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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Uprising in Lebanon. Episode 6 of Radio Free Humanity: the Marxist-Humanist Podcast

Episode 6: The Uprising in Lebanon

The co-hosts interview Jade Saab, a Lebanese-Canadian Ph.D. student and author of “Uprising in Lebanon Aims to Replace Entire Political System,” published last month in With Sober Senses. Saab provides us with an update on the state of revolt since his article was published and engages in additional reflections on the uprising and its trajectory.

Some of the issues discussed in the interview are: the roots and causes of the continuing uprising in Lebanon; the movement’s demands; the social composition of and differences within the movement; and the directions in which Lebanon might go if the revolt succeeds in overturning Lebanon’s current political system, based on power-sharing among religious sects. Is an emancipatory direction possible?


In the current-events segment, the co-hosts discuss Sacha Baron Cohen’s forceful and viral critique of the “ideological imperialism” practiced by Mark Zuckerberg and the other “high-tech robber barons” who control social media.

To follow events in Lebanon, Jade Saab recommends the following English-language electronic sources:

The Daily Star (daily newspaper);
Al-Nahar (daily newspaper with an English-language site);
Executive-magazine (focuses on economic and business issues);
English-language Instagram page of Megaphone (independent news outlet; provides daily updates on the uprising);
The Lebanese Politics Podcast (a weekly podcast).

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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Radio Free Humanity Episode 4: The Green New Deal

RFH co-host Brendan Cooney has written and spoken extensively about “left economic populism,” including the Green New Deal (GND). In this episode, Andrew interviews Brendan about the GND, both as environmental policy and as left-populist politics. The interview includes a discussion of Brendan’s provocative call for “More Green, Less New Deal,” Bernie Sanders’ GND plan, the lack of realism of GND proposals (and why that matters)—and much more.

In this episode’s current-events segment, Brendan and Andrew discuss Paul Heideman’s recent Jacobin magazine article on “white working-class” Trump voters, which doesn’t quite promise that a Democratic Party committed to economic populism would win many of these voters back.
The following materials are cited during the podcast:

Cooney, Brendan. “Against Left Economic Populism,” With Sober Senses, Aug. 10, 2017.

Cooney, Brendan. Apr. 13, 2019 conference presentation, in “Video: MHI Panel at Jacobin/Historical Materialism Conference: ‘Fighting Trumpism and Left Accommodation.’”

Cooney, Brendan, June 30, 2019 conference presentation, in “Video: MHI Panels at Left Forum Conference—Confronting Right & ‘Left’ Authoritarianism, Confronting Trumpism.”

Heideman, Paul. “What Liberals Miss About Trump Country,” Jacobin, Oct. 15, 2019.

Kliman, Andrew. “The Baseness of Trump’s Base: a review-essay on Sides, Tesler & Vavreck’s Identity Crisis,” With Sober Senses, Dec. 17, 2018.

Marxist-Humanist Initiative. “Economic Mythology of the Left-Populist Alternative to Neoliberalism,” Part III of Resisting Trumpist Reaction (and Left Accommodation): Marxist-Humanist Initiative’s Perspectives for 2018, Dec. 2017.

Bernie Sanders. “Issues: The Green New Deal” [2020 presidential campaign platform plank].

John Sides, Michael Tesler, and Lynn Vavreck. Identity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of America. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2018.

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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Radio Free Humanity, Episode 3: Brexit-Interview with Chris Gilligan

Radio Free Humanity:The Marxist-Humanist Podcast. Episode 3: Brexit-Interview with Chris Gilligan

 

 

The United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union at the end of this month. Are Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s strong-arm tactics going to succeed in making Brexit happen now, “deal or no deal”? And would that be good or bad—and for whom? Is Brexit moving UK politics in a more reactionary direction?

These are among main questions we discuss with Chris Gilligan, a UK pro-migration activist and author of Northern Ireland and the Crisis of Anti-racism, in this episode of Radio Free Humanity. We also discuss claims by both the Remain and Leave camps that the other side is anti-democratic, objective forces acting on the Leave camp, and similarities between Johnson and Donald Trump.

The following articles are cited during the interview:

Chris Gilligan, “Defend Democracy. Stop the Coup”: Scottish protest against Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament, Hard Crackers, Aug. 2019.
Marxist-Humanist Initiative, The Extraordinary Dangers of Trump and Trumpism, With Sober Senses, Aug. 2016.

In this episode’s current-events segment, Brendan and Andrew discuss the debate among voices on the left—Matt Taibbi, Adam Serwer, Andrew O’Herir, etc.—over the Ukrainegate whistleblower.


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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Radio Free Humanity, Episode 2: Fighting White Nationalism

In this episode of “Radio Free Humanity: The Marxist-Humanist Podcast,” we draw lessons from Karl Marx’s political writings to better understand the political orientation needed today to best fight the scourge of white nationalism. Andrew Kliman discusses some of his writings on this topic. You can read more about this in Part 5 of Marxist-Humanist Initiative’s 2018 document, Resisting Trumpist Reaction (and Left Accommodation).

We also discuss a presentation that Andrew gave at the Left Forum in NYC on June 30th of 2019. You can view the video of that presentation here.

The current-events segment of this episode is devoted to discussing the renewed push for Trump’s impeachment in the wake of the unearthing of the whistleblower’s complaint.

 

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New Podcast: Radio Free Humanity

I started a new podcast with Andrew Kliman. We discuss politics, philosophy, etc. We will release two episodes a month.

Listen on SoundCloud.

Comment and Discuss here.

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“Resisting Trumpist Reaction” in print and video

Marxist-Humanist-Initiative has released a video-series of the pamphlet “Resisting Trumpist Reaction (and Left Accommodation)”. So now, in addition to reading the pamphlet, you can listen to it read aloud while you wash the dishes.

 

Resisting Trumpist Reaction discusses many of the theoretical and political issues important to the struggle for freedom in the age of Trump and Trumpism. It is an important document.

It is also a collectively authored document with a remarkably unified perspective, rooted in Marxist Humanism, while spanning many political, economic and philosophical topics. I am one of the authors and also one of the video-readers.

 

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