Part 1 Episode Notes

Inaugural episode with Liz. This is part 1 of 2.

Part 2 Episode Notes

Part 2 of my discussion with Liz.

Part 1 Transcript

Janelle Jolley  0:02  
Hello, friends, and welcome to the inaugural episode of What's Left To Do. I'm your host, Janelle. So I'm starting this podcast because I'm interested in hearing from everyday people on the left, plus some of your faves, and understanding their life stories and the pivotal moments that shaped their arrival at a leftist politic. And now that they're here, when they look out on the world, what do they see? How do they understand it? And last, but certainly not least, what is the future they hope to produce? And how might we get there? Because, damn, this ain't it. My first guest is Liz, one of the many wonderful people I got to know and love volunteering for the Bernie Sanders campaign. This is a two part episode because I'd be all up in people business for three, four hours at a time. And in part one we may or may not have covered sushi, ugly ass Mormon underwear, small town shame, and of course, heterodox economic theory. Deadass. It should be pretty clear to you that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. But that's never stopped me before. So, you know, yep. See? Okay, here goes nothing. The inaugural guest, inagural meaning first, for What's Left To Do is none other than Lizzie boo. Let me give you an intro to this woman. First she gonna organize you out of two hours of your afternoon, no big deal. Then it's going to be an entire afternoon, before you know it. Who needs a job? I'll be in the office every day doing whatever the fuck needs to be done. None other than Liz. Say "hi" to the people, Liz.

Liz  2:11  
Hello, people. It's wonderful to be here with you in person. It's such a joy.

Janelle Jolley  2:19  
That's correct. Two COVID tests later and here we are. How are you?

Liz  2:25  
I'm doing really well. In this moment I'm extremely happy.

Janelle Jolley  2:29  
So, Liz and I met late- around this time last year, actually when I started coming to the office to phonebank on Thursdays with Kat and Alison, and then you tricked me into stopping my entire goddamn life. And here we are. And I was like-

Liz  2:52  
Yeah, I think everyone-

Janelle Jolley  2:54  
I wasn't as full- I was not as ever as full time as you because you were, like, you was up, four o'clock in the morning cuttin' turfs, in the office, who needs a snack, sit yo ass down She don't curse at people, that's me adding-

Liz  3:06  
That's the behind the scenes

Janelle Jolley  3:08  
That's correct.

Liz  3:10  
Yeah, it was hard not to get sucked in, though.

Janelle Jolley  3:12  
Yeah, that's right. We're going to get to how you became the super ball that you were cuz, cuz- so here's the thing, with all the people that I got to know during the campaign, like, whoo, there was always something to do. And it was always just like, "Ah, you're here, you're here, you're here, da, da, da." I never got to really know- like, I didn't get to know your story. I just know there go Liz in her blazer, handing out directions to everybody, giving our marching orders, and that's just what it is. So we're gonna get back to the campaign, but I want to reverse. That was me trying to make a voice noise. I don't know why I do that. And we're gonna start with like, I know you're from- I think you're from Washington, or your your family is there right now?

Liz  4:11  
I am. I grew up in Washington, although-

Janelle Jolley  4:13  
Like, Eastern Washington?

Liz  4:15  
Eastern. Deep Eastern Washington.

Janelle Jolley  4:18  
Ooo, that sounds scary.

Liz  4:19  
But I'm from Santa Cruz, California originally. As in, the first five years of my life.

Janelle Jolley  4:24  
Okay, so let's go back. So you were born in Santa Cruz?

Liz  4:27  
Born in Santa Cruz. My parents moved us out to Eastern Washington after the earthquake in '89.

Janelle Jolley  4:34  
Do you remember that?

Liz  4:35  
I remember sitting under a lemon tree and the lemons started falling on my head and I was like, "This is so fun!"

Janelle Jolley  4:42  
I cannot stand you. You couldn't be more California if you wanted to. I asked you about an earthquake story and you tell me about citrus. You get on my nerves.

Liz  4:52  
That is my only memory from that. I remember it being super fun. So, honestly, for any adults that was a really scary time. And for my father, he decided to drive as far north as he could, find a piece of land to buy, buy it, and then build a house because he's a builder.

Janelle Jolley  5:13  
What were you guy- okay, so what was your- so, are your parents from California? Where are your parents from?

Liz  5:17  
Both of my parents were born and raised in the Bay Area, mostly around Santa Cruz. And so they grew up with the whole, you know, deep hippie culture. And so they brought that with us.

Janelle Jolley  5:33  
They were born and raised in Santa Cruz?

Liz  5:35  
Yep. And all my extended family still lives down there.

Janelle Jolley  5:38  
I gotcha.

Liz  5:39  
Yeah. And so going to the middle of nowhere, which it really was, the closest town was called Molson. Had a sign: Population, 35.

Janelle Jolley  5:48  
Absolutely not. I'm not doing that.  

Liz  5:50  
Where, you know, you have to drive 30 minutes to get anywhere. There's not a stoplight for a couple of hours. I mean, it was- it is still- a very small, very depressed town. Never really was booming. But yeah, that is what I remember. That's me growing up, the age of five.

Janelle Jolley  6:17  
But so what were your parents doing for work in Santa Cruz when you guys lived there, and then what were they doing in this No-stoplight-ass-town in Washington when you moved there?

Liz  6:29  
So, my mother, she retired recently, but she worked as a nurse practitioner for most of her life. She was an ER nurse for a bit in the beginning. So when we moved out there, she worked at the local family health clinic, where they provided low income people with health care and, you know, affordable meds. And so she really got to know, you know, the population of people there that were dependent on Medicaid and Medicare. And it worked for them. You know, it's, it's a great system. And so, my dad, he's a builder, artist, kind of does what he wants kind know-

Janelle Jolley  7:13  
That's my kind of man.

Liz  7:14  
He's an architect. He's really an artist, though. He built a bunch of houses. He built our house.

Janelle Jolley  7:21  
Like from, scratch isn't the right word but you know what I'm saying. He went and cut the lumber, he mixed the plaster-

Liz  7:32  
Yeah, well our house was actually a barn originally, so the foundation was there. But he-

Janelle Jolley  7:37  
He like, erected the structure himself.

Liz  7:40  
Yeah, yeah.

Janelle Jolley  7:41  
Not from scratch. It's not a cake, Janelle.

Liz  7:43  
Although, he does build houses from scratch. Not anymore, he's in his late 70s. He now builds sculptures. So, yeah, so we were- you know, and they brought all of their liberal California ideas with us and we moved to a very conservative little town in, you know, the middle of Eastern Washington.

Janelle Jolley  8:03  
How would you- so as a- tell me, in- try and tell me, like, as a child, how did you perceive your parents quote, liberal California kind of ethos? Or is that- like, what was your understanding of it?

Liz  8:18  
My understanding was that we were different from everyone around us.

Janelle Jolley  8:23  

Liz  8:24  
You know, when I was little, it was definitely more nuanced. It would be something like, I would talk about wanting to go eat sushi. And my friends be like, "Gross! Why would you want to do that?" So just culturally, I could tell that, you know, people who had lived there their whole lives and, by no fault of their own, just hadn't been exposed to certain things. Whereas, because we had family in California, we would always be going to California or traveling. As I got older, and I would say once I was in junior high/ high school? And you become more aware of politics and who your parents are voting for. There was definitely clashes around, you know, who you would support as a family. So I remember my friends being very conservative and having very conservative ideas around religion or around, you know, family values, abortion. So as those topics became more a part of our conversation in high school, I felt very self righteous. I remember thinking like how, you know, "These poor kids don't know any better." Like, "I know what's right and they don't." So I was very kind of bitter, I think, about being- I felt stuck there. I felt like I needed to get out. It was like my- it was really my motivation for wanting to go to college was, you know- it was an expectation in my family, I would go to college, but I was like, "I just need to get out of Oroville."

Janelle Jolley  9:57  
Sure, sure, sure.

Liz  9:58  
Because it wasn't assumed that if you graduated from high school that you'd be going to college. I think maybe, you know, of the 50 people in my graduating class, maybe five of us went off to a university. A lot of people went into the military. Partially because people can't, you know, couldn't afford to go to college. A lot of people went to community college, often paying their own way through. So, yeah, I felt- you know, I had a lot of good friends but when it came to any serious issues, we definitely clashed and butted heads a lot.

Janelle Jolley  10:36  
Can you think of any- is there one particular instance or story that you look back and chuckle on? Like, that you can that you can remember of a clash and growing up?

Liz  10:46  
Oh, yes. I had two friends that- I believe they're still Mormon. And so they wanted to save my soul because-

Janelle Jolley  10:58  
Girl, you know how to get the fuck home.  

Liz  10:59  
They knew that I wasn't religious, and they loved me as their friend, and so they wanted to do-

Janelle Jolley  11:04  
They wanted to save you from hellfire.

Liz  11:06  
Yeah, they're like, "What's the harm?" And so I was trying to-

Janelle Jolley  11:10  
Well, the Mormons, them ugly-ass specialized underwear they got on to specialize on the way they got on.

Liz  11:12  
And well, they just wanted me to believe. Like, just accept, you know, Jesus. I'm like, you can't just force yourself to believe in something that you have never believed in.

Janelle Jolley  11:24  
Sure, sure, sure. So your family was not religious?

Liz  11:25  
No, we- my father dabbles in Buddhism.

Janelle Jolley  11:28  
Oh, okay.

Liz  11:29  
As, you know-

Janelle Jolley  11:29  
As you do.

Liz  11:29  
As a lifestyle.

Janelle Jolley  11:32  
That's right.

Liz  11:32  
But, no, we did not grow up with religion. And so I remember being very torn by that, because on one hand, it was very sweet and kind of her to want this for me. And she was genuinely worried about my, the fate of my soul.

Janelle Jolley  11:45  
Yeah, eternal damnation.

Liz  11:47  
On the other hand, didn't want to lie to her and say, "Okay, I'll do it just to appease you."

Janelle Jolley  11:53  
Right. It's not like going skating.

Liz  11:54  
That felt wrong.

Janelle Jolley  11:54  
Yeah, like, "Yeah, sure! Let's roll."

Liz  11:56  
So that was- I definitely was conflicted.

Janelle Jolley  11:59  
So how do you- so that was your understanding, kind of, of the way you were socialized into an understanding of the world as a child. But looking back now as an adult, where you are and how you are as you are, what is your- how would you des- what is your reaction to what you once believed? Or, how you once went through the world with your belief?

Liz  12:25  
Yeah, it's completely different. And I wouldn't say, you know, I'm in my early 30s now. And I would say, only in the last five years, did I really come to appreciate my upbringing and appreciate the place that I came from. And-

Janelle Jolley  12:43  
Did you try- were your ashamed for a little bit?

Liz  12:45  
Oh, definitely.

Janelle Jolley  12:46  

Liz  12:47  
In college I- because I would- I mean, partially, it was my own shame because I felt as if, not having gone to a really good high school. You know, we didn't have AP classes, I had to take AP calculus over an online system that I, you know, had to beg to get set up. And so I just knew going into college, I was like, "I'm not going to be able to compete. But in order to do well in life I have to, you know, I have to prove something to somebody." I don't know, who I was trying to prove it to. I guess myself. But now, I think, you know, after many, many years and kind of a- my own ideological evolution, you know, changing the way that I saw the world and my place in it. I now look back and I think, you know, I had a lot of privilege in a lot of ways. The fact that I could go to college and my parents were willing to pay for it. And I didn't come out of college with debt. You know, I never would have looked at myself back then and thought, "I'm privileged" or, "I'm super lucky" to have come from the place that I did to have had the family that I did, who like, valued education. Which was something I wanted to do. You know, I don't think it's necessarily right for everyone to go to four year university and- but because I wanted to go, they supported that. So yeah, looking back, I feel- I can't say I feel ashamed. That of my shame, you know, my- I think it was what I needed to do to kind of, you know, adjust to being out in the world.

Janelle Jolley  14:29  
But what I'm trying to understand is, was your shame at the time, was it because of place? Was it because of how you perceived the people that were around you? Was it because of how you perceived people, you know, from more cosmopolitan kind of backgrounds viewing you? Like, what was the source of it?

Liz  14:46  
Yeah. Well, when I got to college, I- you know, and I would talk about where I was from? People would ask me questions, like, "Do you use an outhouse?"

Janelle Jolley  14:58  
Okay, uh-huh.

Liz  14:59  
Or, you know, they would make assumptions about- you're from a small town, so they think-

Janelle Jolley  15:03  
Like, "Oh, you have ?"

Liz  15:04  
Yeah, they would think, you know, "You don't have running water, you don't have facilities, you're very impoverished." And I did come from a town where people did not have- some people didn't have heat in the winter, and still don't. You know, the disparity in Eastern Washington is extreme. And so, being in Seattle for college, which is why I went, a lot of people there came from very affluent backgrounds. And so their understanding-

Janelle Jolley  15:07  
Would you not describe your upbringing as affluent? Like how-

Liz  15:39  
I mean, relative to those around me? Yes. Relative to my classmates? Probably, but not- and now looking back in the context of most families in United States? I would say my family was relatively affluent in that we-

Janelle Jolley  16:00  
Like, was summer a verb in your house?

Liz  16:02  
Yes. To- oh, to summer? Oh, god, no. Oh, to summer. No, but we owned a house in Santa Cruz. So we had-

Janelle Jolley  16:13  
Oh, you still owned the house that you-

Liz  16:15  
We still owned the house in Santa Cruz. And we, you know, owned the property up in Washington. My parents could- you know, they never struggled to feed us or, you know, take us on trips. You know, but as a kid, and even as like a young adult, I thought this is just normal. This is how everyone lives. And everyone that I was surrounded by had actually lived more luxurious lifestyles. And so-

Janelle Jolley  16:43  
In Seattle?

Liz  16:44  
In Seattle.

Janelle Jolley  16:44  

Liz  16:45  
And my- what turned out to be my three best friends from college all came from the same very affluent neighborhood in LA, where they went to an amazing high school where, you know, people go to Ivy League's left and right. And they ended up being three of my closest friends, but our upbringings couldn't have been more different. So, you know, I would compare myself to them. And I would not immediately- I mean, back then I definitely didn't see my own privilege. It just didn't occur to me.

Janelle Jolley  17:21  
Meaning you- tell me what you mean by that?

Liz  17:24  
I mean that I felt as if I was really struggling. I'm like, I-

Janelle Jolley  17:30  
Oh, you thought you were salt of the earth?

Liz  17:32  

Janelle Jolley  17:33  
But why?

Liz  17:34  
Because I came from a small town where I did not get a great education. That first year of college was really tough.

Janelle Jolley  17:41  
You had to play catch up.

Liz  17:42  
I had to play catch up.

Janelle Jolley  17:43  
You were at U-dub?

Liz  17:44  
Yeah. I felt as if I just hadn't been exposed-

Janelle Jolley  17:51  
Culturally or educationally? Give me an example. Like, is there- like, someone bought a tub of Beluga caviar to this to the sorority house one night? Like, what are the-

Liz  18:04  
I would say the most obvious thing would be, you know, just in the way that I dressed versus people around me. Designers were not a thing. We had one store in Oroville.

Janelle Jolley  18:15  
Like, a clothing store.

Liz  18:16  
Yeah, that sold clothes was also a grocery store and the hardware store.

Janelle Jolley  18:20  

Liz  18:21  
So, you know, I did not grow up wearing anything fancy-

Janelle Jolley  18:25  
You didn't have like, fashion.

Liz  18:25  
There was no brand name. And a lot of my friends at college would wear designer brands that I was not aware of. So-

Janelle Jolley  18:37  
You certainly didn't own.

Liz  18:38  
I didn't own. And I just didn't know that I ever wanted them. It wasn't something that I felt that I lacked until those around me- you know. It wasn't something that during college was actually that important to me. It was just very obvious that some people came from, you know, one type of background and I came from a different one. And over the years, obviously, you kind of acclimate or tend to, you know, blend in, but-

Janelle Jolley  19:07  
Is that where the kind of shame retrospective started? Like, you got to Seattle, you got to the big city, you got these fancy ass friends with these premium threads on, and it was like, "Oh. Huh. I'm a little-"

Liz  19:24  
Yeah, I think we always compare ourselves to our peers. And we're not necessarily always looking at the big picture and looking at ourselves as where we stand in like society as a whole social?

Janelle Jolley  19:31  
Sure, sure sure. It's all relative.

Liz  19:43  
It's all relative, yeah. Because if I had, you know, in Oroville, I was the one who thought that I was more cultured and I-

Janelle Jolley  19:58  
Cuz you was eating sushi!

Liz  19:58  
Yeah, I liked sushi! Exactly. But then, you know, in a city with a different crowd of people, I then was the small town girl that didn't know anything.

Janelle Jolley  20:06  
That California roll wasn't looking so grand, Miss Thang! Uh-huh, okay. Interesting.

Liz  20:11  
Yeah! And so, that definitely was formative.

Janelle Jolley  20:16  
So what did you study in school?

Liz  20:18  
I studied biology in undergrad.

Janelle Jolley  20:21  
What was your- what did you- at that point?

Liz  20:24  
At that point I thought I was going to be a doctor. Like, I'm going- my mom worked in a clinic.

Janelle Jolley  20:29  
That's right.

Liz  20:30  
You know, that was the role model that I'd had. And so, I was into science. I really enjoyed it. I was good at it. So I thought, "Of course, I'll be a doctor. Yeah, why not?" So I studied biology with a double major in comparative literature, because-

Janelle Jolley  20:50  
Ooo, excuse me! Uh-huh.

Liz  20:50  
And then, after college I worked in research. I actually worked for the university for a research group as their research coordinator. And then decided that I- and you know, without getting into too many details- I decided I wanted to go back to school. And so I ended up going to get a master's at Columbia, for biomedical engineering.

Janelle Jolley  21:17  
So, Liz, small town girl, Eastern Washington, makes it to the big city, makes fancy friends with designer label fashions, she wants to be a doctor, she's studying biology. She then decides, "Hey, I'm gonna get another degree. I'm gonna hightail it to New York." Up until this point, how would you describe the way you looked at the world and the state of things?

Liz  21:46  
Solidly liberal.

Janelle Jolley  21:49  

Liz  21:49  
But, like, neoliberal.

Janelle Jolley  21:51  
Like, embarrassingly so?

Liz  21:53  
Like, I bawled my eyes out when Obama won, because I-

Janelle Jolley  21:57  
I can forgive you for that. That was a different- you have to give me a better example. That was a different time.

Liz  22:01  
There were a lot of reasons. But I truly believed that he was going to transform this country into- if he had transformed into what his vision was at the time, I thought that was the best end result that we could get.

Janelle Jolley  22:19  
I love that everyone now can look back, and like, "My most embarrassing memory, is ever thinking Barack Obama was worth a damn." Uh-huh.

Liz  22:25  
So, I wouldn't- I'm not embarrassed of that. But I would say that it's very telling to what my-

Janelle Jolley  22:30  
Give me another example of where you were up until that point.

Liz  22:32  
So, up until that point. So, in that job that I got, right after college, I was coordinating a phase three clinical trial for University of Washington. I was making, I think, $17.50 an hour at my job, barely enough to afford rent in Seattle at the time. That was also the time when Seattle was discussing, for the first time-or, it was becoming more mainstream, anyway- the $15 minimum wage. And this was also about the time that I started dating my now current partner, Peter. And so we- he has always been very excited by politics. He studied poli-sci in college. And so we discussed this $15 minimum wage a lot, you know, "Is it good? Is it bad?" He was very pro. My feeling at the time, I remember thinking, was, "I make $2.50 more than the minimum wage." And I had four years of college and my job was pretty stressful. And a lot of things rode on it. And I was like, "How is that fair?" I can understand now when people have this feeling that like, "I deserve something," you know? "I worked hard," like this whole notion of the meritocracy. Like, "I earned this."

Janelle Jolley  23:59  
Sure, sure, sure. Let me press you on that-

Liz  24:01  
So that is embarrasing.

Janelle Jolley  24:02  
Yes, Okay, that's a good example, because I can give you a pass on the Obama because we were all crying. We were all stupid and dumb at that point. Anyway, so you're saying your- one of your, not fondest, cuz it's- but one of your most salient memories of being an embarrassing-ass lib was being against the idea of the fight for $15 in Seattle, when you were there at the time.

Liz  24:27  
I was never against it. I still thought it- at the time, I remember thinking, "This should pass, but also something's-"

Janelle Jolley  24:34  
But what the fuck?

Liz  24:34  
Yeah, "What the fuck." Like, what- and so that was really when I decided to quit my job. I was like, "I can't do this anymore. Let me do something else." But no, it didn't sit right with me. And I wasn't really- I had an internal struggle. I was like, "I know that this is right, that people should make a living wage." But for some reason, I was convinced that- I mean, I guess in my head I thought, "I should be making more than this."

Janelle Jolley  25:01  
You should be ma- you're saying at the time- tell me if I'm repeating back to you correctly. At the time you thought, "Yeah, people should make $15 an hour as a minimum wage because it costs money to live. You know, like, that's pretty obvious. However, if that's going to be the floor, I don't need to be that damn close to the floor." Is that- was that your thinking?

Liz  25:21  
Yeah. So it was, you know, I was definitely struggling financially. I felt very insecure. So I knew that people making less than me must feel, you know, far worse, especially if they had families to support. So I could at least appreciate that. But I don't think that I fully understood the entire picture, and was able to take apart all the pieces of that. Like, why I felt that way and why, you know, others feel this way. You know, especially looking back and thinking, "Oh, I, you know, I deserve something because I work so hard and I came from so little." When in reality my parents had paid for my college. I didn't have debt, I wasn't paying off student debt. You know, so that was me. And I slowly was feeling this internal conflict. I didn't really know how to understand the world, I'd never studied economics or politics, I didn't really know how any of it worked. You know, I still believed that taxes actually went- paid for stuff.

Janelle Jolley  26:32  
Right. Federal taxes.

Liz  26:33  
You know?

Janelle Jolley  26:33  

Liz  26:34  
And so, moving to New York, starting this graduate program, I actually ended up founding a company while at Columbia. And so it was my first- I dipped my toes into the private sector. And so I had to- I was confronted with all these questions that one is confronted with when starting a company, which is, you know, "How do you want to structure it?" You know, "How are you going to divide up shares? Do you want it to be for profit?" You know, "How are you going to monetize things?" So I was pitching to VCs, in New York. You know, mostly men. It was a product for women, and so that was a challenge. And then I was pitching to people who wanted to know, "How can we make a profit off of this?" And so, I had started this project because I genuinely thought this was a problem that we might be able to solve. Profit was the last thing on my mind. Terrible business owner, you know? Was not- it was not the right role for me. But it was a wake up call. And, at the same time, I was surrounded by a lot of people in New York, a lot of my new friends there were very far to the left. And so I had this exposure, at the same time, to all these things that I had never thought about before, or I never really known about.

Janelle Jolley  28:05  
Cuz you was still coming off your minimum wage conundrum.

Liz  28:08  

Janelle Jolley  28:08  

Liz  28:09  
Yes, I was still coming off this, you know, pretty solid neolib, you know, brain. And then, you know, because I felt so conflicted and I wasn't really sure how to understand the world and what I was feeling and why I felt that these things were so wrong, but I didn't know how to articulate it? I did a ton of reading. Just for my own pleasure and curiosity.

Janelle Jolley  28:35  
What are the things you read?

Liz  28:36  
So, I definitely read- I did not read Marx, I read a lot of critique of him. You know, I tried but it's very dense, so. I read it enough to understand the principles and, you know, his critique of capitalism. You know, I read Engels and Hegel. You know, a lot of economic philosophers. I also read a lot about modern money theory.

Janelle Jolley  29:02  
Oh! And Stephanie Kelton?

Liz  29:04  

Janelle Jolley  29:05  
That changed me.

Liz  29:08  
Did it?

Janelle Jolley  29:08  
Yes! I used to, I mean, because we all grew up with this stupid ass- it's not stupid, but it's cynically stupid idea of a government's finances being akin to a household. And it's just, no. That's just not it. Not at the federal level. The state and city level? Yes. Like, everyone who is not a currency issuer has to more or less have things in balance. So, "That's my household, that's your household, that's Google, that's State of California, that's the city of San Francisco." But the federal government is not beholden to the same strictures. But that really- that fucked it up for me in a good way when I came to-

Liz  29:52  
When was this?

Janelle Jolley  29:54  
This was probably in 2016, after I discovered Naked Capitalism- that's, like, my Bible. And I would- I don't always read the comments because, I just don't. But there was- it wasn't- was it on the comments? Or it something after Yves posted? Because there was something she was linking to and she was verbally eye rolling- yeah, your federal taxes do not pay for federal spending. Because it was some story that some, I don't know, whatever the fuck. And it's just- when I first saw it, it was just like, "Oh, I think she might be mistaken." But then I was like, "No, no, no, she knows what the fuck she's talking about." But that changed things for me.

Liz  30:10  
That turns your whole world upside down.

Janelle Jolley  30:43  
Correct! Because all it- because- let's- we gonna check it here for a second. Yeah, it changes your whole world because it then- it- how do I want to say this? It allieds the fact that so much of what we understand and have to endure, in terms of material deprivation, is a political choice. It does not have to be this way. Period.

Liz  31:11  
Yes. This blew my mind. The fact that the government can create- can spend into existence as much money as it wants. Obviously, you know-

Janelle Jolley  31:22  
There are some boundaries- I mean, there are guard rails.  

Liz  31:24  
We don't want to create inflation.

Janelle Jolley  31:24  
That's right. You don't want to run the- yeah, that's right.

Liz  31:26  
But, you can spend a hell of a lot more than you think you can.

Janelle Jolley  31:29  
That's right. That's right.

Liz  31:30  
Especially if there is, you know, a productive machine in place that can use that money.

Janelle Jolley  31:36  
That's correct.

Liz  31:37  
And so the fact that we're not creating social programs-

Janelle Jolley  31:41  
Is rubbish.

Liz  31:43  
Yes. And that every president- and, you know, Bernie, on occasion has, you know, made reference to this, although he's not as guilty as most.

Janelle Jolley  31:54  
That's right.  

Liz  31:55  
That, you know, we have to worry about the deficit.

Janelle Jolley  31:58  
You absolutely do fucking not!

Liz  32:00  
And so that, I mean, that was a life changing moment.

Janelle Jolley  32:07  
That's right.

Liz  32:07  
But I feel like I had so many of those just finally opening myself up to this whole world. Yeah, so that made me crazy because I suddenly could look back at everything that I thought I understood about, you know, fiscal policy, and realize that it was all bullshit. You know? And when Obama said we're only going to spend- what was it? Like, even hundred billion on-

Janelle Jolley  32:34  
Yeah, TARP. The bailout.

Liz  32:36  
The bailout. Which was not enough.

Janelle Jolley  32:38  
Way too small.  

Liz  32:40  
And really made the recoveries so much slower. He could have spent over a trillion and should have.

Janelle Jolley  32:46  
And we now know that there is- I mean, we should know after this, you know, this Criminal Cares Act that was passed in March. That was six trilly, just real quick. So do not. So don't give me this- I mean, and they knew at the time- so, sorry, back to 2008. They knew at the time that this- what is it, 700/800 billion- was not enough, because they saw that the hole in demand in the economy was about 2 trillion. But, again, a political choice like-

Liz  32:58  
Sticker shock.

Janelle Jolley  33:04  
Yeah, "Oh, that will scare people." You know?

Liz  33:17  

Janelle Jolley  33:18  
Fast forward 12 years and 6 trillion without batting an eye.

Liz  33:23  
And I would say the most important thing that I gained from all this reading, and a lot of it from Marx, but also just kind of reading about organizing and labor unions, is just the fact that working class is not a bad word. You know, the difference between working class and somebody that has wealth? You know, the difference between wealth and income, for example, was something I had never even-

Janelle Jolley  33:51  

Liz  33:52  
Considered. I'd never even thought about it. The fact that my family owns property in California, that we benefit from not having to pay high taxes on that property, because of California's fucked up property tax laws, that had never even crossed my mind. So it was this- as soon as I opened up, you know, these ideas in my brain, all of it just came rushing in. Because I finally felt for the first time, I understood the way the world actually worked. I understood my place in it. And I could appreciate, you know, all of this in one view. You know, it had been so disjointed before and it had been so confusing. I thought, you know, "I didn't study economics, I'll never understand this." But you know, I don't need to be an expert.

Janelle Jolley  34:43  
You don't.

Liz  34:45  
You know, to understand-

Janelle Jolley  34:47  
You have a brain.

Liz  34:48  
That people deserve a living wage. And that, you know, laborers shouldn't be exploited for profit. And that we should provide people with their basic needs.

Janelle Jolley  34:58  
That's right.

Liz  34:59  
And dignity.

Janelle Jolley  35:00  
That's right.

Liz  35:01  
Those things- you don't need to be educated.

Janelle Jolley  35:05  
That's right.

Liz  35:06  
You don't need to know-

Janelle Jolley  35:07  
That's right.

Liz  35:07  
You don't need to know even, you know, anything about Marx or economic policy.

Janelle Jolley  35:13  
You don't need to know anything other than I'm a human being, therefore, I'm entitled to the dignities therein.

Liz  35:20  
But what I do think people need to know, which we can we can get into when it's time, is, you know, this question of, "Is it possible?"

Janelle Jolley  35:28  
Hey, come on! We're not going to do that right now. But we are going to do that.

Liz  35:33  
A little teaser for later. Stick around. Is it possible? Yes it is.

Janelle Jolley  35:37  
Yeah, of course. Of course it is. So, at this point, was there a part of you, when you were kind of coming to this epiphany, that was running from it? Do youunderstand what I'm saying?  Do you- and what I mean by that is, you know how we're all socialized into, you know, to all desire out loud to be billionaires, or whatever the fuck nonsense. You know, whatever.

Liz  35:56  

Janelle Jolley  35:56  
And to not affirmatively espouse that is, like, deficient, or you're asking for, you know, ruin or you must be dumb or lazy, da da da. Like, how did that- how did being an American, you know, temporarily embarrassed millionaire, like, how did that run up against your epiphanies? And how were you able to kind of negotiate that? Or, you know, dance that dance?

Liz  36:26  
Well, that is still a conflict that I'm working through. And I think I can speak for most people on the left, you have to work normal corporate jobs that it is, you know, it's a conflict of your beliefs with your need to pay the rent and survive-

Janelle Jolley  36:46  
But is it a conflict? You're still a worker.

Liz  36:49  
Well, you're still a worker.

Janelle Jolley  36:50  

Liz  36:51  
Although, so- my startup failed, you know, for all the reasons that I said. I'm just terrible at pitching to VCs. So we did raise a little money and we got, you know, we got a little bit into it. But all of my- my co founder, and then a couple of people that we were working with, ended up going off to do postdocs. I got a job at a biotech startup in New York. And so we all went our separate ways. While working at this startup, I was a product manager there, I was faced on a daily basis with this idea of making a product that was profitable, you know? Like, I was responsible for making sure that this thing was successful. And that, you know, the demand from the board, which was high, was met.

Janelle Jolley  37:43  
Yeah, yeah.

Liz  37:44  
So they're, like, "Let's first make profit by cutting corners and making all these decisions that don't really improve the product. But you know, that's for later. As soon as we make it big, then we'll make a good product. Then we'll actually provide something to customers and to patients," because it had a clinical arm as well, "that is valuable." But I also saw the extreme pressure that was put on them by people who were profiteering off of this, you know, shitty product sensitivity and just getting out to the market faster.

Janelle Jolley  38:19  
Sure, sure.

Liz  38:20  
You know, hoping that the value would catch up somehow. So that, I mean, that was during a time when I really was becoming an anti capitalist. So working, you know, really close to the C suite of this company that was dealing with lots of money and lots of financial, you know- thinking about, you know, fundraising and what we had to prove and show on the books to get our next round of funding? I hated it.

Janelle Jolley  38:49  

Liz  38:50  
You know, it felt- it made me feel dead inside. I had to kind of keep my mouth shut about what I actually thought. You know, a handful of coworkers I was able to talk to, but generally I just had to-

Janelle Jolley  39:03  
Grin and bear it.

Liz  39:06  

Janelle Jolley  39:05  
Mmm, that was quite the journey to the present moment with Liz. And by the way, embarrassing stories from when I was a liberal is definitely about to be a mandatory question asked of everyone. So, if I have you on, don't even try and duck it. I really just want us to be able to marvel at our growth. Alright, can't wait to hear what she has to say in part two.

Part 2 Transcript

Janelle Jolley  0:00  
All right, part two with Liz bringing us to the current moment. Sneak preview slash pop quiz: Was she running in the street with excitement when the election was called? That's right. She was not. She quote, felt dead inside. Oh, I actually stand in solidarity with her on that, so please don't give her a hard time. Second question: Was her hangry boo not amused that are hours long convo holding up dinner? That's correct, he was not. All this, and much, much more in my part to convo with Liz.

Liz  0:49  
One of the reasons that Bernie- you know, I love his- what he fights for. You know, I definitely- you know, I'm not ever going to be somebody who thinks, "I'm all in for one person, no matter what they believe." You know, I'm a supporter of ideas not people, necessarily. But I love that he is so connected with the young generation of politicians, with younger people. He actually listens to them. He doesn't, you know, call them useless, lazy, whatever-

Janelle Jolley  1:26  
No, bitch ass. What, he's like- give me a break, guys. I have no empathy for it.

Liz  1:30  
No, and it, like- ugh. God, yes. So, one of the many reasons that I was not running out into the street cheering

Janelle Jolley  1:39  

Liz  1:40  
You know, when he won, I just felt dead inside. I was like, "Well, my person already lost. So I've already been through this, you know, six months ago."

Janelle Jolley  1:49  
ANd it's more than- when I examine. We have gone all over the place, but that's what was gonna happen. When I examine my reactions to the election results, it's not sour grapes but it's like- there was a level of plausible deniability we had in 2008 because Obama was like a new character, he said all the right things on the campaign trail. If the lessons of the failure- abject failures- and a dereliction of duty from 2008 have not been internalized, and everything says that they have not been by the Democratic Party, and nothing is done to provide direct and immediate and swift, long lasting relief for people after Joe gets inaugurate, what is coming after Trump is way more organized, way more ideological, and way more dangerous.

Liz  2:44  

Janelle Jolley  2:45  
And you can't say- and you won't be able to just give this like, "Aw, shucks." Like, "Oh, I don't know how this happened." At this point, we know. So it's like, I don't know where he comes- I mean, I do know. I mean, don't, like- who is- why is he there? The whole reason he was stood up by Obama was because nothing will fundamentally change. And for them, that's fine, because they're all safe, because they're all rich, because they all have what they need. And that is the source of their power. But that should be terrifying to everyone. There is not this is not a moment of relief at all.

Liz  3:25  
They will still fuck you but they'll do it with decency.

Janelle Jolley  3:28  
They'll do it with rainbow colored lube.

Liz  3:30  
And, you know, more eloquent speeches. This is my issue, is I don't know that Bi- we'll see- I don't know that Biden will be that much better on a lot of things. He won't be as blatantly racist as Trump, probably.

Janelle Jolley  3:50  
He won't be as demonstrably obnoxious and knowingly thumbing his nose at norms, as Trump. But that does not a good president make. I'm not concerned about not getting fuckin'- you know, not having to see tweets about, I don't know, Milania's hairline and like- I don't care about his bullshit tweets. I don't care about how brutish he- like, I don't care. I do not care. What I do care about is how is there going to be equitable distribution of the resources people need to live their lives? That's all I care about. And I can't find a single place where it's going to just be like, "We gon' fuck it up with Joe." I- where? Where!

Liz  4:44  
And when they fail, because they're already fighting the squad and, you know, AOC is coming out being like, "Well, now that he won, we can say what we really think which is 'you stand for nothing.'"

Janelle Jolley  4:57  
You also don't know how to run a campaign! How is it even close? How is it even this close?

Liz  5:06  
It's bizarre. I don't know how this all works. It doesn't make sense to me. So what is your you know, I know we've had a very roller coaster of a conversation, you know, kind of stream of consciousness.

Janelle Jolley  5:20  

Liz  5:20  
But I want to know- you know, cuz I haven't gotten to ask you many questions at all.

Janelle Jolley  5:24  
Sure, sure, sure.  

Liz  5:26  
What is your vision of things to come? What do you want to see materialize?

Janelle Jolley  5:35  
So my- throughout the- since- for the last four years- it's only been in the last four years that I've been able to distill a clearly articulated politic. Yeah, a clearly articulated politic, which, for me, boiled down to universal, concrete, material benefits for working people. Everything flows from that for me.

Liz  6:13  
Fuck yeah.

Janelle Jolley  6:14  
And that means exactly what it is. It's like, everybody- I mean, I'm sure there are a minority of people who prefer to live outside in the elements, you know, in the wild, fucking, you know, like Bear Grylls- but everybody, for the most part, needs housing. That needs to be provisioned, like, let's abolish the word access because that's not  doing the work that you think it is doing. Everyone needs to be provisioned housing. Everyone needs to be provisioned medical care because a body gets sick, or things happen to it and it needs to be attended to. Everyone should be provisioned nutritious healthy food, everyone should be provisioned a clean environment that they exist in with clean air, you know, unmolested soil, clean water, you know, the whole nine. So, what are- and everyone who desires should be- not- well, even before you get to the college level, you know, this secondaries, everyone deserves a quality and safe environment in which they receive a quality education, period. And those who desire to go on to, you know, post secondary education should do so without any debt. Not just not just a reasonable amount of debt. Like, no debt. Nobody needs to go into debt to go to school. Further, everybody- so long as we want to maintain this capitalist system where resources are distributed through markets- everybody needs a job. Or if you- and if someone for some reason can't take a job because they have to stay home and raise children or look after a sick family member, a parent, you know, whatever, their wages needs to be replaced by the state so that they can have the things that they need. So, everything at this point, everything in my politic, flows through the prism of- not prism- but is filtered through universal, concrete, material benefits for working people. And that is irrespective of anything. Like, I don't care if you're a bastard, I don't care if you're a saint, I don't care if you-

Liz  8:40  
Are a felon.

Janelle Jolley  8:40  
I don't care if you're a felon. I do not care. You are a human being, and we'll work from that. That's it. There's nothing that- there's nothing that, I believe, one needs to do or demonstrate or show to make them worthy of living a dignified life, period. Like-

Liz  8:41  

Janelle Jolley  8:51  
That's it. But in so do- in that vein, where I have, if I'm being honest, where I have trouble engaging my own political imagination is not everybody- that's not everybody's ministry. Some people, you know, do believe in this like meritocratic individualists like bootstrap, whatever. So it's like, how do we work to- if enough people, you know, buy into the whole, you know, universal concrete material benefits for working people- how do we bring along the meritocrats, the bootstrappers? Do we need them?

Liz  9:57  
I don't think they have to be mutually exclusive. I think everything you said I completely agree with it. The things that should not be up to the free market to decide, because the market's only interest is in making profit, it is not in supplying- in meeting the need of the people.

Janelle Jolley  10:21  
That's right.

Liz  10:22  
I mean, supply and demand is not about, "I need health care, therefore, you should provide it for me." Only some people can access those things. So, any of those things that we deemed to be necessary for life.

Janelle Jolley  10:41  
For a dignified life.

Liz  10:42  
A dignified life for a- I'll say it, happy life.

Janelle Jolley  10:46  
Yeah, that's right.  

Liz  10:47  
Where, you know, if you want to have competition for who can have the best ride share, as long as we have great public transportation who gives a shit?

Janelle Jolley  10:47  
Yeah, that's right.

Liz  10:57  
You know, regulate those markets so the people aren't exploited, so that you can't pay people, you know, starvation wage while you're making crazy profits. And then, you know, saving all your money offshore and incorporating in fucking Ireland or whatever.

Janelle Jolley  11:14  
Yeah, that's right.

Liz  11:16  
Yeah, regulate what you can, and then provide everything else.

Janelle Jolley  11:21  
That's right.

Liz  11:21  
Because we know that we can fucking pay for it.

Janelle Jolley  11:25  

Liz  11:25  
So, no excuses, America. Pay for shit because you can. And stop saying, "How are we going to pay for it?" as your cop out.

Janelle Jolley  11:35  
Cop out of-

Liz  11:38  
Providing what people need.

Janelle Jolley  11:39  
That's right. Do you- so, but in that- but do you think- this is a big question: Having lived through this very insanely anti-democratic year, both in the primaries and, I mean, you could argue in the in the general, too, I mean, do you- in order to produce a better future, or in order to presuppose a better future just even in thought alone, is electoralism- is that the main- is that still the main avenue? The best avenue? The best stra- that's not a fair question. Because I'm not- I'm just saying it's a dialectic because on one hand, you would need legislators to legislate something like Medicare for All into being. But on the other hand, we know that as this as a system currently exists, they will not because that is not in their interests in order to maintain their current power- I wanna say that another way- that's not in their interest in order to maintain their current kind of orientations of power. So, on the other hand, they will not legislate it into power. So it's like,

Liz  13:17  
What do we get? I mean, I think we've seen- and this has been going on for so long- but in the last few years, especially with all of these, like DSA Justice Dems candidates getting elected. I think that we're finally seeing the power of mass organizing and the pressure that that can assert on, not only politics and who's elected and who can actually push for these things to be passed into law, but in just the general, I guess, the paradigm, you know? The the paradigm shift towards these new ideas, towards the concept of an individual actually having power. Because, I don't know if you felt this way, but I certainly have always felt this way, that it doesn't really matter what I think. I don't ever really feel like, on a national scale, my vote counts that much. Locally, I think, for some reason people are less invested in local politics? You know, a lot of my friends were not that involved in the primary. And then when it came to the general they were campaigning, they were volunteering their time. I'm like, "Why don't you get involved when it mattered? When you actually got to choose the candidate that represented you?"

Janelle Jolley  14:47  
Yeah, that's right.

Liz  14:50  
So, if we can just get people excited about being part of something that represents them outside of politics. Just having a group of people that you can organize with and that-

Janelle Jolley  15:04  
So you're- so am I understanding that you're saying that one of- a shift in, kind of a shift in thinking or looking at how we can change things or produce a better and different future, is harnessing energy outside of the electoral arena?

Liz  15:27  
I think we have to. I think the only- it's the only way to, I mean, we know that the incumbency rate in the Senate and Congress is insane.

Janelle Jolley  15:40  
Yeah, that's right.

Liz  15:41  
And now that- you know, and they were outraged when AOC, you know, ousted this long standing Dem-

Janelle Jolley  15:48  

Liz  15:48  
Who didn't do shit for his district.

Janelle Jolley  15:50  
Yeah, uh-huh.

Liz  15:51  
But, that's great. Finally, people are starting to realize that you can run candidates who actually fight for the people in their districts, and they can unseat these, you know, these incumbents that often don't have anyone running against them. So, I mean, there's definitely concerted, like effort and strategy amongst these organizations. And you know, there could be more there could-

Janelle Jolley  16:20  
But so- but here's- so- but so here's where I have trouble. And I think it's- and I think I have trouble because my brain is diseased and I, fucking, I just think of things in terms of how they are. Like, "Oh, institution through the process." But where I have trouble with that is- what I saw- so okay, during- my takeaways from the primary campaign, and what made it so magical and special that just, when I think about, it just takes my breath away, were a couple of things were present. Or, a couple of components were a part of the mix. It was that, I think it makes it easier for people to get involved in a kind of a collective push towards something better, it makes it easier when there's a figurehead to lead that. Like, you know, we were all working together closely, tirelessly to get Bernie to win the primary. So, it makes it easy when there's a figurehead. Or it makes it easier to recruit people into the effort if there's a figurehead. There's two- there's a clear goal? It's like, okay, winning the primary is the first clear goal, because then the task is to win the general. So, a clear goal. Third, is there's a time- there's an end date. Like we were, you know, we're in California, so, you know, Super Tuesday was the end date for that particular bit. But, you know, the broader end goal being, you know, winning all or most of the primary contest, which didn't happen because of, you know, Corona, because of Barack Obama, whatever. But, having a time-ended thing. And those are- and then four, of course- I mean, this isn't negligible- but, having that figurehead or that candidate, you know, espousing- having a platform that is broadly popular, because of, you know, these concrete, universal material benefits that people see the- want- are eager to benefit from. So those four things seem to me be what were present in the campaign. And I'm not saying that they would have to be present for, you know, another mass organizing effort. But I think that makes it easier.

Liz  19:05  
Oh, it absolutely does. Because think about the network that we were able to create just locally, and the network that the whole campaign created nationally. They- you know, after all that outreach, all of those phone calls and messages and volunteer hours, it- really after after Bernie dropped out and said, "You know, I'm gonna I'm gonna fight to make sure whatever, you know, dumb-"

Janelle Jolley  19:36  
Hold on, hold on. Oh, sorry. No, that's- go ahead.

Liz  19:38  
Oh, okay. Wins. You know, it's like he's been very- he campaigned for Hillary, so we knew he was going to do that. It really fell apart. I mean, they-

Janelle Jolley  19:46  
Fell apart!

Liz  19:47  
They tried, but it was a coalition of people that they could have- and I don't know who they is- you know, people at the top level of this campaign could have said, "How are you going to use this?"

Janelle Jolley  20:02  

Liz  20:03  
Group of people, how are we going to organize them? And organizing is not easy work.

Janelle Jolley  20:07  
That's right.

Liz  20:08  
It is very hard. You need somebody with vision with, you know, directing, you know, your little army, you want to go out there. I wouldn't say that- I would say the thing that I really love about the Bernie campaign, and I think, you know, I'm speaking for all of my fellow volunteers, is that we all felt this collective sense that, regardless of whether he won the primary or the presidency, that the work of going out and talking to people was still important work and left a material change in the communities that we were volunteering in.

Janelle Jolley  20:52  

Liz  20:53  
So it's not like, I'm sure, I don't know, what type of feeling the Biden volunteers had. But I cannot imagine that they left the campaign feeling like, "I have changed people's minds for the better."

Janelle Jolley  21:07  

Liz  21:08  
It was purely transactional. They wanted to win that campaign. They did. But the work that I think we got really excited about was the fact that we could have important conversations that were not about, "My party needs to win over your party." It was, "Do you want your life to be materially better in these ways? Here's how we can have, you know, here's- let's talk about it." And so that work wasn't in vain.

Janelle Jolley  21:40  
Right. It wasn't in vain. But he, I mean, you're absolutely right. It was really heartbreaking after- it was maybe, I don't know if this was by the time, I guess this had to be like, after he dropped out- there was one of- there were- they had a series of kind of this super volunteer, you know, calls or whatever, to just kind of like-

Liz  22:04  
Say thanks and do wrap up and-

Janelle Jolley  22:06  
Yeah, that's right. Yeah. You might have been on this one. But there was one for-

Liz  22:10  
The AFC? Oh, no.

Janelle Jolley  22:12  
Yeah. Was it that one? I was on that one. But it was either that one or another, I don't- I was, fuckin', just beginning of the pandemic, "I'm at home, I ain't got shit to do. Who y'all want me to sit in front of the screen and watch today? Is it AOC? Is it the Benar? Who is it?" But it was either that one or another one. But this was the one for the California delegation, or whatever, the California. And they were going through the different kind of the big areas or whatever, like the groups. And, you know, Claire talked, you know, for a San Francisco and give some shout outs. And then when they got to- it was, I think it was it was either- what do you call it? It was either the Inland Empire or LA where the head guy, head organizer, I don't know? Anyway, this Latino gentlemen, I guess he had this thing for his for his office where he would do roll call for the volunteers, or whatever. And he started crying and he got choked up. And he's like, "This is the last time-" Were you on that?

Liz  23:13  

Janelle Jolley  23:13  
Okay. Where he got choked up, and he's just like, "And this is the last time I'll do roll call." He just- he was choked up calling all the names of these volunteers. And I think I started to cry too, because I got so choked up. Because it's like- I think I was choked up at that moment for a couple of reasons: A. I've never been involved in something more beautiful and breathtaking than being involved in that campaign. Just seeing everyday people from all walks of life sacrifice their time, their energy for the greater good. And doing so, like, so willingly. And then I was also- I'm sure I cried. I am sure I was crying on that fucking phone call because I was already a wreck.

Liz  24:00  
I'm getting a little teary right now just thinking about it.

Janelle Jolley  24:03  
But I was also getting verklempt because it's like, that was- the army of volunteers, the, just wide swath of people was his, was the Sanders campaign strength. And to just have it- to have had it and to have had it working so tirelessly and and well, quite frankly, and then to just have that disintegrate, or at least, you know, deflated or dejected. Maybe disintegrate is right the right word. It was just like, "No! This can't be it-"

Liz  24:50  
It would have taken it someone to step up and say, "I'm willing to do this organizing work without pay."

Janelle Jolley  25:00  
Yeah. Yeah.

Liz  25:00  
Because once the campaign ended there was no-

Janelle Jolley  25:03  
That's right.

Liz  25:04  
I mean, all of those organizers- Claire, Holly, everyone that we worked with-

Janelle Jolley  25:09  
That's right.

Liz  25:09  
They all had to go get a new jobs.

Janelle Jolley  25:11  
Yeah, that's right.

Liz  25:12  
Like, campaign work is no joke.

Janelle Jolley  25:14  
That's right. And we were all- and I mean, that's another thing. Like we were, you know, there was a group of us, we were all willing to just keep our lives just on hold and follow the campaign to some other states

Liz  25:24  
Yeah, we were like, "Fuck, we're moving to New York"

Janelle Jolley  25:25  
"We're going to New York! We're gonna have, you know, New York!" You know some of the, you know, Florida, da da da. You know, the pandemic put the kibosh down on that. But it was just- it was- I don't- where I draw strength from right now in this time of frustration and anger and disgust, if I'm being just very honest, where I draw strength from was that it was done. And, as one of my professors and undergrad used to always say, like, "People can do what has been done." So, it has been done. I think that those four distinct factors were a big reason why it was able to be done. And now where I draw hope and inspiration from, even though I have no evidence of the exact, you know, "Oh, what's the PRD for rebuilding a movement?" You know what I mean? It's like, it can be done again, but I just- what I wonder and what I struggle with is, under what conditions? Because right now, I'm very soured on an extreme, concentrated focus for an electoral strategy. I think that, you know, as a result of our political economy and how our very parochial idea of government and how that happens is actually- we are now, you know, seeing in real time every day that like, "That's not- you're not- actually, you the voter are not really what matters at all." You are there to like legitamate their right to rule, but you are not where they- you are not the reason that they hold power, or able to, like reproduce some semblance of power, at all. So right now my- even though we still need that- again, it's a dialectic- like, you need them to legislate the things that you want. But I don't think a focus on getting that done within the electoral realm is the way forward. That being said, it's like, if you or I were to imagine how that pressure would be exerted outside a system of electoralism, what would that look like? Would we, would- I think the answer is yes. Again, because people have done this before, but I don't even know where to start. But, for instance, my idea- and I don't- I'm not- you may agree, you may not agree. But I think that right now, the- one of the most powerful paths forward, in terms of exerting pressure on the electoral system, is the reconstituting a material base for a strong, or stronger, labor movement. And it's like, "Okay, that sounds right, but what does that mean?" And I don't know but I think that means- I think that could mean a couple of things. Starting with the service sector, because a large part of our economy is service sector, or starting with logistics or transportation, because that's how goods get moved around. You know, get to market or get to a factory where they're turned into, you know, they're refined-

Liz  27:41  
I mean-

Janelle Jolley  28:41  
You know, to get a- you know? But it's like- and I know-

Liz  28:45  
Right now, especially.

Janelle Jolley  28:47  
That's right.

Liz  28:47  
You know? Yeah, now is a great time because they have tons of leverage.

Janelle Jolley  28:51  
That's right.

Liz  28:52  
Yeah. I think we already have examples-

Janelle Jolley  28:54  
Like the airline? The, you know, a couple of years ago when there was that government shutdown in the- was it the flight attendants union?

Liz  29:04  
Oh, I don't remember.

Janelle Jolley  29:05  
It was a- there was a government shutdown under Trump, I think it was in 2018. And, you know, it didn't last super long. But like, you know, it was just- in the lead up to this action that broke it, it was, you know, "Ah, you know, magic mats or chalk and Trump just wow, they're locking heads and, ah, this could go on for a long time because, blah-" I don't even remember what the fuck it was- oh, it doesn't matter. Whatever. But the- I think it was the flight attendants union? Or that- it was- anyway, the union leader organized a mass sickout because technically they're not the strike. But she organized a mass sick out. Done. Done! We know we figured it out because we cannot be stopping commerce like this. And they are willing to, you know, they're willing to let this go for as long as they can. We can't we can't handle that. So she did what Chuck couldn't do, what Nancy couldn't do, what Trump couldn't do. And I think that's very powerful. I think that's very destructive. And when I see that I'm like, "Yes. Okay, it was done. It was done in recent memory. How can we replicate that and, you know, scale up?"

Liz  30:27  
So, I worry about- and I don't know enough about this to really speak with any authority- but-

Janelle Jolley  30:34  
We're abolishing experts here. Just pop off, girl.

Liz  30:37  
That's true. That is the point of this podcast. So here's what I worry about when it comes to thinking about unionizing across the board, is that when you don't have full employment, there's always going to be, you know, desperate, unemployed people looking for, you know, wages wherever they can find them, you know? And so-

Janelle Jolley  31:03  
Cuz they have to survive.

Liz  31:04  
Yeah. And so companies exploit this and they will, I mean, they'll treat their employees as if they're a dime a dozen, because they are. You're replaceable. Especially low skill work, where it's like, "If you can drive a car." You know? "If you can-"

Janelle Jolley  31:22  
But do we- can we- do we have- do we still- hmm. But I wonder if there are ways to think about organizing workers that are just as efficient in terms of ability, as unions without a union. That's not to say that I think, you know, unions should be gone, you know, there should be an end run around them. But in their absence-

Liz  31:54  

Janelle Jolley  31:55  
Like, is there a way to get- is there a way to get closer to the work of, or- yeah, get to the work of organizing just as quickly without a union? I don't know. I wonder though- I don't know the story behind this, so I'll- now that I'm saying out loud, I'll look it up. But I wonder though, how- you saw, like, the Tartine workers were able to organize- I think it was end of last year or beginning of this year?

Liz  32:23  
It was that- oh, I don't know when. Begin- I think was the beginning of this year?

Janelle Jolley  32:31  
Yeah, it was recent. I mean, it's definitely within the last 12 months. But I wonder how- I don't know the story and- I'll look it up and if I can figure it out, I'll post about it. But I wonder how that happened and how difficult or easy, I don't know, it was? Like, what did the workers gain? How antagonistic were, you know, the bosses to that activity? Or were they fairly conciliatory because, you know, we live in, you know, kind of a-

Liz  33:06  
I don't think so. I think it was antagon-

Janelle Jolley  33:07  
Oh, you think it was a hard fought?

Liz  33:09  

Janelle Jolley  33:09  
Ah, okay.

Liz  33:10  
I don't know the details of the story either. But, of what I do remember-

Janelle Jolley  33:16  
It wasn't a cakewalk.

Liz  33:18  
No, it was a struggle.

Janelle Jolley  33:20  
Okay. And, I mean, and that's what I'm saying. I think that's how it will have to be because I've just given up on straight up electoralism. But what I- and what I think the biggest thing that we'll run up against- the biggest hurdle will be the media and the propaganda to demonize this effort. Because imagine, for instance, truckers or- truckers and/or port workers- like, logistics- workers who work in the logistics realm strike you know? That would, you know, that would have an immediate and unavoidable kind of effect on the economy and on the supply chains and blah, blah, blah. Which is, in my opinion, the most, not dramatic but, the most visible way of bringing attention to the- and getting what you want. But, you know, I could foresee, you know, Rachel Maddow- she's so fucking terrible- Rachel Maddow, you know, having a segment about how, you know, seniors can't get their medicine because of these selfish work- and that, you know, in that turning, you know, public opinion against it. Or having some of these people, you know, internalize some manner of guilt like, "Oh, I'm killing people's grandmas." When it's like, "No, actually, the system as it is, is killing people's grandma's." And if there's collateral da- I mean, not to sound callous or whatever, because I love my grandma, and I don't want anyone to kill her, you know what I mean? But it's like, of course there's going to be pain felt, but that's the point.

Liz  35:10  

Janelle Jolley  35:11  
That is a means to an end.

Liz  35:12  
This is the powerful- and, you know, I mean power in both terms of money and political power and corporate power. But they have been playing this game forever.

Janelle Jolley  35:31  
That's right.

Liz  35:31  
You know? So when they decided that they wanted to- you know, and they recently did this with immigrants, like, "Immigrants are taking your jobs. If you are underemployed or unemployed, it's not our fault, it's not the corporation's fault, it's not the government's fault. It is the fault of those people who are coming in and filling the place that you belong in." And you know, they did this with The New Jim Crow. They're like, "It's not our fault. It's other working class people, like people of color. It's their fault. Demonize them."

Janelle Jolley  36:09  
That's right.

Liz  36:10  
And so they pit us against each other, tearing us apart.

Janelle Jolley  36:13  
That's right.  

Liz  36:14  
And it works!

Janelle Jolley  36:15  
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Briefly.

Liz  36:15  
Because, you know, it's much easier. It's a much simpler story. Good propaganda.

Janelle Jolley  36:22  
Yeah, that's right.  

Liz  36:22  
You know, it's like, of course you're gonna believe that, especially if you already have some underlying biases feed into it.

Janelle Jolley  36:29  
That's right.

Liz  36:30  
But tyranny comes from the top.

Janelle Jolley  36:32  
That's right.

Liz  36:33  
It comes from your boss.

Janelle Jolley  36:34  
Mm-hmm. Huh?

Liz  36:37  
Yeah, go eat some food, Pete. Poor guy's been waiting for us. So sweet.

Janelle Jolley  36:43  
He's like, "Can you yappy bitches please finish up?" I went and did-

Liz  36:49  
I didn't know he's waiting for us. Sorry Pete! Talk about these hungry people.

Janelle Jolley  36:56  
That's right.

Liz  36:56  
Got one. Oh, yeah, we're gonna come.

Janelle Jolley  36:59  
We're rushing. We're almost done.

Liz  37:00  
Yeah, we're wrapping up right now.

Pete  37:01  
It's been, like, 4 hours.

Liz  37:03  

Janelle Jolley  37:04  
Has it, really?

Liz  37:04  
No it hasn't.

Pete  37:05  
It's, like, 10:30!

Janelle Jolley  37:06  
It is really?

Liz  37:06  
No it's not. Oh, it is. Well, you know.

Janelle Jolley  37:12  
Yeah, we just- we had to just figure it out.

Liz  37:16  
Thanks, Pete. Now that he has food, he's totally into it.

Janelle Jolley  37:21  
Said the man with the bowl of chicken. He goes, "Keep it going." So ridiculous. Oh my god. So what- on and ending note just cuz my blood sugar's dropping. You have a very delicious pie, potatoes, chicken. Was that chicken?

Liz  37:46  
Yeah, chicken.

Janelle Jolley  37:47  
Okay. That's right, chicken in the oven. What- of all- out of- given everything that is just shitty. Just, there's no two ways of saying that. Out of everything that is shitty, or considering, rather, that's a better way of saying it. Considering everything that is shitty and nonsensical, and just, "What?" Where- like, what do you remain hopeful and optimistic about? And why? And you can connect that to the co- or just, you know, because you, fuckin', you know, woke up this morning, I don't know, whatever. But what what do you remain optimistic or hopeful about? And why?

Liz  38:39  
Well, first of all, from getting to talk to hundreds and hundreds of people through the Bernie campaign. People who, you know, self identified as Republicans or Libertarians or Apolitical. I am very hopeful about the idea that there is this underlying desire by everyone, regardless of what sort of label they put on it, to have this set of needs met. And so, if we can find a way to get everyone to fight for those together, and to not politicize them, because your right to healthcare should not be politicized.

Janelle Jolley  39:28  
That's right.

Liz  39:30  
I'm hopeful that we do have more in common than we think we do in this very politically divided time. The other thing I'm hopeful for is just, kids. Young people in this country are badass. People on Tik Tok organizing to buy a bunch of tickets at a Trump rally is fucking hilarious. But also amazing. Amazing that they could use the technology that is so often used for evil. You know, technology's not inherently good or bad, I think it's the user that defines it. But yeah, kids are amazing. And I think we need to listen to the young generation and listen to their critiques of us because we've certainly gotten a lot of things wrong. You know, I've had my own political awakening over the last few years, and it's going to continue. And a lot of that, I think, is going to be through listening to the youth of this country and saying, "What do you want the future to look like? Tell me. I will get on board because you ultimately will inherit this planet." And the fact that people in their 70s are still fighting for their dumb, you know, reactionary ideas when they like, do they truly believe that they're creating a better world? Or are they just being selfish? Because we are going to inherit this planet.

Janelle Jolley  40:54  
Sure. Sure.

Liz  40:55  
And I, you know, that's what I feel about the young people. So let's listen to them. what about you?

Janelle Jolley  41:04  
I mean, I draw strength- again, I don't have any basis for this because things are terrible- but it's like- okay, here's how it all shakes out of my brain. Things are terrible right now in many different ways of terrible for many different peoples here, abroad, blah, blah. But I don't think that things in this moment- I think that what trips a lot of people up, particularly, you know, people around our age, what trips a lot of people up is the kind of, an understanding of how terrible things are right now as uniquely terrible and insurmountable. And that's not the case. Because, I mean, I think it helps to kind of zoom out and, you know, look at, you know, look at other eras or epochs of terribleness- there's a better way of saying that, but- of terribleness. And how people decided, like, "No. No more." And, you know, wage, you know, together wage- engage in, you know, struggle to improve things. So I take- so I find comfort in a historical kind of lens of people, collectively deciding that, "No, we're not going to do that anymore. And we can do better and we will do better." And I don't, you know, I don't give a- that's it. I'm not interested in being talked out of what I know to be true, expert or not. I don't- my- the site of knowledge is me. And I know that this is bullshit. So I take solace in a historical lens of people- you know, things have been terrible before across the world for different peoples, and people have found it in them to look to their family, look to their neighbors, to say, "Yo. This ain't it. And we're going to do something different because that we deserve better than this." So that's one. Two, I also find solace and hope in- the whole point of, in my opinion, one of the whole points of coming to some sort of a political awakening that has a particularly leftist bent or anti-capitalist bent, is that it gives you a framework to, not only analyze and understand why things are the way they are, but then give you a framework or understanding of like, "And here is how they- here's how they can be changed." I think that gives us the tools to think of and try different things. And then, third- and I don't- I think- I guess the third thing is, I think enough people- certainly not everybody- but I think enough people are more invested in, like- what are you trying to say, Janelle? I don't know what I'm trying to say. What- I think what I'm trying to say is, I think more people are focused on the here and now of the material conditions of their life and not always forsaking that, or the truth of that, for some grand, potentially, you know, rich, huge? I'm not saying,  I'm not- I mean, if you want to be just filthy fucking rich, go for it. But I think that more people now are just like, "Okay, today, this is what I need." Or, "This is what my community needs." Or, "This is what my family needs. I'm focused on that, and not, you know, like-"

Liz  45:22  
So, people want the security of well being versus playing the lottery of capitalism.

Janelle Jolley  45:27  
Right. I think you- right, that's what I'm saying. I think that more people are- want the security and well being of what they know is common sense and attainable-

Liz  45:37  

Janelle Jolley  45:38  
-right now, than, you know, just this, you know, this, you know, capitalist fantasy? And so I find- I take solace in that because I think that that is a better recruiting ground for the battles that we need to- that will be engage- that are being engaged in right now and will be engaged in in the near term. It's when you can look at somebody and them understand what they stand to benefit from right now and not be afraid of, you know, like, "Oh, but, you know, when I do make fifty million dollars I don't want my tax rate to be 30%." You know what I mean? Like-

Liz  45:38  
Exactly. Let's stop fighting for the wealthy-

Janelle Jolley  45:57  
Yeah, that's right.

Liz  45:59  
-class, when most of us

Janelle Jolley  46:24  
When you regular as hell.

Liz  46:26  
Yeah. Most of us will never be that. So, let's not worry about it.

Janelle Jolley  46:29  
And that's okay, cuz- and it's like-

Liz  46:30  
It's fine!

Janelle Jolley  46:31  
What does that even mean? Anyway, that's-

Liz  46:34  
It's just security. I mean, let's stop- yeah, there's- that's a whole nother episode. Let's stop making this rich and famous lifestyle so desirable.

Janelle Jolley  46:48  
Yeah, that's right.  

Liz  46:49  
It's unattainable for most people. You don't need it to be happy-

Janelle Jolley  46:52  
By design! Right, you don't need it to be happy.

Liz  46:55  
And a lot of times it's- actually makes you unhappy.

Janelle Jolley  46:59  
Yeah, that's right.

Liz  47:00  
So, yeah, let's change American culture.

Janelle Jolley  47:04  
Yeah. Oh, god.

Liz  47:06  
Let's just change it.

Janelle Jolley  47:08  
Let's just flip a switch!

Liz  47:10  

Janelle Jolley  47:11  
Thank you for being my inagural guest. I-

Liz  47:14  
It was a real honor-

Janelle Jolley  47:16  
Mucho appreciate it.

Liz  47:17  
I am still shocked that you asked me.

Janelle Jolley  47:21  
You're the person I've always thought of for first guest.

Liz  47:24  
I always love talking to you.

Janelle Jolley  47:26  
Thank you.

Liz  47:26  
I know this will not be our last conversation about-

Janelle Jolley  47:28  
No, fuck no! You 'bout to be- I mean, so, you know, so you guys abandoned me by moving to New York. I'm sure you'll be a recurring feature.

Liz  47:36  
Yes. But I always have fun with these kind of conversations. And I always feel a little lighter after them.

Janelle Jolley  47:43  
Yeah, that's right. That's right.

Liz  47:45  
Knowing that I have a kindred spirit, you know?

Janelle Jolley  47:48  
Yeah, that's right. We have to remind each other that we're still out here! Our campaign might have been-

Liz  47:54  
We're here. I mean, I don't see you that often.  

Janelle Jolley  47:56  
That's right, that's right.

Liz  47:57  
Goddamn pandemic.

Janelle Jolley  47:58  
That's right, that's right. That's fair. Well, thank you.

Liz  48:01  
And it was so nice to be able to sit with you and look at your pretty face.

Janelle Jolley  48:06  
You're being very nice right now.

Liz  48:08  
And actually get to talk in person? I will never take that for granted again.

Janelle Jolley  48:13  
Yeah, right? Ever!

Liz  48:13  
You know?

Janelle Jolley  48:14  
That's right.

Liz  48:15  
Thank you, Janelle.

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