Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat & Chew Café

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat & Chew Café

Connecting ordinary people with extraordinary action

We’re not letting a global pandemic stop us from catching up with some of our favorite activists, journalists and authors! Every other Tuesday, Hightower sits down with a new guest to discuss the historical roots of the work we’re all passionate about, and how we can apply that rich history to the ways We the People are igniting and fanning the fires of change. 

Watch Past Episodes

MOTHER NATURE LAWYERS UP: Happy Hour with Hightower, Alexis Bunten, and Samantha Skenandore

January 18, 2022

The Lorax speaks for the trees in Dr. Seuss books, but who speaks for them in real life? A revolutionary movement aims to surpass the corporate-controlled, business-as-usual model of environmental regulation, and give nature its own inalienable rights. It’s not a new idea– it’s centuries old and widely practiced among some of the most experienced environmental stewards in our country: Indigenous Americans– and is causing panic in the boardrooms of America. Join us as we chat with Alexis Bunten (Unangax̂/Yup’ik), Co-Director of Indigeneity programs at Bioneers, and Samantha Skenandore (member, Ho-Chunk Nation), lawyer and advocate, to learn more about rights of nature, and what other overlapping movements can learn from it.

LAUGHING MATTERS: Happy Hour with Zahra Noorbakhsh and Steve Skrovan

December 14, 2021

Does the state of politics make you want to cry? Wait! There’s another way – and here at the Chat & Chew Café, we choose laughing. Join Hightower at 7 ET on Tuesday, Dec 14th, as he chats and chortles with comedians Zahra Noorbaksh (On Behalf of All Muslims & #GoodMuslimBadMuslim) and Steve Skrovan (Everybody Loves Raymond) to laugh at 2021 and brace ourselves for the fights ahead.

DINNER DEMOCRACY: Happy Hour with Hightower, Tom Philpott, and Raj Patel

November 16, 2021

As we head towards Thanksgiving, our minds are all on one of our favorite topics: FOOD! What power do people really have if we can’t even control what’s in our dinner and where it comes from? Hightower sits down with journalist Tom Philpott and economist Raj Patel to discuss the future of food– from overhyped lab “meat” (!) to restaurant worker dignity to Black farmer reparations and more. 

CHILD CARE NOW! Happy Hour with Hightower & Bryce Covert

OCTOBER 19, 2021

For decades, the American child care “system,” if one can call it that, has been in shambles thanks to its market-based approach and pressure on parents to make things work in impossible situations. But with the #BuildBackBetter bill, we have an opportunity to rescue American families and invest in the full-blown systems that will support our most important assets: our kids! Hightower will sit down with journalist Bryce Covert (NYTimes, The Nation, more) to talk about the policies and culture change we need to make it all a reality.

THE ELEPHANT IN THE WOMB: Happy Hour with Hightower and Loretta J. Ross

SEPTEMBER 21, 2021

The outrage over the Texas abortion ban crosses all lines of race, class, and gender, and the Supremes have, so far, gone along with the insidious law.  So how on earth can we move forward with reproductive justice for ALL people? Activist, public intellectual and professor Loretta Ross has devoted her life to this work, and her experiences give her profound insights into what reaches everyday people–and what doesn’t. Join Hightower and Loretta LIVE for this lively conversation.

LOOK WHO’S ORGANIZING NOW: Happy Hour with Hightower, Larry Cohen, Sara Steffens & More


American workers are fed up with low wages, terrible working conditions, minimal benefits and so much more in their jobs. From tech to warehouses to retail to journalism, people are getting together, and FIGHTING together, for work justice. Join Hightower, Larry Cohen of Our Revolution, Sara Steffens of CWA, and more, for a righteous happy hour of rabble rousing.

Happy Hour with Hightower & the Right to Repair Movement

July 13, 2021

You bought it, you own it–and that means if it broke, you can fix it, right? Not so fast! Turns out, the greedhead corporate makers of stuff from iPhones to John Deere tractors have made it illegal (!) for us consumers to fix our *own stuff* in an effort to bilk us out of even more money. This Tuesday, July 13 at 7 pm ET, Hightower will be joined at the Chat & Chew by Nathan Proctor of Public Interest Research Group, Willie Cade of Repair.org, and Walter Schweitzer of the Montana Farmers Union– all leaders of the fast-rising Right to Repair consumer movement. Grab a libation and come on down!

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Rick Levy (TX AFL-CIO) and USW Beaumont Workers

JUNE 29, 2021

While ExxonMobil holds out for huge changes to seniority, safety, and layoffs, the massively profitable corporation has locked out 650 workers in Beaumont, TX–and with no paychecks for eight weeks, the workers are hurting. On our next Lowdown Happy Hour, we’re meeting up with a few of the workers as well as Rick Levy, president of the Texas AFL-CIO. The convo will shed light on what’s a stake, for these workers and for the country. Join us!

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Beto O’Rourke & Paula Littles

JUNE 15, 2021

You’ve no doubt heard about the egregious legislation coming out of the Lone Star State that’s threatening the very foundation of democracy: voting. What’s an everyday person to do about it? Lots! Organizations all around the state are gearing up for the battle of a generation, and disproving the myth that Texas is fundamentally “conservative.” Hightower will be joined by Beto O’Rourke, live from the road, to chat about all of the efforts he and others are making happen. Get your cold one ready for this hot conversation!

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: AWPU’s Mark Dimondstein & Lori Cash

JUNE 2, 2021

Can we hear it for the public Post Office?! Except for a few corporate privatizers, almost everyone appreciates the minor miracle of stamping an envelope with $.51, dropping it into a blue box on one side of the country, and having it appear at a friend’s far-away doorstep just a few days later. But when Trump named megadonor Louis DeJoy Postmaster General last year, DeJoy immediately took an ax to the miracle – and, wham!, the resulting mail slowdown whacked us all. Now, with new appointments to the USPS Board of Governors and a reform bill moving through Congress, there’s a chance to fix all that.

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Lisa Graves

May 18, 2021

A movement is afoot in America: don’t like how the people vote? Well, let’s make it harder for them to do so, or take it away altogether! Insidious bills supported by right-wing activists are suddenly cropping up everywhere, and on Tuesday, May 18th, Hightower chatted with Lisa Graves, longtime GOP watchdog and founder of True North Research, to get to the bottom of what’s happening– and what we the people can do about it.

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Julian Brave NoiseCat

May 4, 2021

A nationwide progressive push is ON, and activists like Julian Brave NoiseCat are leading with work that weaves together the various movements for justice and environmental sanity. Hightower sits down with Julian on Tuesday, May 5th to chew on his work with Indigenous lives — and how to master the inside/outside organizing game in Washington and state houses.

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Maurice Mitchell

April 20, 2021

The Working Families Party is NOT your typical political party. A mash-up of movement energy, cultural connection, and political strategy, the WFP is unlocking the electoral power of the growing multiracial movement of workaday Americans. Maurice Mitchell, the executive director of the WFP, joins Hightower at the Chat & Chew, and they’ll get into the nitty gritty of how we push for BIG change in 2021 and beyond!

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Heather McGhee

April 6, 2021

There’s much talk about “unity” in progressive circles these days: We know our futures depend on each-others’ success, but how do we build a genuine unity based on equality and community? What’s that mean for organizing and politics? On Tuesday, April 6, at 4 pm ET Hightower sits down with Heather McGhee for an extra early Happy Hour. Heather is former president of Demos, member of the Working Families Nat’l committee, and author of the best-selling “The Sum of Us.” Come help us flesh it out over a couple of cold ones.

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Eric Hall & Lauren Kaori Gurley

March 23, 2021

Corporate behemoth Amazon notoriously crushes efforts to unionize its workers, but right now in Bessemer, Alabama, workers at Amazon’s facility there are casting ballots to decide whether they will form a union — and the election is drawing national attention. On Tuesday’s Chat & Chew, Hightower will speak with , Eric Hall, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Birmingham– BLM has been leading community support for the union drive– and Lauren Kaori Gurley, a staff writer at Vice who has covered Amazon and unions in the US extensively. Grab a cold one and pull up a chair!

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Jane Kleeb

March 9, 2021

When you think of bold, progressive action on climate and the fight against corptocracy, do you think of . . . Nebraska? Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, does. Hightower will sit down with Jane to chat with her about her book, “Harvest the Vote: How Democrats Can Win Again in Rural America.” Jane has mapped inclusive grassroots strategies for winning in states that are often written off as “Bright Red.” And. let’s be clear, this is winning to make big, structural change.

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Beto O’Rourke

February 23, 2021

Texas melted down in the miserable storm of February 2021. What happened? What needs to be done? How can others outside of Texas help? Hightower and Beto will discuss with their unique perspectives from inside the Lone Star State’s machinations, and answer your questions.

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Marcia Ball

February 9, 2021

Marcia Ball is not only a great Texas-born, Louisiana-raised pianist, songwriter, and vocalist, but she’s also a passionate activist and advocates for loads of issues– environmental work, artist support, and so much more. In anticipation of Fat Tuesday celebrations, Marcia and Hightower will trade stories about the essential role of culture — food, music, dancing, and fun — in the politics of progressive change. You might even hear a song or two!

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Nse Ufot, New Georgia Project

January 26, 2021

The consolidation of corporate power into massive monopolies and cartels hijacks the economy and imperils American democracy. But what can we do about it? Our friend Zephyr Teachout has drawn a roadmap for a new antitrust movement that builds on the successes of our populist grassroots. Get your favorite winter beverage ready for this chat — the fires we light here will be able to burn all year!

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Sharon Lavigne & Anne Rolfes

January 12, 2021

For decades, giant petrochemical corporations have piled into the poor — and predominantly Black — parishes of Louisiana, wreaking toxic havoc from the pollution of refineries and plastics. Now, local communities are fighting back — and winning. Get your brew in hand and come meet Sharon Lavigne of RISE St. James and Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, as Hightower chats with them about taking on Big Plastics and more.

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Zephyr Teachout

January 5, 2021

The consolidation of corporate power into massive monopolies and cartels hijacks the economy and imperils American democracy. But what can we do about it? Our friend Zephyr Teachout has drawn a roadmap for a new antitrust movement that builds on the successes of our populist grassroots. Get your favorite winter beverage ready for this chat — the fires we light here will be able to burn all year!

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Senator Sherrod Brown

December 15, 2020

After evicting Trump from the White House, progressives will need to double down, working to keep the Biden administration on the track of deep, structural changes that workaday Americans need and want. Join Jim Hightower and Sherrod Brown to learn what everyday folks can do to keep the gas on.

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Nse Ufot & George Goehl

November 17, 2020

What a couple of weeks, eh? We had 24 hours to exhale before being called to gear up for the next round of battles. But where do we start? Grassroots progressive organizers made some big advances in this election, and to help us debrief on the results and strategize about the future, Hightower will chat with Nse Ufot of the New Georgia Project and George Goehl of People’s Action on how multiracial, values-based organizing wins the day– and what you can do right now to take further action.

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: , Julie Oliver, Kriss Marion, Mike Siegel & more!

October 27, 2020

Only a few more days to make sure our voices are heard in this election, at every level of government! We’re big fans of making sure voters know about the critical races in their areas, and have a chance to meet the everyday people who are running for all kinds of offices across the country. Grab your beverages and hold your hats– this is going to be a rollicking night of agitating and hell-raising! Learn more about a few of our guests in the October issue of the Hightower Lowdown.

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson

October 6, 2020

Some of the most innovative organizing of working-class and poor people in America is happening in the South. And we know that that’s not DESPITE the political circumstances, but BECAUSE of the political circumstances there. Join Hightower and Ash-Lee Henderson of the Highlander Research & Education Center for a lively discussion of what’s working, and how hope combines with solidarity and history to make a future that works for all people.

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: George Goehl and MariaElena Fournier

September 22, 2020

It’s crunch time, y’all! We’re in the final stretch of this campaign season, and we’re about to bust some major stereotypes about what rural America holds– and how that busting leads to progressive victories. Hightower will be joined by George Goehl, director of People’s Action, one of the largest multiracial working-class people’s organizations in the country, and Maria Elena Fournier of Michigan People’s Campaign, a “deep canvasser” working to help people in small-town America rethink their views on the 2020 election. Join us to hear more about the most exciting organizing work we’re seeing today!

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Fred Harris and Teresa Leger Fernandez

August 25, 2020

Pull up a chair to Chat ‘n’ Chew with Hightower and former Senator Fred Harris, who has been spreading populist gospel in his activism and electoral work for decades. They’ll take you on the adventure of their own friendship, share the fights they’ve fought (and sometimes won!), and fill in missing chapters of America’s populist history with stories that show what progressives need to win in 2020 and beyond. They’re joined by Teresa Leger Fernandez, running for Congress in NM, who talks about the impact of the populist tradition and what it means to win NOW in 2020!

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Tom Frank

July 28, 2020

Is Donald Trump a “populist”? Are you kidding? Grab a beverage, pull up a chair, and join Hightower and celebrated writer Thomas Frank (“What’s the Matter with Kansas?” and, just out, “The People, NO”) as they chat about the origins and successes of democratic grassroots people’s movements through our country’s history – and “anti-populism,” the backlash they provoke from mainstream elites.

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Kai Wright

July 14, 2020

History has a way of repeating itself — and what can learn from that? Join Hightower and Kai Wright, host of WNYC’s “United States of Anxiety,” as they time travel to people’s rebellions through American history — and point to the lessons for *this* transformative moment. (Join ’em — with your beverage of choice!)

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Beto O’Rourke

June 30, 2020

There’s no doubt that 2020 is a critical year for voting, right? Join Hightower as he speaks with Beto O’Rourke about how his new organization, Powered By People, is doing “the tough, necessary work that wins elections” — and what we can all do to challenge the voter suppression efforts happening in states across the country.

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Diane Wilson

June 16, 2020

In our June 16 Chat n Chew, Hightower and Deanna talk with Diane Wilson, a working-class shrimper from the Texas Gulf who, in the great tradition of American citizen-rebels, challenged a giant plastics corporation over its pollution — and won. Diane’s true-life drama has more twists than a Hollywood blockbuster!

Come meet “the crazy lady,” a woman who would not back off, shut up, be intimidated, or quit. We’ll be talking direct action tactics, multi-racial coalition building, and SO much more. You can read all Diane’s story in this issue of the Lowdown.

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez

May 19, 2020

The future is INSURGENT! Join us for our next Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew, featuring founder of Jolt Action and former US Senate Candidate Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez. We’ll be chatting about the rise of progressive populism, with insurgent constituencies of “outsiders” demanding bold policies, beginning to come together, and come inside.

Happy Hour at the Hightower Chat ‘n’ Chew: Mark Dimondstein

May 5, 2020

We had such a blast with y’all last time that we’re back for happy hour again! This time, we welcome one of our favorite activists and agitators, Mark Dimondstein of APWU – The American Postal Workers Union, who is part of A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service. You’ve seen the attacks on the post office–now come and get the inside scoop from Mark, AND learn what actions YOU can take right now that will keep this vital lifeline of The People thriving. Do you have a favorite story about a great letter carrier or postal worker? Share them with us here in the comments, and we’ll be reading a few of them live during the chat.

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