153 episodes

Conversations and audio documentaries exploring a wide variety of themes pertaining to economics and politics, hosted by Della Z Duncan and Robert R. Raymond

Upstream Upstream

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9 • 1.4K Ratings

Conversations and audio documentaries exploring a wide variety of themes pertaining to economics and politics, hosted by Della Z Duncan and Robert R. Raymond

    Climate Leninism w/ Jodi Dean and Kai Heron

    Climate Leninism w/ Jodi Dean and Kai Heron

    Transition is inevitable, we’re past the point of literal climate denialism. Even the fossil fuel industry, which has known about the dangers of climate change for decades now, has a plan for transition. In fact, one could argue that when it comes to being prepared and having a plan for the inevitable transition that climate change has forced upon us, the capitalist class is much, much more organized than we are on the left. Why is this the case? 
    Well, the answer is kind of implied in the original question: it’s a matter of organization. And right now, the left largely unorganized. In this episode, we’re going to explore the problem of organization in the context of climate action and ask how we on the left can begin to get seriously organized in a way that will allow us to actually have a set of concrete, scalable programs that can be put into action at a moment’s notice.  
    To do this, we’ve brought on two guests. Jodi Dean is an American political theorist and professor in the Political Science department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York state, and and organizer with Party for Socialism and Liberation, or PSL. And Kai Heron, is a lecturer in Political Ecology at Lancaster University in the UK. Together Kai and Jodi authored the piece, “Climate Leninism and Revolutionary Transition: Organization and Anti-imperialism in Catastrophic Times,” published in the journal Spectre.
    Further Resources:
    Climate Leninism and Revolutionary Transition: Organization and Anti-Imperialism in Catastrophic Times Upstream: Capitalist Realism with Carlee Gomes Beyond Capital Toward a Theory of Transition by István Mészáros Upstream: Fully Automated Luxury Communism with Zarinah Agnew and Eric Wycoff Rogers Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming by Andreas Malm Ende Gelände Walter Mignolo Frantz Fanon Amilcar Cabral Thomas Sankara Decolonial Marxism: Essays from the Pan-African Revolution by Walter Rodney Upstream – The Green Transition Part 1: The Problem with Green Capitalism José Carlos Mariátegui The Red Nation / The Red Deal Hugo Blanco Climate Strike, by Derek Wall Upstream: What Is To Be Done? with Breht O'Shea and Alyson Escalante Common Humanity Collective Party for Liberation and Socialism (PSL) Palestine Action US Answer Coalition Palestinian Youth Movement Shut it Down for Palestine Thank you to TK for the intermission music and to Carolyn Raider for this episode's cover art. Upstream theme music was composed by Robert Raymond
    This episode of Upstream was made possible with support from listeners like you. Upstream is a labor of love — we couldn't keep this project going without the generosity of our listeners and fans. Subscribe to our Patreon at patreon.com/upstreampodcast or please consider chipping in a one-time or recurring donation at www.upstreampodcast.org/support
    If your organization wants to sponsor one of our upcoming documentaries, we have a number of sponsorship packages available. Find out more at  upstreampodcast.org/sponsorship
    For more from Upstream, visit www.upstreampodcast.org and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Bluesky.

    You can also subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    [TEASER] Voting for Socialism w/ Claudia de la Cruz & Karina Garcia

    [TEASER] Voting for Socialism w/ Claudia de la Cruz & Karina Garcia

    You can listen to the full episode with Doug Henwood by subscribing to our Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/upstreampodcast

    As a Patreon subscriber, not only will you get access to at least one bonus episode a month, usually two or three, as well as early access to certain episodes and other benefits like stickers and bumper stickers, depending on which tier you subscribe to, but you’ll also be helping to keep Upstream sustainable and allowing us to keep this project going. Find out more at Patreon.com/upstreampodcast or at upstreampodcast.org/support. Thank you.
    There’s that saying that you’ve probably heard a million times: doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results is a sign of psychosis. Whether or not that’s something you might find in the DSM-5 manual, it certainly has a strong ring of truth to it. And it’s also something that rings profoundly true when we think about much of the broader left and liberal left strategy when it comes to presidential elections in the United States: just keep voting for the lesser of two evils and eventually things will sort themselves out. But all it takes is one brief look at our current conditions to understand that that attitude is, well, not exactly aligned with reality.
    When we survey either our current political, economic, ecological—really, any landscape, it’s beyond doubt that conditions have deteriorated—drastically. The far right, the hegemony of capitalism and imperialism, and the forces of reaction have all continued to grow in strength as we continue to acquiesce to the Democratic Party’s insistence that they are the bulwark against these forces and that by voting for the Democrats, we’re assuring that our democracy stays in tact. So we keep voting for them, and they keep breaking their promises—in fact, they don’t even really bother to promise much anymore because they know they’ve got us cornered—there’s nowhere else to go. 
    But what if we could break this cycle? What if there was somewhere else to go? In this Patreon episode, we’re exploring an alternative to the two-party duopoly, an alternative to the two factions of capital that call themselves the Democrats and the Republicans. 
    Claudia De la Cruz and Karina Garcia are running for President and Vice President with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, or PSL. In this conversion, we explore why Claudia and Karina are running, what platform they’re running on and what policies they’re proposing, and why it’s more important than ever for the working class to start building power and building its own party as an instrument for not just participating in electoral politics, but for building class consciousness, getting folks involved in organizing, and in providing a platform for political education that presents a clear alternative to the dismal and defeatist messages coming from the two corporate parties that rule over us on behalf of capital.
    Further Resources:
    Claudia and Karina 2024 
    Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) Upstream: A Marxist Perspective on Elections with August Nimtz 

    • 19 min
    Be More Pirate w/ Sam Conniff

    Be More Pirate w/ Sam Conniff

    What do you typically think of when you think of pirates? Parrots? Peg Legs? Eye patches? Treasure? Is there more to pirates than these things, than corny jokes and a Disney franchise starring Johnny Depp? 
    Our guest for today’s episode certainly thinks so. Sam Conniff’s book Be More Pirate: How to Take on the World and Win, was published in 2018, and sparked a sequel How To: Be More Pirate, a podcast titled “Be More Pirate,” and a movement of people studying the principles and strategies of Golden Age Pirates to bring them into activism and leadership in the 21st century. 
    In this conversation, we learn about pirate history, including their symbols, ethics, and labor policies; we discuss David Graeber’s last book published posthumously, Pirate Enlightenment, or the real Libertalia which covers lost forms of social and political order that inspire hopeful possibilities for today, and we explore invitations for how we can each be more pirate in our projects, organizations, and social movements.
    Although 1690 to 1725, was the so-called Golden Age of Piracy which is the focus of this conversation, elements of piracy very much still exist—for example, Ansarallah, or the Houthis in Yemen, have been likened to pirates in popular narratives recently. You may know them as the group that’s been in the news lately for attacking Israeli, US, and UK-connected ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Ansarallah see themselves as acting on their obligation to international law to do all they can to help stop the genocide of the Palestinian people. 
    As Sam Conniff shares “Rather than simply voice their complaints, (pirates) choose instead to do something about the situation. No longer prepared to sit quietly and accept the bad deal on the table, they decide to break the rules and then remake the rules ... with a new social code built on purposeful principles such as fair pay, fair say, social equality, freedom, and justice. And rum.”
    Thank you to Storm Weather Shanty Choir for the intermission music. Upstream theme music was composed by Robert Raymond
    Further Resources:
    Sam Conniff Be More Pirate This episode of Upstream was made possible with support from listeners like you. Upstream is a labor of love — we couldn't keep this project going without the generosity of our listeners and fans. Subscribe to our Patreon at patreon.com/upstreampodcast or please consider chipping in a one-time or recurring donation at www.upstreampodcast.org/support
    If your organization wants to sponsor one of our upcoming documentaries, we have a number of sponsorship packages available. Find out more at  upstreampodcast.org/sponsorship
    For more from Upstream, visit www.upstreampodcast.org and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Bluesky.

    You can also subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

    • 1 hr 15 min
    [TEASER] The Problem with Modern Monetary Theory w/ Doug Henwood

    [TEASER] The Problem with Modern Monetary Theory w/ Doug Henwood

    You can listen to the full episode with Doug Henwood by subscribing to our Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/upstreampodcast

    As a Patreon subscriber, not only will you get access to at least one bonus episode a month, usually two or three, as well as early access to certain episodes and other benefits like stickers and bumper stickers, depending on which tier you subscribe to, but you’ll also be helping to keep Upstream sustainable and allowing us to keep this project going. Find out more at Patreon.com/upstreampodcast or at upstreampodcast.org/support. Thank you.
    Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT for short — if you haven’t heard of it explicitly or read about it in an economics textbook, you’ve certainly come across some of its theories and ideas out in the wild. Essentially, its proponents argue that, when it comes to the way that money and taxes work, most of us have it all wrong. 
    MMT is billed by its advocates as a radical new way to understand money and debt. The central idea of modern monetary theory is that governments can and should print—or in today’s world, create with a few keystrokes—as much money as they need to spend. It’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s essentially it—that the government doesn’t actually have to worry about taxing the rich or borrowing money because it can just create money out of thin air. And this sounds nice, right? We get to bypass that annoying question that we’re often asked on the left, “...but, how will you pay for it?” 
    But, maybe it’s not quite that easy to bypass that question. Maybe there’s a lot more to the equation that MMT leaves out. And maybe this theory is just a mirage—or, as our guest in today’s episode has written, “a phantasm, a late-imperial fever dream, [and] not a serious economic policy. 
    So, is MMT a sound theory? Or is it snake oil? That’s the question that we’re going to be exploring in today’s Patreon episode with Doug Henwood, a journalist, author, economic analyst, host of the radio show and podcast Behind the News, and author of the article Modern Monetary Theory Isn’t Helping published in Jacobin. 
    What does MMT miss? What does it get wrong in its explanations for how taxes, inflation and debt work? And why is it important for Marxists to scrutinize and criticize any monetary theories that say so little about labor, production, exchange, class conflict, and the function of the state? These are just some of the questions we’ll explore in today’s episode.
    Further Resources:
    Behind the News with Doug Henwood Modern Monetary Theory Isn’t Helping published in Jacobin Upstream: Universal Basic Income Pt. 1 – An Idea Whose Time Has Come? Upstream: Universal Basic Income Pt. 2 – A Bridge Towards Post-Capitalism?  
     

    • 13 min
    [TEASER] Socialism Betrayed w/ Roger Keeran and Joe Jamison

    [TEASER] Socialism Betrayed w/ Roger Keeran and Joe Jamison

    You can listen to the full episode with Roger Keeran and Joe Jamison by subscribing to our Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/upstreampodcast

    As a Patreon subscriber, not only will you get access to at least one bonus episode a month, usually two or three, as well as early access to certain episodes and other benefits like stickers and bumper stickers, depending on which tier you subscribe to, but you’ll also be helping to keep Upstream sustainable and allowing us to keep this project going. Find out more at Patreon.com/upstreampodcast or at upstreampodcast.org/support. Thank you.
    If you grew up in the West, you were most likely provided with a simple, bite-sized, propagandistically persuasive explanation for the collapse of the Soviet Union: that communism simply doesn't work. 
    This explanation works particularly well for the hegemon who provided it, the United States, the leading enemy of global communism throughout the 20th century. But, does this explanation actually reflect reality? Did the Soviet Union really collapse because Marx and Lenin were wrong? The short answer is no. And the longer answer is what we're going to be exploring in today's Patreon episode.
    To debunk the myths about the collapse of the Soviet Union, and to provide us with a much more accurate explanation, we’ve brought on two guests. Roger Keeran is a historian and professor who taught at Cornell, Princeton, Rutgers and the New York State University. Joe Jamison is an economic researcher, labor movement worker, and Roger’s co-author, under the pen name Thomas Kenny, of Socialism Betrayed: Behind the Collapse of the Soviet Union. 
    In this episode we explore some of the key figures and periods in USSR history before focusing in on the slow and very much avoidable unraveling of the political and economic systems of the USSR and the dissolution of the union of republics that it was comprised of. We explore the rise of the so-called second economy which led to the strengthening of a bourgeoisie class that exploited the primary socialist economy. We Look at how the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s strengthened this class and undermined the socialist economy, how the policies of perestroika and glasnost—which were economic reforms and the encouragement of political openness, respectively—backfired, how right wing opportunism, revisionism, and the betrayal of Marx and Lenin’s ideas ultimately led to the collapse of the USSR, and, crucially, what we on the left can learn from this regrettable and successful counterrevolution against the most important instantiation of communism in the 20th century.

    • 11 min
    Important Announcement: We Launched a Patreon

    Important Announcement: We Launched a Patreon

    Join the Upstream Patreon here:  https://www.patreon.com/upstreampodcast
    Below is a transcript of the update shared in this announcement episode — TL;DR: we've got tons of bonus episodes and other goodies as part of our new Patreon! 
    At least 1 bonus episode a month, usually 2-3 Early access to certain episodes Stickers If you’ve been following along with our episodes or on social media you’ve probably heard that we’ve been working on launching a Patreon account, and, voila—we did it.
    We’ll be sharing at least one, more likely two or three, bonus episodes every month for our Patreon subscribers, and that’s in addition to the bi-weekly, regularly scheduled episodes of course. We have 5 different tiers at which you can subscribe to our Patreon—all the details can be found here, but just to give you a sense, we the tiers start at $5/month. All tiers have access to the same number of bonus episodes per month, but as you go up in tiers there are additional benefits as well, including early access to certain episodes and stickers. And, of course, you'll also be helping us keep Upstream sustainable and helping to keep this whole project going.
    Here’s what’s coming: this month we’ve already got two bonus episodes loaded and ready to go. The first is an episode with Doug Henwood on the problems with modern monetary theory (MMT), and the second episode is with Roger Keeran and Joe Jamison on their book Socialism Betrayed: Behind the Collapse of the Soviet Union. So as soon as you sign up you’ll get instant access to both of these. And then we’re also planning Part 7 of our ongoing series on Palestine for later in the month.
    Coming up in March in March we’ve got an episode planned with Claudia De la Cruz and Karina Garcia who are running for President and Vice-President as the candidates of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, or PSL. 
    What inspired us to create a Patreon community? As you know, we’ve always provided all of our bi-weekly episodes and our documentaries for free to everyone—that’s not gonna change. But then last year we faced a pretty big crisis as we lost both of our grant funders (which were by far our largest income stream), and we realized that we were gonna be entirely listener funded moving forward. The nonprofit industrial complex itself is a challenge to navigate, to say the least, but even more so as a podcast—funders just don’t really fund podcasts. They especially don’t fund political education podcasts, and especially, especially socialist ones.
    But we have to say we were so, so grateful to all of you who started supporting us at that time, or, of course, who had already been contributing monthly or through one-time donations—you really showed us that we can definitely keep Upstream going without the grant funding. So thank you so much. And to show our thanks we wanted to give you all something extra, something special. 
    Wanna sign up? Here's how it works: just go to our Patreon page and sign up. If you’re already donating to us and you want to switch over to become a Patreon subscriber, it’s super easy—you can just cancel your current recurring donation through Flipcause (which is where you’re donating through now), and just sign up for our Patreon instead. If you don’t feel like making the switch, no problem at all, you don’t have to do anything—your current donations through Flipcause won’t be affected in any way. And, of course, you can still make one-time donations through Flipcause. 
    We’re so grateful to all of you out there who've supported us with your donations over the months and years—we really could not do this without you. And if you’ve been on the fence about becoming a monthly supporter, this is a great time to do it because we’ve got a lot of really great bonus content coming your way.
    And if you’re just not at a place where you can afford to subscribe, it’s all good, we completely understand—we’ve s

    • 5 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
1.4K Ratings

1.4K Ratings

Kel737 ,

Everyone needs to listen

If anything should be compulsory, it should be This podcast. I never caught the craze of podcasts but because of the Upstream Instagram, I started listening to this, and I only wish I started sooner. At minimum, follow their Instagram for snippets & text posts.
You don’t hate Mondays, you hate capitalism.

Thank you everyone who contributes to this impactful & necessary education & conversation.

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Waste

Bourgeois liberal grifters with a complete inability to receive mild criticism. Don’t waste your time with this podcast.

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