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Religious Socialism Podcast

Author: DSA Religion and Socialism Commission

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The Podcast "Heart of a Heartless World" of the Religion and Socialism Commission of the Democratic Socialists of America. Host: Fran Quigley. Producer: Jeremy McMahan. Music: "Absolute Unit 5" by Party Dark. Patreon page:
30 Episodes
Black Radical Traditions

Black Radical Traditions


The spirit of black radical traditions, at their best, can turn the world upside down and help usher in a political economy of dignity, voice, and decision-making power for working-class communities. Liberationist streams of black radical spirituality are as contemporary as Alice Walker’s call for democratic socialist womanism, as old as Reverend George Washington Woodbey’s Black Baptist socialism and beyond. This discussion between Rev. Andrew Wilkes and Rev. Sekou, artist, author, and public theologian, is part of an ongoing series on faith and socialism. In this conversation, Rev. Wilkes and Rev. Sekou talk about the ethical and religious streams within black radical traditions and the implications for our times
After exit polls from the November election showed 72% of voters wanted Medicare for All, Medicare for All Indiana and the Religious Socialism Committee of Central Indiana DSA convened on November 24th a Multifaith Forum on Medicare for All, recorded and available as our podcast episode. Panelists discussing their faith’s shared commitment to universal healthcare as a moral imperative included: Rabbi Jordana Chernow-Reader, Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation; Rev. David W. Greene, Sr., Purpose of Life Ministries (Second Baptist) and President, Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis; Hebah Kassem, Muslim Medicare for All Activist and DSA member; and Fr. Charles Allen, Episcopal Priest and Member, Religious Socialism Committee of Central Indiana DSA. The moderator was Fran Quigley, director of the Health and Human Rights Clinic at Indiana University McKinney School of Law and member of the Religious Socialism Working Group and Central Indiana DSA.
Jewish Traditions of Socialism Our latest episode of ‘Heart of a Heartless World’ is a recording of our October 26th webinar conversation between Rev. Andrew Wilkes and Rabbi Andy Bachman, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Project and former senior rabbi at Congregation Beth Elohim, about how Jewish traditions of socialism, from Martin Buber’s reflections on Utopia to the labor organizing and organic intellectuals of the early twentieth century, have helped create a political economy where workers’ dignity and decision making power is prioritized and can, going forward, inform and inspire contemporary movements of religious socialism.
John D'Emilio joins "Heart of a Heartless World" to discuss the history of Bayard Rustin, a Quaker and democratic socialist who introduced nonviolent tactics to the civil rights movement and organized the March on Washington. After years of organizing protests, Rustin argued after Lyndon B. Johnson's election that the left needed to move "from protest to politics" and engage directly with the political system while building broad-based coalitions. In this episode John D'Emilio charts the similarities between Rustin's engagement with LBJ's administration and the left's challenge with an incoming Biden administration. John D’Emilio is a pioneer in the field of gay and lesbian studies and is professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he taught in the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and the Department of History. He is currently president of the board of the Gerber/Hart Library and Archives, a Chicago community-based LGBTQ history archives and cultural center. Resources: John D'Emilio, Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin (2003): Interview with John D'Emilio with Meagan Day, "Capitalism made gay identity possible. Now we must destroy capitalism." (2020): John D'Emilio, "Capitalism and Gay Identity" (1983): John D'Emilio, Queer Legacies: Stories from Chicago's LGBTQ Archives, (2020):
Our latest episode of ‘Heart of a Heartless World’ is a recording of a webinar DSA’s NYC chapter hosted with faith leaders on how American apocalyptic thinking gets in the way building a better future, how to decolonize the apocalypse, and the potential for societal transformation through a just transition towards ecosocialism. On October 13th Ryan Felder (3rd Year MDiv at Union Theological Seminary) facilitated the panel which included Rev. Chelsea MacMillan (interfaith minister, Extinction Rebellion Activist, and co-founder Brooklyn Center for Sacred Activism), Shay O’Reily (Lutheran lay leader and climate organizer), and Nathan Albright (writer with The Flood and Catholic Worker). 
 Our next webinar discussion will feature Rev. Andrew Wilkes and Rev. Sekou, artist, author, and public theologian, in conversation about the ethical and religious streams of the Black radical tradition on Thursday, November 19th. For more information and to register:
Our latest episode of “Heart of a Heartless World” is a recording of our September 30th webinar conversation with Bhaskar Sunkara, founding publisher and editor of Jacobin magazine, and Rev. Andrew Wilkes. They discussed the role of religion and faith traditions within the wider socialist movement and Left politics.
Our latest episode of “Heart of a Heartless World” is a recording of our August 20 webinar between Rev. Andrew Wilkes and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, National Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, about the campaign, its faith-rooted vision, and how the movement presents a concrete way to shift our political economy, uproot white supremacy, and expand the decision-making power of workers in a way that emerges from our religious and ethical traditions.
Our latest episode of "Heart of a Heartless World" is a recording of the latest webinar put on by the Religion & Socialist working group. On July 16th, Linda Sarsour, the co-founder of Until Freedom and former co-chair of the Women’s March, spoke with Rev. Andrew Wilkes, a pastor, policy director, and member of Religious Socialism’s editorial group, about how faith traditions can help undergird abolition, undo structural racism, and push toward a fundamental restructuring of our political economy. This Thursday, August 20th, at 7:30pm EDT, Rev. Wilkes will be in conversation with Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, National Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, on how to build an inclusive movement for economic justice. We hope you enjoy the podcast, and can join us at the webinar! Go here to RSVP:
The latest episode of Heart of a Heartless World is an interview with Rev. Andrew Wilkes, longtime member of DSA, a contributor to the Religion and Socialism Working Group, and a writer for outlets such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, Sojourners and others. A doctoral candidate in political science at the Graduate Center in the City University of New York and former Executive Director of the Drum Major Institute, Rev. Wilkes is co-pastor along with his wife Rev. Gabby Cudjoe-Wilkes at the Double Love Experience, We talk with Rev. Wilkes about the forthcoming event, “Faith, Abolition, and Socialism,” a panel discussion on Thursday, July 16th, 2020 at 7:30PM EDT. This is the first event in a conversation series organized by the Democratic Socialists of America’s Religion and Socialism working group. Rev. Wilkes will be in conversation with Linda Sarsour, the co-founder of Until Freedom and former co-chair of the Women’s March, on how faith traditions can help undergird abolition, undo structural racism, and push toward a fundamental restructuring of our political economy. We hope you can join us! Go here to RSVP:
Kristin Jordan, aka KRJ, is a poet and activist in the Harlem community, where she has started an independent publishing company that focuses on Black and Latino literary activists. She is a member of DSA and is the Social Justice Chair for United Methodist Women at Salem Church, as well as being an active Buddhist. KRJ shares with us her years of experience in the Black Lives Matter and police accountability movements, and what opportunities and challenges she sees in the current wave of activism. She also talks about how her Christian and Buddhist practices complement each other, and about attending an event to support women candidates, only to discover that the candidate that should come forward was her! Now, KRJ is aiming to take her activism to City Hall as a candidate for New York City Council. Enjoy this conversation, and for more information check out
Imaan Javeed Podcast Notes Our latest episode of “Heart of a Heartless World” features an interview with Imaan Javeed, a writer and medical student, discussing the relationship between Islam and socialism. “There are so many different statements in the Quran and in the Hadith that clearly point to the goal of the society being to provide for the needs of everyone, and discussing how can we create a more just society. The Quran itself says, ‘Work towards justice, even if it means justice against yourself.’ So any step we take towards a more socialist society is taking a step towards that goal of being able to provide for everyone's needs. And it's just really clear as day.” “Another connection between Islam and socialism is that they are both ‘dirty words’ that are smeared by the media and the establishment . . . Much like socialism, Islam has this targeted misinformation campaign against it launched by powerful people. Education and teaching people what Islam is actually about and what socialism is actually about is an important way to fight back.” To read a recent Religious Socialism article profiling other Muslim socialists: To learn more about Islam, Imaan Javeed suggests the following resources: · Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions, · The Yaqeen Institute. · Institute for Social Policy and Understanding,
Dr. Edgar Rivera Colón on the Latinx community, sexuality, and the churches In this episode of the RS podcast, Heart in a Heartless World, our guest Dr. Edgar Rivera Colón is a medical anthropologist who trains African-American and Latinx activists to prevent HIV and AIDS in their communities. He is of Puerto Rican descent, an expert in Latino gay and bisexual culture and HIV, and is a Christian and socialist. He speaks to our host Elisa Batista on how all of his identities form his desire for a more humanitarian and just world. To follow Dr. Rivera Colón's work, go to the "Karl Marx Ate My Field Notes" podcast, the "Militant Tenderness" YouTube channel, and/or his Facebook page. Karl Marx Ate My Field Notes…es/id1477005233 Miltant Tenderness Dr. Edgar Rivera Colón Facebook
Dr. Edgar Rivera Colón sobre la comunidad latinx, la sexualidad, y las iglesias En este capítulo del podcast RS, <> o Un corazón en un mundo sin corazón, nuestro invitado Dr. Edgar Rivera Colón es un antropólogo médico quien entrena a activistas afroamericanos y latinos en métodos de indagación para prevenir al VIH y SIDA en sus comunidades. Él es de raices puertorriqueñas, un experto en la cultura latina gay y bisexual y el VIH, y un cristiano y socialista. Él platica con nuestra locutora Elisa Batista como todos sus identidades forman su deseo para un mundo más humanitario y justo. Pueden seguir al Dr. Rivera Colón en su podcast Karl Marx Ate My Field Notes, por su canal de YouTube Miltant Tenderness y/o su página de Facebook. Karl Marx Ate My Field Notes Miltant Tenderness Dr. Edgar Rivera Colón Facebook
In this episode of the RS podcast, Heart in a Heartless World,, our guest is Colleen Shaddox, a devout Roman Catholic, a committed socialist, and a veteran healthcare journalist. Shaddox’s articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, and many other outlets. Along with her co-author Joanne Goldblum, Shaddox just completed a book on the everyday lives of persons living in poverty and the broken policies that cause their suffering. Shaddox is interviewed in this episode by the Religion and Socialism Working Group member Fran Quigley. They discuss the connection between Catholicism and socialism, what socialism has to say about the COVID-19 pandemic and access to healthcare, what progressive Christians should be doing in response to reactionary Christianity, and Colleen’s interesting paths to Roman Catholicism, socialism, and writing about healthcare. “It’s Matthew 25, right?” Shaddox says. “You're supposed to feed the hungry and care for the sick, and we don't do that under capitalism.” Some of Colleen Shaddox’s healthcare journalism can be found here, and her book can be pre-ordered here. Look on our website for more about DSA’s Religion and Socialism Working Group.
Jay Forth is a graduate from Duke Divinity, a director of homeless outreach at a nonprofit in DC, previously he was the executive director of Festival Center, a faith-based space for organizing. In this wide-ranging conversation, Sarah talks with Jay about a paper he published linking the book, The Making of the Indebted Man: An Essay on the Neoliberal Condition by Maurizio Lazzarato and Jonathan Edwards’s sermon on sinners in the hands of an angry God. He also shares what it was like to grow up with black Jamaican immigrant parents, tenant organizing, and why queerness should not be just an identity, seamlessly connecting threads from racism to queerness to capitalism to the gospel.
Maxine Phillips leads DSA’s religion and socialism working group nationally. She is a retired executive editor of Dissent, former DSA national director, and current volunteer editor of "Democratic Left." She has been part of DSA since the late 70's and oversaw the Religion & Socialism print newsletter for decades, which included articles from Cornel West, Arthur Waskow, and Dorothy Sollee. This interview captures lots of her insights on the differences between each generation of DSA, and reflections on the parallels and differences between church and socialist spaces.
Daniel Soyer is professor at Fordham and a scholar of American Jewish history. He is a co-editor, along with Irena Klepfisz, of The Stars Bear Witness: The Jewish Labor Bund 1897 - 2017. Our interview with him is the second of a two-part series on the Jewish Labor Bund; it covers the origins and operations of the Bund in Eastern Europe, American Bundist history, as well as how Jewish immigrant communities formed the backbone of socialist political activity in NYC and throughout America. Our music is “Made and Broken” by Hugel. Support us on
Today, April 19th, is the 76th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It was the largest single revolt by Jews during WWII and it was mostly organized by the Bund, a secular Jewish socialist movement. Irena Klepfisz was born in the Warsaw Ghetto and fled with her mother to the United States when she was eight. She is now a noted poet, writer, Yiddish translator, anti-occupation activist, known for her work in lesbian, feminist and Jewish spaces. This personal interview touches on Irena's childhood, the "zeitgeist" of American Jewish bundist life, coming out in the 1970's, her activism against Israel's occupation, and how she makes sense of the contemporary resurgence of interest in Yiddish. Part 2 of this interview series will feature Daniel Soyer, who will provide a historical and academic perspective on the Jewish Labor Bund.
How do we fight the demonic principalities behind climate change? Shay O’Reilly is an organizer for renewable energy in NYC, a DSA member, a Lutheran, and a graduate of UnionTheological Seminary. We chat with him on why he believes in demonic powers (see: white supremacy), why fighting climate change necessarily means fighting for socialism, how he got into environmental issues through anti-poverty work, as well as his experience of converting to Christianity shortly after coming out as trans and gay. Yes, it’s a packed episode! Follow him on Twitter @shaygabriel
This is an equal parts hilarious and insightful episode of Religious Socialism podcast. Kelli Dunham is an author, comedian and storyteller — she’s the founder of Queer Memoir, a storytelling series for the queer community and stand-up comedian. But in this podcast, she recounts her religious history — from her childhood attending drive-in churches in Florida, her time at a gay conversion camp, and seven years as a nun in the Missionaries of Charity. Between laughs, she reaches some poignant truths about similarities in the socialist ethic among churches and queer communities, and how laughter can be a healing force. See below to learn more about Kelli Dunham and the podcast: Religious Socialism Podcast is hosted by Sarah Ngu and produced by Devin Briski. Our music is “Made and Broken” by Hugel.
Comments (1)

Annice Barber-petroff

For me a quote from Dorothy Day really helps sum up my relationship with the church, and that of many activists and liberals. "I love the church for Christ made evident. Not for itself, for it has so often been a scandal to me."

Jul 14th
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