2957 – Chris Smalls IN STUDIO On Organizing Amazon; Key State Referendums w/ Daniel Nichanian

Happy Halloween! Sam and Emma host Daniel Nichanian, editor-in-chief of Bolts Magazine to discuss all of the biggest ballot measures that will be decided in next Tuesday’s midterm elections. Then, they are joined in the studio (!) by Christian Smalls, the President of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), to discuss the recent developments with the organizing efforts at Amazon. First, Emma and Sam run through updates on Lula’s win in the Brazilian Presidential Election, the Supreme Court’s attack on affirmative action, Florida’s trans bans, and Paul Pelosi’s attacker, before diving deeper into Lula’s victory, reminiscing on Michael Brooks, and discussing Joe Biden’s immediate recognition of the Brazilian election results. Daniel Nichanian then joins as he dives right into parsing through the state of the midterms issue by issue – first exploring the lingering impact of the Dobbs decision, including the impact of having either abortion bans or constitutional referendums on the state-wide ballot, which states’ races have successfully centered the issue of abortion, and the difference between legislation and constitutional enshrinement. Next, they walk through the role of voting rights and ballot initiatives in the leadup to the midterms, discussing the measures at hand in Arizona and Arkansas to effectively clamp down on grassroots initiatives, and greater anti-democratic influence in big tech. They wrap up the interview by diving into drug policy and the right’s recent shift to crime, from the recall of Chiesa Boudin (and current attempt against Larry Krasner) to elections in New York and Oakland, and exploring the role of labor rights in Seattle’s election. Christian Smalls then joins as he, Emma, and Sam walk through the various fights that the ALU has been involved in, and what was learned from the different experiences, before diving deeper into Amazon’s union-busting tactics, why their immense capital allows them to avoid any immediate repercussions, and the importance of community and building a network of solidarity in union organizing. Wrapping up, Smalls explores his personal relationship with Amazon and his coworkers, and how he and the Amazon Labor Union continue to fight despite their David and Goliath-esque battle.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma discuss Obama’s recent campaigning in Wisconsin, including his focus on Social Security (something he didn’t care so dearly for during his tenure as President), Doug Mastriano outsourcing his antisemitism to his wife, and the greater wave of genuinely vitriolic antisemitism in the US. They also admire an incredible speech to a Tennessee school on the importance of the trans and queer community and tackle the role of political violence in US discourse heading into the midterms, plus, your IMs!

 

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