62. America’s Back: Empire Update w. Abby Martin

Rundown

In this episode, Mexie talks with journalist, activist, and documentary film-maker, Abby Martin, about U.S. empire under Biden. We discuss his scary cabinet picks, his administration’s positioning with respect to various countries that have long been in the imperial crosshairs, and the importance of building a powerful anti-war and anti-imperialist movement.

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Transcript

F1:  [MUSIC] How can we not only discover more compassionate relations with human beings but how can we develop compassionate relations with the other creatures with whom we share this planet?

F2:  There’s an us before the wound, there’s an us before oppression, and to me pleasure is the way that we tap down into that.

F3:  We live in capitalism.  Its power seems inescapable.  So did the divine right of kings.

MEXIE: Hello everyone.  Welcome to the Vegan Vanguard.  This is Mexie and I — I’m having a time.  I am having a time.  It is the last month that I have too many jobs all at once.  It’s the last couple weeks of my lecturing term.  I have some fantastic guests lined up that I am so excited to bring to your ears.  But this month I’m going to be releasing two really amazing talks that I had with activists and academics on my YouTube channel.  I posted about this on Patreon and everyone said that they were very interested to have me release both of these on the Vegan Vanguard, so that is what I am doing.

The first, what you will hear today, is my talk with Abby Martin about US empire under the Biden administration, looking at his very scary cabinet picks and the way that his administration is posturing, or the policies that they are either enacting or planning to enact in various countries of geostrategic interest of the US.  It was a really fantastic conversation and I was actually just speaking with Abby and Robbie Martin, her brother, on their podcast Media Roots, so I believe this will be coming out around the same time, so you can go and check out my talk with them on that platform as well.  I will link that in the description box as soon as it is available.  The next talk that I am planning to release probably next week or maybe just a few days after this one will be my talk with Dr. Richard Wolff.

Well, my series of talks that I will kind of edit together where I spoke with Professor Wolff about covid-19, about the end of capitalism and about building a post-capitalist future in part through democratizing our workplaces.  So, I very much hope you enjoy and thank you so much to all the patrons who stick with us even through the hard months.  Next month I am going to resume with some amazing new guests and I’m really, like I said, just really excited about it.  Before we get started, I would like to say that this is a donor-funded show, so if you would like to become a sustaining member, you can go to patreon.com/veganvanguard or give us a one-time donation via PayPal on our website.

So, thanks to new patrons Elijah, Christian, Nahian, Daniel, Fenja or Fenja, and Dom, and thank you to Seth, Tri Vo or Tri Vo, and Sarah for their generous donations on PayPal.  [MUSIC] I am here with the amazing Abby Martin.  For any of you who don’t know who Abby Martin is, she is a prolific journalist and activist and documentary film producer.  She’s the host of the Empire Files which you can watch here on YouTube or at theempirefiles.tv.  She’s the co-host of an amazing podcast called Media Roots Radio and she’s also the director and co-producer of Gaza Fights for Freedom which is an incredibly important documentary film that you should absolutely check out if you haven’t already.  You can check it out at gazafightsforfreedom.com.  She’s just a really awesome friend and comrade of mine, so thanks so much Abby for coming on the show.

ABBY: Thank you so much for inviting me, Mexie, for that great introduction, and it was so cool to collaborate on the film tour with you.  I’ll never forget it.  It was an incredible event, so super stoked.

MEXIE: Yeah, super stoked as well.  So, yeah, America’s back, Abby.  You must be thrilled.

ABBY: We’re back, baby.

MEXIE: We’re back.

ABBY: We are back, dude.

MEXIE: We’re back.  Yeah, are you thrilled?  You must be thrilled.

ABBY: I am super stoked.  I mean, we all just — we’re just at brunch all day, every day.  It was not doing a goddamn thing now, so we did it, babe.  We did it.

MEXIE: We did.  So, I thought that we could start with maybe going through some of Biden’s super diverse, woke, imperialist cabinet picks.  So, who are these people, basically, what can we expect from them, and what should we prepare ourselves to fight them on?  So, let’s begin with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken because he seems like a treat.

ABBY: Yeah, no, he is a treat and he is probably the most important figure because he’s replacing Mike Pompeo, the genocidal maniac, crazy, religious zealot who literally felt like the rapture was around the corner.  He was just such a crazy, scary figure.  So, Anthony Blinken coming in and replacing him, everyone’s like oh my god, we’re back.  Like, I got a heart attack.  But really, beyond the rhetoric, it’s kind of hard to see major foreign policy differences.  You’re right, this is all kind of touted as the most diverse cabinet ever, right?

I feel like that was Joe Biden’s intention, was trying to just pack this cabinet full of people of color, of women, because we all know in neoliberal America and the US empire that is — that’s a big thing that’s kind of pushed down our throats, this kind of cynical exploitation and weaponization of identity politics to manipulate people into think that it represents some sort of progressivism or progress in general but really beyond that kind of superficiality, it’s just the same old warmongering wrapped up in a different window dressing.  So, it’s really shameful.  It’s really shameful because of course it’s a significant, symbolic thing to have someone like Kamala Harris as the first black vice president just like it was very symbolic and monumental to have Obama win the presidency.  But beyond that, it is just very, very upsetting to see these figures still pioneering the most disastrous, murderous foreign policy, excuse me.  So, Anthony Blinken, he’s a white guy, so there’s that.

MEXIE: Not diverse.

ABBY: Yeah.  But he is just a super guy who comes from this consulting firm called WestExec Advisors.  This is the same firm that he co-founded with this woman named Michele Flournoy who was on Biden’s shortlist to actually be in the same position, so everyone was really stoked that he picked Anthony Blinken because they were like oh, well, at least he didn’t pick this woman.  But it’s like okay, you co-founded this advisory firm with this really, really — this woman who has a lot of bloodlust, and so you guys are obviously good friends, right?  What WestExec Advisors is basically touted as, as a firm that helps expedite weapon shipments and arms sales to the Pentagon, so it helps the Pentagon ship their products around the world and they kind of act as an intermediary between different foreign states like in the Gulf or Israel or other human rights abusers.

So, Anthony Blinken, aside from being a part of this shadowy investment firm or consulting firm, he also goes back to the Obama administration and even before that.  He’s been in the government for a long time.  He was actually Biden’s closest advisor in 2003 when Biden pioneered the democratic wing of support for the Iraq war.  So, Blinken was in his ear whispering to him support the Iraq war, and Biden of course is infamously having to retract that and apologize for that because of just how disastrous that policy turned out to be, so it is kind of worth mentioning that Blinken was his closest advisor during that time.  He also is on the record being a hard-line staunch advocate for the war in Libya which also turned out to be a huge, monumental disaster, still a failed state today, and also is on record saying that we should have done more when it came to Syria and is still actually advocating for the overthrow of Assad.

So, he thinks that we didn’t go far enough even though Syria is a complete disaster as well because of US policy, sanctions, the list goes on.  So, Anthony Blinken is just your — he’s just your typical pro-war neoliberal who just masks his warmongering in humanitarian language.  He cloaks the same exact policies that Mike Pompeo was promoting, just in a more gentle tone.  I think we’ll see that when it comes to a lot of these cabinet picks.  It’s really, really disturbing and we can go into the policies later because Anthony Blinken has a lot to say and he’s done a lot already when it comes to these key foreign policy positions that really paint a picture of where Biden’s headed.

MEXIE: Mm-hm.  Yeah, it’s pretty horrifying.  I almost feel like the neoliberal warmongers are more dangerous and effective than the neocons ‘cause at least everyone hates the neocons, right?  But for someone like this, it’s like okay, this seems pretty insidious.

ABBY: Yeah, very much.

MEXIE: Yeah.  So, let’s talk about the first woman director of national intelligence.  How exciting.  Avril Haines, yeah.  What can we expect from her?

ABBY: She’s nice! She is super, super nice.  That’s what everyone in DC’s talking about, how sweet and nice this woman is, very, very — just a big, old sweetheart.  Even the director of Human Rights Watch is on record being like, she is probably the nicest person you have ever met in your life.  It’s like okay, well, that makes me feel so much better about her running the DNI.  This is a coalition of seventeen intelligence agencies.  The DN — you could actually go back to the fallout of Russiagate and the DNI came out with this report, this blistering critique pretty much of Russia today.  It included my show Breaking the Set as part of this huge scheme on behalf of Russia to basically foment radical discontent in the country that gave us Trump.  So, this was their whole end-all-be-all report.

She’s in charge of this coalition of intelligence agencies.  She’s basically America’s top spy but I’m not sure how much drone victims will care about how nice this woman is, because when it comes to actually her record, it’s pretty disgusting.  I mean, she is — she was instrumental in crafting the legal framework, quote, unquote “legal framework” for the war on terror’s killer drone program that she oversaw under Obama.  She was so instrumental in it, in fact, that she was actually — she says that she was summoned in the middle of the night sometimes to sign off on these machine murders on behalf of Obama.  She also is complicit in the CIA’s cover-up torture program which was of course this huge scandal under the Bush administration that Obama decided not to prosecute the torturers.

Avril Haines is part of that look-forward-not-backward.  By covering up the perpetrators, she was part of the cover-up helping protect the people who destroyed the evidence when they hacked into those computers to destroy the evidence when there was some sort of attempt to hold them partially accountable for that scandal.  So, just really gross all around.  She’s also on record praising Trump’s CIA Director Gina Haspel who literally sadistically got off on torture, according to CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou.  Really gross stuff.  So, when you go beyond how nice she is and the fact that she’s a woman, because that’s of course all you’ll hear about, is like, it’s the first woman to run this agency.  Well, it doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or not.

You’re a horrible person and you have a lot of blood on your hands.  There’s a lot of people who died around the world that are collateral damage from these policies.  Oh, and of course, we can’t forget she also comes from this shadowy, weird group kind of like a WestExec Advisors except worse.  It’s called Palantir.  It’s this data-mining corporation that was born and bred out of the CIA who — that is complicit in grave human rights violations including ice roundups and all of these other things, and Palantir is also an investor in the think tank CNAS, Center for New American Security that she sits on the board of.  So again, revolving door, conflict of interest where she’s getting — she’s on the board of this think tank that is also — you’ll see this think tank floating around in a lot of Biden’s foreign policy picks and it’s not only funded by weapons contractors; it’s also funded by this other company that she’s also invested in.  So, it’s like…

MEXIE: Good god.

ABBY: Yeah, I know.

MEXIE: How is this — it’s just right out in the open and it’s still just like yeah, that’s just how it is.  That’s just how it is.  That’s absolutely incredible.  Yeah, it’s really disappointed because everyone focuses on oh, well, the glass ceiling has been broken, but you only get to be a woman in that kind of a position if you are a patriarch, like if you are a violent patriarch.  They’re not gonna — it’s not gonna change anything, you know?

ABBY: Exactly.

MEXIE: Because they’re a vile institution.  Anyway…

ABBY: No, it’s such a good point.  I mean, you don’t get into those positions of power unless you play by the rules, so it’s like another — being a woman doesn’t really change the structure that you’re representing.

MEXIE: Right.  Yeah.  So, I guess along those lines, we also have the first black Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, so tell us about him.

ABBY: Yeah, I mean, this is — this perfectly — this is perfectly emblematic of what you were just saying because this is someone who was born, bred out of the exact same institution that he’s now heading.  He was a four-star general, he oversaw the expansion of the Iraq war, the troop surge in Afghanistan, pretty much every war, he’s been there; in Yemen and of course Syria.  So, under the Obama administration, I think he was the head of Central Command.  Interestingly enough, when Trump hired Mattis to run the same position, it was like this huge scandal.  It was like oh my god, this is supposed to be a civilian running this position and now you’re just appointing a general.  How gross and how militaristic and what a conflict of interest.  It’s like well, what happened to that?

Biden just literally did the same thing [inaudible] Trump and now Biden did the exact same thing and I think it just shows you how much not only of a revolving door — and I’ll get into how egregious this really is because he’s a — he was a board member of Raytheon, one of the top weapons contractors that Biden is actually using to negotiate all of his arms deals already, but beyond that, it just shows you how insular this network and this bipartisan foreign policy consensus really is in Washington that these people just circulate around these very insular institutions and they’re just being revamped from the Obama administration.  It’s like, they just get plucked out of the Obama administration and they’re just back.  It’s really strange.

It’s like there’s no new blood; it’s just the same exact key figures and we really have to take Biden at his word when he says nothing will fundamentally change because it doesn’t even mean oh, let’s go back to the Obama administration.  It means literally nothing that Trump did will fundamentally change and we’re just re-inheriting this expansion of empire that Trump oversaw which is really, really gross.  Austin, not only is he this four-star general, not only did he leave the army and go immediately to Raytheon for the last four years; he’s back, so he just immediately exits the revolving door of one of the largest defense contractors and goes right back into overseeing war-making as the secretary of defense.  He’s also slated to make 1.7 million dollars that he claims it will have no impact whatsoever on his policy-making, right?  Who really believes that?

You are an empty suit.  You are going to be taking two million dollars from Raytheon.  Of course it’s going to influence everything that you do.  It’s not even funny.  He claims like oh, I’ll recuse myself from all decisions including Raytheon for my entire tenure.  It’s like, of course you won’t.  Raytheon’s involved in everything that’s going on.  As I just mentioned, Biden just signed this massive arms deal for this right — the right-wing government in Chile and also Egypt, and Raytheon is the crux of that weapons contract.  What is this guy gonna do, just leave the room and be like okay, someone else sign the paperwork?  It’s just, it’s really, really gross and really, nothing else needs to be said about him because that really just says it all.  It’s like someone who just stems directly from the war industry and is just placed in this high-level position and then again, it’s just the corporate media saying how amazing it is that he’s the first black secretary of defense.

MEXIE: Mm-hm.  Yeah.  How is any of that even legal?  How is any of that legal at all?  Yeah, it’s just really devastating because I feel like Trump has done so much that the democrats are…they’re almost…not to say they’re happy about it but they’re not gonna walk that back.  They’re just gonna use that strategically for their own imperialist goals, right?  So, maybe we can get into some of the policy now and what’s going on in terms of foreign policy with Biden’s administration.  So, I thought we could maybe look at a few places of interest to US empire and talk about what they’ve been doing or not doing.  So, maybe we could start with Iran and talk about the sanctions that they’ve been facing during this global pandemic and how Biden is handling this — re-entering the nuclear deal.

ABBY: Yeah, it’s not good at all and this is something that we thought was just a built-in given when Biden got elected, and this is something that I was very hopeful for.  I think a lot of people were hopeful not only because a lot of people in Biden’s cabinet were instrumental in the actual initial negotiations of the nuclear deal but also because he was saying it on the campaign trail that he wanted to re-enter diplomacy with Iran.  Trump’s maneuvering this hostile warmongering against Iran, threats of annihilation immediately upending the nuclear deal, slapping 800+ sanctions on Iran during his term, the constant war games in the Persian Gulf and then of course in the latter half of his term, the political assassinations; assassinating the top general Soleimani and also Fakhrizadeh, the top nuclear scientist in Iran was all designed to try to subvert Biden, right?

Not all of it but I mean in part, like really to try to destroy any sort of semblance of diplomacy whatsoever.  Of course, going into the Biden administration, he was even putting out leaks through his officials that he would actually try to start a war with Iran on his way out the door, anything that was possible to really make this more difficult for Biden.  It turns out, he didn’t need to do any of that because Biden wasn’t gonna try to engage in diplomacy at all.  Tony Blinken, his secretary of state, has been on record saying  we are not going to lift the sanctions that Trump put on, and that’s pretty much all Iran is asking.  They’re like look, you guys are the ones who broke the deal.

It seems pretty understandable that you would just eliminate these debilitating, crippling sanctions on our economy that are actually causing malnutrition in Iranian children for the first time in decades that Iran is experiencing this because of these sanctions.  They’re like look, just lift the sanctions and let’s negotiate.  Let’s renegotiate this, and Biden and Blinken are just saying flat out no.  They’re actually using Trump’s sanctions as leverage to make sure that Iran has zero leverage.  Look, Biden should just make a press conference and be like look, we are so sorry for what Trump did.  The assassinations against political figures, the assassination against a civilian scientist, all of these horrible threats and the sanctions; we are so sorry.  We are immediately going to start from scratch.

The U.S. is making Iran capitulate to such an extreme degree is just absolutely beyond the pale.  Of course Iran breached the — what were they supposed to do?  Iran is not in the process of developing a nuclear weapon.  They never have.  But of course, you have Blinken out there now saying he wants to work with Israel in the Gulf states which they actually kept the negotiations in secret from the — in the first place, and now they’re saying that was a mistake and they want Israel to be involved in the negotiations this time, and of course fearmongering about how Iran is months away from a nuclear weapon.  They say that all the time.  It’s completely false.  There’s no evidence to back that up whatsoever and Iran is just saying look, what do you want us to do here?  What are we supposed to do?  It’s disgusting.  It’s disgusting to force impossible concessions and place these impossible benchmarks on Iran after everything that the US empire has done to sabre-rattle them for the last four years.

MEXIE: Absolutely, and especially during this global pandemic.  I mean, that’s obviously contributing to so much death and misery in the country.  It’s just, it’s absolutely criminal.

ABBY: Yeah.  I mean, sanctions during a pandemic should be a — it’s like a humanitarian crisis, you know?

MEXIE: Yeah, yeah.  No, it’s — yeah.  So, I guess let’s move to Yemen.  So, Biden has temporarily frozen weapon shipments to Saudi Arabia and is saying at least that he wants to end the war on Yemen, but let’s talk about what’s happening behind-the-scenes, or is this really genuine?

ABBY: Yeah, sadly, I — again, this is something that I think that we were all really hopeful for with the policy shift with Biden, and it turns out to be kind of just rhetorical at the moment because there’s so many caveats with his recent speech in terms of what weapons will not be sold and also what types of operations will not be supported.  It’s super disappointing.  He just gave this big foreign policy speech I think on February 4 and in it he detailed we need an — we need to declare an end to the war on Yemen which is a really big moment and it really is a testament to how much the anti-war movement calling attention to this grave humanitarian crisis has worked, because we know Trump could have done this a long time ago because it was proposed and he actually vetoed a resolution that would have ended US-backed weapons to the Gulf states that are in the Saudi coalition bombing Yemen.

So, when Biden made this speech, he used so many words that really made me take a second look and actually dig through a little deeper, and one of them was quote, unquote, “an end to offensive operations”.  Now, if you look at how Biden and Obama, under their administration, how they got into the Yemen war in the first place, it was all painted as a defensive war on behalf of Saudi Arabia.  I don’t think anywhere in there they were ever saying this is an offensive operation.  So, when Saudi paints it as defensive because they claimed who these are threatening their border, I mean, I don’t understand how you’re gonna determine what’s offensive and what’s defensive.  Also, the US has been training Saudi forces.

They were supplying the tactical and logistical operations for targeting of the rebels on the ground, and is that gonna change?  Because that could also be painted under the Pentagon’s language as defensive operations for Saudi.  They even said that they are still going to be providing counter-terrorism measures and defensive operations from Riyadh and other border places.  So, it’s like, what does this actually mean?  Then, a real clincher is when he talks about what arms sales are ending, quote, “relevant arms sales”.  Well, hold on; I thought you were ending all arms sales to the Gulf states that are bombing Yemen.  What is the relevant versus not relevant arms sales?  Then you kind of realize that it goes back to the whole offensive thing.  It’s like okay, relevant arms sales that will be used for an offensive operation.

How are you gonna determine that?  How are you gonna trace the missiles that in fact he’s still going to sell and make sure that those are not used offensively?  Very, very upsetting.  Also, Tony Blinken is talking about sanctioning the Houthis even though they lifted the terrorist designation that Pompeo put on them.  Sanctioning the Houthis that control 80% of Yemeni territory is going to be pretty hard to get humanitarian assistance and that — people who desperately need.  Then here’s the real icing on the cake, is that they’re — the US empire is still going to be bombing Yemen.  The US is still gonna be bombing Yemen to fight Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and that’s not gonna stop.

It’s a mess but I think that the silver lining here is the fact that Biden felt the need to make this declaration and announce this policy shift even though there are glaring holes shows that there is space and — for movement to continue to push this administration because it’s a huge issue.  We know how desperate the situation is and we need to keep building those coalitions to pressure the Biden administration because this is not good enough.

MEXIE: Mm-hm.  No, absolutely.  Yeah, it’s gonna take a lot because even — I mean, if you just think about America’s GDP and everything and just how much arms sales contribute to that, right, it’s like, it’s hard to think of them — they’re gonna find some way, you know what I mean, to still sell the arms, right?  It makes perfect sense that they’re putting these little caveats like oh, only relevant or only offensive, you know?  Because there’s so much money tied up in this.  So, okay, let’s talk about Venezuela because Biden and Co., they are still recognizing Juan Guaido and saying that Maduro is illegitimate, so how are they positioning themselves with respect to Venezuela?

ABBY: This is one of the countries that I think we all feared wouldn’t be that different under Biden, especially since you saw the Democrats lining up to basically cheer on Trump’s multiple coup attempts and this bipartisan acceptance of Juan Guaido.  Even he came to congress and got a standing ovation from all of these Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and all these other people.  It was a quite disgusting spectacle to see this unelected US puppet who had been just plucked from obscurity and declared the president of Venezuela and then brought and ushered on a red carpet in the US halls of congress.  Really, really out-there stuff.  So, Biden has made clear even before he won that he still recognized Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela.  But now what’s funny about it is that Juan Guaido has no political position in Venezuela.  He is no longer part of the national assembly, so you have twenty-seven states that comprise the EU said that they cannot in good conscious legally recognize Guaido because he has no political legitimacy there at all.  But you still have the US, including Biden and Blinken being like no, no, no, he’s still president.

MEXIE: That’s so funny.

ABBY: Yeah, it’s good.  It’s like, what is going on here?

MEXIE: That’s so funny.

ABBY: It’s just so crazy because sanctions are another — such a disastrous thing that has been placed on Venezuela from Trump.  We’re talking about tens of thousands of people who have died as a direct result of these sanctions.  The economy is in free-fall because of these sanctions.  Again, no discussion about lifting these sanctions at all.  Biden is just using Trump’s debilitating sanctions, genocidal even, as just like — he’s just like well, we’re just gonna start here where Trump left off, and that is a no-brainer to not take the US seriously, because what is Maduro supposed to do in this situation?  Blinken even said we’re not interested in talking to Maduro.  It’s such a low priority for us that I really fear that there is going to be a coup attempt again very, very soon and potentially something with — have to do with NGOs or something like that because it’s not gonna be as loud and obvious as Trump’s, I think.

It’s gonna be something that’s more under the radar and of course masked with humanitarianism like they always do, but it’s — this is really why they didn’t like Trump in the first place when it came to places like Venezuela.  You saw Democratic Senator Chris Murphy actually spelling this out on Twitter.  He was like, we agreed with Trump’s policy but he went about it in an obtuse and arrogant way and it should have been more slickly…

MEXIE: Yeah.

ABBY: Wow.  Alright, man.  Way to spell it out.

MEXIE: Yeah, absolutely.  That’s actually so funny.  I didn’t know that Juan Guaido actually isn’t — doesn’t have any political position or legitimacy in Venezuela anymore.  That’s actually ridiculous.  Like, that’s actually — ‘cause I know that before, people were saying that oh, well, he should be legitimate because technically the constitution says this even though that was incorrect.  At least there was something there.  Now it’s just laughable.

ABBY: Yeah, he’s just a nobody.  Everyone just hates him and he’s just like, he has zero standing at all.

MEXIE: Yeah.

ABBY: It’s crazy.

MEXIE: Yeah.  Okay, so let’s move onto Israel.  You mentioned this quote that I just wanted to bring up in a recent video of yours that Biden said in 2013, if there were not an Israel, we would have to invent one to make sure our interests were preserved in the Middle East.  Wow.

ABBY: He really wears it out, doesn’t he?

MEXIE: Yeah, just really unbelievable.  So, yeah, I guess talk about how his administration is positioning themselves with respect to Israel.  I know that they are not moving the embassy from Jerusalem, so talk about the implications for Palestinians.

ABBY: Yeah, and I think that Biden’s quote there really hammers it home what Israel represents to the US, because a lot of people are mistaken when they think that Israel somehow controls or dictates US foreign policy.  No, quite the opposite, and Biden himself explained that, that Israel serves as this military garrison.  I mean, for example, look at what the US uses Israel for.  When the US doesn’t want to outright bomb Syria, they use its attack dog in the Middle East to do so.  It’s something that really needs to be understood and I think that a lot of people have it flipped around.  But Biden is an unapologetic Zionist.  He’s made very clear that you don’t have to be Jewish to be a Zionist.

He was probably the most staunch Zionist on stage in the democratic primary field, like the most hard-line supporter of Israel; just completely did not care at all.  I mean, him and Kamala actually were two of the worst, and Klobuchar, but yeah.  So, Kamala actually compared the civil rights struggle and Selma to Israeli activism and stuff, like just really out-there stuff but yeah, when it comes to policy shift on Palestine, you’re not gonna see that profound of a shift whatsoever, like you said.  They are not gonna move the embassy.  This was something that was a huge symbolic blow to Palestinians.  Of course, sparked off the Great March of Return and a lot of horrific atrocities that took place in those protests that we talk about in the film.

But Palestinians in general, their land has been annexed at a rapid pace and Biden is certainly not gonna do anything to stop that.  He’s not gonna leverage aid.  He’s not gonna do anything.  I guess in some respects, it’s slightly better than Trump because at least Kushner, at least people in Biden’s administration aren’t personally profiting off of illegal settlement expansion like Jarred Kushner’s family was, and at least they don’t have a room in their house for Netanyahu to come stay when he visits New York.  That was pretty grotesque.  Trump really just opened the floodgates and just said do whatever the hell you want to Israel, and they even name the settlements after him, and Netanyahu was using Trump’s friendship with him as part of his re-election campaign.

That’s how much he was signaling to the far right about the support from Trump.  So, I guess in that sense, yeah, of course it’s better than Trump but at the end of the day, it’s just again masking humanitarianism but really allowing the exact same policies to continue.  I think that one thing that Biden said he would do which does have implications, of course, because millions of people who are refugees living in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere are in desperate need of the United Nations Relief Agency aid, the UNRA aid that Trump sadistically just removed.  He just had a blanket removal of this aid that really left millions of people without medicine and urgent assistance.  So, Biden has said that he will reinstall that aid, but I mean, this is a Band-Aid.  There’s obviously a much deeper systemic problem that Biden is certainly not gonna do anything at all to address, and the annexation of Palestine will continue unabated.

MEXIE: Yeah.  Unbelievable.  So, I have a few more here; Russia — or, sorry, Biden says the US is no longer rolling over on Russia.  What does that mean?

ABBY: I know, right?  As if he ever did?  I mean, people see Trump somehow as this Putin puppet.  He actually did a lot of crazy shit when it came to Russia.  He sanctioned Russia retroactively for the annexation of Crimea which was just bizarre.  He sent millions of dollars — hundreds of millions of dollars, I think, of missiles and other armaments that Obama actually didn’t even approve at the end of his term, and Trump has actually celebrated that, saying Obama sent them pillows and I sent them missile launchers and shit.  It’s like, okay.  Also, just getting out of these treaties that were very important that Trump did, and of course urging NATO members to increase their militarism because of course, Russia sees the expansion of NATO as something that is rightfully encroaching on their border and violating all of these norms that were set into place after the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union.

So, they see that as encroachment.  Of course it’s done purposefully, and so Trump only exacerbated that with NATO members.  It is very troubling.  The fact that the rest of the political establishment kept hammering Trump on the Russia thing and made it seem like he was bending over backwards to appease and placate Russia is just absolutely baffling, because that’s not what was happening at all.  That’s what’s so disturbing about it, is Trump didn’t nearly go far enough.  So, Biden is now bringing back this crime syndicate of Russiaphobes from the Biden administration — or, I’m sorry, from the Obama administration; Victoria Nuland, the one that was on the phone when the Ukrainian coup was happening, saying who she wanted, just picked the Ukrainian government, and then you have…

MEXIE: Fuck the EU.

ABBY: Fuck the EU.  There you go, right?  Just like, other people who are just really, really huge Russiaphobes who really think that Russia is the greatest enemy of the US and want to focus on it as the biggest threat facing this country.  That pivot to Russia and China, which — Trump obviously was focusing on a lot of different countries; he came into office bragging about the fact that he wanted to escalate wars and win these wars and commit human rights atrocities and kill terrorists’ families and all of that stuff.  But Biden is coming into office with a more strategic goal of actually pivoting the focus on China and Russia because it impedes US domination around the planet.

So, it’s a more coherent ideological goal and he’s definitely resurrecting those figures from the Obama administration who were trying to push Obama the entire time to be more harsh on Russia.  They are back in actually higher levels of power now and it’s very, very troubling.  Who else is at the…?  Oh yeah, Samantha Power is also another huge Russiaphobe who’s now picked to head the USAID.  This is like, this is another front group that pushes regime change.  They were part of the Ukrainian coup, they were funding the opposition group there.  She was — she’s a horrific anti-Russia figure.

The fact that Biden is picking her and Nuland specifically, and also Blinken, of course, making these statements in every interview that he gives, and Biden saying the days of rolling over against Russia’s aggressions are over, and citing as an example of that is the poisoning of Navalny as somehow that’s an affront to US politics was quite perplexing.  It’s like, how does this have anything to do with a threat to our national security, right?  The fact that he’s actually hand-picking this controversy in Russia to use as something that we’re gonna go after Russia for makes zero sense at all.

But you’re going to see the Biden administration of course pick on the LGBTQ issue in Russia and the Uyghur issue in China to make it seem like the US really, really cares about LGBTQ rights and Muslims even though there’s — we can go off all day about the hypocrisy, the astounding hypocrisy with those claims, and actually use those to try to undermine those two countries and to de-legitimize them because they are worried about the power vacuum during Trump, that he let those countries become stronger in their eyes.  That’s really all they care about, is weakening those countries with sanctions, with international pressure, and building back that imperial alliance of junior partners of the empire, so NATO allies and other things like that to try to put pressure on China and Russia.  It’s very scary.

I mean, these are two nuclear-armed countries that pose zero threat to the United States and its people, and the fact that again, the sabre-rattling; already, Biden is doing all these military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and around China to send a signal.  What the hell are you doing?  Stop.  Just stop.  There’s no other perspective that we should have [inaudible] cooperation and peace, especially during a global pandemic.  We need to be cooperating with these countries and figuring out how can we deal with the situation together?  It’s sick.  These people are sick.

MEXIE: Yeah.  I mean, they’re just such, what’s the word?  Convenient scapegoats, right?  It’s just so convenient to be able to say that everything is China’s fault.  The coronavirus is China’s fault.  Everything is Russia’s fault.  Biden is still saying that they hacked our election or whatever, right?  So, it’s just very convenient.  They need to keep up these boogeymen not only for their own imperialist interests but even for their own domestic policies so they can just blame everything on them.

ABBY: You’re totally right, yeah, like Yellem and everything that happened there.  It’s just like, what Russian bots are trying to sow discord online?  It’s like, I don’t know, could it be that your country’s a failed fucking state and that people are actually really upset and that eight million more people plunged into poverty because of your disastrous handling of covid?  That have anything to do with it?  Or is it Putin?  It’s also like, putting so much power in Putin.  It only emboldens him.  The only reason Putin is still in power is because of anti-Americanism and nationalism and that sentiment just grows stronger every time the US cartoonishly depicts Putin as the villain.

MEXIE: As the mastermind.

ABBY: Yeah.

MEXIE: Yeah, absolutely.  Absolutely.  So, Frank Fletcher says US foreign policy is always terrible no matter who is in.  Yes; thank you, Frank.  I agree.

ABBY: Well-said, Frank.  Well-said.

MEXIE: Well said, Frank.  Okay, so moving to Afghanistan, so Trump and Obama both said that they wanted to withdraw from Afghanistan and then ended up doing the opposite.  So, what’s going on with Biden?  What is this administration going to be doing with regards to Afghanistan, this ridiculous war that we’ve been in for way too long?

ABBY: Yeah, right?  I know.  This is…

MEXIE: It’s not even a war.

ABBY: This is yeah, it’s just, they want to just make Afghanistan a neocolony so they can set up mining operations finally, ‘cause there’s trillions of dollars in mineral wells from the ground and also the crux of all these global competitors to get the pipeline going and then of course the opium which they want to control via CIA drug trade and money laundering off the book.  So, there’s so many aspects of why the US is still there.  It’s just so obvious.  It’s like, why didn’t the US pull out so long ago when it was obvious that they couldn’t actually win tactically?  There’s your answer; there’s so many resources that it’s like, the US has invested for so long, they can’t pull out until they actually get access to that stuff.  It’s the longest war in US history, longer than Vietnam.

It’s just so normalized in people’s minds now that we’re just like well, it’s our forever war.  It’s like, just kind of like in the background, you know?  That shows you how disturbing this whole war on terror paradigm is, that drone strikes and the war in Afghanistan, it’s just peripherally always happening and no one seems to really care anymore.  It’s only like — you know, people gave Trump credit for everything, saying he didn’t start new wars, he wanted to — in fact, people actually think that he pulled the US out of Afghanistan when that is not the case at all.  They’re like oh, Trump oversaw this peace deal with the Taliban.  It’s like, no, that — all of this is fake.  All of this is fake.  The deal with the Taliban that the US should have no role in at all again set these impossible benchmarks on the Taliban.

For example, one of the declarations for the Taliban to adhere to this peace deal was no one in Afghanistan can threaten the US.  It’s like, how is the Taliban going to make sure that that happens?  There’s so many resistance groups in Afghanistan so if someone turns out to threaten or plot something against the US, then the deal is scrapped.  In fact, the deal was scrapped just days after the last iteration was signed, because the US just started bombing Afghanistan again.  So, Trump did not oversee anything substantial there.  All he did was withdraw a couple thousand troops that he himself — he himself doubled the amount of troops.  When he got into office, he doubled the amount of troops in Afghanistan and increased private contractors through the roof.

So, when he left, in his last month he withdrew the troop level to now 2,500 that remain.  But what just came out, Mexie, a couple weeks ago that was absolutely shocking to me was that 18,000 private contractors are now in Afghanistan.  This is like, four times the number that had been there under the highest level of contractors.  Under Obama, I think the level was like, 5,000 and that was considered a big deal.  So, Trump kind of quietly privatized the war while claiming publicly that he was withdrawing the troops.  This is the Erik Prince model.  This is what his…

MEXIE: Yeah, I was gonna say.

ABBY: …good friend Erik Prince wanted to do, you know?  So, it’s really, really creepy to think that that flew under the radar.  No one was talking about that.  What are these people doing?  I mean, there’s so much less accountability for private contractors, private mercenaries, really.  Biden came into office basically promising to continue the war indefinitely.  Yeah, he said he wants to end these forever wars but when he was pointed about — when he was pointedly asked what will you do about ending the Afghanistan war, he said well, that means leaving a couple thousand personnel there.  So, he was basically saying we’re gonna leave a couple thousand troops which is exactly what Trump did.  The reason that’s so problematic is because you could easily just increase the amount of troops.

If you have troops there, you could easily fluctuate that number and expand that number.  That’s why it was so important to remove the troops.  Of course, it goes beyond troops; it’s CIA personnel, it’s drone wars, bombing campaigns.  So, Afghanistan looks to be — we’re in it for the long haul and I don’t know what that means, but I — it’s just so sad that it’s just like, we’re just so conditioned to think that this is just something that should be going on forever and no one really cares about it.  It’s a disgrace because people are dying every day.

MEXIE: Yeah, it’s an absolute disgrace.  I don’t even know how anyone can justify being there.  I mean, even at the beginning, but now twenty years later, you know?  Yeah, they’re posing no threat and it’s just ridiculous.  Yeah, it’s incredibly sick.  To think oh, just make sure that nobody threatens the US.  Everyone — you should fully understand why everyone there would want to threaten the US after this.  Twenty years, you know?  Good god.  Yeah.  Anyway, so, I don’t know if you wanted to say anything about China.  I don’t know if there’s been any developments or anything with respect to Biden’s admin in China.

ABBY: Yeah, Blinken has basically said that he respects the Trump administration’s hostile rhetoric toward China.  He said that he agrees and that’s a really bad sign, right?  What’s cartoonish about it is people are calling Biden a China puppet when really, they are embracing Trump’s aggressive stance on China and pressing to exacerbate it, essentially.  On Chinese New Year, you had Blinken call Xi Jinping and actually say a big fuck you, basically, to the president.  It was like, instead of being like happy Chinese New Year, he was like we’re gonna come after you for this, this, and this.  It’s like, okay.  Great starting off point to do a big reset of the US foreign policy.

Yeah, I mean, beyond that, they’ve just made several declarations about wanting to have a hostile footing toward China in terms of their human rights abuses and stuff like that, and also like I said, the military maneuvering right out of the gates, constant war games that China has legitimately recognized, rightfully so, as warmongering and putting us on a really bad path toward war.  That’s a really dangerous terrain to be dealing with for Biden.  Nothing good there.  Also, I think Blinken also said China needs to account for its role in lying about covid and stuff.  So, just repeating the same rhetoric as Trump except more nicely, I guess, even though that’s still — it’s kind of hard to differentiate at this point.

MEXIE: Yeah, absolutely.

ABBY: He’s not coming out and being like, the Wuhan Virus, but he’s pretty much saying the Wuhan Virus, you know?

MEXIE: Basically, yeah.  So, FaintSignalsFromVega says Abby has a great Empire Files Patreon podcast with her partner Mike Prysner for as little as $1 per month.  Check it out.  I agree.

ABBY: Thank you.

MEXIE: Justin says Canada oftentimes operates and locks up with US foreign policy.  What is the danger of this alliance?  I don’t know if you want to field that.

ABBY: I mean, it’s very dangerous and I think not a lot of people are focused on the junior collaborators of empire like Canada.  They kind of get a pass when they are offering military support and working lockstep.  I mean, they just do whatever the US says and it’s pretty grotesque because someone looks at Trudeau as oh, this — like an Obama-type figure who really cares about human rights and stuff.  It’s like no, he just answers at the beck and call of the US empire and he just succumbs to the boot of US imperialism time and again, and he is completely complicit.  It’s very disturbing.  It’s very disturbing because more needs to be done about that.  I will say that I feel like Canadians in general are much more astute and aware of their neighbor, the giant empire looming over them at all times.

Even just the Palestine issue doing the tour across the US and then going to Canada, it was like — I just felt like the political knowledge and understanding was much more advanced in Canada and I don’t really know — maybe it has to do with just the propagandization of American citizens as [inaudible].  It’s like we — I don’t know, we’re just pummeled with propaganda about how we’re the best country in the world and everything we do is justified around the world.  So many people are just so ignorant of what the US is doing, so maybe there’s that understanding that goes along with it.  But I mean, for example, in Hamilton, Ontario, is that the way you say it?

MEXIE: Ontario.

ABBY: I got criticized for saying it wrong.  Ontario.

MEXIE: Ontario.

ABBY: I was like, Ont-ah-rio?  Ontario.  For example, people there, activists there had just shut down armored weapons, armored vehicles that were shipping weapons to Saudi Arabia because Canada’s a part of that as well.  There’s so many actions happening in Canada and people are doing so many things and I just wish that more Americans were participating as well and building that coalition across country lines, because we really need an international coalition to fight US imperialism because there are no borders when it comes to the US domination of the globe.

MEXIE: Absolutely.  Well, speaking as a Canadian, I also wish that Canadians were doing a lot more because I think a lot of people have this understanding of what the US is doing but we don’t — people don’t actually understand that the — that Canadians are working in lockstep with them and a lot of people have this idea of our armed forces as being just peacekeepers, right?  So it’s like oh, well, you know, the US forces, they’re the ones who are going over and doing all these terrible things but if Canadian forces are there, then they’re doing a peacekeeping mission or they’re just — it’s like well, what does peacekeeping mean and the context of US imperialism?  It just means facilitating US imperialism and making sure that nobody really steps out of line, or — I don’t know — even know what that means.  So yeah, I wish that there was more of an understanding of what we were doing abroad, ‘cause a lot of times we can just say oh yeah, the US, the US is terrible and not even really know that our tax dollars are going to these things as well.

ABBY: Totally.

MEXIE: Yeah, so I’ll say that.  So, I want to leave maybe a little bit of time for questions but I did want to ask this big question of what are some important interventions that you think that we will need to make during this administration in terms of anti-war and anti-imperialist activism, and do you have any advice for anti-war activists or thoughts on how we can strengthen our anti-imperialist activism?

ABBY: Yeah.  I think as someone who is very aware of US imperialism, Mexie, I think that we both can agree that this issue needs to be linked to a lot of other issues in both of our countries.  When it comes to covid, especially the fact that Americans are getting this piecemeal crumbs off the table where you have politicians arguing about giving us $600 or $1,400 one-time checks, meanwhile every couple weeks it seems like the US is just sending hundreds of millions of dollars if not billions of dollars to theocratic dictatorships and human rights abusers around the world or to subsidize healthcare for Israeli citizens or something like that.  It’s just like — it’s just so — it’s hard to wrap your mind around.  I think that political education is so key because so many people don’t understand.

They’re struggling to make ends meet and to survive.  We have — half of this country is struggling and living paycheck to paycheck.  I’m sure covid has exacerbated that.  Eight million more people are plunged into poverty.  Kids don’t have enough food to eat.  So, understanding that all of our resources are getting squandered and sucked into a giant massive military apparatus that is subjugating and oppressing tens of millions of people around the world in our name and that is why we are told that we can’t have healthcare, right?  But you see the cognitive dissonance of looking at these headlines passing through, that the US has no problem funding this oppressive — oppressive regimes around the world, sending tons of weaponry around the world, just oppressing, subsidizing occupations and genocides and all of these things, yet we’re told as the citizens of the US empire that we cannot have anything.

We can’t have healthcare, we can’t have stimulus.  We have to just stay home and do our part, and the burden is just put on us.  Like oh, you just need to socially distance and do you part, and the pandemic will be over.  It’s like, just absolving the entire government responsibility of actually doing something about this and helping the people of this country out.  So, I think the political education of linking the struggles together, linking the fact that why we have nothing here, why so many people are suffering, why there are so many people in food lines, why there are so many homeless people.  Just like Martin Luther King said so long ago; a nation that spends all of its money on the military is suffering a spiritual death.

I know I just paraphrased and butchered what he actually said; it was probably more poetic than that but that is exactly what’s happening and it has been happening for the last couple decades if not century.  Everything that we do is squandered and sucked into this apparatus and it’s time that we start linking this together and understanding that we need to end the US empire.  We need to end US imperialism and focus on building up infrastructure and things that people really need to make our lives better and to stop criminalizing and terrorizing all of these people around the world.  Because Black Lives Matter was such a huge, monumental event that happened here over the course of the summer and it’s still happening.

Black lives matter everywhere.  Brown lives matter everywhere and that includes people who are being drone-bombed, special operations who are raiding villages in Somalia, bombs dropping on Yemenis.  All of these lives matter.  Every life matters that the US extinguishes around the world and we have to kind of get that internationalist perspective and approach to really understanding these things don’t stop and start at the border of our country.  It is happening everywhere and so, once your perspective widens, then we can start to do the real work.  But it’s building coalitions, right?  It’s working with other organizations like Medicare for all and just bringing that political knowledge of where our money is really going so we can really fight for the things that we need and want in this country.

MEXIE: Yeah, and that’s why I think the Empire Files, the Empire Update is so important, because I think for a lot of people — as you said, a lot of people, you’ll read the headlines and it’ll be like oh, Biden’s ending the war with Yemen.  Okay.  Right?  People won’t actually know all the stuff that’s going on to encourage them to get out and form these coalitions and really start to fight back, so definitely knowledge is power ‘cause if we’re gonna get people excited enough to come out into the street, they have to know what’s going on and if you read the headlines, you have no idea what’s going on, right?  The mainstream media, yeah, you have no idea what’s going on.

ABBY: Iran and Yemen are two flashpoints right now and for the anti-war community, people who have been involved in the anti-war struggle for a long time, you know that certain moments will happen that we need to be ready and mobilized in order to get the masses in the streets and help facilitate the struggle.  That was a big flashpoint, was the Iran war that we’re on the precipice of with Trump, and tens of thousands of people poured into the streets all around the world to protest that impending war.  So, you never know when those moments will spark and we need to be ready when they do.  Right now, of course it’s hard to galvanize people to protest the Afghanistan war.  It’s like, people have no idea what the fuck’s going on.  A lot of them think it’s not happening or if they do, whatever.

But Iran is a huge one right now that I think people are at least aware of the fact that we want peace with Iran, that Biden is saying that he wants negotiations with Iran and so, there is room to pressure his administration on the fact that Biden is saying this stuff about Yemen.  Means that there’s room to pressure him on and keep organizing — and the actual war in Yemen, and to stop the genocide that’s going on there.  So, different avenues, of course.  Of course, every conflict is important.  Of course everywhere that the US is oppressing is important, but certain things that are in the news, I think we can really capture the attention and start to steer people into organizing and participating in what needs to be done which is strikes, putting your bodies on the line, and direct action to stop these things and shut down business as usual ‘cause that’s the only way these people will listen.

MEXIE: Yeah, absolutely.  Thank you to Sadhu Syrop who says love you both; thank you.  So, I’m conscious of your time.  Do you need to go at this point or…?

ABBY: No, I can do some Q and A if you want.

MEXIE: Okay.  Okay, so let’s do a little bit of Q and A.  So, FaintSignalsFromVega says — or wants to know about how the lawsuit against Georgia University is going and about the ICC in Israel.

ABBY: Yeah, so the ICC, it was a big step of course that they said that Israel can be prosecuted.  The thing is, I don’t think that they will be as long as the US is protecting them, and this is something that you’ve seen time and again at the UN Human Rights Council and the UNGA and stuff of trying to hold Israel to account or even simply condemn Israel.  The US will veto every single resolution and the US will just continue to say that they will protect Israel at all costs.  So, again, going back to even though there are international bodies that are even willing to hold Israel to account, the US is so powerful, right, that we need to focus on ending this sick partnership that will protect Israel and prop it up even if the entire world turns against Israel.

It really comes down to the subsidization of the apartheid states, so it is a good move and I don’t want to discount how important that is that the ICC said that but at the same time, it’s more important than ever to pressure the US and to keep up the pro-Palestine struggle because it’s at a point of no return.  Even the UN itself said that Gaza was gonna be unlivable in 2020 and here we are a year later.  It’s like, okay, millions of people are living in an unlivable — unsanitary conditions with no clean drinking water and now covid’s there?  This is urgent.  This is dire.  We don’t have time anymore.

As far as the BDS lawsuit, people who don’t know, there are dozens of states that have anti-BDS laws on the books that restrict people’s free speech rights, constitutionally protected first amendment rights, to boycott for political reasons and these laws are on the books prohibiting independent contractors from working.  They force people to forfeit their constitutional rights in order to work in certain states.  In my case, I went to Georgia to try to speak at a university, Georgia Southern, and I was given a contract saying I needed to sign a pledge to never boycott Israel in order to work and make an honorarium at a campus.  Of course, I said I would never sign this and I ended up suing the state of Georgia.

It’s all stalled because of covid right now but one silver lining is Arkansas just knocked down their unconstitutional BDS law, so that gives us hope that Georgia will knock down the law as well.  We have to take these fights to the court because they have all been passed under the radar and it is very, very damaging.  Pro-Palestine speech is being censored all across the country.  It is the front of the free speech issue right now and not enough people are talking about it.

MEXIE: Mm-hm.  Yeah, absolutely, I don’t think anyone’s really talking about it other than you so yeah, good luck with that, that case.  BlaurTTech says what are US grassroot organizations that organize around US foreign policy that you could recommend joining?

ABBY: Well, the ANSWER Coalition is one that organized the biggest anti-war demonstrations during the Iraq war.  They are constantly organizing and struggling to build up coalitions that put anti-war organizing front and center and they are astonishingly anti-imperialist at their core and so, I organize a lot with the ANSWER Coalition.  I encourage people to get involved, sign up with their newsletter.  Popular Resistance is another one that you can follow different actions that are going on.  They are centered in DC.  Just following World Beyond War, other grassroots coalitions that they are working with, because there’s constantly actions going on and there’s constantly things that you can do and even if you live somewhere that isn’t a big city or whatever, you can link up with people in your community and do things virtually.

I mean, there’s so many things that we can do and even just spreading political knowledge and showing people Mexie’s videos that are really important because we need to actually get inspired and have optimism about the positive things that are going on around the world because it’s not all negative.  There are [inaudible] moves that should inspire us to take action as well, and that’s something that you can share as well, because your friends, families, and co-workers need to also not be filled with despair.  Waking to the world of political truths and kind of having your corporate media paradigm shattered can be like a very harrowing reality for people.  A lot of people just want to tune out completely and not follow the day-to-day ‘cause it’s too tiresome.

People don’t have time to parse through the headlines and find out what’s really going on, so follow the journalists that you want to learn those things from.  It’s our job to do those things, right, and spread our material because we’re compiling this data for you in order to spread this political knowledge.  Again, it comes back to media literacy and political education before we can actually build up movements that are effective.

MEXIE: Yeah, absolutely.  A shameless plug; if anyone wants some positive, leftist news, I have a whole channel for that.

ABBY: Yes, very important.

MEXIE: Yeah.  So, if anyone else has any final questions, you can drop them now.  Otherwise we can wrap up.  But yeah, this was so wonderful, Abby.  Thank you so much for coming on and talking about all of this with me.  It was super useful.  I think that it’s gonna be a great resource for people and hopefully will inspire people to join some of these grassroots organizations and start building networks, start building coalitions and to really fight US imperialism the whole rest of this administration because yeah, as you’ve said before, if we don’t — I mean, if we don’t fight this, if we don’t push Biden on domestic policy as well, then we’re gonna end up with a worse Trump figure in four years’ time.  Imperialism is such a key lynchpin in global capitalism, especially US imperialism, right?  So yeah, for all the revolutionaries out there, this is definitely something that we need to be doing in the next four years.  So yeah, thank you Abby again for coming on.

ABBY: Thank you so much, Mexie.  I really appreciate you having me.  [inaudible] know; it is very fun and invigorating to link up with like minds.  You don’t have to feel like you’re isolated [inaudible] and detached from the world.  It’s the most energizing thing ever to actually meet up with — all of my good friends are people who I have met through activism and through the movement in general, and it’s something that’s just super gratifying, you know?  It’s a beautiful thing, actually, to meet and work with the people who are passionate about making the world a better place and passionate about the issues that we’re talking about now and who can really have that anti-imperialist lens and perspective and who get it.  I just encourage everyone to get out of their comfort zone because we can’t afford to wait, really.

Like you just said, you perfectly just outlined how if Biden does nothing, and he even brags that he will do nothing, and if he indeed does nothing, the right will continue to get emboldened, the demagogues will continue to get strengthened because people will just gravitate toward who they think will actually change their material conditions, right?  Biden is literally saying he’ll change nothing about millions of people who are suffering.  So, where does that lead us?  That’s where we have to come in and fight like hell.  Fight like hell because millions of people can’t wait another day and we certainly can’t wait another day.  So, it’s up to us.  It’s up to us.  We’ve gotta build the movement, Mexie.

MEXIE: Yeah, and we can do it, we can do this.  We gotta do this.  [MUSIC] Alright, well thanks everyone.  This was a great stream.  Thank you for your questions and I will link all of where you can find Abby and her work in the description box below, and we will see you next time.  Bye, everybody.

ABBY: Bye, until next time.

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