2/21 Democracy On Life Support Without Black Activism w/ Deva Woodly

February 21, 2022

Emma hosts Deva Woodly, Associate Professor of Politics at the New School for Social Research, to discuss her recent book Reckoning: Black Lives Matter and the Democratic Necessity of Social Movements, on the growing importance of Radical Black feminist pragmatism in an age where politics are seen exclusively as brokering deals with the powerful, and never about reconfiguring the power itself. They begin with a 2016 Obama quote on BLM needing to capitalize on their opportunity to have a seat at the table to paint this picture of the larger view of activism that Americans had at the time, before working backwards from the start of the neoliberal era to explore how the depoliticization of public life led to a corrosive “end of history” ideology that ignores the role of the people, both in terms of who legitimizes the political institutions, and in terms of who the institutions are accountable to. This leads them to the concept of the politics of care, as Professor Woodly defines it through its role in acknowledging injustice’s widespread and systemic trauma, and how it works to make racial, social, and economic justice to be the characteristics of political systems by centering the care of each other and ourselves. Next, she and Emma take a step back, looking at her progression into abolitionism as a pragmatic one, seeing the defund movement as an obvious response to large-scale municipal mismanagement of funds that works to bolster systemic processes that make black life precarious, rather than to uplift their communities. They then dive into the mythology of American exceptionalism that creates this intense naturalization of our political institutions to the point that we cannot envision alternatives, as Professor Woodly contrasts this with an abolitionist view of the future of politics, as one not about utopianism, but about progressive iterations that emphasize a constantly evolving political system to go with a constantly evolving citizenry. They wrap up the interview with Professor Woodly looking to define radical Black feminist pragmatism, walking through the development of the BLM movement over the last decade to paint a picture of an ideology that works to sustain itself inter-generationally, and pushes institutions and discourse forwards boldly. Emma also touches on the sentencing of an officer for the murder of Daunte Wright, and Kamala Harris’ taking on a Trumpian stance on Russian sanctions, which she dubs the GREATEST SANCTIONS EVER.

And in the Fun Half: Marjorie Taylor Greene dives into the Globalist roots of monopolizing a digital fiat currency… or something like that? Pete calls in from LA to ask what we do with fascist cops in a theoretical post-defund world, and Emma, Matt, and Bradley dive into Alexandra M. Hunt’s killer stance on crime, the importance of uplifting sex workers, and the dangers of reading the New York Post. Kowalski gives some updates on cornfield corruption, Bob Menendez gets SALT-y, and Jordan Peterson perfectly syncs up a high schooler’s cover of Dark Side of the Moon with an insanely out-of-touch academic’s view on individuality. Ian from CO discusses bolstering progressive media, plus, your calls and IMs!
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