The Lit Review Podcast
Summary: The Lit Review is a new podcast series where we will interview organizers and community members about books. On each episode, we'll lead an informal conversation with our guests about a key book that has helped them develop their analysis and theory of change. We recognize that political study is not accessible to many for a variety of reasons: financial, academic jargon, low literacy rates, time barriers, etc. We'll summarize, talk through key concepts and vocab, and nerd out on the main ideas and questions raised in the book. Our goal is to be a resource that brings key information out of these books to the masses during this moment of urgency. Each episode will be about an hour long or less.
Urgent and visionary, The Revolution Will Not Be Funded presents a biting critique of the quietly devastating role the non-profit industrial complex plays in managing dissent. Joy Messinger from Third Wave Fund joins us today to discuss. Hosts: Monica Trinidad & Page May Guest: Joy Messinger Release Date: February 19, 2019 Length: 51:00 Key Questions: 1. What is the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC)? 2. How does nonprofit status and grants impact the work of community organizations? 3. How did we get here? 4. What are examples of fundraising strategies that resist the NPIC? 5. How can we build movements outside the non-profit model? Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/TheLitReview/overview
In the U.S., it’s becoming increasingly trendier to “go green” and become more environmentally-conscious in our daily lives under capitalism. However, there’s a whole other movement of eco-consciousness and activism that is being heavily criminalized and repressed. In his debut book, Green Is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement under Siege, independent journalist Will Potter provides detailed accounts of the targeting of environmental and animal rights activists across the country. Our guest on today’s show is Brad Thomson, a local radical lawyer at the People’s Law Office, which has a history steeped in defending the rights of Fred Hampton and the Black Panther Party. Brad focuses on repping people whose civil rights are violated by the police and other state actors, and people criminalized based on their political identity and organizing affiliation. We explore Green is the New Red and how the people that have been involved in the most militant parts of these movements have been attacked and criminalized, how industry and government have characterized these militant actions in order to tarnish the entire movement, and use scare tactics to make it so that anybody who is part of these movements is fearful. Tune in now. Hosts: Monica Trinidad & Page May Guest: Brad Thomson Release Date: February 4, 2019 Length: 51:00 Key Questions: 1. What was the Red Scare? And the new Green Scare? 2. Who is the author and how does his background inform writing this book? 3. Who is the Animal Liberation Front (ALF)? 4. Who was Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty (SHAC)? 5. Who is the Earth Liberation Front (ELF)? 6. How was the word “terrorism” weaponized in the Green scare? 7. How did corporations and lobbyists create this hysteria for governments and law enforcement to target eco/animal rights activists? 8. What does the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have to do with criminalizing protest? 9. Why should organizers read this book?
What does fascism look like today in the U.S.? Where does the alt-right fit into this? How can it be fought?! We sat down with Chicago-based Native abolitionist organizer, writer and co-struggler Kelly Hayes to discuss Shane Burley's book Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It. Examining the modern fascist movement’s various strains, Shane Burley has written a super accessible primer about what its adherents believe, how they organize, and what future they have in the U.S. Key Questions: 1. What is fascism? 2. What is the alt-right? 3. What is the role of misogyny in fascism? 4. What do the building stages of a grassroots fascist movement look like? 5. What does the left need to do defeat fascism? Hosts: Monica Trinidad & Page May Guest: Kelly Hayes Date: Monday, January 14, 2019 Length: 50:47 Episode 46 Credits Intro Production: Ari Mejia Music: David Ellis "Welcome Matt"
Season Two is sticking with the theme and serving up another episode exploring housing and displacement in Chicago. “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960” is considered a premier text on the subject, but…. at 382 dense-and-jargon-filled pages it’s a bit intimidating. Here to offer a helpful summary is life-long Chicagoan, writer, and neighborhood organizer, Lynda Lopez. Hosts: Monica Trinidad & Page May Guests: Lynda Lopez Date: Monday, December 31, 2018 Length: 45:37 ~Episode 45 Credits~ Intro Production: Ari Mejia Music: David Ellis "Welcome Matt"
Who knew that the Chicago neighborhood called Old Town was actually part of Lincoln Park? Who knew it was a site of transformation, displacement, resistance, gentrification, AND urban renewal? We sat down with author and policy analyst Daniel Kay Hertz to talk about his new book, The Battle of Lincoln Park: Urban Renewal and Gentrification in Chicago, published by Belt. This is the first book to critically examine the history of Chicago's Old Town neighborhood. It tells the stories of those who first began “upgrading” homes in Old Town, why they moved there, how they used both private activism and leveraged public policy to remake the neighborhood to their own tastes; and how both these newcomers and older residents struggled against competing forces to preserve what they valued in Old Town—and why so many of them felt that they lost. Hosts: Monica Trinidad & Page May Guests: Daniel Kay Hertz Date: Monday, December 17, 2018 Length: 44:52 ~Episode 44 Credits~ Intro Production: Ari Mejia Music: David Ellis "Welcome Matt"
Due to popular demand, we're back with a summer episode! We've been super busy working on the #NoCopAcademy campaign, which is why you haven't from us, but we'll be back in the late fall with a whole new season of spark notes for the movement! In this special summer episode, Lit review co-host Monica Trinidad has a phone conversation with dear friend and incarcerated activist, Patrice Lumumba Daniels, about one of his favorite books, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. Banned from prisons in North Carolina and Florida, The New Jim Crow book dives deep into the ways that the U.S. Government has created a new, contemporary system of racial control through the prison system. By targeting Black men through the "War on Drugs" and decimating communities of color, Michelle Alexander argues that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.” Tune in to hear how this book has transformed Patrice's life, and many others. In Patrice's words: Patrice Lumumba Daniels is an African-American, seriously mentally-ill male, age 43, serving a life without parole sentence in IDOC for a crime he committed at 18 years old. He is an activist, humanitarian, poet, advocate, motivational speaker, and revolutionary. Key Questions: 1. How does Michelle Alexander use data to prove Jim Crow has simply been redesigned? 2. What is the "War on Drugs", when did it come into fruition, and how did it affect Black communities? 3. How does this book talk about mass incarceration different from other books? 4. Has this book been well-received on this inside? What are people's reactions to it? 5. How has the landscape changed on the inside (and outside) around prisoner-led organizing since this book was released?
We’re back with one of our favorites! It’s Black Reconstruction - Part 2. On today’s episode, we’re talking with life long organizer and former political prisoner, Frank Chapman. Tune in to hear Frank’s take on Du Bois and the social, economic and political changes that were taking place leading up to and through Reconstruction. Key Questions: 1. What were Black people trying to do during this time? What were they fighting for? 2. How did anti-blackness evolve during Reconstruction? 3. Why is this so important for organizers? 4. What is communism? SPECIAL FEATURES: We asked Frank, "What is Communism?" He did not disappoint. Read his reflections here http://bit.do/eanMo
In this episode, we bring you the Lit Review LIVE from Hairpin Arts Center, the current site of For the People Artists Collective’s exhibition Do Not Resist? 100 Years of Chicago Police Violence. We chatted with Simon Balto and Toussaint Losier, two radical authors and professors, about Simon’s upcoming book, Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power, coming out in the fall of this year. Key Questions: 1. Simon, your upcoming book Occupied Territory will be the first, major, book-length history of racialized policing in urban America. What made you choose to focus on Chicago? 2. Can both of you talk about Red Summer in Chicago? 3. What are major themes of policing found in this book? 4. What happens after Red Summer? 5. How does the Chicago police historically play a role in enforcing anti-Blackness in housing developments? 6. Which stories are most hidden or least told about Chicago police violence, or Black resistance to it, that you wish were told more?
In true organizer fashion, our schedules and cities didn't quite match up, and two out of four of us were late, but we magically made this episode work, and its fantastic! We sat down with Dan Berger via Skype and Toussaint Losier for the minute he was in Chicago to chat about their latest book, Rethinking the American Prison Movement. Rethinking the American Prison Movement provides a short, accessible overview of the transformational and ongoing struggles against America’s prison system. Dan Berger and Toussaint Losier show that prisoners have used strikes, lawsuits, uprisings, writings, and diverse coalitions with free-world allies to challenge prison conditions and other kinds of inequality. From the forced labor camps of the nineteenth century to the rebellious protests of the 1960s and 1970s to the rise of mass incarceration and its discontents, Rethinking the American Prison Movement is invaluable to anyone interested in the history of American prisons and the struggles for justice still echoing in the present day. Key Questions: - What is prison managerialism? - How do incarcerated people continue to resist on the inside with increased repressions? - How are prisons functioning now? What has changed? - What are the various shapes that prisoner resistance has taken post-1980s?
So often we hear anarchy equated with chaos and collapse: a complete breakdown of society. This hour, we're rejecting that. We sat down with one of our favorite anarchists, Jason Lydon, to help us understand what anarchy is and isn't. We define terms, talk through principles, and take seriously the anarchist vision for collective liberation. To help us ground our conversation, we talked about Kuwasi Balagoon: A Soldier's Story. Kuwasi was one of the Panther 21 that the State tried to frame in 1969. Subsequently a member of the Black Liberation Army, he escaped prison twice prior to being arrested following a failed Brink's expropriation in 1981. He died in prison of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1986. A Soldier's Story is the first ever collection of his writings. Key Questions 1) What is anarchism? 2) Who was Kuwasi and how did he understand struggle and liberation? 3)How does Black Lives Matter and other current identity-based struggles connect to the anarchist tradition? 4) How do anarchists think about the relationships between land, decolonization, and identity?
We made it through 2017! In our final episode of the year, we recap and flashback to some of our favorite episodes with brilliant activists like Joey Mogul, Andrea Ritchie, Fannie Rushing, and many more. We also make a surprise phone call to a very dear abolitionist friend and mentor who recently moved to New York City, and we ask her to reflect on the podcast's significance with us. Find out what's in store for the Lit Review in 2018!
When we are taught about the civil rights movement, the narratives of communities trained up in armed self-defense and grandmas with guns sitting on their porch all evening are definitely left out. In Charles E. Cobbs Jr.’s book, This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible, we are face-to-face with the vital role that armed self-defense played in the liberation and survival of Black communities. Utilizing personal narratives and Cobb’s experiences in the civil rights movement, he delivers a critical, invisible, and long history of Black people taking up arms to defend themselves against white supremacist violence. We sat down with educator and social justice activist, Mia Henry! Mia is one of the many founders of the Chicago Freedom School, and currently the Executive Director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership. Mia also runs Freedom Lifted, a small social enterprise that hosts Civil Rights Movement tours in the deep South. Key Questions: 1. What is the significance of armed self-defense during the Civil Rights movement? 2. What is nonviolence? What is it not? 3. During the civil rights movement, how does Charles talk about the difference between community organizing and direct action? Abbreviations used in this episode: CORE - Congress of Racial Equality SNCC - Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Hosts: Monica Trinidad & Page May Guest: Mia Henry Date: December 11, 2017 Length: 1:02:04
The day-to-day is a grind, especially for working-class people, Black people, people of color, and organizers. When and how do we find time and space to exercise our radical imaginations? What IS a radical imagination? And what does fiction have to do with it? In Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, co-edited by adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha, we are gifted twenty short stories exploring the connections between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change. According to them, whenever we envision a world without war, without prisons, without capitalism, we are using our radical imaginations and producing speculative fiction. The anthology encapsulates stories by cultural workers, sci-fi writers, political prisoners, organizers, and much more, many of whom had never before written fiction stories, yet alone sci-fi, before this book. For this episode, we sat down with Chicago-based playwright, dramaturge, and ceramic artist Tanuja Jagernauth to discuss one of her favorite books. She gives us all the perfect words for why this book is critical for organizers to read. Key Questions: 1. What is visionary fiction? 2. Who are the authors in this anthology? 3. What is the “radical imagination” that we so often refer to? How do you see this radical imagination practiced in Chicago? 4. What are stories and themes that come up in this book? 5. How can we look towards non-organizers, like Octavia Butler, for guidance to utilize in our organizing spaces? 6. How do we facilitate radical imagination? Hosts: Monica Trinidad and Page May Guest: Tanuja Jagernauth Date: December 4, 2017 Length: 43:00
Did you know that the first mass clemency won in 1990 for 25 domestic violence survivors incarcerated for self-defense happened because of incarcerated women organizing themselves on the inside? Or did you know that in the 1970's, a California women's prison cancelled a Christmas visit with incarcerated women & their children with no explanation. The women then broke windows, dragged Christmas trees outside into the yard, set them on fire, and refused to go back inside in protest! Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women provides much-needed documentation of collective organizing and the daily struggles inside women's prisons. We sat down with the author of this book, Victoria Law, and discussed her process in compiling these important, hidden stories of resistance and survival of incarcerated women in the U.S. Hosts: Monica Trinidad & Page May Guest: Victoria Law Date: 11/27/2017 Length: 55:10 Key Questions: 1. What patterns of resistance & specific stories of struggle are documented in this book? 2. What is clemency? What is a pardon? 3. How did prison systems respond to organized resistance inside prisons? 4. How did people organize and resist within solitary confinement? 5. What does this book suggest for organizers, either inside or outside, on how we can work together and support each other?
Hosts: Monica Trinidad & Page May Guest: Hilda Franco Date: Monday, 11/20/2017 (Not Monday, November 19th like we said in the first 5 seconds, oops!) Length: 53:44 There is a role for people who know things that others don’t, but how has our relationship with education and the teacher-student dynamic been shaped by colonialism, capitalism, and patriarchy? In 1968, Brazilian educator Paulo Freire wrote Pedagogy of the Oppressed, proposing a new relationship between the teacher, the student, and society. Popularly, Pedagogy is referenced because Freire calls traditional pedagogy the “banking model of education” because it treats the students as empty vessels to be filled with knowledge, like a piggy bank. However, Paulo argues for a new pedagogy, treating the learners as co-creators of knowledge. In this episode, we dive deeper into this influential book with Pilsen-based youth worker Hilda Franco! Key Questions: 1. What was the political climate in Brazil like when Pedagogy of the Oppressed was written by Paulo Freire in the late 1960’s? 2. What does praxis mean? And what does pedagogy mean? 3. Why do we need a pedagogy of the oppressed? 4. How does this book inform the importance of youth-led organizing? 5. What does it mean to “center those most directly-impacted” in our organizing work? 5. Why don’t some academics like this book? 6. What is missing from this book? How does Paulo make up for it after this book? 7. What is the role of the teacher according to this book? 8. How can praxis be utilized as a liberatory practice?