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REASON ON REASON 3 - QUESTIONING IN THE AGE OF REASON

REASON ON REASON 3 - QUESTIONING IN THE AGE OF REASON

January 13, 2021

In this third podcast in the series Reason on Reason, I investigate the rise of questioning during the Enlightenment and the accompanying scepticism towards ecclesiastical, theological and political authority. The main part of the podcast is analysis and comment on Kant's newspaper article of 1784, What is Enlightenment? This article exposes a tension between the promise of the new questioning for knowledge and it application and the possible impacts this movement could have on social cohesion. Other dramatis personae include Voltaire, Hume, per-cursor, Locke, and Blake for the ensuing Romantic back-lash. [Free. 32 minutes.]

REASON ON REASON 2 - THE ANTECEDENTS TO THE ENLIGHTENMENT

REASON ON REASON 2 - THE ANTECEDENTS TO THE ENLIGHTENMENT

December 17, 2020

In this second episode of our series on reason, I take a broad brush to outline 

some of the main antecedents to the so-called European Enlightenment, also know as 'The Age of Reason'. I focus on the rise of experimental science in the contexts of church power and violence against those who contradict its doctrines, the rise of the bourgeoisie, and advances in mathematics. The figures of Descartes, Galileo and Newton loom large but Aristotle, Aquinas, Copernicus, Kepler and others also have parts. [Free. 44 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.]

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.]

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.]

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.] 

RACISTS EXPOSE THEMSELVES - INTERESTING TIMES 3

RACISTS EXPOSE THEMSELVES - INTERESTING TIMES 3

June 14, 2020

In this brief podcast, we analyse events in London of the 13th June 2020, in which self-defined racist far right protagonists fought with the police. We conclude that though this event was largely a 'dead cat', which could well distract from far bigger issues like institutional racism, the deadly mismanagement of the global pandemic by the Johnson Tory government, the results of the democidal Tory social security policies, and environmental degradation, it nevertheless was revelatory of the need to expose certain obscured details of UK history. We point out that the right has an emotionally charged project of conserving a largely mythic narrative it tells itself about itself. [Free. 19 minutes.]

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