The Poplar Tapes
Canada on Turtle Island: Early Settler History, the Fur Trade, and Lost Futures

Canada on Turtle Island: Early Settler History, the Fur Trade, and Lost Futures

July 1, 2020

In this episode, Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos revisit and contemplate historical moments and trajectories that trace out certain facets of the encounter between Europeans and Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island. Taking a dual historical approach that blends Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s decolonial methodology of Indigenizing discourse with a historical materialist analysis borrowed from Marxism, we consider some of the effects of the colonial dynamics of the European-Indigenous fur trade on both Indigenous and European societies and examine the structure and evolution of specific French trading companies to pinpoint their roles both as vanguards of European economic trading practices and as founding components to the Canadian settler colonial state. These accounts are followed by a look at the Treaty of Niagara and the Royal Proclamation of 1763, two significant historical events and documents that, had their principles been respected, could have changed the course of history in Indigenous-settler political relations.

Bibliography:

Borrows, John. “Wampum at Niagara: The Royal Proclamation, Canadian Legal History, and Self-Government.” Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in Canada ed. Michael Asch. UBC Press, 1997.

Delalande, J. Le conseil souverain de la Nouvelle-France. Québec: LSA. Proulx, 1927.

Hill, Gord. 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance. PM Press, 2010.

Hill, Susan M. The Clay We are Made Of: Haudenosaunee Land Tenure on the Grand River. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 2017.

Innis, Harold. The Fur Trade in Canada: An Introduction to Canadian Economic History. Revised edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999.

Kimmerer, Robin Wall. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2013.

Marx, Karl. Selected Writings. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994. 

Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake. A Short History of the Blockade: Giant Beavers, Diplomacy & Regeneration in Nishnaabewin. CLC Kreisel Lecture Series. University of Alberta Press, 2021.

Demystifying Climate Science with Anna Bishop

Demystifying Climate Science with Anna Bishop

May 27, 2020

In this episode, Kiegan Irish, Alex Boos, and Alex Edwards are joined by guest Anna Bishop, who recently completed a master’s in biogeochemistry from the University of Alberta, to elucidate the world of climate science and its methods of understanding climate change. Join us as Anna demystifies climate science with language that balances the rigour of science with clarity and accessibility.

New Media Roundtable

New Media Roundtable

April 24, 2020

Now, something a little different for The Poplar Tapes. This time around, Kiegan Irish joined a roundtable with other creators to discuss left media, free speech, contemporary American politics, the differences between socialism and liberalism, and more!

A big thank you goes out to Toby Buckle from the Political Philosophy Podcast for organizing the roundtable and to everyone else who took part!

Check out their projects here:

Jerb:
https://twitter.com/Jerbivore
https://www.spreaker.com/show/jerb-th...

Political Philosophy Podcast:
https://www.politicalphilosophypodcas...
https://twitter.com/PolPhilPod

Chrisiousity:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn1b...
https://twitter.com/chrisiousity

Embrace the Void:
https://voidpod.com/
https://twitter.com/ETVPod

Bernie and Populism: Failures and Lessons

Bernie and Populism: Failures and Lessons

March 31, 2020

In this episode Alex Edwards and Kiegan Irish discuss the Bernie Sanders primary campaign. Bernie had a huge amount of momentum and grassroots support, yet a ripple of electoral losses led to a struggling campaign. We discuss in detail what went wrong at the level of strategy and rhetoric. We look at the campaign through the lens of populism and enumerate our diagnoses as well as offering prescriptions for building genuine power on the left.

COVID-19: Origins, Agribusiness, Climate Change and the Future

COVID-19: Origins, Agribusiness, Climate Change and the Future

March 28, 2020

In this episode, Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos discuss the novel coronavirus, a.k.a COVID-19. We investigate its origins and draw out the connections between industrial agricultural practices, globalization, climate change, and the spread of the virus. We then do a deep dive into the relationship to nature embodied in the global economic order and how our lasting social, political, and economic problems have shaped the current crisis. What does this mean for our future? How does the left advocate for change rather than a return to the normality which led to this situation in the first place?

Wet’suwet’en and the Age of Finance Capitalism

Wet’suwet’en and the Age of Finance Capitalism

March 19, 2020

In this episode, Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos discuss an essay entitled “Racialized Accumulation by Dispossession in the Age of Finance Capitalism: Notes on the Debt Economy” from Jackie Wang’s book Carceral Capitalism. Distilling Wang's critical reworkings of Rosa Luxemberg’s concept of hybrid capitalism and her reflections on systems of expropriation and indebtedness specific to the age of finance capitalism, we consider how they can be reapplied to the context of Canadian settler colonialism, Coastal Gas Link and the RCMP raid into Wet’suwet’en traditional territory in the early hours of the morning on February 6th, 2020. 

To donate: 
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Coulrophobia: The Evil Clown as Cultural Metaphor

Coulrophobia: The Evil Clown as Cultural Metaphor

January 19, 2020

In this episode, Kiegan Irish and Alex Boos discuss the history of the figure of the clown from the Feast of Fools to Ronald McDonald, and its eventual development into the 'evil' clown, which plays a recurring role in particular as a signifier in the popular culture of today. Taking the horror genre as a pivotal point of departure, we then consider the political anxieties the evil clown embodies for our contemporary political moment.

Special thanks goes out to Dan Boos and Jacob Irish for editing and postproduction!

2019 Federal Election Blues

2019 Federal Election Blues

October 18, 2019

In this episode, Kiegan Irish, Mike Fong, and Alex Boos discuss Canada's upcoming federal election with a conversational approach, covering a broad range of topics. We talk through how to orient ourselves towards the different political parties and the political system in Canada as a whole. We talk about voting, not voting, democracy, the concepts of "voter apathy" and "strategic voting," Canadian history and identity, party rhetoric, the Canadian media and the construction of the Canadian public. Join us! And get yourself set straight (or maybe crooked) as you go into the voting booth this Monday! Special thanks goes out to Dan Boos for editing and Jacob Irish for postproduction. 

Han, Byung-Chul. Psychopolitics: Neoliberalism and New Technologies of Power. trans. Erik Butler. Verso, 2017. 

Simpson, Audra. Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States. Duke University Press, 2014. 

Corruption in Canadian Banks: Is There No Alternative?

Corruption in Canadian Banks: Is There No Alternative?

September 10, 2019

In this episode, Kiegan Irish, Alex Boos and Alex Edwards discuss reporting from 2017 and 2018 on corruption in Canadian banking culture and embed these reports in the wider context of our capitalist economy with a reading of Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism. We look at the banking practices of Canada’s banks and the federal government’s response to these banking practices and draw from Fisher’s concepts of market Stalinism and bureaucratic anti-production. What constitutes the discourse around “legitimate” and “realistic” banking practices? How have technologies changed the face of Canada's banking industry? Are there alternatives? We discuss all this and more. 

Books:
Fisher, Mark. Capitalist Realism. Hants: 0 books, 2009. 

FCAC report: 
https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/programs/research/bank-sales-practices.html

Media reports:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/td-bank-employees-admit-to-breaking-law-1.4016569

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/td-tellers-desperate-to-meet-increasing-sales-goals-1.4006743

Special thanks goes out to Jacob Irish and Daniel Boos for post-production work

False Dichotomies in Politics: Hillary vs. Trump; Green New Deal vs. Labour Rights

False Dichotomies in Politics: Hillary vs. Trump; Green New Deal vs. Labour Rights

July 10, 2019

In this episode Alex Edwards, Kiegan Irish, and Alex Boos discuss false dichotomies in our political discourse. We look at how these dichotomies are set up intentionally by those in positions of political power to divide an electorate and achieve their goals. 

We look at three examples of these false dichotomies. First, the 2016 American election of Hillary vs. Trump, second the Green New Deal vs. its detractors who oppose it to the labour rights of workers in the fossil fuels sector, and third the distinction between pragmatic and utopian politics in the face of a climate crisis. 

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