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Feeling Political - Episode Seven, Walda Katz-Fishman: History is on our side, but we don’t have a lot of time

Feeling Political this week has Walda Katz-Fishman. Walda is a professor and one of the founders of Project South. She doesn’t pull any punches in this episode about what the political situation is going to be. But she also speaks plainly about what we need to do. Feeling Political is a product of The Alternative Historian. More information is at alternativehistorian.com/feelingpolitical.

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FEELING POLITICAL - Episode Seven, Walda Katz-Fishman: History is on our side, but we don’t have a lot of time
Released: January 19, 2017
Length: 6:10 minutes

Walda Katz-Fishman
I think that some of us saw that this country under both parties of the ruling class were moving toward fascism. And the question was simply, ‘What is the pace of that motion.’

NARRATION
I don’t know about you

Walda
We have not done the historic work to prepare us for this moment, so we are now playing a catch-up game.

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. 

This is the final broadcast of my conversations at the Project South anniversary celebration. During the week of the Inauguration you may hear some new content, so don’t fear.

Walda Katz-Fishman is the interviewee this week. Walda is a professor and one of the founders of Project South. She pulls no punches about the political situation, but she does talk about a way forward. More importantly, she poses a great question about the form organizing should take.

Here’s Walda Katz-Fishman

Walda
I’m Walda Katz-Fishman.

I identify myself as a daughter of the South who is a revolutionary.

I’m angry, and I feel a lot for the folk who are on the front lines of state violence because they are of color, because they are homeless, because they are immigrant. But I really feel that this is a wake-up call. That this is a real teachable moment.

I think some of us saw that this country under both parties of the ruling class were moving toward fascism. And the question was simply was, ‘What is the pace of that motion? How fast is that gonna get there?’ Under the Democrats it’s a slower path. Now, under the Republicans generally and certainly under a Trump presidency, it will be the fast train.

We have a lot of work to do. Our movement and the working class—which is multi-racial, multi-gendered, international—we have not done the historic work to prepare us for this moment, so we are now playing a catch-up game. So that we can get the forces that are dispossessed, impoverished. We need to bring our forces together.

Time is very short, but I know that we have to be patient. But not be passive. I feel like education in this moment, and having really strategic conversations, is very important. What some of us are talking about is how do we bring those forces together.

I teach at a university so I also see my undergrad but especially my graduate students that I work with really embracing an activist, transformative, intellectual, political path that I have not seen in many years.

I’m feeling that history is on our side, but that we don’t have a lot time. We need to get together with those progressive, transformative, and revolutionary forces and organizations that we have been involved with. We need to have these discussions collectively. And that is step one.

I know that everyone is out in the street. I know that people are going to continue to be in the street, and I’m less concerned about that. We have got to be in intellectual, educational, and strategic conversations. So that we can really figure out how do you finally, once and for all, build an organization that represents the dispossessed, the impoverished, the racially and gender-wise oppressed people. How do we develop that organization that is both in the street and in immediate defense of us and also has a long-term strategy for how we are going to take power in this country so we don’t have to have this conversation in 10 years, 20 years.

Narration
That was Walda Katz-Fishman. 

As I’m making this episode the Inauguration is right around the corner. That also means this podcast series is almost at an end, at least for this season. I will release an episode next week as well bonus content after the Inauguration. I also plan on wrapping up this season with an epilogue talking about what I’ve learned from these conversations. The next season will be released in summer. I’ll be asking more questions from people, soliciting more voice memos, and focusing on a different organization doing interesting work.

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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