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Posted on 21 May 2020 at 9:19 GMT

Socialism - the weekly Marxist analysis podcast from the Socialist Party

Socialism - the weekly Marxist analysis podcast from the Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Socialism the Podcast: 2020 episodes

2019 episodes >

The weekly podcast of the Socialist Party. A Marxist approach to the big issues we face in a world of capitalist crisis. Fighting for jobs, homes and public services for all.

From strikes and mass movements through to community campaigns, history and theory. We shine a light on the struggles of workers and young people, and discuss the strategy for a socialist fightback.

Socialism is available on all major podcast platforms. Click the link below to visit and subscribe to Socialism's channel on your podcast service...

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69. Crisis turning point: national unity ends

22 May 2020

Public confidence in the British government's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has nosedived.

They're split over how and when to bully workers back into unsafe workplaces to restart the capitalists' profit engines. And they're split over how and when to pay off the massive debts incurred by lockdown relief measures.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party - under its new, pro-capitalist leader Keir Starmer - could hardly be more tame. But the trade unions have a renewed national profile. Tens of thousands are joining and organising to resist the bosses' unsafe working conditions.

And the turning point seemed to be Boris Johnson's farcical "stay alert" speech on 10 May, which tried to lift the lockdown and impose new restrictions at the same time.

What's behind the chaos at the top? And with the bosses squabbling over how best to make us pay for the pandemic, what would help workers coordinate the most effective political response?

This episode of Socialism looks at a political turning point in the coronavirus crisis: the end of 'national unity'.

Further reading

68. Lifting the lockdown: schools, safety and super-spreaders

15 May 2020

School workers and the government are set for a stand-off over reopening during coronavirus.

The Tory government is combining absurdly unclear messages about "staying alert" with a rush to reopen more of the capitalist economy. While they are concerned only about restarting the profit machine, workers are concerned this premature, shambolic dash is a Covid-19 death sentence.

The capitalists have one set of guidelines for reopening. The workers have another. So what should the unions do about it?

Are the government's guidelines for "safe" reopening of schools really safe? How can trade unionists force the Tories to take safety seriously? And are there lessons from the lockdown for how education might work differently?

This episode of Socialism looks at lifting the lockdown: schools, safety and super-spreaders

Further reading

67. Lenin at 150

1 May 2020

What are the lessons for today from Lenin's revolutionary life?

22 April 2020 was the 150th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanvov, better known as Lenin, the revolutionary workers' leader and Marxist political theorist. In 1917, Lenin's Bolshevik Party led the working class of Russia to overthrow the landlords and capitalists and establish the world's first democratic workers' state.

Lenin was rooted firmly in Marxism. He understood that only the working class could lead a successful revolution. He fought for a well-organised party and a workers' press as the essential tools for achieving that. And, in contrast to the butcher Stalin, he stood for international revolution, and maintained that "democracy is indispensable to socialism."

No wonder his name is feared and slandered by capitalist politicians and their official histories. In particular, they have much to fear at a time when their entire rotten system is wracked by pandemic, economic crisis and social turmoil. To quote Lenin again: "Sometimes history needs a push."

So what were Lenin's real ideas? What were his main contributions to the struggle for socialism? And what can workers and young people fighting capitalist misery learn from them today?

This episode of Socialism looks at Lenin at 150: his revolutionary life and legacy.

Further reading

66. US imperialism in decline: coronavirus, Trump, Sanders and socialism

24 April 2020

Chaos in the US presents two options: socialism or barbarism.

In the United States, the capitalist class is faced with a shopping list of crises that are shaking their system almost to pieces. Like many capitalist economies, they've had to partly suspend production - and profit - in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

They've been forced to inject trillions of dollars into the economy to keep the capitalist system going. And now, the absurd situation of competitive oil production outstripping demand so far that prices have become negative!

The capitalists face these crises with an unreliable representative at the helm: Donald Trump. But they may be breathing a bit easier now that Bernie Sanders, who came to prominence with his promise of a political revolution against the billionaire class, has endorsed a more reliable representative of big business interests in the form of the Democrat Joe Biden. Sanders has even admonished his supporters for saying they won't campaign for a corporate shill!

Huge anger is growing. Class polarisation sharpens as the divisions between bosses and workers are exposed. Armed demonstrations ratchet up the tensions. Capitalism is threatening to plunge millions into poverty, on a scale not seen since the Great Depression.

This episode of Socialism looks at US imperialism in decline: coronavirus, Trump, Sanders and socialism.

Further reading

65. Will this help the left or the right? Coronavirus, radicalisation and national unity

18 April 2020

Workers are furious, so why aren't capitalist parties suffering?

Capitalist governments across the planet are presiding over incompetent, inefficient, and inhuman responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, most are riding high in opinion polls.

This is true in Britain too, despite being on course for the worst death toll in Europe. While workers suffer and die on the front line or on furlough, public criticism of the Tories is muted. Even the trade union and Labour Party leaders seem to be backing so-called 'national unity'.

So is this catastrophe helping the right? Or are there more profound processes playing out beneath the surface?

This episode of Socialism asks: will this help the left or the right? Coronavirus, radicalisation and national unity.

Further reading


64. World economic crisis: a Marxist analysis of the coronavirus crunch

10 April 2020

The capitalist economic system is dysfunctional and obsolete.

In the US, 10 million workers filed unemployment claims in the last two weeks of March. In the UK, a million workers filed Universal Credit benefit claims in the last two weeks of March.

Just over a decade after the 'credit crunch' and Great Recession, the Covid-19 pandemic is causing a 'corona crunch' and could pitch the world into a second Great Depression.

But the world economy was heading for a serious downturn even before the virus. In fact, capitalism itself has been growing increasingly weak, unstable and dysfunctional over a long period. Why?

Marxism points out the capitalist system is riddled with contradictions, and today has long outlived its historic usefulness. So what are the main economic features of the current nosedive, and what sort of problems - and solutions - could the Marxist toolbox point us to?

This episode of Socialism takes a short look at the world economic crisis: a Marxist analysis of the coronavirus crunch. Plus: we respond to the Labour Party leadership election results.

Further reading


63. Is this socialism? Coronavirus and state intervention

3 April 2020

Unprecedented state intervention - but still workers suffer?

The British government has pledged hundreds of billions in funding during the Covid-19 pandemic. The US Congress has approved trillions.

Capitalist governments in multiple countries seem to be abandoning privatisation and market competition for nationalisation and central coordination. It looks quite a lot like some of the policies socialists call for.

But corporate profits are being subsidised. The big banks and finance sector are untouched. And workers are receiving too little too late when it comes to income and safety protections.

In fact, lack of personal protective equipment is killing frontline health workers in the UK, and 10 million workers have joined the unemployment lines in just two weeks in the US.

What does this U-turn in policy direction by the capitalists, amid a complete failure of their system, say about capitalism - and the socialist alternative?

This episode of Socialism looks at coronavirus and state intervention: is this socialism?

Further reading


62. Workers' rights during coronavirus

20 March 2020

How can workers look after their interests in the pandemic?

Schools in Britain are part-closing, workers in almost every sector are being sent home with or without pay, and there are shortages of equipment for safe and hygienic working everywhere.

The day after we recorded this podcast on 19 March 2020, the government was due to announce plans to support workers.

But whatever is promised, the track record so far is that workers everywhere are pulling out all the stops to fight the pandemic - while big businesses and their politicians only seem interested in their bottom lines.

What should workers demand to solve these problems? Was the Trade Union Congress right to declare for 'national unity' with the employers and the government? And how can workers make sure their interests are looked after in this period, whether or not they're in a union?

This episode of Socialism looks at the Covid-19 pandemic: workers' rights during coronavirus.

The coronavirus pandemic is a rapidly escalating global crisis affecting every part of the capitalist system.

As well as following this weekly podcast, you should check the Socialist Party's website and our Facebook page, for regular statements on working-class demands, socialist analysis, and reports from the frontline.

Further reading


61. Coronavirus: a socialist response

13 March 2020

How can workers' action help overcome the Covid-19 crisis?

The new coronavirus, Covid-19, is sweeping through the world's population - exposing capitalism for disastrous weaknesses in healthcare systems,social infrastructure, and the global economy.

Capitalist politicians and the capitalist state are torn between protecting public health and defending private profit.

The official number of cases in the UK as of 12 March 2020 is 590. But the British government's chief scientific advisor has said the real number could be up to 10,000. The local elections planned for May have been postponed.

Hospitals are facing overload. Workers are facing lost pay. The economy was already heading toward recession.

But workers have also fought back with demands and with strike action to force a response in the interests of the majority.

Why did capitalism get us here? What action can workers take to improve things? And how could socialist change resolve the underlying problems?

This episode of Socialism looks at the coronavirus: the socialist response.

Further reading


60. Socialists into City Hall

6 March 2020

What could a socialist campaign for London achieve?

The London mayor and assembly are up for election in May. The Labour Party's Sadiq Khan is the incumbent and Labour's candidate for 2020 - but is a supporter of the pro-big business wing of Labour and an opponent of Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity politics.

Low pay, a housing crisis, disappearing council services, knife crime and air pollution are all major issues in Britain's capital. Khan has presided over their continuation.

So how should trade unionists and socialists approach the London elections? How would a socialist Greater London Authority behave? And what could a campaign raising those ideas achieve - whether or not it was elected?

This episode of Socialism looks at the London elections: socialists into City Hall.

Further reading


Re-run: 14. GRA reform

28 February 2020

Trans rights: a socialist programme for united workers' struggle.

Transgender rights have recently become a point of contention in the ongoing Labour Party leadership contest. The Socialist Party fights exploitation, discrimination and oppression in every form.

The workers' movement must fight for the resources necessary to guarantee all sections of the working class a decent life.

If it does not, there is a danger that debates can be falsely framed as battles between supposedly irreconcilable competing rights.

By fighting instead to expand the provision of jobs, homes and services for all, the workers' movement can resolve differences on the basis of common struggle and democratic discussion.

The following episode is a re-run of episode 14, first aired on 15 January 2019, on the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) - much of which has now been kicked into the long grass by the Tories.

But we think the general approach we lay out here on the question of trans rights is entirely relevant to the debates of today.

This episode of Socialism looks at GRA reform: the fight for trans rights.

Further reading


59. Northern Ireland's strike wave

21 February 2020

Major strikes in the civil service and National Health Service have shaken the capitalist establishment in Northern Ireland.

These enormous workers' action followed watershed struggles in the private sector at the Harland and Wolff shipyard and Wrightbus factory.

The rival sectarian parties are required by the Good Friday Agreement to agree to govern together. They had refused to reach such an agreement after a supposed renewable heating scheme collapsed due to incompetence and alleged corruption three years ago. The strikes forced them back into the Assembly to make concessions to the workers.

But having tasted some of the power of collective working-class struggle, will workers allow a return to business as usual? More strikes seem likely. But how about a political alternative to austerity, sectarianism and capitalism?

This episode of Socialism looks at Northern Ireland: the strike wave.

Further reading


58. Britain: the new situation

14 February 2020

Divisions and surprises abound as the main parties eye an angry working class in Britain.

The Tories' decade-long grip on power continues for now - but what about their programme? The government has announced more cuts, but has also promised infrastructure investment.

They have restored their majority, but their catastrophic divisions are already re-emerging. In fact, Sajid Javid, the chancellor of the exchequer, resigned in between recording this podcast and it airing.

Meanwhile, the anger in the working class, documented each week in the Socialist newspaper, continues to simmer. The ongoing Labour Party leadership contest is asking: how can Labour win back the confidence of the working class?

So - what is the way forward? This episode of Socialism looks at Britain: the new situation.

Further reading


57. Trade unions: new decade, new challenge

7 February 2020

Do the setbacks in the 2010s mean the unions can't fight today?

The 2010s were a period of major attacks on workers in Britain. But the bosses and their politicians didn't get things all their own way.

The trade unions - the basic self-defence organisations of the working class - fought many important battles, shutting down production to try to force the bosses back.

There were many setbacks in those fights, but there were also victories. Marxists try to learn from both.

With a new decade opening up alongside a change of era in politics and world relations for Britain, what are the lessons of the 2010s for trade union struggle in the 2020s?

This episode of Socialism looks at the trade unions: new decade, new challenge.

Further reading


Re-run: 16. Are no-cuts council budgets possible?

31 January 2020

It's budget-setting season again for local authorities in Britain. The Tories in central government have succeeded in making local councils do their dirty work and implement savage austerity for a decade.

In fact, so successful was this strategy, that the lack of any practical distinction between Labour and Conservative at a local level was a significant factor in Jeremy Corbyn's general election defeat in December.

From the perspective of many in working-class communities, nothing ever seems to change. So why bother voting for Labour?

But the general election is behind us for now. Council jobs and services are utterly threadbare. And there is major economic uncertainty ahead. Councils have a choice.

Either carry on acting as managers of austerity - as tame local representatives of Tory central government.

Or set no-cuts budgets, and demand the stolen millions back from Westminster - as fighting representatives of local workers and residents. This could even paralyse and eventually overturn Johnson's unstable government.

The Socialist Party calls on Labour councils to fight, and for Labour leadership candidates to commit to pushing for such a fight.

It's the same road taken successfully by the famous socialist Liverpool Council in the 1980s. Now is the time to take the Liverpool Road once more.

This is a re-run of episode 16 from January 2019. The situation has changed, but the need for council to fight has not. This episode of Socialism asks: are no-cuts council budgets possible?

Further reading


56. How can France's strike win?

24 January 2020

After more than 45 days of strikes, workers in France are still furious about President Emmanuel Macron's attack on pensions. His so-called reform would mean: work longer, get less.

But there's no clear strategy from the union leaders. And there's no clear political alternative to Macron and his politics, including from left-wing political leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Understandably, after almost two months of upsurge, the movement is starting to slow down - for the moment. So what happens next?

Socialism the Podcast was in Paris for events including one of the national days of action, 16 January.

We spoke to a striking teacher and member of Gauche Révolutionnaire, the Socialist Party's sister party in France, about the struggle.

This episode of Socialism looks at France: how can the strike win?

Further reading


55. Middle East in turmoil: Iran and Iraq

10 January 2020

After Suleimani's assassination, what prospects for Iran, Iraq and the US?

The year started with Donald Trump ordering the public assassination of a leading Iranian general, Qassem Suleimani, by a drone strike in Baghdad, the capital of neighbouring Iraq.

What are the prospects for the struggle between the US and Iran? Does this mean war? What about the people of Iraq? And what will this mean next for the region's popular uprisings?

This episode of Socialism looks the Middle East in turmoil: Iran and Iraq.

Further reading


54. 2020: a promise of rebellion

3 January 2020

The year is now 2020. Popular uprisings are cascading like chain reactions across the globe. Strongman right-wing leaders lie and cheat their way to power in some countries, and are brought to their knees by mass movements in others.

As a new year opens up, class struggles and capitalist instability will only intensify and spread. This episode of Socialism looks at the year ahead: a promise of rebellion.

Plus: hear clips from the new podcast launched by our South African sister party in the Committee for a Workers' International, the Marxist Workers Party! You can listen to their full episode and subscribe at SoundCloud and YouTube.

Further reading


2019 episodes >

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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