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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.]

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.]

ON DEMONIC SHORTCOMINGS: WHEN A SPAD BREAKS THE LAW WITH IMPUNITY

ON DEMONIC SHORTCOMINGS: WHEN A SPAD BREAKS THE LAW WITH IMPUNITY

May 25, 2020

In this podcast, we dissect the furore around Dominic Cummings' breaking of lock-down rules and the PM's refusal to sack him when other officials have been sacked for similar transgressions. We assert that the ramifications of this matter go beyond the indiscretions of one man, easily written off as peccadilloes, or even spun as legal, moral and full of integrity. We find that the matter exposes with great clarity the class nature of UK society, the entrenched nature of the culture of deference which upholds it, the absence of the truth faculty amongst the commentariat and the political class, the representation of gross inequality as the natural order, and much more besides. The public rage with which these events have been met attests to the legitimate resentment which has been subterranean for some time but which may now erupt. [Free. 44 minutes.]

CONCENTRATIONS OF WEALTH &  POWER AND BIG DATA

CONCENTRATIONS OF WEALTH & POWER AND BIG DATA

February 7, 2020

This podcast is structured around a review of Peter Phillips' book, Giants: The Global Power Elite. I elucidate and assess the main points of the book, [1] that seventeen globally active asset management corporations each administer over $1 trillion, together totalling $41.1 trillion, [2] that these corporations are managed by 199 directors who Phillips gives brief biographies of; [3] that there are deep connections between these personnel and the three main propaganda and public relations global conglomerates, various 'think tanks' and policy bodies, and governments.  I further relate this connectivity to the role of big data as it is extracted and exploited by the tech giants Google and Facebook. I rely on Shoshana Ruboff's The Age of Surveillance Capitalism to make the latter connection. In the light of Phillips' and Ruboff's rigorous scholarship, I consider the vilification of the UK left by the billionaire-owned media and the prospect of a radical, progressive turn in world politics and what is needed to ensure it. [Free. 29 minutes.]

THE INTERNET & ELECTORAL POLITICS - GE 19

THE INTERNET & ELECTORAL POLITICS - GE 19

November 24, 2019

This podcast deals with the role that the internet is likely to play in the outcome of the UK General Election to be held on December 12th, 2019. We note that the internet is bound to be a site of struggle, that it presents many deep challenges to democracy, but that it has great possibilities, particularly for citizen journalism and the exposure of lies and propaganda. [Free. 53 minutes.]

EMBRACING THE HUMAN [YES & NO 3]

EMBRACING THE HUMAN [YES & NO 3]

December 31, 2018

In this podcast, I elucidate Embracing the Human, one of the Songs of No and Yes. The discourse mostly takes the form of a recommendation against espousing asceticism and passive nihilism in the name of 'spirituality'. [Free. 27 minutes.]

UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME, PLENTY AND SCARCITY

UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME, PLENTY AND SCARCITY

October 12, 2018

This podcast is an abstract consideration of universal basic income which relates it to plenty, scarcity, money in general and political power. I explore both dystopian and utopian possibilities. [Free. 26 minutes.]

IS SMALL BEAUTIFUL?

IS SMALL BEAUTIFUL?

August 12, 2018

This meander was stimulated by a recent repudiation by Zizek of the possible role of small communities in any future human flourishing. In this context, I revisit E. F. Schumacher's Small is Beautiful (1973). I discuss some of the core ideas from that seminal work. In particular, I focus on the treatement of raw materials as [inexhaustible]  income and the treatement of the environment as a free dump by capitalism and the economic theories that act as its ideological justification. I touch upon intermediate technology, the role of 'spirituality' in the good life, the way in which economic theories and political practice often treat people as numbers on a spreadsheet, the 1984-5 UK Miners' Strike and the persistence of alienation in nationalised industries. I do this by discerning Zizek's 'inner Schumacher' and Schumacher's 'inner Zizek' and recounting instances of their expression. In both cases these inner others are mostly repressed, but vigorous enough to surface now and then in brilliant insight. [Free. 47 minutes.]

TRUMP, MAY, PUTIN AND MEN IN FUNNY HATS [PART TWO: FRAGMENTATION]

TRUMP, MAY, PUTIN AND MEN IN FUNNY HATS [PART TWO: FRAGMENTATION]

July 23, 2018

This wide-ranging podcast draws on the same sources as Part One and is similarly stimulated by current affairs. This time, the thesis that the current historical unfoldings of the mutually entangled economic, cultural and ecological systems are characterised by fragmentation is defended and a variety of possible material antecedents of this tendency are considered. We identify environmental degradation, technological developments, contradictions in capitalism in its current phase, cultural fragmentation, the enmeshment of state and corporate power, gross inequalities of wealth and power and movements of populations as mutually dependent factors giving rise to fragmentation, amongst others. [Free. 54 minutes.]

DESIGNING SOCIETY AND EVALUATION

DESIGNING SOCIETY AND EVALUATION

May 2, 2018

This podcast is a rambly continuation of some previous considerations of value. In this case, I claim that calls for designing society around resources available [rather than money], though inspiring, need to make good a lacuna around value. [In particular, I consider the Zeitgeist project.] The question needs to be asked, 'What future should we value?'. Prior to that though, we need to figure out how to tackle that question and elucidate the process of evaluation. I also point out that we ourselves, with our desires, are at stake in any cogent appraoch to evaluation. [Free. 20 minutes.]

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