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LAO TZU 27

LAO TZU 27

September 21, 2020

This podcast offers a reading of Chapter 40 of the Tao Te Ching. This short chapter deals with the nature of the Tao itself and how it creates all things from nothing. I consider the nature of the Tao as process based rather than thing based. I also draw out resonances between this chapter, particularly with regard to nothingness,  and insights into particle physics as suggested by Fritjof Capra in his book, The Tao of Physics (1975). [Free. 20 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.]

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.]

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.]

LAO TZU 26

LAO TZU 26

August 10, 2020

In this podcast, we consider Chapter 39 of the Tao Te Ching. Once again, we see Lao Tzu moving from cosmology to the character of the ideal leader who has qualities arising out of meditation. Lao Tzu discerns forces of both disintegration and integration as aspects of 'the One', or the whole. Out of this discernment, we draw a characterisation of our own times. [Free. 37 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.]

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.]

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