Episode

2/20 The Need For A 3rd Reconstruction w/ Peniel Joseph

February 20, 2023

The MR Crew is back! Sam sits down for a pre-taped conversation with Peniel Joseph, joint professor of public affairs and history at the University of Texas at Austin, to discuss his recent book The Third Reconstruction:America’s Struggle for Racial Justice in the Twenty-First Century First, Emma runs through updates on Biden’s visit to Ukraine in the wake of Blinken’s statements on a Russia-China allyship, Jimmy Carter’s entrance into hospice care, East Palestine’s environmental disaster, Turkey’s corrupted infrastructure, and Supreme Court updates, before diving into Bernie’s appearance on Face the Nation as he assesses Biden’s presidency and his own legacy. Professor Peniel Joseph then joins as he walks through the stories of America’s three reconstructions, beginning with the broad outlines of the first post-Civil War reconstruction period that attempted to radically redesign our country around freedmen, investing in Black infrastructure, politics, ownership, and civic associations, while dual dueling ideologies grappled over the narrative in the background. Next, Professor Joseph parses through this battle between confederate redemptionists and radical reconstructionists, with the coalescing of various marginalized movements eventually losing the narrative battle to lost cause promoting historical revisionists, despite the incredible material revolution of the period, before he and Sam explore the dominant ideologies on Black assimilation during the period between our first two reconstructions, with the combination of broad legal equality with the white right to personal discrimination aiding the development of civic discrimination, from segregation to red-lining and more. After tackling the dissemination of the lost cause ideology, Peniel and Sam take on the post-WWII period through the 1970s that saw the second US reconstruction, looking at how the reconstructionists were able to dominate the narrative by the end of the period, initiating a 50-year consensus where marginalized people were able to slowly garner levels of political power theretofore unseen, before shifting to our modern reconstruction, beginning with the election of Obama, and taking on the dueling ideologies of today, juxtaposing the various progressive developments with far-right crackdowns on free speech and social activism. Wrapping up the interview, Sam and Peniel discuss the importance of clinging onto oral and non-traditional histories in an era defined by rhetorical struggle, and why we must continue to uplift marginalized stories and legacies.

And in the Fun Half: Jordan Peterson ponders whether it’s truly possible to treat queer people with dignity and respect, Emma covers Greta Thunberg’s evolving radicalism, and Ann Coulter appears on Tim Pool to spew nonsense in parallel with MTG’s appearance with Don Jr. as they discuss why being anti-war actually necessitates starting wars. Emma and Matt parse through the impact of Biden’s crackdown on striking freight rail workers on East Palestine’s disaster, and explore Bernie’s recent statements on Israel and fighting against their apartheid state. Plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Peniel’s book here: https://www.basicbooks.com/titles/peniel-e-joseph/the-third-reconstruction/9781541600768/

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