by Scott Parkin
Turns out 2021 wasn’t much better than 2020. Pandemic. Political crisis. Economic crisis. Climate crisis. The cascading crises keep coming at us.
BUT, Bob and I did some fantastic episodes covering a span of topics from peoples’ history of the 1960s with Noam Chomsky to politics in the middle east to campaigns and struggle related to the #climatecrisis and #COP26 to a whole bunch of left wing pop culture. Plus a lot more.
We also talked a lot about how to the Democrats fail time and time again, even when in the majority and handed gifts like the ruling class turning on the GOP and the capitol riot.
I’m proud of ALL the episodes we produced and the guests we interviewed.
So here’s my end of year click bait list of my most fav Green and Red episodes:
11. Organizers vs. Pundits. How the YouTube and Twitter Left are failing us. I sometimes get to have some of my really smart friends on the podcast talking with a new and different take on politics. Early in the year, we talked with Joshua Kahn Russell about the left media sphere trying to play at organizing, but mostly just try to be pundits.
10. Clinton Fernandes + Oz + Chile. Our history episodes are some of my most favorite. Having different takes and elevating “forgotten history” is one of my most favorite things to do with the podcast. In a two-parter, back in Oct, we talked with Prof. Clinton Fernandes about Australia’s secret history of support for the Pinochet regime in Chile. Australia’s intelligence agencies helped overthrow democratically elected socialist president Salvador Allende. Clinton has been fighting the Australian government in court to open up the files. We also got into the current geo-politics of Australia, the US and China in East Asia.
9. Mother Earth Doesn’t Negotiate. Beginning in the summer, in the lead up to #COP26 in Glasgow, I wanted to do a whole series of episodes about the #climatecrisis not related to policy-makers in the corporate suites and high government offices. It made a lot of sense to talk with my friends and inspirations Pennie Opal Plant and Shannon Biggs to discuss Indigenous resistance and the “rights of nature” movements around the world.
8. Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, John Prine and Left Politics in Country Music. The history of what is often seen as a reactionary music having progressive and even radical elements has always fascinated me. In late 2020, my friend Ben suggested we do a show on left wing country music. So, we contacted Prof. Mark Jackson and had a wide ranging conversation about lefty politics in country music.
7. Johnny Cash’s Politics. In the most recent episode on this list, we zeroed in on the politics of Johnny Cash with our long time friend, comrade and colleague Michael Stewart Foley about Cash’s politics. We talked about Cash’s views on the working class, civil rights, native rights, the American prison system and the war in Vietnam.
6. Oregon Timber Wars. An early episode in our lead up to #COP26 was with Daniel with Cascadia Forest Defense about forest defense of old growth in Oregon and how it’s merging with the climate movement. This type of discussion definitely didn’t make the meetings in Glasgow, where they were focused on how to best sell Net Zero.
5. Texas Freeze Series. In the winter of 2021, the Texas public and power grid were hit by a climate indusced polar vortex and the failure of decades of cowboy capitalism. We did a whole series on the moment.
5a) We talked with Clayton Lust in Houston and Debbie Russell in Austin in the immediate aftermath. How mutual aid responded and how the state’s libertarian politics failed. 5b) We then talked with climate campaigner Jamie Henn about Big Oil’s spin machine going into overdrive to deflect and attack the Green New Deal; and 5c) finally we talked with powerhouse Houston EJ organizer Bryan Parras about “the inequity that’s piled on top of the inequity” in the midst of the Texas Polar vortex and deregulation politics.
4. As Kabul fell to the Taliban, we launched a series of episodes about the forever wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In one of those episodes, I talked with my friend and comrade Afghan vet Graham Clumpner about the end of America’s “forever war” in central Asia.
3. Battle of Seattle. To be honest, if there was any topic that inspired me to start G&R, it was the history of the shutdown of the WTO in Seattle in 1999 and the subsequent anti-globalization moment that followed. During the 20th anniversary, I so wanted to discuss and interview organizers. So for the 22nd anniversary , we talk with David Solnit, Nancy Haque and Steph Guilloud of the Shutdown WTO Organizers History Projecct about the direct action organizing in Seattle.
2. The Capitol Riots and the Ruling Class. The day after Jan 6th, we took to the airwaves to give our own unique perspective on shocks happening to the system around the 2020 election and everything that followed. I actually think this is a must listen episode of Green and Red, so you should just listen in.
1. And number one is…. G&R interviews Noam Chomsky! Duh. This was a bucket list moment for me. We discussed the history of 60’s radicalism with Noam Chomsky. Plus we got into lots of current topics like Black Lives Matter, Palestine and identity politics.
There’s lots more of awesome episodes we did, including with Richard Wolff, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, the Socialist Sopranos crew and lots of on places like Colombia, India, Iran, Ecuador, etc. We also did lots of episodes on labor and COVID-19. But end of year “best of lists” should have a limit. So just check out our whole iTune store or our YouTube channel.
See ya in 2022.