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ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have become authoritarian shock forces, operating with impunity, ripping children from their parents’ arms, and enforcing the anti-immigrant edicts of Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions. But the horrors did not start with Trump. This week on Intercepted: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old former waitress, is challenging one of the most powerful Democrats in the country for his congressional seat. She is running on a platform of social and economic justice and she has called for ICE to be abolished. Ocasio-Cortez explains why she wants to unseat the “King of Queens,” Rep. Joseph Crowley, who portrays himself as Nancy Pelosi’s rightful successor. Princeton professor Eddie Glaude Jr. joins Intercepted to talk about white supremacy and law enforcement, the “rot” in the establishment Democratic Party, and Trump’s obsession with black athletes.
President Donald J. Trump: Thank you very much, everyone. Thank you very much. What an honor. And I love you, too. We are gathered here on this sacred soil of Arlington National Cemetery.
DJT: I had deferments because of college, and I had a foot thing, and I got a deferment for that.
DJT: I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.
Lee Ermey as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (in “Full Metal Jacket”): Oh yeah! Pop that blister. Jesus H. Christ! Private Pyle, why is your footlocker unlocked?
DJT: Sir, you have no idea.
RLE: Private Pyle, if there is one thing in this world that I hate, it is an unlocked footlocker! You know that, don’t you?
DJT: Sir, yes, sir!
RLE: If it wasn’t for dickheads like you, there wouldn’t be any thievery in this world, would there?
DJT: No sir.
RLE Get down!
DJT: Sir, do you think I could take a pass, please? I beg you, please?
RLE: Holy Jesus! What is that? What the fuck is that? What is that, Private Pyle?!
DJT: Sir, don’t even waste your time talking anymore. You have a lot of business to do.
RLE: A jelly doughnut?! How did it get here? Is chow allowed in the barracks, Private Pyle?
DJT: No sir, you don’t have to have anything.
RLE: Are you allowed to eat jelly doughnuts, Private Pyle?
DJT: No sir, no thank you.
RLE: Private Pyle has dishonored himself and dishonored the platoon!
DJT: No problem, sir.
RLE: I have tried to help him!
DJT: Thank you sir, thank you!
RLE: But I have failed! I have failed because you have not helped me!
Jeremy Scahill: This is Intercepted.
JS: I’m Jeremy Scahill, coming to you from the offices of The Intercept in New York City. And this is episode 58 of Intercepted.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions: If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you. And that child may be separated from you, as required by law.
JS: There is a systematic, anti-immigrant campaign being waged in this country. And we’re going to get to Donald Trump, and Jeff Sessions and this whole authoritarian apparatus in a little while. But first let’s go over some essential context.
Back in 2014, lawyers and human rights advocates who work with undocumented immigrants began noticing a sharp uptick in reports of abuse, neglect and other mistreatment of children, while in custody of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. And the allegations were horrifying: Agents punching a child in the head, another kicking a child in the ribs, invasive and traumatic searches in the genital areas of teenage girls making them scream, threats of sexual assault, denying medical care to a pregnant teenager, using a stun gun on a boy, causing him to convulse and his eyes to roll back in his head.
In June of 2014, the ACLU and the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School filed complaints with the Department of Homeland Security. And the complaints documented the cases of 116 unaccompanied children, ranging in age from 5 years old to 17. According to these organizations, a quarter of the children said they were physically or sexually abused. They said they’d been placed in so-called stress positions and were at times subjected to beatings by Customs officials. More than half of the kids reported receiving death threats from U.S. government agents.
DHS basically did absolutely nothing with this extremely disturbing information. So, in December of 2014, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request. And last week, they released thousands of pages of documents. What emerged from these internal documents was a pattern of atrocious abuse and neglect. These documents are all — all — from before Donald Trump was president. They describe a system that was run under the Obama administration. In fact, here is how the ACLU and University of Chicago law clinic described what was discovered through the FOIA request. In a recent report, they wrote that the records “reveal the absence of meaningful internal or external agency oversight and accountability. The federal government has failed to provide adequate safeguards and humane detention conditions for children in CBP custody. It has further failed to institute effective accountability mechanisms for government officers who abuse the vulnerable children entrusted to their care. These failures have allowed a culture of impunity to flourish within CBP, subjecting immigrant children to conditions that are too often neglectful at best and sadistic at worst.”
That was during the Obama administration. And remember, Hillary Clinton was a supporter of deporting unaccompanied minors. Here she is speaking in 2014, just as these human rights groups were raising alarm.
Hillary Clinton: We’ve got to do more — I started this when I was secretary — to deal with the violence in this region, to deal with border security. But we have to send a clear message: Just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay.
JS: We should also remember that Hillary Clinton played a key role in the coup in Honduras in 2009 that caused a sustained exodus that included unaccompanied children making their way to the United States illegally. And Clinton responded to this by openly saying that children should be deported, including some who fled the violence in a destabilized Honduras.
In 2014, U.S. deportations hit their highest point. Under Obama, more than 2 million people were deported. Toward the end of his presidency, Obama did try to change some of that course — he tried to stop some mass deportations — but that was ultimately stifled by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Remember, the ACLU said that during the Obama administration the failure to stop the abuses being meted out by Customs officials, “allowed a culture of impunity to flourish” and that it was “too often neglectful at best and sadistic at worst.”
Fast forward to today: Donald Trump is president. The racist anti-immigrant Jeff Sessions is the attorney general. And one of the so-called adults in the room, Chief of Staff John Kelly, is an infamous xenophobe and a radical extremist on immigration. We know that from his time running U.S. Southern Command. John Kelly made no bones about his support for deporting children, which he called, “the name of the game to a large degree.” In an interview with NPR, Kelly said, “The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.”
The tone and policy on immigration under the Trump administration is a frightening abomination. It is anti-human, not to mention anti-human rights. ICE now has a commander in chief who openly advocates violence against undocumented immigrants and Trump’s obsession with a tiny group of gang members who are in the U.S. legally and illegally is really a thinly veiled attack on immigrants in general.
DJT: These aren’t people. These are animals.
DJT: They said, “They’re people.” They’re not people. These are animals.”
JS: They are rapists, criminals, animals. Trump can hide behind the technicality of saying: Oh, I was just talking about MS-13! But we know. We know what he really thinks, because he has told us and he’s showed us.
DJT: When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
They send the bad ones over because they don’t want to pay for them, they don’t want to take care of them. Why should they?
JS: Donald Trump presents a set of threats that we did not see under Obama. He presents threats we may well not have seen under a President Hillary Clinton. But at the same time, it’s a mistake to not understand how we got here on immigration. Part of it is the racism, the bigotry, the hatred that fuels Trump and his real supporters. And it’s terrifying.
But we also have to recognize that powerful Democrats have also been terrible on issues impacting undocumented immigrants. The culture of impunity, of abuse, of mistreatment, of neglect that permeates the ranks of Customs and Border Protection and ICE spread under Obama. They weren’t held accountable when they could’ve been and they should’ve been. And that helped Trump’s racist, anti-immigrant agenda to take hold faster and have a broader impact than it would’ve if these institutions had been confronted and held accountable.
Under Trump, it has now become official policy to literally rip children from the arms of their parents when they cross the border to seek asylum. This is not MS-13 and their kids. This is people fleeing political violence that, in some cases, has been aided, encouraged or caused by U.S. policy. They are separating children from their parents and sending them into detention.
And the Trump administration knows exactly what it’s doing. It’s deliberate. It’s done with intent. The point is to punish people who flee violence, to send them a message that we will shatter your family — and probably abuse your children — if you dare seek life for you and your kids. In fact, we are going to prosecute you as a criminal if you do. In one case, there was a 53-week-old infant who was taken to a court hearing without a parent.
It’s sick. Absolutely, pathologically sick.
ACLU Attorney Lee Gelernt: This is unprecedented. This is the worst thing I’ve seen in 25-plus years of doing this civil rights work. I mean, I am talking to these mothers, and they are describing their kids screaming, “Mommy! Mommy! Don’t let them take me away.” Five years old, six years old, and they are just being ripped away.
JS: This is a new policy under the Trump administration. Obama was pretty bad on undocumented immigration issues, but this is a whole different level. At the same time, we can’t separate what we know about the eight years of Democratic control of the executive branch and the fact that Trump is pushing this to the extreme. Powerful Democrats helped enable this, and until we recognize that and stop acting like all horrors are the fault of the Republicans or of the unique threat posed by Donald Trump, nothing will fundamentally change. We have to go to the root.
These immigration policies are part of a series of issues that have inspired a new generation of candidates running for office in the United States. And they’re not just confronting the Trump administration. We see establishment Democratic incumbents being challenged — some for the first time — and they are being challenged from the left, by social justice candidates, by anti-war candidates, by Black Lives Matter candidates, by candidates endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America, by candidates who are campaigning on a platform to abolish ICE. Today, we’re joined by one of those young, energetic insurgents who is taking on a powerful, elite institutional Democratic congressman.
NY Congressional Candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Her Campaign to Unseat Rep. Joseph Crowley, and Why ICE Should Be Abolished
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: It’s time we acknowledge that not all democrats are the same. That a Democrat who takes corporate money, profits off of foreclosure, doesn’t live here, doesn’t send his kids to our schools, doesn’t drink our water or breathe our air cannot possibly represent us.
JS: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a candidate for the House of Representatives in New York’s 14th district. She was born to a Puerto Rican family in the South Bronx. She is young. She’s working class. She’s a New Yorker who has been immersed in community-based leadership, organizing and service work.
After earning her degree from Boston University, she moved back home to the Bronx, was working long hours as a waitress to support her family in the aftermath of her father’s untimely death. Her dad, like many working class people, died without a will, and so Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her family found themselves fighting a nasty, cold bureaucracy that featured legal vultures who carved off parts of her father’s estate for profit as Alexandria and her family struggled to make ends meet.
She said she never planned on running for office, but after traveling across the country — from Flint, Michigan to Standing Rock, asking Americans about the issues they were facing in the aftermath of the Trump’s election — the progressive organization Brand New Congress got in touch with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and asked if she’d be willing to run for Congress. Her opponent is the powerful Democrat, Representative Joe Crowley. He’s the current chair of the House Democratic caucus and he has been trying to position himself as the successor to Nancy Pelosi as the leader of the Democrats and the future Speaker of the House.
This district where Crowley is a congressman is one of the most racially and culturally diverse in the United States. It spans parts of Queens and the Bronx. The district also includes the notorious Rikers prison. Crowley has held that seat since 1999 and he has not faced a primary challenger since at least 2004. Well, this year he’s going to.
And that challenger, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, joins me now. Alexandria welcome to Intercepted.
AOC: Thank you so much for having me.
JS: I want to start by talking about the way that ICE has evolved since its creation. You’ve been tweeting a lot in response to this ACLU report that came out, with 30,000 pages or so of documentation of how families, children, civilians are treated under the ICE program.
How has ICE’s actions changed from Obama to Trump? Is there anything that’s markedly different?
AOC: There are things that are markedly different. I would say that the basic infrastructure of ICE, its legal structures are the same, but the latitude and rather the extent to which the Trump administration is really bending these rules is at an absolutely new level. This idea of, most recently, separating children from their parents in order to kind of force the state to take over their custody is just an extremely different and draconian level to which ICE enforcement is now being taken.
The Trump Administration is changing these policies at a breakneck pace. So even the most prolific immigration lawyers in the country can barely keep up with the changes that they’re making here, and we’re seeing things that started in the Obama Administration — you know, ICE showing up at courtrooms and things like that — are just starting to become much more regular and commonplace.
JS: What’s your understanding of this policy that ends up separating parents from children? Like, where was that born?
AOC: So, basically the United States had a standing policy for minors who showed up at the border. And what that was originally designed for was occasionally you would have teenagers, mostly — people who were 14, 15, under 18, but old enough to kind of navigate the world on their own — and they would show up at our borders, and we kind of previously saw this hit a crisis when we had this wave of young people and children showing up at the borders of South Texas after the regime change in Honduras.
CBS Anna Werner: Since October, 52,000 unaccompanied children have been picked up trying to cross into the U.S. — a 99 percent increase over last year. The Border Patrol has also seen a record number of adults with kids crossing.
AOC: And so we had a standing policy for when a minor showed up at the border unaccompanied — the U.S. government would intervene, there would be child custody services and things like that to help that child navigate that system. That is what we were initially dealing with.
Now what’s happening is parents who show up with their children at the border are getting separated from their children, and that has never happened before. Before, those families would be processed together. And now we are seeing things — I believe it was on MSNBC — where we’re actually seeing cases of a 53-week-old infant in court on their own separated from their mothers.
Attorney Laura St. John: We’ve actually seen children who are two years old regularly, and just last week we saw a 53-week-old infant in court without a parent.
Chris Hayes: I don’t — I’m sorry. I’m having a really hard time thinking about this. So a 53-week-old infant comes with, presumably, his or her mother and they’re apprehended by Customs and Border Patrol, and then they’re processed in some way, and at some point someone from the government in a uniform comes and physically takes a 53-week-old baby away from the mother.
LSJ: That’s correct. Yeah.
AOC: And many of these children, you know, have yet to see their parents ever again. And some of these children don’t even have legal defense. So this is beyond the pale. This is just totally beyond the pale.
JS: Jeff Sessions — at least for now — the attorney general, in defending this policy, said the following in a series of speeches in Arizona, which is known for its really harsh, draconian position on immigration, as well as in San Diego, California, which is in Southern California, this is Sessions.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions: It’s an offense to enter the country unlawfully. If you smuggle an illegal alien across the border, then will prosecute you for smuggling. If you’re smuggling a child, then we’re going to prosecute you. And that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don’t want your child to be separated, then don’t bring him across the border illegally. It’s not our fault that somebody does that.
JS: Your response?
AOC: Well, first of all, we are seeing people showing up claiming refugee status. You know, we have this very clear case of this Congolese woman who showed up, refugee status, and if you are fleeing persecution in your home country, the United States refugee policy is that you can show up to our borders, claim refugee status, say, “I’m a refugee” and be classified as such.
We’ve had generations of Americans that have come from things like the Rwandan genocide and regime changes in Latin America show up and claim refugee status and we are doing this to those people too, so that’s the first thing.
But then the second thing is that when you have undocumented people show up in our border, usually what you do is turn them away, you know? That has been the historic policy of the United States — people who show up undocumented without a visa, we turn them away at our borders. But the idea of prosecuting anybody who just shows up at a checkpoint is an expansion of what we are doing in this country and in fact we are taking these people in and we’re putting them into this black-box detention system that we have allowed ICE to create.
And I think what a lot of people don’t realize is that ICE is now the second largest criminal investigative agency in the United States, second only to the FBI. And the fact that they operate without the accountability of the Department of Justice is extremely concerning to us all. There are threads here that stretch all the way to warrantless wiretapping and other forms of overreach. This is squarely in the category of civil rights abuses.
JS: When you say there’s no oversight from the Justice Department, what do you mean?
AOC: So basically, ICE operates under the Department of Homeland Security. And, in my opinion, to have a criminal investigative agency that is not housed under the Department of Justice is so backwards, especially when we see that the Department of Homeland Security was just created in 2003. And so this is not an agency with the institutional knowledge or support or structures to handle such a large operation. And it’s very clear that we see, you know, while the Department of Justice, at least towards the end of the Obama administration started winding down its systems of for-profit detention, for example, for-profit prisons, ICE has just had an expansion. As a matter of fact, ICE is the only criminal investigative agency, the only enforcement agency in the United States that has a bed quota. So ICE is required to fill 34,000 beds with detainees every single night and that number has only been increasing since 2009.
There is the acknowledgment that these things did start with the Obama administration, but, again, that is always the danger of creating governmental structures without accountability under the premise of: Just trust us, this guy, this one President is fine, we can trust this one president. Because when we do have draconian administrations like the one we have now, we see exactly what happens.
JS: Well, and you know people, a lot of times say, “Well, why do you criticize the Democrats? The only game in town right now is opposing Trump.” And I’m certainly sympathetic if you’re looking at what are the greatest risks to democratic society, civil liberties, global peace — yeah, this is a very dangerous administration.
On the other hand whether it’s drone strikes or borderless wars or immigration policy, I feel like you would be omitting an essential part of the context if you don’t talk about how Obama, in his eight years, created systems that were dependent on trusting in him rather than, hey, here’s the rules for how this is done.
JS: And, you know, I think a lot of people that didn’t pay any attention to these issues, particularly immigration under Obama are now waking up because it’s Trump, but like when are we going to break that cycle where we — you’re confronting the Democratic Party establishment in your race for Congress.
JS: You’re going up against a long-time member of Congress who there’s discussion he may one day be the Speaker of the House or the leader of the Democrats in the Congress. But the role that the institutional elite or the mainstream of Democratic Party politicians play in creating the ground for Trump to do something like this.
AOC: First of all, the idea of immigration as a partisan issue, the idea of war as a partisan issue, the idea of certain issues that should be galvanizing around social, economic and racial justice, that all of us should be agreeing on are now becoming partisan. And so what’s concerning to me about saying, “Trump! Trump! Trump!” or “GOP! GOP! GOP!” is that in the history of the United States, particularly the modern history of the United States, immigration has never been a partisan issue. In fact, George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, not to defend or evangelize their administrations, but they were actually known to be quite liberal on immigration. You know, Reagan had his amnesty policy.
President Ronald Reagan: This bill, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, that I will sign in a few minutes, is the most comprehensive reform of our immigration laws since 1952. It’s the product of one of the longest and most difficult legislative undertakings in the last three Congresses. Further, it’s an excellent example of a truly successful bipartisan effort.
AOC: You have George W. Bush that was actually very welcoming in both his rhetoric and many of his policies towards immigrants, despite the creation of ICE.
And so, historically, immigration has not been a partisan issue until the rising racial resentments of the Trump administration and what we have recently seen in perhaps the last five years. Issues that are just morally right and wrong are now starting to be hijacked by both parties as partisan issues, which should be very, very concerning to all of us as American citizen.
Moreover, the fact that the Democratic Party has not been the party of immigrants. And 10 years ago I had worked in Ted Kennedy’s immigration office and he, to his credit, he had one of the best immigration constituent service offices in the country. And I would be handling some of these cases, and women and families would call me in a total panic because their husbands were scooped off the street in the middle of the day or they came home and there are literally stories of people coming home to their front doors open, and you know their stove flames are still on and their families are missing. And our incumbents created that system. Everyone who voted for it is responsible. Period. And they need to be held accountable and if they’re not actively calling for the abolition of ICE, then I don’t want to hear it. This idea that we’re going to fight Trump without taking hard committed stances is just a farce and it’s a media play and I do think that our Democratic establishment has to take ownership over the mistakes that they have made in the past — and they either, they should either acknowledge their past actions as mistakes and commit to a course correction or, if they don’t acknowledge that their actions were a mistake, frankly, they need to go.
JS: You dropped a little mini-bomb in there that I want to rewind and examine. You said that you’re calling for abolishing ICE.
JS: I think, maybe not people who listen to this show or are supporting you on your campaign, but a lot of people in America I think would listen to that and think: “So what does she want? She just wants people to pour in here?”
You’re running for Congress, so explain from a policy perspective how you can have that position, “Let’s abolish ICE” and be running for Congress in the United States.
AOC: Yeah. For sure.
Well and a little bit of context to the community that I’m running in. My community, New York 14, it’s half in Queens, half in the Bronx, it’s half immigrant. So our communities are very, very familiar with U.S. immigration policy. If you are not an immigrant or naturalized U.S. citizen yourself, you either are part of an immigrant family or you are very close to immigrants. And so I do think that if any seat should be calling for the abolishment of ICE, it should be New York 14 — among others, there are several others.
And yeah, that’s always the question. Like, what do you expect? Are you an open borders fanatic? Like, all of these things. And people forget that ICE was established in 2003, in the post 9/11, frankly, authoritarian crackdown, where we saw the Patriot Act, the Iraq War, the AUMF, and then, of course, you have the establishment of the Homeland Security which included the establishment of ICE. And that’s when we first started seeing, again, this enforcement agency that does not answer to the Department of Justice.
Before ICE we had the INS. So we had the Immigration and Naturalization Services. There are very intense operations that we do need to monitor. We have to keep tabs on human trafficking, child sex trafficking, child pornography and, of course, just standard immigration in and out. And so the INS had handled that before. And so criminal investigations will get forwarded to the Department of Justice which had the infrastructure to kind of handle those proceedings, and then there are other investigatory arms, either within the FBI or within Health and Human Services that would handle those different pockets.
Now when the Department of Homeland Security was established, it concentrated and centralized all of those things into one. And those operations in and of themselves can continue. You know, you can have Border and Customs do the things that they have always done.
The one line that I do want to draw is that when I started talking about this over the weekend it kind of recently blew up, and I’m starting to see, particularly, other congressional candidates say: “Let’s return to the INS.” And that I want to make sure is not correct either.
This is not about going back to the INS. This is really about, in some ways, we need to go all the way back to the root of our immigration policy to begin with, which the very first immigration policy law passed in the United States was the Chinese Exclusion Act in the 1800s, and so the very bedrock of U.S. immigration policy, the very beginning of it was a policy based on racial exclusion. And I think that we need to really reimagine our immigration policy based around two things like I had said before, foreign policy and criminal justice and additionally our economic goals as well. And we really kind of need I think to reimagine our immigration services as part of an economic engine, as part of an accommodation to our own foreign policy aims and, where necessary, enforcement of serious crimes like human trafficking and so on.
So abolishing ICE doesn’t mean get rid of our immigration policy, but what it does mean is to get rid of the draconian enforcement that has happened since 2003 that routinely violates our civil rights, because, frankly, it was designed with that structure in mind.
JS: Just to change gears for a moment, Joe Crowley, who is sort of the self-declared King of Queens, is obviously from Queens, represents Queens. Trump is from Queens. The governor of New York, Cuomo, is from Queens. Talk about the sort of men of Queens and not just the political machine that you’re fighting in the Democratic Party, but the sort of culture of politics in the part of the area where you would represent.
AOC: Yeah. I mean, it’s a trip. It’s a trip, because, excluding Trump for a moment, all of these guys really love to engage in performative solidarity.
I’m going, maybe get in trouble with this, but like you know Cuomo recently had this whole speech where he literally stands up on the stage and he says, “I am a black woman. I am undocumented.” And I think that the real mistake here is just that there’s a lot of talking about these communities, but, at the end of the day, their grip on power causes them to refuse to actually give these communities a true seat at the table. And when these communities want to run for office or when these communities want to have real teeth in our legislative and political processes, they only allow those whom they give permission.
And so it’s a real systemic problem. People think of New York as a liberal state. People think of New York City as liberal politics. And it’s not.
And then also you look at New York State, New York City, one of the most diverse cities in the United States where 56 percent people of color were majority female. And in that city, our governor, our mayor, our city council speaker, the chairman of our state party, and Crowley himself, who’s the chairman of the Queens Democratic Party are all one gender and one race. They are all white men. And that is statistically almost impossible.
So that is not done by chance. That is the systemic concentration of power. And the systemic concentration of power that falls along historical lines, falls along the empowerment and the concentration of power that that tends to be along men, that tends to be along, you know, white Americans and that is how, you know, if the most diverse city in America can’t get a person of color or someone that’s not a man to have high office then how can we have that hope for any other place in the United States.
One of the things I noticed on your Twitter feed is you’ve been intimating, and at times, describing directly the sexism and misogyny that you’ve experienced as you’ve run your campaign for Congress against a white man who’s been around for a long time. Talk about being you and being in this campaign and what it means to be a young woman of color challenging an establishment Democrat.
AOC: Yeah. I think it’s amusing because they start, a lot of people start losing their minds when I talk about this. “Oh, she’s making this about identity — this term — identity politics.” And it’s really funny because when I just talk about who our community is, when I just say, “Hey, New York 14 is 70 percent people of color, we’re 60 percent Hispanic, we’re 40 percent primarily Spanish speaking. We’re also overwhelmingly working class. We have a lot of white brothers and sisters out here, too, right in the same boat as us, making $47,000 a year on average in New York. In New York City.”
You know, people in the opposite camp have been saying, “She’s making this about race.” And, you know what? It is about race. And it is about education. And it is about our incomes. And it is about wealth inequality. Because this campaign is about our issues. And what is infuriating I think a lot of people in New York’s political establishment is that I haven’t asked anyone for permission.
And there’s always this go back to, “Who is she?” And, I mean, when I look upwards, and even when I try, like if I hypothetically wanted to “do it the right way” and ask for this permission and work through these channels, there’s no people up there that would help me. There are no women in power in New York City, in like, an authentic — you know, we’ve got some borough presidents, we got some folks out here, but we don’t have, we have no people of color that are a city council speaker right now. We have none of that. We have very few working class Americans as well.
And so what you see as well is that this machine has been overwhelmingly male for so long that the misogyny becomes the political culture of New York City politics.
JS: What is your relationship with the institutional Democratic Party like, you know, DCCC, the DNC?
AOC: My opponent is the institutional Democratic Party. So my relationship to them, in a formal sense, is pretty much non-existent. He gives the D-trip about a million bucks a year on average, some years and stuff.
JS: This is the Democratic campaign fundraising mechanism that’s used by the institutional party.
JS: Has the Democratic Party tried to stop you from challenging Crowley?
AOC: No one has tried to dissuade me from running, and I think it’s because when I started this race I was so small potatoes. You know, my background, for those who may not know, I’m an educator, I’m an organizer — I have an academic background in economics international policy but I’m also very working class. I’m a first-generation college graduate and during the financial crisis, which like, eviscerated my family, I was bartending and waitressing while doing community work.
I mean, we sold my childhood home. My mother was forced to move to Florida because she could no longer afford to live in New York City, remain in New York City. And I found myself, you know, while we were kind of on that brink, I started working a second job. And so when I first started this campaign, I started it out of a grocery bag, going to work, and I put my palm cards and my campaign banner in a grocery bag, and I put my change of clothes for the end of that day, and I would take it to a bar and I would hide it behind the counter. I would work my shift for that day. I would get out. I would change my clothes. I would go to community events. I would go to people’s living rooms and say, “Hey, we need to change our politics in America.”
And that’s how this campaign started. And it was such a joke, I think, to the establishment and it was so small potatoes that nobody paid attention and nobody thought of us as a threat, which I think is a fabulous place to be. We haven’t had a primary in 14 years in New York 14, so it was very clear that nobody else was going to do this. And so, in a way, in New York City to challenge a kingmaker, you have to do it from the outside, because everyone else is too scared.
JS: Alexandria, thank you so much for joining us.
AOC: Thank you so much for having me.
JS: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a candidate for the House of Representatives in New York’s 14th district. Her website is Ocasio2018.com. Make sure to also check out the profile of Ocasio-Cortez by my colleagues Aída Chávez and Ryan Grim at theintercept.com. It’s called “A Primary Against the Machine.”
Princeton Professor Eddie Glaude Jr. on White Supremacy and Law Enforcement, Trump, and the “Rot” in the Democratic Party
[Milwaukee Police body-camera audio from tasing of Sterling Brown.]
JS: Last week, police in Milwaukee, Wisconsin released a half-hour video recording that documented police officers accosting the Milwaukee Bucks NBA star Sterling Brown in the parking lot of a Walgreens. What began as a confrontation over a handicapped parking spot transformed into a violent police action, that included the tasing and arrest of Sterling Brown. The NBA star announced that he was suing the Milwaukee Police, and he said he was doing it as a way of standing up for people less famous than him.
Sterling Brown: I get mad every time I watch it. You know? ‘Cause I was defenseless, pretty much. My hands were behind my back and they still, you know, tased me. After that, you know, I’m still on the ground for about 10 minutes, you know, still wet, you know, face to the ground, knee in my neck. “OK, how do I get out of this? How do I get home? How do I see my family?”
JS: In a statement released by the Bucks, Brown wrote that what should “have been a simple parking ticket turned into an attempt at police intimidation, followed by the unlawful use of physical force, including being handcuffed, tased, and then unlawfully booked.” Brown continued: “Situations like mine and worse happen every day in the black community. Being a voice and a face for people who won’t be heard and don’t have the same platform as I have is a responsibility I take seriously. I am speaking for Dontre Hamilton of Milwaukee, Laquan McDonald of Chicago, Stephon Clark of Sacramento, Eric Garner of New York, and the list goes on. These people aren’t able to speak anymore because of unjust actions by those who are supposed to ‘serve and protect’ the people.”
This is the latest incident of famous or high-profile black professional athletes speaking out after violent run-ins with law enforcement. And it happens at a time when the president of the United States continues his obsession with black athletes.
Most recently, Trump celebrated the white NFL owners forcing through a policy that its players must stand for the national anthem or face penalties from their teams. The NFL can also sanction teams if it’s determined the players aren’t being patriotic enough and the teams aren’t punishing them.
DJT: But still, I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing. You shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem.
JS: We are going to talk about Trump’s obsession with black athletes and a lot more with our next guest. He is Professor Eddie Glaude, Jr. He is the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University. He is also chair of Princeton’s Department of African American Studies. Glaude is the author of a number of important books, among them “Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul,” and “In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America.”
We mentioned Professor Glaude recently on this show after this important intervention on MSNBC regarding the Israeli massacre of Palestinian protesters in Gaza.
Professor Eddie Glaude, Jr.: All of that’s important, and all of those babies are dead. All of those people are dead. They’re dead. And we’re talking about racehorses. I mean, the politics, I mean a lot of folks are dead today. For what? I’m sorry. This is me being a moralist, I suppose.
JS: Well, he does not pull punches, and he is a true scholar. Professor Eddie Glaude, Jr. joins me now.
Welcome to Intercepted.
EG: It’s a pleasure to be here with you, Jeremy. It’s my pleasure.
JS: How do you see this particular moment that we’re in, in the United States right now, with Trump in power and the way that he is governing or not governing and then the state of the Democratic Party?
EG: Think of this moment as the decline of the empire, that something is dying while something is trying to be born. Donald Trump represents an exaggerated version of the rot that’s at the heart of the country, that is a reflection of something that’s here. In some ways, all of the contradictions of a particular economic order, of the kind of exploitation of white fear, combined with a deepening sense of precarity made Trump possible in some ways, right? And to the extent to which that’s true, what we’re seeing are those contradictions and those fears and anxieties in full color.
So people realize that the way in which they’ve imagined their lives — and I’m talking about everyday working people, white people, black people, brown people — that they’re working harder but they’re not making the kind of money that they should be, that wages have flatlined, that CEOs are making a killing off the backs of everyday ordinary folks, that we’re as segregated and separated as we’ve ever been. And so the fundamentals of the country are such that it seems like this can’t work.
And typically in these sorts of moments people scapegoat. People fall on their fears. Right? So the reason why I’m not getting ahead, as it were, in Wisconsin, is because big government is giving free things to people who aren’t working hard. Right? And they’re the reason why we’re not getting ahead, so we scapegoat undocumented workers. We scapegoat black and brown people. So all of the contradictions are in full view.
And at the same time that that’s happening, people are trying to imagine the country differently. You have an opportunity for political realignment where the traditional labels of Republican and Democrat don’t seem to work anymore. Where the kind of traditional political dog whistles aren’t as effective, at least among a certain cohort. And so there’s possibility in the midst of this chaos. Right? So, you know, as James Baldwin said in his essay, we’re witnessing the death of the West as we know it. The question is how long and how expensive the funeral will be.
And so we’re here now, and I think part of this death is the Democratic Party, Jeremy. I think, I mean I’m so tired of corporate liberals.
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi: Well I thank you for your question, but I have to say we’re capitalist. And that’s just way it is. [She laughs.] However, we do think …
EG: This is really Republican-lite. I’m a country boy from Mississippi and, you know, I always have this view that when you give people a choice between a duck and something that acts like a duck, they’re going to choose the duck. And there’s a reason why Democrats have been losing down ballot for so long, is because they’re trying to imitate something. They’re not representing every day, ordinary people in the way they should. They’re just big money politicians in some ways.
JS: My concern is that if the Democrats don’t realize that there’s this growing tide — Black Lives Matter, immigrant rights movement, economic justice — that if there is this disconnect and the leaders of the Democratic Party actually manage to blow this moment to confront Trump institutionally, that it will result in a shattering of that party. And my sense is it might not be a bad thing, but it could, in the short term, aid in the consolidation of a sort of authoritarian power structure from an extreme right-wing political force in this country, plus Donald Trump, who is his own beast.
EG: Yeah I think that’s absolutely right. It seems to me that the Democratic Party has been preoccupied with a particular kind of voter, Jeremy. They want to get this white working class voter back. And so, that because there’s a sense that you can take for granted your base, right? There’s no other place where black folk can go, there’s really no other place where young progressives can go, Democrats can then focus all of their energy on appealing to this middle class or working class white worker or the middle class suburban white mom. And to the extent to which they take for granted this particular segment of its base, those folks are then demobilized because they’re not interested, they don’t see the party representing their interest. And so, many times folks not turning out to vote is an active political choice because they don’t find that the political actors in front of them will actually benefit their lives or do anything for them.
And what’s interesting to me about this is that you’re absolutely right in the sense that the Democrats continue a kind of pursuit of that line of argument or that particular political strategy actually colludes with the authoritarian shift. Because if they won’t stand in a very radical position, and in some ways we have to interrogate why they are not engaged in a much more radical articulation of what’s wrong with the country.
JS: Why do you think that is?
EG: Because they’re in cahoots with Big Money.
EG: I mean we need to be very, very clear. I mean Clintonism and its various iterations I think has a deep and very, very problematic relationship with Wall Street, with corporate America. And we can tell a story about the Democratic Party’s shift from unions and their support to Wall Street and their support. The current economic regime, the current political regime is not just simply a Republican story. Democrats are involved in it. And so if we’re going to radicalize the moment, we have to push it from below. And what you see is that the Democrats, at least the Democratic leadership, tend to believe that resistance to Trump is sufficient, when in fact when we look on the ground, we see that it’s much more than that.
It’s not just simply resistance to Trump, right? It’s about addressing the material conditions of everyday people. Folks who want a livable wage. Folks who don’t want to go broke if they get sick, right? Folks don’t want to be in perpetual war. And you see that there’s this kind of ongoing activism that life, as it is in this country, is no longer sustainable. We need to imagine something otherwise. And as that is happening on the ground, Democrats and Republicans, people who are invested in the status quo are trying to figure out how do we keep things as they are and they’re all going to get washed away as a result, I think.
JS: And one of the things that I think is interesting is how many politically radical young people of color seem to now be running, and their first hurdle they have to clear is the Democratic Party itself.
EG: [Laughs.] Exactly, and it’s not just simply young people of color, you know, you see young women of color who are really stepping up and really offering up kind of a progressive vision. And I think, in some ways, Jeremy, they’re trying to reclaim the word progressive and give it context.
I mean the political spectrum has narrowed in such a way that for some people in this country, Walter Mondale is radical.
EG: I mean, so you get a sense of the kind of political spectrum narrowing in such a way that it’s almost unimaginable for some people to think of a kind of politics that actually extends beyond our current political options.
When we look at these young folk who are pushing the Democratic Party, in fact, I think they’re doing something a little bit more radical. It’s not that they’re pushing the Democratic Party. They’re pushing the country. They’re trying to put forward a vision of who we can be that is radically different than who we currently are. And if the Democratic Party stands in the way of this, and I get in trouble about this all the time because some people blame me regularly, Jeremy, for the election of Donald Trump, because I said I would refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton. Some people still say that I can’t critique Trump because I’m one of the reasons why he got elected.
JS: In the eyes of some really rabid, sort of ultra-partisan Clinton Democrats, that is people like you are the big problem. Bernie Sanders is the problem.
EG: You know, as opposed to us trying to make the argument that we had an opportunity in that moment to really imagine ourselves otherwise, to break loose from the kind of political ideology that had overdetermined the Democratic Party and had defined it even through the Obama years. His people were so excited about having a black man in the White House, and oftentimes not paying attention to the policies. People are so upset with Trump and his immigration policies — well, you know Obama was deporter-in-chief. We can begin to talk about Trump and his foreign policy — you know the drone policy of the Obama administration. I mean, we can just go down the line.
And so we had an opportunity to really, you know, break open and young folk across the country I think we’re interested in doing this. And we saw the powers that be within the party try to silence it. If they try it this time, they’re going to be the reason why they lose. As long as the Democratic party proceeds along this path, Jeremy, that party will bear responsibility for the likes of Donald Trump.
JS: You know I’ve been listening to classic speeches throughout the Trump presidency. I sort of have gone back to listening to historic speeches and I’ve listened to a lot of Malcolm X, particularly speeches analyzing the state of the Democratic and Republican parties. And one theme that runs through and, of course, I don’t need to tell you this history, you teach it, is that with the overt white racists you know what you’re getting because they wear it on their sleeves.
Malcolm X: There are many whites who are trying to solve the problem, but you never see them going under the label of liberals. That white person that you see calling himself a liberal is the most dangerous thing in the entire Western Hemisphere. He’s the most deceitful. He’s like a fox. And a fox is almost always more dangerous in the forest than the wolf. You can see the wolf coming. You know what he’s up to. But the fox will fool you. He comes at you with his mouth shaped in such a way that even though you see his teeth you think he’s smiling and take him for a friend.
JS: And I sort of see that’s what we’re seeing with Trump. He is very pro particularly cop on the street. He encourages them to slam the heads of people they’re arresting into the car.
DJT: I said please don’t be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head. You know? The way you put the hand over — I said you can take the hand away. OK?
JS: Jeff Sessions talks about the Anglo heritage when he gives a speech in front of all of these sheriffs.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions: The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement.
JS: How much of our anger and our concern should be about the unique threats posed by Trump versus, wait a minute, everyone, wake up! This isn’t just about him. This is a pattern.
Like, you understand? I’m asking you a technical question. How do we sift through what part of this is because we have a white nationalist in the White House and is encouraging this, and how much of it is this is a serious, ongoing problem in America under both Democrats and Republicans?
EG: I think it’s the latter. I mean you’re hit it right on the head. I remember tweeting at some point that as we continue to fixate on Trump and the circus he commands that we needed to remember that he was only a severe symptom of what was wrong with our democracy. Much more work is required of us than just simply resisting him.
And that’s really important because you know we tend to have this kind of soap opera kind of approach or melodramatic approach to our problems that is to say we want to find easily identifiable evil people and the easily identifiable good people, which then allows you to excuse yourself from being complicit in the reproduction of all sorts of inequalities. Right?
I like to talk about racial habits. The way in which the value gap — that is this belief that white people matter more than others — animates so much of this country, organizes so much of our lives. And that to the extent to which that belief obtains, no matter what the inputs are, the outputs will be the same.
So whether you have Democrats or Republicans in office, if you have this process of evaluation of who’s valued more than others, then you’re going to continue to reproduce this. And this is evidence, Jeremy, in our habits, not just simply an unconscious bias, because unconscious bias is a phrase. The idea of unconscious bias means that we’re just doing this stuff and we’re not really, we don’t really know it and it’s hard to hold us accountable for it.
But habit talk is very different. If you have the habit of smoking cigarettes, you’re still accountable for that habit, right? And you can change it. And you can change it by changing your external environment and changing your personal behavior. So the value gap is sustained by racial habits and those racial habits are not the possession of simply loud racists.
And I used this example when I talk around the country. I believe the planet is getting warmer. I think climate change is real. But if you look at my day to day choices, you would think that I was a climate denier. Because of the light bulbs I use, the kind of car I drive. Right? Just some of the basic choices I make. And so you have people who say that I’m not racist, but then you look at the ways in which they live their lives, how they decide to choose, where they choose to send their kids to school, where they choose to live, the kind of micro-decisions that are being made every day that’s reproducing inequality.
And it’s very difficult to get at that moment we’re just looking at bad people and good people. Right? The bad racists over here and the good liberals over here. And then you can say when the Republicans are in office, see, they’re the bad racists, and when the Democrats are in office, they’re the good liberals, when in fact when it comes to policing, under both parties, right, black people and brown people and poor people are catching hell. They’re over-surveilled and under protected.
So when we fixate on Trump, he becomes the kind of avatar of all of our ugliness and we can absolve ourselves of the ugliness that we’re participating in daily, when, in fact, what is required of us is to look ourselves squarely in the face and look at all of those micro practices, those daily practices in terms of how we’re funding schools and how we’re OK with the fact that some of our children are going to schools that are utterly failing our children, and others are going to school where they’re getting opportunities that will set them up for life; how we’re talking about the ways in which people are literally being socialized from the moment they’re born to the moment they graduate high school, if they graduate high school, to become profits for private prisons. And we can go on and on and on and on to show how, in our day-to-day lives, we’re reproducing a society that is fundamentally racist and fundamentally unequal in so many ways.
JS: Having said all of that, what is unique about Trump or what is something that you think rises to the level of wait a minute here, this is not even normal considering our understanding of how bad the system is in this country. Like, what would you identify as issues that you think are sort of code red involving Trump.
EG: The fundamental thing is that we thought that the George Wallace strand of American politics was dead. And you know, from George Wallace to Pat Buchanan to Donald Trump, right?
And what’s interesting is that that particular strand of American politics has become mainstream. The fringe, you know, those white identity nationalists who are living in the mountains in Washington and in western Pennsylvania, right? They’re now at the heart, at the center of the political party that has control over the country.
And to my mind that is surprising in the sense that I grew up in a moment in which, you know, racial code words, dog whistles, with kind of political lexicon. Now it’s just foghorns. People don’t dog whistle. They just say it and activate all sorts of fears. And you combine that with the fact that the contradictions of neoliberalism are in full view.
And what do I mean by that? That it used to be the case that whiteness could protect you from the onrush of economic precarity. That you could be poor, but at least you weren’t those folks, right? Now it seems as if white elites don’t give a damn about poor white people.
And so even as they are being mobilized by way of their fears, they’re falling deeper and deeper into a precarious circumstance. Folks are deeply afraid and they’re being profoundly nativist and racist. Those are the conditions for a powder keg that could explode. Or they’re going to engage in foreign wars to divert our attention from what is the powder keg. To my mind, it’s just carnage on the horizon unless we mobilize and organize.
JS: You know, Eddie, when I watched the horrifying, despicable scene that was videotaped in the beating of DeAndre Harris in a garage in a building that was adjacent to the Charlottesville Police Department.
[Audio of the attack on DeAndre Harris.]
JS: I’m horrified at seeing overt Nazis beating a black man with weapons, but I couldn’t help but imagine the scene from when I was a much younger man of watching Rodney King being beaten by the police.
JS: And for me, those two scenes juxtaposed raise serious questions for us in our society. Is it more outrageous when a neo-Nazi mob of non-badged individuals beat a black man or is it worse when those with the badges are doing it? Because we’re seeing both of those on a regular basis. And I wonder about our morality when we face the violence of the state versus the violence of a mob that acts as a sort of proxy for the ideology of those in power right now.
I find myself often wondering where do we put the energy, because we have a pandemic issue of police killing young black people in this country, beating young people of color, and we also have Neo-Nazis doing it. But I’m asking, with so much disgusting, despicable violent criminal action from those wearing the badges, how do we then decide which instance is sort of the worst, or is the thing that we need to focus our energy on?
EG: Of the two, there’s only one group that has the authority to use deadly force. And so, you know, you have an entity, to use Althusser’s language, right? This is the repressive state apparatus, right? Police have the authority, right, to use deadly force, and to the extent to which they are using it unjustly, with regards to a population of folk, it seems to me that that’s an issue that must be front and center because it cuts to the heart of whether or not we’re a democracy or not. Right?
And it’s so easy to be horrified at Neo-Nazis beating a black man in a garage. That’s morally easy. It’s much more difficult to say that what happened to Sterling Brown, the NBA basketball player, what happened to him is just simply indicative of a form of policing that devalues that person, that human being, because of the color of their skin. You would never — could you imagine that happening to a white NBA player? Could you imagine that happening to a regular white citizen? It just doesn’t come into view. And if it did it would be so unusual that it would generate outrage.
Or, the police officer just recently in the Jersey Shore beating a white woman with his fist. So it seems to me that because police have the authority to use deadly force and if they’re using that force unjustly, they must be the object of concern for the citizenry. But because there’s always the presumption that black folk are engaged in some form of criminality, that white fears are justified in relation to black bodies, that the police exercising force vis-a-vis these people, right, we must always, according to some, give them the benefit of the doubt, while those fellow citizens who happen to be black and brown, and in some instances poor and white, have to endure the authoritarian impulses of folks with badges. Many of whom, as the FBI noted, because remember the FBI said police forces throughout the country have been infiltrated by white nationalist forces. Right? And then that just got swept under the rug. And then we have to, and then people like me, we have to raise our babies in the midst of this. We’ve got to make sure that our sons and daughters can survive this. And what we see Jeremy, over and over again, is the American public being OK with it, which suggests to me that we’re becoming moral monsters. Right? Because we’re OK it.
So the short answer to the question is that I think we have to focus on police violence. We have to because they have the authority to kill us. And if we leave them unchecked then we’re well on our way to not only an authoritarian regime, but the worst forms of it.
JS: To me, as we’ve seen this emerging narrative from Trump where black players are sons of bitches, where he puts pressure on the exclusively white owners of NFL teams to force these players to stand or else face financial penalties or an end to their careers, the big message that I see being sent from the Trump White House is that: I’m going to treat the most famous, the most wealthy, the most high-profile, the most elite of the black race like dirt, like animals. And I am going to force them to bow down using the national anthem as a personal weapon against them. That’s what Trump is doing. It’s both a personal and a political weapon.
But to me that is sending a message to all black people in this country that: I will do this to the most wealthy among you, the most elite among you, and I’ll call their mothers bitches, too.
EG: There’s a sense in this country that racial equality is a philanthropic enterprise. That it’s a charitable thing that white people give to black people. And that is not that these NFL players are the best at what they do in the world. Right? They should be thankful that they’re allowed to make millions of dollars. They should be thankful that we’re giving them a chance to be millionaires, multimillionaires. And if they’re not thankful, then we can call them and their moms whatever we want to call them. So racial equality is a gift that white folks give to black folks. That’s the first mistake.
Then you think about this as well: you know what’s happening during the national anthem. Folks are drinking beer and buying hotdogs. You go up in the stands: Are folks sitting and standing in reverence? What are folks doing milling about? So there’s this kind of selective patriotism, right? There is this selective view of who can be patriots and who are patriots and when is patriotism right to express, when is it appropriate to be expressed? So for some of Trump’s ardent supporters, Cliven Bundy is a patriot. And the NFL players who are protesting are not.
And you think about this: Every time black people protest in this country it becomes evidence for a certain segment of the country that we’re not loyal. Ever since the Haitian revolution, there has been an ongoing fear that black folk were going to revolt. Right? And Haiti’s been paying the cost ever since. But there’s been this fear that black slaves would rebel, that even the person who was cooking in your home would somehow poison you. That there was this sense that given the oppression that they faced; that white Americans knew that black folk did not like — or even more strongly — hated white folk. And that all we needed to do was see certain behavior to reveal the truth behind their mask.
So whenever black people protest, even today, it becomes emblematic of their disloyalty. Even when we’re protesting to make the country live up to what it just simply put on paper.
So what Trump is doing, outside of those things I just listed, is playing the culture war. So this is going to hit in August and September. Some black NFL players will have to make a decision; 70 percent of the NFL, I think, is black. They will have to make a collective decision how they’re going to behave. If they choose to continue to kneel, it’s going to happen right in the run-up to the midterms. And Trump will have his culture war to activate his base, to appeal to white fears, to appeal to ugliness, deep racism in the country as a way of mobilizing the electorate and getting his base out. But in the interim what we see is the cynical nature of racial politics in this country.
But I tell you now: There are some of us who love the country enough to criticize it. To criticize it relentlessly and without blinking. And that’s not about disloyalty at all. It’s about trying to imagine a new kingdom where justice is actually real for all Americans.
JS: Well, on that note, I want to thank you very much, Professor Eddie Glaude, Jr., for joining us here on Intercepted.
EG: It’s my pleasure. Thank you so much.
JS: Professor Eddie Glaude, Jr. is the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University. He is also chair of the Department of African American Studies there. He is the author of a number of books, among them “Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul” and “In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America.”
JS: And that does it for this week’s show. Just a heads up, on June 21st, mark your calendars, we are going to be doing a live episode of Intercepted from Brooklyn. Our featured guest is going to be the legendary reporter Seymour Hersh. His memoir is just coming out. It’s simply called, “Reporter.” We’re going to have more information at theintercept.com on how you can get tickets to attend this event. Again, that’s June 21st. It’s going to be in Brooklyn, New York.
If you are not yet a sustaining member of Intercepted, log on to theintercept.com/join. Make sure to check out our Twitter feed. It’s simply: @intercepted.
Intercepted is a production of First Look Media and The Intercept. We are distributed by Panoply.
Our producer is Jack D’Isidoro and our executive producer is Leital Molad. Laura Flynn is associate producer. Elise Swain is our assistant producer and graphic designer. Emily Kennedy does our transcripts.
Rick Kwan mixed the show. Our music, as always, was composed by DJ Spooky.
Until next week, I’m Jeremy Scahill.
Correction: May 31, 2018
The audio incorrectly refers to the federal agency of U.S. Customs and Border Protection as “Customs and Border Patrol.” The transcript has been updated to correct this error.