S1E54 – Shane Burley on Conspiracy Theories

Episode Summary

Brooke and Casandra talk with Why We Fight author, Shane Burley about conspiracy theories, false consciousness amongst the right, how mythos get built to influence how people think, and how the root of a lot of conspiracy theories is anti-semitism.

Guest Info

Shane Burley can be found on Twitter @Shane_Burley1, on Instagram @ShaneBurley, on Mastodon @Shane_Burley, and on Patreon at www.patreon.com/ShaneBurley

Host Info

Casandra rocks. Brooke can be found at Strangers helping up keep our finances intact and on Twitter @ogemakweBrooke

Publisher Info

This show is published by Strangers in A Tangled Wilderness. We can be found at www.tangledwilderness.org, or on Twitter @TangledWild and Instagram @Tangled_Wilderness. You can support the show on Patreon at www.patreon.com/strangersinatangledwilderness.

Next Episode

This Year in the Apocalypse on 12/30/22 and every two weeks there after.


Live Like the World is Dying: Shane Burley on Conspiracy Theories

Brooke 00:18
Hello and welcome to Live Like the World is Dying, your podcasts for what feels like the end times. I’m Brooke Jackson, one of your hosts today, along with Casandra. Today we have the honor of talking with the author, researcher, and journalist Shane Burley. We’re going to discuss conspiracy theories or whatever rabbit holes that topic takes us into. But first we’d like to celebrate being a member of the Channel Zero network of anarchist podcasts by playing a little jingle for one of the other podcasts on the network. Here it goes.

Brooke 01:29
And we’re back. Shane, thanks for joining us today to talk about conspiracy theories. Would you tell us a little bit about yourself, including sharing your pronouns?

Shane Burley 01:36
Sure. Thanks so much for having me on. My name is Shane Burley, my pronouns are he/him or they/them. I research the far right amongst other things. I’ve written a few books on it, Why We Fight from back in 2021 and Fascism Today from 2017. And most recently edited this big anti fascism anthology called an No Pasaran: Anti Fascist Dispatches From a World in Crisis. And right now I am working on a book with my co-author Ben Lorber for Melville House books, on anti semitism.

Brooke 02:06
Nice, thank you. Yeah, the one you wrote back in 2017 – Casandra has a copy of that book. And when I realized that my beliefs align with anarchism, I was like, I should learn about what this is. And, you know, learn more about fascism, too. And I was like, Casandra, do you have a good, like, primer book on this for me? And she just went to the bookshelf and pulled that one out. It was yours! Handed it over.

Shane Burley 02:33
Oh, awesome. That’s what I was hoping for, when we wrote it because there wasn’t a lot that was good and straightforward at the time, at least from our side.

Casandra 02:40
Spreading the good news about anti-fascism.

Brooke 02:46
That was, it was a good piece for, for getting started and learning there. So thank you for writing that. And for your continued work.

Shane Burley 02:53
Yeah, thanks so much for saying that, it’s really kind.

Brooke 02:56
So we wanted to talk today about conspiracy theories, and I’m just gonna start with a real basic question just to make sure we’re all kind of on the same page as we’re having this conversation, of what is a conspiracy theory?

Shane Burley 03:08
And conspiracy theory is a theory about a conspiracy that is not true. More appropriately, it’s one that could not be true. So I think it’s distinguishing from actual conspiracies because there are conspiracies in the world. So, you know, a good comparison about this would be the killing of JFK. There’s conspiracy theories that range from three people did it to 10,000 people did it. But no matter what one person had to engage in some kind of collaboration, so some kind of conspiracy is possible, which is separate from conspiracy theory. So I think we separate it from like the various kind of quote unquote “conspiracies” that lots of organizations and governments engage in just in day to day work, versus ones that basically come up against the basic laws of physics and how we understand the world to work, and specifically divert our understanding of how complex issues work by sort-of putting an element of fantasy into them.

Brooke 04:03
So that kind of answers one of the questions that I’ve been pondering, maybe we can talk about it more? Casandra has been wondering about, you know, why conspiracy theories have become so mainstream. And my sort of corollary thought was, it seems like they’re so appealing to people, you know? Those two things are kind of tied together – the mainstreaming and the fact that they seem to really appeal to people for some reason.

Casandra 04:28
Not even just mainstream, as in the rest of society mainstream, but mainstream on the Left.

Shane Burley 04:37
I was interviewing a friend, Brendan O’Connor, who wrote a book, Blood Red Lines, about anti-immigrant kind of nativism and border politics. And he made a comment that I thought a lot about which was that he’s kind of unsure about where the line between conspiracy theories and quote unquote, “false consciousness” lies. What’s the difference between conspiracy theory, and what’s the differencce between misunderstanding sources of oppression and how systems work, which is a common thing?

Shane Burley 05:06
I think one of the realities about a conspiracy theory is that it is an attempt to liberate oneself; it is actually an attempt to do that. It’s an attempt to explain people in power and explain your own disempowerment. And so in situations in which lots of instability or feelings of loss of status – whatever they are, real and imagined – when those things start to sort of percolate, conspiracy theories are the easier answer. They don’t require a ton of political education they don’t depend on a lot of shared reality, even. And our society depends really heavily both on false consciousness and conspiracy theories. Depending on how you put those lines.

Shane Burley 05:48
Take the entire Republican Party: [it] has built a mythos on working class people, specifically, not elites, right? That’s the language used. And their policy is entirely based around basically inculcating the rich and the people who own capital. So how do you explain both of those things? It has to be institutionalized false consciousness, which in itself engages a certain amount of conspiracy theories. How can you understand empowering the rich and empowering the working class at the same time? Those things don’t comiserate. Except millions and of millions of people assume that they can. And so I think there’s an institutionalization of that kind of thinking. Conspirarcy theories, the wild ones, actually aren’t that far afield from that, you know? Because if you think about the way that things – just basic [things], like taxes and social services – versus the kind of benefits of the rich, it seems pretty obvious that when those who own capital are enriched that that money comes from us. I mean, it doesn’t require a master’s thesis to explain that. So you have to get millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of people to basically avoid thinking about that, or to believe it’s untrue. And so that, I think, is foundational to the way that we think about conspiracy theories because we all – not all of us, hopefully – but huge portions of us engage in some level of conspiracy thinking,

Casandra 07:03
You can tell me if you think this is accurate: it seems like conspiracy theories often try to blame individuals, rather than looking at systems for instance, it sort of frustrates me when people are like, you know, eat the rich. Which yeah, eat the rich. But like, “If Jeff Bezos would just, you know, redistribute his wealth, everything would be fine.” But it wouldn’t be because capitalism would still exist, and there would just be someone else super rich. You know what I mean?

Shane Burley 07:32
Yeah, I think the kind of classic line on this is that conspiracy theories – and particularly anti semitic conspiracy theories, just as like the archetype for it – are one of the most effective defenders of capital because what it does is divert your attention away from a system and places it on supposedly corrupt individuals. And there’s a couple of reasons I think this is really attractive to people. I think one is that it actually plays on bigotries really well, and validates them in a certain sense. So there’s certain stories that people tell right? So one is that they’re aggrieved and legitimately so. I would say that most members of the working class are having a problem, right? They’re being exploited at work. They’re not being paid, obviously, what they’re worth; paying bills is hard. It’s miserable. It’s very upsetting, the things that we go through, even people who are reasonably affluent but not ruling class, it’s actually quite difficult. And so that’s a legitimate grievance. And I think that grievance has a lot of anger built up with it. And that anger inside people’s bodies and minds is often indistinguishable from bigotry. I think it’s actually those things intermix a lot. So it’s the impulse that if someone is actually legitimately your oppresser in a dynamic, you know, your boss, there’s an impulse to actually want to say something bigger to them.

Shane Burley 08:45
There’s a lot of research about people being pushed, and saying things and doing things they never thought they would in the direction of bigotry, simply as a way of harming those they think are harming them. And so what a lot of these conspiracy theories do – and populists conspiracy theories in general – is allow you to sort of indulge in that a bit. So it’s not uncommon to focus on the effeminacy of the ruling class. So you’ll see this a lot: “Jeff Bezos, look at his soft hands. He can never do the hard work like us.” There’s a certain kind of ‘let’s make them look effeminate. Let’s make them look queer, code them as queer.’

Casandra 09:18
Also, the lizard thing, like talking about how they look like lizards

Shane Burley 09:24
Very much about their appearance. I mean, if you look at… early 20th century socialist literature, the inordinate focus on making the capitalist class look fat, just absolutely rotund, as if they’re consuming things that, you know, they’re eating so much that you can’t eat. You become small and they become big. So I think that allows, it gives us a twofer, right? That says, okay, yeah, they’re the capitalist class, they’re oppressing in that way. And also that discomfort you feel of fat people, those are now one and the same, and one actually mobilizes the other, like one becomes a weapon for the other. So I think that’s an easy way to focus on that personalization.

Shane Burley 10:01
And the other thing is, if getting rid of Jeff Bezos doesn’t solve the problem, what the fuck would solve the problem? That’s really scary. I think this idea that there are certainly targets in terms of the kind of super rich and stuff. But it’s not, that’s not enough. Like, what does it mean to go after a system of capital? What does that even mean? I think that’s a really confusing prospect. And it’s one that is really emotionally unsatisfying, when it gets right down to it.

Casandra 10:30
Yeah, cuz we haven’t. We haven’t imagined alternatives. Or, you know, the average person hasn’t imagined alternatives to that.

Shane Burley 10:37
Or how will you even get there? Like, what’s the pathway to alternative? I think the idea of getting rid of Jeff Bezos, whether or not it’s realistic, at least you kind of understand the physicality of what that would be. But what does it mean to communize the entire economy? I mean, what does it mean to actually look at your life and say, “How can I fix these really deeply laid traumas and undo them, and replace it?” That is just such a mammoth task that it’s, I think, it’s hard to build up a consciousness that’s really easy, has a quick fix mentality that’s easy to communicate to another person. It’s a lot easier to say, you know – I’ve worked for unions, I’ve been a union organizer – to say like, “It’s that boss, look what he’s doing, look at what the car is driving, he couldn’t do your job.” Those things are easy. And they are true in most of those cases, but they’re not the end of the story. And so I think we end up with that really foreshortened perspective because the other stuff is just so big.

Casandra 11:32
Yeah. And I wonder if… when we explore the big stuff we also have to look at the ways that we participated, which is difficult. Yeah.

Shane Burley 11:42
Yeah. I mean… capital’s really complicated now. And the way we, our lives, are intertwined in it is really difficult. Huge portions of the economy are made up of people that would have previously been considered petty bourgeois: freelancers, contract workers, you know. Is an Uber driver a business owner? I mean, there’s these things that don’t really make sense in the traditional kind of Marxist sense, are the ways we talk about activism and capitalism and wealth. And so it ends up being really complicated. And then when you add the dimensions of being, you know, white folks or in the Global North, that’s sort of hyper exploited, under other countries, it’s like, well, how does that relationship work? You know, does it? Do I see, am I doing that? Do I benefit from it? What does it mean to benefit from it? You know, I think that actually adds those layers of complexity to it. I think that’s why this is the new story. I mean, that’s why conspiracy theories are the story that we tell – it’s a really important story. And like you said, it’s not just the Right, it’s the Left, too.

Brooke 12:44
So why do you think that they have become so much more mainstream? Because they’ve always had that quality of being simpler explanation or an easy thing to point to, but now we’re seeing them becoming more common. And as Casandra said, you know, more common on the Left as well. Like, what’s the rise about? Why is that happening?

Shane Burley 13:07
I think that it comes partially from the destabilization of kind of Western economies. The the center has collapsed out, so you’re not having as much as moderate politics in general. The radical version of right wing politics is conspiratorial, it’s necessarily conspiratorial, so the more radical it gets, the more conspiratorial it’s gonna get. That’s really, really important for how it builds up sort of an enthusiastic base of supporters, is built on conspiracy theories.

Shane Burley 13:36
Again, the Left and the Right will build their energy on similar impulses, right? The impulse to liberate oneself. Well, if we’re talking about, quote, unquote, “white working class” – which is a kind of an artificial category – but if we’re going to talk about that in the kind of MAGA/Trump sense, they are people, like all people, who have diminishing 401ks and have, you know, rent they can’t afford and stuff. Even though they’re not disproportionately poor or anything, it’s a general feeling of decline, right? So there is decline generally happening. And so that radicalization is going to be in the direction of conspiracy theories because if you were straightforward about right wing politics, no working class person would ever accept such a thing. I say, “So you’re going to keep taxing me and then and then give tax breaks to rich people?” Which makes no sense when you think about it. “You’re going to bust my union, I won’t have as good of a pension?” You have to have conspiracy theories, and bigotries underlying that. So those simply just radicalized more. And they give a narrative, a mythology, to the real emotional turmoil people are living with. Stop the Steal makes a lot of sense if you feel like everyone’s stealing everything from you. Like, you’re always being stolen from, of course they can steal this election; “This election told me they were gonna fix problems and they stole it from me, just like they stole my pension, just like they stole my home in foreclosure.” So I think those things are transpiring.

Shane Burley 14:50
I think on the Left there is an increase in conspiracy theories because of the decline in political education and us talking things out. There’s not a really good sense about systems. And there’s also just a rapidly increasing sort of social network of sharing information that shortens it a lot. So instead of sort of talking about complex issues, it’s a lot easier to package them in bite-sized bits. And those things become a lot more viral.

Shane Burley 15:13
People also really enjoy thinking that they are participating in secret knowledge of some kind. Like they’ve been smart. They’re ahead of the curve, they’re ahead of the official information. I mean, Google search, you know, “Epstein didn’t kill himself,” and see all the people that have decided that they know something that the rest – everyone else – doesn’t know… There’s an effort to step past uncertainty, and confusion and complexity, and just kind of claim knowledge. And so that’s, I think, an important part of how those discourses happen, and then they just happen so rapidly. Now, they just they progress so quickly.

Casandra 15:46
Yeah. I know deep down that conspiracy theories on the Right are ultimately more dangerous. But I get so much more frustrated when I see it on the Left because I feel like we should know better. You know, I was thinking about the, like, to the Right, Jews are dirty communists, and to the Left Jews are dirty capitalists. And one makes me more angry than the other.

Shane Burley 16:14
It’s interesting because we associate the Jew as the communist with the Right, and actually the Right use the “Jew as the capitalist” more. So for example, the second generation Klan would focus on Jewish capitalists. Part of it is that most likely a lot of the people in the Klan base hadn’t met Jewish communists, and people in other countries might have met Jewish communists, you know? But this is one of the things I think is interesting is that there is just a rhetorical crossover that happens here, and actually, when you see – and this does happen, it’s not it’s not nearly the level that the Right or liberals want to make it sound – but there is moments of crossover when people from the Left take on really far-right ideas or can move to the far right, it has happened. And anti-semitic conspiracy theories is one of the primary ways that happens.

Shane Burley 17:04
This sort of anti capitalism – I use the term fetishized anti capitalism, but you know, basically any enemies of capitalism are therefore my friends. And so even these kind of radical traditionalist forms of anti capitalism – these ultra conservative, nationalistic or fascistic forms anti capitalism – sort of start to feel like, well, they’re opposed to the same systems, they must be the same thing. And that happens with with anti semitism. And I think we allow for this in all kinds of ways on the Left.

Shane Burley 17:32
I mean, the amount of times I’ve been at international solidarity rallies where really despotic regimes are being – kind of like with signs and flags – simply because they’re enemies of our enemy, either the US or the West, or Israel or something, or far right groups, are propped up because they supposedly are against the banksters… Their theory about it involves all kinds of like Rothschild conspiracy theories, and you know, they want a certain kind of Christian nationalism. So we overlook those really commonly when they are our enemies, or when they are ourselves. People are very soft on each other’s conspiracy theories.

Shane Burley 18:11
I mean, how many 911 Truth folks have you known in your life, you know? And those are fundamentally anti-semitic conspiracy theories, they depend on them. That’s how they function. And this is true in the environmental movement. This is true, obviously, in feminist circles. It has different targets, different constituencies, but it’s what we see with the kind of growth of turf-ism and that, these use of conspiracy theories to explain. So it’s something that we’re not prepared to sort of deal with. And we don’t, I think, always communicate why it’s a problem. I don’t think there’s a general consensus on the Left that it really is a problem.

Shane Burley 18:51
I’ll go back to the Epstein thing, you know, the Epstein case. It’s really suspicious. People should probably look at that, but I don’t know what happened. And I have no reason to believe it was conspiracy. I just don’t, and the assumption by everyone jumping immediately into it sort of communicates to me that people feel totally fine, and engage in conspiracy theories when they have gaps of information, and everyone’s pretty gentle on this. And that’s not the most serious conspiracy theory. I’m not gonna put my stake in the wall in that. But I think we need to start talking to each other about that.

Shane Burley 19:19
The other thing about this is that it’s a losing strategy. You know, this, it’s one of the worst ways of liberating yourself is to do it in accordance with a conspiracy theory because you will necessarily lose. We will always necessarily lose. There is no conspiracy theory that has ever led someone to an effective social movement to change anything.

Casandra 19:39
Ugh. Yeah. That’s all I have to say. Amen.

Brooke 19:49
Yeah, so you guys started getting into the the ties between conspiracy theories and anti-semitism. And there was a whole bunch that went on in that conversation that was just over my head here, that I did not pick up on.

Casandra 20:02
You can ask for clarifying statements.

Brooke 20:08
I know, but you’re on a roll, I don’t want to interrupt.

Casandra 20:12
We try to make this digestible to someone who’s not familiar with the topic. So you know.

Brooke 20:22
But I am definitely curious to talk more about the ties between conspiracy theories and anti-semitism. I brought that up the other day and Casandra made the point of, I think you said something like, “All conspiracy theories eventually lead back to anti semitism” or something like that? If I’m totally misquoting you, please correct me. It is not a thing I’ve ever heard before. And I wanted to dive into that statement that you made and understand it. So I want to talk more about the links between conspiracy theories and anti semitism.

Shane Burley 21:00
Anti-semitism has always held a conspiratorial element – a conspiratorial core even – before it engaged in what we would know as conspiracy theories today. So anti semitism, historic anti Judaism in Christianity – and when we say anti semitism, we’re specifically talking about the type that was formed in Christianity, we’re not talking about broad xenophobia against Jews. So for example, in the classical Muslim world, Jews were far from equal in Muslim dominated countries, but they [Muslims] didn’t engage in the kind of like vicious, conspiratorial, genocidal anti semitism that you see in Europe. That’s very much a European-Christian invention. But what they essentially did was, in the development of their theological differentiation they had to build on earlier libels around Jews as a sort of conspiratorial cabal of people that engage in really nefarious practices for misanthropic or even demonic reasons. And part of this has to do with the Jews’ resistance to assimilation. Jews of 3000 years ago are not the same as Jews today, but there is a certain amount of, like, “We don’t change according to societies that we’re enbetted in or engaged with.” There’s a certain amount, for example, with Holika Jewish law things do have a certain continuity to them. And that’s sort of threatening to people who want to remake entire populations of people. It’s kind of inherently anti assimilationist. And it’s very easy then to paint them as an outsider, ones who aren’t playing by our rules and not part of our society. Christianity, in an effort to differentiate itself as a breakaway religion from the Jews, and focus really heavily on Jews sort of failing to understand the real spiritual message of their own scriptures, failing to live up to the promise that their religion. Like, “Christians are the new Israel” right? Then eventually develop that into open hostility, and then the suspicion that Jews are engaged in something really nefarious.

Shane Burley 23:00
So the blood libel is an example of this: the idea that Jews are secretly kidnapping and killing Christian children to use their blood in different rituals. “Host desecration” is one; after the Catholic church decided that the the wafer – the host – is literally the body of Christ, they then started accusing Jews of stealing that host and stabbing it because they’re so cruel. They have, you know, accused them of having pacts with the devil, engaging in all kinds of horrific things. And then at the same time: Jews, they weren’t disproportionately moneylenders, but a number of Jews were involved in money lending because of their prohibitions in other industries. And then, of course, Christians used that as a propaganda tool, and basically kind of trumped up the charge. And so that populist anger was starting to intermix with the stories about Jews, and you get incredibly violent hostility.

Shane Burley 23:46
I was talking with my co-author, Ben: I don’t think at this point in history it’s good to luxuriate in all the terrible stories of things that happened to Jews, I think that’s almost, like, pornographic in a sense. But if you read pogroms that are kind of a mix of this theological anti Judaism and the reaction to the monarch, basically, they’re targeting the Jews, instead of targeting the people who actually hold power. There’s this kind of guttural rage, and the kind of cruelty that they’re engaged in is totally off the map, it has no productive function other than just as much kind of creative violence as possible. And that’s kind of a very particular impulse. And this is one, I think, is the flip side of the impulse to liberate yourself: to engage in oppression of others has some of that element to it. And it’s very ephemeral. It’s very kind of gut driven.

Shane Burley 24:37
But those stories about Jews went through a lot of versions. A lot of ideas about Jews – Jews as moneylenders, Jews as people who steal from Christians, inherently dishonest people – those were secularized into what became known as anti semitism, opposition to Semitism. It was a kind of pseudo scientific idea that Jews had a particular ideology almost in their genes, and they were affecting society in particular ways. So the movement against them, the movement against semetic influence, was sort of productive movement to stop them from kind of degenerating society. The idea of how they’re influencing society is that they’re engaged in these cabals, either banking cabals, cabals involved in the media, you know, they’re changing public perception, they’re involved in legal professions, obviously, again, money lending, all forms of like banking and finance, in particular, all these kind of new industries and early capitalist environment. And so these are what we know as the most popular conspiracy theories – about secret societies, about Rothschild bankers, things like that – emerge out of that period. And that’s the beginning of what we know today as a conspiracy theory.

Shane Burley 25:39
A really coherent secular conspiracy theory, you know, it might have some religious overtones, certainly, but it doesn’t argue itself necessarily in purely religious terms. All conspiracies that come later basically have the same format that was developed around this. They all have the same basic structure. And most conspiracy theories have lineages that you can trace back – one came from another one which came from an earlier one, and so on and so forth. They always come back to Jews. And most conspiracy theorists today hold that same anti semitic structure. So Q-Anon is a really great example of this. You know, Q-Anon rarely, quote unquote, “names the Jew.” Names the Jew is something that open white nationalists do, right? They’ll say, “Okay, this is typically the Jews.” But instead, what Q-Anon does, is they’ll use the figures of the cabal, they’ll take all the structures of this earlier anti semitic conspiracy theory, they’ll use verifiably Jewish names, or stereotypes associated with Jews, they’ll take older pieces of those conspiracy theories, theologic pieces, and secularize them. So for example, they believe that a cabal of satanic Democrats with curious R last names are taking children and sacrificing their adrenal glands to extract this substance that they use then in rituals to intoxicate themselves. Right? It’s familiar, uses a lot of sciency sounding words – Adrenochrome, which is not a real thing – but it sounds like…

Casandra 27:01
They were making the forbidden matzah or whatever, right?

Shane Burley 27:04
Exactly. What they’re doing is basically capturing Christian children and using them for their evil Hebraic rituals. But again, they don’t always say – some of them do, increasingly, they do say Jews, but it takes just a tiny scratch on this. 911 Truth is a really good example, you know, where cabals of bankers – or you know, Israel, whatever it is, that’s verifiably not involved – are accused of being involved. And the pattern for how this works has an earlier anti semitic conspiracy theory to it. So these are generally how those kinds of work.

Casandra 27:06
Can you can you really quickly explain what you mean by “ur” something?

Shane Burley 28:40
Ur would mean the kind of universal base form. So the most origin point. So it’s saying that ur conspiracy theory maybe means like the first conspiracy theory, or the kind of conspiracy theory that established the format for it, so you can look back and say, okay, it started here. What’s the thing that these all hold in common? Then I think you’ll see that in the blood libel is that they all hold those basic structural points in common layer.

Shane Burley 28:48
In my book I interviewed David Newark, who wrote Alt America and other books about the far right and conspiracy theories. And he, you know, says that basically, the blood libel is the “ur” conspiracy theory. It’s like the basic source of all conspiracy theories because the idea that small cabal of people are engaged in this really nefarious work of extracting goodness and turning it into something evil. So anytime you have a conspiracy theory, it’s going to have this DNA. Is there any conspiracy theory that engages in a way that’s not anti semitic? I think part of the problem is that we live in a globalized world. So other cultures have had conspiracy thinking in them, but the West has really exported anti semitism as a subtle cultural code.

Shane Burley 28:48
So I mentioned earlier Muslim anti-semitism, obviously, there is anti semitism in Muslim-majority countries and some Muslim communities, but when you look at it, it actually looks much more like exported Christian anti semitism with some Islamic kind of branding, or like some opportunistic use of Muslim sources. It very much looks like a Western export. And I think that’s what we’re seeing now globally on conspiracy theories is that even if there was versions of these – and other cultures had conspiracy theories against diasporic people, you know, there’s conspiracy theories about Chinese immigrants in Malaysia and there’s conspiracy theories about Koreans in Japan, there are those – nowadays, the exporting and universalization of the anti semitic conspiracy theorists, the”ur” conspiracy theory, has affected all peoples sense of how they build those. So you’re gonna find spray paint in Japan, that says, “The Jews did 911” in a place where those people likely had never met a Jew, and maybe no one in their ancestry line has ever met a Jew, right? So this isn’t about Jews. So in that way, we globalized so effectively and exported our own bigotry so much that there is really no place in this conspiracy thinking that doesn’t involve Jews.

Brooke 30:06
You might say the genesis of conspiracy theories? (Laughter.) I learned so much in the last 10 minutes. I feel like when I go back and listen to this episode, I’m gonna play it at three-quarters speed and pause to ponder things. No, seriously, I really did. Thank you for the deep historical context there because a lot of that that was unknown to me, that I went, you know, “What, what?”

Shane Burley 30:36
I also know it’s a lot, too. And I think this is part of the problem is that in any given situation, particularly in situations of anger, how useful is it for me to explain to them what host desecration is, you know? I think it’s actually hard to intervene in these spaces. And it’s especially hard to intervene when there’s really contentious stuff, like Israeli colonization of Palestine and stuff. So it’s actually really hard with this very justified anger. And the targets of those angers are actually are coded as Jews. I think it’s actually really hard to then intervene and say, “Hey, hold up, you’re actually doing a thing. And it has a history and it’s a problem.”

Casandra 31:15
It also makes it difficult to talk about anti semitism in simple terms. I feel like sometimes when people ask me questions about it, that should be simple questions, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of information I’d have to transmit to give them proper context. You know what I mean?

Brooke 31:32
I have literally been that person to Casandra.

Casandra 31:37
I was interviewing him and I was like, we should do an interview about this.

Shane Burley 31:41
We transmute American racial taxonomies on to anti semitism that don’t really fit, you know. The couple of interviewees that I had for the book that made this interesting point, they phrased it in an interesting way. And I think JFRCJ, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, had framed it this way, as well: Only sometimes does anti semitism make Jews poor. It doesn’t make us poor all the time. And in fact sometimes it stabilizes Jewish income. So for example, in areas when Jews would have been a hyper exploited population, they’re allowed to have certain amounts of wealth as a way of defecting anger from peasant classes away from the actual rich people and onto the Jews. So they might not actually interact with a noble person, but they would interact with a Jew, and they might see the Jew having stable money, and there might be nice things in their home, and that would communicate to them: “This is the person that’s exploiting me, rather than the Noble who I’ve never come across.” And there’s a certain kind of positioning of Jews in a lot of those situations.

Shane Burley 32:40
You know, one thing we talk about in the book is this phenomenon of Jews, and the relationship of white Jews to whiteness, is that when white Jews were very openly accepted as white folks in the US, particularly after the Second World War, there was a kind of class jumping that took place. But what happened was that a lot of Jews – particularly what we call a kind of second wave Jews moving here in the 1920s – were very poor, a lot of them socialists, a lot of working in garment factories, union organizers. But basically, in these dense urban areas, they started to leave those urban areas as they were kind of coded as white, became middle class, and in a lot of ways conservatized, right? Israel was formed in 1948. There’s other things that kind of made more conservative. And who moved into those areas? It was a lot of black folks, it’s a lot of Puerto Rican folks, lots of communities of color, where Jews now might be the business owner. They might be the landlord because they kind of class jump. They might own the grocery store that all the folks in the community use, and have maybe jacked up prices, or they work and they’re not being treated really well. And so again, that dynamic is continued of them being sort of the middle agent, you know? The Jewish shop owner does not control capitalism, but they are the person you might see. And so again, you kind of repeat that dynamic.

Shane Burley 33:55
So it’s not always that Jews are going to experience anti semitism in the way that black folks experience anti blackness in the same kind of structural way. And also the US is not foundationally built on anti semitism in the way that it’s built on anti blackness and colonialism. So it works fundamentally differently. There are some cases in which it looks more similar. So for the Orthodox Jews, they are more likely to be, you know, hurt by police, they are more likely to be poor. There’s a recent study that came out that if someone is coded as Jewish in employment, they’re much, much less likely to hire them. There’s usually other things that kind of go along with it… There’s limited data on this, but it’s not with someone who’s coded as a secular Jew, it’s more like if they’re coded as Orthodox, where someone’s different, seems like it might cause you a problem, or it might make you uncomfortable. Or if it feels like they hold Jewish qualities that are associated with unsavory-ness, you know, like large noses or weird ways of speaking. Or maybe they bring weird food into the office, stuff like that. So those things do actually happen, but in general, it works differently.

Shane Burley 35:04
And so there’s a certain kind of structural unsafety for Jews, they’re always kind of worrying about whether the other shoe was going to drop because anytime there’s instability Jews often get targeted in that. But that doesn’t mean in the day to day they usually, you know, can’t find a job, or [get] pulled over at disproportionate rates. So it works differently. It’s hard for people to identify that.

Shane Burley 35:24
This is kind of true in general when we’re talking about oppression outside of really narrow terms, people generally have learned to understand things in a certain way, and dominant hegemonic discourses, and then learning new ways is really, really tough. I think it really, it’s really clear, for example, in the way that the Left just seemed totally unwilling to understand trends and issues for decades, just totally looked like they couldn’t compute how little they understand sex work issues, or body issues, fat issues. It’s an unwillingness to see that oppression is actually different for different folks, either individually or as groups, and to sort of accommodate for that, and to think through how these things are complicated. And so we can’t assume that one thing tracks with another, that you can talk about oppression in one situation and have it be the same for another. So I think that creates that problem you’re talking about. So what are you going to do, you know? Sit down and say, “Look, we need to have a conversation about, you know, second century Egypt, BC, and how Jews are coded as this.” I mean, it’s, it’s a hard proposition.

Casandra 36:32
We have to talk, we have to go back to 1905. Talk about Czarist Russia. (laughter.) Yeah. I’m wondering, so I’m trying to remember exactly how you phrased it. But when there’s, when there’s instability, that’s when people tend to target Jews. And when there’s instability, that’s when conspiracy theories also seem to, like, foment as well as fascism. And I’m wondering if you can talk about how those things are related, especially because you write books about fascism and anti semitism.

Shane Burley 37:07
I mean, fascism is also an attempt to liberate oneself, right? It’s to liberate oneself by inculcating more oppression, like an auto immune response, right? We’re gonna attack the immune system, as if that’s actually what’s harming us. We’re gonna attack, you know, the movement to undo white supremacy because that may be what’s harming us, rather than, obviously, the reverse. So it’s tenfold by two things: One is a sort of a centralized identity, and one is a sort of social stratification. So the idea is that your identity is fixed and must be preserved. And that’s an essential piece, usually racial identity, but sometimes it’s others. And then the other thing is that all of humanity has to be stratified in this hierarchy, you… are white, because you are not black, and that whiteness is above blackness, for example. And this is a way of taking a privileged part of the class and telling them that their oppression is the cause of the progress of other parts of the class. So it’s specifically about splitting the class. So in a way, it’s very clear what it’s doing, it’s disallowing you the ability to organize amongst working people or non-rich people, to change the society that is better for all of you. Right? So it’s very specific in that way.

Shane Burley 37:42
Anti semitism and conspiracy theories are a story about your oppression that never get to the structural roots, that are usually factually untrue, and are able to kind of break potential solidarity. So I think where the immediate hardships of actual organizing are onerous, confusing, and frightening: conspiracy theories actually disallow that. So for example, if I really want to change the world, it’s going to require things of me, right? I’m going to need to figure out how I’m participating in white supremacy so that I can actually collaborate with non white folks. And once we do that, it actually changes the world for all of us, right? This makes it much better for us, like I personally benefit from that. But getting there, it’s a little bit hard sometimes. It’s also confusing, I don’t quite see it, I’ve never seen it before, right? And I’m actually running into this movement. It’s telling me that my whiteness is actually the thing that would make me happy, that whiteness is actually the thing that historically kept me safe, that whiteness is actually what I’m trying to protect. It’s not all this class conflict stuff. That’s the lies that they tell you, you know, those cabals that actually want to take from you, they’re all socialist movements. And I think, so, people are out there and confused.

Shane Burley 38:19
And remember, bigotry, it’s really interesting because it speaks to people almost like their conscience, it’s impulsive. It felt really emotionally… it feels true to people. I can tell you what doesn’t feel true is Marxist jargon… That’s what feels true. A lot of times when someone speaks of it they’re trying, you’re searching for a way to liberate yourself. You’re looking for a revolutionary story about it. And then someone comes in and tells you something that actually tracks with a lot of the impulses you felt historically because being raised in the society we are that teaches people to understand the world in a certain way. So I think those movements come up in that way.

Shane Burley 40:12
You know, fascism is just a particularly modern and revolutionary version of something that happens all the time. It has historically happened for centuries, you know, this kind of impulse to actually, to barrel down into a hierarchy, to basically reestablish tradition and immobile social roles, and to focus on identity at the cost of all others. So, instability simply radicalized this people to change their lot. And that is what’s happening at such a systemic level. Now, because capitalism is imploding, the environment is collapsing, the stasis of the 20th century cannot continue any longer. And so that necessitates radicalism of all types. Which is also why, in a sense, stay anti fascism, because if you want any kind of revolutionary movement that’s positive, you’re gonna have to reckon with the revolutionary movement that’s not positive.

Casandra 40:58
Right? Seems simple enough.

Brooke 41:06
So you’re working in some real toxic material, they’re dealing with fascism with anti semitism with conspiracy theories, and that’s got to, you know, take a toll on you on your mental health and well being. And I’m wondering what you do for yourself to help take care of yourself? And spoiler: this leads into, you know, a deeper question, which is what we always try to get to in Live Like the World is Dying, is talking about how we help others, and then we help our communities with this. But what do you do for yourself?

Shane Burley 41:38
Having Andy Ngo sub tweet you, or whatever.

Shane Burley 41:38
I don’t, I think the reality is that I don’t have a good, solid answer to that question. I don’t, think that I formed health in my life in a very perfect way. But there’s a couple of things I kind of thought about. I mean, I think one is that I think researching the far right is actually sort of empowering to people. I think, you know, if I kind of tried to figure out what it is I’m doing here, like, why am I here, it’s not just for productive work, it’s not just that I want to produce something that will stop it, I think, is productive. I mean, that’s certainly a part of it. But there’s also a certain part of it about looking at something that seems frightening and confusing, and sort of under the illusion that if I keep listening, and I keep reading it, it will somehow make sense to me. And that gives me sort of control over my life in a way. And I feel like I can sort of manage it, even though it actually brings instability into my life, you know, putting my name on an article about it, and you know, get threats from proud boys or white nationalists, that brings instability and –

Shane Burley 41:49
Totally, I mean, that is actually unstable. But there is a sense that looking at stuff, I think, brings a certain stability. You know, in doing this book, I was interviewing a rabbi from Chabad-Lubavitch which is like a Hasidic. He’s kind of particularly like, left leaning. Hot Seat. But, you know, I was talking to him about anti semitism, particularly in Orthodox communities, which often gets discussed as being the more, sort of facing it more frequently because of their visibility, you know, an Orthodox Jew is very visible. And a Herati, or ultra-orthodox view is even more visible than that, you know, black hats, suits, people kind of know what they’re looking at. And he was telling me about, you know, “I don’t really concern myself much with anti semitism.” And I was like, “Well why not?” He’s like, “Well, it’s not very Jewish.” And he was like, “I actually fill my life with Jewish things. And this is particularly not Jewish.” And so, you know, part of me is sort of like, the opposite to this is to engage, is to deny engage with things that aren’t Jewish, is to basically say, “Actually, I am going to be really purposely involved in the antithesis to these.” You know?

Casandra 43:58
There’s also something very Jewish about deconstructing something like down into its tiniest parts.

Shane Burley 44:07
No, yeah, they had all the quotes from from the rabbi about this, which I thought was great… We forget, I think, what we’re doing here all the time, being involved in organizing, being involved in work of any kind is meant to create a joyous life. It’s meant to actually do something, perform something in your life. And I think we get so obsessed with functionality, and we don’t actually live those lives. And the answer to that is actually living those lives. It’s building strong relationships with other people. It’s engauging art and spiritual life, the things that give your life meaning. I think engaging in that as openly and sort of like flagrantly as possible is is what you do there. And it’s interesting because what the far right does is it sort of shows you the vulnerable empathetic parts of yourself, right? Because it it appears in those cracks, it appears in the things that they target. So those in a way are how you come to learn about what’s meaningful about yourself, you know. Jewishness is targeted. That’s exactly what I find meaningful. Those are the things that I bond with other people about. That’s how I find a path forward in my life. And so I think all those sorts of things, engaging as much as possible with that. And I think it’s perhaps on us to think less about what we can produce and give to people, as much as we can be with them. I mean, this happens all the time in organizing spaces. I used to be the worst offender about this, you know? “No, that’s bad organizing. No, that’s just cultural production. No, that’s navel gazing.” No, I think we should engage in cultural production and navel gazing, like, we should make us happy. I think that there needs to be a lot more of that. And any kind of organizing work that people are engaged in, or when any kind of work needs to be in the service of that, and that’s how it should be measured. And not like reproducing the same metrics or bosses do about how productive we should be and what that’s about.

Casandra 46:03
We shouldn’t just reproduce capitalism in our anarchist spaces?

Shane Burley 46:07
I mean, this happens all the time, right? It happens all the time. We are ritually unkind with each other, unloving, unwelcoming. It’s the absolute worst. And I think it’s interesting because we used to talk about, statistically for example, abuse, domestic abuse, and sexual assault are commiserate in activist spaces as they are in the rest of the world. There’s no actual difference. So like, all the people that are doing these workshops on consent, and addressing abuse and stuff, tend to reproduce those dynamics as much as anywhere else. I would say that unkindness and a lack of community is even worse in active spaces; they are not particularly joyous places to be. I find them very hard in a lot of ways to be in those anymore. And I think that’s sort of what we have to do, we have to look really carefully about how we build those relationships in authentic ways. That’s how I think you survived doing hard, kind of trying work, putting yourself in vulnerability. Vulnerable spaces only works if you can live in a comfortable, vulnerable way. So I think when I say I’m not really there yet, I feel like I that’s the direction I would like to go. That’s how I would stay sort of healthy in a way, if that makes sense.

Brooke 47:27
Yeah, so part of our community response to conspiracy theories and conspiracy theory thinking, and fascism and anti semitism, is kindness and compassion for others. And when they show up with their vulnerabilities, accepting those?

Shane Burley 47:44
Absolutely. I mean, there’s this old IWW poster, it says something like, “If you’re not talking to your co workers, somebody else is,” and it has a picture of the Klan.

Brooke 47:57

Shane Burley 47:58
You know, like, if you’re in rural America, we aren’t talking to folks, but someone is talking to them. And they are validating their experiences. And they’re saying, “Yeah, that’s really fucking hard.” They’re not going to someone who’s losing their farm and a foreclosure and saying, like, “Just to be real, have you checked your privilege, and like, you’re not the most marginalized person in this situation.” That’s a hard thing to throw at people, people are actually having a really tough time most of the time. And we have to find a way to connect with them, and also not put up with their bullshit and actually talk to them about conditions of settler colonialism, white supremacy, but we need to actually invest in people. They will not care about us unless we care about them. And conspiracy theories very much are people’s attempt to make sense of their lives. And so participating with them and making that sense, I think, is useful. You know, I’m Anti Fascist first, which means I’m defense first, defense always comes first. We protect communities before we do anything else. I don’t think that’s the same though is addressing cconspiracy theories all over the place, and figuring out how we address them with compassion with people. We care about how we address them institutionally. How we stop them when they need to be stopped, like how do we create barriers and borders, all those things are important. But I think in our communities, in general, a lot of conspiracy theories emerge out of dispossession. And we have to choose whether or not to possess those people basically, do we want to create that? Margaret says this too. I mean, the best way to confront conspiracy theories is to give someone a life that matters. I mean, that’s what we’re actually doing here. So I think focusing on that underlying fertile soil, figuring out how to change that dynamic, give people real tools, give them real relationships and friendship. I think that’s really important.

Casandra 49:42
Do you have any favorite tools or resources? So my preface to this is that I’ve had people ask me this question and the reality is that my favorite resources on anti semitism and conspiracy theories are really dense, and most people will not read them. So I’m wondering if you have any favorite tools or resources that are more digestible?

Shane Burley 50:03
Yeah, I think there’s a few good pamphlets right now that exist that are useful on this. Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, which has been around for decades, it’s this progressive left-leaning Jewish group, has a pamphlet on anti semitism that’s particularly good. April Rosenbloom has a pamphlet called The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere. That’s also really good on this. There’s a pamphlet put out by, I think it was a group called Unity and Struggle, called How to Overthrow the Illuminati. It’s specifically about conspiracy theories and black communities. That’s a really good resource. And there’s a few others. Again, I think what, you know, one thing you’re pointing out is that one of the issues around anti semitism is that the Right has sort of captured the rhetoric on it because they use it to defend Israel. They use accusations of anti semitism to defend Israel. And they over shoot the claims that the Left is anti semitic. So a lot of these groups just simply don’t share a worldview with us enough that their analysis I find particularly compelling. But there are some versions of the Left that have done it, and they tend to be particularly academic. So Critical Theory, and Frankfurt School of Marxism, you know, there’s a lot of that stuff, right. And that’s good, but gobbly gook most of the time. There’s a basically lost, forgotten world of Jewish feminism from the 70s and 80s that is actually quite interesting. But it’s like next to impossible to find. So the anti fascist stuff, because anti fascists are kind of ahead of the curve on the anti semitism question. But I think those pamphlets are particularly good to hand someone, and hopefully Ben and my book will be will be like that. I’m hoping it will be.

Casandra 51:45
Yeah. Yeah. Maybe this is just part of anti semitism, and also conspiracy theorism, because critical thinking is difficult and can’t always be, you know, handed to someone in a tiny package. But it just feels someone has to actually be invested in learning about it. It’s difficult to explain.

Shane Burley 52:13
David Renton, who’s he’s this great author and an attorney in Britain – and he writes a lot about the history of anti fascism – he wrote this book on the Labour Party’s anti semitism, controversy. So people who don’t know: the Labour Party in Britain has been embroiled in this big anti semitism controversy for the past several years. It has been cynically employed by the Tories as a way of attacking the party. And it’s pretty obvious that that’s what’s happening. But it’s also obvious that there has been some instances of anti semitism in the party. It’s not nearly what the Right says of this, but it does happen. And, you know, David’s sort of relitigated this and kind of pointed out that it’s, you know, the party is turned towards populism and everyone’s turned towards populism. A few years ago, populism became kind of the thing that had a weak point, and basically kind of didn’t call out conspiracy theories, so they started making their way in, or kind of crude anti semitic ideas. And it’s like the answer to that is actually if you look at the what works for the Labour Party, it’s actually class war is the answer to that, actually talking to people about class ends up being the antidote to that and having political education. Daniel Randall, another friend of mine, from Britain, had talked about, wrote about this. And I get political education is something that feels really dorky, and not fun to do, and not what people want to do in a lot of spaces, but it was an essential piece of radical movements that aren’t there anymore. So actually talking to people about these things, and getting involved people to read some things. I think, you know, people do this in really overblown ways. Lord knows there’s a million Marxist groups that make you sit in reading groups all day, and no one wants to be a part of that. But like having some progress on stuff and explaining what kind of anti capitalism we actually mean, I think is a useful thing. And it’s one of the better ways intervene on that.

Casandra 54:01
That book, Daniel’s book, what is it? Confronting Anti Semitism on the Left? He’s the one who wrote that, right?

Shane Burley 54:10
Yeah, yeah.

Casandra 54:11
That sounds right? That book was incredible.

Shane Burley 54:14
Yeah. He’s really incredible. Yeah, I think I think, you know, one thing is when it comes to anti semitism, specifically, most people don’t know Jews and don’t know much about Judaism. So I think just letting people know. I mean, the amount of times I’ve heard things repeated that are just bombastically untrue – like, for example, I was a Student for Justice in Palestine, and we had this event and someone asked the speaker where Zionism came from, and he said, “It’s in the Talmud.” Just like bonkers stuff, you know?

Casandra 54:52
Which is a think that, like, a Zionist might say. Ironically.

Shane Burley 54:58
I interviewed Sean Magee when doing my book, and he made a point that a lot of the worst corners of anti Zionism tend to agree with the settlers. And so I think it’s just getting people that kind of understanding. I think if people understand conspiracy theories and why they’re toxic and what the consequences of them are, I think that’s more useful. And then again, getting people in verifiable forms of community that actually meet their needs, I think that actually is more useful. I think when people get involved, for example, in the labor union, that tends to actually decline because they’re like, “Okay, I could actually do this thing, I improve my wages this way, I actually have all this tactile control over my life.” And then when people are in community with others they have these vulnerable, caring relationships, and they don’t… have the same impulse to build the kind of alienating, almost cosmic-level, theories about the world. You know, believing in Q Anon is a really lonely thing, breaks up families or breaks up relationships. So I think all that kind of stuff is really alienating for people.

Shane Burley 56:02
But you know, there’s this thing called the wave, and SEIU – SEIU is a big labor union – and they have this model of what they call a union conversation, they call it the wave. It’s eight steps of how to have a conversation. It’s very dorky. But in the conversation, you do a few things, right? You introduce yourself. You listen to what people are saying, you agitate on their issues, you call questions, you know, you do a number of stages to get someone thinking about their issue, why it upsets them and what they can do about it. But you do two things: One, you always plan that when you talk to them, how can we win on this issue? How can we fix it? Is it possible? And then you inoculate them against what the boss will say. What will the boss say when you try and do that? What do they say to you? How is that bullshit? And we don’t ‘plan the win’ with people. And we certainly don’t inoculate them. People need to see how they can win. They have to know how it’s possible. If someone’s having issues in their lives, they have to see how it can win. And if we don’t have a sense of that, we’re not gonna be able to help with that. And we need to work that out with folks.

Shane Burley 57:08
And also talk to them about, like, people are gonna give you other messages about this. Like, what do you think about that? What would you say back to that? Because I think particularly conspiracy thinking, a lot of people get trapped in not understanding the systems and saying, “Well, fuck, I guess that’s the deal. I guess the Rothschilds do own it, I don’t know.” And so I think planning the win and inoculation are really important in that. And that’s true in general. There’s this assumption that if such a situation gets so bad, that the working class will rise up and overthrow it, but there’s no evidence to suggest that. None. What does statistically show people, or what simply pushes people to taking that kind of action, is seeing that they can win. So small victories in their life or in organizing leads to big victories. You have to show people they can win. The pathway to winning using multiracial, you know, community organizing of whatever it is that base building that’s, I think, the most important piece because that will then totally push away the sort of false answers.

Casandra 58:08
That seems important in terms of motivating people to care as well. You know, like, no, strategically, this is very important in all of our best interests.

Shane Burley 58:18
I had this conversation with a member of the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee, which is an anti-fascist group from the 80s, and I was talking to them – I’ll just withhold their name for the sake of this conversation – but I was asking him like, how do you commute? Because, you know, John Brown was essentially a white organization, it recruited white leftist folks in support of a kind of anti-white supremacy platform in support of black nationalism and some other things. In a lot of ways kind of divisive, a kind of divisive organization, their politics are a little divisive. And asked, like, “Well, how do you communicate to white working class people why eradicating white supremacy is in their interest?” And she said, she kind of paused and said, “I don’t know that it is in their interest.” She’s like, “I don’t communicate with him on that. I communicate with them about what kind of world do you want to live with?” And I told her, I was like, I just disagree with that entirely. I think it is in their interest, and you have to tell them why it’s in their interest. And you have to plan out why it’s in their interest. I do believe it’s in my interest. And when it comes to conspiracy, there’s anti semitism, it’s super clear why it’s in their interest because anti semitism will stop you from winning. It’s just so point blank, right? Like George Soros is not the reason you can’t pay your mortgage, it’s simply not that…

Casandra 59:34
Anti semitism, however.

Brooke 59:36
Is also not the reason, just to be clear. Not the reason.

Shane Burley 59:40
Yeah, that’s really great. So Shane, you’ve mentioned your books, you’ve got one that just came out right? No Pasaran.

Shane Burley 59:40
There are people doing this and they have names and addresses, but… what you’re saying is a false pathway. It’s totally to direct you the wrong way. And we should talk to people about what happens when they don’t just double down on privilege. They don’t just double down on those sorts of things. What happens when they reach across communities and build large committees? They become infinitely more powerful. I mean, it’s just so overwhelming the kind of change that you can have and not just in the long term, in the immediate term. You can see that with a labor movement. You see that with any social movemnet, that’s one serious gain that happened by doing that. It never happened by doubling down on their privilege. So I think talking to people about their interests is essential. And that also shows that you actually give a shit about them because of their interests are your interests, that shows that there’s an actual shared bond there, and you can build something.

Shane Burley 1:00:38
It was a phrase used particularly during the Spanish Civil War, about blocking fascist access to space and movement into communities. So it’s about blocking them, their ability to, to arrive.

Brooke 1:00:51
Nice. Okay, so No Pasaran, that just came out. I’ve got a friend who picked it up at Powell’s when you were there doing a book event or reading recently. He said it’s really good, and is gonna loan me his copy. So I’m excited to get to read that too. I know you’re working on another one – we’ve talked about it here – on anti semitism. Does that one have a name yet? Do you know when it’s coming out?

Shane Burley 1:01:11
Yeah, it’s called Safety Through Solidarity.

Casandra 1:01:15

Brooke 1:01:15

Shane Burley 1:01:16
Yeah. And I think it’ll come out like this time next year. I think that’s what it is. So we’re sort ofstarting to wrap it up now, like in the writing of it.

Brooke 1:01:27
So in the meantime, people can pick up No Pasaran, and then look forward to that. Anything else that you want to plug today, Shane?

Shane Burley 1:01:36
Actually, yes, I will be doing more book events in January and February in New York, Philly, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Spokane, and Corvallis.

Casandra 1:01:49
Those all made sense until you got to Spokane and Corvallis

Shane Burley 1:01:54
So I am I am there for it. I will hang out.

Casandra 1:02:00
I love it. Thanks for being here and answering all of our questions.

Shane Burley 1:02:06
Thanks for having me. I’m happy to be here.

Brooke 1:02:08
Yeah, really appreciate it. I’ve been looking forward to this conversation, you know, ever since we started trying to schedule it. I was really excited to talk to you.

Casandra 1:02:16
Oh, we’re supposed to ask about where people can find you.

Shane Burley 1:02:21
Yes, you can find me on Twitter, the doomed Twitter, at Shane_Burley1. Instagram at Shane Burley. I am on Mastodon, everyone’s excited about Mastodon, at Shane_Burley, I think. I’m still figuring out my Mastodon life. So yeah, you can find me those places. I’m usually on –

Casandra 1:02:43
How about Patreon?

Shane Burley 1:02:45
I am on Patreon. Yeah, Patreon slash Shane Burley, all one word. You can check me out there. I actually do a lot on Patreon. So Iyou can check me out there. I post constantly, I inundate people with things. I also have a newsletter called The Messiah Review, which is sort of like a Jewish review of books, I write about various Jewish things, interview authors, talk about lit and stuff like that. I’m starting a series on Jewish horror books. It’ll be on there.

Brooke 1:03:16
Awesome. Cool. Well, I didn’t know about all those other ways to connect with you. So I’m gonna go check those ones out.

Brooke 1:03:26
And to our listeners, we want to say thanks so much for listening. If you enjoy our podcast, you can please give it a like or drop a comment or review, or subscribe to us if you haven’t already. These things make the algorithms that rule our world offer our show to more people. This podcast is produced by the anarchist publishing collective Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness. You can connect with us on Twitter at Tangled Wild and also on Instagram. If you check out our website, tangledwilderness.org, you’ll discover that we have a new book available for pre order, it’s called Escape from Incel Island, written by the one and only Margaret Killjoy. And if you preorder it now you’re going to receive a color poster with your copy when they ship in February.

Brooke 1:04:07
Much like Shane’s work, our work here at Strangers is made possible in part by our Patreon supporters. Actually, honestly, we couldn’t do any of this work without our Patreon support. So if you want to join and be a supporter, you can check out patreon.com slash strangers in a tangled wilderness. There are some cool benefits at various support tiers. For instance, if you support the collective at $10 a month one of your benefits is 40% off of everything on our website, including preordering Margaret’s new book. We’d also like to give a specific shout out to some of our most supportive Patreon supporters. These include Hoss the dog, Micaiah, Chris, Sam, Kirk, Eleanor, Jennifer, Staro, Cat J, Chelsea, Dana, David, Nicole, Mikki, Paige, SJ, Shawn, Hunter, Theo, Boise Mutual Aid, Milicia, Paparouna, and Ali. Thanks so much

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