Living The Dream during Trump’s Trade War

April 14, 2018

In this episode of Living The Dream Dave (@withsobersenses) tries to start an analysis of the Trump administration’s trade and tariff policy. Why has the Australian Left been so paralysed over this question? What sense can we make of it? How do we understand the policies of the state in the broader dynamics of world capitalism?

 Stuff mentioned includes:

 U.S. Admits That Politics Was Behind Steel Tariffs(not a Brazilian paper but a US paper reporting on US representatives talking to Brazilian business leaders)

 Midnight Notes Collective – Introduction to The New Enclosures

 II Rubin – A History of Economic Thought

Music by the Levon Helm Band

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Living The Dream with the National Disability Insurance Scheme

April 8, 2018

In this episode Dave (@withsobersenses) chats with Vanamali Hermans (@VChristabel) about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Whilst billed as ‘the most significant economic and social reform since the introduction of Medicare in the 1970s’ Vanamali shows how the NDIS often means the reduction in services for those with disabilities and bureaucratic hellishness. We discuss why this is so, the compounding issue of inequality in regional health delivery and the struggles and strategies both developing and possible. This is the first of possibly a few episodes on the NDIS.

 

Due to incurable idiocy Dave’s levels are still too low. (Sorry)

 

Articles mentioned incomed:

Vanamali Hermans 

Tim Lyons:

 

Precarias a la Deriva

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Living The Dream in the feminist moment

March 21, 2018

In this episode of Living the Dream Jon (@jonpiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) chat with Eleanor Robertson (@marrowing) about if we are living in a feminist moment and what that means. We focus our conversation on two of her articles from Meanjin. We discuss why it is that so much of contemporary feminism focuses on representations in popular culture – what does that tell us about both feminism and popular culture? From here we talk about the complex history of 2nd Wave feminism, the limitations of the intersectionality/class debate and then move into broader discussion about the possibilities of radical politics. Is there any value in radical reformist projects? When capital so dominates our lives what’s the possibility for radical collective self-activity? We return to the common questions we dwell on at Living the Dream: is there any role for agency and if so what kind? What can and is to be done?

Articles, people and things we talk about include:

Eleanor Robertson Get mad and get even

Eleanor Robertson Intersectional Identity and the Path to Progress

Amber A’lee Frost All Worked Up and Nowhere to Go

Moishe Postone

Maria Mies

Paolo Virno Virtuosity and Revolution: The Political Theory of Exodus

Monsieur Dupont Nihilist Communism

E.P Thompson The making of the English Working Class

The Combahee River Collective Statement

Endnotes

Wildcat Migration and national social democracy in Britain

Nothing is Ever Lost

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Living The Dream antipolitically

February 19, 2018

In this episode of Living the Dream Jon (@jonpiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) talk with Tad Tietze (@Dr_Tad) about the idea of antipolitics he developed with Elizabeth Humphrys(@liz_beths). We talk about what politics is and how it relates to capitalism and the state. Tad argues that politics is increasingly detached from society and what this means and how communism as ‘the real movement’ can and should related to politics. Tad argues that this analysis has serious and devastating implications for what we call The Left and Activism. We debate if there is any role, before the emergence of social movements, for the agency of anticapitalists.

We are currently trying to raise some cash to improve our recording capabilities. You can donate here

 Tad provided the following reading list

On anti-politics in general (with Liz Humphrys): https://left-flank.org/2013/10/31/anti-politics-elephant-room/

On anti-politics and neoliberalism (with Liz Humphrys): https://oxfordleftreview.com/olr-issue-14/tad-tietze-and-elizabeth-hymphreys-anti-politics-and-the-illusions-of-neoliberalism/

On Greece: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/08/syriza-referendum-podemos-austerity/

On Australia: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/09/labor-tony-abbott-rudd-gillard-shorten/

On Trump: https://left-flank.org/2016/01/25/the-trump-paradox-a-rough-guide-for-the-left/

On recuperating politics: https://left-flank.org/2017/02/03/why-better-politics-cant-make-anti-politics-go-away/

The Piping Shrike on Corbyn: http://www.pipingshrike.com/2017/06/the-confusions-of-anti-politics-uk-edition-an-update.html

 

We also mention a debate between Plan C and Angry Workers of the World over Directional Demands

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Living The Dream in 2018

January 31, 2018

Welcome to 2018! In this episode Jon (@JonPiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) look into the swirling mists of the crystal ball of class struggle and try to work out what’s going on in 2018 and what happened in 2017. It’s a wide ranging chat about race, class, Invasion Day, strikes that didn’t happen and plebiscites. Will the experiments in radical social democracy continue to gain traction? What’s #changetherules all about? What plans do thinkers for capital have if any at all? Is capital accumulation chugging along nicely or is a debt fuelled financial crisis about to explode? What about bananacoin? All this and more!

 Stuff we talk about includes:

Novara Media - Faultlines: Liz Fekete on Racism, Europe and the New Right

Ben Pennings - Buying Time To Beat Adani

Tony Birch – On Sovereignty

Endnotes – The Holding Pattern

IMF - World Economic Outlook Update, January 2018

IMF – Credit Booms – Is China Different

Uluru -Statement from the Heart

Humphrey McQueen - 150 years young Marx's Capital

 

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Living The Dream in Global Union Federations

December 3, 2017

Workers of the world unite, right? Okay, but how? This is a special episode where Shane Reside, an organiser with the International Transport Workers Federation, interviews Jamie K McCallum (@jamiekmccallum)  author of Global Unions, Local Power: The New Spirit of Transnational Labor Organizing about a new kind of labour internationalism: the global union federation. What are they? Where did they come from? Are they any good? Do they challenge the inequalities between workers in the North and South or recreate them? How useful are the Global Framework Agreements that they use? Focusing on the history and experience of UNI Global Union Shane and Jamie talk about all this and more. There are no easy answers here. Whether you think the union makes us strong (you know who you are) or that unions are forces of recuperation (as do you) this is a must-listen-to conversation about the real experience of the global labour institutions.

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Living The Dream Whilst #qldvotes2017

November 20, 2017

In this special #qldvotes2017 episode of Living The Dream Jon (@jonpiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) engage in all the froth and illusion of electoral politics. We chat about the broader situation in Queensland and the impact of the slowdown of capital accumulation and the rise in state debt and the general degeneration of all the major parties. What is the ALP government all about and why is it so boring? What is left of the LNP and what kind of reactionary mindblowingness is One Nation engaged in now? Why are power bills rising and why are the mainstream solutions so shit?

 

We end the podcast with a chat about the revitalised and radical campaign of the Greens. Can this contribute to radically changing society? What are its promises and what are its limitations? Can elections play any role in anti-capitalist strategy? If so what? Is this a new way forward or old-school recuperation?

 

Some of the stuff we mention is:

 

Policing Newman’s Crisis: Law and order, hegemony and the State

 

Roads to Nowhere – Capital’s Plan A

 

Thwaites Report

 

Grattan Institute on Energy

 

Refusing Survival: What Happens If We Don’t Save the World From Climate Change?

by Nicholas Beuret

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Living The Dream Amidst A Non-Binding Postal Survey On Same-Sex Marriage

October 7, 2017

 

 

Australia is currently in the midst of a non-binding postal survey on same-sex marriage and it seems likely that the ‘Yes’ vote will win by a massive majority. Yet the ‘Left’ and supporters of same-sex marriage seem miserable and downcast about this. In this episode Simon Copland (@SimonCopland) helps Jon (@jonpiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) make sense of it all. We talk about the role that homophobia and sexuality plays in capitalism, the histories of Queer struggles within neoliberalism, and how certain sections of the Yes campaign have internalised a pessimistic perspective about people and democracy. We finish on a high-note about what the expected resounding Yes vote will mean for Australian society and the possibility of further struggles. This episode starts with Dave mispronouncing Simon’s name.

 

Writers and articles we mention include:

Wendy Brown – States of Injury

Dennis Altman – Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation

Melinda Cooper – Family Values 

Sarah Schulman The Gentrification of the Mind

 

Queers Podcast

Music by Bob. B Soxx and the Blues Jeans and by Dark Blue

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Marx’s Textbook Ep.2: The basic dynamics of capitalism

September 20, 2017

In episode 2 of Marx’s Textbook Dave (@withsobersenses) looks at two very different ways of understanding the broad dynamics of capitalism. Mainstream economics asks us to think of capitalism as simply a system of wealth creation and consider questions of what is or isn’t an efficient use of resources and when or if the state should intervene; whilst Marx argues that capitalism is primarily compelled by the drive to make profits and accumulate capital, the source of which is the exploitation of labour and that it has an inherent tendency to crisis and creates the material possibilities of a better society – communism. Which approach is correct? (Spoiler: it is Marx’s – capitalism is a profit driven system of exploitation with a tendency to crisis and we are its gravediggers).

 

Bibliography

Littleboy, Bruce, Akila Weerapana, and John B Taylor. 2013. Macroeconomics : Principles and Practice. Asia Pacific: Cengage Learning Australia ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.uq.edu.au/lib/uql/detail.action?docID=1990996.

Marx, Karl. 1990. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Translated by Ben Fowkes. Vol. 1. London: Penguin Classics.

Marx, Karl. 1991. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Translated by David Fernbach. Vol. 3. London: Penguin Books in association with New Left Review.

Marx, Karl. 1992. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Translated by David Fernbach. Vol. 2. London: Penguin Classics.

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Marx’s Textbook Ep.1: An Introduction to the Critique of Capitalism & of Economics

August 30, 2017

Marx’s Textbook Ep.1: An Introduction to the Critique of Capitalism & of Economics

 

This is the first episode of a new Living The Dream series entitled Marx’s Textbook. In each episode Dave(@withsobersenses) takes a chapter of a basic macroeconomics textbooks –

in this case Littleboy (2013) – summarises the content and then presents how Marx can help us think about these issues and challenge the dominant assumptions. What we find is that Marx doesn’t just provide different answers rather he compels us to ask different questions. Each episode will only be approx. 30 minutes long and is aimed at helping people to understand and critique both capitalism and economics as an ideology. No prior knowledge of Marx or macroeconomics is required.

 

Further reading: “Capital”after MEGA: Discontinuities, Interruptions, and New Beginnings

Michael Heinrich

 

Littleboy, Bruce, et al.,. 2013. Macroeconomics : Principles and Practice. Asia Pacific: Cengage Learning Australia ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.uq.edu.au/lib/uql/detail.action?docID=1990996.

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