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Feeling Political Transcript - Episode Five, Bruce Dixon: We have collective problems, we need collective solutions

What should we fight for? Why should we fight for it? How do we fight for it? On Feeling Political this week is Bruce Dixon, from Black Agenda Report and the Georgia Green Party. He talks about how to organize, the role of education, the rich, and what electoral activity should be about. Learn more about Feeling Political at www.alternativehistorian.com/feelingpolitical. Black Agenda Report is at www.blackagendareport.com. And the Georgia Green Party can be found at www.georgiagreenparty.org.

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FEELING POLITICAL - Episode Five, Bruce Dixon: We have collective problems, we need collective solutions
Released: January 3, 2017
Length: 8:12 minutes

Bruce Dixon

I woke up in a place where there were no bars on the window, and I wasn’t strapped to the bed or anything. So that is always a good start. 

Narration

I don’t know about you…

Bruce

The problems that we have are not individual problems, they are collective problems. And they do not have individuals, they only have collective solutions.

Narration

But I’m feeling political.


This is a podcast series about emotions and politics and the actions we take. Or the actions we think we should take. Or the actions we wish we could take. I'm talking to people about how they feel and what they want to do based on those feelings. 

On Feeling Political this week is Bruce Dixon. Bruce works with Black Agenda Report and is a co-chair with the Georgia Green Party. If you have never read or heard of the Black Agenda Report, go to blackagendareport.com right away. Seriously, I’ll wait…

Welcome back. It was great wasn’t it? Make sure to catch their podcast as well. Good information is always worth the work.

Bruce talks about how to organize, the role of education, the rich, and what electoral activity should be about. Hope you enjoy.

Here’s Bruce Dixon. 

Bruce Dixon

I’m Bruce Dixon. I’m the managing editor at Black Agenda Report and one of the co-chairs, current co-chairs of the Georgia Green Party.

I’ve been politically active since I was in high school, and I’m 66 years old now. I mean, I woke up in a place where there were no bars on the window, and I wasn’t strapped to the bed or anything, you know. So that is always a good start. 

Every moment is an opportunity. And every moment…and every opportunity is peculiar and different. And this is a real opportunity to get a lot of things done. So I’m feeling optimistic.

I’m the co-chair of the Georgia Green Party. We just took part in the Jill Stein campaign. We did also have something to do with that recount. Really what we were after was not a recount but an audit. It happens that the voting systems in the United States are totally unauditable. Would you trust the people who handle your bank balance if they could never be audited? But our voting system cannot be audited and we’re all told, “It’s OK. Just have faith.”

Kwame Ture, who used to be known as Stokley Carmichael, used to say, “Go find an organization that believes 60 or 70 per cent of what you believe, and then join it.” And he said if you can’t find one then you need to start one. Because the problems that we have are not individual problems, they are collective problems. And they do not have individual solutions, they only have collective solutions.

Get out here with some other people who are concerned. Try to save public education. Education is a public good. And if education is a public good, then it ought to be taken care of by the public. The idea, the notion that everybody’s baby is entitled to a quality, free education at the public expense historically is a very new idea. It’s only a couple…it’s less than a couple of centuries old. The Founding Fathers were really, really concerned that too many people knew how to read and write. You know? So, this is profoundly subversive to the world of the so-called Founding Fathers. It’s a very new idea in human history. It’s an idea that still has powerful enemies today.

Privatization is the notion that, I guess it’s a quasi-religious notion almost, that private companies do everything better than public ones. Private companies do everything better than the public sector. There’s really no proof of this. It’s a kind of ideological thing that people assert. You have to understand that the people who are making the most money right now in this society, they’re not job creators. They are job destroyers. They are rent seekers. Donald Trump and Mitt Romney and, for that matter Hillary’s friends, are not producing jobs. All they’re doing is collecting rent off the things you and I have to do every day like drive to work, drive to school, use electricity to heat our homes. These people, like I said, are not job creators, they are parasites. The wealthy in this society are beneficiaries of a setup which allows them to lead a parasitic existence on the rest of humanity.

Let’s look at the terms “political right” and “political left” came from. It came from a moment in the French Revolution, the so-called Constituent Assembly. Seventeen ninety-one, ninety-two, something like that. Where they had already chopped a king’s head off. All the oppressors sat on the right side of the room. On the left side of the room sat the landless poor, the urban poor, the workers, and small business people. Ever since then those who fight for unearned wealth and privilege have been called the Right, and those who fight for the rights of ordinary people have been called the Left. I am what is called a Leftist. By that definition, of course, Democrats and Republicans are both probably on the right.

Many of us Leftists just don’t believe that the powers that be are going to actually allow us to vote them out. That it’s going to be something else eventually. As far as electoral activity goes, elections times are the times when people are listening. Times when people believe that they are entitled take part in a conversation about how to make their lives better, about how our collective activity can make their lives better. If we’re not talking to them when they’re listening, when are we going to talk to them. 

Narration

That was Bruce Dixon, managing editor at Black Agenda Report and one of the co-chairs of the Georgia Green Party.

I’m still gathering your voice memos. Already there’s more than enough to fill a couple of episodes, so act quickly to send in your thoughts. I’ll be editing them together for a special episode.

Take three minutes and record a voice memo on your phone. Tell me how you want to be identified, how you’re feeling in this political moment, and  your advice, if you have any, about what to do. Or you can ask questions. Or you can just vent. Email the file to daniel@alternativehistorian.com. It may help you feel better. Or it may not. It’ll definitely help me feel better.


You can find more information about this podcast at alternativehistorian.com

The music is by Rebel Diaz.

Take a moment to rate Feeling Political on iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play or SoundCloud or wherever you get your podcasts.

Feeling Political is produced by Daniel Horowitz Garcia, the Alternative Historian. The series will be part of the history podcast Change Over Time, coming in Spring 2017. Sign up on the newsletter at alternativehistorian.com. We are part of Amplify, an oral history podcast network bringing podcasting to the field of oral history.

I also Tweet @danielalthist.

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