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JOHNSON’S POST-TRUTH SPEECH TO TORY CONFERENCE - INTERESTING TIMES 11

JOHNSON’S POST-TRUTH SPEECH TO TORY CONFERENCE - INTERESTING TIMES 11

October 8, 2020

In this podcast, I examine Boris Johnson's speech to the Tory Party Conference 2020. I identify several instance of incoherence within the speech. These concern the ostensible allegiance to private provision of public service which on examination is seen to obscure the actual entanglement of state and corporate power, the rhetorical reduction of the concept of freedom to a triviality, a scant regard for truth, a display of ignorance as to the nature of historical narrative, and, hoping no-one will notice, talking as though xenophobia and a concern for social justice can be reconciled, which they can't.  [Free. 34 minutes.]

WHAT IS FASCISM? 2 - THE PRESENT DAY UK & USA

WHAT IS FASCISM? 2 - THE PRESENT DAY UK & USA

October 6, 2020

In this podcast, I ask the question, "Are the US and UK fascist?" I attempt to address this question by checking if any of the features I identified in the first podcast of this series are observable in the current situations in the UK and the US. [I leave aside the matter of the economy for a future podcast.] I conclude that many of the elements of fascism are present and that some are venerable, others incipient and some are being actively cultivated. I suggest briefly what needs to be done about this dangerous situation. [Free. 1 hour 2 mins.]

WHAT IS FASCISM? 1 - HISTORICAL EXAMPLES

WHAT IS FASCISM? 1 - HISTORICAL EXAMPLES

October 2, 2020

In this first of a series on fascism, I identify eleven prominent features of the historical forms of fascism of Hitler's Germany  and Mussolini's Italy, describe them and show how they inter-relate.  I make the point that the features can give rise to varied surface appearances and that we shouldn't expect future manifestations of the 'syndrome' to look like Nazi Germany or fascist Italy. I propose to see, in future podcasts of this series, to see if we find any of the crucial feature incipient or actually present in the contemporary situation of the USA and the UK.  [Free. 54 minutes.]

COVIDIOCY: WHO BENEFITS? - INTERESTING TIMES 10

COVIDIOCY: WHO BENEFITS? - INTERESTING TIMES 10

September 1, 2020

In this podcast, we analyse the covid-is-a-hoax movement which demonstrated recently in London, demanding the abandonment of all remedial measures against the global pandemic. We do so primarily by asking the question that we identified in a recent podcast [Grassroots and Astroturf] 'Who benefits from this movement?' The question proves revelatory of how this movement plays to the far right and upholds the status quo, whilst claiming the contrary. The involvement of far right parties in the loose coalition of new-agers, antivaxers, climate deniers, and adherents to fantastic conspiracy theories is not accidental. These elements are stitched together by irrationalism. [Free. 24 minutes.]

AGAINST FLAG-SHAGGING - INTERESTING TIMES 9

AGAINST FLAG-SHAGGING - INTERESTING TIMES 9

August 28, 2020

In this podcast, we argue that patriotism is ideological, irrational, based on arbitrary boundaries, implicated in the weaponisation of history, employed by dead-cat culture wars, and rooted in a pathological narcissism. We suggest how those afflicted with it might return to health. [Free. 27 minutes.]

STUDENTS WIN! INTERESTING TIMES 8

STUDENTS WIN! INTERESTING TIMES 8

August 18, 2020

This podcast deals with the A-level 'results' crisis and the protests the government decision to implement an algorithm to determine grades (in the absence of actual exams) and therefore access to university places. This decision brought the inequitable nature of access to the goods of higher education along socio-economic class lines into very sharp focus. Students who had fallen foul of this further example of Tory government incompetence staged impressive protests, which, alongside pressure from teachers' unions and parents lead to  the English government backing down, having sworn they wouldn't. [The devolved governments had already done the right thing.] We argue that the student action was significant and signals hope. [Free. 25 minutes.]

WHAT CAN WE DO?

WHAT CAN WE DO?

August 12, 2020

In this podcast, I apply some raw thinking to characterising what seem to be the two primary political orientations in Western 'democracies' today. These are conservatism and progressivism. I identify and characterise two tendencies in progressivism, majoritarianism and vanguardism. Both of these pose practical and theoretical dilemas. I propose a broad way forward for progressives which mitigates those dilemmas. The discussion passes through a range of issues, amongst them, the natures of inequality, wealth, power and revolution. [Free. 1 hour.]

RICHARD WOLFF ON THE ECONOMY - INTERESTING TIMES 7

RICHARD WOLFF ON THE ECONOMY - INTERESTING TIMES 7

July 29, 2020

In this podcast, we recommend the veteran economist Richard Wolff as a source of accessible and reliable analysis of the current economic situation in the US and beyond and its historical precedents. We explore two main themes, the lie that the US and global economies are thriving because the stock markets are buoyant, and the resonances between the New Deal of the 1930s and current calls for a 'Green New Deal'. We conclude that the future cannot be left to chance and that grass-roots organisation is vitally necessary. [Free. 44 minutes.]

LAO TZU 23

LAO TZU 23

July 15, 2020

In this podcast, we discuss Chapter 36 of The Tao Te Ching. In this chapter, Lao Tzu offers a strategy based on the interactive dynamics of opposites which he recommends to the sagacious leader. The strategy is also employable by individuals to negotiate the conflictual aspects of life and the terrain of meditative experience. Since this chapter seemed more opaque than usual, we consulted three different translation of the Tao Te Ching. [Free. 25 minutes.]

EMPOWERMENT - INTERESTING TIMES 5

EMPOWERMENT - INTERESTING TIMES 5

June 26, 2020

In this podcast we examine the way in which organisers a Trump rally in Oklahoma were manipulated by 'TikToc kids' into preparing for a much larger crowd than in fact turned up. We see some hope in the imaginative use of social media by a tech-savvy generation as well as discerning a certain fragility in system of dominance which pervades society. [Free. 32 minutes.] 

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