With the launch of the Red Canon I’ve stepped into the left wing podcast world. Podcasts can be more than comedy delivered by good good boys. They can teach, they can expand your horizons and make you a more well rounded organizer.
Behind the Bastards
Journalist Robert Evans invites a guest on to talk about the worst people either from history or who are alive today. The podcast goes into very high detail about these people. Content wise it’s all over the place, jumping back between L Ron Hubbartd to the Sacklers to John McAfee to King Leonpold II to that guy who founded the NXIVM cult. The episodes are fairly well titled and you can easily pick out which one is about who.
Comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds didn’t set out to create a political education podcast, but they succeeded anyway. Originally it started out with Dave Anthony explaining stories from history to his friend, but many of the stories focused on the rich and powerful abusing the less fortunate. Over time a political edge has sharpened considerably. When they started out they would do episodes about a free beer night at a baseball game that went awry, but have ended up doing well researched episodes about lesser known historical events, such as the Boston busing riots and the assassination of Fred Hampton by the Chicago police and FBI.
The Dollop doesn’t have a strong idealogical bent, but both hosts are clearly horrified by the traditional power structures in our society.
Here’s a quick list of episodes to listen to that will give you a taste of the Dollop’s evolution over time:
- 24 – John Africa (of MOVE fame)
- 86 – Tom Tennison and the Omaha Riot
- 154 – Ota Benga and the Human Zoos
- 165 – The Racism of Maryland Route 40
- 166 – The Racist Record Keeping of Virginia
- 174 – The Hardhat Riot
- 188 – The Dominos Pizza Story
- 202 – The Molly Maguires
- 214 – Black Panther Fred Hampton
- 228 – Boston Busing 1974
- 229 – Boston Busing 1975
- 241 – Two Indigenous Actors,
- 260 – The Welfare Queen
- 271 – Uber
- 276 – Harriet Tubman
- 300A&B – Donald Trump
- 326 – Robert Smalls
- 352 – John “The Maverick” McCain\
- 384 – Rep Matt Shea
- 400 – Ronald Reagan
- 404 – Jan Pieterszoon Coen
- 412 – Mother Jones
Mike Duncan tells the stories of the great revolutions of history, from the American revolution, up through the French and Mexican revolutions, and, with his research he’s timed it just right so that when he finishes up the Russian revolution this will be just in time for the Second American Revolution, which he will then cover in real time.
A lot of these sorts of podcasts tend to become more and more right wing as time goes on, although the opposite seems to be happening to Duncan. If you’re going to start listening I would suggest starting at the Hatian revolution because it’s a story that doesn’t get told enough. You lose a little bit of context from not listening to the French Revolution, but you probably will understand enough from your half-memory of 10th grade social studies. And it ends up being a very good grounding in the systems of oppression that we live under even now.
I Don’t Speak German
Antifa researcher Daniel E. Harper and his Marxist friend Jack Graham talk about the conversations that go on in the far fight’s podcasts, streaming video and other media. Harper lays out how the far right thinks, and why they think the way they do.
This podcast can be a lot. It’s pretty much impossible to talk about media designed to turn disaffected men into engines of terror without it being mind scorchingly horrifying. The nicest content on offer is when they do extended Maron opens dunking on the Crying Nazis latest personal disaster.
Revolutionary Left Radio
Breht O’Shea interviews activists, organizers, historians, and theoreticians on topics circling around the revolutionary left. Pretty much every topic you can imagine has been covered on Rev Left; tenant organizing, biographies of important figures in the revolutionary left milieu, community self defense, the differences between different ideological tendencies (insurrectionary anarchism, Maoism, et cetera), history, current events, everything. Breht is a very good interviewer and he doesn’t allow his own perspective to overpower whoever he is talking to. He gets them to tell you what you need to hear to understand the topic.
Because of the diversity of topics I’m going to suggest a few episodes:
- The Red Rosa episodes
- Red Hot Take: What if Bernie Wins?
- The Red Army Faction: Marxist Guerilla Warfare
- Marxist-Leninism/Libertarian Socialism and Revolutionary Strategies
- The MOVE Bombing
- The Life and Legacy of Fred Hampton
- The Spanish Civil War.
There are many other podcasts that are very useful to political development. I may revisit this topic again in the future.