In this episode, Heather sits down with Jeremy Einbinder from Democratize The Media to talk about defeating capitalism by using their own tools to destroy them. Capitalism is planting the seeds of its own destruction, we just have to collectivize them.
Heather Warburton 0:02
This is Wine, Women, and Revolution with your host Heather Warburton coming at you here on New Jersey Revolution Radio.Hi and welcome to wine women in revolution. I’m your host Heather Warburton coming at you here on New Jersey revolution radio. You can find us online www.njrevolutionradio.com , follow us on all the social medias and get us wherever you get your podcasts from. Today, I have one of my favorite smart people back on the show with me. You may remember him before he was on I think the show was called something about inspiration porn, or something along those lines. Welcome back to the show. Jeremy.
Thanks for having me back on.
Heather Warburton 0:48
Yeah, that last show you’re on was a great episode. A lot of people really enjoyed it. And we talked a little bit about how we use and exploit people as a way of like making ourselves feel better. Like oh, this person in a wheelchair did some basic thing in their daily lives. And now we’re all going to, like somehow get inspiration from that, you know.
Also, there’s a point where, you know, it’s, it’s, you know, something is done for disabled people that you know, who is overcoming economic constraints that are often placed on us, but it’s like, look at this charity, the helps people that should have already been helped, but they were left behind for no reason other than profit. It’s like look how selfless, this entrepreneur is giving away some of his fortune that he didn’t earn.
Heather Warburton 1:50
Right, so we wanted to talk about something a little bit similar today is another one of these inspirational feel good media things. Like I’ve seen a couple of stories recently where like, somebody’s insurance denied a wheelchair for this like 10 year old kid. So a high school science team built them a wheelchair, we should all feel good about that. When really that’s a commentary, we’re living in some sort of dystopian nightmare, where the high school science team is providing medical necessities to children.
What if we did it with the high school science team coordinated action with actual scientists, but they need money and access for that, but they don’t have. What if they called scientists and said , Hey, we you know we need a wheelchair for our friend, can you help us with it as we need it. But come to think of it wheel chairs should be free access anyway, for anyone who needs them. You don’t have to pay a fee for someone not to club you in the kneecaps, you know.
Heather Warburton 2:54
But instead, we’re supposed to feel so good or so inspired. And there was another one where some, you know, a young child paid off his school’s schoolmates, lunch debt. The fact that lunch debt is even a term we use in this day and age, and you I think it posted something about that on your website, Democratize The Media right, could you talk about that a little bit?
What the fuck is lunch debt? Yeah, basically, Democratize The Media, you know, looks at the news and looks at pop culture around those things that are relevant to you know, how the capitalist media kind of manipulates us into certain mindsets, and certain ways of thinking, and how that influences into the economy and how the economy influences culture, its a real back and forth. Dialectical to use fancy word relationship where they sort of feed off each other, and it’s hard to escape it, because we’re in it, it’s hard to escape the culture. You cant really root against anyone getting their insurance, you cant really root against the sick, and people are gonna be like, what’s the matter with you? Aren’t you… shouldn’t you feel good about this. But on the other hand, you know, you can’t really root for the situation,And allow the crises to have to be solved in the first place. So it’s a difficult balance. And you’re not, it’s not easy to figure out how to criticize when you’re in this culture.
Heather Warburton 4:35
Right. And when something like this, of course, we feel good about the altruism of the kids, like, you know, that should be normal human nature, even though we’re taught that that’s not human nature. But that should just be normal altruism should be part of who we are. But the situation is a horrible commentary on society. What kind of things would you say, you know, assuming that this media and these pushes, of these feel good stories? Would you call them exploitative? Or what? how exactly would you define these stories and the commentary about what they’re saying
I would call them manufactured, I would say, either they exist because of the system, that they happened under. Because I’m a bad socialist, I like to watch the show Shark Tank, which is a which is q show in which people who want to get their business started sort of beg for money from rich investors. They’re in the system, as it exists, and they buy into it. Like, you know, think about how many stories we hear about, you know, the small business owner who had to sell their car and sell their house and sleepless nights and whatever, to get this business off the ground, They had no help, you know, oh,and whatever it is that someone needs to do to survive in this world. Um, the fact that people are in a situation where they need to, you know, absorb their entire identity in how good of an entrepreneur they are, is even bad for the capitalist.
Heather Warburton 6:26
Yeah, it is. I did it show a couple weeks about mental health, under capitalism, and losing yourself in the pursuit of money is very common, and it’s not a healthy mental status to be in.
And for the worker, you know, they need to subject themselves to abuse in extreme cases, and conformity, in most mundane cases of the capitalist economy in order to, quote unquote, make something of themselves, and that’s certainly not healthy, either. Given that, you know, this is America, we’re forced to, to conform to a system that has us competing against one another. And that is not healthy, you know, oh, you avoid leaving a job, even if you’re secure, because you don’t want to lose social capital. And if you’re not secure, you wont be leaving a job. Because if you don’t you starve.
Heather Warburton 7:37
Right, those are the options like stay in a bad situation or die, essentially, are the options you’re presented.
And that’s bad, of course, but what other people will say is if you know, this weren’t the system that existed, you know, I always retort with, if nothing’s made, then things are not going to be made, things need to be made, because people exist. And if things aren’t made, then shits gonna stop. You know. And then I also counter by saying that, you know, janitors and garbage workers, sanitation workers, you know, have the respect that soldiers and cops have now, you know. Make it a part time job that they could thank the sanitation worker for their service, Thank a janitor for their service, thank a nurse for their service, or whatever it is, that keeps society functioning is not necessarily a bad thing. It can be just be done more efficiently and more universally, in everyone had access to the resources that some very many people don’t currently have. And people in the First World tend to have more of. I’ve also said, at the A lot of times, you know, I have nothing to gain from social democracy. I’m privileged enough. Oh, I have health insurance. I’ve been to college, I don’t have student debt. Um, but I still live with my parents. As I said last time, you know, who likes mortgages, who likes rent? People on the internet, were commenting sarcastically against Sanders’ student debt erasure plan. Hey why dont you pay my student loans? You wouldn’t to do that? And communists are like, Yeah, I would.
Heather Warburton 9:35
Right? Yeah, there’s this weird narrative, the subject is we’re going off on a tangent, but it’s a good tangent. There’s this weird narrative of somehow, because someone had to pay off their student debt, that it’s somehow an insult to them, that now other people might not have to. And you know, I’ve seen that analogy of like, I had to get chicken pox when I was a kid, I don’t begrudge people who get vaccinated for chicken pox.
Heather Warburton 10:04
And it’s a very weird, like, it’s trying to, you know, it’s part of that narrative, again, of, you know, not caring about each other, and that that’s somehow natural, which is very alien to me.
I mean, there are a few people who don’t care largely about other people, and they’re the people who tend to succeed in this system, and the people who do care about out other people are either, you know, outliers, or, or liable to be crushed by someone who doesn’t.
Heather Warburton 10:39
Its where, if you if you crush your competition to poverty, that means you are good at your job.
Heather Warburton 10:49
Right, it means you’re a horrible person. You shouldn’t be rewarded for making others unable to live. That’s not something we should be rewarding people for doing in society.
One of the things one of the things the sharks say on Shark Tank is what’s your plan for world domination? I reflected on, like, thats a normal question to ask. And also, you know, it’s important to know, you know, that shows like that exists, you know, because there’s a camera and they can put them in the room and, you know, made a show. There are some things that exist only because, you know, the saying famous for being famous. Its the same way with some of these reality shows like, let me take a look at your failing restaurant or, let me see how terrible your business is, you know, will make you feel bad for not be as willing to sell overseas for pennies an hour, as the other entrepreneur. Let’s not think about the fact that, much of our food, water, wealth, all electronics come from third world countries, we have the stuff now that we can do, where we can succeed with the advantage that we were given by colonizing European settlers that destroyed the land for indigenous people. Isn’t that great? Isn’t that great that we’re successful now.
Heather Warburton 12:22
We are great at exploiting people. Yeah us. It is a very bizarre mindset for sure. And speaking of exploitation, one of the other things that we did want to talk about today was that, uh, probably by the time you hear this, it will have already happened. But there’s Amazon workers that are planning to go on strike on Prime Day, which I think is sometime next week.
I think it’s the 15th I think it’s a good idea them not that difficult to not use Amazon for one day, I don’t think I’m what also, you know, I want to make the point that at, you know, areas of on itself is not a bad concept. In principle, there’s nothing wrong with a huge, you know, for lack of a better term marketplace, where you can just order whatever you want, and have it delivered to you in one centralized location. Oh, you know, it’s my opinion that one of the reasons that socialist states have failed in the past is that the 20th century was not ready for communism, it didn’t have the technology to support it. Um, you know, all the world was not interconnect. Oh, Its hard. In the case of the USSR, it’s hard to go from a feudal empire straight to was socialist one without going to a capitalist stage of development in between. But you know, now I think with multinational corporations, the world may be be ready for socialism than ever. Because they are kind of doing some of the work for us.
Ancaps (Anarcho-capitalists) and classical liberals, often are like you know, “the greatness of the free market and competition, isn’t that great”. When in reality, it creates a monopoly were as soon as a company gets me enough, it buys off its competition, and then everyone’s fine with that. They buy everything from Amazon. They watch everything on Netflix. They eat at the same, you know, restaurant groups and franchise operations. And you know, there’s a reason, big corporations are big, is because they’re popular. And access to them is easy. Now, imagine if we kept the corporations, as huge as they are, and just took control of them.
Heather Warburton 14:53
If the people owned them, instead of one douche bag in California.
International capitalism has really set up a world where international socialism is possible. Because, you know, we wouldn’t have to take over one company in a time. And one company owns a bunch of other companies. I’m sure there are people out there, probably local to us that get all their stuff from Amazon, buy all their groceries at Whole Foods, watch all their stuff on Netflix, surf the web with Facebook and YouTube and not much else, you know, go on Reddit.
Heather Warburton 15:46
I think you’re onto something here with this like whole concept. Because I know a lot of problems with previous Communist or socialist is the logistics of actually getting the resources to the people. And a corporation, like Amazon already has logistics down, they know I can tell you, I can order a pair of pants and know where that pair of pants is like, every 20 minutes along the route. And they can get it to me in the afternoon of the day, I ordered it. That kind of resource distribution can open us up to get resources to everyone if they are in the right hands.
Now to be clear, um, Amazon does often abuse their workers it might take, you know, it might take the socialists a while to get to get you this ease an Amazon has with out, you know, stressing everyone out, and making them work to exhaustion. But I think we’ll get to that point, especially because there is no reason to hold back artificial intelligence when there’s no one to profit from it.
Heather Warburton 16:58
We wont be competing against our own advancement.
Before Stephen Hawking died, he talked about how there are basically two paths to go down, we can either let automation take over in this economy, and , you know, a few assholes can own the entire economy and the working class, or the non owning class if, we’re going to get technical, because whos a worker, and whos not usually comes down to “owns things”. But anyway, you can say, he said, basically, ever, a few people can own shit and just control the masses, or the masses can control the machines, and we can all be happy. Now which one do you want to go down?
Heather Warburton 17:43
But also, on the other hand, the prospect of, you know, human-like artificial intelligence might kind of creep me out. If they gain sentience because we don’t put a repeat of, you know, submission and slavery. So you’ve got to be careful to not make machines that are too much like us. Possibly, it will be better to, you know, augment machines into our daily lives. Like we have with our, basically our cell phones and computers can use in a way artificial intelligence in a way that wasn’t in the 20th century. I think we’re moving towards automation in ways that can be ethical and amenable to humans, that we just haven’t used because it’s not profitable to do so because the capitalist class needs workers to exploit in order to buy its stuff.
Which is why I think, for example, in the presidential race, you know, Andrew Yang is the presidential candidate whos advertising his universal basic income. And I’ve read basically, you know, he wants to make it a choice between, you know, the income and welfare benefits. And the reason he wants to do that is because it keeps the market going, you know, keeps people buying stuff. And, you know, is a way to eventually cut welfare benefits. And he has no concern with the exploitation of the worker in so far is how it affects the worker, he, you know, he fears the poverty of everyone and he wants to create a constant bandaid as opposed to actually turning over ownership to everybody. Which would make a completely different machines as opposed to constantly fixing this crappy one.
Heather Warburton 19:45
So he wants to slap a big old bandaid on capitalism, because capitalism is crumbling around us. And he’s trying to like slap a bandaid on it and be like, No, no, it can last a little longer. Aside from and here’s always been my concern about base income, is unless we address our exploitation of the global south, where we’re getting these resources from, then we’re still exploiting people. We’re just slightly raising up the middle class in this country at the expense of the rest of the world. So unless we can address that somehow the base income is still exploitation.
Yeah. So would social democracy for that matter, because, as I said, before, the world is already a global economy. And, you know, in a so called developed country like the United States can only have so much wealth to give a welfare benefit. It’s because another country, in the global south does not. And its because of imperialism, like that the people are coming from Central America to escape poverty. They say America is the land of opportunity, its because America has hoarded all the opportunity. And they just want to punish the brown people for coming, even though they were forced into coming, because, you know, oh, there’s no community development, because they don’t have any capital because the global north stole it all.
Heather Warburton 21:26
Right, we took all their resources, now we are complaining about why they have no resources and want to come here. Like, we just pretend we don’t understand what’s going on, when really, we are the cause of all of this refugee situation. That we’re taking everyone else’s resources, and using them exploiting them as a labor force, as well as taking actual the physical resources of the earth, but exploiting them as workers for pennies.
No one has explained to me what exactly would be wrong with its opening the borders and letting people live where they want? Um, you know, we have open borders internally within the United States.
Heather Warburton 22:07
Right, I can go to Maryland and not like destabilize the whole world. Why can’t we have a free flow between US and Canada and Mexico and all of our neighboring countries?
We’re, not working in tandem with the global south, we’re taking stuff. There’s a reason the global north is the US’s Quote to quote allies, and all other countries, you know, tend to follow the United States like Saudi Arabia and Israel. There’s a thing called neocolonialism which is basically, you know, formerly colonized states taking on the colonial aspects of the United States basically, for non white allies, and to in order to get on the good side of the United States. It’s, you know, In Chile in 1973 when the US quite literally overthrew their democratically elected leader, and it’s happened and, you know powerful enough of nations can get the US to protect it militarily.
We can adjust to less or jack everyone’s resources and there’s not a thing the third world can do about it. Either they don’t cooperate and they are poor or they do cooperate and they further the oppression of the US Empire, like in Saudi Arabia with the oil deals and you know, Trump’s literally profiting off business deals and real estate deals with the Saudi Arabian government. The capitalized are already in coordination in the global south, there are no real powerful forces coming here to the US and North America and the rest of the global north.
But if there was a way for the world to coordinate in the opposite direction, in the interest of the global masses, there’s not much that you would have to sacrifice. Because the people who would have to sacrifice some material wealth probably wouldn’t be too much. Often, there are thing of comfort, because they’re not using a lot of it because they don’t interact with it. Someone who owns the means of production wouldn’t necessarily have to give up any his production, they would just up to share it.
Heather Warburton 24:56
RIght, we have a few people hoarding massive amounts of wealth that they’ll never, they never see. Like, it’s basically just numbers on paper, you can take 95% of their wealth, and it still wouldn’t affect their day to day lives. Like this is how massive the amounts of wealth being hoarded by a very select few individuals are.
Right, of course, you know, I don’t know what revolution will look like in the United States. But I have a feeling that since the US is the imperial power, we’re going to have to coordinate with other countries in order to resist and you know, striking is a part of that and if Amazon workers were across the country can strike and demand better wages and working conditions or stop working then, you know. What’s Amazon going to do?
If big companies are now going international and now that’s to the advantage because capitalists can extract wealth from anywhere they want without, you know, living there. Because free movement of capital is allowed but not free movement of people. Which links back with the refugee crisis. If free movement of people and resources were allowed at the same time, and international corporations coordinate it with one another as workers as equals. You know, we have social networks that can connect instantly across the world with one another. And you’re not using it for unionization yet, we aren’t using it to destroy the systems around us and build better ones. We’re using it to perpetuate systems.
Now there are a few people like you and like me, and like Brian, who are within the system and fighting internally inside it. And that’s good. We need more of us. Because the more people that think like us, the more we can work together and grind the system to a halt. And perhaps the revolution doesn’t happen one country at a time. Perhaps, you know, the entire Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, YouTube, everyone who works at these giant companies , can unionize, can cooperate, can band together against their bosses. Stop working, teach it over on the internet, maybe do some hacking and I don’t know. But it might be simpler than we’re making it out to be to revolt against this. They’ve already committed to giving us the tools we need to overthrow them. We just haven’t started using them that way yet.
Heather Warburton 28:06
Right, maybe revolution. I know a lot of people, or some people on the left, wherever they talk of revolution is like an adventurism kind of thing. That it’s going to be, you know, shooting in the streets and this very, like brutal sort of revolution. But there are other ways you’re right, that the revolution can look like a lot of different things. And using the tools that we are being exploited by, is kind of a beautiful way of doing a revolution. Using the systems that the enemies have put in place to bring them down is kind of brilliant.
Whenever a conservative says “but you live under capitalism”, then I want to respond with “Do you want me to start stealing shit, because I can”
Heather Warburton 28:54
RIght, you’re going to, you know, complain about me shopping somewhere I can just help myself to things if you prefer. But somehow I don’t think that’s what they want, either. Well, let’s see, we’ve already been talking for a half an hour, I had one more subject we wanted to get to, but maybe we can briefly touch on that. And it was a current push of a Red Scare sort of. That as capitalism is failing, and more and more people are starting to see that capitalism is failing. A narrative starts to be pushed again of how evil communism and socialism is. And you start seeing a resurgence of propaganda, you might say. Are you seeing stuff like that.
Yeah, they paint, you know, cooperative efforts, as you know, cultist. And the position you are put in with a capitalist country, is to either buy or be bought, sell or be sold. You know, that doesn’t sound very individualistic to me. And, you know, we know that the CIA and the Pentagon work with movie productions to make accurate portrayals of the military. Favorable, not necessarily accurate. Its because that feeds back into the military industrial complex, and imperialism and, you know, we can either accept the premise or refuse it. But it’s hard to really construct a new one, if we’re not building one. Because we live in it, it’s hard to resist it, it’s around us, but the least we can do, you know, this summer is to not to sing any patriotic song on the Fourth of July NJ. We can scoff at the television and seeing corporate propaganda, we can say to ourselves to our friends and our co workers, it doesn’t have to be this way. It doesn’t have to be huge.
Like it can be sort of, making our message heard in such a way that is palatable other people. And in terms of the Red Scare of entertainment, we can write things that are favorable to the working classes, it can be a little sneaky look like for example, I don’t know if you seen Sorry To Bother You.
Heather Warburton 31:40
That was a good movie. (Spoilers) About a telemarketer who, who rises up in the in the telemarketing world and starts selling higher ticket items as it were. And you realize it is the towards the end, he’s selling slave labor over the phone. And, you know, it does play with, you know, the owners in a bad light at thats good, you know, sci fi can certainly do that, in ways that other types of fiction can be not necessarily explicit. But it can plant a little seed in the head of the viewer. But other companies and media corporations can fire up with entertainment of their own. That paints them in a positive light, so it’s a struggle.
Heather Warburton 32:39
Yeah, and I think like this year, like a couple of examples I had thought of when we were talking about this pre interview was, you know, spoilers, I’m only actually two episodes ends, I can’t spoil too much. But on the season of Stranger Things, the Russians are the enemy. And we’ve had this show on Showtime, Chernobyl. I don’t know what exactly what they call it like a sort of fake documentary kind of thing. But you know, a lot of that they push how it was the state, you know, the chairman and councils and things like that, that were the evil doers in that.
And I mean, a lot of things went very, very wrong in Chernobyl, I have a friend who was a safety officer for a nuclear reactor. And he one day like listed the amount of things that had to go wrong for Chernobyl to happen. And it was this this, I think it was at least a good like 15 things that had to go wrong. But they placed a lot of blame in this documentary on the USSR and their secrecy and how they, you know, it would be a blow to their pride, to have some sort of nuclear failure. And so that’s playing into that, like, you know, the enemy is the communist kind of thing. I think we’re seeing it more and more. And I mean, how many times have you been accused of being a Russian troll yourself? I know I have.
Many times! Oh, um, it’s basically xenophobia. But there are ways for so called foreign cause to be appealing to people, all, they just have to use it in their own interest and their conditions and how they live. Oh, you see this Chernobyl documentary, we can also see, you know, the 13th, which is an indictment , you know, of slavery in America, and have adapted to modern times. And you know, that’s a reaction to capitalists propaganda. And in a way, that is not necessarily revolutionary, but sort of progressive in nature, um, to examine parts of history that are especially heinous in America, and continue to be. You know, blue Lives Matter, reacts to Black Lives Matter, but there’s only Black Lives Matter, because blue lives so called have asserted their power.
So we got a lot of fighting to do internally, and rhetorically, and I think, productions and shows and movies will possibly do a lot more anti-socialist coating, and insert doubts that under a different system that you will retain your individuality. And of course, they will, because they won’t be subject to a capitalist boss. But poverty can make you paranoid and being a victim of imperialism can make you paranoid. And, you know, people say that socialism causes poverty, I think is the other way around. I think the poverty causes socialism. As two things, causing people to want to cooperate and share those things and take things from the people who are hoarding them.
Heather Warburton 36:16
Again, they’re in capitalism, they are planting the seeds of their own destruction, that as this growing income inequality, and poverty is just raging across the country that no one can afford to meet their basic needs, that they’re creating their own destruction, because something’s going to have to give like, people aren’t just going to go quietly and die because capitalists would like them to.
Yeah. We’ve got Neo nazis coming back, and people who are apologist for concentration camps, you know, saying “They should have followed the law”. But the laws suck.
Heather Warburton 36:56
Even if it was illegal, when it’s when it’s not.
Heather Warburton 37:02
So what message would you have to people who are trying to think a little more critically, and trying to evaluate their media and their entertainment, as well as, does this have a bias that maybe is flying under my radar? Would you be able to give anybody any advice to how to evaluate the things they’re consuming a little more critically?
Well, first of all, you know, someone suffering at their job does not necessarily build character, despite what the media might tell you. And, you know, “making something of your yourself” is not necessarily a great thing, it means you have to work constantly and never around to enjoy the resources you accumulated. Because you’re too tired to actually, be with any of them, or anybody you meet, because you have to go to sleep and go to work the next day, and do it over. Well, even middle management is not necessarily having a great time.
Um, as far as, you know, thinking critically about our place in the world, um, you know, if you find a show or movie that you relate to, you know, think about the struggles, the character had to overcome to get to a place where they’re, they’re meaningful, happy, and, you know, do they really have to struggle that much, right? Every interaction, and every material benefit happened because of previous years material benefits, previous inventions, um, there’s no TV show movie that doesn’t have a previous story attached to it. Let’s happen to start the story in any particular middle, everything’s in the middle, and everything comes from you know, either it goes before it, or the new middle in the next story, that there’s this thing in storytelling called an inciting event. The thing that changes the main characters world, and class consciousness can be the inciting event of the actual world.
We can realize we’ve been screwed over. And you know, we can start with sharing a Facebook meme of, you know, poverty and the current social order. And, can end in taking stuff over for the people who can actually manage it together and not hoard it. Because there’s no reason to you. And we can live not necessarily happily ever after. Ergo, we can live in a way that strives to constantly improve in such a way so that we don’t have to submit to the authority of a few rich people who have to choose what to do in order for themselves to survive. We can all survive, we can all cooperate or we can suffer at the hands of climate change and we can all die.
Heather Warburton 40:49
I think that was a great place to start wrapping it up today. Um, you know, I loved your “it’s always the middle”. That’s a great and that may be what I titling this episode “isn’t always the middle”. Did you have any final words, maybe something to give people a little bit of hope before we close it out today?
Heather Warburton 41:11
Keep fighting. Absolutely. It’s always the middle of a fight.It isn’t over yet. The fight is just the beginning of the fight. But I think we’ll get there. And we have to ultimately.
Thanks a lot, Heather
Heather Warburton 41:23
Thank you so much, Jeremy, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you. So my listeners, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate you more than you can possibly know, we would not be here if it were not for you. We’re not a corporate media company. We are here to be a media company for the workers, for the activists. And because of that, we need to ask your help. If you can at all. If you have anything that you possibly can give us go on to www.njrevolutionradio.com , click on that Donate button, even if it’s $1 a month, you know if you can give us $100 a month, that’s great. But if even if you can only give us $1 a month that really helps us. It helps us grow. It helps us get out to more events, cover more interesting things, talk to more people and bring that to you and help spark that social change that so desperately needed. We appreciate you everything you do. Every time you listen, the future is yours to create, go out there and create it