The New Game-Changing Inequality Database. Radio-Free Humanity, Ep. 14

The co-hosts discuss the new prototype account for the distribution of “personal income”—what share of income is obtained by the top 1%, the bottom 10%, and so on—unveiled earlier this month by the U.S. government agency that reports Gross Domestic Product statistics. Andrew thinks that this new “distributional national account” is likely to soon change the ways in which we discuss and think about income inequality; Brendan finds out why. They also discuss how the government’s conclusions, and its approach to measuring income inequality, differ from those of the “distributional national account” that Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman published a few years ago. How will Piketty and associates respond to the government’s new inequality database? And how will it affect redistributionist politics more generally?

In the episode’s current-events segment, the co-hosts discuss Donald Trump’s dangerous peddling of a miracle cure for COVID-19 (the coronavirus) and whether the behavior of this “very stable genius” should be normalized as a valid alternative to what “deep state” experts say—a “hope layperson’s standpoint” rather than a “medical, scientific standpoint.”

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Brendan Cooney and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks. Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the co-hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI.

We welcome and encourage listeners’ comments, posted on this episode’s page.

Please visit MHI’s online print publication, With Sober Senses, for further news, commentary, and analysis.

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The Tankie Craze, Part 2. Radio Free Humanity Ep. 13

In a previous episode of this podcast series, MHI organizational secretary Anne Jaclard discussed her relationships with former “Tankie” and “soft-Stalinist” youth who are now disillusioned with Stalinism and have reached out to MHI. The latest episode features two of these youth––Logan and James (last names withheld). They join Anne and the co-hosts to discuss what attracted them to Stalinism, their experiences, and why they became disillusioned with it. They also reflect on why Stalinism attracts other young people, how to combat it, and why they have turned toward Marxist-Humanism.

In this episode’s current-events segment, the co-hosts discuss the changed state of the Democratic Party primary race since South Carolina .

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Brendan Cooney and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks. Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the co-hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI.

We welcome and encourage listeners’ comments, posted on this episode’s page.

Please visit MHI’s online print publication, With Sober Senses, for further news, commentary, and analysis.

Click here for more episodes.

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Inequality of Wealth in the US; Radio Free Humanity, ep. 12

 

Brendan interviews Andrew about his recent study “Wealth Inequality in the U.S.: Its Level, Trend, and Significance.” They discuss differences between what the wealthy own and what working people own––the massive difference in the amount, but also how the “wealth” of the working class differs in kind from the capital owned by the wealthy. They also discuss why Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman (associates of Thomas Piketty) claim that inequality of wealth has skyrocketed while other researchers dispute this, and how and why politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are making use of the Saez-Zucman data. Finally, they discuss Andrew’s view that no definitive conclusion can be drawn about the trend in wealth inequality, and what we should focus on in light of that.

Also in this episode: Brendan and Andrew discuss “Is America Going Fascist?,” a recent article published by Daron Acemoglu, the well-known social-democratic economist at MIT.

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Brendan Cooney and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks. Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the co-hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI.

We welcome and encourage listeners’ comments, posted on this episode’s page.

Please visit MHI’s online print publication, With Sober Senses, for further news, commentary, and analysis.

Click here for more episodes.

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Defending, and Transcending, Liberal Democracy- Radio Free Humanity; Episode 11

Episode 11: Defending, and Transcending, Liberal Democracy

The co-hosts interview Adam Plante, a young New York City education activist and Marxist-Humanist thinker, about his work on liberal democracy. With respect to the current moment, they discuss such topics as Plante’s view that the rise of Trump and other authoritarian strongmen is a threat specifically to socialist values; why the threat of Trumpism has been minimized; Plante’s contention that the actions of “leftists” who remain silent and or encourage Trump are literally suicidal; his thoughts on efforts by anti-neoliberal “leftists” to appeal to Trump’s base; and why Plante himself didn’t get swept up in soft-on-Trump “leftism.” Taking a more theoretical turn, the discussion then focuses on his argument that it is important that socialists both defend liberal democracy and fight to transcend it, and on his exploration of how Marx and Lenin theorized this issue.

During the interview, Plante and the co-hosts refer to his presentations on liberal democracy at a 2019 conference sponsored by Historical Materialism and Jacobin and last year’s Left Forum.

Also in this episode: The state of the Democratic Party’s primary campaigns after the elections in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Brendan Cooney and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks. Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the co-hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI.

We welcome and encourage listeners’ comments, posted on this episode’s page.

Please visit MHI’s online print publication, With Sober Senses, for further news, commentary, and analysis.

Click here for more episodes.

 

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Marx’s “Critique of the Gotha Program” Radio Free Humanity. Episode 10

Brendan and Andrew discuss Karl Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program, written in 1875 to oppose the merger of two German socialist parties—one of which was supposedly Marxist—and the program of the new united party. The discussion focuses largely on the Critique’s commentary on the nature of a communist society, the transformation from one mode of production to another (and the corresponding political transition period), and the challenges of achieving real equality and freedom within a newly created communist society. Brendan and Andrew also explore the significance of Marx’s critique for revolutionary organization–– especially his opposition to the merger, even though the newly united party had 25,000 members, because he regarded its Gotha Program as a theoretical regression.

In their discussion, the co-hosts refer to two talks by Andrew, “The Transformation of Capitalism into Communism in the ‘Critique of the Gotha Program’” and “The Incoherence of ‘Transitional Society’ as a Marxian Concept.”

Plus: current-events segment on the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump; and the “strange bedfellows” celebration, by the campaign and supporters of Bernie Sanders, of Joe Rogan’s endorsement of their candidate.

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Episode 9: The Tankie Craze

Listen here!

 

Anne Jaclard, MHI’s organizational secretary and a veteran of the left ever since the 1960s, joins Brendan and Andrew to discuss and offer follow-up reflections on “Both Times as Tragedy: the Resurgence of Stalinism among Today’s ‘Left’ Youth,” a talk she gave at last year’s Left Forum. They discuss her surprise upon discovering this retrograde trend; former “Tankie” youth who are now disillusioned with Stalinism and have reached out to MHI; why it is important for socialists to oppose the resurgence of Stalinism; and how to combat it. The discussion grapples with why many youth find Stalinism appealing, and it explores additional factors underlying the trend, including the prevalence of “post-truth” thinking and of reactionary Third-Worldist “anti-imperialism” that serves as an entry point into Stalinism.

During the interview, Anne and the co-hosts make reference to: (1) a Stalinist-dominated forum hosted by a student group that she attended and at which Andrew spoke (along with pro-Stalinist panelists Boots Riley and Rick Wolff), and (2) an article by Solarpunk Anarchist, “Why this Anarchist has Stopped Using the Word Communism (an overlong explanation).”

This episode’s current-events segment is devoted to a discussion of MHI’s new editorial statement, “Stop Trump’s Self-interested Drive to War Against Iran—and Against the American People.”

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Brendan Cooney and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks. Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the co-hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI.

We welcome and encourage listeners’ comments, posted on this episode’s page.

Please visit MHI’s online print publication, With Sober Senses, for further news, commentary, and analysis.

Click here for more episodes.

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A Long Journey From Marxists to Marx part 2- Radio Free Humanity

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