’Radicals in Conversation’ is a monthly podcast from Pluto Press, one of the world’s leading independent, radical publishers.
On Palestine with Ghada Karmi
Almost two months have passed since Hamas’s October 7th attack, in which it killed around 1,200 Israeli civilians. The retaliatory campaign that has been waged since then by the Israeli state against the Palestinian population—predominantly in Gaza, but also in the West Bank—has been nightmarish to behold. The latest estimates suggest as many as 15,000 people have been killed. For those of us who believe in the cause of Palestinian Liberation, how do we make sense of what is happening? And how can we act to stop it?
This month we’re joined on the show by Ghada Karmi. Born in Jerusalem, her family fled Palestine in 1948 during the Nakba. She has lived for several decades in Great Britain, where she trained as a Doctor of Medicine at Bristol University. She established the first British-Palestinian medical charity in 1972 and was an Associate Fellow at the Royal Institute for International Affairs. Ghada is also the author of the best-selling memoir In Search of Fatima and the new book One State: The Only Democratic Future for Palestine-Israel, which was published in 2023 by Pluto Press.
We discuss the history of Zionism, the Nakba and the creation of the state of Israel, and the situation in Gaza since October 7th. We also talk about the international response, the importance of language and framing in political discourse, and why any future political settlement must look beyond the rubric of a two-state solution.
A People’s History of Football
From England, France and Germany to Palestine, South Africa and Brazil, the 'beautiful game' has been a powerful instrument of emancipation for workers, feminists, young people and protesters around the world. Football has often found itself at the heart of anti-colonial struggles; a tool of repression and cooptation, as well as liberation and resistance.
In October 2023, Pluto published the English language edition of A People’s History of Football by Mickaël Correia. We are joined on the panel today by the book's translator, Fionn Petch, as well as Kevin Blowe, from Clapton CFC, an East London community-owned football club; and Andy Gittlitz, author of the Pluto cult classic, I Want to Believe: Posadism, UFOs and Apocalypse Communism. We talk about the early origins of football in feudal Britain, its role in the formation of working class identity, the repression and resurgence of women’s football, as well as the unique trajectory of soccer in the US. We also talk about fan-owned clubs, and the international response of supporters' groups and clubs to the ongoing destruction in Gaza.
A People’s History of Football is 40% off for listeners of Radicals in Conversation with the coupon PODCAST. Find out more at: plutobooks.com/podcastreading.
The Reservoir Journal:
Let Them Eat Crypto: The Blockchain Scam That’s Ruining the World
The subject of immense hope, hype and confusion, crypto has amassed countless headlines in recent years. Right now, one of crypto’s biggest names, Sam Bankman-Fried, is set to go on trial in New York, accused of having defrauded millions of investors at his FTX cryptocurrency exchange, stealing billions of dollars in the process. But with cryptocurrencies, NFTs and metaverse markets crashing, the underlying blockchain technology is still promised to solve global development challenges, and revolutionise every industry.
We are joined on the show this month by Peter Howson, author of the new book, Let Them Eat Crypto: The Blockchain Scam That’s Ruining the World. In the book, Peter cuts through the jargon and hyperbole to tell an alarming story of how right-wing libertarian crypto entrepreneurs - often aided by charities, politicians and philanthropists - have sought out and exploited conditions of poverty, oppression, corruption and conflict around the world, in a new front of 'crypto-colonial' extractivism. Far from 'banking the unbanked', saving the gorillas, or freeing people from oppressive governments, blockchain offers only false solutions, surveillance and hi-tech snake oil.
We discuss the obscene environmental footprint of crypto, why it endures in spite of a recent negative shift in public perception, and how we might go about getting rid of it.
Podcast listeners can get 40% off the book on plutobooks.com, using the coupon PODCAST at the checkout.
Family Abolition with M. E. O’Brien
For many of us on the left, it would probably be uncontroversial to say that seek a political horizon in which class society, and all of its manifold expressions, has been overcome - wage labour, private property, the capitalist state, white supremacy, settler colonialism and anti-Blackness. But what about the family? In a world that is often bereft of love, compassion and stability, it seems far more controversial to call for its abolition as well.
'Family Abolition' may be an alarming slogan, but this is what M. E. O’Brien argues for in her fantastic new book, Family Abolition: Capitalism and the Communizing of Care. Published by Pluto Press in June 2023, the book traces the changing family politics of racial capitalism in the industrial cities of Europe and in the slave plantations and settler frontier of North America, explaining the rise and fall of the housewife-based family form. From early Marxists to Black and queer insurrectionists to today's mass protest movements, O'Brien finds revolutionaries seeking better ways of loving, caring, and living. Taking us beyond the past and present of family politics, Family Abolition looks also to the future, into a speculative vision of the revolutionary commune, imagining how care could be organized in a free society.
M. E. O'Brien writes on gender and communist theory. She co-edits two magazines, Pinko, on gay communism, and Parapraxis, on psychoanalytic theory and politics. Her work on family abolition has been translated into Chinese, German, Greek, French, Spanish, and Turkish. She received her PhD from NYU. She is the co-author of the novel Everything for Everyone: An Oral History of the New York Commune, 2052–2072. She tweets @genderhorizon.
Podcast listeners can get 40% off the book on plutobooks.com with the coupon PODCAST.
RIC in-haus: Space Crone: Ursula K. Le Guin on Feminism and Gender
Radicals in Conversation in-haus is a podcast series collaboration between Pluto Press and Bookhaus, an independent bookshop in Bristol. RIC in-haus is recorded on location at Bookhaus. The bookshop’s ‘in-haus’ events programme features authors of some of the most exciting radical nonfiction being published today.
Episode 10 was recorded in May 2023. Sarah Shin talks about her new co-edited collection, Space Crone, which brings together Ursula K. Le Guin’s writings on feminism and gender. The book is published by Silver Press, and offers new insights into Le Guin’s imaginative, multispecies feminist consciousness: from its roots in deep ecology and philosophies of non-violence to her self-education about racism and her writing on motherhood and ageing. Sarah is in conversation with Samantha Walton, an author and Reader in Modern Literature at Bath Spa University.
Find out more about the book: bookhausbristol.com/shop
Mad World: The Politics of Mental Health
Mental health is a political issue, even though we often discuss it as a personal one. So how is the current mental health crisis connected to capitalism, racism and other social issues? And in a different world, how might we transform the ways that we think about mental health, diagnosis and treatment?
These are some of the big questions Micha Frazer-Carroll asks in her new book, Mad World, as she presents mental health as an urgent political concern that needs a deeper understanding, beyond the scope of today's 'awareness-raising' campaigns.
Micha joins us on the show for a conversation around the themes of the book. We talk about the history of asylums and psychiatry, the connections with disability justice and neurodiversity movements, art and imagination, abolition, policing, diagnosis and knowledge production.
Micha Frazer-Carroll is a columnist at the Independent. She has previously edited for gal-dem, the Guardian and Blueprint, a mental health magazine that she founded. Micha has also written for Vogue, HuffPost, Huck and Dazed. She was nominated for the Comment Awards’ Fresh New Voice of the Year Award, and the Observer/Anthony Burgess Award for Arts Criticism. She is invested in using journalism to challenge systems of power.
Such a brilliant and clever podcast with insightful interviews, always learn so much. Thank you!
David Olusoga needs his own platform. The man is a mine of consciousness and it needs sharing with a wider audience far more regularly. Discovered the pod thanks to following David on twitter but I am now a regular Pluto Press listener. Great content, more power to your collective bow!
More like this please
If only this podcast was produced more frequently… brilliant and enlightening discussions. I look forward to future podcasts.