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GRASSROOTS AND ASTROTURFING

GRASSROOTS AND ASTROTURFING

August 21, 2020

In this podcast we analyse the phenomenon of astroturfing in which billionaire money is martialled to produce artificial facsimiles of authentic grass roots movements. As well as giving some examples,  we outline some methods which can be employed to detect astroturfing and similar ruses to mystify the nature of society and the economy.  The discourse follows on from our recent podcast,  What Can We do? [Free. 42 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.]

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.]

ON DEMONIC SHORTCOMINGS: WHEN A SPAD BREAKS THE LAW WITH IMPUNITY

ON DEMONIC SHORTCOMINGS: WHEN A SPAD BREAKS THE LAW WITH IMPUNITY

May 25, 2020

In this podcast, we dissect the furore around Dominic Cummings' breaking of lock-down rules and the PM's refusal to sack him when other officials have been sacked for similar transgressions. We assert that the ramifications of this matter go beyond the indiscretions of one man, easily written off as peccadilloes, or even spun as legal, moral and full of integrity. We find that the matter exposes with great clarity the class nature of UK society, the entrenched nature of the culture of deference which upholds it, the absence of the truth faculty amongst the commentariat and the political class, the representation of gross inequality as the natural order, and much more besides. The public rage with which these events have been met attests to the legitimate resentment which has been subterranean for some time but which may now erupt. [Free. 44 minutes.]

CONSPIRACY THEORIES: EPISTEMOLOGY, POLITICS & SELF-CARE

CONSPIRACY THEORIES: EPISTEMOLOGY, POLITICS & SELF-CARE

May 8, 2020

The plethora of conspiracy theories circulating in the public discourse attests to a time of real crisis. In this podcast we examine the epistemological issues that arise from this situation, particularly with reference to scepticism, the hermeneutics of suspicion, and the matter of trust. We also briefly look at the relevant politics and the role of elite money in promoting conspiracy theories and how these theories, though perhaps rightly suspicious of government, nevertheless come down on the side of the status quo. We finish with some recommendations for self-care in the face of the toxic sea of post-truth that public discourse has become. [Free. 28 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.]

WHEN MSM TURN ON THE GOVERNMENT

WHEN MSM TURN ON THE GOVERNMENT

April 7, 2020

In this podcast we ask what happens when the MSM turns on the government, as it appears to be so doing at the moment as the UK government mismanages the COVID19 pandemic. Is the essentially propaganda function of the press changed by this development? We analyse the way in which it isn't. [Free. 25 minutes.]

PANDEMIC TRAUMAS

PANDEMIC TRAUMAS

March 26, 2020

In this podcast we identify four types of trauma that the global CORVID19 pandemic is inflicting on individuals and societies. They are to do with isolation and restriction due to lock-down, fear, anxiety and panic, increased awareness of death, and political / economic disillusionment. In the second half we attempt to discern how these traumas will continue to act in the future when the pandemic has subsided. [Free. 38 minutes.]

LEAST VALUED, MOST VALUABLE

LEAST VALUED, MOST VALUABLE

March 21, 2020

In this short podcast, I examine the role of the UK's 'key workers' in the midst of the current global COVID19 pandemic. With a few examples I show how the nature of these workers is brought out of ideologically produced obscurity into the light by the crisis. Often low-status, poorly paid, and traduced and poorly treated by the conservative government, these workers, I argue, are both more necessary and more public spirited than, say, hedge-fund managers. [Free. 9 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.]

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