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THE DRY TINDER OF RESENTMENT & OPPORTUNITIES FOR EMANCIPATION - INTERESTING TIMES 25

THE DRY TINDER OF RESENTMENT & OPPORTUNITIES FOR EMANCIPATION - INTERESTING TIMES 25

March 6, 2021

Borrowing a metaphor from Chris Hedges, I consider the UK body politic as rather like a bulk of dry tinder waiting for a random spark to ignite a conflagration of unrest.  I suggest that both Brexit and the COV19 pandemic are intensifiers of this flammability. I treat the matter as having economic and cultural-ideological dimensions, particularly lighting on recent trade union activity in the UK. The recent UK budget receives some attention, particularly the 1% pay rise offer made to health service workers and the angry response that the health professionals made to it. I make suggestions as to how the broad left might not be caught disorientated the day after the inevitable sublime moments that are now waiting in the wings. This involves the judicious use of the utopian imagination to co-ordinate the many strands of progressive activism. [Free. 43 minutes.]

FREUD’S INFLUENCE ON US GOVERNMENT & BUSINESS

FREUD’S INFLUENCE ON US GOVERNMENT & BUSINESS

February 15, 2021

This podcast ranges wide over the uses of Freud's insights for manipulating mass thinking and behaviour on behalf of the state and corporations. We review Adam Curtis' four part documentary  The Century of the Self (2002),  as a way in. There is particular focus on the work of Freud's nephew Bernays, the father of modern PR and advertising and author of Propaganda (1928). We also draw attention to philosophical problems with Freudianism, particularly those noted by Wittgenstein and Heidegger. Though standing alone, the podcast is also groundwork for future podcasts on the psychopathology of fascism.

The Century of the Self available on YouTube. Episode 1- https://youtu.be/DnPmg0R1M04

PAIN, HOPE & THE STATE OF THE NATION - INTERESTING TIMES 22

PAIN, HOPE & THE STATE OF THE NATION - INTERESTING TIMES 22

January 16, 2021

Is there any hope of a sustainable human future? Confining myself mainly to the UK context, I attempt to address this question through an analysis of collective pain in relation to economic fragility, the COVID 19 pandemic, and Brexit. I start by giving the historical development of so-called neo-liberalism, focussing on its effect on organised labour and the results of FIRE sector deregulation, which together, I claim, resulted in intensified collective resentment, anomie and alienation in the midst of economic collapse. I end up recommending 'optimism of the will, pessimism of the intellect' as the way forward and draw attention to some promising events and movements. [Free. 32 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.]

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.]

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