Episode

2/8 The Foggy Ethiopian Conflict; The Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee; SOTU Recap w/ Ann Neumann; Dawn Tefft & Sam Harshner

February 8, 2023

Sam hosts journalist Ann Neumann to discuss her recent piece in Harper’s, “Falling Like Leaves: The war in Ethiopia and its crimes against civilians”. Then, Sam’s joined by Dawn Tefft, a Lead Organizer with Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee (EWOC), and Sam Harshner, organizer and Adjunct Instructor of Political Science and History at Marquette University, to discuss their work with EWOC and its central mission. First, Sam runs through updates on Biden’s State of the Union speech, the rising death roll in the wake of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, the Democrats sweeping Pennsylvania’s special election, the Fed continuing their attack on labor, and the House GOP launching their investigation into Hunter Biden’s d*ck pics, before diving into the contrast between Biden’s tack towards bipartisanship and Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ statements that she’s nothing like Joe Biden. Ann Neumann then joins as she walks through the last five years of Ethiopian conflict, beginning with the protests and riots breaking out in 2016 and led to myriad resignations across the Ethiopian government and the assumption of Abiy Ahmed to the Prime Ministership, who immediately stepped in to sign a peace treaty with Isaias Afwerki to end the multi-decade Eritrean-Ethiopian border conflict – a move that would earn Ahmed a Nobel Peace Prize, only for it to become apparent that, as a part of the treaty, there was an agreement to turn against their common enemy of Tigray. After a brief conversation on the role of Tigray and Eritrea in the liberation of Ethiopia from the Derg regime, Neumann parses through the role of the US in propping up various leaders in Eritrea and Ethiopia in the shift towards neocolonialism, with Abiy Ahmed being a particular darling of the west. Wrapping up the interview, Ann walks Sam through the crimes against civilians that have come through Ethiopia’s strict information blockade, from outright violence and violation to the manipulation of food and medicine, and how the information blockade itself developed. Dawn Tefft and Sam Harshner dive right into the creation of the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee in early 2020 in response to the impact of the pandemic on workplaces, with the DSA joining with United Electorate to help sponsor and strategize labor organizing and the establishment of unions across the US in the fight for safe workplace policy in a pandemic. After briefly touching on EWOC’s work at Marquette University, Dawn and Sam walk through the biggest challenges that faced workplace organizing throughout the pandemic, and how easy it is for workers to unite over mediocre and unsafe working conditions.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and the MR Crew tackle Biden baiting the Right into committing to Social Security and Medicare, Frank Luntz’s response on (s)quack box, and other highlights from Biden’s State of the Union. Nine from Seattle dives into Eritrea’s relationship to colonialism and colonization, Ryan from Ohio dives into the disaster train derailment that has taken his house, and Chad from NYC rants against corporate “charity” as per the development of Box Tops. Donald Trump calls Ron DeSantis a groomer, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Ann’s piece here: https://harpers.org/archive/2023/02/falling-like-leaves-ethiopia-tigray-crimes-against-civilians/

Learn more about EWOC here: https://workerorganizing.org/

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