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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.]

HOLLOW SYMBOLS -  INTERESTING TIMES 2

HOLLOW SYMBOLS - INTERESTING TIMES 2

June 11, 2020

In this podcast, we take issue with the complaints from  certain Tory MPs, conservative academics and right wing pundits that the toppling of statues of slave traders and imperialists 'erases history' and  'strikes at our way of life', and that historical figures should not be appraised according to modern morality and values. We argue that, contrary to these positions, obscured parts of history are illuminated by such acts, that 'our way of life' does not exist as a monolith, and that past figures should be evaluated according to modern values if we are to appraise our desires for future generations. We sketch out out symbols need to be understood as both heavy and empty. Warning: contains swearing. [Free. 19 minutes.]

LAO TZU 20

LAO TZU 20

May 31, 2020

In this episode of our Lao Tzu series, we explore themes of judgement, desire, non-violence, and longevity: all in the light of Lao Tzu's meditation 'method' of aligning with the Tao. [Free. 24 minutes.]

LOCK-DOWN PROTESTS AND LIBERTARIAN ABSOLUTISM

LOCK-DOWN PROTESTS AND LIBERTARIAN ABSOLUTISM

May 19, 2020

In this podcast, we discuss the specifics of US and UK anti-lock-down protests which naturally leads on to a discussion of freedom per se and how it can be exercised so as to remove the freedom of others. This involves considerations of property, inequalities of wealth and power, discerning evidence, and evaluating narratives in the face of media and governmental disregard for truth. [Free. 24 minutes.]

LAO TZU 18

LAO TZU 18

May 2, 2020

In this podcast we reflect on Chapter 31 of The Tao Te Ching. This Chapter deals with the pity and tragedy of war and the terrible nature of weapons and how the sage does not celebrate them. The sage, instead, loves peace and quiet and recommends it to rulers and peoples. We relate this to our current situation in which over $1.7 trillion are spent per annum globally on the weapons of war and in which many senseless and highly destructive wars are fought. We conclude that Lao Tzu's lesson in this chapter is one we urgently need to hear. [Free. 21 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.]

NATURALLY OCCURRING COMMUNISM

NATURALLY OCCURRING COMMUNISM

March 22, 2020

In this short podcast, we revisit the theme of naturally occurring communism, this time as it appears as a response to the COV19 pandemic and comes to be more widely valued. We consider whether it can further develop when the pandemic finally subsides and conclude that it might, but it will have to fought for. [Free. 14 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.] 

VIRUS POLITICS

VIRUS POLITICS

March 17, 2020

In this podcast I sketch out the features of the COVID-19 pandemic as it stands at the time of recording [15/3/20] before considering its political aspects. I argue that one feature of the catastrophe is that it is a black swan event further destabilising already unstable global capitalism. The inability of markets, neo-liberal ideologies and corporate profit fetishism to address the consequent, dire public health and economic crises is exposed very vividly, I claim. I then describe how the right will inevitably attempt to weaponise the resulting chaos, placing the human enterprise itself in jeopardy and how the broadly progressive wing of humanity must seize the initiative, both in terms of mutual aid organisation and on the ideological plane. Claiming the pandemic should not be politicised plays right into the hands of the malignant right. [Free. 24 minutes.]

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