Radicals in Conversation podcast

Radicals in Conversation

Pluto Press

Radicals in Conversation is a monthly podcast from Pluto Press, one of the world's leading independent, radical publishers. Every month we sit down with leading campaigners, authors and academics to bring you in-depth conversations and radical perspectives on the issues that matter the most.

50 Episodes

  • Radicals in Conversation podcast

    Fighting for Climate Justice and a People‘s Green New Deal


    Throughout 2021 we have witnessed a number of devastating and deeply disturbing extreme weather events across the globe. From flooding and forest fires, to soaring temperatures, it is abundantly clear that global warming is accelerating faster than anticipated, and our window of opportunity to combat its worst effects is shrinking commensurately.  The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) takes place in Glasgow at the end of October, but many of us would question whether the process is capable of delivering the radical emissions reductions we need in the timescale required, or indeed if any process so dominated by the rich nations of the global north is likely to result in an agreement that has the principles of climate justice at its core. Training our gaze elsewhere, this month we consider the framework of the Green New Deal, in its myriad formations: from largely status-quo visions of green capitalism, to the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez GND resolution, to more radical programmes founded on the principles of anti-imperialism, agroecology, and just transition. Joining us on the panel are: Max Ajl, author of A People’s Green New Deal; Chris Saltmarsh, author of Burnt: Fighting for Climate Justice; and Adrienne Buller, a Senior Research Fellow at Common Wealth, and author of the forthcoming book The Value of a Whale: On the Delusions of Green Capitalism (Manchester University Press, 2022).
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    Transgender Marxism


    In May 2021, Pluto published a new edited collection from Jules Joanne Gleeson and Elle O’Rourke, titled Transgender Marxism. The book offers a groundbreaking synthesis of transgender studies and Marxist theory. Exploring trans lives and movements, the collection’s contributors delve into the experiences of surviving as transgender under capitalism. They explore the pressures, oppression and state persecution faced by trans people living in capitalist societies, their tenuous positions in the workplace and the home, and give a powerful response to right-wing scaremongering against ‘gender ideology’. Joining us on the panel to discuss the themes of the book, are: Jules Joanne Gleeson, a writer, comedian and historian who has published essays in outlets including Viewpoint Magazine, Invert Journal and VICE. She has performed internationally at a wide range of communist and queer cultural events, and is co-editor of Transgender Marxism; and Farah Thompson, a Black, bisexual trans woman who lives in San Diego. She advocates for anti-imperialism, LGBT rights, decriminalisation of drug use and sex work, and self-determination of Black and colonised peoples. Farah is the author of one of the book’s chapters, titled ‘The Bridge Between Gender and Organising’. Listeners of Radicals in Conversation can get an exclusive 50% off Transgender Marxism through plutobooks.com. Just enter the coupon PODCAST at the checkout.
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    Gypsies, Roma and Travellers: The Policing Bill and Institutional Racism


    The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is a far-reaching piece of legislation that would, if passed into law, result in an enormous and unprecedented extension of policing powers, severely curtailing the right to peaceful protest. Over the summer, many people have taken to the streets in #KilltheBill protests to voice their opposition and alarm. One aspect of the Policing bill that is perhaps less discussed is the manner in which it will specifically threaten Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities. In this episode we look at the histories, identities and lived realities of GRT people in Britain today, and the ways in which anti-GRT racism is already manifested institutionally. This episode is structured in two parts. Firstly we have an interview with Jo Clement, Managing Editor and Creative Director of Butcher’s Dog poetry magazine. Jo is also a Roma Gypsy and a member of the Drive2Survive team - a grassroots campaign against Section 4 of the Policing Bill, that threatens Gypsy, Roma and Traveller life in Britain. In the second part of the show we are joined on the panel for a more in-depth discussion with two fantastic guests: Luke Smith, a Romani-Gypsy activist and founder of GRT Socialists; and Ben Smoke, Politics Editor at Huck magazine, and one of the Stansted 15.  
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    Lost in Work: Escaping Capitalism


    'Work hard, get paid.' It's simple. Self-evident. But it's also a lie - at least for most of us. For people today, the old assumptions are crumbling; hard work in school no longer guarantees a secure, well-paying job in the future. Far from a gateway to riches and fulfillment, 'work' means precarity, anxiety and alienation. Discussing everything from the history of work under capitalism, to social reproduction and the trade union movement, our panel are: Amelia Horgan, author of Lost in Work: Escaping Capitalism; Sarah Jaffe, a reporting fellow at Type Media Center and the author of Work Won't Love You Back; and Orlando Lazar, a political theorist and college lecturer at the University of Oxford, whose research focuses on power and domination at work.
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    Dark Academia: How Universities Die


    Content warning: suicide Academia was once thought of as the best job in the world - a career that fosters autonomy, craft, intrinsic job satisfaction and vocational zeal. And yet you would be hard-pressed to find a lecturer who believes that now. Indeed, there’s a strong correlation between the marketisation and commercialisation of higher education over the last 30 years and the psychological hell now endured by its staff and students. In his new book, Dark Academia: How Universities Die, Peter Fleming delves beyond the glossy brochures of smiling students, and lingering misconceptions of intellectual life in the ivory tower, into the hidden underbelly of the neoliberal university. It is a world dogged by mental illness and self-harm, authoritarian managerialism, students as consumers and ever-more competitive individualism which casts a dark sheen of alienation over departments. We are joined on the panel by Peter Fleming and Simon Lilley, Professor of Information and Organisation at the University of Leicester’s School of Management.
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    'Border Nation' and the Case for Abolition


    Borders are more than geographical lines - they impact all our lives, whether it's the inhumanity of deportations, or a rise in racist attacks in the wake of the EU referendum. Border Nation, the new book by Leah Cowan, shows how oppressive borders must be resisted. Laying bare the web of media myths that vilify migrants, Leah dives into the murky waters of corporate profiteering from borders by companies like G4S, and the ramping up of everyday borders through legislation. She looks at their colonial origins, and explores how a draconian approach to border crossings damages our communities. This month we are joined on the show by Leah, for a discussion all about borders: their history, whose interests they serve, and how people are actively resisting them today. We also talk about the compelling case for border abolition. Find out more about the book: https://www.plutobooks.com/9780745341071/border-nation/ Listen to the unabridged version of the podcast: https://www.patreon.com/plutopress
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    Empire's Endgame: Racism and the British State


    We are in a moment of profound overlapping crises. The landscape of politics and entitlement is being rapidly remade. As movements against colonial legacies and state violence coincide with the rise of authoritarian regimes, it is the lens of racism, and the politics of race, that offers the sharpest focus. The 'hostile environment' and the fallout from Brexit have, over the last few years, thrown the centrality of race into sharp relief, and yet discussions around racism have too often continued to focus on individual behaviours. Empire’s Endgame foregrounds instead the wider political and economic context, and the authors trace the ways in which the legacies of empire have been reshaped by global capitalism, the digital environment and the instability of the nation-state. We are joined on the show this month by four of the co-authors of Empire's Endgame - Gargi Bhattacharyya, Sita Balani, Nadine El-Enany and Luke de Noronha. Our discussion covers the state's deployment of racialised 'folk devils', the persistent allure of nationalism, a collective longing for authoritarian state intervention and the role of gender and sexuality in how the performance and functions of the state. Find out more about the book: https://www.plutobooks.com/9780745342047/empires-endgame/ Listen to the unabridged version of the podcast: https://www.patreon.com/plutopress
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    Where Grieving Begins: Building Bridges after the Brighton Bomb


    In the early hours of the morning of the 12th October 1984, a bomb exploded in the Grand Hotel in Brighton. Five people were killed and many more were injured. The bombing was an attempt by the Provisional IRA to kill the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and her cabinet. Patrick Magee, the man responsible for planting the bomb, was eventually apprehended, put on trial and imprisoned. He was released in 1999, under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. The following year he met Jo Berry, the daughter of Sir Anthony Berry MP, one of the 5 people killed at Brighton. The conversation they started at their first meeting had a profound impact on both of them, and it has continued ever since. Their ongoing dialogue, and their friendship, is now more than 20 years in the making, and an extraordinary example of what is possible, even in the face of profound differences, when there is a genuine commitment to honesty, inclusion and dialogue. This month Pluto publishes Patrick Magee’s memoir, Where Grieving Begins: Building Bridges after the Brighton Bomb. The book recounts the influences and events of Patrick's life, reflecting on his motivations and the political context in which he acted; on armed struggle, the peace process and the legacies of the conflict. The book’s foreword is written by Jo Berry. This month we're joined on the show by Patrick Magee and Jo Berry, to talk about the Troubles, the Brighton Bomb and healing the wounds left by the conflict. --- Building Bridges for Peace: http://buildingbridgesforpeace.org/
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    The Truth About Modern Slavery


    In 2019, over 10,000 possible victims of slavery were found in the UK. From men working in Sports Direct warehouses for barely any pay, to teenaged Vietnamese girls trafficked into small town nail bars, we're told that modern slavery is all around us, operating in plain sight. But is this really slavery, and is it even a new phenomenon? Why has the British Conservative Party called it 'one of the great human rights issues of our time', when they usually ignore the exploitation of those at the bottom of the economic pile? In January 2021, Pluto published a new book by writer and activist, Emily Kenway, called The Truth About Modern Slavery, in which she reveals how modern slavery has been created as a political tool by those in power. We are joined on the podcast this month by Emily Kenway; Ella Cockbain, Associate Professor in Security and Crime Science at University College London, and author of Offender and Victim Networks in Human Trafficking; and Molly Smith, co-author with Juno Mac of Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights. The unabridged version of this podcast is available via patreon.com/plutopress --- Kalayaan - Justice for Migrant Domestic Workers kalayaan.org.uk SWARM - Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement swarmcollective.org
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    Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine


    For decades we have spoken of the 'Israel-Palestine conflict', but what if our understanding and framing of the issue has been wrong all along?  That’s the argument of a new book published in January 2021, Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine. Joining us in conversation this month is the author, Jeff Halper, former Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and a founding member of the One Democratic State (ODS) Campaign. We discuss the characteristics of a settler-colonial project, the unfeasibility of a two-state solution, Palestinian refugees' right to return, and the ODS campaign's call for a decolonial approach and a single democratic state.  The unabridged version of this podcast is available via patreon.com/plutopress --- Find out more: onestatecampaign.org plutobooks.com/9780745343396/decolonizing-israel-liberating-palestine/

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