Category: Capitalism

Knowing our left from our right, Part Three: Social justice and human freedom

In the first of these posts about the left-right divide in politics, I argued that the media portrays anything even remotely left of centre as ‘extreme’, ‘hard’ or ‘far’ left. I said that the left-right divide was crucial and expressed ideological divisions themselves reflective of fundamental material social divisions. I then offered 10 ideas expressing…

Knowing our left from our right, Part Two: the states-versus-markets red herring

Yesterday, I started this series of posts by saying that, while anything other than overtly racist right-wing parties and movements are described merely as ‘centrist’ or ‘right-wing’, in the UK anything to the left of New Labour is described by the media as ‘hard’, ‘far’, or ‘extreme’ left. I then set out to argue that…

Knowing our left from our right: social justice, human freedom, and utopian realism

What does it mean to be ‘left’ or ‘right wing’ today? Does it even matter? There seems to be a lot of basic confusion out there coupled with a lot of instinctive contempt and fear for what is understood as left-wing politics. The media is central to the production of this contempt and fear. They…

Working tax credits: the real questions, some real answers

What is ‘hegemonic power’? One central element of hegemonic power is the power to make the root (systemic) causes of our problems invisible and largely unspeakable and unthinkable. Instead, all our debates are over ways to remedy or improve the symptoms of the disease (or even why the painful symptoms are good for us) rather…

On the ‘migrant/refugee’ crisis: Part One – Does charity begin at home?

Dear readers, I’m sorry for my recent silence. I’ve been here and there and looking after my kids a lot. But now the summer hols are over and I’m back on it! There’s only one possible topic to address in this blog – the ‘migrant/refugee’ crisis gripping Europe. I’ve been thrilled to see so many…

Oxford Democracy-Builders: Reading/Viewing/Listening materials on austerity

Hi there, Ahead of our fourth (provisionally named) ‘Oxford Democracy-Builders’ meeting to discuss austerity, here is a list of materials for learning about the debate. I’ve tried to bring a wide range of perspectives into the conversation here. You can download the list in a LibreOffice document here… Don’t panic!! It’s intentionally long and full…

What does this Sun/Women’s Own email really show us? And what can we do about it?

Dear reader, It’s been an interesting 24 hours since my friend Kate Evans (@iamkateevans) showed me an email by a contributing editor to The Sun newspaper and Women’s Own magazine asking charities for a very particular request… I subsequently posted this email and a few observations on Agent of History here… Since then, Kate’s been…

This is what our ‘news’papers do every day…

I have just read an email sent by a ‘contributing editor’ of The Sun newspaper who is looking for a particular someone. This person’s words speak for themselves so I’ll say no more. Here’s the email (anonymised, of course)… “Hi I’m looking for a woman aged 35+ who used to be overweight and on disability…

The Pint’s Half-Full! On knowledge, freedom, and unravelling hegemony, Part Two: Unravelling Hegemony

From the psychology of pint-buying to a political theory of hegemony In the previous post, my curious discovery that I couldn’t say with certainty why I acted the way I did regarding buying drinks in pubs led me to question the nature and limits of knowledge and how that relates to our freedom. I suggested…