Tag Archives: leftism

Conspiracy! Stigma! Loneliness! I talk with Jon Ronson on AEWCH 163.

14 Sep

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Friends,

I’m so excited to share this episode (and its long intro about revolution and violence!) with journalist, author, and filmmaker Jon Ronson.

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Jon, read his books, of course. But also you can go to his website, and find his series The Butterfly Effect as well as The Last Days of August on Audible. You can also watch Jon’s collaboration with Parasite director Bong-Joon Ho, Okja. And here’s Jon’s semi-autobiographical movie (featuring Michael Fassbender), Frank.

• To listen to and support the Bad Faith podcast – hosted by Briahna Joy Gray and Virgil Texas – go to their patreon.

• Here’s AEWCH 15 on anti-fascism, featuring Mark Bray.

• I was very much into the Disinfo group – Richard Metzger, AEWCH 125 guest Doug Rushkoff, Grant Morrison, and more – a sort of leftist countercultural current that lived comfortably with conspiracy.

• My former doctor, Thomas Cowan, was really amazing, but I have thought about and concluded that he lost his way in the global pandemic. His older books, however, are still quite profound.

• “If YouTube’s algorithms radicalize people, it’s hard to tell from the data

• As far as search engines’ usefulness in understanding culture, I talked about this a bit on AEWCH 115 with Joanne McNeill.

• The first AEWCH episode of the year, AEWCH 136, was about the pandemic of certainty.

Until next time, friends,

CH

Talking about my old job with Dr. Heather Berg (author of Porn Work: Sex, Work, and Late Capitalism) on AEWCH 147!

6 Apr

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Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon Thank you so, so much.

Buy Heather’s amazing book and the books mentioned on and related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 147 on bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback

Friends,

Obviously pornography has been a profound and important part of my life, as a viewer, a performer, and an activist for sex workers’ rights, particularly the rights and quality of life of porn performers.

Seeing it from that many angles, and considering each carefully, I derived so much value from pornography – but I notice, of course, that many (most?) people can’t access that value. One of the main obfuscating forces is that porn always turns into an “issue” to take sides on, and generally what side is taken depends exclusively on how someone is thinking about the content of what’s on the screen and their feelings about it.

Rarely is porn viewed as commonwealth of value and interest in its own right. This especially affects the lives of performers who are considered a special class of workers not subject to the rights that others have who are stigmatized in culture and relationships, whose perspectives as laborers are devalued, whose voices are silenced, and whose autonomy and sovereignty are met with state violence, state regulation, and ideological oppression.

When I was scheduled to meet this episode’s guest, Dr. Heather Berg, for the first time, way back in 2014, I was cynical, I suppose. (But maybe cynical is too harsh a word – maybe justifiably skeptical is better.) She’d set up an interview with me for her academic research. At the time, I’d been poked and prodded by academics, journalists, and others many times in invasive ways. It’s something that happens to all sex workers who have any sort of visible and public voice – the academics come to study you. And often it’s with a substantial amount of arrogance, they forget that sex workers’ lives validate the existence of academic research, not that academic research validates sex workers lives.

But Heather was different – it’s not just that she wasn’t annoying, it’s that she was interesting, provocative in the best sense of the word, she was warm, and she also listened. My friends in porn and I talked to each other about her – “hey, she’s kind of getting it right, she’s listening to us.” It was a completely different feeling.That interview eventually became part of her new book, Porn Work: Sex, Labor, and Late Capitalism – which is the best book on porn ever written by someone who isn’t a porn performer. And I’m not just stating that because I’m quoted in it!

Heather took us at our word and used it to map out what we can learn about fighting capitalism, abolishing work, and ending the brutal wage labor relationship from porn performers and how they navigate all of that.

This episode was special for me it felt like a homecoming, finding each other after 2014; Heather and I following up on the interview. That said, as a result of that interview we became close friends after, and collaborators: We co-authored the article “The Problem With Sex Work Is Work” and you may remember Heather from her appearance (with performer Sovereign Syre) on AEWCH 69.We continue to collaborate: Heather and I are doing an event with Kathi Weeks, among others, as part of Red May, a celebration of radical art and thought. I’ll post the actual details when they’re available, but keep an eye out for it!

But also reading her book was a reminder of the work I lived in then, the performers, the work, the comrades I’d made, as well as what was at stake and remains at stake for sex workers, and for all of us when sex workers are subjected to state violence and drowned out by ideologues

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Why is porn work so often left out of sex work politics and activism?
  • The tangle of libertarianism, anarchism, and socialism in sex worker politics
  • The Marxist problem with pleasure
  • You don’t have to be miserable to be an activist
  • Managers can shutup, thx
  • Why disassociation is a skill, and even one that supports Marxism
  • Is porn racist?
  • Can Marxism give us the answers to cultural questions about sex?
  • How I shot a scene by talking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • That part where I make Heather cry
  • The value of the Ljubljana school of psychoanalysis in looking at labor
  • Is there such a thing as a “privileged” sex worker?
  • Why decriminalization of sex work is not enough
  • Why we need to let go of the “last resort thesis” of sex work

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Heather, here’s her website. And here’s she and I talking on Snoop Dog’s network (yes, really!) about sex, work, and politics.

• For my other episodes on porn, here’s AEWCH 124 with performer Ty Mitchell, AEWCH 88 with performer (and my one-time scene partner) Johnny Hazzard, the aforementioned AEWCH 69 with Heather and Sovereign Syre, and AEWCH 38 with performer Missy Martinez.

• Heather mentions the work of Mireille Miller-Young and Ariane Cruz as feminists doing good work on representation in porn that elides the fantasy of the white viewer. (I’ve linked to their books in the booklist!)

Herschel Savage is a classic straight porn performer, and he’s also kind of a great guy and features heavily in Heather’s book.

• I wrote about Chris Hedges and all the phony anti-sex worker leftists and feminists in my essay, “If You’re Against Sex Work, You’re A Bigot

• Here’s that time I was on Chapo Trap House talking about sex work.

Jon Ronson‘s audible series, The Butterfly Effect, is a great effort to depict porn and porn performer’s lives.

• Here’s Bob Black’s excellent essay, “The Abolition of Work” which was a formative influence on younger me. I mention this in my anti-work solo episode, AEWCH 85.

• I talked about some of the challenges facing porn earlier in the year on Doug Rushkoff’s podcast, Team Human.

• You’ll need JSTOR access for these, but here’s Joel Robbins’s essay “Beyond the Suffering Subject” and Heather’s essay, “Left of #MeToo.”

Hacking/Hustling does great stuff and holds great events for all issues surrounding but also new visions of sex workers’ lives and struggles.

Until next time, friends, here’s me as a huge stereotype.
XO
CH

We need mutual now, and tomorrow, too. So I talked to mutual aid, anarchist, trans activist Dean Spade on AEWCH!

10 Nov

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This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you very much, friend.

Want tobuy the books mentioned on this ep? For the books mentioned and some related to what we discuss, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 131 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
I used to say, when people asked me what my best political tactics were: that they were like the moment in a Bugs Bunny cartoon when Bugs Bunny is chased down a dead end alley and finds himself against a brick wall.
What does he do?
He pulls out a piece of chalk and draws a door and then walks through it. In other words, it’s not a compromise or a pleading with the apparent conditions, or begging his abuser not to harm him. He realizes he has the tools to walk away and out of the situation he’s in.It’s not a perfect metaphor of course, but this is what mutual aid offers, the tools to achieve the impossible.
And now is a moment of mutual aid. People helping each other. People forming community groups to tend to each other’s urgent needs. Networks that help the shut in and elderly get food. Ride shares. Local market pop ups. Checking in on your neighbors. Rent strikes. Protests against the murder of black people. Solidarity groups.
That is what I wanted my politics to be – a complete contrast to the luxuriant parties inspired by phony savior governments. I knew I needed to talk about mutual aid, and I knew that Dean Spade was the person to talk to.
Dean Spade is the author of the new book, Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (And the Next). He’s the founder of the founder of Sylvia Rivera Law Project which works to help create conditions to help people thrive while self-determining their gender identity and expression, and his other book Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of the Law, which identifies the many ways in which rights struggles that look to permission from the state and law fall short. He’s also a professor at Seattle University School of Law.
We go deep into why mutual aid matters, what it means, why we need it right now, and how to start mutual aid projects with people who are difficult to organize with. You know, those people you find political objectionable but who live nearby and aren’t going to simply disappear!If you want a quick primer on mutual aid, check out the short animate film Dean made with Ciro Carillo, “Shit’s Totally Fucked! What Can We Do?: A Mutual Aid Explainer.” Even just that 8 minute long video is inspiring!
The conversation goes into many surprising and challenging places, like, should leftists critique drug companies? Do we own our bodies? Why are US politics so dependent on keeping people anxious? Why does the left always seem so miserable and can we bring joy and pleasure back into organizing? How is mutual aid a form of practicing utopia? What are we talking abut when we say freedom and does that have a spiritual component?
I’m so happy to share this (great!) conversation with you.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • How to organize with people who have completely different world views
  • The reason we need pleasure as a call to activism
  • The difference between displaying happiness and happiness itself
  • What is freedom, and how do we know it when it’s happening?
  • Can we become free with materialism in place?
  • What are the limits of mutual aid?
  • How Democrats (*ahem* Kamala) exploit LGBT, black and non-black PoC suffering to recuperate power where it’s lost
  • The stunted emotional development that is part and parcel of American politics
  • Why we need to develop morality
  • Why tautologies like “love is love” “sex work is work” and “trans women are women” are helpful but often end up hitting a wall
  • The power of sex and the construction of masculinity
  • The ways people are signaling I LOVE SCIENCE and why the left has no lens for it

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Dean, check out his website, which has tons of great stuff on it, including this excellent lecture, “When We Win We Lose” and his documentary about the ways Israel tires to cover up some of its crimes against Palestinians by exploiting LGBT rights: Pinkwashing Exposed. If Mutual Aid is sold out on bookshop.org, you can get the ebook directly from Verso.
• A lot of my other conversations come up on this episode. Including AEWCH 120 with political theorist Michael Hardt, AEWCH 15 with antifascist Mark Bray, and about the problems with identity politics on AEWCH 26 with Asad Haider. Also, I talked about the problems with fighting to let trans people in the military with trans author and activist Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore on AEWCH 57.
• Want an intro to wild utopian thinker Charles Fourier? Here’s my easy to read essay on his work.
• Mutual aid is a term that probably predates Peter Kropotkin – late 19th/early 20th century anarchist – but he’s a good start. His book Mutual Aid can be found in this collection of his work.

• I haven’t yet read organizer and philosopher Cynthia Kaufman‘s Ideas for Action: Relevant Theory for Radical Change, but it looks awesome. Let me know if you read it before I do!
• You can hear David Graeber and I talk about supernatural politics (though not so much the bit I bring up on this episode) on AEWCH 99.
• I’m not familiar with Jem Bendell’s work about environmental concerns, but it had an affect on Dean, so here’s a link to his paper, “Deep Adaptation.
• Here’s a round up (and thankful repudiation) of the stupid “gay bars are sites of violation” articles that came out when gay men were clambering to be part of the #MeToo movement.
• I wrote about the origins of masturbation shame way back when I thought Vice was cool (phew!).
• If you’re worried about the virus, here’s that WIRED article about why surfaces are safe.
• The Jane Ward book Dean mentions is Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men and gosh, I’ve just got to read it.
• The organization I was Vice President of for two years is The Adult Performer Advocacy Committee. It’s still around and just saw some tweets from them today about mutual aid, of all things!
Until next time friends, take care of each other!
CH

I explain why the occult+new age+witchcraft can help leftist projects on Pod Damn America!

5 Nov

Friends,

You know how I hate when people falsely claim that the occult is a fascist or new age project. Since…well…it isn’t. But the left is woefully unequipped to explore or understand why, so they often just say dumb stuff.

So when my buddy Jake Flores made inaccurate comments about theosophy on twitter, I corrected him and, well, he invited me onto his leftist podcast, Pod Damn America!

The results were pretty great. I got to talk about Pascal Beverly Randolph, diss Sylvia Federici, and defend homeopathy all on one podcast! We start around 38:00, and have a pretty substantial conversation.

Listen by clicking above or here.

Enjoy,

CH

My first scene (er, podcast) with Ty Mitchell! AEWCH 124

16 Sep

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercast  • Soundcloud

Friends, does this show have value to you?
If so, I ask that you support it on Patreon! The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is vital and deeply appreciated!Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 124 on bookshop.org! It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
It’s been a long time since I made a porn scene for public consumption that I got paid for and so much about production has changed since then. I was used to doing studio scenes for Raging Stallion and Hot House and Falcon and Joe Gage, but now things have shifted over to an Only Fans performer-produced model.
And while I’m so happy that workers have partially seized the means of production, so to speak, I’m not so sure I want to, uh, seize them myself.
I’m focusing on other things, and I’m also expressing myself in ways that are a bit more interesting to me.
But the fact remains that it is the most widespread and available medium for performers and viewers now. Because I stopped my just over 7 year porn career before these platforms existed, and because the world is changed, there are so many new challenges and enthusiams and tactics navigated by performers now.
So I asked adult performer and writer Ty Mitchell onto the show. Ty is a brilliant performer and an articulate and thoughtful writer. His scenes give you the sense of an immediate quality of performance, and his essays, including the now classic “Boy Problems,” about navigating age and power differentials in gay experience, have given so many of us so much to think about.
This is a long episode and for good reason: there’s SO much to talk about when it comes to sex, especially in our moment.Ty has emerged as one of the most thoughtful voices on gay sex & culture; and I’m so glad he has because we need people that can take this movement, and conversations that come out of it forward.
This will give you a glimpse of where he’s going and the fact that he’s so articulate that many will join hands and follow him there.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The guilt and doubt that follows pleasure
  • The mystification of porn production
  • The exploitative practices of self-produced scenes
  • The intensities of power differentials in sex
  • The reasons why women and gay men have trouble seeing eye to eye
  • The constitutive elements of homophobia
  • How should we view incest arousal?
  • Working class men in adult scenes
  • Joe Gage’s directing style vs other directors, and why the aesthetics matter
  • The expressiveness in performed sex
  • The benefits and perils of repetitive sex
  • The “mystery date” aspect of escorting
  • Queer freedom through blundering
  • The difficulties of rejecting and being rejected

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Ty, including his adult work, here’s his (SFW) account on twitter. Here’s his excellent essay on gay sex during the global crisis, and his essay on cruising basements, both for his column at MEL Magazine.

• I’ve talked about sex directly on the show many times, including about consent with Katherine Angel on AEWCH 101, about the good of adult work with Missy Martinez on AEWCH 38 and the not-so-good with Johnny Hazzard on AEWCH 88. About sex addiction and the problem of sex & culture on AEWCH 56. And with Whores of Yore historian Kate Lister on AEWCH 102 among others!

• I talked on a panel with other performers about consent in porn years ago.• Stoya’s disclosure that James Deen assaulted her was an intense but necessary event for the adult industry (and all involved, of course). It was also a forerunner of the #MeToo movement.

• Remember when Homeland Security raided the escorting hub rentboy?

• We talk a lot about Joe Gage on this episode. If you don’t know him, he’s a revolutionary director, and you should check into his work, whether you watch gay porn or not. Here’s a thorough interview with him in BUTT Magazine. Also, you can watch me watching one of my own Joe Gage scenes (from After the Heist which I had three scenes in and which became Joe’s best selling film ever for Dragon Video) with a straight guy from Buzzfeed. It’s funny, gotta say.

• Probably the best-known thing I’ve written so far is “What I Want To Know Is Why You Hate Porn Stars,” about the challenges of navigating a relationship while making porn and how that relates to anti-porn sentiment in culture.

• I talk about the intensity of desire and repetition with Maggie Nelson (still can’t believe I had that conversation!) on AEWCH 95.

Until next time friends,

XO
CH

Joe & Sam Gage

Dreaming of post-work utopias with Kathi Weeks on AEWCH 123!

9 Sep

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercast  • Soundcloud
Friends,
Does this show have value to you? If so, I ask that you support it on Patreon! The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is vital and deeply appreciated!
Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 123 on bookshop.org! It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
As so many people face unemployment and uncertainty, many are also asking: how did it get to be this bad?
Instead of only scrambling for jobs – which many no doubt have to do in this time anyway – can we also take the time to reflect on the role of work and its function in our lives? How did we get entrenched in this insidious wage-labor relationship, where we are servants to that most repulsive of phrases, “making a living.” We have a living, we have lives, how dare tis relationship between wages and labor overlay itself onto life and pretend it is life?
To talk about all of this, I invited political theorist, feminist, author, and philosopher Kathi Weeks onto the show. Kathi is the author of two short but profound books: The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries and Constituting Feminist Subjects. The former elucidates the entire anti-work ethos from a Marxist feminist perspective, and uses a tactic to dismantle the crazed attachment we have to a “work ethic”: utopia. What if we employed utopia as a tactic against work to open new ways forward. And the latter shows how we can find solidarity and generate new tactics that we learn from our differing standpoints.
This is a great anti-work, pro-utopia episode, friends.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The way a “sick day” enforces an identity
  • The problem of “just do what you love”
  • The problem with (sex work is) work
  • Making sure we critique work without dragging everything into class reductionism
  • How post-work politics come from work
  • The uses of utopia (and where Kathi and I limit our ideas of utopia)
  • Why the demand to know the future is counterrevolutionary
  • Living in a time of critique without proposition
  • The promise and pitfalls of universal basic income (UBI)

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Kathi, here’s her great essay, “Down with Love,” on how our views of love inform our views of work; here’s Kathi’s spirited defense of universal basic income as a PDF; and you can watch her on a panel with AEWCH 120 guest Michael Hardt, Peter Frase, and Charles Mudede here.

• For more on postwork and anti-work action/theory, well, I’ve talked a whole lot about it on the show, and from many different angles: including talking about idleness AEWCH 89 with philosopher Brian O’Connor, a solo episode – AEWCH 85 – Abolish Work,” AEWCH 83 with Franco Bifo Berardi, AEWCH 69 with Sovereign Syre and Dr. Heather Berg, and briefly on AEWCH 99 with the late and great David Graeber.

• For some reason, Miya Tokumistu’s book, Do What You Love and Other Lies About Success And Happiness is not on bookshop.org, so I’ve linked to it here for you. And here’s her article, “The United States of Work.”

• For more on lines of flight, check out the work of Felix Guattari (pictured below), particularly the book entitles, aptly for your purposes – Lines of Flight.

• Here’s a short essay on the Wages for Housework campaign in the Nation. And Sylvia Federici’s great (but also for me challenging) quote is, “We want to call work what is work so that eventually we might rediscover what is love.”

• For more on problems with the family, check out AEWCH106 with Sophie Lewis!

• Here’s my essay on anti-work/sex work with Heather Berg, “The Problem with Sex Work is Work.” And here’s my introductory essay to utopianist Charles Fourier.

• I love Kathi’s quote here – “The utopian practice is…a practice of expanding time.”

• A great Wittgenstein quote about the future: “When we think of the world’s future, we always mean the destination it will reach if it keeps going in the direction we can see it going in now; it does not occur to us that its path is not a straight line but a curve, constantly changing direction.”

• For more on prison abolition, you can’t do much better than following Mariame Kaba on twitter and checking into the resources she shares.

Until next time, friends, don’t work too hard!

XO
CH

Abolish Silicon Valley! On fighting technocracy with Wendy Liu on AEWCH 114.

23 Jun


Against Everyone With Conner Habib · AEWCH 114: WENDY LIU or AGAINST TECHNOCRACY
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Thank you for your support in this time, friends. This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. If the show is keeping you company and making you think or inspiring creativity, please give what you can.

Contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon! Thank you so, so much.

Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 114 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.
AEWCH114TitleCard

Friends,

 

Collectively, the world is waking up to the problems of big tech, and the challenges that lay ahead. But to understand what the problems are, and how to overcome them, we need guides, particularly guides who have been through the anti-life equation of tech themselves and somehow managed to not become deadened by it.

So I knew the best to talk to would be Wendy Liu, Bay Area software engineer and start up founder, and now the author of Abolish Silicon Valley, a practical memoir about awakening within and then challenging tech.

With a book title like that, Wendy’s stance on tech has obviously changed since the start of her career. Her public presence now focuses on revealing turn after turn of unsound ethics, structural inequality, the problems with data gathering, and even darker impulses in tech. To that end, Wendy and I talk about what’s happening now, how theory and activism can help with what’s coming, and lots more. This is a great episode, and I’m so happy to share it with you.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Why tech workers can’t “change things from the inside”
  • How tech used to solve the problems of centralized “analog” forms of power, and what happened
  • The collective discontent with tech
  • The way identity politics issues in tech
  • The evil embedded in tech itself and how to spot it without becoming a luddite
  • Theory language vs coding language and how code completes the inner state for you
  • My goofy undergraduate hot-guys-on-geocities site
  • Why the pandemic regulations aren’t exactly new conditions
  • Repression and oppression as a tactic for tech
  • The pitfalls of tech socialism (and Wendy says, “Conner, don’t worry about that just yet!”)
  • The elimination of emotion
  • How (and how not) to resist the tech monster
  • The neoliberal tech erosion of Ireland

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Wendy, here’s her website. Here’s a great interview with her on the gay Marxist podcast, Twink Revolution.
• Want to learn more about Total Information Awareness? You should.
• Also on the you-should list, check out Doug Rushkoff if you haven’t yet. He’s one of the most brilliant thinkers I know.
• Although I’ve been doing a sort of mini-run of episodes on tech, the first one, really, was AEWCH 105 with apocalypse writer and tech critic Mark O’Connell. If you haven’t yet listen, go for it. And here’s the article on J.G. Ballard that Mark wrote, and which both Wendy and I loved.

OB

• I’ve learned a lot from Owen Barfield (pictured) about language, consciousness, and art.

 

• J.G. Ballard’s Myths Of The Near Future isn’t available, but you can get his collected stories (or selected stories) via this episode’s booklist link.

 

• The economics, political, and cultural sphere stuff, is social threefolding, developed by Rudolf Steiner.

 

• Here’s a little rundown on the death of honeybees from 5G radiation. It’s on a honeybee-centered website, but you can find the data corroborated by other entomologists and tech workers.

 

• Here’s the trailer for Sorry To Bother You.

 

• Learn more about Wilhelm Reich’s occult tech on AEWCH 59 or other forms of occult tech via AEWCH 112 with Peter Berbegal or AEWCH 113 with Duncan Laurie.
Until next time,
X0101010101010 (JK!)
CH
ALE

Why “stay the f*ck at home” is not enough. I talk with family abolitionist Sophie Lewis on AEWCH 106!

14 Apr


L
ISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud

Thank you for your support in this time, friends.
This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. If the show is keeping you company in isolation, please give what you can.
Contribute to my mission by supporting
Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!

Thank you so, so much.


AEWCH106TitleCard
Friends,
We need to talk about the regulations and messages of “stay the fuck at home;” of quarantines and police powers; of medicine and our bodies; and we need to do it now.

So I asked the brilliant Sophie Lewis -family abolitionist, and author of the challenging and fascinating book about the politics of gestation, Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family – to talk about all this and more.

Sophie and I have intersecting influences; Donna Haraway was a huge provocateur for Sophie, and my mentor, Lynn Margulis, was a huge provocateur for Donna. What these influences have led to: a question about what the individual is, how we’re all connected, where our boundaries are.

This is an intense and wide-ranging conversation. I’m so happy to share it with you.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Why being with our families is an intolerable proposition
  • How the right has seized resistance to the state in our time
  • How the left couldn’t be less prepared for this pandemic and why
  • The way the condemnation of magic and the non-critical acceptance of science has made us impotent in the face of the current events
  • Whether or not astrology is eugenic, even though tarot is great
  • How leftists can interrogate science now
  • What Sophie learned from her silence meditation retreat (and how being greeted with silence can affect change)
  • Why Sylvia Federici and political economy takes on witchcraft (and sex work) need to be critiqued (and, uh, I kind of go off)
  • Why individual self-care is a “pestilence.”
  • The lessons of hospice care
  • The value of strangers and strangerhood
  • Why the classical elements and magic matter to leftist theory
  • What if we didn’t reach for the tools of fear and fascism in duress?

SHOW NOTES

• For more Sophie, go to her website. There you can find her essay, “Momrades against Motherhood, Mothering against the World.” And we should all read Sophie’s great, brief essay, “The Virus and the Home” where she states, “A quarantine is, in effect, an abuser’s dream…” And here’s her essay exploring the problems with Donna Haraway’s Staying With The Trouble. Sophie is also a member of the Out Of the Woods Collective who you may want to look into. Finally, here’s a good discussion between Sophie and Joanna Biggs.

• As a supplement to Sophie’s essay read Des Fitzgerald‘s excellent short essay, “Stay The Fuck At Home,” and Natasha Lennard‘s essay, “Domestic Violence Is on the Rise With Coronavirus Lockdown. The Responses Are Missing the Point.”

• Assad Haider, who critiques the tensions between identity politics and class politics was on the show way back on AEWCH 26.

• And if you do want to hear about me talking Wilhelm Reich, here you go.

• Someone once asked Mahatma Gandhi what he thought of Western civilization. “I think it would be a good idea,” he said. At least that’s how the story goes.

• If you’re unfamiliar with Sylvia Federici‘s work, it’s useful to some, even if it deserves (serious and thorough) critique. Here’s Daniel Denvir interviewing her on The Dig. I’ve found Federici’s work mostly uninspiring and overrated; her essays about witchcraft and magic go something like: “Capitalism disempowered witches, but I don’t believe those people ever had power in the first place.” But as you can hear from Sophie’s take, Federici has been a huge figure for many leftists, and a sort of backdoor for some leftists into witchcraft (though mostly in an aesthetic sense). Some of my critique comes out on AEWCH 98 with Thomas Waters.

• Would you like to read (or re-read) “A Cyborg Manifesto” by Donna Haraway? Also, I enjoyed, though did not fully agree with her book, Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. And here’s Donna’s update on the book that Sophie found wanting.

• Check out Elizabeth Wilson’s excellent book, Psychosomatic: Feminism and the Neurological Body . And though I haven’t read her book Gut Feminism yet, I am excited to.

• Alyssa Battistoni’s essay about political organizing and disorganizing is “Spadework.” And here’s an interview with Alyssa – “Living Together Shouldn’t Put Us at War With One Another or With the Earth.” And for work by Sophie’s partner, Vicky Osterweil, go here.

• Here’s Douglas Crimp’s (pictured below) essay “
How To Have Promiscuity In An Epidemic” and many of his other essays are collected in Melancholia and Moralism: Essays on AIDS and Queer Politics.

DG
 
• Sophie talks about abortion frankly and directly here.

Sophie mentions, briefly, Ann Boyer. I have yet to read her book, The Undying: Pain, vulnerability, mortality, medicine, art, time, dreams, data, exhaustion, cancer, and care, but I’m excited to.
Until next time, friends,
CH

WHAT TO LEAVE BEHIND as we move into 2020.

31 Dec

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This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. One thing to bring forward in 2020? Associative economics. Support the artists you like and let’s do as much as possible to cut out corporate sponsorship. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.
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Friends,
Let’s close out the year.
Let’s get rid of the political gestures that have overstayed our welcome.
Once, they used to serve us, now, they’re rotting in us, damaging our souls.
On this episode of AEWCH I talk about what we need to leave behind in the 2010s so that we can bring the good forward.
I view this episode of one of three where I talk about the importance of how we orient ourselves towards 2020.
The third of which is my upcoming appearance on Gordon White‘s amazing magic podcast, Rune Soup.
This episode began as a series of tweets, which you can find here.
Thanks for listening.
Looking forward!
CH

Does the left care about spirituality? Listen to me and Michael Brooks try to come up with an answer on the latest AEWCH!

13 Aug

AGAINST EVERYONE WITH CONNER HABIB 80: MICHAEL BROOKS or THE SPIRITUAL VALUES OF THE LEFT

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Friends,

The day after Jeffrey Epstein “killed himself,” I sat down to talk* with leftist media figure Michael Brooks in a building in Belfast named after one of Epstein’s co-conspirators. Coincidence?

I’m happy to think this meeting was fated, actually; since I appeared on Michael’s great politics show – The Michael Brooks Show –  to talk about new age politics (as of this post, you have to be a patron to listen to it, but he will be unlocking it soon, I think!), we’ve been wanting to talk more. We’re both interested in the left and spirituality, we both have an interest in Marianne Williamson’s place on the stage, we both support Bernie Sanders with strong reservations, and we’ve both been formed by our time living in Western Massachusetts.  As you can hear, we ended way too abruptly and wanted to go on and on, but Michael was about to take a tour of Belfast, so you’ll have to wait for the next installment of our conversation, which I’m sure is coming sometime soon!

Before you think this is only a bromance show, I should tell you we, of course, go deep into the topics at hand. Including:

  • How spirituality shows us what messes we are
  • The attempt of the left to banish spirituality
  • Why attacking Marianne Williamson ends up being an attack on many working class people
  • The left’s failure  to distinguish between sincerely held beliefs and
  • How new atheism is connected to alt-right-ism.
  • Is universal healthcare a spiritual question?
  • Capitalism as a symptom of materialism
  • Socialism as a creator of mental space
  • economics, rights, and culture (and how each tries to dominate the other)

(* dear sound-oriented people sorry about Michael’s mic being a little blown out, I kept turning his up thinking I was turning mine up. Doh!)

XO
CH