2812 – Coal Baron Blockade & A Crude History of Palm Oil w/ Jonathan Robins & Warren Hilsbos

Sam and Emma host Jonathan Robins, Associate Professor of History at Michigan Technological University, to discuss his recent book Oil Palm: A Global History. Then, Sam and Emma are joined by Warren Hilsbos of the Coal Baron Blockade! Prof. Robins begins with the state of the palm oil industry – the world’s biggest oil industry – extracting from tropical regions of South East Asia, with some production in Africa and Latin America as well, all funneling into the oil’s ubiquity across our food products, as well as the industry’s absurd rates of deforestation, indigenous displacement, and destruction of biodiversity. Next, he, Sam, and Emma jump back to the 19th Century with Europe’s colonization of countless African nations and communities and the appropriation of many of their medicinal and culinary practices, central to which was the use of palm oil. As the transatlantic slave trade was slowly abolished, the shipping industries saw palm oil as the perfect replacement, central to countless of the developing products of the industrial revolution. As the world progressed into the 20th Century, fats and oils became central to nutrition in the western world, palm oil slowly moved to the center of colonial business interests, producing more oil per tree, per acre, than coconuts and other agricultural oils, yet, as Professor Robins explores, the power of indigenous communities, and their connection to their land stood strong, refusing to hand over their forests or their labor to the settlers in their backyard. Thus, the settler-colonial industry switched its focus to the much less densely populated forests of South East Asia, where it was much easier to lay claim to others’ land and funnel in indentured servants from across the continent, subsidized by European regimes like the English and the Dutch. Next, Jonathan walks Sam and Emma through the developments of the mid-1900s, which saw a crackdown on cheap labor practices that competed with American businesses, with much of the labor coercion leaving the industry up until the 1980s (classic). They wrap up the interview by touching on regulation in recent years, as more progressive practices exist only independently, while the main palm oil industry employs the ever-trustworthy practices of self-policing, evaluating, and promoting their own vastly more expensive “ethically sourced” products (which, unsurprisingly, has seen little-to-no engagement on the corporate level). Sam and Emma also touch on the rampant spread of “Don’t Say Gay” and anti-abortion bills throughout the South and Midwest, all charges falling through in the murder of Amir Locke, and Jen Psaki’s incredulous response to Steve Portnoy’s “why not?” take on World War Three.

Then, Emma and Sam are joined by Warren Hilsbos with West Virginia Rising, as they discuss this weekend’s “Coal Baron Blockade” at Grand Town Power Plant, the sole consumer of Manchin’s dirty coal plant, and how the group is taking on their senator’s decision to side with corporate corruption over his constituents’ well-being. In the Fun Half, Ben Shapiro joins in with Senators Cotton and Blackburn as they take on “radical left” constitutionalist Ketanji Brown Jackson, due to her fear of discussing bajingos and hoo-has in a Senate confirmation hearing for a SUPREME COURT seat. Dustin from Queens calls in on Democrats’ refusal to invest in public housing, particularly from the angle of building their base, and PR Mayor Eric Adams funnels some taxes to billboards promoting his city in Florida. Mike Lindell gets served, before trying to politely return the envelope, Charlie Kirk and the Right want MORE gender neutrality in schools (one would assume with their rhetoric at least), and Wren from Oregon calls in with updates on anti-trans legislation, and her experiences with Gender Critical community members, plus, your calls and IMs!

  Check out Jonathan’s book here: https://uncpress.org/book/9781469662893/oil-palm/   Purchase tickets for the live show in Boston on May 15th HERE:   https://majorityreportradio.com/live-show-schedule

Become a member at JoinTheMajorityReport.comhttps://fans.fm/majority/join

Subscribe to the AMQuickie newsletter here:  https://madmimi.com/signups/170390/join

Join the Majority Report Discord! http://majoritydiscord.com/

Get all your MR merch at our store: https://shop.majorityreportradio.com/

Check out today’s sponsors:

MySolarNerd.com: There are a lot of homeowners that aren’t aware of the solar options currently available. It is now possible to retrofit a home with solar panels for no money down. Most homeowners that switch over to solar see significant savings starting in their first year. This is possible thanks to the Solar Investor Tax Credit (going away soon). My Solar Nerd’s mission is SIMPLE: Help you find the best solar program for your home and make the transition as EASY and SMOOTH as possible. Go to https://mysolarnerd.hubspotpagebuilder.com/the-brightest-choice-in-solar and fill out the inquiry form now. Make sure you select Majority Report Listener for how you heard about My Solar Nerd to receive a $200 gift card upon installation!

fast growing trees: With Spring and Summer nearing, it’s time to make your outdoor space feel more like a yard and less of a plant cemetery .When it comes to caring for your plants, know-how matters. That’s why Fast Growing Trees.com’s experts curate thousands of plant varieties that will thrive in YOUR specific climate and location. Go to https://www.fast-growing-trees.com/pages/majority right now, and you’ll get FIFTEEN PERCENT OFF your entire order. Get FIFTEEN PERCENT OFF at https://www.fast-growing-trees.com/pages/majority.

Support the St. Vincent Nurses today! https://action.massnurses.org/we-stand-with-st-vincents-nurses/

Check out Matt’s show, Left Reckoning, on Youtube, and subscribe on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/leftreckoning

Subscribe to Matt’s other show Literary Hangover on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/literaryhangover

Check out The Nomiki Show on YouTube. https://www.patreon.com/thenomikishow

Check out Matt Binder’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/mattbinder

Subscribe to Brandon’s show The Discourse on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/ExpandTheDiscourse

Check out The Letterhack’s upcoming Kickstarter project for his new graphic novel! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/milagrocomic/milagro-heroe-de-las-calles

Check out Jamie’s podcast, The Antifada. https://www.patreon.com/theantifada, on iTunes, or at https://www.twitch.tv/theantifada (streaming every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 7pm ET!)

Subscribe to Discourse Blog, a newsletter and website for progressive essays and related fun partly run by AM Quickie writer Jack Crosbie. https://discourseblog.com/

Subscribe to AM Quickie writer Corey Pein’s podcast News from Nowhere. https://www.patreon.com/newsfromnowhere 

Follow the Majority Report crew on Twitter:

@SamSeder

@EmmaVigeland

@MattBinder

@MattLech

@BF1nn

@BradKAlsop

Check out this USAToday article on KBJ and Marsha Blackburn here: https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/7152439001

The Majority Report with Sam Seder – https://majorityreportradio.com/