Crawdads and Taters: Red State Rebels
By Erin McCarley and Birrion Sondahl
Crawdads and Taters: Red State RebelsAug 16, 2022
Hollywood Workers Strike as Atomic Truths Go Up in Smoke
As of recording this episode, the Hollywood Labor Strike is entering its seventh week. It's the first time actors and screenwriters have been on strike together since 1960. And while 87 percent of SAG-AFTRA union members make less than $26,000/year, Barbie and Oppenheimer, together, have so far grossed $1.83 billion at the box office. This is the real-life backdrop for the release of these two summer blockbuster movies.
In this episode, we focus on Hollywood's treatment of the atomic bomb in its recent blockbuster film, Oppenheimer. Because of the narrow focus of this film on Oppenheimer, the man, we feel it extremely urgent and necessary to teach a deeper history of the global and historical impacts of US nuclear proliferation.
According to the Union of Atomic Scientists, the doomsday clock is closer to midnight now (that is, closer to nuclear doomsday) than it’s ever been in human history. The United States has approved more than $120 billion (and counting) to Ukraine to fight a proxy war against Russia, while ramping up its hostile Cold War rhetoric against China. This corporate-backed government is taking us closer and closer to the brink of nuclear war with these two major nuclear superpowers. And it's important to remember that there’s only country in the world that has ever used a nuclear bomb against civilians, and that country is the United States.
At this incredibly volatile point in world history, we find many of Oppenheimer's historical omissions to be unforgivable. As entertaining as the film is, it is not the anti-war film that US audiences need in order to catalyze an anti-war movement and avoid WWIII. And given that so many people use Hollywood and the mass media as their main information source for US History, we feel compelled to clarify the historical record.
So join us for another episode, and become a patron at patreon.com/crawdadsandtaters.
Debt Ceiling "Crisis"- Manufactured Malarky to Enrich the Ruling Class and Starve the Poor
In this episode, we explore the manufactured debt-ceiling crisis of June 2023. Sold to the US public as a financial emergency that required immediate action in order to avoid impending doom and "the scourge of default," we look at what the debt-ceiling negotiations actually resulted in: a giant cash giveaway to big business, the war industry, fossil fuel companies and the ruling class. While feigning the need to cut federal spending across the board, military spending and funding for fossil fuel projects actually increased, while the US government slashed the budgets of the minuscule federal food stamp program and ended student debt relief. In addition, the bipartisan debt-ceiling deal included the legislative fast-tracking some of the most protested and lethal pipelines to people and the planet.
As the corporate duopoly marches in lockstep in their war on the working class, the poor, and the planet, there was almost no corporate media analysis of this phony crisis and the giant financial gift to the one-percent that resulted from these debt-ceiling negotiations, which is why we provide you with a deeper analysis here.
If you appreciate our in-depth reporting and analysis, please support our work and become a patron today at patreon.com/crawdadsandtaters.
- Ben Norton: Debt ceiling hypocrisy: US boosts military budget while restricting food stamps for poor
- CNN: Hear why Cornel West is running as a third-party candidate
- Insider News: The debt ceiling deal could lead to 750,000 older Americans losing SNAP benefits
- Appalachian Voices: Mountain Valley Pipeline
- Democracy Now: David Sirota: Working Class Will Be “Deeply Harmed” by Biden’s “Big Win” on Debt Ceiling
- DemocracyNow: “Turning His Back on Student Debtors”: Biden’s Debt Deal Ends Freeze on Loan Payments for Millions
- The Guardian: Protesters to march on White House as anger mounts over Appalachia pipeline
- Oil Change International: The Mountain Valley Pipeline: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Briefing
- Center for Biological Diversity: Biden Sacrifices Climate, Working Families in Debt Ceiling Deal
Mushroom Cloud in the Midwest and Neoliberalism’s multiple Trainwrecks
In this episode, we take a deep look at the Norfolk Southern train derailment in Palestine, Ohio on Feb. 3rd, and how this incident is connected to the corporate management of the railways– a topic that we dove into, in depth, in our last episode, Off The Rails.
The United States averages 1,700 train derailments per year. Since the disaster in East Palestine, there have been dozens more derailments to date. Norfolk Southern averages approximately 164 derailments and three hazardous material releases per year. This Ohio disaster was only exceptional–only widely reported – because of the incredibly dramatic, visceral and toxic nature of the event - a two-mile-long “bomb train” of 141 cars, holding up to 32,000 gallons each of highly flammable toxic chemicals. In addition to the spill, an out-of-control fire raged for days afterwards, sending the cargo up into a giant mushroom cloud above a small Ohio town of some 5,000 residents.
As East Palestine residents continue their battles with toxicity-related illnesses-- headaches, nausea, rashes, and chemical pneumonia, we look at the response from the Biden Administration, the Transportation Secretary, former President Trump, and compare these responses to the donations that both parties have received directly from Norfolk Southern.
On President's Day, the Proud Boys handed out water to Ohio victims whose water was poisoned. Trump promised Palestine residents they would not be forgotten. And Biden went to Ukraine to sell more weapons. It is in this upside-down world, we feel compelled to examine how Democratic failures to fight for the working-class continually create a vacuum and an opening for fascism.
And finally, we talk about what Railroad Workers United is still demanding after all these months- nationalization of the railroads. Perhaps this could be a first step on the path toward socialism.
Off the Rails: The Corporate Duopoly Betrays Railroad Workers
In this first episode of 2023, in the midst of ongoing US wars, pandemics and record inflation, we take a deep look at "the railroad strike that wasn't" in December 2022. In this US political moment, we see an uptick of strikes, walkouts and labor organizing inside the United States. And we feel it's crucial to hear from railroad workers directly in order to understand their working conditions, as well as the role the US government played in shutting down this strike- stripping workers of their democratic rights.
We take you through the timeline of railroad negotiations over the last three years, looking closely at the Biden Administration's use of the 1926 Railway Act as a strike-breaking tool, in the service of multi-billionaire railway carriers, lobbyists and their CEO's. In a time of record-breaking profits for the railway industry, we look at the basic demands of workers- a handful of paid sick time days that were denied to them through a bipartisan consensus.
We also take a lens to the corporate media's coverage of the railroad issue and examine its intensely corporate bias, as it relentlessly warns of economic disaster should workers strike, yet never reports on workers' demands.
Finally, we discuss the role of neoliberalism and the bipartisan betrayal of workers as a real political force pushing the country toward fascism. We hear from other socialists about the powerful history of US railroad strikes and what must be done today in terms of the labor movement and electoral politics in order to stop a fascist uprising and revitalize the labor movement inside the United States.
As always, we bring you this analysis from a socialist perspective, and we very much depend on your subscriptions to continue this podcast. Please become a patron today at patreon.com/crawdadsandtaters.
Roe Roe Roe your Boat toward the Revolution
In this dire situation, we use a class-based lens to look at who, in our system of racial capitalism, has had access to reproductive rights throughout US history and who has never had access, and we discuss abortion rights as an economic bread-and-butter issue.
We also do a brief overview of reproductive rights under socialist and communist countries, whose founding doctrines have long understood that socialism and communism cannot be consolidated without the liberation of women. As early as 1913, Vladimir Lenin was advocating for protecting women’s reproductive rights and warning us about the dangers of class war on poor and oppressed women if abortion was not free, safe, and legal.
Here in the United States, where health outcomes for poor and working-class women are terrible, where abortion rights have never been codified, and have been eroded year after year since our relatively late legalization of abortion in 1973, we finish by looking at the sad history of the Democratic Party in protecting these rights, while they simultaneously dangle those rights above our heads like a carrot, fundraising off of them.
Of course, as socialists, we know that you can't vote your way out of a corrupt political and economic system. And we recognize the repeal of Roe v. Wade as one of many fundamental human rights that will be casualties of class war, within this ongoing global shift toward fascism. If we can understand the loss of these and other rights within this context, we can also see the urgent necessity for international socialist, communist and anti-capitalist movements to unite in order to mobilize for this battle for reproductive justice, as just one of many battles that will require our unity and solidarity as we build a socialist revolution.
Reproductive Rights and the Fight Against Fascism
The Assistance, Not the Resistance
Overturning Roe: Slavery, Abortion, Maternal Mortality and the Disparate Effect on Women of Color
Abortion in Cuba vs US shows which country is truly democratic
Democrats Had 50 Years to Save and Protect “Roe.” They Failed.
The Hyde Amendment: Restricting Abortion Coverage for 40 Years
Indigenous women face extra barriers when it comes to reproductive rights
Abortion rights are economic rights
Dark Money Led To This Moment
Ukraine Part 3- Biden’s Armageddon and the Costs of Forever Wars
As Congress has approved almost $70 billion now in Ukraine spending and a more-than $800 billion US military budget for 2023, we look at the costs of "Forever Wars" - the financial, political, and ecological costs. And we examine how global capitalism, as a political-economic system, is becoming more and more dependent upon war-making to sustain itself.
As the new Cold War rages on, and Ukraine becomes more and more of a permanent US proxy state, we look at Biden’s threats against China as a history of peaceful US-China relations is shattered.
We also look at Biden’s escalating rhetoric against Cuba, Venezuela and other “failed states” that have in some way resisted the forces of global capitalism. We look at all of these provocations through the lens of military industrial profits and a declining US empire trying desperately to maintain unipolar world dominance.
And as Biden ramps up his nuclear rhetoric, now warning of Armageddon with Russia, we finish our history lesson on US interventionism in Ukraine— this time, starting from 2019 and going to February 24, 2022— the day that US and Western Media claim that history started.
Finally, given that war is one of the most carbon-intensive projects on the planet and the US cumulative emissions exceed those of any other country, we look at the environmental crisis as a crisis of military emissions— understanding that ending fossil-fuel-driven wars is absolutely essential if we are going to survive as a species in the midst of an ongoing ecological collapse.
The stakes are rising for all of us, and as socialists, we see a dire need for all of our movements to come together— international, working-class, anti-colonial, environmental, racial justice and anti-war movements. It’s all hands on deck now and perhaps our last hope for survival.
Ukraine Part 2 - From Maidan to Russiagate: Manufacturing Consent for World War III
In Part 2 of our series on Ukraine, we pick up with the history of Ukraine starting with the aftermath of the Maidan Coup in 2014. The post-coup government in Ukraine with hand-picked Prime Minister Yatsenyuk cozied up to the EU, IMF, and US and enacted a law targeting the Russian language. These actions led to widescale protests in predominantly Russian speaking areas of Ukraine. We explain how the story we hear in the western media has been mostly propaganda and that Crimea was not invaded by Russia, but voted by general ballot to join Russia. The same is true of the independent republics of Donetsk and Luhansk who held general referendums to breakaway from Ukraine after the coup government launched a bloody civil war targeting these regions in the Donbass.
And while Ukrainian neo-Nazi battalions carried out this war in the Donbass, then Vice-President Joe Biden was working closely with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to impose IMF structural adjustment programs on Ukraine. These programs were a direct war on the working class and only served to enrich corporate interests. One of these corporations, oil and gas company Burisma, appointed Hunter Biden to their board after Joe Biden visited Ukraine. The Poroshenko/Biden friendship is one rife with corruption.
The current proxy war in Ukraine was set up by the Maidan coup, orchestrated by Jake Sullivan, Victoria Nuland, and Joe Biden under an Obama presidency. The actions of Joe Biden under the Obama administration make it clear that this was set up to be continued under Hillary after 2016, though the strategy changed when Hillary was defeated. Russiagate was created to prepare the public for this war against Russia. The media-military-industrial-complex is complicit in creating this tragedy, which could have been avoided if the US had just left Ukraine alone.
2010 Ukrainian presidential election -To give you an idea of the historical political divide in Ukraine, here is an article on the electoral split during the 2010 national election between Yanukovych and Tymoshenko. Yanukovych was democratically elected, even though he was heavily opposed by NATO and the West. This map shows how the Eastern regions of Ukraine, including the Donbass, Crimea, and Odessa (where a majority speak and identify as Russian) went heavily for Yanukovich while the more Western, EU-affiliated regions of Ukraine voted for Tymoshenko.
The IMF connection with the Ukraine crisis - Details on how the IMF uses loans to impose neoliberal austerity measures
Revealing Ukraine: Documentary by Oliver Stone - An important documentary on the aftermath of the Maidan, featuring Oliver Stone interviewing Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk
Time Documentary: Inside A White Supremacist Militia in Ukraine
Joe Biden Delivers Remarks to Ukrainian Parliament- Dec. 2015 - Joe Biden addresses Ukrainian parliament
Former Ukraine president returns to Kyiv to face treason charges - Former Ukrainian President Poroshenko charged with treason over his corrupt actions as president
Ukraine Part 1 - A US-Proxy for the New Cold War Era
In Part I of our Ukraine series, we take a deep dive into the history of US interventionism in Ukraine from the dissolution of the Soviet Union to the present. We feel that this history provides essential context for understanding the current US position in reigniting a Cold War with Russia (and China). As leftists, we know that capitalist wars are always waged on behalf of the ruling class and against the world's poor and working classes, and against the natural world.
The fact that this crucial political history is omitted by the mainstream corporate media is no accident. It is deliberately missing, and anyone who dares to bring it up will be shadow-banned on social media, de-platformed, outright censored, or labelled as a Kremlin propagandist-- all of this in order to prevent the public from understanding the true geopolitical and capitalist nature of the US proxy war in Ukraine, as a staging ground for a potentially decades-long global war against people and the planet.
The first casualty of war is the truth, and we are in the midst of a Media Cold War. As independent journalists, Crawdads & Taters is asking for your support. The corporate media has shut down all critical debate and become a megaphone for the "uni-party"-- Democrats and Republicans (neo-liberals and neo-conservatives) all representing the same for-profit interests of the military industrial complex. This uni-party has pulled off a massive PR feat. It has weaponized public sympathy toward Ukrainians in order to reinvigorate a Cold War of unprecedented historical and financial dimensions, and unprecedented global risks: WWIII, nuclear war, and an imminent climate collapse that is already in progress, but will be accelerated with the expanded use of fossil-fuels-- something that war always requires.
So join us for this critical discussion and become a patron to support our rebellious work at https://www.patreon.com/crawdadsandtaters. We can do this with you, but not without you.
6. The Best Way to Fight Fascism is to Fight Neoliberalism
In this episode, we want to expand on our last episode, where we described what neoliberalism is, and the resulting economic inequality and class resentment that has been brewing across the global political spectrum, following 40-plus years of global capitalism and neoliberalism. Today, we want to make the case for why opposing neoliberalism is necessary in order to defeat fascism.
"A government that delivers for people inoculates them against the appeals of fascist demagogues." - Nathan J. Robinson
We can see, throughout recent world history, when economic inequality is surging and working-class resentment is high, fascist and right-wing demagogues are able to use conservative social values, religious conservatism, patriarchy, white supremacy, settler colonialism (in the case of the United States), and imperialism to rally their conservative base in order to obtain political power. And once in power, they enact hyper-capitalist agendas that deprive the working-class of basic material needs and shift the political spectrum to the right, while enriching transnational capitalists.
Conversely, when socialist, indigenous, and working-class movements take hold politically, and there is a redistribution of wealth across classes, as well as a strong social safety net for everyone, fascists are not able to get a foothold politically, and their movements tend to dissipate or go underground.
This is why we argue that opposing neoliberalism and supporting international working-class movements, as well as indigenous and abolition movements, is absolutely essential for countering global fascism and a global police state.
5. What is Neoliberalism?
Crawdads and Taters have an impromptu discussion on the definition of Neoliberalism, a few ways it has played out in the US and global economy, and how it paves the way for modern-day fascism.
- Operation Gatekeeper and the Birth of Border Militarization
- From 1994-2014, over 10,000 refugees have died attempting to cross the border. Crossing Over: Enrique Morales, Founder of Border Angels Talks the on Border Crisis and How We Can Stop It, 2014.
- How U.S. Policy Turned the Sonoran Desert Into a Graveyard for Migrants, New York Times, 2020.
- In Juarez, women just disappear, 2011
- Death in the Sands: The Horror of the US-Mexico Border
Stop Enbridge Line 3
Neoliberal Trade Deals fueling the “immigration crisis”
- NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), 1994
- TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership), (2016, but defeated by global grassroots movements)
- PPP (Plan Puebla Panama), 2001
- CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement), 2005
Reagan and privatization
- Reagan Plan to Privatize Government Is Gaining Support From Democrats, 1988
- The History of Privatization: How an Ideological and Political Attack on Government Became a Corporate Grab for Gold
- Key word of new budget: 'Privatization'
- Privatization is at the Core of Fascism
- Bipartisan Senate Infrastructure Plan Is a Stalking Horse for Privatization
Germany and Forced Labor
Biden and Deportation
4. Only Revolutionary Class Struggle can Dismantle Racial Capitalism. (CRT Part 2)
In this second part of a two-part series on Critical Race Theory, Crawdads & Taters review the way CRT, like many once-radical US social movements, has been largely captured by neoliberalism and its funding institutions, stripping it of its original class politics and its revolutionary potential for broad-based political transformation. We also review popular anti-racist literature like Ibram X. Kendi's "How to be an Anti-Racist" and imagine what Critical Race Theory might have looked like today had it maintained a solid anti-capitalist analysis over the last several decades. Finally, we offer up the work of a few key movement leaders, as a way to uplift today's revolutionary voices in the anti-capitalist, anti-racist and abolitionist left.
Blackshirts and Reds by Michael Parenti
Trump Says Go Back, We Say Fight Back by Robin DG Kelley
Ruth Wilson Gilmore - famous abolitionist
Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor - journalist, professor, author
Marc Lamont Hill - journalist, professor, activist, abolitionist
Robin DG Kelley - professor, author, activist
Derecka Purnell - legal scholar, activist, abolitionist
Nick Estes - professor, revolutionary Lakota leader
Cedric Robinson - activist, author of Black Marxism
Assata Shakur - revolutionary, BPP member
WEB DuBois - sociologist, scholar
3. Chris Rufo and the Right-Wing are Making Bank off Critical Race Theory while Building a Fascist Movement (CRT Part 1)
In this first part of a two-part series on Critical Race Theory, Crawdads & Taters discuss what Critical Race Theory is, who's behind the war on Critical Race Theory, who's profiting from it, and how US public education is again being endangered by white-supremacist authoritarian movements to white-wash history. We also discuss how this "white-lash" fits into a broader US political terrain where the Republican Party is shifting further and further toward fascism in order to maintain political power.
Critical Race Theory (Third Edition) by Richard Delgado
Marc Lamont Hill Interviews Key Opponent of Critical Race Theory Marc Lamont Hill vs Chris Rufo
2. HR1's Poison Pills and the Ratcheting of the Overton Window with Boss Tweed and Reagan Democrats
We look at how Democratic bills like HR-1, while purporting to rescue “democracy” from Republican attacks on voting rights, simultaneously increase the corporate funding of our elections, shifting more power to the ruling-class and further eliminating the chances of third parties to meaningfully participate in the US electoral system. We also talk about the Ratchet effect and the Overton Window, using HR-1 as an example of how these rightward political shifts are constantly happening in real time.
Please consider becoming a sustaining member of Crawdads & Taters at https://www.patreon.com/crawdadsandtaters
1. What the Ruling Class doesn't want us to remember about the Black Panthers
Crawdads & Taters briefly review the new film Judas and the Black Messiah, as well as recent news revelations about Fred Hampton's assassination. With so much media coverage around the Black Panthers lately, why do we never hear about the Panthers' founding ideology as a Marxist, socialist organization? Fifty-plus years after Hampton's murder, why is it still taboo to tell the truth about who the Black Panthers actually were? What is the role of these corporate media omissions in obfuscating US social movement history? And what might our current political movements stand to gain, if we revealed and thoroughly discussed the class-based analysis that the Panthers utilized? Could an honest telling of this radical social movement history become a guide and an anchor for leftist social movements today?
Please consider becoming a sustaining member of Crawdads & Taters at https://www.patreon.com/crawdadsandtaters
Fred Hampton: Black Panther and red revolutionary by Sean Ledwith
Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panthers by Bobby Seale
Huey P. Newton (1942-1989) by Craig Collisson
0. Welcome to Crawdads and Taters
Your Crawdads and Taters hosts interview each other to answer the question: Why this podcast, and why now?
Erin McCarley is an independent photographer, journalist and filmmaker, based in the foothills outside Denver, Colorado. With a master’s degree in photojournalism from UT Austin, her still photography, videos and writing have been published by Common Dreams, CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Due Dissidence, Yes! Magazine, the Denver Westword, TeleSUR, Free Speech TV in Boulder, CO, KLRU TV in Austin, TX, The Christian Science Monitor, the MIT Press, the Ford Foundation, Science Daily, The Daily Texan, the University of Texas, and various non-profit organizations. Bilingual in English and Spanish, she has worked as a freelance reporter in Mexico, Guatemala and Venezuela.
Birrion Sondahl is a former Bernie 2020 super volunteer, canvasser, text sweeper, and national delegate. He was also the campaign coordinator for Arn Menconi's 2020 State Senate primary. He is an activist currently living in Dillon, Colorado. He has a bachelor's degree in Military History from American Military University and has been published in Military History Online, Due Dissidence, Dissident Voice, and Real Progressives. He currently writes a column with Real Progressives.
Please consider becoming a sustaining member of Crawdads & Taters at https://www.patreon.com/crawdadsandtaters