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Socialism the Podcast: 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.
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53. Tories return: stand firm for socialist policies
13 December 2019
Boris Johnson has won a majority in the UK's general election. Many workers and young people will understandably be feeling gloomy and angry. We say the fightback starts here.
How did this happen? What are the lessons? And what does the workers' movement need to do now to stop Tory attacks?
This episode of Socialism responds to the Tories' return: stand firm for socialist policies.
52. France on strike
11 December 2019
Millions of workers have downed tools to fight hated President Emmanuel Macron's attack on pensions.
The CGT union confederation reports that 1.5 million protested throughout the country during the 5 December strike, and over 800,000 on 10 December. In between, transport workers have kept communication routes in a state of near-paralysis.
Blocked from ending austerity and privatisation through the rigged electoral system which capitalism offers, ordinary people in France have taken matters into their own hands. First in the heroic movement of the 'gilets jaunes', the yellow vests. Now in what may be France's biggest strike in a quarter of a century.
A factory explosion in Rouen, resisting the far right, the struggles of young people, and the state of the mass left movement 'La France Insoumise' are discussed as well.
Days before Britain's general election could return any kind of new regime, this episode of Socialism looks at workers carrying on political struggle by other means: France on strike.
- France: 5 December one day strike opens fightback against Macron
- Millions strike and hundreds of thousands march against Macron's austerity policies (photos)
- Pensions: expand the movement (in French)
51. How can Corbyn win?
29 November 2019
The Tories are trying to lie and bully their way back to power. How can Corbyn and the wider workers' movement stop them?
With less than two weeks until polling day in the UK, both the Tories and Labour have now released their manifestos. Jeremy Corbyn's programme includes big steps forward for working-class and young people in housing, pay, public services, workers' rights and the environment. Boris Johnson's programme includes next to nothing, and even lies about the extent of that.
There is widespread distrust in Johnson and the Tories. So to counter the threat to capitalist profits, and encouragement for trade union struggle, in Corbyn's anti-austerity pledges, the capitalist establishment has gone into overdrive with smear attacks.
How can Corbyn and the wider workers' movement overcome the bosses' attempts to obscure the issues and demobilise support for pro-worker policies? And if the Tories do lie and bully their way back to power, is that really the end of the story?
Plus: we hear from a lecturer on the picket line during the ongoing national universities strike.
- Labour's manifesto: fight to transform hope into a socialist society
- Tories launch 'non-manifesto'
- Prepare now for the struggles after 12 December
50. Northern Ireland: Brexit, borders, sectarianism and struggle
22 November 2019
Northern Ireland faces renewed political conflict as a result of the bosses' Brexit crisis, the collapse of the Stormont government, and underlying it all, huge anger at poverty and oppression. But there is one place where Catholics and Protestants, Nationalists and Unionists are united: the workplace, and so also the trade unions.
Councillor Donal O'Cofaigh is the first elected councillor for the Committee for a Workers' International in Northern Ireland. We talk to him about Brexit, borders, sectarianism and struggle.
Plus the latest on the UK general election, and updates on workers' struggle including the postal strike.
- "Enough is enough": 20,000 Northern Ireland civil servants strike against pay restraint
- Campaign mounts over historic sexual-abuse allegations cover-up in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
- Ireland: Upsurge in strikes, and a bosses' lockout of workers
49. Scotland and the election: independence and socialism
15 November 2019
How will the struggle for independence and against austerity affect the general election campaign in Scotland? And what lies in store for Scottish workers after 12 December?
Plus: High Court blow to postal strike: where next for the CWU?
- Tories out - Corbyn in - Fight for an independent socialist Scotland
- Scottish referendum: What sort of independence should socialists campaign for? (2012)
- Blairite mutiny over McDonnell indyref2 pledge - Build a real mass working class party (August 2019)
- High Court injunction: solidarity to the CWU - support the posties!
48. Building fighting, democratic unions: PCS and RMT
11 November 2019
How can the unions win for members and end austerity and Tory rule? We speak to PCS union general secretary candidate Marion Lloyd (in a personal capacity) and RMT union national executive committee candidate Jared Wood.
The trade unions are always areas of fundamental concern for Marxists. Now they are poised to play a pivotal role in Britain's winter election - and the convulsions that will follow.
In 1974, a Tory government lost a general election on the question of "who governs Britain," by posing its programme to attack workers - against a national strike by the miners' union standing up for workers. In 2019, Tory prime minister Boris Johnson could face national strike action during his election campaign too.
And if Jeremy Corbyn wins, what happens then? He will come under huge pressure to water down his programme and leave the capitalist thieves and cutters in place. Should the unions simply cheerlead for Labour, or should they be ready to campaign and strike to force pro-worker policies through - whoever wins on 12 December?
- Fighting PCS general secretary needed - Marion Lloyd: Why I am standing
- Uniting workers and public to fight the cuts: Interview with Jared Wood - candidate for RMT union executive
47. General election 2019: Tories out!
6 November 2019
SPECIAL: Tories out - Corbyn in with socialist policies! This election is harder to call than perhaps any in British history. But what we can say is that whatever the outcome, tempestuous class struggle will follow.
What is the best outcome for this general election? How can socialists help to achieve it? And what does the workers' movement need to be ready for after the 12th of December?
Watch the full speeches
- Hannah Sell on Britain and the general election
- Peter Taaffe on political organisation and a world in revolt
- Elections, strikes and revolutions: Socialism 2019 - daring to fight
- PCS: "Under the right leadership workers are prepared to fight"
- Royal Mail strike: "This is going to be the biggest battle we've seen in Britain for a number of years"
- Preparing to shape events internationally
46. Uprising in Chile
1 November 2019
A spontaneous rebellion of revolutionary proportions is unfolding in Chile - a country with a history of revolution and counter-revolution.
The largest demonstration in Chile's history floods the streets of the capital. Protesters in the north march on army barracks - and soldiers withdraw rather than challenge them. The hated neoliberal government of Sebastián Piñera is suspended in mid-air by a mass movement.
A revolutionary wave is washing over the entire continent. The tasks for socialists and the workers' movement are urgent. This episode of Socialism looks at Latin America in revolt: the uprising in Chile.
Plus: Britain finally announces a general election! Can Corbyn win?
- Chile: Revolt continues as two million protesters demand end to Pinera's government
- Chile: Pinera must resign now! Stop the repression! For a general strike!
- Chile 1973: The other '9/11' - The bloody coup against the Popular Unity government
- Britain: Anti-austerity, socialist policies can be a winning formula
45. How renters can beat gentrifiers
27 October 2019
In 2016, tenants on the Butterfields estate in east London beat the landlords and banks. How can working-class people fight the housing crisis?
- Butterfields housing victory: "We showed that if you stick together and fight you can win"
- Housing emergency - bold, socialist measures necessary
44. Kurdish national liberation
18 October 2019
The Kurdish people in the Middle East are facing a catastrophic onslaught. How did it come to this? What is the way out of this life-and-death struggle for the Kurds? And how can the Kurdish people win national liberation?
- Trump gives green light to Turkey to attack Kurds
- Mass united action against the war on Syrian Kurds
- Stop the war on the Kurds! (2016)
43. Tony Mulhearn, Militant and the city that beat Thatcher
11 October 2019
How did Liverpool defeat the Iron Lady? A political tribute to Tony Mulhearn, a giant of the workers' movement. As part of the Militant Tendency and Socialist Party, Tony helped lead the working-class struggle that defeated Margaret Thatcher, and spent his life fighting for Trotskyist ideas. What can we learn from those heroic struggles in fighting for socialism today?
- Liverpool City Council 1983-87: "We had a choice"
- Tony Mulhearn 1939-2019: A courageous leader of the Liverpool working class
42. The state: a warning to Corbynism
4 October 2019
In the midst of a historic crisis, the state is preparing the ground to sabotage a potential left government. The Supreme Court has delivered a blow to Johnson. But were the Labour leaders right to praise the judiciary as an impartial upholder of democracy? We speak to Socialist Party deputy general secretary Hannah Sell.
41. Sri Lanka: socialists fight back
27 September 2019
Sri Lanka is heading into presidential elections in the midst of a government deadlock - and the aftershocks of the horrific terror attack on 21 April. We speak to Siritunga Jayasuriya, secretary of Sri Lanka's United Socialist Party, about what the situation is like on the ground - and what political problems socialists will address in the November elections.
40. Race for the White House 2020
20 September 2019
The race to be next president of the United States is hotting up. What's behind the crises in the Republicans? And can the Democrats be a route for change? We speak to Tony Saunois, secretary of the Committee for a Workers' International. Plus - report from the 20 September climate strike in London.
39. Fighting for women in Britain today
13 September 2019
The majority of austerity is suffered by women. Meanwhile, rape convictions are down, and domestic violence murders are up. We hear about the struggle to defend women from the cuts, in the home, and at work - and how socialists think we can win the fight for women's liberation.
- In defence of socialist feminism
- A socialist programme to end women's oppression
- "The longest, darkest days of my life": fighting Universal Credit
38. Government meltdown: what now?
6 September 2019
The Tory party - and whole Westminster system - is in historic crisis. How can the labour and trade union movement navigate the Brexit impasse, oust the government, and end austerity?
- Tories in tatters: Corbyn must seize the time (latest statement at time of airing)
- Tory Brexit divisions, Corbyn's opportunity (editorial from 2018)
37. Hong Kong's revolutionary upheaval
30 August 2019
Millions of people have exploded onto the streets of Hong Kong. The state has responded with outrageous violence.
Where did this movement come from? Could this be the beginning of a revolution? And how can the workers and youth of Hong Kong and China overcome dictatorship and win real improvements to their lives?
- Pro-Beijing regime in Hong Kong pushed back by millions-strong protests
- Hong Kong protesters reject Chief Executive's promises
- Hong Kong: Conflict heightens
36. Northern Ireland, August 1969: the Troubles erupt
23 August 2019
50 years ago, workers' action could have stopped the Troubles. Then the British state sent the troops into Northern Ireland. What are the lessons for today?
- Northern Ireland, August '69 - the 'Battle of the Bogside' and British troops on the streets: 50th anniversary article by this episode's speaker, Niall Mulholland
- Bogside - Saturday 19 April: an eyewitness report by Peter Hadden
- Beyond the Troubles: a Marxist analysis of Northern Ireland by Peter Hadden
16 August 2019
16 August 2019 is the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo massacre. Armed forces charged a peaceful mass protest in Manchester demanding political representation in the fight for bread, jobs and living pay. This bloody response to workers' political organisation in 1819 laid bare the truth that the state is not a neutral body representing the best interests of all classes. It has many lessons for today about the roots of capitalism in Britain - and the lengths the capitalist state will go to when faced with a political crisis.
- The Peterloo Massacre 1819: When a fearful ruling class tried to crush working-class political aspirations
34. Boris, Brexit and British capitalism
9 August 2019
Unpredictable, volatile and unstable: three words which sum up the situation facing new Tory prime minister Boris Johnson. This right-wing populist is quick to make promises. But he's presiding over the same slow-motion car crash of British capitalism and the Conservative Party that destroyed Theresa May. With a snap election ever more inevitable, this episode we ask: what are the prospects for the new PM, and for capitalism in Britain?
33. Earth strike?
5 July 2019
Figures associated with the youth climate strikes have raised the idea of students and workers taking part in an "Earth strike" in September. The fact that young people are looking towards the organised working class is a very positive development. But what would this entail? This episode, we ask Paula Mitchell of the Socialist Party's executive committee how we can build workers' action in support of the climate movement.
- How can we build workers' action to support the climate strikes?
- Lessons of N30 2011 pension strike: when workers showed their power
- Britain's 1926 general strike: when workers tasted power
- Leon Trotsky on the serious nature of a general strike in 'The Middle of the Road'
32. Fighting closure at Ford Bridgend
28 June 2019
Bosses at the Ford Motor Company are trying to close the engine factory at Bridgend in South Wales. Hundreds of workers could lose their well-paid, skilled jobs, and thousands more workers in the supply chain could be affected. The closure threat follows a series of high-profile crises in industry and retail, and Ford's own record of whittling down its workforce in Britain. What kind of action is necessary to save the jobs. And how could socialist policies tackle the cause of this raft of closures? We ask Rob Williams, chair of the National Shop Stewards Network, speaking in a personal capacity.
- 'Nationalise Ford to prevent closure'
- 'Workers' Control and Workers' Management' by Ted Mooney at leftbooks.co.uk
31. Grenfell and Barking: safe homes for all now
14 June 2019
Two years after the preventable disaster at Grenfell Tower, justice and safety are still not secure. A fire in flats in Barking, east London, underlined the ongoing threat caused by the profit drive in the housing sector. How can working-class residents fight back? We speak to Paul Kershaw, chair of the Unite union housing workers' branch, and Pete Mason, chair of the Barking Reach Residents' Association.
- Grenfell two years on - still fighting for safety and justice
- Fire tears through Barking flats - cladding off now!
30. Europe's political polarisation
7 June 2019
Across the continent of Europe, the 2019 EU elections showed growing polarisation and turmoil. Why is that? We speak to Bob Labi of the Committee for a Workers' International.
29. Euro election turmoil
31 May 2019
What do Britain's highly polarised 2019 EU election results really represent? And what is the way forward for working class and young people to oust the Tories and end austerity? We speak to Socialist Party deputy general secretary Hannah Sell.
28. Terrorist atrocity in Sri Lanka
24 April 2019
Isai Priya, from Tamil Solidarity, joins us in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka to discuss the outrages and the social and political situation in the country.
- Statement in response to the attacks
- Listen to episode 26 of the podcast
- Article on tamilsolidarity.org: Political crisis in Sri Lanka
- Article on socialistworld.net following attacks on Muslims in 2018
- 'Black July 1983 and the beginning of the civil war'
27. The National Question, Ireland and Brexit
18 April 2019
Niall Mulholland, from the Committee for a Workers' International, discusses a socialist approach to the national question and how that applies to Northern Ireland today.
- 'Ireland North - Brexit crisis and the role of the workers' movement'
- 'Belfast 'Good Friday Agreement' - what has it delivered 20 years on?'
- 'Beyond the Troubles' by Peter Hadden
- 'The real ideas of James Connolly'
- 'Scotland's referendum - a working class revolt'
- 'National liberation, socialism and imperialism', a collection of Lenin's work'
- 'The Permanent Revolution' and 'Results and Prospects'
10 April 2019
Judy Beishon from the Socialist Party's executive committee joins us to discuss the causes of terrorism, how it manifests today and why a socialist programme is the only way to stop it.
- Marxism opposes individual terrorism
- The consequences of 9/11
- Anti-terror laws: clamping down on civil liberties
25. What way out of the Brexit impasse?
5 April 2019
Paula Mitchell from the Socialist Party's executive committee examines the latest Brexit news and puts forward what Corbyn should be doing and saying to lead a way out of the deadlock in the interests of the working class.
- The way out of the Brexit impasse - an article in Socialism Today
- The socialist case for exit: available at Left Books
24. Glasgow equal pay victory
28 March 2019
We're joined by Philip Stott from our Scottish sister party to explain the lessons from the victory of workers in Glasgow City Council following their strike action in October.
- Report of the strike on socialistpartyscotland.org.uk
- On the victory
- Equal pay strikes and mass teacher's demo opens up a new phase of working class struggle in Scotland
- 'The mask slips' - on the role of the SNP
- 'Left v right in the battle for Scottish Labour leader'
23. Climate strikes and school student unions
20 March 2019
Socialist Students national organiser Theo Sharieff joins us to discuss ideas on the way forward for the climate strikes movement, including the possibility of establishing school students unions.
- Reports from 15 March
- Report from the recent student strike in Spain Theo mentioned
- Socialist Students leaflet from 15 March
- On previous student strikes in Britain
SPECIAL. Vote Sue Atkins in Southampton Coxford
13 March 2019
We catch up with Sue Atkins, the Socialist Party candidate in the Southampton Coxford council byelection. Sue is standing on a platform of trade union action to reverse all council cuts and privatisation, and using the council's reserves and borrowing pwoers to set no-cuts budgets in the city. Southampton has a recent tradition of rebel councillors beating cuts.
22. Honda and socialist nationalisation
12 March 2019
Rob Williams, the Socialist Party's industrial organiser, discusses the threat to the Honda car plant in Swindon and the Socialist Party's demand for nationalisation.
- 'Honda closure threatened - Corbyn must pledge nationalisation to save jobs'
- 'From anger to action to save Honda plant'
- 'The case for socialist nationalisation'
- 'Socialist nationalisation - what it is and why we need it'
21. A turning point for Corbyn's Labour leadership?
7 March 2019
We talk to Hannah Sell, Socialist Party deputy general secretary, about the latest developments in the Labour Party, including the Independent Group split and the suspension of Chris Williamson.
- 'No retreats - Corbyn must stand firm against the Blairites'
- 'Britain's historic political crisis'
- 'Eight Blairites split - now kick out the rest'
- 'Corbyn must launch struggle to kick out Blairites and fight for socialist policies'
20. Is climate change a political issue?
25 February 2019
Chris Baugh, Socialist Party member and assistant general secretary of the PCS civil servants' union (personal capacity), speaks to us about what type of change is necessary to truly combat climate change.
- "There's no planet B": Thousands of youth strike against climate change - we need socialist change!
- Climate strike reports
- 'We need system change to halt climate change'
- 'Planning for the planet: how socialism could save the environment' by Pete Dickenson at leftbooks.co.uk
18 February 2019
Socialist Students national organiser Theo Sharieff and London Socialist Party youth and student organiser Helen Pattison join us to discuss the recent student climate strikes.
- Socialist Party reports from 15 February
- Socialist Students response to 15 February
- 'We need system change to halt climate change'
- 'Planning for the planet: how socialism could save the environment' by Pete Dickenson at leftbooks.co.uk
18. Socialism: Utopian and Scientific
12 February 2019
Ben Robinson from Socialist Books discusses the latest republication of this classic Friedrich Engels summary of some of the central ideas of Marxism - and why it's so relevant today.
- 'Socialism: Utopian and Scientific' by Friedrich Engels at socialistbooks.co.uk - where you can also find the discussion questions Ben mentions
- 'The renewed relevance of Socialism: Utopian and Scientific' by Tony Saunois
- 'The Masses Arise' by Peter Taaffe on the French revolution at leftbooks.co.uk
- 'Value, Price and Profit' by Karl Marx at leftbooks.co.uk
- 'An introduction to the Logic Of Marxism' by George Novack at leftbooks.co.uk
17. What's happening in Venezuela?
4 February 2019
CWI secretary Tony Saunois gives analysis of the attempt to remove Maduro from power in Venezuela, and the lessons for left governments and parties internationally.
- 'Venezuela - resist the imperialist coup' Editorial of the Socialist issue 1027
- Statement from CWI Venezuela
- 'Venezuela - on the brink of collapse?' by Tony Saunois
- 'Hugo Chavez dies - the struggle continues' by Tony Saunois
- 'Chavez and socialism - a contribution to the international debate' by Tony Saunois
16. Are no-cuts council budgets possible?
28 January 2019
We speak to Clive Heemskerk from the Socialist Party executive committee about a strategy for struggle against local government cuts.
- 'Passing the council cuts test'
- Response to the Corbyn and McDonnell letter Clive references
- 'Who's killing local government' by Clive Heemskerk
- Interview about the Liverpool experience
- 'Preparing a no-cuts people's budget' briefing by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
- 'Liverpool - a city that dared to fight' by Peter Taaffe and Tony Mulhearn at leftbooks.co.uk
- 'Our record: socialist councillors are different' on the Lewisham Socialist Party councillors Clive talks about
- Campaigning against council cuts
15 BONUS. Dave Nellist interview
21 January 2019
Socialist Party member Dave Nellist, former Labour MP, gives a radio interview on Brexit, Corbyn's position and a socialist approach to the EU.
15. May's government in crisis
21 January 2019
Socialist Party executive committee member Judy Beishon analyses the latest Brexit developments after the historic defeat of May's deal and the first attempt at a no-confidence vote in parliament.
- 'May facing Brexit catastrophe'
- 'A socialist view of Brexit' Socialism episode 5 on your podcast app or at YouTube
- 'Tory Brexit chaos' Socialism episode 11 on your podcast app or at YouTube
14. GRA Reform
15 January 2019
Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, the Socialist Party's national organiser, discusses the proposed reform of the Gender Recognition Act, and a socialist programme for united struggle for Trans rights.
- 'Taking trans rights forward' by Sarah Sachs-Eldridge
- 'Gender recognition division'
- 'Defending women's services'
- 'End violence against women' and 'A brief history of the Campaign Against Domestic Violence'
- 'It Doesn't Have to be Like This - Women and the Struggle for Socialism' by Christine Thomas at leftbooks.co.uk
- 'The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State' by Friedrich Engels at leftbooks.co.uk
7 January 2019
Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe gives an analysis of the political processes and trends we can expect to see continued and escalated in 2019 - from economic crisis, to Brexit chaos, to shifting world relations.