January 31, 2019
As the UK hurtles towards the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, the chaos engulfing Parliament has all but eclipsed any other political issue. And yet there are cruelties being enacted through policy that predate the current political crisis, which demand our attention and our resistance.
This month we discuss healthcare and the 'hostile environment' - the 'sprawling web,’ as described by Liberty, ‘of immigration controls embedded in the heart of our public services and communities.’ Covering the Windrush scandal, privatisation, and the impact of Brexit, we unpick the policies and hear the stories of the people most affected by them.
We are joined in the studio by three guests who are all working at the intersection of healthcare, human rights and the ‘hostile environment’:
Guppi Kaur Bola, Director at Medact; Minnie Rahman, Public Affairs and Campaigns Manager at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants; and Bethan Lant, Casework Manager at Praxis Community Projects.
Go to www.plutobooks.com/podcastreading for 50% off selected books relating to this month's episode. Simply apply the coupon code 'PODCAST' at the checkout.
Find out more about the organisations:
December 6, 2018
On 1st December, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (or AMLO) was inaugurated as the 58th President of Mexico.
A progressive politician often compared to Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, AMLO's campaign for office galvanised people across Mexico. His decisive victory in July speaks volumes about the corrupt state of the Mexican political elite and the temperament of the people, and has potentially huge implications for the country, for the United States, and for the international progressive Left.
It remains to be seen, in the coming weeks and months, how much his presidency will mark a rupture, rather than a continuity, with the decline of the ‘pink tide’ in Latin America.
Discussing this moment of excitement and hope in Mexico, as well as the realities of the difficult road that lies ahead, we welcome onto the show John Holloway, author of Change the World Without Taking Power and Crack Capitalism among many other books; and Raquel Gutierrez, Professor of Sociology at the Autonomous University of Puebla.
López Obrador's new book, A New Hope for Mexico, was published by Pluto in October 2018.
November 15, 2018
This September, Pluto relaunched the Left Book Club, a project originally founded by Victor Gollancz in 1936. The aim of the Left Book Club was simple, to popularise ideas of the left and combat the rise of fascism. By the eve of the Second World War, the LBC had reached a membership of nearly 60,000 - with 1,200 reading groups scattered around the country.
What made the LBC so necessary in the 1930's are the same things that make its relaunch so important today. In a context of rising ethno-nationalism and an economic system that fuels inequality, we need a space outside the mainstream media that doesn’t simply reinforce the values of the ruling elite and the status quo.
Mirroring the story of the LBC, and returning to the fray this Autumn is another revitalised, octogenarian institution of left media: Tribune - Britain’s oldest, democratic socialist publication.
This month, we are joined by three members of Tribune's new editorial team: Kheya Bag (Associate Publisher), Owen Hatherley (Culture Editor) and Ronan Burtenshaw (Editor), in a discussion about left media; the value of tradition; Corbynism; Jacobin and graphic design; and the foregrounding of culture in our political movements.
Left Book Club: leftbookclub.com
October 11, 2018
'There were Africans in Britain before the English came here.'
In a special Black History Month episode, we are joined by David Olusoga - a broadcaster, historian and author of many award winning books, including Black and British: A Forgotten History (2017), and Civilisations: First Contact / The Cult of Progress (2018).
Celebrating the recent re-publication of Peter Fryer's Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain, we discuss questions of racism and identity; the link between the slave trade and the British Empire; and explore the book's enduring legacy in the context of Brexit and the Windrush scandal.
Staying Power was first published in 1984. The new edition, featuring a foreword by Gary Younge and a preface by Paul Gilroy, is available now from plutobooks.com as well as all good bookshops.
September 11, 2018
There are over 11 million private renters in the UK, accounting for 20% of all households. For many, life as a tenant is precarious, unsafe and increasingly expensive. Londoners face some of the highest rents in Europe, beholden to a housing market stacked in favour of landlords and investors.
But communities and campaigners are fighting back against the many injustices within the housing sector: from social cleansing and gentrification, to deregulation and ‘no fault’ evictions.
We are joined in the studio by Katya Nasim, a founding member of the London Renters’ Union, and Becka Hudson, Co-ordinator of the Radical Housing Network, in a conversation about the current housing crisis, dissecting its origins and offering an alternative vision for tenants across the UK.
August 8, 2018
In 2015, students at the University of Cape Town demanded the removal of a statue of Cecil Rhodes, the imperialist, racist business magnate, from their campus. The battle cry ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ heralded an international movement calling for the decolonisation of the world’s universities.
Over the last three years this movement has grown, voicing a radical call for a new era of education, and an end to coloniality both inside and outside the classroom.
Unpacking the 'decolonise' framework, and exploring questions of curriculum, neoliberalism and the legacy of empire, we are joined by Gurminder Bhambra, Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies at the University of Sussex, and Dalia Gebrial, a PhD student at the London School of Economics, and an editor at Novara Media, who was formerly involved with the Rhodes Must Fall campaign at Oxford University.
Decolonising the University is published on 20th August 2018.
July 9, 2018
Today’s global economy relies on the steady flow of goods, products and raw materials around the world. Companies like Amazon have become so massive that they now ship as many as 400 packages per second. But this all depends on the labour of millions of workers in docks, warehouses and logistics centres. If the global supply chain is broken, capitalism grinds to a halt…
Discussing the power - both potential and realised - of these logistics workers around the world, we are joined by: Jake Alimahomed-Wilson, Professor of Sociology at California State University, Long Beach, and co-editor of Choke Points: Logistics Workers Disrupting the Global Supply Chain (Pluto, 2018); Katy Fox-Hodess, a lecturer in work, employment, people and organisations at the University of Sheffield; and Kim Moody, a founder of Labor Notes and the author of a number of books on US labour, most recently On New Terrain (Haymarket, 2017).
June 6, 2018
On 22nd May, we held the first ever 'Pluto Live' event with Ben White and Karma Nabulsi. Hosted by Amnesty International in London, the evening comprised of a wide ranging discussion around the themes of the new book Cracks in the Wall: Beyond Apartheid in Palestine/Israel.
From the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, to the growing polarisation of US politics over the question of Israel/Palestine, this special episode of Radicals in Conversation explores the emerging 'cracks in the wall' of traditional support for Israel in the Trump era.
Recorded shortly after the massacre of protesting Palestinians in Gaza on May 14th, the discussion acknowledges the grim reality on the ground in 2018, as well as reasons for hope.
May 8, 2018
The Republic of Ireland is one of the last places in the EU in which having an abortion remains a criminal offense. Every day, an average of 12 people in Ireland have an abortion - either by travelling to the UK, or through using illegal abortion pills bought online. On 25th May, voters in the Republic will go to the polls in a referendum to decide whether or not to repeal the eighth amendment to the constitution, which has kept abortion illegal under almost all circumstances since it was first introduced in 1983.
The campaign to 'repeal the eighth' has gained a huge amount of traction across the country in recent months. Just a few weeks ahead of the crucial vote, we invited Maev McDaid, an activist with Alliance for Choice, and Lewis Kenny, a Dublin-based artist and activist, to join us in a discussion about the history of abortion in Ireland, and why a 'yes' vote is so crucial.
For more information about the campaign to repeal the eighth, go to:
March 5, 2018
At a time when EU nationals are being deported for sleeping rough; when banks, landlords, schools and even the NHS are deputised in the hunt for 'illegal' immigrants; and when detainees are forced to go on hunger strike to protest the failures and abuses of the Home Office, the issue of immigration has clearly never been more urgent.
Chris Browne is joined by Gracie Bradley from Liberty, and Luke Butterly from Right to Remain, in a timely discussion about the UK government's 'hostile environment' policy, the horrors and injustice of the immigration detention system, and the community groups and campaigners who are trying to put an end to it.
For more information, and to get involved in the fight to end immigration detention, go to: