No Wall They Can Build, Episode 10


From East to West, Part I - Chaos and Order, and Transformation

Listen to the Episode — 41 min


Welcome to Episode 10 of No Wall They Can Build, the Ex-Worker Podcast’s serialized audiobook exploring borders and migration across North America. Over the past two months, we’ve explored the ins and outs of irregular migration across the US/Mexico border. Where does it leave us? As the crises produced by climate change and economic exploitations intensify across the world, revolutions turn in to wars, which beget tyranny, which in turn provoke revolutions. In this climate of escalating chaos, what can we do? This episode explores the meaning of revolution in the twenty-first century, looking at the forms it has taken and assessing what it would take to defend it today. The Zapatista struggle offers one of the most durable and promising models of autonomy we’ve seen in recent decades—yet the limits it has encountered point towards unavoidable contradictions facing those who wish to avoid warfare and bloodshed but also cannot defend their achievements against remorseless foes without the force of arms. A harrowing story about the siege of San Juan Copala, an indigenous community whose effort to secure autonomy from the Mexican state was brutally crushed, illustrates the agonizing dilemma that faces would-be revolutionaries today. This episode offers an unflinching look at the perils confronting those who would defy these global systems driving displacement and death, setting the stage for our final installment next week on solidarity and coming home.

Notes and Links

  • Table of Contents:
    • Introduction {0:01}
    • From East to West {0:14}
    • Chaos and Order {6:25}
    • Story 1: The Parable of the River {10:35}
    • Transformation {16:25}
    • Frederick Douglass on Struggle {16:35}
    • Revolution {17:42}
    • A Hard Lesson {20:40}
    • Story 2: The Siege of San Juan Copala {27:10}
    • A Last Word From Malcolm X {39:50}
    • Conclusion {40:04}
  • Note: For this audiobook, we will not provide full transcripts of the text of each episode as we do for The Ex-Worker or The Hotwire. If you want to read along, you can find the book in PDF. This week’s episode covers pages 174 to 196.

  • You can check out our poster diagramming the North American border regime and immigrant solidarity stickers.

  • Stay tuned next week for the final episode in the series—Episode 11: From East to West, Part II: Solidarity, and Home.