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Jan 15, 2022 Justin Podur
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Our fifth and concluding episode on the Scramble in South Africa is on the (Second) Boer War from 1899-1902. We talk about how it started and why, the military details, the concentration camps, the struggle to keep it a "White Man's War" for fear of a Lincoln showing up, and the implications (it's clear who won the war, but who won the peace?) As for who lost the peace, the answer is clear - the Africans. How it all happened, in this episode.
Topics: Boer War, South Africa, Kruger
Community Audio
Jan 13, 2022 Justin Podur
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Sooner or later every anti-imperialist is smeared as a "tankie" and this week was Vijay's turn. First his views were falsified, then he used the word "modernization" in a tweet. So, in this interview, we take a deep dive into debates about "modernization". Repudiating liberal and colonizer's attacks on Indigenous societies, we talk about nationalist and anticolonial projects that challenge local oppression and feudalism. Are these "modernization"? We...
Topics: China, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Afghanistan, Imperialism, Hybrid War
Community Audio
Dec 28, 2021 Justin Podur
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The Scramble for Africa cannot be encapsulated in the career of any single imperialist, but if it could, that imperialist would be Cecil Rhodes. From the Rhodes Scholarship to the falling statues, Rhodes's impact is still ubiquitous today. We look at the words and deeds of the exemplar of the Scramble, from his beginnings to the Jameson Raid which made the Boer War inevitable. 
Topics: Cecil Rhodes, Jameson Raid, Boer War, South Africa
Community Audio
Dec 16, 2021 Justin Podur
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Continuing the history of the Scramble for South Africa, we talk about the Boers, the Dutch settlers and their attacks on the Africans and then on the British conflicts with them, up to the discovery of diamonds at Kimberley that might just be the event that set off the entire scramble. South Africa's unbelievable mineral wealth and what it did to British imperial minds; who's responsible for apartheid; and more, in this episode.
Topics: Battle of Laing's Nek, South Africa, Boer War
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Part 2 of our series on the Scramble in South Africa takes us back to the Zulu modernizer, Shaka, in the early 19th century, all the way to the end of the Anglo-Zulu War between the British imperialists and the Zulus ruled by Cetshwayo. The land theft and swindling you've come to expect from the Scramble for Africa combine here with some sharpening of white supremacist ideology, a lot of which it turns out was developed specifically to find a theory of how and why the British Empire should...
Topics: Anglo-Zulu War, Cetshwayo, Shaka Zulu
Community Audio
Nov 29, 2021 Justin Podur
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I'm joined by Navyug Gill from William Paterson University to talk about the historic victory of the Indian Farmers who, after demonstrating for a whole year at the cost of 750 lives, succeeded in forcing the repeal of three laws that would have immiserated agriculture in India, done away with the government procurement system, and subjected the entire agricultural system to new levels of instability and volatility. Instead, the farmers stopped the seemingly unstoppable Modi juggernaut. We talk...
Topics: Indian Farmers, India Agricultural Bills Repealed, Punjabi Farmers Movement
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The wealthiest and most powerful state in Africa is South Africa, and its fate has been pivotal to the whole continent. This was no less true during the Scramble for Africa, which is why this series will have multiple episodes on South Africa. In this one, the so called "frontier wars" between the Europeans and the Xhosa; the Cattle Killing Movement; how the Cape Colony fell into British hands, the Boers and the British Empire, the Dutch East India Company, Canada and other...
Topics: South Africa, Xhosa, Cattle Killing Movement, Frontier Wars
Community Audio
Nov 9, 2021 Justin Podur
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Episode 1 of Dan Freeman Maloy's series Lin3r Notes. Frequent guest and collaborator Dan Freeman-Maloy has a new substack, "Check the Liner Notes", and will be podcasting on related topics here on AEP. This episode is about the Canadian / British imperial WWI commemoration, Remembrance Day, and some of the literary objects around it: the poem, In Flanders Fields, the various versions of O Canada, and of course the phrase Lest We Forget, penned by the racist writer Rudyard Kipling....
Topics: Rudyard Kipling, Remembrance Day, Lest We Forget
Community Audio
Nov 7, 2021 Justin Podur
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This one is about the precolonial African powers in the Congo - Zanzibar's representative Tippu Tip, Msiri of Katanga, and a few others (but mainly these two). We talk about their rise in the context of growing European power, and their eventual fall to Belgium - although as you'll see it wasn't exactly Belgium, but Leopold II and his British and German allies that made the theft of Congo possible. Another key piece - the centre of the board - falls in the Scramble for Africa.
Topics: King Leopold, Belgian Congo, Tippu Tip, Congo Free State, Msiri, Katanga, Scramble for Africa
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After six episodes of preparation we are ready to talk about the famous Berlin Conference of 1884 where Africa was actually carved up. Along the way you meet some of the most legendary villains - Stanley and Leopold (though you still haven't met Rhodes), also Livingstone and Brazza. We end in Berlin itself and at the Berlin Conference 1884. 
Topics: Berlin Conference of 1884, Stanley, Leopold, Livingstone, Brazza
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The British imperialists take Sudan. First, they send Gordon, acting in the name of the Khedive of Egypt. That doesn't go so well. The next expedition culminates in the brutal battle of Omdurman in 1898, the quintessential colonial military mismatch and the demonstration for the colonial use of the machine gun. We tell Gordon's story in detail, and tell the story of the Mahdi and his successor the Khalifa, also in some detail, trying to get at least a little bit beyond what his British enemies...
Topics: Gordon, Sudan, Mahdi, Khalifa, Battle of Omdurman
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Fifth instalment in our Scramble for Africa series is the story of Abyssinia (aka Ethiopia), which managed to maintain its independence during the Scramble for Africa despite all the efforts of the would-be Italian colonizers (who would be back in the 20th century, but not during the Scramble). We focus on the rulers of Abyssinia but we get into the colonizer's intrigues too, concluding with the decisive battle of Adwa, at which an African victory threw off European racial science so badly that...
Topics: Menelik, Ethiopia, Abyssinia, Scramble for Africa, Battle of Adwa
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In 1882 at the battle of Tel el Kabir, Garnet Wolesley (who had suppressed the Riel Resistance in 1870) defeated the Egyptian nationalists led by al-Arabi. This was the final blow in a long imperialist campaign to take Egypt from the ambitious modernizers that had ruled it from the 1820s. The epic financial swindle involved are far too little known, but luckily they were chronicled in amazing detail by Theodore Rothstein, in a 1910 book called Egypt's Ruin, with an introduction by Wilfred...
Topics: Urabi Revolt, Anglo-Egypt War, Scramble for Africa
Community Audio
Sep 29, 2021 Justin Podur
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I am back with journalist and activist KJ Noh, retired SF Judge Julie Tang, and activist/writer Dan Freeman-Maloy. Meng Wanzhou is free and back in China! We painted a pretty pessimistic picture for you in AEP 95 before the ruling, then poof! The Canadian election happened and Meng was on a plane back to China! Dan goes over some Canadian history of anti-Chinese racism; Julie helps us go over the Deferred Prosecution Agreement and what it means; KJ helps us assess whether this was a victory or...
Topics: Meng Wanzhou, Huawei, Deferred Prosecution Agreement, lawfare
Community Audio
Sep 28, 2021 Justin Podur
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Our third instalment before we really dig into the actual scramble for Africa is to give you a flavor for how we're interpreting what we read. Lenin wrote Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism as an explanation for WWI, but much of what he wrote was about Africa; WEB Du Bois wrote an essay with the same intent and a similar argument, called The African Roots of the War; and of course Walter Rodney returns to our discussion to prepare us to get into the history. Dave makes some critiques...
Topics: Imperialism, Lenin, Hobson, Rodney, Scramble for Africa
Community Audio
Sep 22, 2021 Justin Podur
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I'm joined by Aidan Jonah, editor of the new media outlet The Canada Files, which has an anti-imperialist point of view and an investigative journalism methodology. We talk about some of the Canada Files's recent investigations, about the relative paucity of anti-imperialist perspectives on Canada (with noble exceptions of course), and about the ambitions plans for the Canada Files's future. 
Topics: anti-imperialism, journalism, Canadian Foreign Policy
Community Audio
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In this special short episode, the whole plot summary of Siegebreakers, a pro-Palestine thriller novel that imagines how the Palestinians will eventually break the siege on Gaza, is SPOILED. If you don't like spoilers, you should skip this one. If you're the type who needs to know what happens in a book or movie before committing yourself to watching / reading, well this 12 minutes will help you decide. Also, there's a book discussion on September 18th that will be hosted by the Marxist...
Topics: Siegebreakers, Gaza, Palestine, Israel
Community Audio
Sep 11, 2021 Justin Podur
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Take a tour with us of a few of the African kingdoms that tried to resist the slave trade - before, in some cases, giving in. King Affonse of Kongo, Queen Nzinga of Matamba, Agaja of Dahomey (and others from that kingdom), the Asante, and then east we have Abyssinia, the Bachwezi, and in the south we talk about Shaka Zulu and about the Merina kingdom in Madagascar. A short debate about the European and Arab slave trades, and then some notes about nutrition in Africa before colonialism (spoiler:...
Topics: scramble for africa, dahomey, queen nzinga, king affonse, shaka zulu
Community Audio
Sep 3, 2021 Justin Podur
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I'm joined by Davarian Baldwin, who is Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies at Trinity College, to talk about his new book In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities are Plundering Our Cities. Davarian's book helped a lot of ideas about the university and where it's been headed click in my mind, and I think our discussion will be of interest to people who work at or around universities or are affected by these institutions in some way. Understanding the agendas at...
Topics: univercities, higher education
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A new Civilizations series on the Scramble for Africa. We begin our series on this decisive event in world history with a multi-episode survey of pre-colonial Africa. In this episode we talk about the devastation wrought by the European slave trade and focus on Africa's West Coast (then known as the Gold Coast) before the scramble. There's also a bit of debating Afrocentrism (you can imagine who takes which side of the debate).
Topics: Scramble for Africa, Ghana, Gold Coast, Slave Trade
Community Audio
Aug 25, 2021 Justin Podur
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Journalist KJ Noh and retired SF Superior Court judge Julie Tang join me to talk about the Meng Wanzhou case, in which Canada has kidnapped a Chinese executive at US request in 2018. As we await judgement which may come in October or November after the September Federal Election, British Columbia judge Heather Holmes has pondered the nature of a fraud case with no harm and where the alleged fraud "victim" (in this case the British bank HSBC) had the facts that were allegedly withheld....
Topics: Meng Wanzhou, Huawei, Canada, Extradition
Community Audio
Aug 22, 2021 Justin Podur
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Joe Emersberger and I discuss some questions about Afghanistan after the Taliban take over the country and the US leaves. Was this really a defeat or a controlled handover for the US?  What is Pakistan's role? China's? What is with the mystique around the late Ahmad Shah Massoud, whose UK-trained son is now claiming to lead the #Resistance? And a few other questions.
Topics: Taliban, Afghanistan, Massoud
Community Audio
Aug 13, 2021 Justin Podur
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I talk to Nora Loreto - podcaster, journalist, and author of Take Back the Fight: Organizing Feminism for the Digital Age and Spin Doctors: How Media and Politicians Misdiagnosed the COVID-19 Epidemic. We talk about Nora's journalism on COVID-19, about anti-feminist backlashes of various kinds, about contemporary feminism and the continuing relevance of organizing in the movement, and more. 
Topics: Feminism in Canada, Organizing
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A year and a half ago I approached my high school history teacher with the idea of launching a podcast with a massively expanded version of the content of the "Modern Western Civilization" course he taught me in high school in the 1990s, to include the whole world and the people's histories. We're just about to reach the 20th century so we thought we would debrief and go over some of what we've learned. We read things like EH Carr's What is History?; Dave discusses the limitations of...
Topics: Modern Western Civilization, Philosophy of History, Historical Method
Community Audio
Jul 22, 2021 Justin Podur
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Joe and I answer some questions listeners sent in about our new book about Venezuela, Extraordinary Threat, from Monthly Review. Questions include: Was Venezuela "once-prosperous" before Chavez? Has Maduro been true to Chavez's vision? What's the COVID vaccination situation? Can we comment on Hong Kong? What is the internal social base of US imperialism in Venezuela? Can all the problems of Venezuela be placed at the feet of US imperialism? And more.
Topics: Venezuela, Chavez, Maduro, sanctions
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Another episode of Kung Fu Yoga with Carl Zha, where we talk about the Indian and Chinese angles on world events. With the US withdrawing from Afghanistan like thieves in the night, the greatest agent of chaos may be gone (or mostly gone, for now) and country's neighbours (Iran, Russia, the Central Asian republics, Pakistan, India, and China) will be playing a bigger role in the future, and so, evidently, will the Taliban. We talk about the differences we see between the Taliban of today and...
Topics: Afghanistan, China, CPEC, BRI, India, Pakistan, Af Pak
General Jacob Smith was reprimanded for his order to commit atrocities in the war against the Philippine Republic, but he was not alone in giving such orders. The US war in the Philippines set the stage for more than a century of counterinsurgency, atrocities, and pretexts like the civilizing mission and the responsibility to protect. Using Renato Constantino's work, also talk about some of the amazing characters on the Filipino side, like Bonifacio and Aguinaldo. 
Topics: US Empire, Philippines, Aguinaldo, Bonifacio
Community Audio
Jul 15, 2021 Justin Podur
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Joe Emersberger and I talk to Reed Lindsay, Journalist and Filmmaker with Belly of the Beast, a media organization focusing on Cuba and Cuba-US relations. Among their films is a 3-part series called the War on Cuba available on YouTube. Reed was at the recent demonstrations and counter-demonstrations in Havana and talks about how the scarcities and difficulties of life have everything to do with the 60-year, ever-intensifying economic blockade against Cuba imposed by the United States. 
Topics: Cuba demonstrations, Cuba embargo, blockade, sanctions
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Kim Ives from Haiti Liberte joins me and Joe Emersberger to analyze Haiti two days after the assassination of President Jovenal Moise by Colombian and Haitian-American mercenaries. We talk about the new details that have emerged about their Nissan vehicles (from whose dealership?), the class antagonisms inside Haiti, and US interests in re-occupying the country. Kim talks about meeting with Jimmy "Barbecue" Cherizier, former police officer who announced a revolution. We also spend...
Topics: Jimmy Barbecue Cherizier, Jovenal Moise Assassination, Haiti
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On June 30, 2021, I was honored to be among the speakers on a panel for educators called "Say Palestine". The entire panel, which was moderated by the wonderful Javier Davila (who I address directly at the beginning of the talk), is available on YouTube. I talk about the dilemmas faced by educators who want to teach about Palestine and who want to #SayPalestine.
Topics: Teach Palestine, Say Palestine, Education
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An emergency joint broadcast with The East is a Podcast about the assassination of Haiti's president Jovenal Moise on July 7, 2021.  Chris Bernadel is on the Haiti Committee of the Black Alliance for Peace. We talk a little bit about the assassination and the background of protests and massacres in Haiti that have gone on for years now. 
Topics: Haiti, Jovenal Moise
Community Audio
Jul 3, 2021 Justin Podur
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A complex multinational megaproject with layers of government corruption and massive government funds. A separatist movement created and sponsored by the US. A chunk of territory carved out of an existing country for imperialist use. Workers exploited to death. And a shining imperialist possession at the end. We talk about the creation of Panama and the Panama Canal, another prototypical imperialist operation that offers many warnings for the next 120 years. 
Topics: Panama Canal, Panama History, US Imperialism
Community Audio
Jul 3, 2021 Justin Podur
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Through their own efforts, Puerto Rican revolutionaries won a charter of autonomy from Spain and were on their way to winning independence. Then Spain handed its colony over to the US, and the US has colonized it ever since. We talk about how the US invented the concept of "odious debt" to avoid paying Spain's colonial debt, then promptly saddled Puerto Rico with an odious debt of its own. 
Topics: Puerto Rico, Betances, Spanish American War
Community Audio
Jul 3, 2021 Justin Podur
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We tell the story of Cuba's movement for independence from Spain following the remarkable career of Jose Marti from his teenage years to his unlucky demise. We pick up the story of the Spanish American War in Cuba from the USS Maine incident ("To Hell With Spain! Remember the Maine!") and the possibility that it was faked. Part 3 of our series on Yankee Imperialism.
Topics: Jose Marti, Maceo, Gomez, USS Maine, Cuban Independence, Spanish-American War
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Jun 28, 2021 Justin Podur
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Max Ajl has a new book, A People's Green New Deal; Stan Cox, author of The Green New Deal and Beyond and the upcoming book The Path, joins me as a co-host as we talk about Green New Deals and imagine dealing with Climate Change as if the rest of the world existed (and mattered).
Topics: Green New Deal, Climate Change, Renewable Energy, Agriculture
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Starting in earnest in the early 1880s the US embarked on a prototypical regime change operation: propaganda demonizing the targeted regime, financial control of the targeted state, suborning of key government officials, deactivation and destruction of the sovereign military force from within, a coup, followed by an invasion disavowing any US ambition or interest, and finally the swallowing of the country in to the US Empire. After the subjugation of the Indigenous Nations after the...
Topics: Hawaii, Kalakaua, Liliuokalani, US Imperialism
Community Audio
Jun 12, 2021 Justin Podur
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At the end of the 19th century the US acquired a substantial overseas empire - Hawaii, Samoa, Guam, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Cuba, as well as imperialist relations all around the world. In this miniseries we look at this Yankee Imperialism, focusing on the Spanish-American War. But first, the post-Reconstruction domestic situation in the US - the robber barons, the violent strikes, and the racial apartheid that fueled the American system. We use two books that are two sides of the same...
Topics: Yankee Imperialism, Howard Zinn, J Sakai
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A strategically bankrupt expedition by a vindictive, racist, imperialist power to conduct a series of genocidal atrocities on a Muslim population solely because they dared to fight back. And no, we aren't talking about last week - we conclude the Islam & Imperialism segment of Civilizations with the Anglo-Afghan wars starting with the Army of Revenge in 1842 and going down to the fixing of the Durand Line. What could go wrong?
Topics: Anglo-Afghan Wars, Army of Revenge, Afghanistan
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In early May 2021, I had the honor of being on a panel on the Rise of the Right with Prof. Apoorvanand of Delhi University (and some other great speakers as well). I asked Apoorvanand to have a follow-up discussion with me here to analyze how the far-right ecosystem of organizations and institutions infiltrated Indian society and took it over, including the education sector and universities, and what lessons that takeover might have for people interested in trying to defend society. Lessons for...
Topics: India, BJP, RSS, Modi, Fascism
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In the wake of Israel's 2021 massacres in Gaza and violence elsewhere in Palestine, and a few days into the ceasefire, Carl Zha and I talk about the histories of India and China with Israel and Palestine. We speculate about what the future of a multipolar world with a stronger China might portend for the Israel/Palestine conflict and conclude, sadly, that the answer is: not much. 
Topics: China, India, Palestine, Israel
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Gandhi’s slogan was “Do or Die”, following Byron’s poem about the (pointless) Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War. He emphasized that he would prefer violent resistance to cowardice or surrender. So, the question arises: would Gandhi have supported armed resistance in Palestine? 
Topics: Hamas, Gandhi, Nonviolence
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The focus on Hamas is a product of the rolling amnesia of empire, as if the history of Israeli attacks on Palestinians can be narrowed to the last few decades, then distorted further. Against this tendency, this episode reviews the basic historical and geographic background to this crisis, showing the place of Palestine and the Gaza Strip in the history of imperial expansion, and placing the current horrors in their essential context.
Topics: Gaza, Hamas, Imperialism, Colonialism
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Episode 2 of a mini-series on Israel/Palestine with Dan Freeman-Maloy. Sometimes the connections are obvious. The American-Israeli Meir Kahane, for example, worked as a white-backlash activist in the United States, targeting Black-led social movements, before moving to Palestine and coaching settlers to kill Palestinians, with what Jewish organizations across the world then denounced as racist hate and violence.  More generally, the Scramble for Africa -- that is, the classical period of white...
Topics: Racism, Anti-Racism, Zionism
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May 19, 2021 Justin Podur
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Episode 1 of a new mini-series with Dan Freeman-Maloy. Since the Israeli elections of March 2021, a political philosophy, Kahanism, that was once banned even by Israeli law is openly proclaimed in the Israeli legislature. To the quieter brutality of Israeli colonial rule have been added firebombing Israeli hate crimes against Palestinians – horribly reminiscent of Ku Klux Klan violence – and the open celebration by emboldened Israeli racists of Palestinian pain and death. A colonialism that...
Topics: Kahane, White Supremacy, Nazism, Palestine, Fascism, Anti-Racism
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The British imperialists made much of the bad experiences they had invading and pillaging Afghanistan beginning in 1839, coining terms like the "Graveyard of Empires" and inspiring racist poets like Kipling. We tell the story straight - a bloody imperialist aggression designed to set back Afghan society. Still, the story has some unforgettable characters - from Shah Shuja to Dost Mohamed, from McNaghten and Burnes to Mohan Lal Kashmiri. The crimes, the atrocities, the massacres, the...
Topics: Anglo Afghan War, British Empire, Afghanistan
Community Audio
May 8, 2021 Justin Podur
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An urgent update on the massive protests in Colombia and the criminal response by the regime, which has massacred dozens of protesters and disappeared hundreds of people. Nonetheless, protesters have returned to the streets day after day in spite of every attempt to terrorize them into silence. Why are they protesting? Who called the protest? Where are things at now? Frequent guest, sometimes host, Manuel Rozental joins me from Colombia to talk about it. the criminal response by the regime,...
Topics: Colombia, #ColombiaResiste, Protests, Duque
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May 6, 2021 Justin Podur
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A briefing about India's COVID-19 crisis - its immediate causes in the premature declaration of victory, and its longer-term causes in the privatized and underfunded health system and the global system of vaccination production and distribution for private profit.
Topics: India, COVID, Pandemic
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Part 2 of our series on Islam and Imperialism in the 19th century: the Persian Empire's struggles with the imperialists. In this period Persia was dominated by the Qajjars. We talk about their rise, the multiple wars with Russia, the attempts to modernize, the unequal treaties. We tell the story of Griboyedev's demise from both sides, and talk about one of the biggest Victorian famines you never heard about - the Persian famine of 1869-1872.
Topics: Qajjars, Russian Empire, Persia, Griboyedev, Persian Famine
Podcasts
Apr 29, 2021 Justin Podur
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A podcast event! I teamed up with a co-host, Sina Rahmani of The East is a Podcast, to interview Manan Ahmed, author of The Loss of Hindustan - The Invention of India. The interview is about history, identity, imperialism - the usual! - but all centered on the concept of Hindustan and the way history is written and conceived. This is only half! For part 2 of the interview, you'll have to go to The East is a Podcast! 
Topics: Hindustan, India, British Empire
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For however long the construct of "Modern Western Civilization" has existed, its Eastern foil has been the Ottoman Empire. And for as long as we've been taught the glories of the West, we've been taught about Ottoman "decline". We talk about the Ottoman Empire, show that the history is a little bit more complicated than a story of "decline", and focus on the elite's struggles to reform and modernize in the face of the growing ambitions of Western imperialists.
Topics: Ottoman Empire, Tanzimat Reforms, Russo-Turkish War of 1877
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Apr 17, 2021 Justin Podur
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Justin reads the Afrocentrists and makes a pitch; David hangs on to the universalist perspective, as we talk about all the racist rewriting of history, the famous racist literature of imperialism, and the stunningly racist statements by public figures of the 19th century, from Kipling to Roosevelt and more.
Topics: Racism, Afrocentrism, Eurocentrism
Podcasts
Apr 12, 2021 Matt McKenna
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I was a guest on the fantastic podcast, In the Context of Empire, where I spoke with co-host Matt McKenna about lots of things, but mainly about how imperialist propaganda works. 
Topics: anti-imperialism, propaganda
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Apr 10, 2021 Justin Podur
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The old saying goes that Science ain't an exact science, and nowhere is that more true than with the Scientific Racism of the 19th century. From its predecessors in the 18th century, we get into the unholy trinity of Pearson, Galton, and Fisher. We talk about craniometry, phrenology, IQ testing, "race development" (now called International Relations), and racism in all your favorite fields, from criminology to anthropology, to political science and economics, to sociology and...
Topics: Scientific Racism, Pearson, Galton, Fisher, IQ Testing, Phrenology, Craniometry
Community Audio
Apr 6, 2021 Justin Podur
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Charles Darwin's book On the Origin of Species was read by Lord Elgin before he burned down the palace in Beijing and by Marx, who was so excited he asked Darwin if he could dedicate a volume of Capital to him (Darwin politely declined, not wanting to offend religious sentiment). We talk Darwin and the debates he spawned, physics, Freud, and about the scientific advances and missteps of the late 19th century. Part 1 of a series on Science, Scientific Racism, and Racism in the 19th century.
Topics: Darwin, Malthus, Ricardo, Marx, Evolution, Origin of Species
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Mar 27, 2021 Justin Podur
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Racism, imperialism, repression of sexuality, hypocrisy, pugilism, world fairs, parades, animals on display, worship of a royal family... we look at the Victorian era and the Queen herself. Good thing we've come so far since those days... right?
Topics: Queen Victoria, Victorian Era, Victorian Morality
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On March 1, I was on a panel hosted by the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, the Canadian Peace Congress, World Beyond War, the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute, and Just Peace Associates. The topic was "the Arrest of Meng Wanzhou and the New Cold War on China". Other panelists were Radhika Desai, William Ging Wee Dere, and John Ross - all of whom covered different aspects of the situation. I focused my remarks on Canada's own record of genocide and racism, summarizing some of what...
Topics: Meng Wanzhou, Canada, New Cold War on China
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By pure coincidence, we are publishing this episode on the day the world contrasted the the Alaska Summit - a US-China meeting in March 2021, in which China told the US to stop posturing, to the humiliations of the Boxer Protocol of 1901. In this episode, we talk about the terrible famines of 1876 and 1896 in China and India that killed tens of millions of people, the context of the Boxer Uprising of lightly armed but tenacious anti-imperialists, and the further humiliations inflicted on China...
Topics: Boxer Rebellion, Yi Ho Tuan Uprising, China
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By the 1860s it was Korea's turn to face the dilemma of how to deal with the imperialists. Qing China and Meiji Japan had a lot to say about what they thought Korea should do. We talk about the attempts to reform, Donghak Uprising in Korea, and the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-5.
Topics: Donghak Revolution, Sino-Japanese War, Korea
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Mar 9, 2021 Justin Podur
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I'm joined by Nora Barrows-Friedman and Asa Winstanley, both of the Electronic Intifada podcast. We're piecing together the story of how lifelong anti-racist Jeremy Corbyn of the UK Labour Party was taken down by a smear campaign, which began by targeting those around him. Having taken him down, the smear campaign continued and managed to force AOC in the US to apologize for talking to Corbyn on the phone. The campaign has moved to Canada, where NDP MP Niki Ashton has been dragged by media and...
Topics: Niki Ashton, NDP, Canada, Palestine, Israel, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party, Anti-Semitism
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Mar 6, 2021 Justin Podur
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India had Plassey in 1757, China had Opium War 1 in 1839, and Japan had Commodore Perry's visit in 1853. After centuries of keeping the imperialists at bay, Japan found them knocking down the gates. And in a series of events studied by everyone in Asia but never imitated, Japan went from having a brief colonial encounter to joining the imperialists within a few decades. We don't know if anyone can tell you why it happened, but we can tell you what happened, on this episode of Civilizations.
Topics: Japan, Meiji Era, Boshin War, Commodore Perry
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Feb 28, 2021 Justin Podur
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I bring Carl Zha on for another Kung Fu Yoga episode, this time about Canada. We discuss the unanimous declaration by the Canadian parliament (followed by the Netherlands parliament days later) in February 2021 that a genocide is taking place in Xinjiang. What's really behind this declaration, and how can Canadian history, and Chinese history, help us think about the issue? We reference relevant episodes from the Civilizations Series and from Carl Zha's Silk & Steel podcast.
Topics: Xinjiang, genocide, Canada
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Feb 27, 2021 Justin Podur
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Having burned the palace of the ruling Qing dynasty, the imperialists decided to take their side and help them defeat the Taiping. As Zeng Guofan's encirclement strategy takes hold, the imperialists are running the Ever Victorious Army with figures like Garnet Wolesley (who fought Louis Riel in Canada) and Charles Gordon (who we'll meet again in the Scramble for Africa). It ends with the fall of Nanjing, terrible massacres, and an accounting of the death toll and what was left of China at the...
Topics: Taiping Rebellion, British Imperialism, China
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Feb 25, 2021 Justin Podur
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Anjuli Raza Kolb is the author of Epidemic Empire: Colonialism, Contagion, and Terror 1817-2020, new from University of Chicago Press. It's a huge book with many threads, so in this discussion we pick up one: the idea of "colonial science", how imperialism manages to co-opt and use every type of knowledge; and the question of whether some of the knowledge produced in imperialism can be turned to liberation (thinking of Fanon, or the Haitian Revolution). 
Topics: war on terror, imperialism, british empire
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Feb 20, 2021 Justin Podur
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In the midst of the most destructive war in China's history, the imperialists decided it was time to sack and burn China a second time. In this episode, on the Second Opium War, we talk about the deepening imperialism, get you into the bizarre imperialist mind of Lord Elgin as he rationalizes the burning of the palace in Beijing, show you again how Marx was well ahead of his contemporaries writing about the Peiho stitchup, and the strategies of Ye Mingchen and of Prince Seng.
Topics: Opium War, British Imperialism, Lord Elgin, Karl Marx
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The end of the first Opium War was just the beginning of the horrors China faced under imperialism. Beginning in 1850, China was rocked by a 10-year long civil war that took an estimated 20-30 million lives. You read that correctly. In the middle of that war, the imperialists attacked China again and fought a second opium war, which we'll get to next. But first, the first part of the Taiping Rebellion, 1850-1856.
Topics: Taiping Rebellion, China, Hong Xiuquan, Opium War, Century of Humiliation
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Feb 6, 2021 Justin Podur
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We reach back in time a little bit to start the Civilizations Series on 19th century China - now known as the century of humiliation. The Opium War was one of the moments that turbo-charged imperialism. We tell the story the way Civilizations does - going back and forth between the imperialists and the local forces that tried valiantly (and in the case of our protagonist this episode, Lin Zexu, honorably) to resist. The series will continue with Opium War 2, the Taiping Rebellion, the reforms,...
Topics: Lin Zexu, Elliot, Palmerston, Marx, Opium War, Imperialism
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By 1885, the Indian Act was in place, most Indigenous people were forced onto reserves, and the nadir of Canadian colonialism was set. Part 3 of our series on Canada takes us through the residential school system and the racialist ideologies openly expressed throughout this phase of Canadian history.
Topics: Canada, colonialism, Indian Act, John A. Macdonald, Louis Riel
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Along with colonialism, smallpox and the driving to extinction of the beaver and then the buffalo played an immense role in the creation of what is now Canada. We tell the story of these factors in the development of Canadian colonialism from the days of New France and the Hudson's Bay Company to the Riel Resistance of 1870, in part 2 of our series on Canada (that will go at least to 3 and probably 4 parts).
Topics: Louis Riel, Hudson's Bay Company, Canadian colonialism, 1870
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Part 1 of at least 3 on Canada, this one sets up the story of Canadian colonialism with some required historical touchpoints about Canada's devolution into independence from Britain, the story of Confederation as a series of business deals, and the role of racism in Canadian immigration policy. 
Topics: Canada, devolution, confederation, immigration, John A. Macdonald
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Jan 4, 2021 Justin Podur
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The Paris Commune was so much more than a short bloody two-month interlude in European politics. In this episode, the story of the Paris Commune as related by Karl Marx in his address to the International Workingmen's Association. From passing debt relief programs to tearing down militarist statues, the Paris Commune was a real revolution, for a moment at least. With the usual asides and notes about what else was going on.
Topics: Paris Commune, Karl Marx, Thiers
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In 1865, Paul Bogle led an uprising in Jamaica that was repressed with extreme violence by the British, led by Jamaica's Governor Eyre. The reaction was disproportionate and the story was big news in Britain, leading to a committee questioning Eyre's brutality and a counter-committee forming to defend him. Both committees have some big names from Britain's past: Darwin and Mill on one side, Dickens and Tennyson on the other - and many more.
Topics: Paul Bogle, Eyre, Morant Bay, British Empire, Thomas Carlyle
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We conclude our 4 part series on the American Civil War following WEB Du Bois's book Black Reconstruction in America , talking about the brief, glorious moment of potential for genuine racial equality in the United States. In some ways, despite the gains made a century later, we still live with the consequences of the fall of Reconstruction.
Topics: Black Reconstruction in America, WEB Du Bois, American Civil War
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Dec 9, 2020 Justin Podur
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Opposing a series of Farm bills that will render them destitute and further enrich India's billionaires, a farmer's movement has converged on Delhi demanding that the legislation (passed in September) be repealed. I talk to historian Navyug Gill about the laws, the history, and the politics of the Farmer's movement in India, a sustained opposition that has arisen to the seemingly unstoppable BJP-Modi juggernaut.
Topics: Punjab, Farm Bills, Modi, BJP, Farmer's Protest India
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Dec 8, 2020 Justin Podur
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Maria Victor and I talk about the December 6 legislative elections in Venezuela. Turnout was low at 31%, but that's normal for legislative elections in a pandemic (Romania had around the same turnout on the same day, as others have pointed out). We talk about the electoral system in Venezuela, why it's more fair than you've been led to believe, the disgraceful role Canada continues to play in trying to foment a coup in Venezuela, and what the new legislature is likely to do.
Topics: Venezuela, Chavismo
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Nov 29, 2020 Justin Podur
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The American Civil War from Lincoln's election in 1860 to the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomatox Court House. The major events, the commanders, and the decisive role of what Du Bois called the General Strike of the Black Worker. Part 3 of 4 on the US Civil War. 
Topics: American Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, WEB Du Bois, Black...
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Nov 20, 2020 Justin Podur
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Sayf Carman runs the Ummah Fight Camp martial arts youtube channel and has recently started Mindscrub, an intellectual channel. Carman teaches martial arts in New Jersey. He has been in the Nation of Islam, the Communist Party, has studied Buddhism and Western Philosophy. We talk about different approaches to thinking, teaching, and techniques and approaches in martial arts, and what it means to be an intellectual in the good and bad sense, using ideas from Noam Chomsky to Malcolm X to Amos...
Topics: Ummah Fight Camp, Mindscrub Channel, Malcolm X, Amos Wilson, Communism, Buddhism, Nation of Islam
The Manual Library
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John Brown routed 75 men with 14, defended Lawrence from raiders, wrote a manual for the Underground Railroad, and began the war that ended slavery. Frederick Douglass, talking about Brown's actions in Kansas, wrote that one could not read the history "without feeling that the man who in all this bewildering broil was least the puppet of circumstances - the man who most clearly saw the real crux of the conflict, most definitely knew his own convictions and was readiest at the crisis for...
Topics: US Civil War, John Brown, W.E.B. Du Bois, Frederick Douglass
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Nov 14, 2020 Justin Podur
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I'm joined by the Anti-Empire Project's special correspondent for Pakistan, Saadia Toor, professor at CSI CUNY and author of the State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan. Saadia gives us a quick sweep of Pakistan's history including the key role of the left in the many twists and turns. We get caught up all the way to Imran Khan's hybrid civil-military regime and the inspiring youth-led Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM).
Topics: Imran Khan, Pakistan, Pashtun Tahafuz Movement
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Civilizations begins our study (at least four parts) of the American Civil War. We start with the abolitionist movement in the decades before the war, and the conflict between the British Empire and the United States over abolition. This episode relies on (among other sources) Kellie Carter Jackson's book Force and Freedom, and Gerald Horne's book Negro Comrades of the Crown.
Topics: Abolitionists, William Lloyd Garrison, Hayden Lewis, American Civil War
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Nov 4, 2020 Justin Podur
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Step off of the Artificial Intelligence hype train with me and my guest Yarden Katz. Yarden is the author of Artificial Whiteness: Politics and Ideology in Artificial Intelligence. AI is a squishy concept, and under scrutiny it is full of imperialist and racial assumptions. We go over some of the many ideas in this idea-packed book, which I highly recommend.
Topics: artificial intelligence, whiteness, racism, imperialism, science
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Nov 1, 2020 Justin Podur
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The name most associated with the unification of Germany is that of Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck was the great puppet master of Europe in the 1860s, but he may just have set things up for future conflagrations.
Topics: Bismarck, Germany, Prussia, Franco-Prussian War
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Oct 27, 2020 Justin Podur
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I'm joined by scholar and campaigner Sameer Dossani. A PhD student at the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation (IERI) in South Africa and an activist at PeaceVigil.net, Sameer wrote the paper "Ecological Catastrophe, Capitalist Excess or Ongoing Colonialism - How should we understand the crisis?" - which outlines what I call "colonial determinism", a big-picture view that I hold. We discuss the paper and go freely off into tangents in what I hope will be one of...
Topics: Ecological Catastrophe, Capitalism, Colonialism
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Oct 24, 2020 Justin Podur
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Two very different characters - Cavour and Garibaldi - were instrumental in orchestrating the unification of Italy in the 1860s. We talk unification and consequences, and give a mention to Garibaldi's famous letters to Abraham Lincoln of 1861 and 1863. 
Topics: Italian unification, nationalism, Cavour, Garibaldi
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Oct 13, 2020 Justin Podur
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The Delhi Liberated Zone under Bahadur Shah Zafar falls; Tatia Tope and others fight on for another two years; the British kill perhaps 10 million Indian people (7% of the population); the 1857 has some victories even in defeat. But what does it all mean? We conclude our discussion with the concept of a point-of-view in history. I identify six different points of view (RSS, Congress, British imperialist, 1857 line, Subaltern Studies, and Marxist) and show how you end up having to pick one, and...
Topics: sepoy mutiny, india war of independence, 1857, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Tatia Tope
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Oct 10, 2020 Justin Podur
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Are we really doing this? One podcaster with Indian roots and another with British roots, trying to do the history of 1857 India? This is the Civilizations podcast, so yes we are! I'm arguing that 1857 is up there with the other great revolutions of this time - 1848 or 1870 in Europe, or Bolivar's campaigns in Latin America. Part 1 takes you from the antecedents and context through to the Delhi Liberated Zone under Bahadur Shah Zafar.
Topics: 1857, sepoy mutiny, India, Last Mughal, Great Fear
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Oct 6, 2020 Justin Podur
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On the last day of defense evidence in the Assange Trial (September 30/20), a statement from Chomsky was read into the record. This is a solo episode where I go over Chomsky's succinct, remarkable statement about power, propaganda, and the importance of Assange's work.
Topics: Chomsky, Assange, Assange Trial, Wikileaks
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Oct 2, 2020 Justin Podur
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Isa Blumi is a professor at Stockholm University in Sweden and a scholar of the Empire. We talk about a range of imperial methods, including the creation of a 'traditional-modern' or 'backward-forward' dichotomy; humanitarianism; debt; depopulating villages; recruiting some classes of colonials to administer the imperial project, and survey the bleak landscape for anti-imperialists today.
Topics: Yemen, Balkans, Ottaman Refugees, Empire
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Sep 30, 2020 Justin Podur
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How did a military debacle lead to the abolition of serfdom in Russia? How did a disagreement over the nature of breakfast lead to a military loss? How bad was the Charge of the Light Brigade, really? Civilizations goes to the Crimean War, where Britain, France, and Turkey fought Russia from 1853-1856.
Topics: Crimean War, Charge of the Light Brigade
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Sep 24, 2020 Justin Podur
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This episode is about how the US became the territorial empire that it is. We cover the Mexican-American War of 1846-8 and the replay with the later French Invasion, as well as an update on US expansionism into Indigenous territories throughout the 19th century. 
Topics: Mexican-American War, Santa Anna, Zachary Taylor, Winfield Scott, Polk
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Sep 18, 2020 Justin Podur
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Joe Emersberger and I talk about the Steve Donziger case, in which an environmental lawyer who won a landmark settlement against one of the world's most powerful oil corporations (Chevron) is now disbarred and under house arrest, persecuted by a pro-business judge and the entire US corporate-legal nexus. In the second half, we talk about the Assange trial, in which the weight of two countries' judiciaries (the US and UK) are being brought down to try to crush a journalist, for doing journalism,...
Topics: Steve Donziger, Chevron, Ecuador, Julian Assange, Assange Trial, Wikileaks
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Sep 12, 2020 Justin Podur
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There were many revolutions in Europe in 1848, with complex and contradictory results and lessons learned by all parties for future revolutionary rounds. We spend most of the time in France, a bit of time in Prussia, and a quick tour of the rest.
Topics: 1848 Revolutions, Louis Napoleon, Prussia, Marx
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Sep 10, 2020 Justin Podur
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I'm joined by Kira Paulemon of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR.net), co-author with Jake Johnston of a recent report about a State Department contract to a politically-connected firm in Haiti. We talk about the contract, the two years of demonstrations in Haiti, the current president's rule by decree, contrasts with the US attitude towards a certain earlier Haitian president, and talk a little bit about how CEPR approaches its research. 
Topics: Haiti, Jovenal Moise, US Foreign Policy
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Sep 5, 2020 Justin Podur
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We investigate Britain around 1848. Why was there no revolution? We look at the Chartist and Reform movements in Britain and in Canada, Robert Peel and the origins of modern policing, Australia and the early debates about how to create misery in prisons, the Irish famines and their repercussions.
Topics: Chartism, Reformism, Robert Peel, Irish Famine, William Lyon Mackenzie
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Sep 1, 2020 Justin Podur
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In Chiapas, Mexico, the Indigenous Zapatista rebels have raised the alarm about an intensification of paramilitary attacks on their communities. Manuel Rozental and I are joined by John Gibler to talk about Mexican politics and how it is that a Mexican government led by a leftist president continues the historical pattern of dirty war against the Indigenous movement.
Topics: Zapatistas, Lopez Obrador, Mexico, Chiapas
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Your Western Civilization course covers the French Revolution of 1830. But the Civilizations Series gives you that and Muhammad Ali of Egypt, France's colonizing Algeria, and the slave rebellions of Denmark Vesey in South Carolina, Nat Turner in Virginia, and Sam Sharpe in Jamaica. 
Topics: 1830 revolutions, Muhammad Ali of Egypt, Algeria, Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner, Sam Sharpe
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A different angle this episode: my guest is my martial arts instructor, Shawn Zirger, who teaches Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do and other martial arts at the Zirger Academy. We talk about Bruce Lee's approach to knowledge, how martial artists think about cultural appropriation, the problem of trying to "find geniuses" when teaching, our own martial arts journeys, and quite a bit more.
Topics: Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee, Martial Arts, pedagogy
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Aug 20, 2020 Justin Podur
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A sixteen minute solo episode about James Kabarebe, special presidential advisor in Rwanda, and his recent threatening comments towards Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege.
Topics: DR Congo, Rwanda, Bukavu, Denis Mukwege, James Kabarebe, Paul Kagame, Rwandan Patriotic Front
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Independent journalist Yanis Iqbal, based in India, has written a series of articles about commodities and imperialism in Latin America. He presents some of his findings on coffee in Colombia, tourism and the displacement of Indigenous people in Honduras, and lithium imperialism in Chile and Bolivia.
Topics: coffee, Colombia, tourism, Honduras, Garifuna, lithium, Chile, Bolivia
Community Audio
Aug 11, 2020 Justin Podur
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Another one in the Kung Fu Yoga series, with Carl Zha.  This time we're comparing the situations in Kashmir and Xinjiang, reporting what we've studied about state violence, censorship, economy, freedom of religion, popular agendas and state agendas of India and China in Kashmir and in Xinjiang.
Topics: Kashmir, India, Xinjiang, China
Podcasts
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Why do Indian boys love Jordan Peterson? If war is hell, as Jocko Willink says, why do they keep doing it? And is it unfair to consider Joe Rogan conservative? To debate these questions, I'm joined by screenwriter and comedian Amish Patel, who analyzes fake gurus on the coffeezilla podcast. This episode is kind of a continuation of the episode 57 discussion with Dan about "super wealth through the right mindset". 
Topics: Jordan Peterson, Jocko Willink, fake gurus