May 18, 2020
This month we join San Francisco-based historian, tour guide and author Chris Carlsson in a discussion centered around his new book, Hidden San Francisco: A Guide to Lost Landscapes, Unsung Heroes and Radical Histories (Pluto, 2020).
Chris is in conversation with fellow historians Nicole Meldahl, Liam O'Donoghue and LisaRuth Elliott. They discuss the genesis of the Shaping San Francisco project in the '90s, what it means to engage in 'history from below', the power of podcasting, how to do oral history, and why you should interview your family.
They also highlight some of the key grassroots movements in the city's history: from the Save the Bay and Anti-Freeway movements, to the successful 1950's campaign to stop a nuclear power plant being built on the San Andreas fault.
Podcast listeners can buy Hidden San Francisco with 50% off, via plutobooks.com/podcastreading. Use the coupon 'PODCAST' at the checkout.
The full, unabridged version of this episode is available exclusively to Pluto Patreon members. Join today and support independent, radical publishing.
May 1, 2020
Jordan T. Camp is joined by historian Andrew Zimmerman to discuss his edited volume of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' writings, The Civil War in the United States (International Publishers).
April 16, 2020
Covid-19 has thrown the idea of class, and class society, into sharp relief, ridiculing many of our economic system’s foundational premises - for one, the idea that as a worker, your pay cheque is a reflection of your value to society. Facing the possibility of economic collapse and a new great recession, the overton window has shifted dramatically on state intervention in the economy, the value of public services, and the credibility of ideas such as universal basic income. But how is the current crisis likely to shift the balance of power between capital and labour? How can working people build class power amidst the lockdown? And how can we express meaningful solidarity, at the community, national and international level?
In our latest episode of Radicals in Conversation, these questions are foregrounded, amidst a wider discussion of the meaning of class today. Joining us on the panel are Ben Tippet, author of Split: Class Divides Uncovered; Grace Blakeley, author of Stolen: How to Save the World from Financialisation, and Emily Scurrah, a researcher at the New Economics Foundation.
Podcast listeners can get an exclusive discount on Split and other books related to this episode, at plutobooks.com/podcastreading.
The full, unabridged version of this episode is available exclusively to Pluto Patreon members. Join today and help support independent, radical publishing.
April 2, 2020
In the first episode of The New Intellectuals, Jordan T. Camp's guest is scholar-activist Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, who discusses her new book, Race for Profit: How Banks and Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership (University of North Carolina Press, 2019).
The New Intellectuals is a monthly interview podcast produced for Pluto Press and The People’s Forum. Hosted by author, editor, and TPF director of research, Jordan T. Camp, it features interviews with intellectuals invested in the struggles of the poor, working class, and the dispossessed in North America and the world. Inspired by Antonio Gramsci, it identifies 'new intellectuals' as the authors, scholars, organizers and permanent persuaders of political and social movements.
March 16, 2020
Celebrating the launch of her new book, Feminism, Interrupted: Disrupting Power, Lola Olufemi guest hosts this month's episode of Radicals in Conversation.
She is joined on the panel by Jade Bentil, a black feminist historian and PhD researcher at the University of Oxford, and author of the forthcoming book, Rebel Citizen: A History of Black Women Living, Loving and Resisting (2021); and Gail Lewis, a black feminist and former Reader in Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College.
Their discussion covers a range of subjects treated in the book, including the history of black feminist organising, grassroots activism, liberal feminism, sex work, the nation state and state violence, gender, trans and queer life, intersectionality, and art.
Podcast listeners can get an exclusive discount on Feminism, Interrupted and other books related to this episode, at plutobooks.com/podcastreading.
February 17, 2020
The more radical orientation of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership attracted many activists back to the party in 2015. Nearly five years later, with 580,000 registered members, it has become the largest political party in Europe.
Yet in spite of this groundswell of grassroots support, the 2019 General Election handed Labour its worst defeat since 1935. Dogged by accusations of antisemitism, attacked for its drifting position on Brexit, and failing to offer a credible, clearly articulated vision through its manifesto, Labour was unable to build on the successes of 2017.
The Party clearly needs to reflect on what went wrong, in order to rebuild. With the Corbyn project arguably at an end, and with the leadership contest underway, the big question is 'what needs to happen next?'
Joining us to discuss what went wrong in 2019, and what Labour needs to do differently in 2020, are:
James Meadway, former advisor to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, and former chief economist at the New Economics Foundation; Sam Philips, a Labour member who has been active in the party since 2016; and Martin Bowman, a Labour and Momentum member, and Labour for a Green New Deal volunteer, who canvassed in London marginals during the 2019 general election, as well as spending two weeks with Labour Legends in Broxtowe.
There is 50% off on a number of Pluto books relating to this month's episode, exclusively for podcast listeners. Go to plutobooks.com/podcastreading and enter the code PODCAST at the checkout.
January 21, 2020
The ‘hostile environment’ - the anti-migrant policy announced by then-Home Secretary Theresa May in 2012 - has extended border policing into universities, healthcare, schools, and other sectors, forcing workers in those sectors to enforce immigration policy.
Within higher education, international students and staff now face regular passport checks, and an obligation to report their exact whereabouts daily or weekly.
Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC) is a national campaign made up of British, EU, non-EU, migrant students, lecturers and university workers opposed to Home Office surveillance and border controls on UK campuses.
Advocating for free movement and free education, in the belief that all migrants matter, and that borders kill knowledge, URBC has been working to resist these increasingly draconian measures.
We are joined this month by Sanaz Raji and Caoimhe Mader McGuinness, from URBC, to talk about the impact of border controls in higher education.
For an exclusive discount on some of our books published on this subject, go to: plutobooks.com/podcastreading
December 2, 2019
James Baldwin left an indelible mark on the face of Western politics and culture. Novels like Go Tell it on a Mountain, Giovanni’s Room and Another Country were groundbreaking when they were first published in the 1950s and '60s, and Baldwin’s work continues to resonate. The 2018 cinematic release of If Beale Street Could Talk, based on Baldwin's novel of the same name, is the latest testament to his enduring relevance and popularity.
Our final episode of the year features Bill V. Mullen, author of James Baldwin: Living in Fire (Pluto, 2019) in conversation with Megan Maxine Williams, a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies at Purdue University.
Bill and Megan explore the evolution of Baldwin's radical politics - expressed both on the page, and in his activism as a public intellectual - and consider his renewed relevance in the context of Black Lives Matter and police violence.
They consider his early advocacy of an 'indigenous' socialism in the US, his role in the civil rights movement, and his appraisal of Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam and the Black Panther Party. Bill and Megan also discuss Baldwin's sexuality and the influence of Black feminists such as Audre Lorde, Nikki Giovanni and Lorraine Hansberry on the development of his gender politics.
James Baldwin: Living in Fire is available now from plutobooks.com.
November 11, 2019
Few political projects in recent years have been a source of greater hope and inspiration than Rojava - the Kurdish region of north-eastern Syria. Inspired by the political philosophy of Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned co-founder of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Rojava embodies a radical ecology, direct democracy and a deep commitment to gender equality.
Although always threatened by a hostile regional geopolitics, the Kurdish people’s revolutionary social and political experiment finds itself now under renewed bombardment. On 6th October Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from the region, effectively giving the green light to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to invade, under the auspices of creating a buffer zone in which up to a million Syrian refugees who had fled to Turkey might live. Just a few weeks on and hundreds of Kurds have been killed, and hundreds of thousands forced to leave their homes.
On 2nd November we spoke to two activists from the Kurdish women’s movement, Dilar Dirik and Elif Sarican, to discuss the situation in Rojava, and what meaningful action is needed in order to safeguard its future.
For wider reading on the subject, go to plutobooks.com/podcastreading
Women Defend Rojava campaign: https://womendefendrojava.net/en/
October 14, 2019
There are few subjects more personal, and more political, than sex. Sex education, as it’s taught in school, has always been a source of controversy, and amongst the pupils subjected to it, a great deal of embarrassment as well.
But while national contexts may differ, it is perhaps the inadequacy of sex education that emerges as its most defining trait. It is often heteronormative in its assumptions; overly biological in approach. Many young people emerge from formal sex education knowing how to put a condom on a banana, but without a full understanding of what constitutes consent.
In March 2017, the UK government ruled that by September 2020, sex and relationship education will be compulsory. But big question marks remain over what it will look like in practice.
Joining us this month to discuss how both schools and society could benefit from a radical and inclusive approach to sex education, are:
Natalie Fiennes, author of Behind Closed Doors: Sex Education Transformed, Lydia Hughes, a trade union organiser, and Bryony Walker, a social justice activist involved in the Level Up campaign to change the UK curriculum around consent.