A new generation of leftists are fighting the alt-right and influencing the progressive discourse one video essay at a time. We asked anarchist and libertarian socialist Angie Speaks about engaging with the isolation and loneliness produced by a society colonized by corporatism
TAYA GRAHAM: A recent poll revealed that nearly half of all millennials do not believe in capitalism and who can blame them? Record student debt, low paying jobs, and a system incapable of addressing global warming. It’s a litany of ills that more than explains in generation’s disaffection with the system that has produced such dismal results. But for some, the skepticism goes beyond material wellbeing and into the realm of the psyche. That is the impact of all these aforementioned problems has affected the collective mental health of a generation. However, thanks to group of progressive thinkers, the destructiveness of capitalism is not going unaddressed. And one of the most resonant voices on the subject is my next guest.
Her incisive analysis and wit have found form in a lively dialogue about what it means to be progressive and what it also means to be leftist and black. Her name is Angie Speaks. Angie is a leftist video essayist and YouTuber. She’s a socialist and an anarchist. And her provocative take on both progressive ideas and race have made her one of the leading voices of both subjects. Angie, thank you so much for joining me.
ANGIE SPEAKS: Thank you very much for having me.
TAYA GRAHAM: So first, just a general question. Why do you think millennials are in general dissatisfied with capitalism?
ANGIE SPEAKS: Well, I mean, as you said in the beginning, it’s the thing that’s causing most of the problems in our lives. You know, most of us kind of came of age during the 2008 economic crash. Some of us went through things like foreclosure with our parents. There’s been a lot of upheaval in terms of student loan debt and the effect that that’s having on our ability to have the same sort of social mobility that our parents and previous generations had. It’s quite impossible not to look at the problems that we face on a macro scale and not try to have somewhat of a more robust anti-capitalist critique because that’s inevitably where the rabbit hole leads you. Yeah.
TAYA GRAHAM: Now you made a great video titled “Who Are Black Leftists Supposed to Be?” So let’s just watch a little bit of it.
ANGIE SPEAKS: What exactly is it that you’re looking for again?
SPEAKER: A strong woman of color, Angie. We like to call that a strong WOC around here, a yaas queen who will slay all day on our behalf. Preferably, one that carries hot sauce in her bag.
ANGIE SPEAKS: I don’t really know what that means, but okay.
TAYA GRAHAM: Okay. I find this bit hilarious because it really engages with some of the stereotypes of white leftists. Their expectations of what black women should bring to the discourse. It’s hot sauce in a purse, not a copy of Das Kapital. So what would you say are some of the challenges you have had when interacting with leftists? What are their expectations and how have you confounded them?