By Sam Ka Blam
In this these times of general whatthefuckery, it’s a lot harder to access zines than it used to be. Many of us are trapped inside sheltering from wildfire smoke, deadly pandemics, and freaky-ass cops. It’s hard to get down to the local anarchist library or zine fest midst all this dystopian reality.
Recently, some comrades heard I’d be been listening to NPR (out of sheer boredom), and they were like, “What the fuck are you doing listening to the corporate goo? — We’re in a golden age of radical podcasts!”
Podcasts are totally free, and you can download apps to listen on your phone or other devices (all of which spy on us but at this point I guess we don’t care anymore?)
Here are some radical podcasts worth checking out:
Srsly Wrong – Leftist Utopia Comedy Podcast
Between lighthearted discussions of theory, they’ve got comedy sketches that will make even the most hardened doom punk giggle. Their sketch about trying to administer first aid via consensus had me LMFAOing while also processing some deep-held anarchist meeting trauma… Laughing at ourselves can be healthy, actually. And SRSLY Wrong hits the sweet spot of being funny while also caring about the community and bringing thoughtful tactical critique to the table.
The show is also mirthfully anti-vanguardist, poking fun at anyone who would try to centralize power within our movements with recuring sketches like “Revolutionary Vanguardist Country Club.” The subtle Bookchin references are also great — they make a good case for why we need to all be talking about Bookchin’s philosophy of social ecology, as practiced in Rajova and Cooperation Jackson. This show is like having a box of anarchist cheerleaders in your pocket, saying, “Let’s have fun while organizing with our neighbors and building local community — yay!” Maybe comedy is the way anarchists needed to be doing discourse all along?
A good starter episode is “Revolutionary Prefiguration w/Anark” (11/04/21) and also “Reading Black Anarchists w/St. Andrew” (10/01/21).
Solidarity House Cooperative
Imagine if anarcho-communists had their own reality show? That’s kind of what’s trying to happen here — it’s a charming attempt to invite you into the daily lives and conversation of an actual worker co-op / commune community they are building in Wyoming.
Segments undulate between home improvement discussions and movement discourse based in anti-capitalist, anti-imperial, anti-racist, anti-authoritarian analyses. The show kinda reminds me of the Hellarity House dinner table: You never know who’s going to show up and start eating your potatoes and then blow your mind with a reportback from some corner of the empire before inviting you out back to help them fix their hippy bus.
Break Dances with Wolves – Indigenous Pirate Radio
Breakdances With Wolves is a podcast by three Indigenous folks from different tribes — Gyasi Ross (Blackfoot/Suquamish), (Lakota Sioux), and Minty LongEarth (Santee/Creek/ Choctaw) — under the byline “a few Natives with opinions and a platform.” They explore every topic you can think of, from hiphop to environmental law to pronouns. Very pirate radio vibes.
Sometimes their politics aren’t perfect, but the hosts work to explore and expand on ideas outside of their experiences, so listeners can grow and work through stuff with them. There’s a great discourse about the tension between Indigenous sovereignty and anti-imperialism — the hosts don’t try to resolve this tension with easy answers. Sometimes the movement is a work in progress, and this show embodies that.
BDW has been taking a break since the start of COVID (hopefully they will be back soon), but the back-episodes are really worth checking out. Two nice episodes to start with are “Ep. 123: Native Rights, Fish, Water & Lawsuits: A Roundtable Discussion” or maybe “Ep. 130: Media, Storytelling & Owning The Narrative.”
The Plague Podcast by LM Bogad
Here’s a podcast by anarchist author and guerilla theatre performer LM Bogad — you might know him from work with the Yes Men, CIRCA, #OilyWellsFargo, and The SF Mime Troupe. When the pandemic hit, street theatre suddenly got a lot more dangerous, so LM made a podcast as a way to signal-boost important voices and ideas in the movement.
Each episode discusses a different aspect of the true plague (spoiler alert: it’s capitalism), and includes a dinner table conversation with folks who are working on creative solutions to systemic problems. The worker co-op episode is a fun place to start: “Episode 7: The Plague of Worker Expendability with Sabiha Basrai and Ricardo Nuñez.” Also the interview with a mime is pretty good in “Episode 5: The Plague of Orwellian Fear, Division, and Denial of Data and Science, with Michael Gene Sullivan.”
Next Economy Now – LIFT Economy
Ready to yeet capitalism and create a new economy? This podcast is full of radical tactics for how to get from here to there — at scale. Each week, they interview folks enacting better worlds through a variety of tactics, from designing post-capitalist currencies to writing utopian fiction to creating networks of worker co-ops. Recent interviews have included awesome conversations with adrienne maree brown, Autumn Brown, and Resmaa Menakem. This is the kind of stuff that will get you fired up and excited to try out some of these new ideas. Also, the Kevin Bayuk episode (“Is Cryptocurrency “Good” For The Next Economy?”) should be required listening for any anarchist who still thinks Bitcoin is a good idea (spoiler alert: it’s not).
Yeet the corporate voices from your earbuds! Check out a radical podcast today!
If there is a radical podcast you think we should review, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.