Conversations with community organizers, activists, and cultural workers on the books that have shaped their theories of change. Think Spark notes in podcast form! thelitreview.org
Episode 64: Evicted with Maya Dukmasova
“We can’t have a conversation about affordable housing without having a conversation about landlord profit.” If you were mad about landlords before, just wait until you listen to this conversation. The mainstream narrative on affordable housing has revolved largely around public housing, but a glaring absence is a much larger demographic: low-income renters. To close out our season, we talked with Maya Dukmasova, former Chicago Reader reporter, current senior reporter at Injustice Watch, about Matthew Desmond’s book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Maya brilliantly breaks down Desmond’s objective that eviction is not just a symptom of poverty, but a cause of poverty, and her own reporting on the eviction crisis in Chicago.
See our key questions from this episode and transcript at thelitreview.org.
Episode 63: The Question with Bernardine Dohrn
The Question by Henri Alleg is a short book with a lifelong impact on today’s special guest. The legendary radical activist and movement lawyer, Bernardine Dohrn, first read this anti-war, anti-colonial, anti-racist pamphlet from 1958 as a student in high school. The Question recounts French journalist Henri Alleg’s experience of thirty days of torture in Algeria during the War for Independence. Though it would be years before Bernardine began organizing and taking revolutionary direct action, this class assignment marked a radicalizing moment in her life. We were honored to have a conversation with this fierce feminist powerhouse about the roles that witnessing and storytelling play in ending the practice of torture.
Listener’s note: This episode contains descriptions of torture and violence. Please listen with care.
See our transcript and key questions at thelitreview.org.
Episode 62: Care Work with Heena Sharma
There are no shortcuts to disability justice. Access is a process, not a list that can be checked off in organizing work. Part-manifesto, part guide, part-memoir, and so many more parts, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Laksmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a necessary intervention in our largely ableist movements and world. In this episode, we chatted with Heena Sharma, a queer South Asian organizer with the New York chapter of Survived & Punished. Together, we discussed disability justice, survivorhood, sustainability, recognizing wholeness, and so much more. We invite you to join us with some tea and cookies (or whatever makes you cozy) and tune in to this necessary conversation.
Transcript, key questions, and references to resources mentioned in the episode can be found at thelitreview.org.
Episode 61: Zami with K Agbebiyi
Audre Lorde is revered for her poetry and writings, rightfully so! Her works are fundamental to the development of Black Feminism. But what did she have to say about her own life? What were the themes and lessons she learned from her experiences? How does Audre, the person, differ from Audre "the icon" that many of us know? As Audre insisted: “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other peoples’ fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
Our guest today to discuss Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name is K Toyin Agbebiyi, a Black lesbian and disabled organizer, writer, and macro social worker from Georgia. K has created and participated in a number of campaigns and projects including 8 to Abolition, the No New Jails Campaign, Inside Outside collective, and Survived and Punished New York. This thoughtful conversation with K dives deep into questions around grief, love, and loss. And we get real about the challenges and teachings of relationships, and how it all relates to our organizing work.
Transcript and key questions explored can be found at thelitreview.org.
Episode 60: Capital with Angela Davis
An epic book and an epic guest: Welcome to episode 60! Since the start of this podcast, the Lit Review has always wanted to feature Marx’s Capital with someone who could really help organizers dig into it. Published in 1867, this 1,000+ page text offers a thorough, interdisciplinary critique of capitalism. This book is rich with history, philosophy, and is a classic of political economy. It is also… extremely difficult to read. Notoriously long, full of jargon, and extremely dense, Capital is one of those books that you can read for years and still not understand. Don’t worry though, this episode has you covered, at least to start!
Monica and Page invited radical activist, educator, author, and founder of Critical Resistance, Angela Davis—yes, THAT Angela Davis, to break down Marx’s (and Engels’!) key ideas with her professorial brilliance, and to explain the importance and ongoing relevance of what Marx had to say.
Transcript and key questions explored can be found at thelitreview.org!
Episode 59: Kindling with Shira Hassan
The healing justice movement is an intersectional and organized resistance to the state and state violence, but why is it so often misunderstood as simply an opposition to grind culture? In this episode, we discuss ableism, disability, healing justice, and the book Kindling by Aurora Levins Morales with one of our sheroes and teachers, Shira Hassan, co-founder of Just Practice and former Executive Director of the Young Women’s Empowerment Project. This is a rich episode with so many gems of wisdom and raw vulnerability. It’s one to listen to again and again (and again)!
Listener's Note: This conversation includes mentions of sexual violence and abuse. Please listen with care.
Transcript and key questions explored in this episode can be found at thelitreview.org.
This is a must-listen for do-gooders.
So happy they’re back! I recommend this podcast to everyone
Great book discussions! I always learn a lot.
Episode on “Black on Black Violence” is a classic. I’ve listened to it multiple times at different points in my life.