Podcast for Social Research, Episode 73: How to Blow Up a Pipeline – Extractive Capitalism, Political Violence, and Eco-Thriller Cinema
In episode 73 of the Podcast for Social Research, recorded live following a screening of Daniel Goldhaber’s cinematic adaptation of Andreas Malm’s polemic against pacifism How to Blow Up a Pipeline, BISR faculty Isi Litke, RH Lossin, and Ajay Singh Chaudhary explore the aesthetic, historical, and thorny practical terrain of violence as activist strategy and political tool in the face of climate crisis. With Goldhaber’s film as a jumping off point, they ask—and answer—questions like: how can cinema represent the complex harms wrought by climate devastation, in all their manifold temporalities, from freak accidents to slow disease to historical expropriations? How are solidarities built across ideological divides? What unites anti-colonial movements across the Global South with the struggles of subaltern groups in the Global North? And what underpins the belief in non-violence as the righteous mechanism for political change—and why is this wrong? Along the way, they touch on everything from the heist film (wherein the question is not whether one ought but whether one can pull it off), how comrades are not friends, workplace violence, radical flanks, Fanon’s “stretched Marxism,” and much else besides. Plus a sneak preview from Ajay’s new book, The Exhausted of the Earth: Politics in a Burning World, out this February from Repeater Books!
The Podcast for Social Research is produced by Elliot Yokum. If you like what you’ve heard, consider subscribing to Brooklyn Institute’s Patreon page, where you can enjoy access to all past and future episodes of this podcast, as well as Practical Criticism, (Pop) Cultural Marxism, and other BISR podcast productions.