This week we cover the timeline, implications, and consequences of the January 6, 2021 insurrection.
Season 2 of The Resistbot Podcast, hosted by Melanie Dione, features a different interview every week with an organizer working to create change in their community. We aim to elevate voices without a large platform, focusing on their stories. Our pod is brought to you by the same volunteers behind the Resistbot (https://resist.bot) chatbot that's driven over 30 million pieces of correspondence to elected officials since 2017. If you haven't given it a try, pull out your phone and text the word "resist" to the number 50409 to get started. You can text officials from your Mayor to the President, check your voter registration, start your own campaigns, and much more!
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Welcome to ResistBot Live.
Melanie: Welcome to Resist Bot Live. Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome. Happy New Year. It's January 9, 2022. I'm your moderator, Melanie Dione, and this is Resistbot Live Lucky 13th. This is our 13th show and like a lot of people in the United States today, we're going to be talking about January 6 and the coup that wasn't otherwise known as what happens when your coup fails. Spoiler is still a coup. I just want you to remember that we are live streaming and all the places that you love to argue with people Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube. I am having the worst case of post-vacation technical difficulties, so please bear with us. Welcome. If you're listening from podcastville, we are uploading every Monday. I've got to say it's very hard to be on and talk about something that is so heinous and so just please forgives me if I seem like a bundle of nerves. There's just a level of frustration of anger. I wish I could say confusion. It's not confusion. This is a byproduct of where we have come as a society, as a country. And I appreciate all of you who are joining us to discuss this disgraceful, disgraceful display that is unfortunately not even though this is anomalous it's not uncommon in our history, particularly if you are a marginalized person, a person of color for so many people. This is shocking. This is jarring. So many people can't believe that this happened. I'm a black woman in America. So this is something that has been a long time coming that I have seen the entirety of my life and my parents saw the entirety of their lives. We want to talk about not only January 6 and what happened then, but how we got there and what happens next. We're going to be joined by some amazing guests, including our regular panel, and I'd like to start bringing them up if we could just bring Athena Susan and Christine up.
Athena: Hello. Good afternoon. Good morning, everyone.
Melanie: Hi. Thank you. I'm sorry, Susan is not with us this week, but we want to wish her a happy New Year. She's definitely clearly on my mind and heart. Welcome. Happy New Year to both of you.
Athena: Happy New Year, everyone.
Melanie: This is a difficult show for me, not just as an observer of January 6, but as somebody who's seen this coming and we're all women of color. So this is probably not as foreign to us as it is to some other people. I'd like to talk to both of you about your initial thoughts on what we're going to talk about today
Christine: For me. I'm just absorbing the energy and the gravity of this episode, and it kind of takes you back just a couple of days ago, even on the anniversary, it takes you back to I can't believe that was just a year ago. And so for me, as somebody who immigrated here when I was a toddler and daughter of parents who believed in this American dream and the experiment of it all, and to see this happen, and as somebody who follows international relations really closely, the lens I look at it. It's funny because I have the Asian American API perspective. And then I have the student perpetual student of international relations perspective. And I know from a global perspective, people are looking at America and going, what was that? And what is this thing called democracy and should we really be following it? And the concern that I have is what we are going through as a country and still going through. But what happened last year is something that our competitors, if you say or adversaries or folks who don't believe in democracy and prefer autocratic societies, they point to us now as an example of what doesn't work with America, and therefore they are in the right. And that does concern me a lot. So from that lens, I really look forward to hearing those perspectives today. Yeah. Thanks for having me as usual, ladies.
Melanie: Thanks Christine and Athena, you're somebody who was in the thick of it as far as this is when Resistbot basically, or this is like the culmination this administration is when Resistbot basically began. And so looking at this from your perspective, seeing the build-up, how did that resonate for you?
Athena: Thank you for that lead in Mel. This episode is important to me for a variety of reasons. One when we first started talking about this podcast, it's this idea that how are we going to shed light on issues and voices of people that aren't on your regular channels and your regular media? Right. So today's episode is going to be very important to me because of that. Second, in terms of what you are saying about how January 6 was a culmination of effectively four years of complete lack of accountability and continued exceptionalism in terms of people who are not held accountable or are not held to the same rules or basic laws that other people would normally held accountable for? It absolutely came to head on January 6. But this is something I really look forward to talking more about with our panelists later, this idea that we knew that this was coming. We knew on November 14 that they were coming. We knew that the White supremacist were coming back on December 12, and we knew that they were going to come on January 6. So as a society, as a civilized society, as a theoretically just society, knowing that a certain segment of this group could get away with three progressively escalating acts of treason and insurrection in this country, where does that leave us? How does this now define who we are as a quote-unquote, democracy when certain populations of this electorate can literally storm the halls of government, and in many cases, the leaders of these insurrections are not to stay held accountable for that. And so I want to learn and talk about what this means. What are next steps? So how do can we then continue to try to live up to this American dream and ideal that Christine was talking about? How are we going to lend some integrity to this idea of holding people accountable and equal justice under law in terms of not only these rioters, but everyone else who does not have the luxury or the influence or the privilege that these rioters had when they came to my city. So, yes, this is a very loaded conversation and topic. It's not going to end with one discussion, but I hope today is the start of us really trying to impact what's next, because I love the title as well in terms of what happens when a coup fails. But at the same time did it fail? Because in many ways, I think it accomplished exactly what it was trying to accomplish, which was a complete disregard for institutions and a continuous assertion of the prevalence and power of white supremacy in the United States.
Melanie: Absolutely. One of the things that I want to make sure because we've gotten over this last year, there's been so much fixation, and throughout the administration, there's been so much fixation on Trump supporters. What are they thinking? What are they feeling? What are they having for breakfast? And they were called Newsweek had an article. I believe it was. 51% of Americans believe that the penalties for these interactions have not been harsh enough. And that's not even when you get into alleged politicians, representatives who supported this. So this is just the average everyday person. I think when you start going into, the Atlantic had an article about the paperwork coup where that's beyond people loading up the General Lee and driving to DC. This is something that was a concerted effort and how prior to this, these people were used to be weaponized against organizers protesting for just basic justice and equity. And we have one of the phenomenal Nee Nee Taylor of Harriet's Wildest Dreams co-conductor of Harriet's Wildest Dreams, who is joining us today. Hello, Nee Nee. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for joining us before we go into more. I'd like you to talk a bit about yourself, your work with Harriet Wildest Dreams, your activism and love for DC. That's one of the DC is one of my other homes. And I love how DC residents love it and you have that. So I would like you to talk about all of that just to kind of let us know a bit about you.
Nee Nee Taylor: Thank you for having me. Well, I'm known as Nee Nee Taylor. For security and safety reasons, I've never used my official government name because I have been terrorized by white supremacists. I'm very conscious on keeping myself safe and my family safe. I'm a native of Washingtonian, born and raised 100% DC public schools. So the love I have for DC is very real and for black people. I'm a former organizer for Black Lives Matter DC, which I just transitioned out last year and started my own organization, Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, which is a black-led abolitionist community defense hub. Unlike Black Lives Matter DC, our work includes legal empowerment, political and civic education, mass protesting, organizing campaigns and community care that builds alternatives to oppressive systems. So we tackle basically all the oppressed systems that keep our black people from being empowered. So, yeah, that's a little bit about me and who I am.
Melanie: Thank you so much when you went into this work and your work, even with Black Lives Matter DC because you were obviously out there with George Floyd protests, et cetera. What was that experience like for you? And specifically, what was that experience like for you and some of these insurrectionist groups in tandem with the police NPD?
Nee Nee Taylor: So it's just weird because people gotta realize that hate is more contagious right now than covid. And Black Lives Matter DC, like you just said, it was more so about George, Black lives matter plaza was created during the murders of black people in the United States. And so because of Black Lives Matter Plaza it was like right on the outside where President Trump resided. And so people had started just building Memorial. We started building a Memorial fence while Trump was there teaching people to be hateful and bringing back the supremacy of white people and saying that America is great, make America great again. America was never great. And so reality is that Black Lives Matter the movement really was not involved with what was going on, but because we had a Memorial up there on Black Lives Matter Plaza and right there at the fence, we started getting attacked not just by the police but by white supremacists because they did not like that. We were uplifting black people. And so with that being said, that started when the white supremacists start coming trying to support Trump, they automatically start attacking black people and our allies and antifa. And they just didn't like the fact that we were still holding space for black people in DC as they spilled out hate. And so from there, we were dealing with voter oppression. And we were dealing with the hate of black people and how black people was rising up and taking positions in where we belong here in America, not just black people, but Brown people, too.
Melanie: Thank you so much. One of the things that I just cannot reiterate enough is that a lot of these groups were buddying up with the police during these protests. So when we talk about what happened in the lead-ups in November and December, it's disingenuous to say that no one had any idea because you're one of the people who made sure what was coming was known.
Nee Nee Taylor: And that is true because we truly wanted Trump out of the White House because of what we experienced during the summer and how he had the police and Secret Service beat us on Black Lives Matter Plaza. We were intentional on getting black people out to vote, vote them out. And so we rode around on a truck just making sure that black people come out and vote because we don't feel like no President will save us. But it's a tool that we can use to help us try to get to where we need to go when it comes to our true total liberation. And so with that being said, on November the 14th, we knew that white Supremacists and the Proud boys were coming to DC. So we wanted to come and protect the wall, which was the Memorial fence. And so Black Lives Matter DC, which I was a part of and a direct action coordinator at that time and other organizations shut down DC livelihood go, go. We got together as a collision to go to Black Lives Matter Plaza to have a safe space and keep Black Lives Matter Plaza safe as possible during that time. And so they came to 14th and they start tearing down our Memorial and attacking us. And DC police test allows them free will to do what they wanted to do. So we knew they were coming back December the 12th to try to stop the vote. And at that time, instead of counter-protesting against them, we actually made a black joy party and said, hey, you all look, they were really bad on November the 14th. So this time that's just all come to the Plaza and celebrate and just being a place where we can celebrate us and not be out there fighting against Nazis and white supremacists and Proud Boys because the police didn't keep us safe. On November the 14th, I actually have cases that I had to help black people get free from that the police arrested black people and white Supremacist attacked them. So on December 12, we tried to be in our own space again and hold space on Black Lives Matter Plaza. And once again, the proud boys came ran rapid, burnt down Church signs, burnt down things that Black Lives Matter Plaza attack homeless people. They attacked us and attacked anybody who they thought was in cheaper or against the government which they felt was America and against Trump. And they had free will to do that. DC or the government didn't do anything about it. And so leading up to January 6, we had infiltrators in their groups because we have allies and we saw they were coming back very strong with weapons and they bring in weapons and they're going to overturn the vote. And because what we experienced November the 14th and December the 12th, we were very concerned to the point where I told black people and brown people to stay home because I knew that we would get attacked, arrested or killed, it went on deaf ears. And the government and FBI knew about it. But because how I feel cops and the clan go hand in hand, and they ran by white supremacist. They didn't really take the threat serious. January 6 was actually exported to the capital before everything broke out. They started right there at Freedom Plaza. So they saw they were violent at Freedom Plaza and went to the capital. They didn't like to say, hey, we're going to the capital. They had a rally first and was violent at the ralley and the night before, and they told the police they were to just wait for tomorrow and nobody cared.
Melanie: So I want to circle back on one of the things because there was something that you said to me that you said before that really stood out, particularly how and there are other I believe we'll cover this a bit later, but I wanted to make sure we talked about this with you during those earlier protests. There were issues with getting hotels, getting Ubers, where they were kind of shut down, whether it was Black Lives Matter protesters, whoever. And that was not the case, because you did reach out to hotels in advance of January 6. Correct.
Nee Nee Taylor: That's correct. Because on December 12, it was ridiculous. And the hotels allow them and the police like they allowed them to have free will and rain in our city. And I was not going to stand for that. They were not coming back here. They're going to come back, they're going to come back and figure out how they're going to get here, where they're going to stay. And so Black Lives Matter DC with other organizations like shut it down and ASC commissioners and other organizations, we got together and we wrote a letter to the city to Maya Bowser to our counselor members and to hotels. We actually delivered a hand petition, tell them, don't vote, don't allow white supremacy to stay at this hotel. You all saw what they did in your hotel, and you allowed them to hurt and harm people in your establishment. I mean, they literally had preview outside the hotel. And yet the hotels did nothing about it. Harry's Bar, they did nothing about it. Harry's Bar saw them attacking people. And so we held them accountable and told them that don't host hate, don't host white supremacist. Yeah, we were intentional about trying to keep people as safe as possible because nobody was talking about what happened November the 14th or December the 12th because the police exported them to do these things and watch them attack black and brown people and people who they assume was Antifa.
Athena: Nee Nee, thank you for that. Over you, because you're absolutely right. I think the protesters were not only sort of given free will and rein by the police. In many cases, they were actually protected during those they were riots. There's nothing to call them. They were not protesting peacefully. They were in the streets causing violence. Four people were stabbed, 33 people were arrested. And it's just this idea that if those people were not DC residents, what kind of coverage is necessary to get the law enforcement officials to take this issue, that the insurrectionists were multiplying a number and gaining momentum. And the one event that happened on the 12th where they took over the mall. And you're right, they were taking down signs from Black Lives Matter Plaza threatening counterprotesters the whole way. And again, it was a clear evidence of how, in addition to law enforcement protecting property over anything else, this idea that they were going to let both sides have a say, despite clearly having one side being much more violent and vandalizing the city. So I think that's an important point to make and your comments about shutting down the hotels. I know at some point they tried to shut down the bridges as well to keep people from coming into the city. Some things are more successful than others. But I have to say your leadership and choosing joy, choosing to protect black and brown bodies during the time when we knew that they were coming back on the 6th with nothing but ill will and continued violence in terms of their plan. So thank you for that.
Nee Nee: Yeah. And I just want to piggyback on that because on December 12th when they were violent because I got to give a shout out to Nadine and Kern because from when Nadine and Kern were what we called the Warrior Defense guard because they literally stayed there every night and slept. And so we literally took turns to protect the fence when they did, any current literally stayed there every night and we got them a little tent and stuff. And so anytime something would happen, they were like, call me. And that morning of December the 12th, they literally came and attacked us. And the police stood there and watched. So I had to do an all-call out for people to come and protect Nadine and us and Black Lives Matter Plaza. But instead of them thinking that we're trying to protect ourselves because the police didn't. We were the ones that got tear gas. We were the ones that got beaten by the police. The white supremacist were the violent ones. We would show them that they had guns, they had bats, they had bear spray, they had tear gas, and the police allowed them to walk around with guns. You could see the gun print right on their waist under their shirts. And the police did nothing about it. But if a black person would have a gun, we would automatically get probable cause and locked up. So it was really bad. And so at that time, we became the violent ones instead of the white supremacist who was actually violent and black people and the brown people and our allies that was on a Plaza. We became the ones who were the violent people. We were the ones who was causing a problem in DC when these people came to our city.
Melanie: Thank you so much. Nee Nee one of the things I do want to make sure for those who are listening. I like to let everyone know that the work is not free. It costs time, it costs well being. So I'd like to make sure that for those of you who are listening, who would like to know how to support Nee Nee and her organization, you can go to Harriet Dreams. Org, donate and help this work to continue because it is very important. It can be a thankless. So I do want to thank you for that and make sure that we get that out there. The thing that we can't ignore about this was that this was just a blatant attack on so many things, but that includes voting rights. And so we went back to I got to speak with Debra Cleaver, one of our previous guests, friends of the show, who talked a bit about the implications of January 6 and what the next steps can be. So I want to make sure that we have that with Debra.
Interview with Debra:
Melanie: And we are joined again with our friend, Debra Cleaver, CEO and founder of Vote America. Hi, Debra. Hi. How are you? Thanks for joining us again. We're talking today about what happens when your coup fails. And so even though January 6 was not successful, can you talk a little bit about their intent and what even with this failure, what their intentions were for voting rights and democracy and what that looks like for us going forward?
Debra: I can. And I want to start by saying I am usually not alarmist. I'm like known for being very cheerful and optimistic about democracy, even during the darkest times. That being said, January 6 was the darkest thing that I have ever seen in the United States because it was an attempt to simply abolish democracy. They were trying to stop the certification of the electoral votes, a process which is really just a formality. The election has already been held. The people have voted, even within our electoral system, which does not result in one person, one vote. So it's already biased, like there are people in this country who haven't, like, disproportionate, say, in who is the next President? Specifically, people from small state. So a vote in Wyoming is worth five times as much as a vote in California for President. So even within this system, which gives disproportionate influence to Southern States, to overwhelmingly white States, to small States, Joe Biden had been elected President. That was done. The people had spoken and Trump supporters decided that Trump should be President, even though they knew they were rejecting the will of the people. And what happened on January 6 was people loudly saying that we prefer an authoritarian to democratically elected leaders. The language that they were using that their election had been stolen was really telling because it isn't their election. It's our election. It's the United States election. It belongs to all of us. But they were saying, stop this deal. They're trying to steal our election. They're trying to steal our power. And that is an outright rejection of democracy and democratically elected leaders. The closest analogy for me. I mean, people talk about authoritarian rule. That's obviously what they were pushing for. But it makes me think of the divine right of Kings that Kings got to rule the nation because it was like a divine right. It was ordained by God. And literally, the United States of America is a rejection of the idea of divine right. It is a grand experiment and letting the people choose their leaders. And the most important part of this is the peaceful transfer of power. That is what makes a democracy. And to see a violent attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power is an outright rejection of democracy, of our right to choose our leaders. And just because the first coup failed, a failed coup is a coup. I do think there will be a second one. I think it has been made clear that they choose the violent election of leaders and the violent reinforcing someone's right to lead, regardless of what the people say.
Melanie: Thank you so much for that. And that's one of the things we're talking about. It's failed. But a coup is still a clue whether you're effective at it or not. We'll be looking and discussing more. Thank you so much for joining us. And we can't wait to have you back again.
Debra: And I'm sorry. I'm sorry I'm such a Downer today, but I would say that January 6 was the worst day and certainly our collective history, the time that we've been alive. It's only the second time that the Capitol building has been attacked by citizens. The first time led to the Civil War. So not being alarmist by saying that we should, in fact, be quite alarmed.
Melanie: There is a lot of concern there, and especially the thing that we can't ignore is how so much of this when the capital was attacked, white supremacy is always the undercurrent. And that's no different here. And it was unfortunate how this is a byproduct of what happens when white supremacy goes unchecked.
Debra: What is the opposite of an undercurrent? Because I would say it was the overcurrent. There was nothing subtle about and that's true. Their rights were being stolen. Our election was stolen. I was like, no, it's my election too. And Mel's election too. And you actually lost that election. I unfortunately need to hop, but I'm generally around. I always love talking to you Mel.
Melanie: Thank you so much for joining us and we'll see you next time.
Debra: Okay. Bye. Keep the faith.
Melanie: Always. Great to have Debra on the show. I wanted to circle back a little bit before we move on. I wanted to circle back to something that I see you mentioned earlier about carrying in DC and why that was such a big deal.
Athena: Nee Nee, please chime in as you see fit. I just want to also remind everybody this is during a pandemic in DC. I think now is close to almost 83% Vaccination rate. The people in the city, vaccination in the south is the issue that can go a different direction in terms of talking about what has been like for marginalized communities in the United States. That said, a large population of the DC populists are vaccinated and the Mayor has put in pretty strict restrictions around that time. There was mass mandates and congregating in large numbers. All of that was completely disregarded by these instructionists when they came, in addition to just not wearing masks in general, but in terms of carrying in DC, you're not allowed to carry firearms. I'm not alone by any stretch of the imagination, but this idea that people were carrying weapons concealed and unconcealed into the District when the mandates you're talking about state rights, right? Dc is not a state. So I'm going to go ahead and plug that in right now. A lot of what happened on January 6 could have absolutely have been shut down or avoided if the District of Columbia and it's 700,000 residents were not marginalized and restricted from the full voting rights as American citizens that they should have. So I'll get that in all we can. But this idea that you need to register your weapon and firearm in the District as well in order to be able to carry it. And so does that necessarily happen? Did the police go around and check everybody who was packing? Is this firearm actually registered in the District as well? That's again playing to what was discussed earlier. This idea that who are these law enforcement officials protecting at the end of the day?
Melanie: That's the quiet part loud, though, right? Because when you start looking at just the general idea around policing, it is for black and brown people. When white people have to actually experience or follow the law in this circumstance, when everything has told you that you are on the side of right by default, things like laws. One of my favorite Internet friends says something that sticks with me. The laws, the rules, the Constitution, it is as strong or as trash as the people who are charged with upholding it. And so when you look at people being allowed to carry indiscriminately in the District of Columbia, as someone who spent eight years there, I know what that looks like and how that would look like for black and brown people. So you cannot ignore the entire thing around this. And I will always come back to this. If this is what the byproduct of unchecked white supremacy and quietly enabled and loudly enabling it is because these people have gotten emboldened. And frankly, those type of people see the police as customer service against minorities. And that's just the bottom line. I want to circle back to Christine before we move to our next segment, because Christine, you mentioned having I mean, you've got this geopolitical perspective, so I would like to talk to you. We will go into this a bit next with Noah, but I wanted to talk to you about what that sentiment is like in action for you.
Christine: One thing that was coming to mind when you were talking is the both sides that Athena brought up, that tendency to create this false equivalency. And this narrative that then radiates out in the media to the rest of the world is literally killing people. Right. Both sides narratives. And Nee Nee you were so powerful when you gave a recap of your story because we all know that what you experienced on the ground is not what was translated in the media and then distributed out to the world. And that absolutely is having a detrimental impact to what people's perceptions are. So it really is sad because for me, I know we are so involved in our domestic politics, but again, with wen lens internationally constantly, it's really worrisome that there are authoritarians across the world using the Republican playbook right and pointing at what happened and taking notes. It saddens me that other people who are marginalized in other countries who are fighting for their freedom or their right to democracy are being impacted as a result of emboldening authoritarians because we can't get our stuff together, right. And so that is what I'm being left with as I'm listening. And it's a problem. It really is. The both sides thing is really literally killing us.
Melanie: Absolutely, just the media framing. I mean, you can even look at how prior to January 6 because we look at this data as though it's the thing, and it's really sort of just a benchmark. It's just a stopping point. Up until from the time that the election was called until January 6, there was always this question that I'd never heard asked before. Well, will there be a peaceful transfer of power? What the hell do you mean? Why is this even a question? Why is it a question of are you going to play nicely in a democracy that supposedly has laws and so much of that this was we cannot ignore how the media fed into this and even now and how people are coddled it's unconscionable. I want to make sure that it's hammering in that there are organizers who have had to deal with whether it's with Resistbot, we've got Nee Nee, we've got Athena. I also want to bring up I was able to talk to Noah Tricky, who's one of our resist bot OGs from back in the day when they were pulling out Fax machines because they didn't want to hear from the people. And he had a great perspective.
Interview with Noah Tricky
Melanie: And we are doing the day by activist Noah Tricky. Hello, Noah. Welcome.
Noah: Hey, how are you doing? Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Melanie: Thank you so much for joining us. So you're one of the resistbot OGs, right?
Noah Yeah. A little bit. So I got involved a few years ago in the DC area, just helping with the letter deliveries to Congress and kind of getting it off the ground and really building some of those messages and to the representative. So I was kind of part of the footwork, I would say, I guess, of doing the final logistic piece and getting people's messages that they've presented out to the representatives.
Melanie: So when you have that experience of being someone who has to like during the last administration, it was intense. And this is basically the foundation for resistbot. So there was a lot going on. So based on your experience as an observer, what was watching that like for you, especially as somebody who was in the DC area,
Noah: It was really interesting. It was a little bit sad in some ways, because at first, people were really receptive, like all the representatives were open to receiving letters. But as the spot started blowing up, there was more and more letters coming in. We were taking literally boxes and wagons through the halls of Congress, and it got to the point where representatives didn't open the door to us. They wouldn't accept the letters. And it was just a little bit frustrating knowing that so many people actually had things that they wanted their representatives to hear and act on. But in some cases, they would just literally shut them out. And I think that's one of the things that I like most about Resistbot is that it does Democratize, the way that we're able to connect with our representatives and make our voices heard. So I hope that there are ways that we can continue to streamline it and make that message of the common person more heard. Yeah. Hopefully you can just keep on pushing for change. I know there's a lot to work towards in the next few years, especially in light of everything that's all the bills that have happened this past year for voter suppression. So I know we have a lot of work to do, but looking forward to finding different ways to keep supporting everything.
Melanie: It's very true, because it's not gotten any easier as far as the push against voting rights. And we were also joined by Debra Cleaver with Vote America today. One of the sentiments was stopped from stealing our election as though the election just belongs to them to a certain demographic. So as someone else who is in this work for voters, right. This work to make sure that you're being heard. And now somebody who is living overseas what is it like kind of having to answer for the Americans, like having an answer for your country going nuts, literally having a failed coup.
Noah: Luckily, it doesn't really come up directly in conversation too much, just generally walking around. But when it does, it is always a little bit awkward because people, at least from what I've experienced, actually don't necessarily always believe that Americans support Trump, like they don't know where it comes from. But I'm originally from Wisconsin. I still have a lot of family and friends back there, and a good amount of them are Trump supporters. And it's something that's been hard for me to kind of reconcile in my own life and kind of figure out how I convince people that I know are good people in some ways that have bought into these propaganda and lies. I think when I talk with people brought about it, I kind of say that, yeah, America is really divided. There's a lot of challenges, but it's also that way because one side really is pushing a lot of messaging that is meant to target and divide people. And, yes, even going back to the capital riot on January 6, one of my family members called me and left me a voicemail, sort of as a message of support, hoping I was there riding and raising Hallelujah, as they said. Whereas during the George Floyd protests over the summer, they were all kind of telling me that I shouldn't be involved. I should stay home, be safe, just kind of the difference that you see between those two different messages coming from the same people. I thought it was interesting. I think Americans abroad definitely have a little bit more to answer to these days, but I think a lot of us that live, especially in European countries, I think generally kind of lean, more Liberal. So I think we have a little bit more to kind of talk about in that regard. Like those are things that we're not supporting. We're fighting against. But we also know that there are people there that really do believe this stuff.
Melanie: Right. Absolutely. When you look at other actions, there were actions in November, there were actions in December that were taken against, such as people at Black Lives Matter protests and things like that that it was just a very different sentiment. And there are things that we can see when we're on social media, when we're in our own social groups, that's just a microcosm 70- What was it? 78 million people did vote for him. It's no small thing. And a failed coup. One of the things we want to keep hammering in a failed coup is still a coup. Yeah. And should be taken seriously. But thank you so much, Noah, for your work. Of course, through resistbot. Thank you for being again, one of our OGs. That's very dope. It's awesome that you're here with us today. So I want to thank you so much for your time with us today.
Noah: Yeah. Thank you. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. And thank you for all the work you guys do on the podcast. Like really loving it.
Melanie: Thanks so much. And don't be a stranger. It's a pretty difficult thing to kind of swallow knowing what we've seen in the years of protesting, especially as our last show was about how protesting is as old as this country, but specifically what has been openly experienced since 2014. To look at that and then see the converse. It's a hard pill to swallow. What's next? I think that's the most important thing that we should talk about. What's next, we could relitigate what happened then. But what are you going to do about it? That is the big question. Of course, there is always a petition to meet the occasion. There's a petition by Susan that was created on October 25, 2021. That now has 1435 signers expelled members of Congress that participated in the January 6 attack on the Capitol. The more we learn, the more there is evidence that this was orchestrated. It was a concerted effort, and there are people who are in elected office who are part of what was nothing short of treason. So to sign this petition, the code is PSDAJA. You can text that to 50409. If you want to promote it, you can text promote P as in Paul, S as in Susan, D As in David, A as in Apple, J as in Jump, A as in Apple. So for the work continues, that's the thing that we always have to say for. Also what's next? The work continues. Nee Nee I would like to talk to you a bit about what does your work look like now?
Nee Nee: You definitely hit it on the nose. The work always continued, even like after January 6. our work never stop as people go on to talk about January 6. And it's a year later, as I stated after January the 6th March, I and two of my other co-founders, Keanu and Makia, we created Harriet’s Wildest Dreams because we knew that the way that America is set up right now, they can't save us. They're not our savior. And so therefore, Harriets Wildest Dreams was created behind January 6 when we became a defense hub where we empower our people legally, politically and within mutual aid to get everything that we need. We will in the world that we feel that's possible that doesn't send a white supremacist or the police and it's doing great. People will be surprised. People are surprised that our organization was only established in March because all the work that we are doing and how we are empowering our people and liberating our people. So yeah, the work didn't stop after January 6 for black people. Unfortunately, right now, and if you look at it, the people who contributed to this are still in Congress. We actually had to fight recently because they're literally trying to get the people who are locked up from January 6 out of jail, and they literally fought for that. And they kind of like got attention where black people been locked up in DC jail all this time. But now because we got these protesters from January 6 locked up over there, it's a problem. Dc has been a problem, but the noise is made because it's the protestors that's over there. This place is not livable. It hasn't been livable in years. So you're not privileged. And so the work continues for us. And that's why Harris Wildest dreams was created where we literally are empowering our people legally, politically and through mutual aid, where we're supporting each other. And we reimagine safety because we realize that the way that white supremacy is set up in the world is set up with hate. This stuff would not keep black people safe.
Melanie: White supremacy will come up again and again, because this country was literally physically built on chattel slavery. Even with the end of chattel slavery, there are still in runs around that, which will be a complete conversation that we'll have about the prison industrial complex and prison abolition and what defunding the police really looks like and why it is a matter of safety for black and brown people, especially. But I wanted to pull in Athena because I've used the words and a lot of us have used the words coup and insurrection a bit interchangeably. And Athena, I just wanted you to bring up one of the things that you'd mentioned to us.
Athena: So this is something that Professor Buzzkill would be more qualified to speak about. But this concept of a coup de tat which is a coup of the state. I use this term in terms of talking about January 6, 2021, because we have elected officials who were calling for blood sacrifice during their speeches wearing body armor. At the time, we have members of Congress who were involved in the planning of this violence, there's evidence of that. So when there are complicit members of the elected state who are participating in this attempt of invalidating the will of the people, that, in my opinion, qualifies it as a coup. To this day, we haven't who planted the pipe bombs, who disabled the key card, who removed the panic buttons, who shared the location of the non-reinforced windows. There's a lot that the Commission really needs to get to the bottom of on top of everything else that's going on. I understand that in terms of as well as prosecuting the people that they can. But at the same time, there is everything that we've discussed today from the National Guard not being ready or available immediately. This clearly was in some ways, state-supported and sanctioned by certain sections of the government. So I just wanted to explain that point of view.
Melanie: And even down to people who are live-tweeting their positions during the attack. It was very clearly an orchestrated effort. And I'm so glad that you mentioned Joe, because that gives me a chance to let you know that we are going to be having our first minisode because this topic is so big. And what happens when your coup fails? That doesn't necessarily fail because the purpose of it is to destabilize. And that absolutely happens when you call elections in question and decide that no facts or real facts, you have successfully destabilized the government and what people think they know. So what we are going to do with Joe, Professor BuzzKill and I are going to do is talk about the beer hall putsch, which was the failed Nazi coup before the Nazis ascended to power. So that is an episode. I don't know if it's right to say that I'm excited about it, but I look forward to discussing the information, and I'm glad we're all back. I want to thank everyone who has joined us. Nee Nee, thank you a million times over. Can you let us know where we can find you? And once again, let the folks know how they can support you and your work?
Nee Nee: Sure thing. You can actually find me at Harriets Dreams. Org on the social media platforms. It's Harriets Dream on IG and on Twitter is Harriets Wildest Dreams on Facebook. I don't once again say that my personal life, I keep it personal because I've been doxxed and I've been attacked by the police and white supremacist. So I'm really conscious of using my personal space. But the work shows right in those spaces. Harriets Dreams, like I said, IG and on Twitter and Harriets wildest dreams on Facebook, you can follow the work as it continues and get involved because we do allow allies to be to support us as volunteers. And some of our work is remotely that you don't have to be in DC to support and volunteer for Harriets Wildest Dreams.
Melanie: I want to thank you for what you have shared with us, because we don't get to talk about that. I don't think we talk about that part of the work nearly enough on how you are exposed. You are vulnerable. So I am glad that you're taking measures to keep you safe. And of course, we will always respect that. So thank you again for joining us, Christine, before we go. Any parting words?
Christine: Just really grateful for this conversation today. And as we're talking, I have this coming election. But the general election 2024 in mind because my son will be voting age for and still be his first election. So it just re-emphasizes the need to pay attention. And even though we're all exhausted, it never stops. We can't afford not to stay engaged. Yes, thanks.
Melanie: Absolutely. Thank you so much. And Athena.
Athena: Thanks for the discussion, everybody, just to tag on to what you were saying. That work. It takes a lot of work, so anything we can continue to do the uplift and support voices of the people. The boots on the ground is greatly appreciated. Look into whatever mutual aid groups are in your city is trying to uplift and support those who need it. And so what Christine was saying, we have this generation of voters. We talked a lot about how white supremacy is part of in the DNA of this country. But at the same time, I feel we're experiencing a kind of awakening that this new generation has lived. We have children now who are going through school shooting tests and trials in their schools. This is the generation who grew up after 9/11. These new voters have been aware of this increasing escalation of police brutality from Ferguson to Floyd to issues that happened to unite the right rallies in Charlottesville and January 6. So I want to say the kids are all right if they're paying attention and seeing what's happening around them. I think the best at this point we can do is just to make sure that the sacred right of voting is protected, and that is going to have to be our way forward out of this mess.
Melanie: Thank you so much, Athena. I also want to thank Debra Cleaver and Noah Tricky for joining us and for always supporting Resistbot. Again, we'll be having our minisode with Professor Buzzkill about the beer hall putsch. That'll be a little later this week. I'm very excited about dropping our first minisode because a lot of these topics are bigger than just one episode, and they're just layers and layers. There are so many things, even with just something as January 6, where everything is out there at this point, once you figure you've peeled back one layer, you find another one. So I'm looking forward to that. I hope that you'll join us. Thank you so much for joining us today. Whether you joined us Live or you listen to us on the podcast, we appreciate you if this is your first time. You can subscribe at Resistbot Live if you want to know how to help, if you want to volunteer, if you want to donate, you can also go to Resist Bot. The podcast will be up on Tuesday, all of our live streaming again. You can find us Facebook, Twitter, Twitch and YouTube. Thank you so much and we'll see you next week.
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