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AFGHANISTAN, GEO-POLITICS, HISTORY - INTERESTING TIMES 42

AFGHANISTAN, GEO-POLITICS, HISTORY - INTERESTING TIMES 42

August 21, 2021

This podcast gives our initial take on the recent take over of Afghanistan by the Taliban as US and NATO military withdraw after 20 years of occupation. We place the events in the systemic contexts of geo-politics and history and expose the hypocrisy of UK and US media and politicians who would cease to ally with Saudi Arabia if they really did care and women's emancipation from oppressive regimes. NB don't miss the short in-door addendum at the end. [Free.  34 minutes.]

PEACEFUL PROTEST TO BE ILLEGAL? - INTERESTING TIMES 27

PEACEFUL PROTEST TO BE ILLEGAL? - INTERESTING TIMES 27

March 15, 2021

In this podcast we consider the ramifications on the recent murder of Sara Everhard and the violence of the police handling of the vigil expressing the ensuing grief and concern of women held on Clapham Common this weekend. We show how these matters are related to the lived experience of women throughout the UK as evidenced by outpourings on social media, and the authoritarian thrust of the current Tory government. Though the latter have attempted to distance themselves from the disgusting behaviour of their coercive force, the Metropolitan Police, we suggest that this is an ideological, mystifying move, given that today they are shepherding a bill through Parliament which will vastly reduce the right to peaceful protest. As always, we suggest what practically can be done to push back against this ghastly situation and lay the foundations of a decent society. [Free. 33 minutes.] 

MONARCHY: INSTITUTION & SOAP OPERA - INTERESTING TIMES 26

MONARCHY: INSTITUTION & SOAP OPERA - INTERESTING TIMES 26

March 12, 2021

Though prompted by the Prince Harry - Megan Markle interview with Oprah Winfrey and the ensuing furore, this podcast largely avoids the detail of those events, instead (initially) questioning the nature of the public and media interest in them. Consequently, I examine monarchy as an institution, drawing out the job it does of promoting hierarchical inequality, the hereditary principle, and a culture of deference. I go on to examine monarchy in its role as living soap opera which, I contend, serves to distract from urgent matters of public concern. I finishing by proposing the need for a new and fully democratic constitution for the UK and a method of writing it, inspired by recent developments in Chile. [Free. 27 minutes.]

EHRC REPORT & CORBYN SUSPENSION - INTERESTING TIMES 13

EHRC REPORT & CORBYN SUSPENSION - INTERESTING TIMES 13

October 31, 2020

This episode of Interesting Times gives a close reading of the main features of The EHRC Report Investigation into Antisemitism in the Labour Party. I take issue with the epistemological lacunae in the report whilst concluding that should the Labour Party implement its legal requirements and recommendation, it will have unimpeachable complaints processes in place for dealing with complaints of antisemitism which may throw an unflattering light on the other UK parties. I note that the contents of the report are being grossly distorted in the MSM. I move on to discuss the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party. [Free. 1 hour 5 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.]

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 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.]

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