57. Neoliberalism Never Beats Fascism w. Nichole (Pynk Spots)

Rundown

In this episode, Mexie is joined by Nichole from Pynk Spots (formerly from Bitchy Shitshow and Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack!) to chat about the 2020 election results: our reactions to Biden winning, why the Supreme Court and the Electoral College need to go, what moves Trump is making to attempt a soft coup (possible but not likely), and how neoliberalism doesn’t beat fascism – in fact, it leads to it.

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Transcript

[MUSIC] Oh, those rich people.  Always flying off somewhere.

MEXIE:  Hey everyone, welcome to the Vegan Vanguard.  It’s Mexie and today we have an amazing friend, very good friend of the show, Nichole, on the show.  Welcome, Nichole.

NICHOLE:  Thank you so much for having me.  Always a pleasure to be here.

MEXIE:  At first I was like, how do I introduce you, because formally Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack, formally Bitchy Shitshow, and now Pynk Spots, so I just said fantastic friend of the show.

NICHOLE:  I love it.

MEXIE:  Yeah.  But do you want to, I guess, start off by shouting out your new work and where people can find you and what your new project’s all about?

NICHOLE:  Yes, I would love to.  Yeah, I’m starting a new podcast called Pynk Spots and Pynk is spelled with a Y, so it’s P-Y-N-K to make it more clear but also because the domain name was available, so that’s how we content creators do.  Yeah, and this new project, I’m very excited about.  It’s gonna be a solo project.  Some of you may know me from Bitchy Shitshow or Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack where I was partnered with Callie, but now I’m going to be moving on to this new project.  What I tried to do with this; it was kind of an opportunity to reset and really analyze what do I love doing the absolute most? 

While I do really enjoy things like political commentary which we’re going to get into today, my absolute favourite thing to do is have one-on-one conversations with people that are really raw and vulnerable about topics that are either controversial or really personal.  That’s what the platform is gonna be geared around.  It’s also a way to try to consciously combat the patriarchal debate-me-bro culture that pervades on the left.  It’s gonna be a space, a queer space to embrace things that are queer, that are fem, that are just leftist in general but from really a more emotional, personal perspective.  I think it’s gonna be really fun.  I have these collaborations with people and then I’m also gonna do an advice column because that’s my other favourite thing in the world to do, is answer questions.  I think between the two, it’s gonna cover a lot of really amazing ground but in this way that is trying to build community rather than win arguments.

MEXIE:  I love that so much.  I honestly can’t even tell you.  I feel like…

NICHOLE:  Well, you were a big inspiration for that; all the conversations we’ve had lately.

MEXIE:  Yeah.  Oh, well yeah, thank you so much.

NICHOLE:  Me and you really come to that conclusion.

MEXIE:  I’m so thrilled that this content will be out there.  I do get a lot out of the — I mean, I make content that’s mostly academic and more dry and kind of to the point, but I feel like I went in that direction partly because I do want to educate and I do feel compelled to make that kind of content, but also I feel like I was kind of steered in that direction because when I first started and I was being a bit more myself and a bit more loose and free and I guess more emotional, I just got a lot of criticism from mostly men who were just kind of policing…

NICHOLE:  Hm, interesting.

MEXIE:  …the way that I was talking, policing — yeah, just a whole lot of crap.  I just kind of — I felt like if I just focus on the facts and getting everything right and making something super academic and leaving people no room to argue, then I wouldn’t get so much of that.  I don’t anymore which is good, but I always kind of yearn for that more — yeah, I guess that vulnerable, kind of open, squishy, yummy kind of content ‘cause that’s the stuff that I relate to.  That’s what I want to listen to.  Yeah, I think that’s really, really great and I think it can reach a lot of people.  I’m really excited for your new project.

NICHOLE:  Thank you.

MEXIE:  People I guess already should know you because we already did a collab when you were still working with Bitchy Shitshow on COVID-19 and seizing the means.  Yeah.  Yeah, that was all great.  I’m pretty sure that most people who listen to this podcast also know who you are.  Anyway, if you don’t…

NICHOLE:  I assume so, but just in case you don’t…

MEXIE:  Yeah, just in case, go check that out.

NICHOLE:  Yeah.  You can find me everywhere just by typing in Pynk Spots, so Instagram, Twitter, it’s @pynkspots, all one word.  On YouTube, under Pynk Spots, and if you were previously subscribed to anything Bitchy Shitshow, I’ve switched the accounts over, so you shouldn’t have to do anything new.  Hopefully you’ve been seeing my updates because I’m launching my first episode November 15th.  I would particularly still love to get more subscribers on my YouTube channel.  I’m still trying to hit 1,000.  Yeah, that’s everywhere you can find me.

MEXIE:  Yeah, we’ll put those all in the show notes.  Yeah, definitely check those out and please subscribe to get Nichole past 1,000 because if you’re not a content creator, you have to get past 1,000 to get a whole other range of options to do things like on live streams and things like that, so please help.  Okay, great.  So, just before we dive into our main topic which is a whole doozy; it’s gonna be election stuff, it’s gonna be neoliberalism and fascism and all of that good stuff, but I just want to plug the Patreon quickly before we jump in.  This is a donor-funded show.  We rely on the generous donations of all you wonderful people and we have added a number of pretty cool perks.  For just $2 a month, you get access to the Total Liberation Discord server which Nichole is also a part of, and I co-run the space with Kathrin and Mad Blender, Leslie.  Basically it’s an anti-capitalist and total liberation kind of a community.

We host bi-monthly political chats on there.  We’ve just done a few so far and they’ve been really, really great and we want to invite more people into those conversations.  Definitely head on over if you are interested.  Then of course, we have stickers and pins designed by the wonderful Meneka Repka of Nooch Design Co., and soon we will have merch.  It’s just taking a while to set up, but we will have merch.  I’m hoping we can get it in time for the Christmas season, but we’ll see about that.  But anyway, so you can become a monthly patron or give us a one-time donation via PayPal or just share our episodes and give us ratings and review on iTunes because I love reading those as well, so thank you for everyone who’s left them recently.  Alright, Nichole, let us talk election crap.

NICHOLE:  Oh, my god.  Doing research for this, I was like, okay, you have to not make it a three-hour episode.  There’s so much to say.

MEXIE:  Yes.  I know.  It’s so frustrating.

NICHOLE:  Yet, it all can be summed up by a heavy sigh at the same time.

MEXIE:  A deep, heavy sigh, yeah.  It’s so frustrating to even sometimes have to even engage with this stuff but I feel like the US elections, more than any other election around the world — I don’t know how it is in other places around the world, but our news is completely dominated by American news and American media.  I mean, people in Canada know more about American politics than they do local politics or provincial politics, or say, politics here.  That’s just a fact across the board.  Because it’s such a long, drawn-out process, it’s like, there’s just years where there’s just nothing but the US election.  You’re forced to engage with it even if your politics are outside of electoralism or whatever.  I guess just to start, as someone living in America, what was your reaction to Biden winning this election?

NICHOLE:  You know, I just think existential dread.  It was just really difficult because obviously I didn’t want Trump to win, but I also think Biden is incredibly dangerous.  It was just really hard to know how to feel.  I was dealing with a bunch of other stuff at the time and I had kind of gotten off social media and gotten away from news.  I did a mail-in ballot and I just — even filling it out, it just — the whole thing seemed so remote and surreal to me that it was just very strange to hear it all come in.  I think a lot of us have probably globally — but I think a lot of us in the US have just gotten really exhausted by this whole process because the whole — I mean, the 2016 election was exhausting.  The entire Trump presidency has been exhausting and this election cycle has been just unbelievably — just such a drudge.  On top of that, we’ve obviously had 2020 at the same time, dealing with COVID and everything else.  Yeah, so I think it just — I know for me, I just felt kind of dead inside and I was like, good, I guess?  But I’m just very concerned and I know this was one of the reasons I was very excited to talk to you, because you also voiced concerns about seeing a lot of people — libs, you expect it, but even people on the left who are now starting to kind of sugarcoat Biden’s record or, I don’t know, give him more credit than he’s due, for sure.  It’s like, I think we can celebrate Trump not winning without celebrating Biden’s presidency.

MEXIE:  Mm-hm.  Yeah, exactly.  I had a series of tweets where I said just that because I was critical, I guess, of Biden basically as soon as we heard the news, right?  Because, I don’t know, yeah, as someone who has been watching this for so long and American politics really, really impacts everything else in the world.  They impact Canadian politics, they impact obviously all of the global nations and the global south that are terrorized by the United States.  Somebody posted about this and I thought it summed it up well.  It’s just like the strange, hollow feeling because you’re seeing everybody who just appear to be euphoric and you just can’t really match that level of excitement and you’re just thinking is something — am I missing — I don’t know, right?

NICHOLE:  No, that’s how I felt.  On Saturday when they officially announced — it’s weird too because it’s like, Biden’s won but he hasn’t actually truly, officially won which we’ll also talk about today.  But anyway, on Saturday they announced that he basically has won, right?  There are all of these cars honking outside my apartment.  I could hear people cheering and I hadn’t checked the news that day.  I was like oh, is there a protest?  What’s going on?  Maybe I’ll go get out in the streets with people.  Then I got a message from a friend and then I realized; I’m like oh, these are people celebrating Biden winning.  I just was like, this is so weird.  I felt exactly how you said; I just can’t get to that level.  Even celebrating Trump being out, it’s obviously a very good thing, but I can’t — just knowing what is replacing him — I just can’t get there.

MEXIE:  Yeah.  For me, I don’t know, it’s like — I don’t have a good metaphor or something, but it’s like when a mosquito is biting you and you’re just really frustrated and then you hit it and then it falls off and you’re just like, aah.  It’s just the sigh of like, great, it’s off.  But it’s not just like, yay!  It’s not like, partying, you know?

NICHOLE:  That’s a pretty good analogy ‘cause I feel like Biden is the bug bite that you have to deal with afterwards.

MEXIE:  Exactly, yeah.  You’re like well, alright, this is better but I’m not gonna be jubilantly, whatever.  Anyway, yeah.  I don’t want to — I don’t know.  I saw Adrienne Maree Brown post about this and I don’t want to take away from people who are really excited and who are celebrating, and I do agree that yeah, we — as a movement, we do need to know how to celebrate our wins.  I guess it’s just really hard for me to see this as a definitive win.  I just see it more as, I don’t know, maybe a stopgap while we continue the fight.  It’s like okay, fine, I could take a breath but then just get right back to it, basically.  Yeah, I mean, again, celebrate Trump leaving.  That’s fantastic.  I was concerned seeing yeah, self-proclaimed leftists complimenting Biden in really, really weird ways and just saying things like oh, whatever, maybe he’s believed in all these really bad policies but I think he’s a really good person, I think he cares about people.  I had posted something about — ‘cause Kamal — or is it Kamala?  Kamala Harris posted, “We did it, Joe!”  That video.

NICHOLE:  We did it, Joe.

MEXIE:  We did it, Joe.  I co-tweeted that and I was like, remember when Kamala ripped Joe apart onstage for working the segregationists?  I wasn’t saying that to be like oh, you can never criticize somebody and then work with them later.  I just meant, I don’t know, there’s all this jubilant celebration and I just felt like people were — people who before the election had said I’m not voting for Joe Biden; I’m voting against Trump, seemed to be really pumping up Joe Biden.  I was like hey, remember how he hasn’t taken accountability for any of this and his record was just so terrible?  But then people came back and were like well, I think it actually speaks really highly of his character that he would pick Kamala after she had…

NICHOLE:  It makes me want to puke.

MEXIE:  Yeah.  I was like, speaks highly to his character?  Why are we doing this?  Why did we need to do that?  I get celebrate Trump leaving; fine, but I’m pretty sure the sexual assault allegations from nine women and the Crime Bill and X, Y, Z, his entire…

NICHOLE:  Nothing will fundamentally change and his Cabinet picks that already include Republicans and on and on and on.

MEXIE:  Yeah, supporting the Iraq war.  This man has untold blood on his hands and for some reason we feel like we have to say well, this speaks highly of his character.  He didn’t pick Kamala Harris.  His strategists picked Kamala, and it was a really cynical strategy because they wanted a woman but it couldn’t be someone who was too progressive because that goes against their economic ethos, but it also goes against their strategy of retracting moderate Republicans.  Why do we need to compliment these white men who have too much power in the first place?

NICHOLE:  Yeah.  She was basically his only option because they also pinned themselves into a corner by saying they were gonna have a woman of color VP.  It’s like well, who else are you gonna pick?  Because again, exactly, she’s the only one that is okay with the donors.  Also…

MEXIE:  Yeah, ‘cause they had Stacey Abrams, but that was too left for them.

NICHOLE:  Yeah.  Poor Stacey Abrams getting slapped down publicly on television; how humiliating.  But yeah, no, and she’s even a more cynical pick not just because of the cosmetic diversity of it all, but also because she’s the top cop during a time when Defund the Police has actually taken off as a movement.  Yeah, it’s just — I think with the Democrats, the biggest problem — and there’s a lot of biggest problems, so grain of salt — but the thing with them that I think burns my biscuits the most, I’ll say it that way, is that they really — they’re those type of people collectively in a party that talk down to you but think that they’re smarter than you and you don’t know that they’re talking down to you, but they’re being super obvious about it.  That’s just always how candidates from this party for the presidential race always strike me.  Biden, I don’t know, Biden and Clinton are tied to me as equally condescending.

But that’s what it is.  They’re like, look, we gave you a black woman.  What more do you want?  It’s like, you gave us a top cop while we’re out here in the fucking streets telling you we — defund police.  It’s just, everything from them is always like that.  It’s like oh, well, we gave you this superficial, cosmetic gesture.  What do you want from us?  It’s like, we see what you’re doing.  I know we wanted to get into this today but I think that lends itself nicely to the fact that there were so much opportunity this time around to capture a lot of Republicans, a lot of non-voters, a lot of independents by offering some of these progressive policies.  They just didn’t do it because again, they’re so condescending, they would rather have Trump win than to give the working class any kind of concessions whatsoever.

MEXIE:  Absolutely.

NICHOLE:  Or to give the BIPOC population any kind of meaningful concessions and systemic changes whatsoever.  But they think we don’t see it because Kamala Harris is the VP.  It’s like, no, we see it.  We know what you’re doing.  I think that’s why I would never defend a Trump voter, so don’t take it that way, but I do think that that’s why Trump’s votes went up across almost every demographic, is because the people that the Dems think that they’re fooling, they’re not, and they see it and they’re gonna — whatever the reasons for voting for Trump, that’s a big piece of it, is I see that not only are you not meeting my material conditions and listening to me and taking me seriously, but you’re condescending to me.  You don’t even — you don’t think that anything I’m going through is valid.

MEXIE:  Yeah.  Yeah, that’s a really important point.  I was gonna bring this up later but yeah, it’s really wild that he went up in votes with every demographic other than white men.  But on Media Roots they were talking about how he went up I think three points with Latinx men and women and sometimes in counties where they’re right near the border.  Median income is like, $7,000 per year, right?  It’s really, really economically marginalized people who have also been under attack by the Trump administration.  They voted for Trump and a big reason for that is that a lot of people cited the economy as their number one priority.  Unfortunately, yeah, we’re living in this pandemic.  Trump is saying we’re gonna reopen the economy which is absolute horse shit.  It’s just capitalist eugenics, basically.  But if you’re a poor person struggling and one party is saying well, we’re gonna open up the economy so that you can get back to work and the other party is saying we’re gonna continue the lockdown but not give you fucking anything; not give you any money, not give you rent…

NICHOLE:  That’s it.

MEXIE:  …not give you, whatever, debt relief, rent freezes.  We’re gonna give you nothing, then yeah.  They didn’t even try to campaign because they just thought like, oh, the Latinx vote is in the bag, the black vote is in the bag.  They just offered fucking nothing to nobody, you know?  It’s just, it’s outrageous.

NICHOLE:  To give credit where credit’s due ‘cause it’s an important distinction, BIPOC voters are — Biden has them to credit for his win.  It’s not to say — ‘cause I know some corners of the internet are trying to blame these voters for it not being more of a landslide and that’s not the case.  White voters are still pretty central to Trump having as much — as many votes as he did, but it just shows that yeah, exactly, that it’s very transparent that the Democrats didn’t put in the work and don’t have any intention of giving us anything that might even slightly represent a progressive change or forward movement because they have no intention — I think if you look at Biden’s Cabinet picks as they stand right now, the potentials, I mean, it’s a fucking nightmare.  I recently went on Progressive Podcast Australia to talk about the election as well and I said this on there, but I had read an article where they were talking about the Cabinet and were saying it’s not even just looking at what are the next four-to-eight years gonna be.  That’s bad enough.  But it’s also looking at — this is — these are positions that make long-term politicians, right?  These are positions that say you have to be a player in DC for the rest of your life.

The Democratic Party is very clearly communicating to us with these Cabinet picks what the future of the Democratic Party is gonna be.  These are the future leaders of the party, right?  It’s horrific.  We have people from financial institutions.  These are the people who ran us into the ground in 2008.  We have so many Obama Cabinet members of people like the Head of National Security who — or the Security Adviser who got us into all of those lovely wars that Obama got us into.  These are people who are imperialist, capitalist to their bones.  There’s no relief coming.

MEXIE:  Yeah.  They’re not gonna give anything to Liz or Bernie.

NICHOLE:  No.

MEXIE:  It’s so funny.

NICHOLE:  No, they’ve actually — I’ve heard they’re trying to put a rule in place that will prevent them from giving positions to any progressive person, but they’re trying to make it look like — they’re like oh, well, that’s just the rule.  We just can’t do it.  It’s like, but it’s the rule that you just made up.

MEXIE:  It’s so funny.

NICHOLE:  Yeah, they’re actually making — ‘cause they heard it was something about they were gonna make an official rule that no senator could be appointed so that Warren and Bernie would not be able to be put in.  Then you have Biden on record saying that he’s gonna have to pick a Cabinet that Mitch McConnell can live with, so now they have Republicans in there as well.  They’re literally shaping this to be — I mean, Biden and McConnell are friends.  They’re legitimately friends.  Mitch McConnell is like, the second most powerful person in this country and he’s a monster.  This is what we’re looking at, is more economic hardship, further acceleration of the wealth gap, a further acceleration of corporations just having godlike powers at this point in our government and our country, yeah, imperialist bloodlust all over the place, and just again, the Democratic Party being pushed further and further right while we’re being told it’s left; the continued gaslighting of our country over what this party even represents.

MEXIE:  Yeah, and it really scares me, the whole framing of this whole campaign around restoring dignity and honor and normalcy and whatever to the country.

NICHOLE:  With Biden.

MEXIE:  Yeah.  But I think that it’s gonna work and this is why I’m really — it worries me to see leftists giving compliments to Biden as a person as if he’s out here doing this because he really cares about helping the people or whatever.  Biden has been very open about also not supporting Antifa.  I’m like, when Biden comes out and sends in the national guard to put down Antifa, to put down BOM or whatever, it’s gonna be…

NICHOLE:  Just like Obama did, too.

MEXIE:  Yeah, but it’s gonna be under this framework of oh, we’re doing this because we’re restoring order and we’re restoring the dignity of our country.  Then suddenly, leftists — before, I feel like even though there was some really ridiculous debate around oh, should people be looting or not looting or whatever, the fact that it was Trump at the helm and that he was taking these really aggressive militarized approaches to putting people down, I think even liberals who might think oh, I don’t know, I’m not that into the looting or the property destruction or whatever, however ridiculous that is, at least they were more sympathetic simply because Trump was in office and everything that Trump does is bad and everything that’s happening under Trump is Trump’s fault.  Now it’s gonna be okay, well, we’ve restored honor, we’ve restored dignity, so everything that’s happening is the fault of these radical leftists.  What could we do, just let them loot, just let them, whatever?  It’s gonna be — I worry that it’s gonna be a lot more difficult to push liberals and conservatives ‘cause they’re both gonna be against the far left.

NICHOLE:  Yeah, and that’s the thing, is that Trump, to me, is in some ways less dangerous because he has proven himself fairly ineffective in a lot of ways.  Even this coup that he’s trying to pull off which I’ll get into a bit later, he’s not really doing a very good job.  Even if he manages to pull it off, he’s not gonna have the support of the country which is usually pretty important if you’re trying to undemocratically take over or retain the presidency.

MEXIE:  He wouldn’t even have the support of Ben Shapiro.

NICHOLE:  Right.  What a loss.  But I also don’t know if people give him enough — he is very savvy in certain ways and the real fear that I have is that he has set up a lot of stuff that the Democrats can come in and exploit very easily to, exactly like you said, look like the good guys, look like they’re getting us back to something normal and respectful and whatever, but are actually benefiting from the propaganda that he spread during his presidency.  I just don’t know if a lot of people are gonna see that.  This whole Antifa anarchist thing where he’s trying to actually get that classified as a terrorist group is a big one because you do have a lot of libs who are like, oh yeah, those people scare me, too.  They also don’t know who they’re even talking about, right?  ‘Cause it’s not like you’re just walking around being an Antifa member.

But you know, now, yeah, it’s gotten to the point where anyone in a black hoodie is a suspect person and you have a lot of people on both sides of the aisle who will be like yeah, lock that person up or yes, that person scares me and they’re challenging my way of life.  I’ve always said that my biggest fear with Biden is what he and Harris will do to make protesting more difficult, illegal, et cetera, because I feel like they’ll get away with it where Trump didn’t.  I’m obviously afraid of a lot of things with the Biden presidency, but that’s one of the things that I know from experience that people do not pay attention to because Obama was just — I would say probably just as violent towards people as Trump was, but because he went about it in a different way, we didn’t really have those conversations back then the way that we have now.

MEXIE:  Yeah.  Even if you think about Standing Rock which was under Obama and Biden, for some reason, nobody blamed Obama and Biden for that at all.  Nobody even put that on them.

NICHOLE:  They never had to answer for it.

MEXIE:  Never.  Same with Flint and all those others.  You know what I mean?  When Obama was the president, it’s was just like oh, well, it’s not his fault.  I’m sure he wants to do something about it but he’s just surrounded by people who won’t let him do it, right?  But then with Trump as the president it’s always like, no, this is him, this is his administration, this is all him.  You know?  Yeah, so I worry that people will again, if it’s Biden, will be like oh, well, they mean well.  You know?

NICHOLE:  I love the constant reading of good intentions into bad people.  It’s like two sides of the same coin.  I was thinking about this with cancel culture as well, is that on both sides, people expend so much energy reading intention into other people, either to glorify them or to cancel them.  I just wish we could stop doing that because think about how much online discourse is wasted, how much energy is wasted around that constantly.  Why do we need to do that with Biden?  Why can’t we just look at his track record and then look at — be like, okay, I’m gonna watch what you’re doing.  I’m gonna pay attention.  But no, people already need to think — it’s like the daddy syndrome, right?  Everyone’s exhausted and they just want to feel safe and feel like daddy’s taking care of them, so now we need to make good ol’ Uncle Joe into this benevolent daddy figure.

MEXIE:  Uncle Joe, ugh.

NICHOLE:  It’s like, he’s not.  He’s not even fucking — he’s so bumbling.  He’s not comforting.  He’s blatantly condescending.  He’s not gonna heal the country.

MEXIE:  Remember — I haven’t seen any of these photos pop up, but remember in the primaries, it was just like, my feed was just flooded with Uncle Joe sniffing women’s hair or just touching children really inappropriately.  I guess people held back on sharing those when it got closer to the election ‘cause they were like alright, well, we want Biden to win and not Trump, but I was just — I don’t know, I just — it just feels…

NICHOLE:  That’s our president.

MEXIE:  Yeah.

NICHOLE:  It’s embarrassing.

MEXIE:  Yeah, yeah.  Anyway, I mean, yeah, and I am glad.  I do think that we’re in a better spot now rhetorically.  I do think that the QAnon people, the Proud Boys, that they’ve largely been all talk, you know?  Right now, they’ve been kind of quiet.  We’re not seeing a bunch of armed white militias storming things.  I guess wait and see, but I think that it is really, really great to just symbolically and rhetorically, to have him out.  I think that that’s progress.  Yeah, it’s not like I’m not glad, and I am glad, but yeah, I just, I don’t know.  Yeah, there’s a lot of caution to exercise, I guess.  The good things that he announced; he announced he’s gonna cancel $50,000 worth of student debt in January.  We’ll see if that happens, but that’s fantastic if that does happen.  Of course, if we’re continuing to have education be private and for-profit, and — American education is so expensive.  I don’t know how people pay for education there.  It’s so much more expensive than in Canada, and in Canada it’s already pretty expensive.  If that’s still the case, then people are just gonna keep racking up more debt, so I guess you could just periodically relieve the debt.  I don’t know.

NICHOLE:  I was trying to — I actually tried to look that up and I was finding different — he’s announced different plans and they keep getting cut down.  A lot of people are saying that it’ll never get passed.  I think the Senate — yeah, it’s kind of like if it even happens.  We’ll see.  ‘Cause I saw one that it was like, $10,000 only and it was basically only if you were impacted by COVID or unemployed.  You had to meet all these restrictions.  It’s like, who knows what’s gonna happen?

MEXIE:  Yeah, exactly.

NICHOLE:  I don’t want to undercut that ‘cause if that did actually go through, that is going to improve people’s material conditions and it will disproportionately, in a good way, impact black people and people of color who tend to carry more student debt.  That is a huge concern of mine, is that Biden will be able to make a few conciliatory gestures and then people are gonna be like, he’s the next FTR, he’s the most progressive president we’ve ever had.  It’s like, no, honey, it’s still really bad.  There’s still a lot here that’s not happening and yeah, he’ll be off bombing countries and getting systemic racism even more institutionalized.  People just won’t pay attention.

MEXIE:  Yeah.  See, I think that’s the issue, right?  If you’re gonna relieve student debt, that’s fantastic.  But then if you’re gonna means test it and put all these different restrictions onto it, then people need to be in the streets fighting that.  We need to demand more.  We need to demand free education.  But I worry that if we have someone in there who’s like oh, well, here’s this, people are gonna be like, okay.  Then they won’t be in the street.  They won’t be in the street even though it’s like no, this is our time.  The whole point of strategically electing Biden was that we thought that we could push him more than Trump, so this is the time to get in the street even if he’s giving you concessions.  This is the time, you know?  But I just don’t know if people will have that energy.  Then the other good thing I saw was that he said he was gonna increase the cap for refugees from like, 15,000 to 125,000 or something and to keep increasing thereafter, so that’s fantastic.

NICHOLE:  That’s great.

MEXIE:  But again, we need to be out in the streets demanding the end to imperialism and demanding that the US stops creating all these refugees in the first place.  But yeah, I just, I don’t know.  That’s a worry and I just hope that we can rally the quote, unquote, “rally the comrades.”  I was gonna say rally the troops, but rally the comrades despite these nice gestures.  There was also like, oh, he adopted this rescue dog.

NICHOLE:  Girl, I can’t — when I saw that, I almost threw my phone across the room, except I’m poor and I can’t afford a new one, so I didn’t.  But I was like, get the fuck out of here with this.  Yeah, I was like, whatever the dog’s name is, is gonna be the first rescue dog to ever be — first dog in the White House or whatever they call it.  I was like, I cannot.  I cannot.

MEXIE:  I know, I know.  It gives me the feeling like when I see police dogs and people are like well, it’s not the dog’s fault.  I’m like, I know, but get them out of there.  Ugh, it makes me so upset.  Then yeah, people are just like well, it’s not the dog’s fault.  I’m like, the dog’s super cute, but do not bring this adopted dog in here and try to make it be like oh, look.

NICHOLE:  Well, and did you notice that it is a German shepherd, which is like historically a police dog and also a Nazi dog?  It’s like, um, and no offense to German shepherds.

MEXIE:  No shame.

NICHOLE:  Yeah, I love them.  They’re great, but I just was like, hm, interesting.  Of all the dogs.

MEXIE:  I can’t remember its name either but it was also something like Champ or, I don’t know, something kind of military-like.  I don’t know.  But anyway, so, yeah.  Those are…

NICHOLE:  That’s just the type of shit we’re in for for the next four years or however long.

MEXIE:  Then everyone’s gonna be like, yay, and again, let’s celebrate.  I just, I hate the policing of critique, you know?  Because it’s like, listen; my whole show is about radical hope and radical creativity.  I have a whole positive leftist news segment that I do.  I’m all about that and I’m all about celebrating the wins, but let’s not invent wins that aren’t really there.  You know what I mean?  Let’s appreciate where we are, soberly appreciate the reality of where we are and focus on where we’re headed and not be distracted by these kinds of things that aren’t that materially impactful.

NICHOLE:  Yeah.  I just can already feel that we’re sliding back into discussions about what’s realistic and what do we expect him to do?  ‘Cause he’s gonna have basically the same excuse that Obama did to not get anything done.  I just think also; this is what bothered me this whole year, and this was the fight I had with every vote-blue-no-matter-who person but it’s like, fight policy, not the person.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t resist Trump or whatever.  Yeah, but it really — at the end of the day we’re talking about structural oppression.  Should it matter who’s in the White House?  I don’t want to move Biden left.  I want to move our country left.  I want to move these systems left.  I want to start dismantling these systems, right?  I don’t want to talk about what Biden can or can’t do.  I don’t want to talk about Trump.  I want to talk about what are we gonna do to get this overturned?  What are we gonna do to start codifying things into law like abortion so we don’t have to worry about it every time?  They’re never gonna just let that happen because that’s a key issue to polarize people.  That was just my — I’m like, okay, I get voting; fine.  But why are we spending 100% of our energy talking about who’s gonna vote for Biden this year versus okay, we have all of this mobilization, we have all of this momentum; why aren’t we just fighting the systems and not worrying about who’s individually in the White House?

MEXIE:  Mm-hm.  Yeah, it was a bit frustrating to me.  I reported on this on my latest positive leftist news video and it’s really, really fantastic that all of these unions were basically coming together and getting organized and preparing to enact a general strike to ensure that there was a smooth transition of power after the election ‘cause they expected Trump to pull a bunch of shit, which we’ll talk about later.  That’s wonderful, but then yeah, somebody rightfully commented, well, where were they this whole fucking pandemic when people were losing their jobs, when the government was only giving $1,200?  There was no rent freezes.  There was no — where were they?  Why are we waiting until the election and threatening to general strike so that Biden can get in?  You know?  What are our priorities here?

NICHOLE:  Exactly.  Yeah, this COVID lockdown, these were key times when that exact organization would have been critical.  These were key times to use this pandemic to open the door to policy change and to show them that the workers are not gonna put up with this shit and you know what?  Not just in this critical time right now, but we’re gonna permanently change some stuff ‘cause we have some power.  It’s not to undercut all of the workers who did organize.  They did, but we didn’t see it on this level.  There are a lot of people who were fine just letting things play out the way they were who, yeah, now are coming up to make these very theatrical moves of oh, I’m gonna protect the new president and make sure this happens.  It’s like, cool, but also, there’s — people’s daily lives are really heavily impacted here.

MEXIE:  Mm-hm.  Yeah, absolutely.  I don’t know if we should talk first — I just wanted to mention ‘cause you brought up the abortion issue and Roe v. Wade.  Abby Martin and actually, Empire Files has a really, really great video out about why we should abolish the Supreme Court and why the Supreme Court is bullshit and just completely undemocratic and a hindrance to progress.  That’s one of the main things that you would hear if you were a leftist and you were saying, you know, well, I don’t support Biden and whatever.  I might vote for him strategically, but whatever.  There was a lot of vote shaming going on especially towards BIPOC folks which I found really, really troubling especially since far leftists do not make or break elections, especially unless they were all concentrated in swing states, which they weren’t.

It’s such a small part — portion of the population and meanwhile, still — I think this was — the most people came out for this election.  There were still almost 40% of people who didn’t vote, you know?  Anyway, but yeah, that’s always really a talking point, like oh, but you have to vote-blue-no-matter-who because of the Supreme Court, because we could lose a women’s right to choose and that’s always, every single election, how the Democrats, like the establishment Dems are like well, we don’t have to offer you anything.  We don’t have to give anything to our progressive base, anything to change the material conditions of people.  You just have to vote for us because we’re not the other guy, and we need to make sure that the Supreme Court is dominated by Democrats.

But you know, the Democrats under Obama didn’t take the opportunity to elect someone, so they left Trump with three spots.  Roe v. Wade, which is the thing that people always talk about, that actually came down under the Nixon administration, right wing, and the Supreme Court was dominated by the right wing at the time.  It came down because it was thanks to the power of all the people rising up, right?  Even the recent Supreme Court decision about Oklahoma being native land came down from a Republican Supreme Court judge.  I don’t know, right?  The talking point that it’s like oh, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court.  First of all, it is an undemocratic institution.  People have lifetime appointments and they can just overturn things that pass democratically because they are quote, unquote, “unconstitutional”.  But if you look at the history of all the decisions, there have been times where decisions that were purportedly made because they upheld the constitution were completely overturned, but it had a lot to do with people power rising up, right?  It wasn’t necessarily because oh, we had a Democratic judge in there that gave us a good ruling.  Yeah, I just wanted to bring that up because it’s just like, every time a woman’s right to choose is brought up, it’s just like, oh, Roe v. Wade, Roe v. Wade.  It’s like, yeah.

NICHOLE:  Heavy sigh.

MEXIE:  Heavy sigh.

NICHOLE:  Too long, didn’t listen; heavy sigh.

MEXIE:  Yeah, and it’s like, okay, that — yeah, that came down under Nixon and when the Supreme Court was more right-wing dominated.  Anyway, yeah, I just wanted to bring that up.

NICHOLE:  We used to bring this up on the show all the time; there’s some — I think we always accredited it to Harvard but I think it might actually be Princeton, but there’s some study out there that shows that the Supreme Court always votes on the side of the ruling elite and what they want.  It has nothing to do with popular opinion except for in the case that I think the ruling elite is like okay, we need to give them this one.

MEXIE:  Exactly.

NICHOLE:  Right?  But it’s an incredibly undemocratic body, government body, and it’s also, as we’ll see later, it can impact who’s nominated into the presidency.  Isn’t that a fucking conflict of interest there?  It’s just such a big loop of the president gets to appoint and they get to — they can have a hand in appointing the president.  They’ve done all — I mean, the Supreme Court has a huge hand in how powerful corporations are in this country.  I did some research on them before and they’re the ones who have consistently voted in favour of corporations and very clearly, horribly unethical activities that corporations have done.  They’ve chosen to protect corporations.  It’s like, that’s not constitutional.  You know what I mean?  It’s like the Bible; they basically can interpret it almost any way they want to and their beholden to the ruling elite has nothing to do with us.  Yeah, people power can come forward and sometimes shift some of this stuff and get favour, but then they also just hold it over our heads forever.

MEXIE:  Exactly.  Yeah, ‘cause it’s like oh, we could overturn.  It’s like, I’m sorry, if this decision wasn’t upheld at the Supreme Court because it was constitutional, how could it be overturned?

NICHOLE:  Right, how can it suddenly not be constitutional?

MEXIE:  Suddenly, it’s not constitutional anymore?

NICHOLE:  ‘Cause, you know, even with Trump there started to be fears about things like gay marriage being overturned and other stuff like that.  It’s just, yeah, it’s a way for them to — it’s kind of like them having their buddies and it’s like okay, we’ll let stuff get this far and then it’s really official, and we can just kind of decide — we can read the room and decide how things are supposed to go, but it’s a great way to hold stuff over the citizens’ heads and keep us very afraid.  Because our two-system party, the biggest differences between the two are things like abortion, right?  They are these things like gay marriage.  Like you said, if that’s been ruled on by the Supreme Court, that shouldn’t be a threat anymore, but it is because it could be changed and it’s a great way to keep us divided and not really coming together along class lines or anything else that we have in common.

MEXIE:  Yeah, and it’s really interesting, actually; Fox News, their exit poll showed 71% of people said leave Roe v. Wade as it is.

NICHOLE:  Wow.

MEXIE:  Versus 29% said overturn it.  It’s not even something that a majority of even Republicans seem to want or really care about.

NICHOLE:  Yeah.  I was just on a call where we were coming together to try to — as people from all different political views coming together to try to talk to each other.  It was interesting because the two Trump supporters that were on the call — well, I think there were three, but one didn’t really — she was moderating so she didn’t really put her opinion in much, but the two that were participating, they both were like oh yeah, I’m fine with abortion.  You know?  It’s like, yeah, a lot of people — very few people actually care and it’s this rise of Christian values and that’s a whole thing, and that ties into the rise of fascism and everything else.  But yeah, it’s — even though the hardcore Christianity is much more prevalent in this country now than makes me — it makes me extremely uncomfortable how much it’s risen even in my lifetime.  It’s still not the majority of people.

MEXIE:  No, no.

NICHOLE:  Right?  Usually, that’s the only person who’s gonna really care about abortion, is someone who’s very religiously affiliated.  Yeah, it doesn’t — we look at the — I know this is something we wanted to talk about today, but you look at polling on so many progressive platforms, you look at polling on things that you assume are really controversial, and the numbers don’t bear it out.

MEXIE:  No.

NICHOLE:  That’s what that study was proving, is that we — if we lived in a country where our policies actually reflected what the citizens want, we would basically be living in what most Bernie supporters would call a utopia, right?  We would have universal healthcare, we would have legalized marijuana, we would have a raised minimum wage.  We’d have all these things because the majority of the country agrees on that stuff.  Clearly, something else is dividing us and it’s clearly obviously the system at work to keep us from having those things.

MEXIE:  Mm-hm.  Yeah, absolutely.  Yeah, that same exit poll had — like, 75% wanted government-run healthcare.  72% said that refugees should have a pathway to full citizenship rather than be deported.  Yeah, 55% said gun laws should be more strict.  That’s Fox News, you know?

NICHOLE:  Wow, god.  Yeah, I read — ‘cause I know you brought up the minimum wage in Florida, right, how that had majority support and yet Trump still won in that state.  I was reading that there were progressive policies in a lot of conservative states where Biden didn’t win.  I heard that legalized marijuana passed everywhere that it was proposed.

MEXIE:  Oregon legalized shrooms.

NICHOLE:  Yeah.  Get it.

MEXIE:  I know, I know.  I’m like oh, Canada, come on.

NICHOLE:  I know.  It’s awesome.  Yeah, so there’s just so much to indicate that none of this is actually what the people want, but they’ve just done a very effective job at getting us to personally identify with the candidate and getting us to feel this threat to whatever our quote, unquote “way of life” is by the other person to the point where it actually obscures what we want on a day-to-day — like, the policies that we need to impact our daily lives.  It’s unfortunately extremely effective.

MEXIE:  Yeah, it really is.  Yeah.  I guess moving into this idea of vote shaming and all of that; yeah, I wanted to ask you about the Electoral College; how it works, why it’s a sham, that whole fun bit.

NICHOLE:  Okay, so, I’m gonna try to do this as concisely as I can.  The Electoral College is actually the body that elects the president each cycle.  I think in more recent years, I think especially after 2016, a lot more people are aware of this because the Electoral College came into play so heavily in the last election with Hillary Clinton losing the popular vote — or, sorry, winning the popular vote but losing the overall election, and because it was such a contested election, a lot of people started talking about the Electoral College.  This certainly wasn’t the first time in recent years that it happened.  I know I actually got demoralized and disenfranchised with the Bush versus Gore election.  But this I think just really brought it into focus.  I think at least most people are somewhat aware that obviously the popular vote isn’t the end-all be-all to who wins the presidency.

The electors are chosen — there’s very few rules around who the electors can be.  They basically can’t have engaged in an insurrection or rebellion against the United States.  Sure, and they can’t be a member of congress, hold federal office, and that’s about it.  Then after that, then the individual states figure out how they’re appointed.  I can’t really tell you exactly how they’re appointed ‘cause it differs state to state, but just know that there’s really no qualifications and there’s — they’re basically just chosen to be people who are known to be party loyalists so that they can be trusted to vote the way they’re supposed to when it comes down to it.

MEXIE:  What the hell?

NICHOLE:  I know.   They coincide with how many congressional members are in each state.  For instance, in California where I live, we have 53 members in the House and two in the Senate.  We have 55 total electoral votes.  There are 538 votes total, so you can see just from that, the state I live in has about 10% — actually more than 10% of the overall electoral votes.  My state always goes blue.  We always go Democrat.  So, you can see they’re already — how this is kind of like — it’s supposed to quote, unquote, “even things out” but clearly it doesn’t.  We’ll get into it.  Anyway, there’s 538 votes total, so that’s why if you watch election results as they come in, there’s the little graph that shows the 270 in the middle and whoever hits that is supposed to be declared winner because that’s half plus one.  Mathematically, if someone hits 270, the other person should not be able to get more than that.  That means that in reality, only 538 people actually make the final decision of who wins the presidency each cycle…

MEXIE:  Good god.

NICHOLE:  …which is a little bananas.  Electors are somewhat beholden to the popular vote.  They are supposed to cast their votes for whoever gets the majority of the popular votes in their state, but they are not actually required by federal law to do so.  Since the 2016 election, there have been some states which have instituted state laws requiring them to do so.  Again, it kind of differs state by state, because in 2016 some electors did decide to cast their votes either for a third party to make a statement or for the other candidate to make a statement, so some states did step in to say okay, we do need to require this now, but it’s not a federal law.  Nebraska and Maine are the only exceptions.  They have a congressional district method but neither state has ever split their vote, so functionally, it remains the same.  They don’t end up voting differently than other states do.  If no candidate gets 270 votes or doesn’t have at least a clear majority, then the House of Representatives chooses the president.

MEXIE:  Oh.

NICHOLE:  Surprise twist.  I was like, wait a minute.  When we’re voting, we’re actually voting for an elector, not the president, and we’re entrusting that elector that they will cast their vote to whoever wins the majority in our state.  The Electoral College is put in a place for many reasons, the broadest reason being that the Founding Fathers were trying to figure out how to balance the power of the people with the power of the state and federal government.  A more cynical reading would be they are trying to figure out how to make the people feel that they had a hand in the government while actually giving the power to the state and federal government.  One of the assumptions they made when establishing the Electoral College is that there would often be no clear winner which would allow congress to step in and actually choose the president, therefore making it seem like people were voting on the president but that it was just because the people couldn’t decide clearly who was the winner.

Then the government would have to step in and make that decision.  Now, I think more often than — I think especially in modern times, more often than not, that hasn’t been the case or have been clear winners but that was the thought process going into it, is that oh, we can make it look like people are participating but really, we’re anticipating that more often than not, the House is gonna pick the president.  The Electoral College is created out of classism and racism to prevent entrusting the election of the president in whole to citizens that they deemed too uneducated to make a proper decision and also of course to protect the role of the — the will of the ruling class which was at the time white male property owners and surprise, surprise, not much has changed in that regard.  We have expanded voting but obviously, the ruling class has found ways to still make it a small group of people that the system is actually working for.

This set the precedent that instead of engaging citizens in political education and discourse, politics would be something held apart from and above them.  Just to start to debunk a little bit; we can see here that this already — this reasoning was already pretty bullshit and they discovered that even back when they first implemented this that — because obviously back then, people running for president, we didn’t have the internet.  We didn’t have planes.  We didn’t have good ways to get information and people across the country so they were like, how will people know who to vote for?  But what they found pretty quickly is that their local politicians would be apprised of these things and would be able to speak to people about the issues, so people were actually more educated even back then than they had anticipated.  Then of course today, we have — most people finish high school where you have some of this education, we have news cycles, a lot of people go to college, there’s the internet, there’s political discourse on YouTube, so this stuff is much more readily available and it just shows that the Electoral College, this aspect of it, is just completely nonsensical.

MEXIE:  Mm-hm.  Yeah.  I don’t know if you’ve — I was listening — this is again from Abby Martin, but on Media Roots was saying that the Electoral College also grew out of slavery because there was some negotiations; it was basically like Southern slave owners wanted to be able to speak for slaves without actually giving them rights ‘cause it was like oh, there’s actually a lot more people in these states, but most of them are slaves, you know?  We should be able to speak for these people but not give them rights.  I don’t know if…

NICHOLE:  Yeah, no, that was another big reason why this was established, was the south threw a fit and were like, there’s more eligible voters in the north than there are in the south, but in the south we have a larger population if we’re including enslaved peoples.  What they did is that they allowed the south to count their slaves towards how many electors they would have in each state without, of course, allowing those people to vote.  That’s where if you hear of three fifths, like three fifths a man, that’s where that came from, is they were allowed to count their enslaved population as three fifths of a person.

MEXIE:  Jesus.

NICHOLE:  Yeah.  It ended up hugely — this was supposed to balance the scales, right?  This ended up hugely benefiting Virginia in particular who, I think at the time, there were 91 electors total and Virginia got an extra 13 or something.  They were saying for out of 39 consecutive presidential — or 39 years of presidential cycles; anyway, 32 of them were — what’s the word I’m looking for?  Were a white property-owning sharecropper from Virginia were president, because Virginia basically was able to call the whole election, just that one state.  This has never actually been a system that balances the scales.  It has always actually benefited the south, white property owners, and specifically people who participated in slavery.  The 14th Amendment came along after and tried to balance this out a bit, so what they said with the 14th Amendment is that anyone who currently has the right to vote, who’s eligible to vote, if you’re in a state where the state blocks that right to vote, that state will lose electors and therefore have less of a say in who becomes president.

The south basically said fuck you, we don’t care; we’re gonna block these votes anyway.  It didn’t really work to help enfranchised people who had won the right to vote.  I just think it even more points to the fact that it’s still such an effective way to disenfranchise people in those areas because if you have a state — I watched a video and I’ll give you the link for the show notes that was really good; it was kind of debunking the Electoral College and saying why it’s a sham.  It showed maps of it and stuff and there’s so many — specifically, especially black, indigenous, and I think Latinx people who live in red states and their votes never count and they’re never going to be appealed to by any candidate because they know that that state just goes red.  Yes, you could say the same for a state that goes blue, but since we’re all leftists here, I think we can understand that it’s obviously more problematic for black and indigenous people to not have a say in policy than it is for a white middle-class or upper-class person, privileged person.

Yeah, it just — it really does — it essentially — what they try to say is that it helps to balance out the vote and uplift the voices of the minority, but it doesn’t at all.  It actually drowns them out.  Where if we had a popular vote where it was just the popular vote that counted, everyone voting would be counted towards that pool, but you don’t have that.  We see states that are very red but have populations of people who come out and want a change and they just never get to actually have a say.  It shows that it actually — because of that, it depresses the votes in states that are not swing states.  My state, California, even though we’re this enormous state with this huge population, we’re 10th in voting, adjusted for population, because we — I know I don’t need to vote.  I do because of local stuff, but I don’t need to vote because my state’s always gonna go blue, so why am I gonna bother myself to go vote, right, if I know that?

It shows that states that aren’t swing states matter because you don’t know which way they’re gonna go, so every vote does count.  But yeah, it actually depress — it deincentivizes people from voting and that’s where we see with a lot of BIPOC populations is they’re like, I’m disenfranchised as fuck by this whole system so I’m not gonna come out and vote, and that’s where we saw this year, a lot of those disagreements online by people of those communities trying to tell white people who are like, vote-blue-no-matter-who.  You don’t understand the entire — even if I do vote, it’s not gonna matter.

MEXIE:  Yeah, and also…

NICHOLE:  My interests aren’t being represented.

MEXIE:  At all, yeah.

NICHOLE:  Yeah.  I mean, et cetera, et cetera.  Indigenous people are like, I don’t even…

MEXIE:  Fuck you.

NICHOLE:  …recognize this fucking government.  Yeah.

MEXIE:  That’s true, but the Navajo nation is credited for flipping Arizona ‘cause they went out — over 80% went out and voted for Biden.

NICHOLE:  Yes.  We can see — yes, there is a lot of validity to the argument of if you can get enough people out to vote, you can get the numbers to basically push it the way that you want it to go, right; state by state and then also federally.  With Biden, he did not win a landslide vote, and so it’s almost by luck.  It’s not really by luck; it’s about these people and it’s largely BIPOC people that he owes his presidency to that came out and made sure to flip some of those states and some of those districts in his favour so that even though he didn’t have an overwhelming popular vote, he had the electorals and the electoral votes that he needed.  But again, it’s not — there’s also so much that can happen to prevent people from being able to vote, so to just rely on people coming out and pushing those numbers isn’t far enough because we saw — I’m — the only thing that saved this election was mail-in ballots.

Trump was right about that.  That’s the only thing that saved this election because they had shut down so many polling places.  They had done a bunch of stuff to physically prevent people from voting that if we had to rely on a physical vote, we wouldn’t have gotten the votes needed to flip this one.  In Georgia, Georgia is an extremely red state but I think they ended up going towards Biden because of these mail-in and absentee ballots that were able to be cast.  They were able to actually get — even though they still had it red rest of the ticket, they were able to get people to vote Biden in.  I think another way — another thing that people say about this is oh, well, what about rural voters?  If we didn’t have the Electoral College, then people in the cities would just overwhelm us with their liberal policies and, you know?  Two things about that; one thing is we still have state and local elections, so there’s still — our states actually have a lot of power and we’ve seen that during the pandemic.

State to state, people have had wildly different experiences ‘cause you have — governors have a lot of power.  Governors can actually deal a moratorium on evictions.  They can do all kinds of stuff, and we saw that.  Depending on what state you’re in, you maybe had a much better or much worse experience of this pandemic but secondly, when we actually break down populations, rural versus urban is almost even.  There’s actually an even amount of people.  It doesn’t make any sense.  Yes, the cities are more densely populated, but we have — our country is enormous, and so the non-city areas are also — collectively have a high population.  It’s almost 50/50.  It’s very close.  Then additionally if we look at the political makeup of those cities, I think they take 100 major cities to make the majority.

About half of those cities are conservative and for — it’s like, half and half are conservative versus liberal, and then the ones that aren’t clear, they’re like an equal mix of both.  No matter which way you split it, there isn’t actually this minority that’s being crushed by these urban voters the way that they make it seem.  Yeah, just overall, popular vote, it’s still a terrible system and there’s a lot of changes that need to happen, but I think if we could get rid of the Electoral College and we could get rid of the Supreme Court, we — those are two government bodies that are just super-corrupt and not serving the people in any way.

MEXIE:  Mm-hm.  Yeah, absolutely.  Yeah, it’s actually astounding, learning more about — of the system, where it is.  Democracy and freedom, okay.

NICHOLE:  Ha-ha.

MEXIE:  Ha-ha, yeah.  Yeah, so thank you for that.  I guess now maybe let’s talk about what Trump is doing right now, what he’s trying to do, what he could possibly pull off before January.  Well, possible, but…

NICHOLE:  Yeah.  It is possible.  It’s fortunately less likely than it looked before, just the way everything kind of fell out.  I don’t think it’s likely to happen, but it is still possible.  Something to understand is that the actual Electoral College vote is held in December after governors certify the votes in their states.  This is important because often, the vote is called the night — election night, so a lot of people don’t realize that this process is actually really extended out, because at that point, usually there’s a clear winner and so the rest of it’s just kind of perfunctory stuff that you have to do.  But Trump is taking advantage of the fact that this election actually technically isn’t over yet, so what he can do; the states must — the Electoral College will officially vote on December 14th.

The states have to resolve their votes by December 8th and the election isn’t over until those votes are accepted which actually happens in January.  We have months for Trump to be up to a bunch of shenanigans.  Trump, so far, he has a team of over twenty lawyers and he’s filed over forty lawsuits from his campaign contesting votes in several states.  What this means is he has until December 8th to make at least one of those lawsuits stick and potentially get a state overturned.  Again, because of how many more votes Biden had, Trump would probably have to overturn a few states, and that’s not likely to happen.  But we’re seeing the first step of this, is that he’s demanding that votes in key states are being validated and we’re seeing a lot of that come through.  That was in Arizona.  I actually read that Arizona got flipped to Trump but then I checked it today and it looks like it’s still Biden, but it’s by like a tenth of a percent.  It’s very, very close.

MEXIE:  Yikes.

NICHOLE:  That’s what these lawyers were put together to do.  They formed a team and they had a strategy coming into this election that they knew which states, which areas to target because there are certain areas where literally just thousands of votes can make a difference.  For instance, one of the things Trump has done or his team has done, really, has accused 3,000 votes in Nevada being fraudulent by saying they were improperly cast absentee ballots even though the people were not living in the state at the time.  An absentee ballot, you can only cast it if you’re not living in that state.  Even though these people were following the rules, they’re calling them fraudulent.  The reason for this is because they targeted military families that tend to be — you may be able to still be registered in a state while having been moved somewhere else because you might have been moved there temporarily.  For military families, stuff like absentee ballots tend to be a bit looser and more common than they would be for other people who tend to work and live in the same place and are able to set down roots because they’re being moved all over the place.  Now he’s pissed off a bunch of military personnel.

MEXIE:  That’s not gonna help you with a coup.

NICHOLE:  ‘Cause this list includes over 1,000 locations, mostly where military personnel are stationed, and even some of the locations are actual Air Force bases.  Yeah, there’s been — one woman in particular I saw has been going all over social media, super pissed, giving interviews about how mad she is about this.

MEXIE:  That’s awesome.

NICHOLE:  Just being very offended that the president would accuse her family of doing something like this which is not smart on his part ‘cause again, if he ends up pulling this off, obviously — or whether he does or doesn’t, actually, the military would be a big part of his strategy to stay in power and a bunch of them are mad at him.  The next step is, you know, the first is to file the lawsuits and hope that by demanding recounts, maybe something comes through in your favour.  The next step is if any of those legal challenges make it to the Supreme Court.  Tying it back, if it does go to the Supreme Court, we’re in trouble because the Supreme Court at this point is now heavily favoured for Trump.  There is a chance that they would reject it.  That could happen and I think a lot of it, again, would come down to whether it would make the difference between him winning or losing or not, because they don’t think they’re gonna vote in his favour but still have him lose.  What would be the point?  Because at that point you’re gonna start pissing off citizens and you’re gonna start very much concerning other people in power.  I just think for you to pull that kind of move, it would have to be a winning move and not oh, we just pissed everyone off, but he’s still losing anyway so what’s the point?

MEXIE:  But wouldn’t that still piss off so many people and just really undermine the legitimacy of the court in general?

NICHOLE:  Yeah, absolutely.  That’s why this whole thing is like, what is even going on right now?  Then the last line of defense or attack, depending on how you look at it, is the electors themselves.  Electors in key states like Pennsylvania, as we talked about before, are not actually required to vote with the popular vote.  If Trump could enforce enough pressure on key people in key states, he could actually steal the election.  Obviously, we know that that would not be a good way to do it because you’re not gonna have the support of the American people and you’re even gonna lose a lot of allies in your own party doing that because that would just be mask-off undemocratic.  But it is possible and with Trump, I honestly don’t know — I do feel like he’s someone who is gonna try to hang onto this presidency no matter what.  We see right now he has the full backing of people like Mitch McConnell, Leslie Graham, and Mike Pompeo.  Pompeo actually came out and said that they’re preparing for a smooth transition in the second Trump administration…

MEXIE:  Wow.

NICHOLE:  …with a shit-eating grin.  That’s like, chilling for someone in his position to say that, that they’re not recognizing Biden at all.  Trump has also been making some deeply concerning moves by firing any military personnel.  He’s been firing a bunch of people at the Pentagon who have opposed him or haven’t fully backed him on stuff he’s wanted to do, and he’s been replacing them with sycophants and people who are deeply concerning characters, like people who have no ethics and who otherwise wouldn’t even pass the requirements to get put into some of these positions.  Then, you know, also very concerning, we see a lot of key Republicans, a lot of people are refusing to comment on the situation which to me says they’re waiting to see which way the wind blows.  If he can look like he’s getting his way, he will have a lot more support, but he has to pass that barrier first.

Again, all of this to say, I think all of this is probably — all of this is unlikely.  I don’t think he — I think the way everything fell out, he’s not gonna be able to pull this off, but he’s clearly making every move he has available to him to try, and that is very concerning.  Then also very concerning is that say we do get him out, we actually get him to leave the White House, he’s still not gonna go away.  Now he has established — I was reading someone talking about this and they’re like, you know, we think of the Clintons and we think of the Bushes and stuff, but even though a lot of us look at him as a joke, Trump has now established a dynasty.  Even if it’s not him in the future, it could be one of his family members.  He may have opened the door.  I think this segues this nicely into — we saw neoliberalism got us Trump and now we’re heading into more neoliberalism.  I don’t think it’s a far reach to say that someone who’s a bit smoother than Trump, who’s better mannered, who’s maybe better looking and younger, like someone who could actually get people behind him wouldn’t be far behind a Biden presidency.

MEXIE:  Mm-hm.  Yeah, I think that is extremely apt and fairly horrifying.  I also like what you said before when we were talking — well, I don’t like it, but I thought it was a good observation that even if he’s not the president, right, he’s built up this whole MAGA movement, all of these QAnon people who are just really super invested, violently so, in these QAnon narratives and in Trump as the president and all of this stuff.  He’s gonna save us from the satanic pedophiles and all of this stuff, right?  Those people…

NICHOLE:  So 80s.

MEXIE:  Trump needed to lose really badly and he didn’t.  Part of the reason why he didn’t, which we’re gonna get into, is yeah, neoliberalism does not beat fascism.  Neoliberalism leads to fascism.  You can’t fight fascism with neoliberalism and that is ultimately why this race was so close despite all these polls saying that it was gonna be this landslide victory.  But he actually — Trumpism, and this is something that Beau of the Fifth Column said in one of his videos, that Trumpism — he needed to lose by a large margin for Trumpism to really be quieted down and be defeated.  The fact that he only barely lost and now they’re still — half the country thinks that actually, this was fraudulent or whatever; these people, this movement, this energy, it’s not going away.  Now he can sit there and tweet whatever he wants.  He can rile people up into these frenetic mental states and he’s gonna have less — not that he was holding back as president; his tweets were ridiculous, but you know?  But he can — he’s still — he’s not gonna go anywhere.  He’s not walking away in complete shame.  He can just keep saying that oh, well, this was fraudulent and whatever.

NICHOLE:  Yeah, and he will.

MEXIE:  He will, and then rile people up for four years from now.

NICHOLE:  He must be the first president in history or at least in remotely recent history that has shit-talked the hell out of the winner, right?  That’s such a thing about decorum, is once those votes are in — we saw that with Obama.  You could tell Obama can’t stand him but he only spoke politely of him.  He wouldn’t say anything because you’re not supposed to.  It undermines our entire system here for one president to be like oh, this guy got in on a fraud and he’s a sham and he’s gonna ruin the country.  You can’t do that.  But we see Trump is out here holding press conferences where he’s just talking Biden into the ground, he’s fearmongering about everything, and he’s blatantly declaring himself the winner.  He even had Fox News cut him off which I don’t think the news stations cutting him off is good at all.  I don’t celebrate that which is a whole other topic, but anyway.  Yeah, you even have Fox News is like okay, we need to start distancing ourselves from this guy ‘cause he’s going nuts.  I’ve heard too, a big reason probably why he’s also fighting leaving the presidency is because he has done a lot of illegal things and the presidency has kind of shielded him from that and he won’t be shielded once he leaves.  But I’m like, even with that, honestly, it’ll probably just give him more status even if he does end up getting — I don’t know if he’d actually go to prison or not but even if something does come down on him, I just feel like it’ll heighten his martyr status.

MEXIE:  Oh, for sure.

NICHOLE:  Again, even if he ends up being indisposed and unable to run again because of these legal things that have happened, he still has this whole legacy of people behind him who can step in and benefit from him having this martyr status with these people.  I mean, he got an additional six million votes or something.

MEXIE:  Seven, yeah.

NICHOLE:  Yeah, he actually gained additional followers.  We can’t look at this and say that this was any kind of actual win here.  We barely scraped by in getting him out.  We’re still actually waiting to see if he gets out and yeah, there’s the, what, 70 million, 74 million, however many it was people who voted for him that we now have to be neighbors and friends with and find a way to heal this shit.

MEXIE:  Mm-hm.  Yeah, exactly.  I think diving more into this idea of neoliberalism not beating fascism, I mean, ‘cause a lot of those votes, right — like I was saying, with these counties where people were really impoverished and in 2016, over 60%, 70% voted Clinton; they now — they switched to Trump because of the economic issue that they can’t actually meet their basic needs because there’s a pandemic and nobody’s offering people anything.  Yeah, neoliberalism does not beat fascism because fascism says, like we said, eugenics; get out there and work.  We’re gonna open the economy.  Then when the other guys are proposing neoliberal free market strategies, like oh, the market will decide or oh, whatever, deal with it yourself, personal responsibility, you should have saved for this rainy day or whatever, then Trump’s plan sounds like the working-class plan, you know?

Then, exactly, you had Florida, yeah, passing $15 minimum wage but still voting for Trump; that just shows you how completely — what an embarrassment the Democratic Party was in that state, and that you couldn’t propose — you couldn’t give people anything to entice them to vote for you?  They obviously want material change, right?  Like all these Fox exit polls; this is where the country is.  People want universal healthcare but the Dems will not provide that because they rely on these big insurance donors, right?  Yeah, I mean, freeing the market, especially under this racial capitalist system just makes things so much materially worse for people that of course if someone steps in like a Trump, whatever, and starts blaming the left, blaming immigrants, blaming this or blaming that and being like oh, well, we’re gonna open the economy for you, then it’s no wonder, of course.  Nobody wants neoliberalism, right?

Already you have people in the Democratic Party being like, see?  The country has rejected socialism.  The country is just so afraid of socialism.  It’s like, no, the country rejected neoliberalism.  The country rejected neoliberalism in 2016.  People were like, fuck Hillary Clinton.  That was because of all these years under Obama and Biden, and rightfully — when Trump came up and said these are the establishment characters, people believed him because they were like yeah, the Democrats are the establishment.  It didn’t really matter that Trump also was.  At least he was calling them out, right?  I don’t want to say, whatever, Bernie would have won.  That doesn’t matter.  It’s pointless to speculate about that and whatever.  But if you’re — at least if you were gonna go with the Biden, at least propose fucking material change.  If you ignore people, you’re not gonna win.  You’re not gonna win.

NICHOLE:  Yeah.  Well, and the irony of him calling himself — he wants to be the next FDR is that FDR was smart enough to know that he had to give some socialist concessions to the people ‘cause they had a revolution on their hands.  He was like, they’re coming for us.  We’re in the same position now.  We’re literally in our next Great Depression, right?  We’re literally in very similar conditions to what we were before.  I would say in some ways even worse with the pandemic and all these other factors.  Yet, Biden is not — I don’t want to — intelligence is hard to measure in this case, but there — again, it’s like, the condescension.  They just don’t believe that we’ll actually come for them.  They just have this weird, endless seeming confidence that they can just keep doing these things and that they’ll just keep getting away with it.  It’s frustrating to me because they don’t know that they’re not wrong.  You know?

I see, obviously, a lot of comrades who are doing the work and will always be fighting that fight but obviously at some point you have to hit some critical mass there and get the normies on board, and I just don’t know.  I was listening to one of my favourite podcasts, By Any Means Necessary.  It’s really good for news and political commentary from the left.  Jackie Luqman, who’s one of the hosts of the show, told this story about — they were — they organized a rally and — on Saturday, and were out there and it was educating people and talking about defunding the police and all these other policy changes.  Then the news got announced that Biden had won and she said these women who were doing yoga nearby started cheering and clapping and she said that her and the other black women that were there were trying to talk to them and be like, actually, this isn’t something to celebrate.

There’s still a lot of concern to be had here and she’s like, they literally would not engage with us.  They wouldn’t pay attention to us, and they just kept partying and celebrating and talking over our meeting that we were having.  I’m just like, that is what I’m worried about.  I think that’s more common than people think.  I do think a lot of these white people who were breeding white fragility earlier this year and calling out their own privilege are just gonna be oh, yay, everything’s fine again, right?  They’re gonna be ignoring black women who are organizing and being like no, actually, things are still pretty bad.  Just another thing, I think a point to add to why neoliberalism doesn’t beat Trump fascism is — I hate that that’s his name ‘cause it’s the word I use a lot.  Like, damnit.  Anyway, is fascism — obviously it’s dangerous and it’s not something I want to say is a good tactic or something to celebrate, but fascism gives people a reason why their lives suck, right?  It explains it to them.  It’s the wrong explanation and it’s a…

MEXIE:  It’s horrifying.

NICHOLE:  …horrible, evil explanation, but it is an explanation that makes sense to the people that they’re talking to.  Neoliberalism doesn’t.  Neoliberalism gaslights you all the time, right, into thinking that it’s your own fault or that these tiny changes are all that’s needed but the system generally works.  That may have worked before when your typical white person can have access to a middle-class sort of life.  It never worked for BIPOC folk, right?  They always saw through it.  Now it doesn’t work for a lot of white people either because now we don’t have access to that kind of life.  Many of us are — I was talking about this the other day, but I’m like, think about your average sixteen to twenty-two-year-old right now.  If you ask them what do you want to do?  They know; I don’t — I can’t afford a house.  I can’t afford college.  I know that there’s no jobs.  What do they have?  This old guard of the neolibs and the Dems, they don’t seem to care or understand that if they’re gonna continue to stay in power, they have to do better than telling us that things are fundamentally fine.  It just doesn’t work anymore.  That’s why the power is on the left.  The left is actually — true leftism, radical leftism is actually what counters fascism and that’s why I wouldn’t say Bernie is a radical leftist by any means, but that’s why his campaign had so much momentum, because he was telling people why things — why your life is shitty in a way that makes sense and actually stops blaming other people.

MEXIE:  Yeah, and that was so important because he went on Fox News and got really a good reception because yeah, he was saying things that made sense to people.  I think this whole QAnon stuff; people develop conspiracy theories because their life is so shit that they feel like we’re being screwed over.  They know they’re being screwed over and that is a really palpable feeling.  If you don’t really have the education and of course, there’s no political education in the US, yeah, you’re gonna fall prey to a lot of these wild theories because you’re just like yeah, I know that I’m being screwed over and I want to know who’s doing it and I want to…

NICHOLE:  How do we make it better, right?

MEXIE:  Yeah, exactly.  Exactly.  Yeah.  No, it’s really, really, really dangerous what they’re doing.  Going back to the FDR thing, yeah, they read the room.  They were like, yeah, there’s gonna be a revolution if we don’t make these concessions.  I think that the neolibs, like the establishment Dems today, I don’t even want to think that — I don’t even think that they’re bad strategists.  I think that they have read the room.  I think that they just refuse to change their strategy because they would rather protect their own interests than win more elections.  To them, a Trump presidency isn’t that bad.  They’re still doing fine.  In fact, they probably got a huge tax cut, you know?  Yeah, I think that they will continue to gaslight because they will protect their interests until the very last moment when they can no longer do that anymore.  I think the left for us right now, we’re in a really critical time because we need to be the ones — we need to get out there and make sure to educate all these liberals who were super against Trump and who got a bit more political during this time, we need to make sure that they understand that neoliberalism hurts them, too.  Neoliberalism hurts us all.  That is the problem here.  If we don’t make major changes in the next four years, we’re gonna end up right back with fascism.  I don’t even want to — somebody commented oh, Biden is still a neofascist.  I’m like, yeah, I don’t even want to see that we’ve escaped fascism, you know?

NICHOLE:  Well now, that’s the thing, is that the Democrats have gotten so ghoulish that it really is two sides of the same coin.  It’s just like, I don’t know, 1984 versus Star Wars.  I don’t know what a good — you know what I mean?  ‘Cause 1984 shows a society where the news is edited to sound — it’s a society to me that is actually quite neoliberal to the point of becoming dystopian fascist whatever.  We’re seeing that in real time.  It’s not just Fox News that alters information, right?  It’s these liberal news sources as well.  There’s either misinformation through omitting stuff or there’s reframing of things in a deceptive way.  But we’ve seen that happening and that’s a huge sign of a country falling into fascism, authoritarianism, what have you.  I just think, yeah, they’re establishing some new evil empire and we’re just largely falling for it.  I don’t understand it and I — that’s why I think you’re right, that I think they have read the room and I do think that they’re good strategists.

I think what they’re betting on is just getting — is just being able to continue to control the masses no matter how bad it gets.  They’re betting on their ability to have us all under — it’s not like it’s just the Republicans who’ve militarized our police.  There’s a reason for that.  They’re betting on just pushing us to the breaking point and then once we start breaking, just getting us under their thumb in a different way.  I just hope — to your point, I hope that we on the left can continue to do the work to talk to liberals, people — independents, whoever might be able to be moved to say like, look around you.  Do you see what’s happening?  Let me explain things to you, and to try to continue to build because you made a point when we were talking that I think is very true, is that Biden is gonna try to get us back to normal, but we still have a pandemic, right?  We still have an economic crisis.  We still have environmental disasters all over the place.  He’s not actually gonna be able to quell us the way he would have been able to even ten or twenty years ago.  There’s active things that are gonna be adding stressors that have to be dealt with and if we, I’m hoping, continue to see, say, during a Biden presidency there’s still no COVID relief, there’s still nothing substantial coming out, people are still losing their homes and getting evicted and all of this, I have to hope that people are gonna be like, okay, I can hear it now.  We can have this conversation now because I can look around and I can finally admit that this is not working.

MEXIE:  Then hopefully be out in the streets, you know?

NICHOLE:  I hope so.

MEXIE:  Finally, you know?  Yeah, get out there.  Yeah, I really hope that, too.

NICHOLE:  Heavy sigh.

MEXIE:  Deep sigh.  Yeah, yeah.  I definitely really hope that, too.  In some ways, I think that, yeah, like a Biden presidency is not going to diffuse the revolutionary energy the way that Obama did, but I — just seeing how people have reacted to getting Trump out of office, I think that people are exhausted and they kind of do just want to let Biden diffuse the revolutionary energy.  If he’s doing things like offering to relieve student debt and accept more refugees which is fucking amazing, I think people might be like, okay, I don’t really have to be out in the streets, but it’s like, no, these are the four years that we need to be out in the streets making radical, radical changes, because yeah, in four years, we’re gonna have to be able to show yeah, this is how we’ve materially improved things since the Trump era or half the frickin’ country is gonna just vote in the next fascist.  You know?

NICHOLE:  Yeah, and we need to hold the vote-blue-no-matter-who people speed to the fire and say this is what you promised, right?  You promised if we got him in, you were gonna be here in the streets with us fighting, so let’s go.

MEXIE:  Yeah.  Yeah, exactly.  Don’t call me immature.  I’m just really not looking forward to the whole…

NICHOLE:  That’s what I mean.  I don’t want to go back to those real — quote, unquote, “realistic conversations”.  Don’t come at me with that.

MEXIE:  Yeah, don’t come at me with maturity politics and all of that bullshit, you know?

NICHOLE:  The US, I think, is on its third day of record-breaking COVID cases globally.  Don’t talk to me about what’s realistic.

MEXIE:  Yeah.  Oh, and by the way, millions and millions of Americans are still set to be homeless in January, so is Biden gonna deal with that?

NICHOLE:  At the height of winter.  That’s nice.

MEXIE:  Yeah.  That’s nice.

NICHOLE:  Yeah, yeah.  My little prediction, we’ll see — I hope it doesn’t come true, but I do think that we may see six months to a year of people being like, tired and just sort of wanting to allow it to be okay.  But I don’t see it lasting the whole four years.  I think there’s just gonna be too many mitigating factors that are gonna push people into action.  Well, I hope the first part’s not true.  I hope this part is true.  But, you know, it does work that — ‘cause again, yeah, even in January when all those people lose their homes, I have to hope that we’re gonna see some solidarity around that, that we’re gonna see people seeing their own families impacted are gonna want to do something about that.  It sucks ‘cause this hope is pinned on things continuing to be really dire for a lot of people.  I don’t want that.  But I just don’t trust people to not take the first opportunity to be like, cool, I don’t have to be stressed out anymore.  Yeah, I’m just gonna go chill.

MEXIE:  Yeah.  I know, it’s like, fuck, we all want to fucking chill, okay?

NICHOLE:  Yeah.  That’s literally all you and I ever talk about, is how much we just want to chill.  But yeah, and it’s — not to promote ourselves, but I think that’s why work like this is really important because I think what people are more than anything exhausted of is fighting.  This black and white thinking around what strategy is best or what we need to be concerned about, so I think if we on the left can do the work to be more relatable, be more approachable, drop the debate-me-bro culture, and find ways to actually connect with people where they’re at and on an emotional way, you talk about that a lot, of just, that’s what the right is really good at, is having an emotional narrative that people can connect with.  I think if we can do that — ‘cause the left tends to stay a bit more academic and I think in some cases likes this almost Ivory Tower approach to it.  It’s like, bro, that’s not gonna get people in the streets.  You’ve got to talk to people in a way that resonates for them and then let them get as much education as they want.  But I think that that’s really important, so I hope that we can all — maybe we all need to take a breath, take a minute.  I certainly needed to over the last few weeks, but get back out into it.  As much as I’m saying I’m pissed at vote-blue-no-matter-who people ‘cause they were terrible to me all year, I actually don’t want to be combative with those people.  I want to try to find a way to connect with them and be like okay, honestly, you said this is what you were gonna do.  Can we have a conversation?  Do you see what’s happening?  Can we talk about this policy and why it concerns me or whatever, and not be like, oh, fuck you; you told me to vote this way and now…

MEXIE:  Fucking lib.

NICHOLE:  …yeah, exactly, fucking lib.  I might say it to myself after I’m done interacting, but yeah, I do think it’s — I don’t want to be like all Kum Ba Yah about it, but I do think it’s important for us to try to — there’s gonna be a lot of really obvious and easy ways to connect with people who are hurting, and I hope that we can just do that and kind of leave the other bullshit behind us and just move forward.

MEXIE:  Exactly.  In terms of getting out there, especially during the pandemic, I mean, in Toronto, honestly, there are so many incredible grassroots organizations that are really out there on the front lines of both fighting this thing and also meeting people’s material needs and making sure that people are taken care of.  One of my friends is organizing a new campaign where we want to get people to not only organize to help people with meals and with everything like that, but to put pressure on politicians and make more of unified demands around us stopping the spread of the virus now.  I’m gonna have them actually on to talk about that soon, but I’m just bringing this up because I feel like yeah, we have four years.  Let’s get out there and show people that yeah, the left is actually — we’re the ones who actually help people and make material change for people and can help address people’s material needs.  The right isn’t.  The right’s not gonna do that.

NICHOLE:  No.

MEXIE:  That’s not gonna happen.

NICHOLE:  Well, and the only place they do it is in churches.

MEXIE:  Yeah, that’s true.

NICHOLE:  Right?  Which, whatever, I’m not gonna get into that whole debate but that is a way that the right, through orthodox Christianity, has grown their numbers because if you belong to a church, those people will help you.  I think it’s really important for us to be able to come from a secular viewpoint, from a leftist viewpoint, and say that’s just a neighbor helping a neighbor, you know?  It doesn’t have to be part of this conservative culture for you to get help from your neighbor.  We can do that without that institution in between us.  I think it’s something I’ll always give credit to the church for, is that’s something it does really well, and there’s certainly churches out there that don’t promote these harmful beliefs or whatever.  But I think just in general, there has been — I think it’s the only place that that kind of community care has consistently survived in specifically US culture, ‘cause that’s all I can speak to.  I do think that for leftists, the more that we can get out there and just be a part of our communities and help in any way we can, it makes a huge difference.  I’m chronically ill and I don’t have a lot of energy and I don’t have a lot of resources right now, but I found small ways to connect with other people in my community and help people out, and it’s incredible what a huge difference it makes even when you just help one other person.

MEXIE:  Yeah, no, absolutely.  Yeah, that’s a really good point.  I hadn’t really thought about that.  Yeah, in Toronto, there’s some pretty radical churches too that are doing really cool stuff and also promoting leftism.  That’s rad, but yeah, I think you’re right that that is conservative, yeah, conservative mutual aid throughout the south is religious-oriented.  Yeah, we definitely need to be out there being like no, no.

NICHOLE:  Exactly.

MEXIE:  Mutual aid.

NICHOLE:  The benefit too is that a lot of those kind of communities, that kind of culture, there’s a very strict set of rules that you have to follow in order to belong to it or else you get outcast.  If we can provide alternatives where we’re like, yeah, we’re not gonna put up with you being racist or whatever, but we’re also not gonna police what you do with your body and we’re not gonna have all these strict rules to you getting aid or to you being part of this community.  I think that that’s a really powerful alternative.  I’ve been a long time atheist and it’s something that atheists always struggle with, is how do we establish this level of community care, this access, this regularity?  People go to church every week, and so there’s this regular access and activities built around it.  How do we replicate that?  But I think now we have such a huge opportunity.  People really need help now more than ever.  There’s endless possibilities for what we could do, I think.  It can be anything small.  I get a CSA box which is a box from a farm every week of stuff that was harvested that morning, and I don’t eat a lot of fruit, and there’s a ton of fruit in the box.  So, I went out to this Facebook group I belong to that’s broken up by zip code so everyone’s very, very local to you.  I was like, is anyone food insecure?  Would you like to regularly get food every week from me?  I found a few people who did and I helped one person out and then they ended up being food secure, so now I’ve passed on to another person.  It’s just a simple — just, every week I split my box with this person but it really helps her out a lot.  I think there’s countless ways that — just me posting that, other people were like wow, that’s really cool.  I want to do something like that, you know?  I just think there’s endless ways and social media can be a double-edged sword for sure, but one of the things I’ve found that even Facebook can be really good at is connecting — forming groups around mutual aid in local communities can be really helpful.

MEXIE:  Yeah.  Yeah, for sure.

NICHOLE:  Then there’s groups doing stuff already that you can join in with which is also a really good thing to do.

MEXIE:  Mm-hm.  Yeah, I’ll talk about some of those groups in Toronto in the next podcast.  But yeah, so, that’s kind of all I had.  Did you have anything else you wanted to bring up?

NICHOLE:  Yeah, I just had a — sort of a — it’s not a straight quote; it’s sort of me paraphrasing something that Sean Blackmon said on the By Any Means Necessary episode I listened to, but I thought it was — be a good way to close out, if that’s good with you.

MEXIE:  Yeah.

NICHOLE:  He was saying we all have to understand the intrinsic and essential undemocratic nature of these institutions.  He said Americans should always bear in mind the concept of democracy in the US has always intended to be a facade and has always been designed for the benefit of the ruling class.  The tenth article of the federalist papers talked about establishing a government with an institution that would control domestic faction and insurrection that would derive from a rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, and an equal distribution of property or any other improper or wicked projects.  During the conventional constitutional convention, Hamilton gave a speech saying there would be a strong centralized state power that would check the imprudence of democracy.  For those who don’t know what imprudence means, it means rash; rashness of foolish or rushed decision-making.  They were saying that to them, democracy was inherently rash and almost childlike.  We already see the infantilizing of the citizen here.  The whole aim and design of this capitalist system is rooted against true democracy shaped only for the appearance of it.  I just thought that was all really great and I just wanted to highlight that they classified things as — things such as an abolition of debts and an equal distribution of property as improper or wicked projects even back then.  This was hundreds of years ago.

MEXIE:  Yeah.  Unbelievable.

NICHOLE:  This fight is not new.  I just think it, to me, was an inspiring thing to keep in mind as we move forward.  Sometimes I do get beaten down by libs and I’m like, am I too extreme?

MEXIE:  I know, right?

NICHOLE:  Then something like this reminds me no, this shit literally was always set up to be this way.  It’s not broken.  It doesn’t need reform.  It needs to be abolished.  It needs to be written off the face of the planet.

MEXIE:  Burned down.

NICHOLE:  Yeah.  We need to stop glorifying, deifying the people who set this in place.  They were very intelligent but they were very intelligent against our interests.

MEXIE:  Yeah, they were very intelligent in their greed and malice.

NICHOLE:  Yeah.

MEXIE:  Yeah.  Well, I think that’s a great way to close off.  Thank you so much for coming on the show, Nichole.  This was awesome and I can’t wait to just collaborate more with you in the future.

NICHOLE:  Same.

MEXIE:  Did you want to shout out your Spots again or just where people can find you?  I’ll have this all in the show notes as well.

NICHOLE:  Yeah.  Again, you can just find me at Pynk Spots, P-Y-N-K, pretty much everywhere.  I’ll be launching my first episode this Sunday.  I don’t know when this episode is coming out, but November 15th, it’ll be out.  If it’s after then, it’s already available.  I’ll be posting twice a month to start.  Sustainable is the word for the end of 2020.  Let me do something sustainable.

MEXIE:  That’s key.

NICHOLE:  Yeah, and just again, following me anywhere is great.  It will be posted as a podcast, so anywhere you listen to podcasts, you can find it.  But if you are ever on YouTube, if you can follow me there, that would be super helpful.

MEXIE:  Yes, follow the YouTube and donate to the Patreon.  Yeah, thanks Nichole for coming on the show, and yeah.  I guess we’ll see everyone soon.

NICHOLE:  Bye, everyone.

MEXIE:  Bye.

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