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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.]

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 23

LAO TZU 23

July 15, 2020

In this podcast, we discuss Chapter 36 of The Tao Te Ching. In this chapter, Lao Tzu offers a strategy based on the interactive dynamics of opposites which he recommends to the sagacious leader. The strategy is also employable by individuals to negotiate the conflictual aspects of life and the terrain of meditative experience. Since this chapter seemed more opaque than usual, we consulted three different translation of the Tao Te Ching. [Free. 25 minutes.]

EMPOWERMENT - INTERESTING TIMES 5

EMPOWERMENT - INTERESTING TIMES 5

June 26, 2020

In this podcast we examine the way in which organisers a Trump rally in Oklahoma were manipulated by 'TikToc kids' into preparing for a much larger crowd than in fact turned up. We see some hope in the imaginative use of social media by a tech-savvy generation as well as discerning a certain fragility in system of dominance which pervades society. [Free. 32 minutes.] 

THE ANATOMY OF A TORY

THE ANATOMY OF A TORY

April 13, 2020

In this podcast we dissect Dominic Raab's political declaration in the light of a critical reading of the quasi-philosophical underpinnings of much right wing politics. The conceptual incoherence and ideological intent of the declaration are brought into focus. [Free. 34 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.]

TORYISM, CRUELTY & POWER

TORYISM, CRUELTY & POWER

December 4, 2019

In this podcast we examine the assertion that "A vote for the Conservatives is a vote for cruelty". We proceed by way an account of the ideological underpinnings of contemporary Toryism and their 'philosophical' roots, an empirical look at exemplary and actual sufferings caused by austerity, the psychology of Tory leaders and the class they represent and the psychology of the Tory base. The latter two are exposed through the use of the concept of resentment and the truism that power is a narcotic. We conclude that cruelty and the quest for the narcotic effects of power are deeply defining of conservatism. [Free. 19 minutes.]

OPERATION YELLOWHAMMER - WHAT IT SAYS AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE

OPERATION YELLOWHAMMER - WHAT IT SAYS AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE

September 22, 2019

This is another current affairs podcast in which we go through the UK Government's plans for the eventuality of a no deal Brexit as outlined in the Operation Yellowhammer document. We include all items discussed in the document but expand particularly on items relating to possible social unrest (item 13), the impact of probable price rises on 'low income groups' (item 13) and the impact on adult social care which is deemed already threatened by 'market fragility'. We note that the government had to be pressured by Parliament to release this document and that a leaked, earlier but very similar version was considered a base scenario rather than a worst case scenario. The document can be downloaded here. (Opens in new window/tab.) [Free. 23 minutes.]

JUNK ECONOMICS

JUNK ECONOMICS

November 9, 2018

This podcast is a squib inspired by Michael Hudson's J is for Junk Economics [2017] and the tumbleweed now bowling along the deserted high street. In this light, I examine Amazon's rapid metastasis and the phenomenon of believing that 'the stock is the product', to quote Action Jack Barker of Silicon Valley. Consideration naturally follows of Hudson's central thesis that neo-liberal economists are not really followers of Adam Smith, but have inverted his message, championing finance capital, [and, more generally, gaming the system], over and against productive capital. [Free. 30 minutes.]

FREE SPEECH

FREE SPEECH

August 27, 2018

In this podcast, I take it that free speech, as an instance of freedom per se, is a very great good. However, this stance is not unproblematic in that free speech and freedom can subvert themselves as well as eroding other goods, e.g. equality. The obvious and often proposed notion that this can be overcome by policing or regulation raises the problem that any claim to the right to do the policing is impossible to legitimate and will therefore ultimately be authoritarian in nature. There is some hope in the possibility of general eduction based on ecouraging questioning rather than on inculcating dogma but this project also encounters a legitimation problem in that curricula are likely to be determined by some authority. [Free. 33 minutes.]

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