Bloc Party
Bloc Party
Justice Democrats
Bloc Party is a show about the fight for the soul of the Democratic Party, featuring progressive champions challenging the status quo from inside the halls of power and the organizers transforming the party’s agenda from the outside.
It's like I have ESG or something...
You’ve heard of the anti-CRT movement… but have you caught wind of ESG, the latest acronym that Republicans have weaponized in their anti-woke crusade? ESG investments have entered the chat in a big way - but it’s not the easiest topic to comprehend. So we brought an expert in to help us break down who the players are, clarify the mess of jargon that’s being tossed around, and why any of this should matter to us on the left. Journalist & author Kate Aronoff makes a trip back to the Bloc & joins Amira to discuss her article “The Right Has It In for Woke Investors. The Only Problem? They Don’t Exist”. For more from Kate, check out her most recent book, Overheated: How Capitalism Broke the Planet – And How We Fight Back. Follow us in your feeds for new episodes every other Thursday, and keep tabs on our Youtube page for our video team’s Bloc Doc series!Questions? Answers? Thoughts? Email us at Subscribe to the Bloc Media newsletter for bi-weekly updates from the team.
Mar 9
49 min
Movement School is on the Bloc
Movement School has acted as one of the core building bloc(k)s for Justice Democrats since day 1…so it’s high time we chatted with Movement School Director Ilona Duverge about its origin story, how she and her team navigate the pressures of the dusty, crusty consultant class, and why providing the tools, networks, tips & tricks for budding multiracial working-class campaign staffers across the country not only helps candidates win; it helps communities build their own power. THEN, in part 2 of this episode you’ll hear from a star Movement School grad, Adrastos Da Silva - who takes some time with us to expand on their journey from going through our Campaign Fellows Program to getting Cori Bush re-elected as her Campaign Manager. This year’s Campaign Fellows Program is OPEN for applications now though March 6th, 2023. Follow us in your feeds for new episodes every other Thursday, and keep tabs on our Youtube page for our video team’s Bloc Doc series!Questions? Answers? Thoughts? Email us at Subscribe to the Bloc Media newsletter for bi-weekly updates from the team:
Feb 23
50 min
Fed Up: Inflation and the Myth of Austerity
New year, new hosts, AND new guests on the Bloc! Amira is joined by our newest host and Gen Z rep from the JD staff, Becca Rose. Becca read too many Bloomberg articles about inflation and has some questions like, “Why do economists think that the pathway to a healthy economy is to lay off millions of working people?” and “Why is Bloomberg telling me the economy is great when we literally can’t afford to eat three meals a day?” and “What does the Fed mean by a ‘soft landing’ and why does it feel like it’s still really gonna hurt?”So she called in a big shot to help us understand how the Fed wants us to think about the economy (aka Larry Summers is wrong) and what an alternative, more useful outlook for workers in the US looks like. Lindsay Owens, Executive Director of the Groundwork Collaborative joins Becca to help reframe, simplify, and give us some hope for 2023. We can have it all, folks. Check out more about the Groundwork Collaborative here. Other resources Lindsay mentioned to us: us in your feeds for new episodes every other Thursday, and keep tabs on our Youtube page for our video team’s Bloc Doc series!Questions? Answers? Thoughts? Email us at Subscribe to the Bloc Media newsletter for bi-weekly updates from the team
Feb 9
1 hr 4 min
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Welcome back to the Bloc! Your newly minted hosts of Bloc Party, Amira Hassan & Waleed Shahid are ready to rumble for Season 3. We’re bringing on more staff this season from Justice Democrats & Organize for Justice… aka some of the best of the best when it comes to folks fighting for the soul of the Democratic Party. This week, we’re talking about Kevin, the never-Kevins, the I-guess-it’s-fine-we’ll-take-him-Kevins, and what we should take away from the right buckling down for 15 rounds before electing Kevin McCarthy their Speaker. Is there something for the left to learn in this tactic? Amira also chats with two members of our video team, Emma Dessau & Jeremy Flood, to get the spicy behind-the-scenes gossip from their day of filming with Summer Lee on January 3rd in the halls of Congress. Check out their video Bloc Doc, “Summer Lee Goes to Washington”.Follow us in your feeds for new episodes every other Thursday, and keep tabs on our Youtube page for our video team’s Bloc Doc series.
Jan 26
1 hr 2 min
AIPAC, U up?
JD Staffers review the triumphs of 2022 midterms in our Bloc Party: Season 2 finale. Justice Democrats Summer Lee & Greg Casar are going to Congress! Summer Lee beat out AIPAC for a second time in her general election, overcoming $10 million in attack ads. What should we take away from the surprising lack of a red wave? In our last episode our staffers discussed what they thought was driving the electorate to the polls. Did we get it wrong? What were the midterms actually about? And now with more governing power than we anticipated having, how can Democrats wield this advantage moving forward?
Nov 17, 2022
53 min
2022 Midterms: Please Place Your Bets
What are the 2022 midterms actually about? A referendum on Biden? Whatever pundits say the top issues are? Or is it something else?In a two part episode, Justice Democrats staffers (ft. a guest from Left Rising) take some bets on the wins/losses the Democratic party is about to experience in November before sitting down to investigate what ads Dems are running and what ads are being run against them. What do the polls/propaganda pieces tell us about Democratic messaging? And more importantly: are these messages working?
Oct 28, 2022
1 hr 30 min
A Four Decade Long Debt Receipt
Americans aged 62 and older are the fastest-growing demographic of student borrowers.In July, Journalist Eleni Schirmer’s New Yorker article “The Aging Student Debtors of America,” featured the story of Betty Anne, a 91 year old woman with $330,000 in student loans – and Justice Democrats’ Lead Video Producer Jeremy Flood’s grandmother. In this episode, Jeremy and Eleni unpack the impact of Eleni’s reporting and what it’s meant to Betty Anne’s family to hold this debt throughout her life. We also get an exciting update on her loans. Then, we invite the Debt Collective co-founder Astra Taylor back on the pod to celebrate the Biden administration’s cancellation of $10-$20k of student debt, and update us on the Collective’s next moves. How did organizers push the establishment towards this cancellation? And what does this mean for the future of debt cancellation in this country? Links: “The Aging Student Debtors of America”( Bloc Party x Debt Collective Episode from 2021[]Our Bloc Doc with Astra Taylor[]Producers: Jeremy Flood, Sophie Capp, Emma DessauEditor: Sophie CappMixing/Mastering: Rocky Russo
Sep 29, 2022
1 hr 5 min
2022 Primaries: The Empire Strikes Back
It’s Sunday June 26th, 2022 – two days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade – and President Joe Biden knows what he needs to do.Biden needed to announce his endorsement to Rep. Danny Davis, the 25-year incumbent in Chicago’s bluest Congressional district, IL-07. Two days before polls opened in a primary contest between a quarter-century incumbent and Kina Collins, a grassroots organizer against gun violence in Rep. Davis’ district, Joe Biden needed Democrats to know: the party’s old guard deserves to stay in power. On election day, Kina Collins lost by a 7-point margin.And that pretty much sums up the Justice Democrats 2022 primary cycle. Almost every race came down to the wire. At the end of every nailbiter showdown, corporate money and establishment Democratic leadership pulled out all the stops (and all the money) to keep young, progressive Democrats from representing their own communities in Congress… while President Biden’s agenda was gutted in public by the anti-majoritarian Supreme Court and U.S Senate.In this episode, Amira talks with Campaigns Director Geoff “Coach” Simpson, Candidate Communications Manager Usamah Andrabi, and Rebel Alliance Director Alexandra Rojas about what the political left has learned – or needs to learn, at the tail end of another Justice Democrats primary cycle. What’s changed since summer 2020, when Jamaal Bowman beat Engel by double digits despite the late establishment rush to save the incumbent? And Cori Bush won her rematch primary by a slim but decisive margin? Are we losing ground? Getting outspent, or just out maneuvered? Hard to know with certainty, but the Empire is Striking Back and it’s time for some Rebels to retrieve the Death Star plans..
Jul 20, 2022
59 min
Started At The School Board, Now It's Congresswoman Lee
She can relax a little now. The PA-12 results are certified. The victory is locked in. So current State House Rep. Lee, the expected Congresswoman-elect from Pennsylvania’s 12th district, sat down with Amira Hassan to tell us the WHOLE story.How did Summer Lee get so deep in the progressive political revolution brewing in Pittsburgh? What does it actually look like to build grassroots power by organizing at the local level, and electoralize that power up to the state house and ultimately Congress? What is it like to grind out a victory after your opponents drop $3.3 million dollars to defeat you, ALL within the last three weeks before Election Day, and all aimed at defeating your campaign? Summer breaks it down: the early victories before she ever thought of becoming a candidate, the MVPs of well-meaning white guy political operatives, what it was like to campaign through negative ads blanketing local TV and radio, and more.Amira roasting Steve Irwin in March:
May 31, 2022
53 min
Campaign Breakdown: How Summer Lee Beat the Ads
In the final weeks before Pennsylvania’s May 17th primaries, SuperPACs affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee spent millions of dollars in the 12th district, nearly all on TV ads attacking Summer Lee and boosting corporate lawyer Steve Irwin.Summer Lee narrowly won. How? And what might other progressive candidates, campaign managers, communications strategists, and organizers learn from the resilience of the Summer Lee for Congress campaign? Also, what to make of the increasing sums of outside money spent against Justice Democrats in these competitive primaries?To get the inside scoop on the tactics and strategies that mattered, Guido sat down with Justice Democrats campaign director and former pro basketball player Geoff Simpson for another episode of Campaign Breakdown with Coach Geoff.For more on the May 17th primaries and the factional scoreboard, see the Washington Post story “In Tuesday’s primaries, Democrats’ left and center wings both got wins” by Perry Bacon Jr.
May 24, 2022
23 min
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