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LAO TZU 31

LAO TZU 31

December 2, 2020

This episode of our Lao Tzu series deals with Chapter 44 of the Tao Te Ching. This chapter urges us not to be too caught up the pursuit of wealth and status but to find peace in alignment with the Tao. [Free. 18 minutes.]

POST TRUTH THIS WEEK - INTERESTING TIMES 16

POST TRUTH THIS WEEK - INTERESTING TIMES 16

November 19, 2020

In this edition of our Interesting Times series, I consider three different manifestations of the widespread disregard for truth which is now a feature of our public discourse. These are Trump's refusal to concede the US Presidential election, the suspension, re-instatement and fresh suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from the UK Labour Party, and the increase in defence spending announced by UK PM Boris Johnson. [Free. 41 minutes.]

WHAT IS FASCISM? 3 - THE CORPORATE-GOVERNMENTAL ECONOMY

WHAT IS FASCISM? 3 - THE CORPORATE-GOVERNMENTAL ECONOMY

November 16, 2020

In this podcast, I consider the proposition that the UK economy conforms to Mussolini's characterisation of fascism as the complete entanglement of corporate and state power. I do this through a close comparison of the corporate document produced by the Serco Institute, Lessons learned from the collapse of Carillion (2018) and the UK Government document The Outsourcing Playbook (2020). The resonance between the two documents is sufficient to intensify the suspicion that corporations and government are bed-fellows and dangerously so. A side-effect of this investigation is to reveal the purely ideological character of the Tory government's espousal of neoliberalism. [Free. 57 minutes.]

REVOLVING DOORS & COSY CABALS - INTERESTING TIMES 12

REVOLVING DOORS & COSY CABALS - INTERESTING TIMES 12

October 23, 2020

In this podcast, I examine some current examples of the entanglement of state, media and corporate power in the UK. I focus on questions asked in parliament of The Secretary of State for Health by Richard Burgon MP about the role of outsourcing corporation Serco in the COVID 19 pandemic [asked on 16/10/20]. I particularly light upon the Minister of Health's former role as 'Serco's chief spin doctor' which looks like a classic case of the revolving door.  I also draw attention to other examples of this phenomenon as well as drawing out the wide connections of  The Prime Minister's new press secretary which suggest that a rather cosy cabal sits at the heart of government. [Free. 28 minutes.]

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.]

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.]

WHY HAS SOCIALISM BECOME A DIRTY WORD?

WHY HAS SOCIALISM BECOME A DIRTY WORD?

August 24, 2020

In this podcast, we investigate why and how socialism has become a dirty word through the operations of propaganda and ideology. This naturally entails giving a characterisation of socialism, which we do, starting with the observation that it isn't one thing and that the word has a range of meanings. We conclude that the ideological war has to be fought alongside concrete organisation and that values cannot be bracketed out of the conversation even as we offer robust materialist analysis. [Free. 50 minutes.]

GRASSROOTS AND ASTROTURFING

GRASSROOTS AND ASTROTURFING

August 21, 2020

In this podcast we analyse the phenomenon of astroturfing in which billionaire money is martialled to produce artificial facsimiles of authentic grass roots movements. As well as giving some examples,  we outline some methods which can be employed to detect astroturfing and similar ruses to mystify the nature of society and the economy.  The discourse follows on from our recent podcast,  What Can We do? [Free. 42 minutes.]

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.]

RACISTS EXPOSE THEMSELVES - INTERESTING TIMES 3

RACISTS EXPOSE THEMSELVES - INTERESTING TIMES 3

June 14, 2020

In this brief podcast, we analyse events in London of the 13th June 2020, in which self-defined racist far right protagonists fought with the police. We conclude that though this event was largely a 'dead cat', which could well distract from far bigger issues like institutional racism, the deadly mismanagement of the global pandemic by the Johnson Tory government, the results of the democidal Tory social security policies, and environmental degradation, it nevertheless was revelatory of the need to expose certain obscured details of UK history. We point out that the right has an emotionally charged project of conserving a largely mythic narrative it tells itself about itself. [Free. 19 minutes.]

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