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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.]

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.]

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.]

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.]

BRITAIN-TRUMP, PORTLAND, YELLOW-HAMMER - INTERESTING TIMES 6

BRITAIN-TRUMP, PORTLAND, YELLOW-HAMMER - INTERESTING TIMES 6

July 24, 2020

This wide ranging podcast flows out of the  question of the influence of the USA on the UK and the rest of the world. We outline the nature of US hegemony and its roots in the dollar's status as world reserve currency, in military power, and in soft power. Trump's employment of federal military force in Portland and other US cities is analysed and its origins in the Right-Internationale play book is discussed. The wider significance of the Trump presidency and its symptomatic nature is thus bought into focus, particularly with regard to the decline of the hegemon and its desperate, rear-guard reliance on Goebellian propaganda techniques. In the context of UK current events, we re-visit the Yellow-Hammer report on the possible consequences of a no deal Brexit and picture how the added economic catastrophe of the COVID19 pandemic might well give rise to civil unrest. Despite this gloomy picture, we find reasons to hope, but they must entail  grassroots action which goes beyond protest into the practical building and defending of communities, whilst not abandoning the need to capture the state. [Free. 40 minutes.]

LAO TZU 22

LAO TZU 22

July 10, 2020

This podcast offers a reading of Chapter 35 of the Tao Te Ching. It deals with the character of Lao Tzu's ideal leader who is a sage with connection to the Tao. We tease this out and relate it to modern leaders of the 'strong man' type and ideals of social organisation. [Free. 19 minutes.]

WEAPONISED HISTORY - INTERESTING TIMES 4

WEAPONISED HISTORY - INTERESTING TIMES 4

June 23, 2020

In this podcast we dissect utterances made by conservatives like Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage relating to the question of the significance of statues and other monuments that occupy public spaces. We particularly light upon the way in which the concept of history is weaponised in the pro establishment discourses that are now circulating. We indicate that the conservative ploy is to inflame a distracting culture war by asserting that 'history is being erased' and that 'extremists' are operating in BLM. We don't however try to downplay the importance of engagement with the issues, but suggest that the terrain that Johnson et al want to fight the battles on should be refused. Drawing on ideas that concern philosophers of history, we suggest how those who don't believe that business as usual is an option might do culture war on their own terms. This podcast also serves as a groundwork for a future podcast on the Philosophy Of History. [ Free. 47 minutes.]

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