April 7, 2022
Islamophobia is everywhere. It is a narrative and history woven so deeply into our everyday lives that we don't even notice it – in our education, how we travel, our healthcare, legal system and at work. Behind the scenes it affects the most vulnerable, at the border and in prisons. Despite this, the conversation about Islamophobia is relegated to microaggressions and slurs. At best, we see it as an individual moral failing to be condemned – though amongst the political elite, Islamophobia is more likely to enhance, than hinder careers...
In Tangled in Terror: Uprooting Islamophobia, Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan scrutinises not just what Islamophobia is, but what it does. Islamophobia not only lives under the skin of those who it marks, but is an international political project designed to divide people in the name of security, in order to materially benefit global stakeholders.
We're joined on the show by Suhaiymah to talk about a number of the issues covered in the new book, and to get her thoughts as well on the popular podcast, The Trojan Horse Affair, and the discourse that has emerged around the refugee crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
March 17, 2022
In England today there exist nearly 120,000 miles of public footpath - half what it was 100 years ago and amounting to just 8% of the land in the country. Of England’s 42,000 miles of rivers, we have access to just 3%.
The enclosure of common land, and the exclusion of the people who lived upon it, was a violent process that began almost a thousand years ago, and reached its zenith in the 18th and 19th centuries. This ‘accumulation by dispossession', as David Harvey has put it, was frequently met with rebellion, but nonetheless continues to shape the landscape around us today.
The story of the loss of the commons and the emergence of private property is not just of historical interest. Today a third of Britain is still owned by the aristocracy, and the rights of the land owner to do what they please with their land are paramount. Property remains inextricably linked to power.
We're joined on the show this month by Nick Hayes, author of The Book of Trespass: Crossing the Lines that Divide Us (2020), and a co-founder of the Right to Roam campaign. We discuss the history of the commons and enclosure, and delve into the power of trespassing as a form of direct action.
Find out more about the campaign: righttoroam.org.uk
February 2, 2022
To celebrate Black History Month in the US, we've gone through the Radicals in Conversation archive and curated a series of extracts in which our panellists discuss different aspects of Black history in America.
Extract 1: Episode 26 (December 2019) - Bill Mullen and Megan Williams discuss the evolution of the radical politics of James Baldwin, as it was expressed in his writing and in his activism as a public intellectual.
Extract 2: Episode 45 (August 2021) - Farah Thompson and Jules Joanne Gleeson talk about transgender experiences, race and organising in contemporary America.
Extract 3: Episode 49 (December 2021) - Lorenzo Kom’Boa Ervin and William C. Anderson speak to JoNina Ervin about Black Anarchism in a collaboration with the Black Autonomy Podcast.
Extract 4: The New Intellectuals Episode 1 (April 2020) - Jordan Camp interviews Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor for The New Intellectuals - a series produced in collaboration with The People’s Forum. They talk about the history of Black home ownership in the twentieth century.
30% off our Black Reading List for Black History Month: plutobooks.com/black-history-month-reading-list/
January 20, 2022
Almost two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, and the limits of a neoliberal public health orthodoxy have been well and truly exposed. But instead of pushing for radical change, the left in Britain finds itself stuck in a rearguard action focused on defending the National Health Service (NHS) from the wrecking ball of privatisation.
In January 2022, Pluto published The Five Health Frontiers: A New Radical Blueprint, in which public health expert Christopher Thomas argues that we must emerge from the pandemic on the offensive - with a bold, new vision for our health and social care. He maps out five new frontiers for public health and imagines how we can move beyond safeguarding what we have, towards a revitalisation and radical expansion of the principles put forward by Aneurin Bevan, the founder of the NHS, over 70 years ago.
Beyond recalibrating our approach to healthcare, this radical blueprint calls for a fundamental redesign of our economy through 'Public Health Net Zero'; a bold new universal public health service that is fit to address the real causes of ill health; and a major recalibration in the efforts against the epidemiological reality of an era of pandemics.
Joining us on the panel are:
Christopher Thomas, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and author of The Five Health Frontiers;
Dr Sonia Adesara, an NHS doctor and campaigner
December 16, 2021
In October 2021, Pluto published the definitive edition of Anarchism and the Black Revolution by Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin. The book first connected Black radical thought to anarchist theory in 1979, and now amidst a rising tide of Black political organising, this foundational classic has been republished with a wealth of original material, including forewords by William C. Anderson and Joy James.
This month’s episode of Radicals in Conversation is brought to you in collaboration with the Black Autonomy Podcast, in which JoNina Ervin hosts a discussion between Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin and William C. Anderson about Black anarchism across the generations.
Ervin and Anderson discuss the reasons for the continued relevance and increasing popularity of Black anarchism today, what an ‘ungovernable’ radical movement might look like, and the contradictions inherent to single-issue and state-orientated political projects from the left. They also discuss Black nationalism, and put Anderson's recent book The Nation on No Map in conversation with Anarchism and the Black Revolution.
Find out more about the Black Autonomy Podcast:
The Nation on No Map by William C. Anderson:
Anarchism and the Black Revolution by Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin:
November 26, 2021
Content warning: rape, suicide
On 25 May 2018, the Irish people voted to remove the Eighth Amendment from the constitution. This amendment, which had been introduced in 1983, not only made abortion illegal in Ireland, but equated the life of a pregnant woman to the life of a fertilised embryo. Despite this criminalisation, the ban on abortion was always resisted and circumvented. In the years leading up to the 2018 referendum, a grassroots movement pushing for repeal emerged on an unprecedented scale, sending tens of thousands of people out canvassing in villages, towns and cities around the country.
This victory for the Irish Repeal movement set the country alight with euphoria. But, for some, the celebrations were short-lived – the new legislation turned out to be one of the most conservative in Europe. People still travel overseas for abortions and services are not yet commissioned in Northern Ireland.
This month Pluto published a new book, Repealed: Ireland's Unfinished Fight for Reproductive Rights, by Camilla Fitzsimons, with Sinéad Kennedy, and a foreword by Ruth Coppinger. We are joined on the show by Camilla, Sinéad and Ruth to discuss the history of the Catholic Church and women’s oppression in Ireland, the introduction of the Eighth amendment in 1983, and the qualitative turning points in the long road to repeal. We also consider the lessons from the campaign, and the challenges that still remain, more than three years later.
October 29, 2021
The trade union movement in Britain has existed for nearly two centuries: from the Tolpuddle Martyrs, to the 1888 Matchgirls’ strike, to the militant action of Women machinists at the Ford plant in Dagenham in 1968 - organised labour has a rich, if complicated, history. But in the ebb and flow and workers’ power over the decades, we find ourselves at a historic low point. Union membership is declining, with young workers in particular less likely to be part of a trade union than ever. In every year since 1991 the number of strikes has been lower than in any year prior to that point.
Much of this decline can be laid at the door of successive rafts of anti-union legislation brought in by Margaret Thatcher, and more recently by David Cameron, raising the legal bar for strike ballots and outlawing secondary action.
But as our guests on this month's show argue, reports of the trade union movement’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Not only is the need for unions more urgent than ever as we face our second winter of the Covid-19 Pandemic, but workers are taking action across the economy and winning. And it is women, young people and migrant workers who are leading the charge.
We are joined on the panel by:
Eve Livingston, author of Make Bosses Pay: Why We Need Unions; Jane Hardy, author of Nothing to Lose But Our Chains: Work and Resistance in 21st Century Britain; and Henry Chango Lopez, General Secretary of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB).
Find out more about the IWGB: iwgb.org.uk
September 27, 2021
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).
August 31, 2021
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.