Podcast: AOC Delivers for the Political Revolution, Debate Recap, and More.

AOC reassures us she’s the real deal, Pete Buttigieg reassures us he’s not, and much more on this fun, freewheeling conversation with Russell Dobular!

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The Revolution Is Here. Ocasio-Cortez’s Endorsement is About More Than Just 2020.

by Keaton Weiss

So there was a debate last night; the fourth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 cycle, this time featuring a dozen contenders on one stage. I’ll admit at the outset, I didn’t catch the whole thing. First, the Yankee game ended right at 8pm. Then I had to rock Sawyer, my six-month old baby boy, to sleep, which can take anywhere from 20 minutes to two-and-a-half hours. I tried watching on my phone while lulling him to sleep, but he wasn’t having it. Warren’s evasiveness on the tax question must’ve been giving him anxiety. So I turned it off. By the time I got him down, it was 9pm, which means my wife needed the TV to watch This Is Us. I caught bits of it on my phone for the next hour, but CNN’s stream kept getting interrupted, and every time I restarted it I had to sit through the same 30-second Goliath trailer. Then, at 10, when I got the TV back, my dog needed to go out, so by the time I got to actually sit down and watch it, it was almost over.

Turns out, however, that I made it just in time for the line of the night, when Bernie Sanders teased that a “special guest” would be joining him at his “Bernie’s Back” rally in Queens this Saturday. I immediately thought this had to be AOC, and I was right.

Sure enough, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar will endorse Bernie Sanders for president in the 2020 race. At this writing, it’s been reported, but not confirmed, that Rep. Rashida Tlaib will do the same.

It’s been widely reported throughout the election cycle that AOC’s endorsement was the most critical of them all, and so having her on board is obviously a huge boon to the Sanders campaign. And it comes at a time when he needed it most; just after he was hospitalized for a heart attack that had many questioning whether he’d even stay in the race. Omar and Tlaib’s endorsements will also be hugely important in boosting his campaign’s vitality, diversifying its coalition, and strengthening its messaging.

But there’s another reason why these “Squad” members’ endorsement of Bernie is such a monumental occasion, and it transcends Sanders’ electoral prospects.

Before these endorsements came in, we progressives felt that Bernie, a 78-year old man fresh off a heart attack, was the only one in our federal government who we could count on to walk the walk when it comes to pushing for real transformational change. We felt that almost everyone else was ultimately just in it for themselves, and we feared that even our heroes like AOC, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib, would be absorbed by the Democratic establishment and be made to act out of political expediency rather than demonstrate real political courage, for fear of alienating themselves from party leadership at the beginning of their young careers in Congress.

We felt this way, in large part, because many of us were at one time steadfast supporters of Elizabeth Warren, who we expected, in 2016, would demonstrate the political courage we had come to expect from her, and endorse Bernie Sanders for president. She let us down, and we couldn’t imagine why. We later found out that she had been on Hillary Clinton’s VP shortlist, and that she’d have accepted the position had it been offered.  Recently, the Working Families Party, which describes itself as a multiracial, working class movement, endorsed Elizabeth Warren for president, weeks after endorsing AOC, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib for Congress. We had come to believe that beyond Bernie, again, 78, there was no one in power who we could truly consider part of our movement.

All of that changed with news of the Squad’s endorsements. By endorsing Bernie Sanders, these freshmen congresswomen have assured those of us ordinary people fighting for Bernie Sanders’ multi-racial working class progressive revolution that we have real representation in government.

Their endorsement of Bernie Sanders demonstrates not just that that they prefer Bernie Sanders to the rest of the Democratic field, but that they believe that we, the movement that Bernie has nurtured, are more worthy of their loyalty than the Democratic Party machine. In other words, they’re not just going all-in on Bernie, they’re going all-in on us. They’re joining our coalition, our movement, our political revolution. And they will be our partners in this political project for generations to come, regardless of the outcome of the 2020 election. And that’s what makes this news so sweet. It’s not just that Bernie’s chances of victory in 2020 have gotten a boost, it’s that win or lose in 2020, we in the progressive movement can finally feel confident that the revolution has arrived.

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Warren is Wrong about Facebook. True Democracy Allows For Unsanctioned Speech.

by Keaton Weiss

Elizabeth Warren, in her escalating feud with Facebook, recently trolled the social media giant by deliberately posting a fake ad claiming that Mark Zuckerberg had formally endorsed Donald Trump in the 2020 election. The full ad is listed below.

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Warren’s point is that Facebook ought to prohibit politicians from posting false political ads on their platform, as days earlier, the Trump campaign posted a dishonest ad about Joe Biden, and his son, and Ukraine, and the prosecutor. She considers the platform’s publishing and distribution of dishonest political speech a dereliction of Facebook’s “responsibility to protect our democracy.

At first glance, doesn’t she have a point? After all, Facebook has over 2 billion users worldwide, and studies have shown that almost half of Americans get their news from Facebook. Does an organization this big and powerful not have a duty to “protect our democracy?” If Facebook allows influential people to spread deliberately misleading content, will this not poison our body politic? And would their dissemination of untruths not make Facebook, as Warren called them in announcing her ad, a “disinformation-for-profit machine?”

If you’re an avid consumer of establishment media, these are very easy questions to answer. Yes, yes, yes, and yes. But you’re wrong. And so is Elizabeth Warren.

First, on the question of whether or not Facebook has a solemn responsibility to, as Warren puts it, “protect our democracy,” the answer is no, they don’t. As a monopolistic tech giant whose communicative powers are unparalleled, they have a responsibility not to protect our democracy by shutting down dishonest, nefarious, or even anti-democratic voices, but to uphold our democracy by allowing everyone to have their voices heard, whether or not Elizabeth Warren, or you, or I, like what they have to say. The person who doesn’t trust the American people to discern fact from fiction, truth from lies, investigative journalism from salacious bile, doesn’t have much faith in democracy to begin with. Because in a democracy, we, the people, are free to discuss our political opinions, sort out our differences, and decide collectively, in the form of free and fair elections, the direction of the country. To task a Silicon Valley billionaire with being the arbiter of what is and is not considered legitimate speech is as anti-democratic a position as you could possibly take.

I know a thing or two about this because I, yes, I, have dealt with the Facebook censors before, and am in fact dealing with them right now. I recently was made aware that Facebook is reducing the distribution of this platform’s, Due Dissidence’s, posts, because it found that we had been sharing what they deemed “clickbait.” The example they showed me was our blog post entitled “From ‘BUT HER EMAILS’ to ‘BUT HIS SON’: Why Democrat’s Gaslighting Tactics Won’t Work This Time Either.” They compared this headline to what we all know are classic clickbait headlines like “THIS super food will change your life!” or “Here’s the video Trump DOESN’T WANT YOU TO SEE!” Our headline was similar to those only in the sense that we capitalized certain words, and some algorithm must have detected that, and deemed our post “clickbait,” even though in our case the decision to capitalize quoted words was obviously an editorial choice not meant to lure in unsuspecting readers, but to emphasize the boorish nature of certain online discourse. Anyway, the larger point is that I, after hours of searching, cannot find a way to contact Facebook to request a manual review of this decision, as it’s obvious that upon such review, the decision would be reversed, as our headline is in no way “clickbait.” But there is no way to contact them, and this is a rampant problem amongst all of these tech giants, be it Uber, Google, or anyone else. They’re unaccountable, not just to “our democracy,” but to us, their own users.

This is why Facebook should conduct itself as a public utility, and be treated as such. Now wait, you say, if they’re considered public utilities, would this not subject them to more regulation by the likes of Elizabeth Warren? Well, yes, in a certain sense, it would. You could perhaps see social media companies subjected to FCC-type oversight. And while this certainly has its pitfalls, it would at least bring some transparency, accountability, and, here’s a novel idea, communication, to their decision making processes as to who gets banned or restricted, and for what reasons, and there would be a transparent appeals process as well. Furthermore, as a public utility, Facebook would be relieved of having to parse whether or not their users (absent established constitutional precedents prohibiting incitement of violence and the like, while importing something like the severe and pervasive harassment standard the Supreme Court established for peer-on-peer harassment) are worthy of using their platform. After all, an electric company can’t cut your power off because they think you’re using it “irresponsibly.” Neither can a phone company or an internet provider. The public utility approach does establish regulation in the sense that it sets the parameters within which Facebook can operate, but in another sense makes the platform more democratic by allowing Facebook and their uses to operate freely within those parameters, and by creating a mechanism by which those who breach those parameters can get in touch with those enforcing them. Warren’s approach, on the other hand, is to pressure these tech companies into policing their own networks, through often mysterious and arbitrary methods. Under her “plan,” nameless, faceless tech bros could simply deem any user’s opinions invalid and unworthy of sharing, and with the click of a button, make said opinions disappear. Which of those dynamics seems more democratic now?

Second, as far as the body politic goes, was it not poisoned by The New York Times when they championed the Iraq War based on what we now know was a total lie? Did NBC not debase the political climate by giving Donald Trump a hit reality show, even after he godfathered the “birther” movement? Or the mainstream media writ large, when they gave Candidate Trump $5 billion in free advertising in the run-up to the 2016 election? Or does none of that count, because in those examples, those doing the poisoning had blue check marks next to their Twitter handles? Are they “disinformation-for-profit” machines any less? Of course not.

It’s clear that what makes Elizabeth Warren and the rest of the Times-reading meritocracy class uncomfortable is the creation and dissemination of political content by those who they themselves have not vetted for their pre-approval. Social media has created a forum in which ordinary people can express themselves to each other in a way that threatens the corporate media’s authority over what they consider to be “legitimate” speech. In their minds, we don’t deserve the power of influence that platforms like Facebook grant us. We haven’t gone to journalism school, we don’t rub elbows with the elites, and we haven’t been hired by any established media institutions to spread the status quo party line, and so who the hell do we think we are to be offering our perspectives on current affairs?

Don’t believe Elizabeth Warren or any other Ivy League elitist type when they tell you that their goal in all of this social media handwringing is to “protect our democracy” from the negative affects of propaganda and disinformation. What they’re really against is the true democratization of information and perspective that social media has birthed. Yes, Facebook should have to answer for their shady practices when it comes to their decisions over who gets to say what, but they should have to answer to us, their 2 billion-plus users, not to the political class and the media establishment whose livelihoods depend on their ability to limit the influence of those outside their control.

Those who actually seek to “protect our democracy” will see to it that the First Amendment is upheld anywhere and everywhere, which includes the social media space, where speech can get a bit rough, and truth can at times be a bit difficult to discern. The heralded media establishment’s record on truth-telling ain’t nothing to write home about either, and letting us underclass slobs have a go at it isn’t a breach of democratic norms, but rather an exercise in truly democratic communication.

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A Joker for Our Times: Eat the Rich, and F*ck Batman.

by Russell Dobular

**This post contains some minor plot spoilers for the film Joker.**

Lets face it, Batman has always been a superman. Not in the red cape, allergic-to-kryptonite sense, but in the Nietzschean, ubermensch sense. Nietzsche believed that certain exceptional men (being of his time, women were presumably excluded from his philosophy) were beyond conventional notions of morality and thus were exempted from society’s rules. Laws and social mores are for the sheep, while the ‘ubermensch’ (literally, “superman”), due to his exceptional nature, is not bound by any such notions. He believed that these rare, gifted men were the true driving force in historical processes, and the natural leaders of the masses.

The core premise of the superhero genre is itself Nietzschean, with its protagonists using their powers to impose justice, independent of government sanction or official recognition. Frank Miller in his influential The Dark Knight Returns, takes on this subtext directly, coming down decidedly on Nietzsche’s side of the argument. In his telling, everyone who raises constitutional questions about Batman’s right to beat the living shit out of people is either a limousine liberal or a foppish bureaucrat. To drive the point home, he has the now retired Commissioner Gordon mansplain to his female successor the futility of lesser beings such as themselves evaluating the morality of Batman’s actions.

It’s entirely appropriate that Miller specifically picked Batman around whom to build his case, because nowhere in the superhero mythology is there another character that so fully embodies the notion that it’s up to one exceptional being to protect society from chaos. The fact that he’s a trust fund baby whose sainted parents used their wealth to try to save Gotham in more traditional ways, before being murdered by one of those people who represent the forces of chaos that are Batman’s thematic nemeses, adds a class dimension to the story that’s hard to miss. In Batman’s world, billionaires are an idealized aristocracy who know best how to fix society’s ills, and the poor are either salt of the Earth types who look to Batman and/or the Wayne family for salvation, or criminals who threaten the social order and are therefore to be dealt with severely by a rich kid in a bat suit.

In the end, Batman’s mission is to defend the status quo. Like Elizabeth Warren, he is a capitalist to his bones who doesn’t see any problems with the social order that can’t be fixed by a generous donation from the Wayne Foundation, or, failing that, a good beat down. He never asks why Gotham is a crime-ridden hellhole full of dangerous psychopaths; he only knows that it’s up to his own very exceptional self to keep the forces of anarchy at bay. If the Nazi regime had survived long enough to create superheroes, what they came up with probably would have looked a lot like Batman, with his enemies being Jews, communists, and subversives. Take the Jews out of the equation and that’s pretty much what he is now. In a time when wealth inequality is at levels not seen since the Gilded Age, and entire regions of the country are collapsing into third world conditions, it was inevitable that someone would reevaluate the mythos of the character – which brings us to Todd Phillips’ Joker.

Joker isn’t the first foray into the Batverse that touches on some of the class tensions inherent in the story. A debate still rages about whether Heath Ledger’s Joker was actually the hero of 2008’s The Dark Knight, partly because a lot of his observations make good sense. In one famous scene, he tells Harvey Dent, ““You know what I noticed? Nobody panics when things go ‘according to plan.’ Even if the plan is horrifying. If tomorrow I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot or a truckload of soldiers will be blowing up, nobody panics because it’s all part of the plan. But when I say that one little old mayor will die…well, then everyone loses their minds!” Hard to argue with that. And its sequel, The Dark Knight Rises, goes even further, having Catwoman set the tone by telling Bruce Wayne at an opulent soiree, “There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.” From there, Bane goes on to take over Gotham, with director Christopher Nolan’s vision of what that would look like taken directly from the worst excesses of the French Revolution.

The obvious difference with Joker is that there is no Batman to make the counter-argument, and reassure its audience that he has the right of it. This film is about what Gotham looks like to all those people at the bottom who don’t need a Dark Knight so much as they need a functioning social safety net and an equitable distribution of wealth. The city has been brought to the precipice of anarchy not by “super-villains” like Raz Al Ghoul or a guy with a weird riddle fetish, but by a system that lavishly rewards the rich and throws everyone else to the dogs. Thus, Thomas Wayne isn’t portrayed as a benign philanthropist, but an arrogant asshole who ultimately gets his comeuppance not from a mugger, but from a rioting citizen making a political statement by taking out Gotham’s wealthiest man.

And this is really why the film is making some people feel queasy. It isn’t simply a Batman movie without Batman. It’s a movie that relentlessly and consciously repudiates everything that the franchise has always been about. Joker isn’t quite a hero in the film, but he isn’t quite a villain either. He’s a victim of circumstance and a society that doesn’t care enough to help. And because there are millions like him, when he snaps by killing three stockbrokers, who also happen to be Wayne Enterprises employees, it triggers a movement. In other words, this is the kind of nightmare Jeff Bezos probably wakes up from in a cold sweat at 2 AM; a violent popular uprising aimed at tearing down the entire system and whose violence is directed specifically at the wealthy and the powerful. Its striking a chord at this moment because we’re closer to that place than we’ve been since shotgun wielding Okies descended on California en masse during the Great Depression. Joker’s creators have put a bony finger right on the pulse of the very sick patient that is 2019 America, and forced the audience to look at its ills head on. It isn’t a pretty picture.

Many of the film’s detractors claim that they fear Incels will take it as inspiration for further acts of violence, as if someone who’s going to be set off by a movie about a killer clown with Tourettes really needs an excuse. And the Identitarians miss the point like they do, by asking why we need another sympathetic portrait of an angry white man, seemingly in the hope that angry white men will go away if we just stop talking about them, in spite of the fact that white men, angry or not, will remain the largest single voting block for a good, long time. But these complaints are all dancing around what it is about Joker that’s so uniquely subversive for a big budget Hollywood movie. It presents us with a society in which institutions are collapsing, and the public has lost faith in them and those who lead them. And it shows us how combustible that can be, by allowing Gotham to combust in the film’s final sequence. In doing so, it goes a longer way to explaining how we got to a Trump Presidency than all the many thousands of hours wasted over the past three years by the corporate media on the two R’s (Russia and Racists), combined. And it gives us an all too plausible window into what comes next if nothing changes. Well, maybe not the clown masks. That would just be goofy.

On the Potemkin scale of revolutionary cinema, I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.

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September Q&A Podcast, Plus a Word on Bernie’s Health

Our first ever Q&A Podcast where we answer our followers’ questions, plus a word on Bernie’s health scare.

From “But Her Emails” to “But His Son” – Democrats’ Gaslighting Tactics Won’t Work This Time Either.

by Russell Dobular

Kamala Harris this week, in her ongoing quest to find just the right parade to jump out in front of, suddenly reversed her position on impeachment by coming out in favor of it, and, for good measure, defended Joe Biden, saying, “Leave Joe alone,” when asked about the propriety of the Vice President’s son serving on the board of a foreign energy company. Still casting about for some way to win the hearts of Democratic voters, she then tweeted out a defense of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail clusterfuck, saying, “Hillary Clinton served our country with distinction and always put our country first — something Trump knows nothing about.” HRC herself responded to Harris’ fawning with the kind of finger-on-the-pulse instincts that made her such an effective campaigner. “But my e-mails,” she replied winsomely.  Staff sources at Third Way claim that Neera Tanden literally busted a nut in the middle of a thus far unnamed fine dining establishment upon reading the exchange.

But it isn’t only undiagnosed-sociopath Harris who’s being careful to avoid suggesting there might be something wrong with the VP’s son getting $50K a month from a foreign entity whose country falls within his daddy’s purview. Elizabeth Warren, in an episode reminiscent of her reversal on the question of whether or not the DNC primaries were rigged (she answered with an unequivocal “yes,” in an MSNBC interview, before changing her mind the next day, presumably after party leadership sat her down and gave her a good talking to), first claimed, when asked, that her anti-corruption plan would not allow a little ne’er do well shit like Hunter Biden to take a cushy gig with a foreign company. Then she quickly did the math on superdelegates who might be miffed at that answer and backed off to, “I don’t know. I mean I’d have to go back and look at the details.”

Aside from cowardly and opportunistic politicians, the corporate media has been doing Cirque Du Soleil-level acrobatics to convince the public that black is white, up is down, and there’s nothing untoward about a recent drug rehab alum landing a lucrative gig for which he had no apparent qualifications in a country where his dad just happened to be making decisions regarding US policy. What could possibly be wrong with that? Just look at all the job fairs they hold on the lawn at Betty Ford. Any ex-addict can tell you what a hot commodity employees who might be doing bumps in the bathroom between strategy sessions are in the current labor market.

Regardless of what Trump did, it’s all very reminiscent of the way Democrats tried to sell the public on the idea that there was nothing weird about setting up a private server in a basement, or deleting 30,000 e-mails that were under subpoena at the time they were destroyed. There’s a word for that. The word is illegal. Don’t believe me? Go set up your own private server, run classified information through it, then start deleting e-mails when the man catches on. Tell me how that works out for you.

Or how about the interference Dems ran for the pay-to-play scam that was the Clinton Foundation? If there’s a reasonable explanation for how a major donor ended up on the International Security Advisory Board, without having any expertise in the area, I’d love to hear what it is. Or why it was that countries that gave big donations, many of which were autocratic regimes with horrific records of human rights abuses, got huge increases in their arms shipments during HRC’s tenure as Secretary of State.  If these facts belonged to any Republican, Democrats would connect the dots pretty easily. It belonging to the Clintons, they wrote it all off as a conspiracy theory. They still do, even with the smoking gun in the form of a total collapse in donations after the 2016 election. If it was all about charity and not about buying access, why did the donations dry up once there was no longer a Clinton lined up for the Presidency? Donations to the Salvation Army don’t rise and fall with election outcomes. Why would the Clinton Foundation have that unusual distinction, if not for the fact that it was always an elaborate bribery scheme?

What Democrats seem to forget in these situations is that most people aren’t hyper-partisan party loyalists. Only 14% of those polled have a “great deal” of confidence in the media that pedals these narratives, and the Congress that’s handling the impeachment inquiries has a 20% approval rating.  Beyond that, only around 29% of voters identify as Democrats. If we had to venture a guess, we could safely say that about half of those are extremely partisan, like, Nancy-Pelosi-is-doing-a-heck-of-a-job, and nothing-wrong-with- the-Secretary-of-State-having-a-home-brew server, kind of partisan. The rest are probably like most Americans: deeply skeptical of the whole bloody system and all its players. So, what you really have are a fringe minority representing about 14% of the public who think a VP’s kid cashing in on his father’s influence is A-OK, as long as his father is a Democrat. For everyone outside the partisan bubble, that assertion is batshit. Just like the assertion that because Donald Trump is a lying scumbag, Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong. One has nothing to do with the other, and anytime your argument becomes, “My candidate is less of a scumbag than your candidate,” a la, #butheremails, you’ve already lost.

The most dangerous part of all this, just as was the case with HRC, is the way that denying the reality of the Biden family’s long history of corrupt behavior and practices now, is going to set the Democrats up for a rude awakening later, should he become the nominee. In this sense, as in most others, they are being ill-served by their preferred media sources. The Ukraine is truly the least of it. At best, Biden repeatedly turned a blind eye to his brother James and son Hunter repeatedly and blatantly cashing in on his political position. At worst, he tailored policy to aid them in their ventures. The only question really is whether Biden’s behavior represents the kind of corruption that we still have laws against, or the kind of corruption that’s so rampant in our new Gilded Age that it’s all perfectly legal. Either way, the more the average voter hears about it, the less they’re going to like it.

None of this is to say Democrats shouldn’t be pursuing impeachment on the grounds that Trump pressured a foreign country to investigate a political rival. But if they continue to try to have it both ways, its going to blow up in their faces. If they make a corruption case against Trump, while at the same time denying that Biden’s behavior was itself corrupt, they’re opening up a contradiction wide enough to drive a Trump re-election through. The masterstroke would be to impeach Trump and repudiate Biden at the same time. That would go a long way to refuting any suggestion of partisanship, and would stand in sharp contrast to the way the GOP is ultimately going to rush to Trump’s defense for fear of his rabid base. It would also give the Democrats something they haven’t had in a long time, even among their own voters, many of whom are more reluctant and resigned than enthusiastic about the party: credibility. Admitting wrongdoing by one of their own most prominent establishment figures would be so completely out of character, it would make a lot of people who have given up on the Democrats take a second look.

But of course, the odds of the Dems throwing Biden under the bus where he belongs, are somewhere up there with Chuck Schumer forswearing corporate contributions; slim to none. So get ready for that same, “I must be taking crazy pills,” feeling that you had in ’16 every time a “liberal” told you that nominating a historically unpopular candidate in the middle of an FBI investigation wasn’t going to cause any particular problems. And once the But His Son tweets start (in about 3, 2, 1), there’s no turning back. The Democrats will once again be putting themselves in a position where they have to defend the indefensible, largely by screaming “whataboutism” at anyone who points out the obvious fact that Biden is just as corrupt as the early 20th Century Irish ward heelers from whom he gets so much of his political style. A less hapless leadership would see the writing on the wall and be running away from Biden as fast as their septuagenarian legs can carry them. Instead, just as Democrats have embraced every slimy person and institution that Trump has ever had a beef with, from the media, to the intelligence services, to John Brennan, they’re likely to double down on Biden as he increasingly comes under fire from Trump and his surrogates. Given that, this is the best thing that could have happened to Biden’s primary campaign. And consequently, it’s also the best thing that could have happened to Trump’s re-election prospects. Donald Trump has been given many blessings in life, but nowhere more so than in the quality of his enemies.

 

 

Podcast: The People’s Party’s Summer of Action, 2020 Strategies, and More – w/Nick Brana

Nick Brana, founder and national director of the Movement For a People’s Party, returns to the show to discuss MPP’s summer of action, 2020, and more.

Listen below:

Enjoy reading this blog? You can help keep us going by making a secure donation via PayPal, just click below! Thank you for your support!

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**You can also support this blog & podcast and get exclusive content at our Patreon page! Follow us via email by entering your email address in the field on the sidebar (computer screen) or below (phone), and/or by liking/following us on Facebook and Twitter!**