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AGAINST FLAG-SHAGGING - INTERESTING TIMES 9

AGAINST FLAG-SHAGGING - INTERESTING TIMES 9

August 28, 2020

In this podcast, we argue that patriotism is ideological, irrational, based on arbitrary boundaries, implicated in the weaponisation of history, employed by dead-cat culture wars, and rooted in a pathological narcissism. We suggest how those afflicted with it might return to health. [Free. 27 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.]

WEAPONISED HISTORY - INTERESTING TIMES 4

WEAPONISED HISTORY - INTERESTING TIMES 4

June 23, 2020

In this podcast we dissect utterances made by conservatives like Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage relating to the question of the significance of statues and other monuments that occupy public spaces. We particularly light upon the way in which the concept of history is weaponised in the pro establishment discourses that are now circulating. We indicate that the conservative ploy is to inflame a distracting culture war by asserting that 'history is being erased' and that 'extremists' are operating in BLM. We don't however try to downplay the importance of engagement with the issues, but suggest that the terrain that Johnson et al want to fight the battles on should be refused. Drawing on ideas that concern philosophers of history, we suggest how those who don't believe that business as usual is an option might do culture war on their own terms. This podcast also serves as a groundwork for a future podcast on the Philosophy Of History. [ Free. 47 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.]

LAO TZU 17

LAO TZU 17

April 27, 2020

In this podcast, we return to our long project of commenting on the Tao Te Ching. This time we comment on Chapters 29 and 30 which speak out against hubris in leaders. The character types of typical leaders is taxonomised and contrasted with that of 'the sage'. The sage, we are told, is without pride, false charm and greed and leads with a light touch. Consequently, his leading style avoids environmental destruction. Lao Tzu also speaks out against warlike behaviour in leaders and spells out the destructive consequences such as famine. We suggest that these lessons are very relevant  to our current political situation. [Free. 22 minutes.]

ON APOCALYPSE

ON APOCALYPSE

March 6, 2020

In this podcast, I distinguish between rational and irrational apocalyptic fears. I discuss the Cuba missile crisis of 1962 and the subsequent retreat from the brink through various treaties and weapons inspection regimes. I also outline briefly how an incipient new cold war / arms race seems to be on the horizon. I also consider the eco-apocalypse in the light of a real-life encounter with militant climate deniers. My conclusion is not entirely pessimistic and underscores the role of human agency. [Free. 28 minutes.]

THE YOGI AND THE COMMISSAR: REVOLUTION?

THE YOGI AND THE COMMISSAR: REVOLUTION?

January 25, 2020

In this podcast I question the nature of revolution, particularly as to its ultimate ground, which for some should be consciousness, and for others, the power structures of society, particularly materialistically understood. I outline the thought that both must be involved as it is found in the ongoing historical conversation. This includes Freudian Marxism, and the existentialism of Simone de Beauvoir, who gives us the figures of the yogi and the commissar to imagine. [Free.  28 minutes.]

MISLEADING SLOGANS [2] “#SURRENDER BILL”

MISLEADING SLOGANS [2] “#SURRENDER BILL”

September 12, 2019

In this podcast we deconstruct the hashtag "surrender bill" which Prime Minister Johnson has been repeating at every opportunity. This hashtag attempts to spin the bill which recently passed through parliament making it illegal for the government to allow a no deal brexit or a brexit with a new deal without parliamentary consent on 31st October as somehow a surrender in an imagined war. We trace how this framing attempts to resonate with myths and fantasies around World War 2. [Free.  26 minutes.]

THE CASE FOR JEREMY CORBYN

THE CASE FOR JEREMY CORBYN

July 22, 2019

This engagement with current affairs has already been over-taken by events. However, it may contain some enduring points. I consider the billionaire-owned media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and his socialist project, including but not exclusively, the charges of anti-semitism. I note the presence of neo-liberal apologists within the UK Labour Party. In the light of my contention that 'business as usual is not an option', given economic, ecological and cultural instability on a global scale, I elucidate and evaluate the idea of a 'Green New Deal' as is being considered by Labour as well as Justice Democrats in the USA, particularly Bernie Sanders. I argue that a glimmer of hope is contained by this movement. [Free. 42 minutes.]

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