used in the Greenscare against the Earth's Liberation Front against Earth's First. We've seen these movements like over and over again, come up against this giant wall, which is these sorts of charges accusing people of terrorism. And so part of what we do is analyze what those strategies are and try to publicize them, try to help people to understand because it's the agencies that were up against all these different wings of the state and their corporate backers, as Ralph was saying, they have an institutional memory. They are able to look back, you know, 20 years in the past to be like, okay, there was a social movement over here and we were able to stop it because we did this, this, and this, and they're able to have that sort of memory to go back and look at those tactics. And part of the goal of repression is to cut people out of social movements to cut off this sort of general generational understanding of the dynamics of repression. And so we want to increase our capacity as people who are invested in seeing social movements succeed and be able to understand these sorts of repressive tactics and develop strategies against them. And I say that because we see repression as being a part of social movements, there are no social movements that are successful that don't encounter repression. So we have a strong need to be able to understand the specific mechanisms of state repression, how they work, how different agencies work, how the specific laws work and to be able to disseminate that information for our own life, both within movements and also within the mainstream media. At the public event, one of the shares involved in the raid against the forest offenders suggested that because one of them is from California and is in Atlanta, that makes him a terrorist. This is utterly absurd. We live in one country. We're allowed, we have the freedom to travel. And we have the, unlike the police, we regular people have solidarity and have empathy and can see our own interests in other struggles that take place elsewhere and that it is a noble thing to be like, I have to go somewhere to support, to participate. And this is not something that should be discouraged and this is not terroristic. This is a sign of the beautifulness of human empathy and the ability to see yourself in others. And this is what the police lack. That's definitely something I wanted to bring up at some point because this is a tactic that we've seen both the Atlanta Police Foundation, the City Council and right wing propagandists, like Andy Nau, have tried to frame this, have tried to frame this in terms of the outside agitators angle. And you see in all of the rest reports that that got published, one of the things they emphasize is that the people arrested, some of them have been born in other states. They always, they always mentioned this person was born in, which is just a ridiculous notion that people don't have the freedom to move around the country, absolutely absurd. That people don't have the freedom to move around to places and choose where they want to live. So they're framing people who are arrested, that happen to be born in other places. They're using this as a, in terms of the outside agitator angle to be like people are coming into Atlanta to try to sow chaos and disorder within our city. And look, they're pulling up people from all around the country and they're trying to frame it in this very conspiratorial lens. And that's just, that is, that is something that I've also noticed and found to be a quite interesting tactic. I mean, I would, they definitely want it to be an effective strategy in terms of the outside agitator angle of people coming in from out of state to get involved in this group, this antifa-allying terrorist group as someone like Andy Noe would say. And it's purely, it's purely a propaganda tactic because it relies on the notion that people can't move around the country and decide where they want to live, which obviously is an absurd notion. And I think as you said, it also kind of, the other side of this is that it highlights the kind of, the beautiful nature of being able to choose where you want to go and choose to get involved in things that you feel are important. Even if they aren't in the current place where you are living. Just to add a little bit to this, like it's crazy because it's like that, when you read the reports in the news of the people that they arrest, they always make it a point to talk about people from out of town. And they always seem to omit the people that are from Atlanta that they've arrested. And not that I'm advocating that they should be publicizing these people at all, but just to highlight that what they're doing is a propaganda tactic. And I think it has really fallen on their face in Atlanta because at Atlanta's the city that's famous for the civil rights movement. We're talking to our freedom writers, we're talking to people from all over the South, from all over the country, coming to Atlanta, Martin Luther King went to Soma, he's from Atlanta, you know? This type of logic just doesn't really seem to work here and it's really bizarre to see them try to use it over and over and over again. It's really just like a failed playbook at this point. Within the context of both how the repression against the Defend the Atlanta Force movement has evolved and where it's at now with what's happened in the past few weeks. And then also considering the types of analysis of past ecological and resistance movements that we've seen, how do you see some of the repression by the state evolving as the Atlanta Force stuff continues? Well, I think that that overall with respect to social living, we've seen an increase in this type of charge that as we're also sort of getting at, it's a type of charge that criminalizes your participation in a group or in a social movement. And so if you look at the specific warrants that are used against some of these people that they just arrested, you know, I'm thinking of one in particular where it goes into detail and it says, this person is accused of being a part of a domestic violent extremist movement called Defend the Atlanta Force and they're responsible for all of these acts of all of these different crimes from trespassing to arson or whatever. You know, so they want this altogether. They say that an autonomous social movement is a coherent organization. And then they say that the individual that they arrested confirmed their participation in this group called Defend the Atlanta Forest by sitting in a tree house and wearing camouflage. This is absurd because there's no evidence in this example that this particular person or any of these people have anything to do with any of these other crimes that they're alleging were a part of this movement. So what they're doing instead, they know that they can't arrest them for that but what they're doing instead is they're coming at it from this legal angle where they're saying this movement as a whole is a discrete group. This group is an extremist group and so your participation in anything that seems like it's a part of this group is criminal in and of itself and in this case, terrorist in and of itself. And this is a really disturbing trend that we've seen over the last few years with the increase in the use of conspiracy charges, with the increase in the use of rico charges, racketeering charges. And the point of all of these different legal strategies is to hold people accountable for crimes that they did not do. And that's exactly what we're seeing now with the six people that they just arrested. They want to hold these people accountable and make them martyrs for an entire movement that's involved hundreds and thousands of people doing all sorts of things, criminal or otherwise. And that is a disturbing trend. And it's especially disturbing because if you look at the way that the law is written in Georgia with respect to domestic terrorism so that's an enhancement charge. It means that you have to be arrested for another crime for example, in the example of the people that they just arrested felony trespassing. They add then a domestic terrorism enhancement charge to it and the justification for this domestic and domestic terrorism enhancement charge is basically saying that they were attempting to change governmental policy by intimidation which is an interesting way of saying protesting is illegal. All protests involves trying to change governmental policy. That is what protesting is. And what they are attempting to do now with these charges is to reframe that entirely and say that that is terrorism. And that is, you know, it's sort of, we're on a tricky slope right now because it's like on the one hand, we need to recognize that these charges are absurd and they very likely won't stand up in court because they're very clearly unconstitutional at the very least. So we need to not be afraid of them on the one hand and to show how absurd they are. On the other hand, we should take this as a serious threat to social movements all across the United States in all different sorts of fields and areas and different types of fights for different sorts of things to say like, wow, this is a huge, huge stretch that they're trying to pull here because they have seen like in the last few decades like a tremendous amount of polarization in America, all sorts of social movements that involve, you know, Black Lives Matter was 20 million people are these people all terrorists. And so that's why it's important to pay attention to what's happening now in Atlanta with this struggle to the Dandelion of Forest and the charges that are putting against these people because if they can succeed with this type of charge, that's a very, very dangerous precedent for people who are a part of all sorts of social movements. And not just the left wing either, you know, there's a part of this that's like since the January 6th, you know, so called insurrection, however you want to characterize it, there's been a tremendous push by the federal government to crack down on social movements. They see this as like threats to their stability that there are, you know, situations where there's thousands or millions of people who are participating in all different sorts of social movements and thinking to send a clear message that people should not be out protesting. Thank you both for talking with me today. Where could people both learn more about your respective organizations and then also how can people support the forest defenders who are facing the increasingly harsh state repression? You could visit the, just like Google or look up on any of the major social media platforms, Atlanta Solidarity Fund, and you could go to our website and if you want to support any forest defenders who are facing serious charges, you donate money or you could write them postcards or you could send them books that they've requested. And when court dates come up, we'll probably publicize those so that people can come out and show their support and solidarity, the people facing charges and you could come out to do court support. And you can get involved in the movement yourself if you feel so inclined. Yeah, and I'll just add to that, the Atlanta Anti-Refreshing Committee, can you fill in on Instagram? You can put it up. And just generally speaking, this is something that people need to talk about. So any chance that you have to talk about to explain what's happening in Atlanta to put a giant light on this situation because everybody needs to be paying attention to this because this is not just, you know, as people in the Defender Forest Women say, it's not just a local issue, they're national and even international implications for this type of stuff. And that's also true with regards to repression. If they can succeed with these charges here, that's a major death blow to all sorts of social movements and they'll be trying to export this tactic elsewhere. We think it won't stick, but we think it's extremely important for people to be talking about it and to make this the national issue that we recognize that it is. Some of those links we will also be putting in the description below. The day that this episode is being released, just so happens to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And also it's the last day in a weekend of solidarity to stop cop city. This past weekend, there's been events, gatherings, actions and rallies in Atlanta and across the country in support for the stop cop city movement and the six individuals facing domestic terrorism charges. On Saturday, I saw pictures of a huge banner hanging outside of a squat in France in solidarity with Atlanta and struggles to defend the Atlanta forest. It seems the extremely high charges in Georgia have not dissuade people from across the country from engaging in direct action. In December, at least construction offices, one of the contractors working on cop city were attacked in Manhattan and Michigan in solidarity with those arrested defending the Wallani forest. On January 5, a construction site and offices for Brass, Field and Gory, the main contractors currently working on cop city were attacked by anarchists in South Florida, according to a statement published on the website, And just days earlier, another post on the site claimed credit for a setting fire to a Bank of America in Portland. Bank of America is a major contributor to the Atlanta Police Foundation. Both of those statements referenced the domestic terrorism charges. You can check out Defend the Atlanta Forest at Defend the Atlanta and most major social media sites. You can check out for more stories of direct action on the front lines. And of course, you can check out the Atlanta Solidarity Fund at ATL There you can donate to bail funds and help people currently facing state repression. That's all for us today. See you on the other side. BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! Attention, BAD MGM customers. Have a friend who loves sports as much as you do? 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Learn more about their clean standards and shop clean at Sephora Beauty at Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of It Grab in Here. Once again, who's to do by myself Andrew and also joined it with Garrison is here as well. And me, Mia, I'm also here. And of the things that I've been thinking about lately because I've been reading a lot more fiction, a lot of things in these sorts of sci-fi sphere, particularly some activity, but some or some Margaret Atwood I recently read it or works on Creek. And I've just been thinking about a lot of these concepts that are presented in stories in sci-fi. And what is more sci-fi than Gideof computers, that sort of digital space and what has become of the digital world as of late as you know, and really since its inception as capitalism has sort of chopped it up and privatized it and sequestered it and monopolized it as, I think it really goes against what the principles of the internet should be in terms of how it is run, how it is structured, how it is organized because the internet as a concept really brings together a variety of people, a variety of spaces and backgrounds or intersections. And I believe it should be a place of sharing, a place of collaboration, particularly since the sort of resources that might be limited in the physical world, far more abundant in the digital world from thinking into myself like educational resources and otherwise. Of course they are infrastructural limitations, but on the cloud, you know, in cyberspace and I cringe saying that because it makes me feel like a boomer. You know, they have the ability to freely and easily copy and share and paste wherever and whenever, basically without many limitations. And instead of really seizing that for what it could be, you know, we've turned it into this sort of corporate feudalism where all these digital megacorporations, these social media giants basically have carved up the internet into their own, you know, fifth terms and dominated discourse, you know, dominated how we communicate with each other, how we tend to communicate each other, facing the mainstream side of the internet, what has become the mainstream the internet? So what was people think of when they think of the internet? But I'm not a big fan of that idea of the internet, that perception, that conception of the internet. In fact, as something that I have been thinking about and developing and discussing for the past couple of months and researching for the past couple of months, I really think that among all the other things that I've discussed are necessary components in developing the commons in creating and reestablishing the commons, I think digital commons will be just as important because the commons, rather the inclusion of the commons is what really kicked off the establishment of capitalism. I believe the reestablishments of the commons will be required in that transition away from capitalism towards a more collective, more communal, more sustainable way of life. For those who, I guess, just tuning in, this perhaps your first episode with me at least, or perhaps you've never seen any of it the figures on my channel. I'll take a moment to explain what exactly the commons are. The commons refer to the resources accessible to all members of a society. The totality of the material riches of that part of the world, of that world regarded as the inheritance of humanity as a whole. Something to be shared together. The commons are something that are based on common pool resources or CPRs, which is any natural or man-made system that is organized to benefit a group of people, but would provide diminished benefits to everyone if each person pursued their own self-interest. And of course, these resource systems, like I said, could be natural or man-made. They could be forests, traditionally, there are things like forests and irrigation canals and fisheries and pastures and prong water basins. But I think it could be expanded even further. I mean, things like energy infrastructure, like windmills or into bands or as going to describe different portions of the internet, different resource systems within the internet. And of course, the internet is a whole, I believe all of those things can be brought under the commons. And of course, the commons, the theory of the commons, history of the commons is it's own lengthy discussion. Of course, you could read about it in covering the commons by Eleanor Ostrom. But you could listen to a sort of a condensed version of that in my video on my channel on the commons as an institution. When it comes to information and communication technology, it's when it comes to ICTs and sort of applying that commons idea to ICTs. I like to think about it in terms of these sort of digital communities bringing together people who share common goals to collaboratively build and share those resources through technology. So I would say that digital commons or can be, and can be because I think some of them already exist in some form. But they are basically these online creation communities where there's a free flow and free access to and free collaboration, the sharing of this non-exclusive digital information and the collective creation of knowledge resources. Visual resources, of course, being owned and used freely between or among the community and also available for use by third parties. So instead of being exchanged as commodities, these resources are used and reused and reused without artificial restrictions to sort of enforce an artificial scarcity. I just actually thought of a really funny example that I hadn't initially conceived of in my sort of guideline for this episode. I don't know if you're familiar with Martin Scorsese's control. No. Okay, so in 1973, Martin Scorsese developed this film called Concherof. It's a historical epic, a sort of a post-war era mafia movie and it was directed by Scorsese at start Robert De Niro and Al Pacino and Jean Hackman. It had a sort of a deep humoroticism blended with a sort of exploration of media aggression. It's a sort of a look at the relationship between Concherof with a Russian mafia boss and his partner slash rival slash gold friend, Andre, who I believe was supposed to be an Italian mafia boss. But the thing about Concherof, I mean, you can find posters about it, you can find fan art, I bet you can find many, many, many fan fictions about it. But Concherof is not a real movie. It does not exist. Everything I described is entirely fake. The litany of colorful side characters that people have developed for this movie, the hundreds of fan fictions, the dozens of metanases and pieces of fan art, people have generated for this movie. The movie itself does not exist. The movie only exists in the collective co-creation of it took place over a tumbler of all places. Essentially, a couple of tumbler users basically came up with this idea of this last Martin Scorsese film that everybody has seemingly forgotten and they would rave about it and they would come up with fake plot points and fake characters and before you know it's sort of like this massive internet phenomenon, this sort of inside joke, internet inside joke. One of the people started building on top of it and respecting what came before and that sort of spiritual co-creation is what ended up creating this tale of Concherof, this Concherof fandom, this whole development of Concherof as a character, of the side characters as fully developed characters. And it all started because one user said to another, like, oh, don't you know the movie Concherof? So neither Creatus Mafia movie ever made and that tagline, the greatest Mafia movie ever made would be built upon with further photo shops and embellishments and developments and there's now like a really comprehensive document of Concherof lore, things are added in just, things are added in a complete seriousness but it's just a thing that exists, it's a thing that I believe is just one manifestation of many of what the internet has the capacity to produce when online creation communities are allowed to operate freely and develop their own sort of common creative resources. I think other examples of, I guess, the seeds of what I'm talking about can be seen and I guess like role play, suvers and role play communities or role play message boards. I think some fandoms also have some of the seeds of what I'm talking about, of course, the Minecraft community with everything they've created, modeling communities across different games, they all sort of manifestations of human desire to create and human desire to share without the artificial restrictions and boundaries of mainstream, capitalist imagination. I think another manifestation of the digital commons in a sense can be found in resources like the ZLibrary and a few others that I'm afraid of naming in case I take a noun as well. Yeah. And I mean, that's really the sad part of what ZLibrary has lost. I mean, I haven't really been feeling that loss because I am aware of the alternatives but it's lost on the last because of the ways the library has formatted, it was with more accessible to a lot of people, a lot of people aware of it and stuff. But ZLibrary, I'm glad that it's called a library, it's called ZLibrary. It's just one manifestation of the roots of the library as a concept and how it can manifest in the digital space, how the commons through the conception of the library can manifest in a digital space. I mean, even mainstream ones, we have stuff like and I know is trying to launch something to host a whole bunch of scientific journals and other articles that are harder to access as well. But I mean, they already host, you know, a quite impressive plethora of copyrighted books. Me and Robert have gotten into arguments on and many and author who is mad about their book being on So that is, you know, there is, there is many resources if you know where to look, but sadly, some of them don't know longer with us and people have been, have been punished by the state for trying to provide open access to information. Yeah, I mean, who controls information, right? Or however the same goes. I think another, as you mentioned, I think another example of that sort of collaborative information sharing, can be seen and of course, Wikipedia, you know. Yeah. Yeah. As personal computers and the intent became more accessible, the lower barriers of expression and stuff. This internet culture, as it was initially born, it was one with the aim of collaboratively creating cultural content that developed in and generating, you know, you know, if we sell access to knowledge, you know, Wikipedia just one example. They of course, different wikis plural. But of course, they're longer called wikis, they think it's called fandom or something. Yeah, unfortunately fandom bought a whole bunch of different wiki sites that were independently operated over the course of the past 20 years and then they kind of consolidated under the big fandom company. Yeah, and now like half of them are unusable because of ads and stuff. Yeah. It's pretty rough to scroll a fandom site. It's not the easiest thing. But I will see, as a youth with few regulations in my access to the internet, there was actually quite nice to be able to go on to fandom and just like, I was, you know, around when it was still wiki. But you know, going like Marvel wiki or going to see wiki and read up on all the different characters I was into at the time. Oh, yeah, absolutely. You know, I used to go on like powerlifting wiki and like come up with characters, you know, peace on certain superpowers. And I also created my own wiki for my own like, made up sort of wheel building project. And just the fact that resource was available, you know, the tools were easy for free to access. And that's easy to understand as well. And of course, they were always tutorials and stuff available if you do not have to function and what's to do certain things. Just that that accessibility and freedom is something that I think is still exists, you know, in some sense, despite, you know, this company buying out everything. And I appreciate the fact that, you know, unlike, you know, that company, Wikipedia's and the million, the OG Wikipedia continues to maintain their steadfast anti-add, you know, standing and continues to, you know, run on, I guess, crowd-sourced donations. Just today, as of the day that we're recording, a whole bunch of the right wingers that have coalesced around Musk after his purchase of Twitter have gotten mad at Wikipedia for not, for, they've gotten mad that Wikipedia wasn't, wasn't reposting their fake Twitter files drama thing as glowingly as some of them might like. And they're complaining about Wikipedia's left wing bias. And a whole bunch of these Musk fanboys are talking about being like, hey, Elon Musk should buy Wikipedia and fix Wikipedia's left wing bias. And there's this one guy who was like, I wonder how much Wikipedia would cost to buy at Elon Musk. And then the, the, the founder of Wikipedia is like, absolutely not. This is not for sale. We, we, we are not letting Elon Musk and buy Wikipedia. Yeah, I mean, if, if Conservatives really want a platform that badly, there's always conservative, or whatever it's called, there's always un-cycle there's always un-cycle, if they want to get really wacky. But yeah, Wikipedia is just going to continue being Wikipedia, thankfully. I appreciate the rabbit holes. It has led me through. I appreciate the Wikipedia games that I've been able to play, you know, like, you have to go from one page to another, you know, I kind of degrees of pages, how you link to different, completely different topics. But yeah, zero advertising, accessible to all many different languages. Of course, you know, it's not completely flawed as they are sitting down. Very contentious articles, of course. They always be attempts to hijack that those pages from the people of propaganda. Of course, every article has its bias. But by and large, because of the collaborative nature of the project, they have been ways to mitigate bad actors and respond to those sorts of attempts that corruption and co-optation. So, you know, it goes to show that, you know, even something as I would say, essentially, organized as Wikipedia is still able to regulate itself collaboratively. Yeah, I think around this time last year, here on the show, we interviewed somebody from WikiMedia specifically talking about how the, talking about the regional differences of the Wikipedia, is that are in different countries and in different regions, how that impacts access information and how people in their own communities can work towards providing a fuller, better picture of the types of information that people are getting. And the great part about it is that it really does put the power into anyone's hands. It's not gate-kept. The same way a lot of other information is. Yeah, that's the beauty of it, really. I think another problem, I'm key of information sharing or other file sharing and just so that I pay it to pay architecture. I mean, following really the pirating community could include. There was Philistilities, Access and the exchange of cultural products. Otherwise, be lost. As we see in with a lot of these shows being axed and people's hard and hard people who really worked hard on certain projects and stuff, these companies with their tax dodging schemes and whatever, you're able to basically sweep all that aside. And so the fact that we are able to pursue and of course, in films and video and TV shows being taken down on my set in streaming services and not even being able to be found easily physically, you know, having these files and stuff just accessible online, shared between pairs. It's really great to see. And it really allows for the preservation of things that we otherwise be lost. And of course, there's also as another example of a sort of digital commons. The idea of open source or the free software movement, which is a social movement aimed at attaining and guaranteeing certain freedoms for software users. You know, to run the software, to study software, to modify software, and to share copies of that software, whether modify or not. The philosophy of this free software movement is really this idea that computer use should not lead to people being prevented from cooperating with other. In fact, it should be the opposite. It should be allowing people to cooperate with each other. So things like, you know, rejecting restrictions on software, promoting free software, liberating people who use technology, use, you know, computers. It's really what, you know, the free software movement is trying to do. One of the founders of the movement, again, he's still a man. He had said that the idea of the free software movement is that, you know, by allowing free access to software, it allows, it promotes rather than hinders the progression of technology because it means that much of the wasteful duplication of system program and effort can be avoided, you know, that effort could instead go into advancing different projects. So you open source and free software movement, what if you want to call it, it's, although I know there's some people make a distinction, it is, I would believe, I would think, a manifestation of digital comments, people are able to self-organize, fully associate, and really just allowing people to, you know, get their hands on some software to create, to run, to redistribute, to change their software, to pick apart and learn from certain code. I really just allow people to continue to create and share. And the sort of culture that open source that free software creates is one of, you know, courtesy, it's one of collaboration of helping one another to contribute or agree to a whole, to sort of regulate each other's monitor, activity that might jeopardize the project. And you know, we see the benefits of that, you know, a lot of the most recognizable, high-traffic open software projects, stable, you know, they're secure and they're very thoroughly understood by the people who collaborate to create them, compared to a lot of the more closed and proprietary projects that are not as accessible, not as open to scrutiny and study. So it is, I think, in a sense, a form of anarchy, and people governing themselves, incorporating to create a whole greater than any individual could create alone. And speaking of, you know, people, I guess, coming together and communicating and collaborating, it's this sense that I guess people have been discussing a lot lately of the digital public media and Twitter teams is usually the center of that conversation, this idea that, oh, we have this space that, you know, that shouldn't be privatized, it shouldn't, that should be freely accessed and everyone can communicate without restriction. And you have the free speech people within that. I honestly question the value of Twitter pretty much every day. Obviously, some good has come out of it. And really other sort of good and good digital public squares, like any sort of mainstream social media, some good comes out to them. You meet people, you're able to work in projects, they're able to meet like-minded folks. And all that is good. Also, a lot of terrible, terrible things have come out of these platforms and continue to be a single day. It's a mixed bag, but I think any sort of digital commons project will need a space. And how that space is conceived would of course need to be unmor other from capitalist imagination that the an at-whole, you know, attention economy, rage economy that aims to keep us divided and butts in heads. I do think they will need to be space for communication across boundaries, across regions around the world easily. The last thing I really wanted to touch on on this topic is really sort of the overlap between the idea of digital commons and the growth. So you know, both sort of question, that sort of means you have an idea of consumption, digital commons, you know, the promotists, this idea of someone who both consumes and produces consumes value in the digital space, but also adds to that value. That doesn't commodify the resources available in the digital space, but rather, you know, makes it accessible and adds to it, contributes to it. And that sort of idea of open access, really something in the growth or so try to emphasize, you know, even though we're trying to scale within planetary limits, we still want, you know, a good life for all. We still want people to collaborate and create, and it's rather be more free to do so without limitations that the growth oriented capitalist economy imposes on us. The idea of course digital commons also brings the means of production in the digital sphere under the control of the communities who use it. We use that resource, we use that service in complete contrast to the capitalist aim of keeping them privately held and aiming to serve profit. Digital commons and decroeth both emphasize access, send information to knowledge, to resources as part of our human heritage as part of our human right. The commons should be something that is openly available, rather than restricted, commodified, privatized. Of course, unlike traditional commons, you know, digital commons are not easily exhaustable, not really exhaustable, they're not subject to any of the limitations that physical commons would have, where at the same time, you know, they depend on a certain infrastructure, an infrastructure that relies on, you know, energy and that energy has to come from somewhere, being able to access the internet requires certain tools, certain technologies, computers, phones, whatever, and the resources required to create those technologies, has to come from somewhere. The cables and the oceans, the satellites and space, you know, the electricity for the computers, the materials for the phones and the computers, all of those things consume and contribute to the exhaustion of environmental resources. And so balancing that and being cognizant of environmental impact will still have to be a central component in, you know, an development of the digital commons. At the end of the day, I believe that humans are sort of pre-programmed to create and to collaborate with each other. I think digital commons are one way in which we can do that. I really appreciated the way that, you know, different writers and thinkers and the subjects have sort of explored those ideas. Of course, I drew a bit from one particular author, Mayo Foster, Morrell, and their exploration of the idea. But there's a lot available, if you're interested in covering the topic and what to happen. Of course, same goes for the commons in general. There are a lot of different resources out there, Illinois, Ostroms, where it could be a great place to start. And I really think it's important that we do get these conversations rolling in the mainstream, in the background, in the free corner and every space, because we stand to benefit a lot from it. And we honestly really need it in a time like this. That's it from me for this episode. You can follow me on YouTube, at Andrew's home, on Twitter, at underscore St. Drew. And on Patreon, you can support me if you'd like, at slash St. Drew. Yeah, and you can find it could happen here on Twitter and Instagram. Apparently, we have a cool zone, there's a TikTok, a thing that I learned. Do we officially have one? I don't know, I guess we did. Who knows, we may or may not have a TikTok, you'll never know. By early January, we definitely will, because we have something special planned. But yes, Twitter, at least Twitter and Instagram, at happen here, Pond and Coulson Media, still on, despite the digital town square collapsing, we are holding out in the dystopian ruins of Twitter. So yeah, anyway. Shum Brace from Brace for Winnings, the podcast presented by Draft King Sportsbook, and the best weekend in the NFL schedule is here, the divisional round. That's right. Now, last week in Wildcar Weekend, we opened and closed with huge victories in San Fran and Dallas. 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At Sephora, their clean standards mean products formulated without parabens, sulfates, thalates, mineral oils and more. 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 Welcome to It Could Happen Here, a show. So I've had a bunch of shit actually, but our core is collapse and political violence in the United States. That's what we got our bones and today we're getting back to basics. We're going into the roots. Those of you who live in New Mexico are probably broadly familiar with the kind of basics of this story. Many of you probably will have heard aspects of this, but there have been a series of shootings that took place in New York. And there are things that took place in December of last year and January of this year at the homes of two state legislators and two county commissioners. No one was injured, thankfully, but this was obviously something that was scaring the hell out of a lot of people, liberals and people on the left in New Mexico over the last several weeks, because they were clearly politically motivated. And so, the rest of the folks in New Mexico has had shootings at protests and it's it's share of the political violence that is swept a large chunk of the country. And this seemed like a real scary years of lead style escalation. Very recently, within the last couple of days of us recording this, it was announced that the police had brought in the guy who was responsible for organizing this. And he was shooting himself, his name is Solomon Pena, and he was a former Republican candidate for local office who hired four men in order to shoot at the homes of elected Democrats. Those are the basics of it. The arrest warrant affidavit says that Pena intended to cause serious harm or cause death to the occupants inside their homes, which seems pretty credible based on what we know objectively about what happened. It's also worth noting that Pena had donated repeatedly in the past to lend in the ruse, which I'm sure we'll get into a little bit later. But I want to introduce my guest for this episode who knows the story much better than I do a local New Mexico based activist Lucas Herndon Lucas. How are you doing today, buddy? I'm doing good, man. Glad to be back sort of. Yeah, really glad to have you back. You've been on the show before. I'm just going to kind of let you take it from here now that I've sort of laid out the bones of it. Yeah, thanks. And just a couple clarifying points, which only because things have been moving very quickly today. This is the day after he was arrested. There is actually now evidence put out from the APD that. Pena himself was in the car and attempted to fire at least one of the targets. Apparently he had an AR 15 that quote unquote jammed. It didn't stop that shooting from occurring his accomplice who is unnamed at this time, at least to our knowledge, did fire a block out of the car during that that. I mean, so there was still a shooting that happened. Yes, but it is worth noting that he was not just the mastermind, but also an active participant, at least according to what we know. Today. Yeah, it looks like the weapon that was used was a tan and black lock with a drum magazine. Or at least the drum was seized at the thing doesn't really matter. Correct. But yeah, so I'm interested kind of first in if you want to walk us through how you became aware that these shootings had happened and how you would kind of characterize the impact it had. On on the community around you because this obviously is is intensely frightening and is the kind of thing. Most of us who've been paying attention have been worried about happening for quite a while. Right. Exactly that. Yeah. So, you know, in the in the political nonprofit world, which which I work in professionally, it's not uncommon for the whole movement sort of takes the last part of December off for the holidays. So unfortunately, there was sort of not a lot of eyes on stuff in the latter part of December, but as soon as we got back to work on the third of January, a series of events happened where there was a realization that there were shootings that happened at different elected officials houses, right. And it turns out or it looks like that the cops were just starting to put it together themselves. But it came from the fact that the first two targets were at the time, seated County commissioners in Bernalio County. Just for extra added confusion, one of those targets was she finished her term at the end of the year. So she's now she's not technically sitting as a commissioner anymore just just for clarity. But then over the course of of you know those weeks that we were all out, there were also then shootings at one of the state senators homes. And in January, there was also shootings at the campaign office of who the gentleman who is now our state attorney general within our sort of movement of people that work on you know political things we were all gearing up for the session. Our in New Mexico, our legislative session kicks off a 60 day term and actually started today on January 17th and it became clear to all of us that this was happening and we started you know talking amongst ourselves and we we did find out that at that point the cops had started piecing it together they were piecing together pieces of information. It turns out that after the shooting on the third, the only other named accomplice so far this guy Jose Trujillo was arrested 40 minutes after the shooting APD because of ongoing issues with the crime in the city of Albuquerque has like a quick response like system setup that like tracks gunfire and yeah so they were they were able to track this guy down. He was driving a car that was registered to pen you. And there was other connections obviously that the you know cops put things together and then yeah and they executed the search warrant yesterday there was a SWAT situation it sounds like it was preventive more than anything. But but some of the stories that have come out is that he was reluctant to leave at first but there wasn't actually any overt threats of violence but you know the cops did respond was SWAT when they arrested him yeah. I mean given the fact that he had carried out a series of shootings not surprised to hear that now I'm kind of curious was there a community response prior to sort of pinya being exposed as and arrested. Was there a community response kind of reacting to the fact that there were was an escalating series of shootings targeting local elected leaders. Yeah so the company I work for progress now in Mexico we put out a series of tweets basically as soon as we had started putting two and two together. We know we we were careful to say that this appears politically motivated we don't have hard evidence but it's hard to not put those two things together. We at progress now and me specifically having worked here for a very long time I have been tracking political violence here in the state for a while and I've I've been part of it in the sense that I was threatened and doxed in 2020. As were some of my other colleagues and so it you know it these things hit close to home right and on the and on the one hand it's. It's tough to see these things as anything but political violence for for those of us like you Robert that like we see it all the time because we're paying attention to it. On the other hand there is unfortunately a lot of gun violence in albacurky and you know so there were there were some pushback people thought you know this is just you know there's just that much gun violence quote unquote. But that's you know that was a silly premise honestly and this was very clearly politically motivated and now that we have a person to attach this to and we can look at. His social media history and you know stuff we found in telegram stuff on his Twitter. It's so clear I mean he we just actually even today right before we got on here we just published another telegram piece that we found on our Twitter. That he threatened the secretary of state after he lost his election telling saying that he she should quote unquote hang until she's dead. So yeah I mean he's this has been an ongoing part of his ideology for a while you know he has a lot of pro maga posts a lot of big lie you know tape to the election you know rhetoric all over his social media such as it exists anyway yeah. Now have this altered at all or had an impact on your thinking of you know when you have a tax or a series of attacks like this as you said. It's impossible to say prior to kind of knowing who did it that like this is certainly politically motivated but at a certain point it becomes kind of reasonable and safe to make that assumption I think also necessary when you're trying to. To protect a community and get people prepared for the likelihood that they're going to encounter violence. We've also had though cases where like it is impossible to know you know we we had a series of attacks on power plants last year we still don't know who did the ones in North Carolina or who did the ones in Portland. But it turned out that the folks who did that Christmas day attack on power substation and Washington state were just robbing a place right effectively non political so it is kind of impossible to get 100% has this altered at all your kind of feelings on win and at what sort of point do we start raising the alarm. Yeah you know I mean I think that progress now you know my my organization that I work with we. As soon as we heard something was a foot we put out the word for us it was for us it was a matter of safety is as people who lived through it ourselves. This was a time that the community needed to be aware of these things and be thinking about it. And to be honest that you know our group discussion about it was it was better to be safe than sorry if if somehow this wasn't political or if it was maybe personalized or something like that. At you know at these legislators and lawmakers rather than it being overtly just political ideology you know that would be we could walk it back but again it was for us we made the decision that no this information needs to be out there. We have especially as we were gearing up for the session there was just there's too much on the line. You know up until a couple years ago at our state legislature which we call the roundhouse because it's a big round building up at the roundhouse you could carry firearms into the building it was just a sort of a remnant of New Mexico's sort of a wild west is I guess yeah yeah yeah. But with the with the rise of with the rise of far right related violence and you actually did have armed insurrection minded people showing up in and around January six. But even before that really during during the 2020 lead up with a lot of the Maga rallies the trump trains and all that the legislature passed their own you know rule saying you couldn't bring guns into the into the legislature and that was up even further this year by the installation of metal detectors. So but that's new but that was directly related to this this this looming threat over over lawmakers in the state. They didn't know if they were going to have anybody in custody before things started started today and so the legislature made that decision for themselves that they were going to institute that policy and have metal detectors on the way in. That that that that makes sense and that as I understand it that it's still the law in the state of Texas actually that you can be armed inside the capital building I certainly had been during protests years ago it's interesting the watching kind of the simultaneous adaptation by the law enforcement by kind of elected and sort of standard centrist Democrats and by the left in different ways to. This escalation in in political violence and kind of the acceptability on the right of using the threat or the practice of violence to try to push for political ideology because everyone is kind of adapting in real time to it i'm wondering how are you kind of looking at this from the left how are you how are you feeling about the way in which the actual state has responded so far. Yeah it's complicated so the tradition in New Mexico is on the opening day of the legislature the governor gives the state of the state address and I covered that earlier today one of her key points and she and she tied it to this very issue was she is pushing as a priority bill this year a quote unquote assault weapons ban. There is also another legislator who is pushing a what we would call a standard capacity but what they call a high capacity magazine ban and you know and then there's some other ones that are maybe a little bit more. Reasonable like safe storage which is something that I can get behind yeah you know and I think there's a couple of things here to consider and and you know and it gets complicated because. People on the right have dominated the conversation about guns and gun control for so long that it's hard to have well intentions conversations from the left I find. And yeah I would agree yeah yeah yeah so you know speaking personally as a gun owner and as somebody who has. Made the decision of my life to be you know armed and ready and have you know body armor and I you know I don't to shoot guns I train with guns I train other people I have a group of people that I work with and trust that if. Things ever got real bad I would you know we would call each other. Being that guy I obviously have very strong feelings about being told by the state that I don't have a right to defend myself with the same types of weapons that I know the other side has right so I think the answer you know sorry that was a little bit of a round about but the yeah the point is that the person who perpetrated this Mr. is not a gun. It's unclear but he is a felon and there is some hey being made about how he and others may have possessed guns and you know the reality we know is that it is not hard or difficult to try to get guns one way or the other and so and and. And just grab across the border to Texas for one thing I mean right or Arizona yeah yeah or Arizona this guy was already what was in fact restricted from being able to own any kind of firearm right right and and so it is hard to be somebody who works on in the political left and I work on a lot of policy issues my my day to day work focuses more on energy issues. But you know but I have been doing this work long enough that I step in whenever there's stuff like this happening and cover it for for for my work but it's yeah it's it's going to be interesting to see you know I don't know if there's the political will in the state in Mexico even you know moderate Democrats are our hunters are recreational shooters and I think that there's you know there is some strong feelings about gun violence we there was a very tragic death involving children last year during our legislative session where where I am middle school or I believe maybe high school or a kid either way took a pistol from his parents you know sock drawer basically in shot a kid. And you know the so again safe storage is one of those things that I think most people generally can get behind especially if we do something really good like subsidized safe storage so that if you know if you're a person who is of lesser means but you still want to protect yourself of the firearm you can figure out how to get a safe or something like that anyway that's the so there are things that we can do I think we know that outright bands one don't work and our hard to pass and things like magazine capacity things the enforcement level becomes difficult and a good example of that is in New Mexico we did pass a red flag law a number of years ago and you know I've heard I know you've talked about red flag laws in the past and you know and we had what a lot of states have had which is that a number of sheriffs in conservative counties just very publicly set out loud that they weren't going to enforce it and sure enough you know last year during the summer when we hit the two-year mark of the law being into effect it had been used less than a dozen times statewide and so yeah I mean in one of the one of the things that's of obvious concern is if you have a lot of people living in these conservative areas where the sheriff started forcing the laws they effectively have the ability to take the firearms they can acquire there to the areas that have maybe more restrictive gun control where there are elected Democrats and then shoot up their houses yeah I think outside of that I'm wondering so and obviously we're still looking at the follow of this there's still quite a bit we don't know I don't think there's a lot of context on how pania found these men that he hired although I am interested in that I think it'll be it'll be worth learning is there kind of a lessons learned that that you're going through with this here has this altered at all kind of going forward how you think you might respond or you community might respond the next time something like this occurs yeah I mean I think there's a couple I mean actually one of the things you just said is that we don't necessarily know how we found these guys and and that's true because we still don't know the names of some of them but the one the one man we do know was one of was a person who donated money to him while while he was running because again remember this is a this was a man who was running for office last year in lost three to one and and yeah and so this this one a comp with who's name we have who's a true donated to him and they're very you know they're they're clearly they clearly know each other and have some sort of a connection there but I think what's worth noting is that going down that path right so when I looked up that guy I found the the political donation from last year and while I was there looking at political donations I just happened to look at all the other names which is how I found the other you know the name of the other man who has this connection to him a Fletcher and Michael Fletcher right and that guy two two years ago during the you know the 2020 protests drove a car through a crowd of protesters and thanks to some amazing you know anti-fascist organizers here in New Mexico they were able to identify him even though the cops never did anything about it and so I think that if if there's going to be lessons learned here it's that these people have been showing their true colors for a long time and there's if if if we're going to have police in this world we live in and we're going to ask them to quote unquote keep us safe. Then they have to do their job and they have to follow up with with things like you know somebody driving through a crowd of people the video is is on our Twitter threat it's very scary I mean I know people have seen it all over the country wasn't just unique to New Mexico but anyway that guy was pennies third highest donor and is a young man his his listed profession is security guard and and the other guy Jose Trujillo is listed as a cashier so there's a lot of questions about how how did these young men have so many people and have so much money it with jobs that are you know you don't necessarily have a lot of money lying around if you're a cashier security guard at least at least not to donate to political candidates back when I had jobs like that I didn't anyway. And especially then also for all the guns they have right like there's pictures of these guys with a table full of blocks and you know and mags and that's that stuff is not cheap so I don't it there's there's there is a these people were known to law enforcement one way or the other because again penia was a felon and I want to be clear he was able to run into mexico because it Mexico we believe felons deserve a second chance for things like running for office in fact it'd be great someday to have somebody who's maybe got that life experience to become a legislator obviously there are circumstances like maybe this one that prove that people haven't you know turned around from whatever life they were leading beforehand but we're also but we're also not here excluding people from being being a felon does not make you a bad person that's what I'm really trying to say here but no felon who has a history like this and then has clearly demonstrated a will towards violence and hangs out with violent people maybe there should be some things done to keep an eye on those people. This is one of those situations that there's a number of different solutions to or I think things that will lead the solutions but it's also it's much more muddled than people would like it to be I think I tend to think that from the perspective of like people who are activists who are members of the community one of the better things that we can do is keep an eye as you all do on who's doing what like you know when you have people who are donating to one of these right wing fascist kind of candidates when they're saying certain things on social media or the candidate saying so things on social media that are seen as incitements to violence like keeping those people on your radar is useful and keeping you know as you did being able to kind of document once somebody actually starts acting hey this person has has made further threats in the past these are groups of people that might be at risk from them we know this person like here's evidence that this person is and has been a threat that's all really useful. The question is always is like how do we actually stop these people before they carry out violence and this is a question that to be certain law enforcement in the state don't have very good answers for because they only kind of come in and take action after the attacks have started we just got lucky in this case that nobody was hurt or killed. You know there have been a couple of of mass shootings averted as a result of anti fascists finding someone who was making threats who had firearms and in some cases like was not legally supposed to have them and making that public ahead of time. But more often than not it's sort of this case as it was with Pena where the name comes out we realize who it was and it's like yeah we had we had this guy documented we knew this dude was a threat. And I think that's the that is still kind of the thing that we don't have a good answer to is what is the actual how do you how do you actually take action to stop these people from carrying out. The attacks because obviously there's a thousand different legal issues with that there's a number of different moral issues with that because for every guy like Pena who talked about carrying out attacks and then attacked people there's a couple of dozen who talk about shit like this and don't do anything but I don't know this is this is something that I think that I think has to be answered and it's not on you know you specifically or New Mexico activist community to figure it out. But it is it is like this is a big part of the struggle I think because the the cops and the state will do the thing that they do which is when there are bodies or when there's bullet casings on the ground generally eventually someone will get arrested not always not necessarily even the vast majority of the time again nobody's caught the fuckers who were blowing up power stations in North Carolina. Right. But you know that so I think the question for us that and I'm sorry folks I'm not going to be not going to be saying here's how we solve the problem of armed right wingers carrying out attacks on people is how do we how do we get from knowing who's a threat to stopping them affect effectively stopping them from carrying out actual attacks and that is you know as our years of lead. If that is what we're in and boy things like this make me think that that's a reasonable way to describe the present political situation in the United States. Yeah. This is something we're going to have to answer and obviously you know I've asked you kind of your lessons on it we don't we don't I don't think there's much more to say at the moment but it is this is this is the question right. It's a question we ask ourselves or I know people are asking themselves up in Portland. The guy who carry out an attack almost exactly a year ago at a protest in Portland at a long history of making threats online and now one person's dead and others paralyzed several more have been have been injured you know these are this is this is a tough question and it's it's not one that I think just kind of raw ideology actually gives us a very good answer on because there's the there's the emotionally. There's the emotionally satisfying answer which is like well we just need to get some folks together and go like fuck these people up and it's like well you can't that's actually not a realistic reason because number one there's so many people making these threats like you don't actually have. The the the the human band with to for that to be realistic outside of the fact that those people would be destroying their lives and throwing themselves into the mall of the state to do it so. This is this is a toughy yeah I do there's I mean there's one there's one part of this that I think New Mexico can can offer some some I don't know there's one thing we got right and I don't know if if you know everybody out there is familiar with the name Koi Griffin or his organization cowboys for Trump but during the lead up to the 2020 election this guy kind of made a name for himself he went around the country on horseback. With a bunch of dudes and they all dressed up like larping his cowboys most of them are not and and you know they had American flags and they yeah literally called cowboys for Trump this guy was a seated county commissioner in Otero County here in New Mexico and he went to January six and he was the first convicted person from the January six fall out and he lost his seat in in Otero County which is like a lot of people. I know there's a lot of people that are like the most important and the most important person that's like a lot of people in Otero County which is like the smallest amount of thing right like it's the man should have been locked up but but one of the things that is frustrating but also maybe good is that probably you know through my work doing what I do I had been documenting this man for years because he'd been saying all kinds of crazy shit. maybe it was 2020. He like went up on top of a mountain to pray. This is his words and recorded himself on a Facebook live. And like literally said that black people should go back to Africa. And like this video was on his Facebook. And I mean, it had been out for days and nobody said anything about it anywhere until I clipped it and put it on Twitter. You know, I took away the 40 minutes of other weird shitty said. And I put that thing out into the world and said, this man deserves to be like under so much scrutiny. It's ridiculous. And then of course it got press. And then of course he came under fire. And then a couple people were paying attention. So then when he went to January 6th and again, on a live video because people can't stop Instagramming their crimes, he said he was taking all of his guns and going to meet his homies in Washington. And so he got arrested. He got arrested there. He was one of the few people who got arrested like on the ground that day. Because the FBI and the Secret Service were already looking for him. Because again, somebody else had been out loud about saying this man literally just said he's taking guns to DC is somebody please gonna do something about this. So I don't know. It wasn't great. And I feel like more could have been done. And again, fortunately no one got hurt. I mean, I guess people did if you wanted to take the whole of January 6th into the conscription. Yeah, I mean. But I guess my point is is that it's sort of just a constant vigilism, right? It's like you just have to be, and it's an obviously one person can't do it, but you have to have groups of people that do it. I mean, I'm one guy who works with an organization of people and we work on a number of policy things in the state. And again, I don't necessarily do this all the time. But I also know that there's a number of amazing people, especially in Otero County, which is a very conservative county. But there's a number of amazing people who do really hard work and they show up at county commission meetings and they get thrown out and they go to school board meetings and they get thrown out, but they go and they document it and they tweet and they tick-tock. And it's that work that puts the word out from these little tiny places. You know, the last time I was on the show, Robert, we were talking about the school board stuff here in Las Cruces and the right wing chuds that had showed up to that. And it's the same thing, right? It's like, you can't do it alone, but it doesn't take that many people to show up. And once you show them that you're not afraid and that there's more of us than there are of them, they tend to slink away. And I think that there's value in that. And it's not the answer that you're talking about, but there's a modicum of hope they're worth remembering. Yeah, I think that's a really good point. Those are all really good points. Well, Lucas, I think that more or less covers what we came to talk about today. Did you have anything else you wanted to say to the audience before we kind of roll out of here? Anything you wanted to plug place you want to push down? Yeah, I mean, I just like to say that, you know, I, the number one donor to this guy's campaign is a corporation called Halopenio Corporation. It's owned by a billionaire named Harvey Yates. He's part of the family that discovered oil in the state of New Mexico. And Mexico is the second largest producer of oil in the United States. Harvey Yates donated to every Republican candidate this cycle. And I think that what I want to like just say out loud because again, my job is normally, I talk about energy issues, is that on the one hand, you know, we have questions about where some of these young men who have, you know, cashier jobs and security guard jobs where they came up with $4,000 to donate to a political candidate over the course of a few months, it's not unsurprising that an oil corporation donated $5,000, right? Yeah. But what's worth remembering is that, you know, these, these mega corporations of all stripes, but especially oil and gas, are the backbone of the political movement that we are talking about, you know, even if we're sort of beating around the bush, right? There's one side here that is dominated very heavily by this far right extremism. And they, and they, and their funders treat them all the same, right? Like oil and gas companies don't care if you're a quote-unquote moderate Republican or a hardcore right wing maga guy or a literal Nazi. They just want somebody who's going to like get in there and, you know, give them tax subsidies. And, you know, and I just, the fight over energy issues in this country is, is often framed around climate change as it should be because, I mean, obviously, the climate crisis is something we can't ignore. But it's so much worse than that. And we know, we could do a whole other thing about that someday, but I just, it's just so important, I can't let it go. You know, looking at this, at this, what I'm going to call a domestic terrorists donation sheet, you know, and seeing that the number one, you know, his number one donor was this oil and gas guy. Like it's just not a coincidence. It really isn't. And it's, it's worth remembering. So that's the last thing I want to plug or less thing I want to say. In terms of plugs, you can find me on Twitter. I'm just Lucas E. Herndon. And if you are interested in New Mexico politics things, you can follow us now at progress now and then. Awesome. Well, you cannot find me there, but you can find me elsewhere. You'll figure it out. Thank you, Lucas. This has been really, I mean, good is a weird word, but I appreciate it. Yeah, it's what happened last time too. Yeah. Well, I'm sure we'll have you back on the near future. And we will be back tomorrow with some more shit that is hopefully the fun, fun stuff, maybe fun stuff. I always get the episodes where it's not, it could happen here. It's, it did happen here. A thing has occurred. Oh, no. All right. All right. Thanks Robert. Thank you. 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. 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Ask your doctor or pharmacist about shingles prevention. Welcome to A Good App in Here. The podcast about things being absolutely atrocious. I'm your host, Mio Wall. And today, we're going to do something a little different. Instead of our normal sort of escapades through the torment and the sort of crumbles of the modern world, we're going to take a step back into history to trace through the history and class psychology of a kind of guy who is a recurring character in the history of North America. And who was responsible to a greater extent than you think for some of the worst atrocities this world has ever seen. Now, I hesitate to use the word class as a way to actually describe these people because the people we're going to be talking about are from completely different economies, completely different class structures, completely different systems of production. So we're sticking with the loose term kind of guy. And this kind of guy is a kind of guy that I have termed the debtor's flavor. Now, this effort's glance, this is a confusing term. My word processor at the very least gets very, very angry with me every time I try to write it and insist that, no, no, no, I must in fact mean debtor's slave. But no, I do not mean debtor's slave. What I'm actually referring to is a kind of guy who is both hopelessly in debt and also in command of enormous economic ability or resources, most often slaves. To get a sense of what I'm talking about here, we're going to start with the archetypical debtor's flavor, Hernan Cortez. Hernan Cortez is by all reputable accounts in enormous piece of shit. A broke noble born in Spain in 1485, Cortez managed to parlay an initially successful career as a sort of adventurer into a slave plantation in Cuba after he helped conquer the island in 1511. From there, through a combination of, I shit you not, this is actually what the historical records say about him, wearing too many gold chains and spending too much money on his wife, his finances imploded and he fell into debt. This led him to embark on his infamous conquest of Mexico and attempt to pay off his creditors. Here I'm going to turn to the work of the anthropologist, David Graber, a rest in peace, miss you buddy. Graber describes the absolute horror of entire population sold into slavery, slaves with faces covered in brands indicating who they've been bought and sold by. Entire populations worked death in mines, empires drained of wealth by men whose lust for golden silver seemed to no no end. And yet somehow, both Cortez and his men seem to have come out of the other end of one of the most important conquests in human history, completely broke. Now, it's easier to explain how Cortez's men came out of this broke. They came out of this broke because Cortez and his officers were extorting and robbing them mercilessly at literally every step of the campaign by charging them utterly exorbitant prices for everything from bandages to like having to buy their own weapons, which were being sold by guests who Cortez and his officers who had a sort of cabal going on with everyone who could sell things. And once the conquest was done, Cortez and his officers simply seized most of the share of the loot from their men's payment for all of the stuff that they needed. And I mentioned this not to inspire sympathy for the conquistadors, like these are, these are some of the worst human beings who have ever lived and managing to somehow lose money on one of the most brutal sackings of the city and human history is like the least of the punishment they deserve. But, on the other hand, their debt and the debt of Cortez himself goes a long way to explain what happened next. Here's Graber. These were the men who ended up in control of the provinces and who established local administration, taxes, and labor regimes, which makes it a little easier to understand the descriptions of Indians with their faces covered by names, like so many counter-endorse checks were the mines surrounded by miles of rotting corpses. We are not dealing with psychology of cold, calculating greed, but a more complicated mix of shame and righteous indignation. And of the frantic urgency of debts that would only compound and accumulate, these were, almost certainly, interest-bearing loans. And the outrage at the idea that the after all they had gone through, they should be held to owe anything to begin with. Now, this is the sort of trademark psychology of the debtors' labor. It's an incredibly toxic mix of shame, indignation, outrage, and desperation that breathes an incredible kind of violence. And it's determined in large part by the conditions of modern compound debt itself. Here's Graber again. Money always has the potential to become a moral imperative unto itself, allow it to expand, and it can quickly become a morality so imperative that all others seem frivolous in comparison. For the debtor, the world is reduced to a collection of potential dangers, potential tools, and potential merchandise. Even human relationships become a matter of cost-benefit calculation. Clearly, this is the way the conquistadors viewed the worlds that they set out to conquer. Now, it doesn't take long until not only human relations, but human beings themselves become a matter of cost-benefit calculation, a set of merchandise that value could be extracted from. And here emerges the debtor's labor. Now, very clearly, all debtors do not behave like this. In fact, almost all debtors across all places and all times do not behave this way, or the world would be a place that makes even the how we live in now look like a paradise. There's another factor at work here that distinguishes the debtor from the debtor's labor, and that's power. The debtor's labor are rewields, or has wielded enormous power over other people, either through direct violence, or, as we'll see later, through the command of economic power. This is one of the products of the righteous indignation Grieber described earlier. These are people who are used to wielding power, who are suddenly now beholden in a real and immediate way to someone else. And so, they said about solving the problem, the way they've solved everything else in their life, throwing violence at it. Now, if you've been paying attention closely, you might realize that I've actually been describing two different sort of ranks of debtor slaves, who sort of fused into one mass in Quotas' conquisitors. On the lower end, the people who kind of loosely be called adventurers, essentially a kind of mercenary, out for a big score, be that slaves, be that land, be that stone loot, that could vault them out of debt into the aristocracy. This is the sort of military base of the conquisitor army itself. On the higher end are people like Quotez, who are already technically plantation owners, but thrown ineptitude of some managed to become heavily indebted. And combined, they form a group responsible for three centuries of the greatest evil the world has ever seen. Now, these two groups in a process need each other. The adventurers may have weapons, they may have some training, but at the end of the day, they have very little in terms of liquid capital. And liquid capital is something that you need in order to run a military campaign, because in order to keep all of these people, all of these sort of adventurers, all of these sort of debtor slavers, all of these sort of would be conquisitors in the field, you have to produce, you know, things like food, things like boots, things like medical supplies. And this is where the plantation owners come in, because those are people who even though they're enormously indebted and even though very often they're either fleeing, they're debtors, or they're all of their debts about to be called in, these are people who so technically have lines of credit open. And they, and you know, also, there are also people who sometimes have allies in more sort of solvents, people in their same class. So they're able to sort of funnel liquid capital into these sort of ventures. And this is a process that we are going to see again after these ads. And we're back. Moving forward in time, a few hundred years and north a few thousand miles, we come to another scene of debt subjugation and violence, the plantations of the American South. Now, this is not the primitive unhullowed 1500s, where slaves would be marked like tally sticks as they were passed back and forth between sword and pike wielding Spanish barbarians as they slaughtered their way through one of the greatest cities the world had ever known. This is the benign in 1800s. This is the age of steam power and railroads, the age of electricity, the advent of the global telecommunications network. What would come of this new era of progress? What if the greatest of all world historical crimes, the conversion of human beings into increasingly complex financial instruments? Plantation owners contrary to their depiction in media, which they've gotten almost, those people have gotten almost as good PR's cops, which is fairly incredible considering they haven't really existed as the sort of slave owning class that they used to be in. You know, what, hundred, hundredish years. I don't know. Discuss among yourselves when you think sharecropping has sort of decreased to an amount where these people are no longer around as a class. But, you know, okay, despite the sort of PR of these southern gentile men get, these people are constantly in debt. And they're constantly attempting to solve the problem of them being in debt with the only thing they know how to do, which is slavery. And when I say they're trying to solve this problem through slavery, we're going to get to the more complicated ways to try to solve this with slavery. It's just whipping people harder. It's brutal and horrible. And, yeah, you know, this is a system that is, who's the efficiency of which is built on profound human violence. So, let's establish that right off the bat. This is the worst kind of slavery anyone's really ever done. Yeah. Now, you know, another factor for these people essentially turning into debtors' labor is the fact that these people are constantly putting themselves in self-inflicted debt in order to do speculation. And this is the part where they start doing shit that is difficult for me to even try to explain will adequately capturing the horror of the process. The Southern planters begin to create an entire separate financial network based entirely off of the quote-unquote value of their slaves and their land. From the historian Edward B. Baptiste, yet in slavers had already, by the end of the 1820s, created a highly innovative alternative to existing financial structure. They consolidated association of Louisiana planters, despite his name, that CAPL was still a bank, created more leverage for enslavers at less cost and on longer terms. It did so by securitizing slaves, hedging even more effectively against the individual investor's loss, so long as the financial system itself did not fail. Here is how it worked. Potential borrowers mortgage slaves and cultivated land to the CAPL, which entitled them to borrow up to half of the assessed value of their property from the CAPL in bank notes. To convince others to accept the bank notes thus distributed at face value, the CAPL convinced the Louisiana legislature to back $2.5 million in bank bonds due to 10 to 15 years bearing 5% interest with the faith and credit of the people of the state. The Great British merchant bank, Bearing Brothers, agreed to advance the CAPL, the equivalent of $2.5 million in the sterling bills. By the way, that is a unfathomable amount of money now. That's not your $5 million that is an amount of money that will make your ears bleed. The equivalent of $2.5 million in the sterling bills and market the bonds on European securities markets. The bonds effectively converted in slavery's biggest investment, human beings or, quote, unquote, hands from Maryland and Virginia and North Carolina and Kentucky into multiple streams of income, all under their control since all borrowers were officially stakeholders in the bank. The sale of the bonds created a high-quality credit pool to be lent back to the planters at a significantly lower rate, sorry, at a rate significantly lower than the rate of return they could expect that money to produce. The pool could be used for all sorts of income generating purposes, buying more slaves to produce more cotton in sugar and hence more income or lending to other in slavers. For borrowers could peer-emade their leverage even higher by borrowing on the same collateral from multiple lenders, while also getting unsecured short-term commercial loans from the CAPL by purchasing new slaves with the money they borrowed and borrowing on them too. They had mortgage their slaves, sometimes multiple times, and sometimes they even mortgage-fictitious slaves. But in contrast to what Walsh had promised an oldie in 1824, this type of mortgage gave the enslaved her tremendous margins, control, and flexibility. It was hard to imagine that such borrowers would be foreclosed, even if they fell behind on their payments. After all, the borrowers owned the bank. Using the CAPL model, slave owners were now able to monetize their slaves by securitizing them and then leveraging them multiple times on the international financial markets. Now, having just spent a decent amount of time running through the sort of finance of this, I need to reiterate, these are human beings who are being enslaved and tortured constantly. The ownership of whom is being mortgage to a bank and then sold and traded as assets on the financial markets. What they have done here is, like, 2008 style financial collapse, like, set of collateralized loan obligations, except the loans are backed by fucking human beings they forced into slavery. It is a level of evil that is almost incomprehensible, because the very financial language that is necessary to explain what they're doing by necessity conceals the horror of what's actually being done. What's actually being done here is hundreds of thousands of people are being sold into slavery and forced to clear land and work on land that has just been stolen literally, in some cases, like the day before by indigenous people who have just been sent on the trail of tears. This is being done to fuel these new financial instruments. Now, in a somewhat ironic twist, the product of this entire thing, the product of all of this land clearing, the product of Andrew Jackson's war and the second bank of the US, the product of all of this sort of speculation is, the plantations wind up producing too much cotton, too much slave cotton, and this quickly becomes an absolute fiasco. That suddenly outpaced the entire value of the slave crop. The entire financial system begins to implode. It starts in the UK and the European markets that had taken a bunch of these sort of slave bonds. But eventually, the financial collapse spreads, and as we heard in the article, the way these banks are set up, the way these banks that are just all of the bank is just slaves. I guess I should also take an aside here to mention that the normal banks are also doing stuff like this. It's just that the South not being content to just have normal banks, doing mortgages, taking out mortgages on houses with slaves, as collateral. They've decided to create their own entire financial network that's just slaves and nothing else. Well, land, too, but yeah, slaves and land. This entire thing sort of just collapses in on itself. And this leads to an even larger mass of debtor's slavery plantation dollars. And this is where we turn from plantation slavery to some good old fashioned conquistadoring. What if the sort of myths of slavery, or the way that slavery has been understood in the West, particularly in Europe, particularly in the US and the UK, which have these sort of complexes about, the sort of inevitability of abolitionism and the sort of benevolent empire, I guess, abolition or whatever. There's this sort of like the economic arguments too that people argue that slavery was going to collapse anyway. People just let it go. It would have fell apart. And that is just sort of nonsense. And one of the things that this conceals is that slave power was constantly expansionary. It's never sort of like slavery was never a system that was sort of just contained in one place. Right. It was always pushing, it was always attempting to seize new land. It was always attempting to seize new slaves. It was a system that could only really survive. It was constantly able to seize new territory and seize new slaves in order to work it. And so there's a lot of sort of products of this, right. One of the sort of earlier ones is you get these settlers pushing west attempting to turn certain new states into slave states. And these are often, like the settlers here often, the sort of men, like you've domestically described as adventurers, like these are people who've often protested, right. They are people desperately attempting to stay one step ahead of their creditors by invoking the time-honored American tradition of slaughtering indigenous people for their land, which could then be turned over to speculators, or could be turned over to the sort of wealthier backers. And in this period, these are almost always men. I thought that's going to change pretty soon. But these men are so violent and so disruptive that at various points in the late 1700s and early 1800s, the US attempts to stop them from settling any further, less they sort of disturb American foreign policy efforts. And these efforts fail. And the product of this is a manifest destinies, trail of corpses pushes even further and further west. Now, by the 1850s, there's a new sort of conquistador who's setting out conqueror in the name of the cross and paying off the creditors. And they're called filibusters. Now, this is actually where these people are where the term filibuster is a sort of like thing that you do in the Senate, to not let people do something. This is where that comes from. It's these people. These are, okay. So, you know, the official descriptions of them will say things like private armies. There are more these kind of like ragged bands of like slavery, mongering genocide years, who are backed by largely by self-impotation notice, sometimes by Southern states, occasionally by just northern banks, because the place they're trying to go is somewhere that banks want to sort of seize control of. And, you know, these people set out to conquer and use slave states by, you know, straight up seize control of places like Cuba or Mexico. They do a bunch of this stuff in Texas. It doesn't really work, but, you know, the, I mean, part of the complicated thing of talking about the filibuster is, is that like, in some sense, the most successful like attempt to do something like this was actually Texas, but those people were really filibut like the people who actually successfully seized control of Texas, like Sam Adam and his sort of crew of very miscreant slave owners. Those guys are technically filibusters, but, you know, they, they, they, they do sort of succeed in bringing in Texas as a slave state. But, yeah, you know, I mean, these people are, they keep, they keep launching invasions of fucking Cuba, they keep launching using invasions everywhere. There's a really great movie called Walker. That's a sort of fictionalized account of probably the most famous filibuster, a guy named William Walker. And well, okay, so it starts with his attempt to conquer Mexico, which doesn't go well. But then it says out for his attempt to conquer Nicaragua, which like kind of works, like, yes, he takes Nicaragua for a little bit. You know, but because this, this movie version of it's also like it's an anti-war film about the US back in the Contras. And it rules. I'm talking about it because nobody's ever watched this thing. And the studio when they, when they like actually figured out what Walker was, and that it was, you know, like an anti-war film about the Contras. They literally killed the entire movie. And the director Alex Cox, who's the guy he did repo man, like, he literally never worked in Hollywood again after this. So yeah, go watch Walker, understand as a little, it's a bit fictionalized. It's mostly an anti-war film about the Contras. But you know, I mean, part of what he's trying to trace out, and part of what is very important about this is that, you know, there's these sort of lineages of American colonialism. And part of these literally edges is that, you know, like, that literally does not matter like what century you're in the US is trying to see control of Nicaragua. Now, okay, so back back to the so-of-fillabuster is mainline. Unlike the conquistadors who were kind of like, I don't know, they had a combination of being really, really lucky. And also, like, genuinely having some pretty good leadership even though, you know, good leadership, but for evil. I, those guys were really successful. The filibusterers, they mostly failed because, again, these are mostly sort of just like bands of like marauders. They don't have, they barely have supply lines, like, I don't know, sometimes they have real weapons, but they're not especially competent. And, but what they did do is they kill a lot of people. And this is one of those things that's sort of like, I don't know, it gets sort of romanticized or gets sort of like brushed over, is that like, yeah, no, these, these people, like, these groups are basically like rolling lynch mobs. And so, you know, they'll be doing something that run into a town. They'll just kill everyone. They will enslave people, they will rape people. They do shit that is just, they're absolutely important. And that's, that's the sort of legacy of this stuff. And, you know, they probably would have kept doing it. But, you know, except they were stopped, right? One of the sort of like, legacies of these people is eventually the sort of slave powers, like, wind up completing Kansas, which is a sort of semi-civil war between the pro slave rites, slavery of forces and Kansas that like leads to the regular civil war. But, you know, I mean, I think, I think it's sort of important to understand this entire thing is that these people just kept accumulating power and kept accumulating power and kept accumulating power until someone stopped them. And that was also true of the conquistadors, right? Like, I mean, you know, and like arguably, arguably the sort of dissidents, those people are still in power. But, like, you know, the, the Spanish were not run out of the places that they had conquered until people sort of fought them. Now, the last thing I want to do is I, we're also not free of this kind of guy. It kind of manifests in different ways in sort of more recent times. I think probably the, the closest we have to the sort of like corporate quartets thing are the people behind the sort of, it gets re-read it as mergers and acquisitions. But the people behind the leverage buyout, like corporate raider stuff on Wall Street in the 80s, who, you know, and the reason they sort of they behave and they think in a lot of the very, in a lot of the same ways as these sort of as the sort of debtors or slavers is that their financial techniques. And then they leave them in basically the same situation as, as, as your quartets, which is that the way that these people take over a company and these, these are basically finance people, these are investors who are figured out a way to seize control of companies. And the way they figured out to do it is they, they essentially, they sell bonds to other investors. So the short version of it is that they go into an enormous amount of debt personally, right? And they say, you know, have enough money to just buy up the stock prices of the company. And you know, they, they, they say, okay, we're going to buy, say, say, say your stock price is $35. So like, okay, we're going to buy the stock at $40. And unless the company can, you know, like somehow raise your stock price above that in order to defend them off, you know, this one person who's taking on an enormous amount of debt now suddenly just owns the company. And then he has to start, you know, just stripping assets from it, right? He has to find ways to make money. He has to find ways to sort of, raise the stock price of this thing, you know, and this is usually done by like, strip people's pensions by firing people by just destroying entire, like, entire sort of like people's livelihoods. This is done by just dismantling companies wholesale like toys or else is the last company that sort of famously had this happened to them, they just get completely dismembered. And they get completely dismembered because the people who buy these companies, right? And you know, this eventually should have turned into firms, said, etc., etc., but those people are also unbelievably in debt, right? And, you know, it's that that they impose on themselves was isn't that, you know, the sort of psychological effects of it are very similar. And, you know, I think the thing about sort of, like the late 20th and the early 21st century is that the violence gets outsourced. So, you know, these people still have slaves, but the slaves are like, you know, the slaves are owned by a contractor, who's our contractor of a contractor, like somewhere way down the line. But, you know, the sort of strategic stuff and the way that these people behave is very similar. And I think it's worth noting that there's two, there's people who, there's going to come out of this era, who are very important out. One is that one of the people who comes out of this sort of 80s, 90s era, who was also constantly in debt and is also just sort of like a murderous, like incredibly vengeful person, who's also sort of dealing with these same kinds of like, you know, who's tapping into the sort of emotions of the sort of like, indignation and outrage and desperation, like, is Donald Trump. And, you know, Donald Trump, I think, is a sort of tragedy version of it. And then you get to see it, we've been getting to see it with, I, with Elon Musk, is a sort of farce version of it where you, you know, increasingly desperate to try to like, dig himself out of the hole that he got by buying, by having to leverage himself so much to buy Twitter. But yeah, we are, we remain haunted by the specter of this kind of guy. And they've done, they've done enormous harm to the world. They're probably going to keep doing enormous harm in the world. And yeah, but again, I think it is worth thinking about them psychologically and worth understanding that it's not, you know, like at the core of sort of like, the capitalist death machine are not necessarily these like incredibly cold. Or just like incredibly cold, rational, calculating people. It's a bunch of people who are frantic or desperate who are very, very angry. And that doesn't make them sort of, you know, doesn't make them more sympathetic. It just makes them more violent. 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 podcasts from Cool Zone Media, visit our website,, or check us out on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts. Or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can find sources for it could happen here updated monthly at slash sources. Thanks for listening. 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