This time on This Month in the Apocalypse, Margaret, Brooke, and Inmn talk about a lot of stuff that happened in April. They explore the history of Mayday, what will happen if the US defaults on its debts, Brooke’s reasons for not wanting to become a Dracula, strikes, a report from the Sudanese Anarchist Gathering on the current conflict in Sudan, a horrible string of murders, guns, syphilis, cheetahs, more syphilis, shirt slinging neo-Nazis, and some new news about the Stop Cop City movement.
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.
LLWD: This Month in the Apocalypse: April
Hello and welcome to Live Like the World is Dying, your podcast for what feels like the End Times. This is a This Month in the Apocalypse special where we talk about this month in the apocalypse, but even more than that it’s the Mayday special because it’s Mayday–not when you’re listening but when we’re recording–and that’s what matters to me is the things that affect me. I’m one of your hosts Margaret Killjoy.
Hi, I’m Brooke.
Hi, I’m Inmn
Inmn is joining us. Is this is your first time co-hosting the show?
This is…yes…this is my first time co-hosting.
That’s very exciting.
Yes, I’m excited and under….I’m here for playful banter.
If there’s three co-hosts, should it be co-co-host?
Or co…tri… No, I got nothing. Okay. So, co-co-hosts but not Coco Chanel because she’s a Nazi.
Yep. Alright. So, this podcast is proud member of the Channel Zero Network of anarchists podcasts. And here’s a jingle from another show on the network. Bop! [Said like the note of a song] That was my song.
And we’re back. Okay, so, today is Mayday. What’s Mayday, you might ask? Eh? Eh?
What is…What’s a May Day?
Thanks. It’s the thing you say when you’re in trouble and you’re in an airplane. [Brooke makes sad trumpet noise] Okay, so, Mayday is the international working holiday. I don’t have any notes about this in front of me. So, I’m going to be off the top of my head. But I’ve have given this as a spiel multiple times in my life. Mayday has been celebrated in various forms, kind of going back to 1886. And going back to 1886 in Chicago, let’s like [Makes scifi time machine noises]…now we’re in 1886 in Chicago and there’s this vibrant anarchist scene and it’s an almost entirely immigrant culture, mostly German in this particular time and place as well as there are some like born in the United States anarchists who are part of it, kind of most famously, the power couple Albert Parsons and Lucy Parsons. Albert Parsons is a white guy who used to be a Confederate soldier, realized he was on the wrong side when he as a teenager, spent the next huge chunk of his life trying to fight actively against the thing he had fought for. He managed to get shot in the process. And then he illegally married a black woman, Lucy Parsons, because it was illegal for interracial marriages. So, they actually moved to Chicago even before it was legal there. They moved from Texas up there. And they were rad organizers, and Lucy Parsons was like actually way more interesting than Albert. No offense to Albert, you know. He’s one of today’s martyrs for May Day. And Lucy Parsons has all these quotes about like, “What I want is for every greasy grimy tramp to arm himself with a knife and a gun and wait outside the homes of the rich. And, as they leave, stab or shoot them.” Lucy Parsons did not fuck around. Lucy Parsons knew that class war was a thing that was already happening to marginalized people and wanted to see it returned to the rich. And so, the anarchists on Mayday during this time, they would do things like they’d have these huge parades where they like, marched to the homes of the rich with like banners that said, shit, like, “We’re gonna fucking kill you,” or whatever, you know. I’m sort of paraphrasing here because I don’t have my notes. Yeah. And so they had this like culture and they were building this amazing culture and there was also this, like…they had community defense organizations, they had plays, they had like–it’s very actually parallel to a lot of the stuff that’s getting built now–only we’ll survive repression better than they did; I hope. Okay, and so at the same time there’s this massive fight for the eight hour workday. And the anarchists were a little bit like, “I mean, that’s cool, I guess. Like we kind of want the no-hour workday. Like, we’re in it for the abolition of capitalism, but we’ll put up with it. Right, that’s all right.” And so, they were a big part of the organizing, and–kind of in a similar way that anarchists participate in organizing now–and there was basically this idea that we’re like, “Alright, on May 1, 1886, we’re just declaring the eight hour day, and no one will work more than that, and it’s gonna be this massive general strike.” And it was it was this massive general strike all across the country. And in Chicago, at the McCormick harvester factory where they made harvesters,which were, you know, big combine machines used for farming or whatever, a bunch of people were like, “Fuck this. We’re not working.” And so they brought in scabs, and then people were like, “Fuck you,” and they like threw rocks at the scabs and stuff. And then the cops were like, “Well, what if we just shot you?” and people were like, “We’d rather you didn’t shoot us,” but the cops weren’t listening. So, they shot them anyway. And some people died. And it was bad. And that was on May 1st. And then there were several days of protests after that. But the anarchists were like, “Man, they’re just shooting us now.” And these were not the first labor people who were getting shot in the US during this fight, but they were like, “You know, if they’re shooting us like, let’s put out this thing that’s like, you know, in both German and English, it’s like, “Show up at Haymarket Square and get ready to fight. This is our time.” you know, and it’s this big kind of bravado thing. But then,the day of everyone was like, “Actually, let’s just show up and be peaceful because it’s like, kind of sketchy. Like, you know?” and I feel like we’ve all been in this kind of situation. And so then all of these people go up and give these speeches. And some of the speeches are, like, “Let’s murder all the people who are trying to murder us.” And some of them were a little bit more restrained. And…but, it was like, overall peaceful, and so this was on May 4th, 1886. And then the chief of police, he was like, “No, I want to fuck everyone up.” And I’m not even like–I’m putting words in his mouth, but I’m not putting motives into his mouth–this guy like fucking hated the anarchists. And so he marched on down there with a ton of people. And basically was like…it was like, starting to clear anyway. It was starting to rain. A lot of people were like, “Hey, let’s go hang out at the bar instead of listening to the speakers.” And the guys who were out there being like…I think was Samuel Fielden, and he’s up there, He’s like, trying to give a speech, and everyone’s like, “Oh, like, that’s cool. We could go hang out the bar instead of listening to you.” It’s like just one of those protests, right? It’s actually not a big deal protest. And then the cops are fucking up everyone. So, someone–unknown to history, probably a German anarchist, hard to say–someone honks a bomb at the cops. A bomb goes boom. The cops start shooting wildly into the crowd. And they just like murder a ton of people. I actually literally have no idea the number. I don’t remember off top my head at all. And they also shoot a bunch of themselves. Cops, as we’re gonna talk about in this episode, cops are really good at shooting each other. Critical support to the police for shooting the police.
Comrade police? Hmmm. No.
Comrade Friendly Fire?
Comrade Friendly Fire.
And like, one of the reasons we know this is a lot of like people go through and look at the evidence and the direction of the bullets in the lampposts and all this stuff–there’s this huge trial, right–and so all of the evidence that comes out is like, basically the cops all shot each other, right? Which is like…Whatever, I wouldn’t get mad at someone who shot back if they’re being shot at, but I don’t think that that’s what happened. So this thing happens. And it’s like, “Oh, fuck, that’s a really big deal,” right? And then the anarchists…the cops are just like, “We’re gonna fucking arrest everyone now.” Like all the anarchists “You’re done.” And they just start sweeping the city. They’re showing up at everyone’s houses, like not only all the organizers but all the just like the regular non organizer folks, and they’re just like raiding everything, shutting everything down. One of the most interesting arrests, they show up at this guy’s house, and they’re like, “Hey, we want this guy!” and this guy who answers the door, Louis Lingg, is like, “Oh, that guy’s not here.” And they’re like, “Well, you’ll do. We’ll take you.” And so Louis Lingg is like, “Fuck you!” And he pulls out a gun and tries to shoot the cop. And so the cop manages to get him and then, theoretically, according the New York Times–which is not an unbiased source now was like really not an unbiased source in 1886–In the carriage, Louis Lingg, who was I think 22 at this time, he says the quote, “It all would have been worth it if only I had been able to kill that police officer.” So, they all get taken to jail. And it’s mostly not firebrands like Louis Lang. It’s all of these organizers. So, it’s like Samuel Fielden who’s just like this guy–he ends up a Wobbly later in his life–he survives. And he’s…or maybe he’s like a rancher. I can’t remember. He stays rad, but he just like chills out after he survives this nasty shit. And so they arrested a bunch of them, and there’s eight ‘martyrs’–that they get called, right, and they’re all put on trial. And, the thing that they’re accused of is literally being anarchists. There is no evidence that links any of them to the bombing. There’s plenty of counter evidence. Some of them have interesting alibis, like Louis Lingg, our aforementioned 22 year old. He’s 23 at the time that he dies. His defense in court is, “I could not have made that bomb because I was at home making bombs.” which was true. He did not throw the bomb Yeah. Oh my god. And then Louis Lingg was also like, he was this like, he was super hot and everyone like copied his style. Like all the boys would like do their hair up like Louis Lingg in order to like, look hot at all the anarchy dances and shit. And you just have this like wide variety of different people. You’ve got this guy who…this like toy maker named George Engel–who I’ve got tattooed on my arm–and he’s like the oldest of them–I want to say that he’s in his early 50s, I can’t remember–and he’s just this like, he’s like born fucking poor in Germany and he ran a toy shop and he’s an anarchist. And I used to think of him as just like the low key down to earth one, right? But it actually turns out, he was like, part of the like, super radical faction. Whereas like Albert Parsons, right, he was like, kind of like one of the more like, liberally anarchists who was like, “Oh, let’s like have good messaging and shit.” And George Engle was like, in the background planning how to take over the city by force of arms to institute anarchism. He still didn’t throw the fucking bomb. And so yeah, they were all put on trial. And they were found guilty. And five of them were sentenced to death. Three of them were sentenced to not-death. I think two to life imprisonment, one to 15 years. There’s a whole thing where like, some of them asked for a pardon from the governor. There’s like a…and then five of them were like, “Man, we’re not fucking asking for a pardon from the governor. Fuck you. Like, we’re done. It’s over. Fuck it.” And then while they’re awaiting their death, Louis Lingg, someone smuggles him in some explosives, probably in cigars, and he takes his own life. And the other four are led up to the platform and hanged. And there’s like this massive unrest outside, and Lucy Parsons–her husband is about to get hanged–and she’s trying to break in. And they have really heartbreaking last–their speeches in court are something worth reading–And their last words are stuff that sticks with me, including two of them that basically just said, “Hoch the anarchy!” or, “”up” the anarchy, hurrah for anarchy.” And, you know, they they believed very strongly in a world without the state and without capitalism, and they fought and they died for it. And, it was complete miscarriage of justice everyone knew was a miscarriage of justice. At the time, no one cared because it was a big anti anarchists fervor. But, as the trial went on, people started being like, “Wait, what?” And so it actually, it crushed the anarchist movement in Chicago; the movement that had been building in Chicago fell apart. And it was it was awful because it was an incredibly vibrant, beautiful movement with like eight different newspapers in different languages, and like, it’s like, it’s all a bigger deal than…I think sometimes anarchists think we were like really marginal throughout history. And that is like, just not the case. And before state communism became a stronger force, anarchism was absolutely the primary voice of the left besides like, kind of like liberalish, like progressive movements. So, it crushed the Chicago movement. But, what it did is it inspired a generation and it inspired a generation of anarchists and inspired a generation of labor organizers. And so Mayday has been the International Workers holiday ever since. And within a couple of decades, you could go anywhere in the world and go into a union hall, even if it’s not an anarchist Hall, even if it’s a communist Hall, or whatever, and you’ll see the martyrs on the wall who stood for that. And so, I love Mayday. I love this story. I love seeing myself in these people from our past, I think that we can have heritages that are not just direct ancestral like blood lineage. And I believe that the anarchists who are alive today are part of the lineage from the 1880s. And that, that spirit lives. So I get real emotional about it. And anyone who wants, I would really recommend going to Chicago going out to I think it’s Waldorf Cemetery, but I might be wrong. Again. I didn’t take any notes for this. It’s off top my head. And, there’s a monument to the martyrs and it’s also where you’ll see Emma Goldman’s grave and Lucy Parsons grave. And, yeah, it’s beautiful. And it has always the cutest graffiti on it, because I don’t think they would have minded. Maybe Albert Parsons would have minded, right, but like Lois Lingg would have done it, you know.
I’ve heard it’s become a new rite of passage to make out on their graves. Or at least it was it was like 10 years ago.
I just go there and cry.
That’s also reasonable.
Yeah, whatever floats your boat.
If it makes you feel any better, they would have been dead by now anyway.
Or would they have? Because, what if they’re Dracula’s?
Not this again? No. No.
What if a Dracula threw the bomb?
And [that Dracula] now has a podcast. What if I threw the bomb at Haymarket? Is this a conspiracy theory I should spread?.
Yes, yes. You heard it here, Margaret. Killjoy is a Dracula.
You know, as we’ve talked about before, famous podcasters have superpowers that make things come true. So, you should not do any of that.
Become a Dracula? Okay, so I’m really…I’ve given us a lot of thought. Actually, I’m curious about you all. Let’s get your answers first. Brooke, would you become a Dracula?
Inmn, would you become a Dracula?
Okay. Let’s get both your reasons. Brooke why no Dracula becoming? This is what people tune in for. This is about what This Month in the Apocalypse is about.
Because I have seen and read every vampire novel, story, romance, you know, whatever. There’s one for every generation and I’ve read them all. And it never goes well. It just never goes well. There’s no…There’s no history of it going well for Dracula.
So, that doesn’t seem like a good choice.
I don’t like living enough as it is that I don’t want to do it extra long. I look forward to dying someday. Yes. I don’t want to not die. I want to get off this fucking planet.
Alright, Inmn what do you got? Why are you becoming a Dracula?
Despite my belief that it actually is like an interesting thing to know that we are going to die, which I mean, I could still die as Dracula, can absolutely still die as Dracula. I think the like middle school version of Inmn that was and is still obsessed with like different fantasy worlds would never forgive myself if I passed up the opportunity to become a Dracula.
That is fair.
Yeah, I’m holding myself to the standard of 12 year old Inmn. That is the only standard that matters.
I make decisions like that. I think that’s a reasonable…like when you’re like, “Do you want to do something or not do something?” and be like, “What would 12 year old me think?”
I think 12 year old may be crying in her bedroom about, you know, whatever cute boy won’t talk to her. So, she shouldn’t get a say in my life.
Yeah, okay, fair. Okay, I would become a vampire, or a Dracula as it’s fun to call them, even though I’m incredibly squeamish, I’m vegan, I don’t like blood, I don’t like meat, I would hate to kill someone, but I feel like it would be like, it’s just like, I feel like I owe it. It’s like, like, who am I to turn down superpowers? Like, imagine what you could do if you were an immortal until proven otherwise by the sun or a stake?
Could you solve the current conflict in the Sudan?
I don’t know. Would direct application of violence successfully solve that problem? And I don’t know the answer.
What about global warming?
I respectfully declined to answer the question about whether direct application of violence would be useful in solving global warming.
Would your powers help us with the government debt default problem?
Oh, I could help with the government problem.
Yeah, your superpowers could do something about that?
Yeah. Because, imagine antifa super soldiers if everyone was like, 15 times stronger, immune to almost all damage, can only come out at night [inflected to be a disadvantage], and have to have a mutual aid blood bank. But I bet there would be volunteers, you know.
You don’t know for sure that that’s what would happen if you become a Dracula because not all Dracula mythology has them getting superpowers other than just like living forever.
They might not be extra strong or fast or…
Oh, they’re like almost always like…but, you know, and if you’re rolling the dice, you might be able to turn into a bunch of bats. If you could turn into mist…If I could turn into mist I like would volunteer to be tried for every crime that an anarchist does. “It was me. Oh, no.” And then I turned into mist and I leave the prison. You know? Until they figure out I’m a vampire. And then they hit me with the sun. But…there’s like some holes in this plan.
Some? Some? Okay.
Yeah, enough that bats can fit through.
There are wilder concepts, you know, wilder things have happened in history than you becoming a Dracula.
Like the Rutgers University strike that happened last month. That kind of wild thing?
Is that what we’re switching into? Is this a transition?
You see how desperately I’m trying to divert to what we’re going to be talking about.
All right, let’s go. Let’s go. What do you got? What happened this month in the apocalypse? [last word said with an eerie reverb voice]
Well, strikes being good things, the staff at Rutgers University went on strike for a grand total of five whole days in April. They did a pretty good job of planning it in secrecy, though, because everyone was super surprised when they sent out the email on April 9th in the evening, like, “Hey, we’re going on strike tomorrow.” And then suddenly, they were on strike. And everyone’s like, “Wait, what the fuck?” So. It’s very similar to what was going on with…whichever one of the Cali…UCLA? Whichever one of the California universities was doing strike stuff recently too, arguing for better pay and better treatment of graduate students and such.
How did the Rutgers one end up?
They have a tentative agreement.
They still haven’t finalized contracts, but it was impactful enough that it got the necessary people to come back to the negotiating table and, you know, get some progress towards their goals there.
Yeah. Yay, Strikes,
There was some other strike that’s going on, or maybe going on soon, but I can’t remember where or what it is, other than President Biden wouldn’t comment on it.
He’s like, he’s trying so hard to be the pro-labor President as he continues to do all kinds of anti-labor shit.
Right? Fuckface. Yeah. Speaking of the government and how much it sucks, we’re at risk of defaulting on our debt here in the US, again, which is a fun thing they like to battle every once in a while.
Okay, so this is such an abstract thing that people keep talking about it and it’s something that means nothing to me.
What does it mean? Not because it doesn’t mean anything, but because the way it’s presented just like, I don’t get it.
Well, so in order to prop up our whole fake monetary system that we’ve created, the government sometimes makes itself have to follow some rules so that we all…the rest of us still believe in it, too. And it likes to flirt with not following those rules in order to have drama that we can all talk about. That’s what’s going on. That’s all you need to know,
Well, what happens if they default? If they default do I lose? Like, like, what happens?
Well, technically, then the government doesn’t have money to pay for things like sending out welfare checks, or paychecks for federal workers, or funding to states for various programs that the federal government funds, paying for the military. Basically, all the things that the federal government pays for.
So like, lots of bad and one good.
Yeah, kind of.
Well, from our point of view
Internationally, you know, people who’ve invested who own government bonds, for instance, basically if you’ve loaned money to the federal government, you’d be like, “You’re not gonna you’re not gonna pay back the money that you owe us? Fuck you.” and can affect the value of the dollar and international trade, and blah, blah, blah. The reason I’m being so whatever about it is because the government’s not going to default on its debt. It just never…it’s not that it’s never has, it has four times in history, but it’s just it could be potentially so disastrous to the economy and to our fake belief or belief in the fakeness of the monetary system that the government, just they’re not gonna let it happen. Just want to make news.
I hate that my brain can only think about things in terms of fantasy novels. But is this similar to like in Game of Thrones when they have to borrow money from the Lannisters? And the Lannisters are like “Nah, we’re not giving you any more money.” and then they try to get it from a bank and the banks like “Y’all are really broke. We’re not going to give you any money.” And…
That’s actually a really good analogy for what’s going on because yeah, like the US in order to fund all the shit we do has borrowed money from, you know, other governments, other people outside the country, like, you know, we talk about how you can just print money, you can just make up money, we just say what it’s worth, but the only reason that whole system, the monetary system, works is because we all agree to believe in it. And if the government breaks its own rules about the monetary system, the whole belief system can start to unravel.
I see. What is it that kind of keeps? Like, is it just the belief in that that keeps that? Like, what? What keeps the cycle functioning?
The monetary cycle?
Yeah. It’s something I’ve always been curious about, like, if the US is so in debt then like, why is the US a global economic power still?
Well, what’s wild is that it’s because it’s so in debt is how it’s a global economic power. There’s like weird ways of having people–I’m not going to do this justice and maybe Brooke knows it better–but I’m just, I read “Debt” once by David Graeber and now I’m smart about money because I don’t remember anything–but literally, at least that book talks about the fact that if you’re the hegemonic power, loaning money to people makes them invested in your success or failure. They don’t want you to fail because if you default on a loan, they’re never seen that money back. It’s like actually a weird power play for the United States to have a debt like that. And it’s like the King used to loan money or borrow money from people all the time in a way that there’s like a question mark profit that I don’t quite get grasp in there.
Yeah, people will talk about, especially like Republican side of conversation, will talk about how we’re heavily in debt to China, like the Chinese government has bought a lot of US Treasury bonds, basically loaned us a whole bunch of money, if you will. They’ll say “Oh, well, you know, they can just call in their debt and fuck us up anytime they want to.” But that would fuck them up too because they’ve loaned out all of this money and capital. And if they’re just like, “Hey, you need to give it back.” when they know, we can’t pay it back then that’s just gonna send the whole system into chaos, which will echo back to them and just fuck up the whole global economy. If that makes sense?
Yeah. Okay, so what else we got? We got default.
Well, the other thing I wanted to say about the default is it is different from–because there’s another debate that crops up pretty often–and it’s about government shutdowns and it’s easy to get the two conflated, but they’re actually about different things. The debt ceiling one that’s being talked about right now is about ‘can the government borrow more money.’ Basically, it’s going to sell more treasury bonds that were bought by China or, you know, whatever other nations in order to bring money into the US so the US can pay for things. That’s the, that’s the debt ceiling. That literally like…it’s like, if you want to go to your credit card and get a higher spending limit on your credit card. That’s what they’re doing there. The other thing is the government shutdowns because of budgetary debates. So, the government has to create a budget for itself. And if it can’t agree on that budget by a certain deadline then it doesn’t know how much it is or isn’t allowed to spend on things. And the response to that is that the whole government shuts down, the federal government, because they don’t know how much they’re allowed to spend on things even though there’s money there. So, they’re two, the debt ceiling is one thing that’s going on right now and then government shutdowns are another thing that happens for different reason. They’re all money related, but they’re actually quite different.
Turning towards international news, I suppose y’all might have heard about this, but conflict is broken out in Sudan earlier in April, was like the mid month. I wanna say was like the 15th or so. Which, Sudan has a really long history of violence and unsteadiness as a country, a lot of conflict. It’s been ruled by an autocrat for a long time. And that person was overthrown a few years ago around 2020 or either a little before or a little after. I can’t quite remember. So, they’ve been in the process of trying to form a democratic government in the last few years since that autocratic leader was overthrown, but they haven’t got there. And it’s been a very tense place. And then, just a couple weeks ago the army and a paramilitary force started fighting in the Capitol, and I think a few hundred people have died already, and Western countries that have workers there, principally the US and the UK, have started to try to evacuate people who were there. They had a really short ceasefire over this last weekend in order for the Western governments to try and get their people out of the country, but it’s, you know, looking to be another refugee crisis. People are are starting to pack up and migrate. And the fighting looks like it could get much worse. And it’s also another one of those places in the world where it’s kind of a proxy fight because Russia has a lot of interest in Sudan and what’s going on in that region, and the US has shown a lot of interest, too. And so, you know, some of our old tensions between our countries are flaring up. Yes, Margaret?
So, okay, a couple questions about that. I’m really curious about it. I’ve been following it a little bit. And I’ve only been able to kind of get a little bit of a picture. There’s a…Okay, so I believe that the militia that is currently trying to take power is the Rapid Support Forces…
Versus the existing government. And, do you know which side the US and Russia are each supporting?
I was not clear on that as I was reading through it. It sounded like the military, some of the military leaders, there’s a general in particular, who’s trying to become a politician and then possibly reelected as president, which we all know how that goes when the military then takes the power, which seems more like the thing that Russia would support versus the other forces being more in favor of democratic institutions.
I know there’s a there’s a group called the Sudanese Anarchists Gathering. There’s a group of anarchists who organize there that have been…I’ve been reading their dispatches through “Organise Magazine,” which is spelled incorrectly. They use an S because they’re British.
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