The Brilliant Podcast Episode 78: Layla AbdelRahim

  • Posted on: 5 September 2018
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

From The Brilliant

Layla is a pleasure to talk to and so the fact that she is in this series of podcasts is a bit of a misnomer. Which is not to say that we agree so much as to say that our disagreements aren't the focus of our conversation here. I'm happy to, and ended up, set Layla up to present her ideas and projects for the general anarchist space. I think they are interesting and more importantly, how she came to this place is very interesting. That is the bulk of this episode.

That said, if I were going to try to articulate how I think we should disagree with each other I'd start with information/data. Most of the "hot takes" I see on social media and whatnot start a disagreement off my misrepresenting someone else's position. Layla is a vegan anarcho-primitivist but I am not, in fact, interested enough in either topic (especially from the perspective of trying to somehow win them) to talk about them. But Layla is interested especially in how these principles (or ideologies depending on your point of view) apply to children, raising children, and literature around children. This is very interesting to me (especially as a non-breeder) and I really appreciated the chance to think about something deep and different than I would normally absolutely fulfilling.

Check out Layla in her own words
Email us at
We appreciate correspondence



Something about this series strikes me as bad faith. I agree with Aragorn on almost all the big topics of anarchism, so I like him for that reason, but sometimes his behavior leaves me wondering. Here for example, with this series, he's letting other anarchists (who in truth have shittier, less-developed ideas of anarchism than he does) talk a lot without stopping them or disagreeing with them (and then titles it "how to disagree" lolwut). Is this to let them make fools of themselves one wonders? Will he later mock them and/or their versions of anarchism? Anyone who has followed Aragorn and his projects for any length of time knows that he sat quietly while Layla said a zillion things that Aragorn finds objectionable, even laughable, and yet he didn't challenge her at all. Why? Does he think it makes him look good to get along so well with people he disagrees with by being a pushover? Does he like to promote versions of anarchism that he dislikes just so he has something to beef with?

I agree that these thematic episodes are hard to pull off. On the one hand I don't want to talk to my post-left friends only. On the other I want to not alienate other kinds of people out of the gate. I've recently reframed the project as a "anarchist theory podcast" which might inform you what I'm trying to do. Would I like to have interrogated LAR more about what I disagree with, sure. But I think building a relationship and trying to "babe in the woods" about her ideas is the more important project. Most people need the wind up and I don't need any more people thinking a jerk because the only gear I have is ATTACK! With the right people, I believe, we can come back around and get into it more.

Aragorn, why are you inviting babes into your woods?

I think that could be an interesting conversation. I asked him to participate and he declined.

A! and I had a really unpleasant set-to some years ago. A real 'room-clearer."
Saw no reason for a repeat and declined. Whereupon he's no longer hosting
my website.Well played, Aragorn.

and he continued to host you?
he is in fact amazingly patient, i guess.

When did A! host your website? I thought it was hosted by someone in Croatia?

the nerve to call you preferring to write about or talk about you to others. Well, that clearly is not true. It is the reverse, it is you avoiding Aragorn! I think you both talking on 'how to disagree' will be beneficial to both of you and you can both show us how two people can respectfully communicate and disagree. Come on JZ, at least, give it a try.

who cuts callers off when an intriguing conversation could have taken place; I'm thinking of SUDS asking JZ what it would take for him to leave Anarchy Radio and live to his so-called professed values and now you say he refused your invitation. Yet, JZ baits people including you to phone him. JZ will see this thread and can only wonder how he responds on his show. Personally, I don't understand his motive in asking people to call only to then cut them off or only have a brief chat. Come on JZ, take up Aragorn's offer, what's your reason why you won't do it?

He is evading responding to Bellamy's book with goofy and obviously false claims that Bellamy 'regrets writing it'. What difference would it make even if he did? It still stands as a legitimate critique of AP - this is just another thin AP logical fallacy, as Bellamy pointed out so many. I don't know how JZ thinks he sounds good by just saying "I haven't read it, so I can't respond to it!" I like some of JZ's writing, but he has shown himself over the years to be incapable of handling criticism in either a decent or sensible way.

Notice how JZ responds to other comments, but not the above one regarding Corrosive Consciousness? More evasion.

* I don't know how JZ thinks he sounds good by just saying "I haven't read it, so I can't respond to it!*
especially when he has absolutely responded to things without (or before) reading them, one of the issues of black seed being only the most recent example that I know of

Over 800 AR broadcasts and almost zero times cutting anyone off. Last week, with two co-hosts on board
I did cut off two callers, regretfully. Sudz was a some what frequent caller and a notoriously long-winded one. The pro-Pinker guy was insufferable for talking over all attempts to respond to the Pinker idiocies.I
have to let anyone who calls dominate my one hour per week? AR is a news show and I have much to
cover and comment upon, which is another factor.

Could you tell me in which episodes SUDS exposes himself as a Pinkier supporter? Not saying you're bullshitting but that's intriguing and I'd like to hear his rationale about it, if it ain't just a sack of crap beliefs.

Determinists are a major problem to anarchist theory as they are asserting a world of forced relations and organic structures that is very close to fascism, but at least are sharply conservative, and reduce the indvidual to be little next to shit.

You misunderstood JZ, Suds and the Pinkerton are different people.

John, you could start put your news clips and any links to them on your website which would leave more time for callers. Your show is way more interesting with callers. There are people who would relish the opportunity to challenge your ideas, and why not. But you can hold your own in this regard. You may even gain more support for your views. You seem to prefer brief calls because the show is only one hour. Why not announce some weeks, Anarchy Radio will take longer calls to allow for some argument/counter-argument. And don't ask for callers when you really want airwave time to be dedicated to co-presenters. Decide what format each show should take. Even announce the following week's show is going to be prioritised for long calls.

Why put out something with so much white noise and the two speakers volumes balanced so horribly that it is difficult to listen to without a hand on the volume?

A meta point that even if the content isn't miserable the form should make it so?

Aragorn said he'd never call into Anarchy Radio on the Brilliant once, so why would anyone expect JZ to sit down for a recorded conversation with Aragorn? Plus, so much of the Brilliant is bitching about JZ and KT. What would come of this "conversation" except to feed various internet trolls?

A! said he wouldn't do it because it'd be a brief soundbite with JZ framing both sides of the call - The Brilliant would mean an hour with just the two of them hashing it out unedited, a very different environment.

Yes, this is true. JZ does this often. I have noticed that about him. JZ thinks he is covering up his technique by fabricating humour along with a cheeky little snigger. This thread is outing JZ as the villain of the peace. No doubt, he launch a snarky remark or two in his next show. Aragorn! why did you keep it quiet that had invited JZ on for a discussion and that he had declined when so many people fling mud at you for dissing JZ, for example, over your hilarious episode with Rotn and the Brilliant series you did on technology. You have now shown you're are willing to have a discussion with JZ about how to disagree where much of this could be used as a basis for the discussion. I would love to hear you both debate your own personal perspectives as you both have thought-provoking perspectives (and humour). JZ can get a tad tetchy when folk disagree with him which shows that he cares. I mean, he has put his life into it so he is allowed to be tetchy. JZ, you gotta ditch that re-framing of the callers, you have been sussed out. No doubt KT will be wading in with a rant or two mixed with a few choice swear words, as he beats his chest doing his ancestral war dance in his front room.

Aragorn! was a vegan of 20 years! What were your reasons for going vegan and how come you stopped? I think diet is fundamental and it is talked about because so much land and infrastructure is dedicated to it and who eats what is 'privilege' and who doesn't eat is used for dominating. Availability and variety of food is a control issue. Likewise, access to water is now a real issue so even though you, Aragorn! don't spend that much time eating. you must be well aware of food politics. It was an interesting podcast and I am requesting that you and Layla continue and go into more depth and nuance. I think your question asking Layla about how she lives her everyday life in terms of how and what forms the basis of her decisions (as an anarchist, vegan, anti-civ and primitivist). This isn't necessarily being voyeuristic; it is getting into the nitty gritty consequences of having a particular worldview and what costs/sacrifices are made by, in this instance, Layla. Understandably, Layla has withdrawn somewhat from people because of the way they react to her for being who she is. Personally, I find her to be a very interesting person to listen to and doesn't receive the plaudits because she is not a chest-beating, ranting white male. Aragorn! did you ask Layla if she had read Black and Green Review and/or whether she has been invited to write a piece for it? Interesting that Zerzan gets discussed but Tucker, not a word! Finally, Bellamy said he and Layla were going to converse for Backwoods, is this still the case?

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Enter the code without spaces.