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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.]

THOUGHTS ON THE NEW RIGHT WING MEDIA, BREXIT, THE NHS - RAW THOUGHT 6

THOUGHTS ON THE NEW RIGHT WING MEDIA, BREXIT, THE NHS - RAW THOUGHT 6

February 8, 2021

This eavesdrop onto our conversation has we wander the hills is for our patrons only.  The sound is rough in places due to wind on the hill.  Apologies. The content is excellent, however! [Patrons only. 51 minutes.]

EVENTS THAT DEMYSTIFY: BREXIT NOT DONE, GAMESTOP & A TRUTHFUL POLITICIAN - INTERESTING TIMES 23

EVENTS THAT DEMYSTIFY: BREXIT NOT DONE, GAMESTOP & A TRUTHFUL POLITICIAN - INTERESTING TIMES 23

January 30, 2021

In this podcast we recount and comment on three events that have been in the news over the last few days. The first is the revelation that Brexit is not done since the twenty seven EU nations have yet to ratify the agreement. The second is the Gamestop affair in which hedge funds have been confounded by the collective action of small investors co-ordinating through Reddit. The third an interview with Mark Drakeford, Welsh First Minister, on the Radio 4 Today programme in which Dr Drakeford's honesty and direct answering of questions confounded the interviewer who is usually highly aggressive towards Labour politicians. In each of these seemingly disparate events, the ideological mystification that enshrouds our public discourse momentarily parts. [Free. 27 minutes.]

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.]

TWITTER BANS AND FREE SPEECH - INTERESTING TIMES 21

TWITTER BANS AND FREE SPEECH - INTERESTING TIMES 21

January 9, 2021

This episode in our current affairs series is a wide ranging analysis of the significance of the banning of the POTUS, Donald Trump, by Twitter and other social media platforms. This leads into considerations of the benefits and drawbacks of free speech, and the multi-stranded power dynamics that surround it in our current discursive world, dominated by vastly influential information technology as it is. I make recommendations on how to situate ourselves in this situation and note the skills we need to proceed towards understanding and independence. [Free. 39 minutes.]

LOOKING BACK OVER 2020 AND FORWARD TO 2021 - INTERESTING TIMES 19

LOOKING BACK OVER 2020 AND FORWARD TO 2021 - INTERESTING TIMES 19

January 1, 2021

On New Year's Day 2021, we pause to look both backwards and forwards. We identify and discuss four themes: the defeat of Trump and what that means for the global right Internationale, the fragmentation of the left and signs in movements around the world of its incipient re-emergence, the intensifying struggle to control information and particularly the internet, the impact of certain technological developments such as AI and CRISPR. We indicate how these developments are interlocked and how that points towards what is to be done. [Free.  47 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.]

LABOUR’S CIVIL WAR, BREXIT, FRAGMENTATION - INTERESTING TIMES 17

LABOUR’S CIVIL WAR, BREXIT, FRAGMENTATION - INTERESTING TIMES 17

December 7, 2020

This episode of the current affairs series offers comment on the suspension of Jewish socialists and critical left voices in Constituency Parties from the Labour Party on very dubious grounds. I conclude that this isn't about anti-semitism or racism in general but a purge of the left from the party. The suspicion is compounded by the soliciting of funding from billionaires by party leadership. I go on to relate this fragmentation to the fragmentary forces expressing themselves through Brexit as the clock ticks down. On the hopeful side, I mention the world's biggest strike of farmers and workers in India which involved 250 million people! [Free. 36 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.]

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.]

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