MAKE_WORLD is a podcast exploring attempts to live differently: to create new political, social and cultural realities - from utopias to cults to revolutions and communes. If you’ve ever wondered if there's another way to live, or are just curious about the crazy experiments others have tried, this is the show for you.
Making Change Happen, with Roger Hallam (Pt. 1)
This is the first part of a multi-part interview with Roger Hallam, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, an environmental movement which is using nonviolent civil disobedience to force government action around the climate crisis.
This episode marked kind of a watershed for the Make World project, in that it galvanised both some of my own personal thinking around system change, and suggested what could be a new way forward for the project -- more on that soon.
This episode was recorded with Roger in person, at his farm in South Wales, UK. We discuss: the need for radical change, and what history can teach us about how and under what circumstances change happens; how Roger sees XR's programme as part of a moral imperative, one he argues is 'beyond' politics; and we dig a little bit into the detail of the 'Citizens' Assembly' XR proposes to deliberate on the massive challenges facing us as a society -- how Citzen's Assemblies would work in practice, and some recent examples suggestive of their efficacy.
Microsolidarity: How A Cult-Lite Structure Could Lead To Happiness, with Rich Bartlett
This episode is a loose exploration of Rich's personal and political background, as inputs to the key themes of the Microsolidarity proposal. We discuss his early life in a fundamentalist Christian church in New Zealand, and how leaving this cultish environment actually proved an important lesson in how to move beyond limited or unproductive belief systems.
One of the key factors in Rich being able to get out of that church was an early bout of what he terms 'performative agnosticism' -- a deliberate engagement with ideas that may run contrary to one's own. Imagining a world in which God did not exist put Rich on a whole new track, one which determines his path to this day. What could we be gained by taking a similarly open mind towards others' ideas, whether to integrate or jettison them down the road? Could this be healthier than the left's puritanical, so-called 'cancel culture', obsessed with negating anything it dislikes or disagrees with? And what is it that makes some people able to audition 'dangerous' ideas in relative security?
Finally, we look at the organization and methods behind Enspiral, the prototype for the microsolidarity proposal. Rich sees producing social change as extremely urgent, given existential threats to our world in the form of ecological disorder, social atomisation, and pervasive loneliness. Could Enspiral, with its 'cult-lite' approach to nurturing and sustaining social connections amongst disparate humans, be a template for a happier, more satisfying existence -- one that could form the basis for a counterculture capable of fighting existential risk?
This World Is Not My Home: Kommune 1 & The Psychology Of Change
This episode returns to the interview with Kommune 1's Rainer Langhans for a close-up look at the critical role of personal psychology in producing lasting social change.
This episode considers the phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome. Why do some people change suddenly and against character during intense conflict situations? What can this teach us about how enact rapid social change?
Kommune 1, with Rainer Langhans (Part One)
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This is the first part of a multi-part series looking at Kommune 1, the original radical German commune of the 1960s. The series is based around interviews with K1 communard Rainer Langhans.
In this episode we discover Rainer's childhood under Nazism, and how that fed into the desire to establish a new mode of anti-authoritarian living in Kommune 1. We look in detail at the commuards' intense self-investigation and interpersonal 'mirrroring', and why this led some to dub them 'The Horror Commune'. How were these techniques rooted in the the theories of Wilhelm Reich, Herbert Marcuse and the antipsychiatrist RD Laing?
Finally we move on to the key actions which propelled Kommune 1 to fame: the so-called 'Pudding Assassination' of the Vice President of the United States (which never actually happened), the 'Arson Pamphlets', and the court cases that followed, which the communards used as a stage for their own brand of subversive political theater.
The episode takes in what Rainer describes as "phase one" of the commune. Part two will look at the dissolution of that phase and the "sex, drugs & rock and roll" period, including Rainer's account of how the communards turned on (or dropped out, depending on who you believe) Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green.