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CORRUPTION, AUTHORITARIANISM, NUGATORY OPPOSITION - INTERESTING TIMES 24

CORRUPTION, AUTHORITARIANISM, NUGATORY OPPOSITION - INTERESTING TIMES 24

February 24, 2021

In this podcast, I attempt to discern key revelations brought about by the UK High Court ruling that the government has been in breach of law regarding transparency around contracts for supply of PPE to health and care workers. At least two features of the UK government jump out; it's corruption and its authoritarian ambitions. Though this intervention by the judiciary is welcome, I question if it would be so if the UK was actually a democracy.  Once again, the need for mass activism on a number of fronts recommends itself. [Free. 19 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

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.]

LAO TZU 31

LAO TZU 31

December 2, 2020

This episode of our Lao Tzu series deals with Chapter 44 of the Tao Te Ching. This chapter urges us not to be too caught up the pursuit of wealth and status but to find peace in alignment with the Tao. [Free. 18 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.]

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.]

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.]

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