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IDEA-OLOGY: A Critical Analysis of The West

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It’s (not just) the Economy, Stupid!

A fundamental use of ideology that is often overlooked is its application on an individual level (but also on a societal level) to help justify things that are either inhumane or go against the very values and morals that have been subsumed by the ruling ideology itself. One of the hardest things to do in this day and age is to break against dominant hegemonic thought. There are two ways of…

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Middle-class or Classlessness?

From the beginning of the New Labour era, Britain started to believe that the class society, as it had known it, had come to an end. A post-industrial society was modern cool Britain. This was perfectly encapsulated by former working-class Deputy Prime minister John ‘two-jag’ Prescott. Known as a person for not mincing his words, Prescott declared “we’re all middle class now“. Since he made this claim, parts of class-obsessed Britain…

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The Tragedy of the Platinum Jubilee

King Lear was written in 1608, three years after the death of Queen Elizabeth I. This era was often referred to as a ‘golden age’, yet around the time of the death of the heirless last Tudor, there was an unconscious feeling of anxiety felt throughout society which is reflected in some of Shakespeare’s plays. It’s no coincidence that the majority of his tragedies were written around this time. Elizabeth had…

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Too Good To Be True…

Having been a lout at school, it is fair to say I wasn’t of an academic mind. Or, when I come to think of it, I wasn’t of any mind! Leaving school with very less than average GCSEs didn’t bother me as I was going to be a musician or, as a back up, an artist. Neither came to fruition. In fact I remember the day that I got my GCSEs,…

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The Ambiguous Death of Ethics

Ⅰ Covid-19 is yet to loosen its grip on the world, and even if it does the after-effects will be everlasting on the people that have lived through it. Many people whose relatives have died will not grieve as they normally could in other circumstances. We, as a society, may also have a delayed reaction to this tragedy because of how we used quarantine measures to manage this pandemic, and because…

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Freed From Desire (Part II)

Between aesthetics and ethics Spanish poet Federico García Lorca said “To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves.” but I would argue it is the decision to keep quiet itself that is harder. In his later work Fear and Trembling, Kierkegaard explores anxiety that arises in people when they have to make a decision. He did this by analysing the biblical…

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Freed From Desire

“There is one good thing: everyday life is currently making us philosophers, albeit stupid philosophers. I think it’s great that there are people, perfectly normal average people, who now protest against wearing masks and compare masks with muzzles and themselves with dogs. After all, they are thinking – perhaps for the first time in their lives – about dignity and humanity. One can only think that is great. The pandemic has…

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Being and Baking (Part III)

In Being and Time Heidegger claims that we have been absorbed into the world’s gossip and eventually we live for other people rather than ourselves. We live to please others, try to convince them that we are a good person and worthy of their company. We lie to ourselves about who we really are and try to become the image of how we think others see us. This is inauthentic living…

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Being and Baking (Part II)

It is safe to say that psychoanalysts and philosophers don’t always get along, that statement has never been truer than when it comes to existentialism and Lacanian psychoanalysis.  We are often distracted by things around us, often concepts of human making such as politics, work, religion, the economy and so on, they give our reality meaning. Yet this meaning is not real. When I say it is not real, I don’t…

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Being and Baking (Part Ⅰ)

When we are not deciding what to do with our lives, and sometimes with the lives of others, we are sending emails, thinking about the past, worrying about the future, predicting the consequences of actions, judging others, learning, chatting, socialising, networking or we might just be distracting ourselves. But are we ever just Being? and is that Being authentic?  Endless adverts, slogans and feel good posts tell us to be ourselves,…

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Hell Is Other People (on Social Media)

Ⅰ When we say we live in a merit-based society, it leads to the illusion that we are all equal. The belief this embodies is that people earn power, wealth, and respect individually on merit. That people can attain what they want through their own hard work and determination, normally via educational and professional routes or by good old fashioned hard work. However some have further to climb than others. Most systems…

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And Just Like That…

Business ontology was described by Mark Fisher: “Over the past thirty years, capitalist realism has successfully installed a ‘business ontology’ in which it is simply obvious that everything in society, including healthcare and education, should be run as a business“. This mode of thought has led to the use of non-economic topics as a barrier to protect the economic status quo. Things such as sexual relations, what is considered legal, who…

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Coronavirus/Poverty

Ⅰ The value of money means everything to some people and to others it means nothing. Now would you say money means nothing to poor or rich people? or a bit of both? We know money is printed on paper and if it were just a blank piece of paper it would mean nothing. The same goes for the numbers in your bank account. Had they been numbers on a computer…

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Return to a Cancelled Future

Growing up a wannabe rockstar in the UK I had various heroes; I’m sure you can imagine what influences they had on me. From smoking Marlboro reds to skinny jeans and long black emo fringes I was easily swayed by the whole DIY-look. Self cut mullets and ripped jeans made the rock scene accessible to everyone, and if you wanted to be anyone, then you needed a band. I remember being…

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La historia de Jeremy Corbyn y la tragedia de partido Laborista

Para cualquiera que no siguió las elecciones de 2019 en Reino Unido, el Partido Laborista perdió las elecciones por dos razones: la mala cobertura de los medios y nuestra posición sobre el Brexit. Fue un error del partido Laboralista no apoyar la decisión de la clase trabajadora para el Brexit, lo cual fue la decisión democrática más grande en la historia de Gran Bretaña. 50 de los 52 escaños que perdimos…

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Atocha

Spain is famous for its plazas. Often thought of as places where thin, glamorous, hot-blooded Spaniards pass the night on wicker furnished terraces with large glasses of rioja wine, tapas in shallow terracotta bowls and the light humming of flamenco guitar in the background. Yet as you arrive in Madrid via the southern gateway to the city, Atocha, the first plaza you encounter is rather underwhelming to say the least. Plaza…

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Selling your labour

This old Marxist phase does change how you feel when looking for a job. It can be both empowering and demotivating in equal measure or, depending on your position, it can be lopsided. If you are in a job for a number of years and you want to change, it isn’t so easy. First you have to break through the wall in your mind that you need to be loyal; how…

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What is Literature?

Having started a degree in English, I have been forced to rethink my concept of literature. Prior to completing the recommended reading, which was the first chapter of Terry Eagleton’s literary theory book, an easy way to summarize my view on literature would have been to say that it is all forms of fiction. My lack of imagination when it comes to defining literature might show a lack of enthusiasm for…

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Idea-ology: Neo-liberalism, where it started (part 3)

Over the past 40 years, neoliberalism has demolished trade unions and stripped away financial restrictions which has led to more wealth for people with money and a stagnation in wages for the rest of us. President Reagan imposed this in the USA and Thatcher did so in the UK. In later years, neoliberalism repurposed the function of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These global corporations, in charge…

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Idea-ology: Doctrine for the Masses (Part 2)

Neo-liberals believe that the free market is the best way to organise society. They claim that the government should be just an administrator, not a supervisor or a player in the market, even to the point that private companies should provide services such as hospitals, schools and prisons. This is a common misconception, or a slight of hand, as under neo-liberal control the state often is used for the benefit for…

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Episode 41: Exhuming Franco with Sebastiaan Faber

The Sobremesa Podcast has slowed down for August like the rest of Spain. But here is some summer listening for you, no matter where you are! Sebastiaan Faber, professor of Hispanic studies at Oberlin College, joins me to discuss his latest book Exhuming Franco What is left of Francisco Franco’s legacy in Spain today? Franco ruled Spain as a military dictator from 1939 until his death in 1975. In October 2019,…

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Leyendas de Leganés: Don Juan de Austria, el Jon Snow de Leganés

¿Quién fue Don Juan de Austria? En Leganés hay comunidades, colegios, y una calle que se llama Juan de Austria. Y como Jon Snow de Juegos de Tronos, Juan fue un bastado del Rey y un luchador. Un héroe Cerca de 1545, el Rey Carlos I de España, también Santo Emperador Romano desde Alemania hasta Italia, tuvo un hijo con Barbara Blomberg, una dama alemana. Nació en Alemania, originalmente se lama…

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Que es una ‘Centrist Dad’?

Hay un concepto en el mundo político anglo saxon que es un ‘centrist dad’ (padre centristas). Quiero introducir esto concepto a España porque es una idea fundamental por Twitter, memes y por una broma durante la cena de navidad cuando tu tío hablar sobre ‘que es posible’ en esto mundo. Un padre centralista normalmente es un hombre (pero también puede ser un mujer) de generación de Boomer (nació 1946- 1964) o…

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EPISDOE 40: The Future of Unidas Podemos

Sorry this episode is a bit late but I have covid! Recorded two weeks ago, Nerea Fernández Cordero, Co-coordinadora at IU Exterior (Izquierda Unida), and political journalist Eoghan Gilmartin join me to discuss the coalition party called Unidas Podemos.  We talk about how it came to be and where it goes from here that their founding leader has left politics, and now that they are part of the first left wing…

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Leyendas de Leganés: Avenida Salvador Allende

En Leganés, hay una calle se llama Salvador Allende después del primer presidente marxista en Chile y América Latina. Allende fue elegido en eleciones democráticas en 1970. Allende quiso mejorar las condiciones para la clase obrera en su país. Mejorar la educación, el sistema de salud y nacionalizar las industrias más grandes en Chile. Pero tiene la oposición del congreso, donde la derecha tiene el control. En 1973, hubo un golpe…

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Catalan Political Prisoners Get a Pardon With Andrew Dowling

Following last weeks news on the pardon of the 9 Catalan political prisoners, jailed following the referendum in 2017,  I discuss the issue with Andrew Dowling, a lecturer in Catalan and Spanish history.  If you want to hear more about this issue, take a listen to our previous episodes on the matter.

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Nazi Germany and Spain with Dr Mercedes Peñalba-Sotorrío

Dr Mercedes Peñalba-Sotorrío, a lecturer and researcher from Manchester Metropolitan University, joins me to discuss the relationship between Nazi Germany and Spain before, during and after WW2. Her research involves looking at how Nazi propaganda inside Spain which influenced the country’s foreign and domestic policy during the time. We also discuss the concept of neutral countries and how the relationship with Germany changed as the war advanced. The Sobremesa Podcast is…

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#4MAYO Madrid Elections: an after-thought

With a 75% participation rate, the PP and Isabel Ayuso take 65 seats in the Madrid Comunidad elections, four short of a majority. She will need an abstention from Vox to become president, and is also likely to negotiate a confidence on supply agreement with them. Ayuso has eaten Cuidudanos alive and kept Vox at bay, whilst also gaining more seats than all the left together. This is certainly a boost…

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#4M Madrid Elections 2021 with Caroline Gray and Eoghan Gilmartin

With the communidad elections less than a week away Caroline Gray and Eoghan Gilmartin both join me to discuss the political earthquake that led to the elections and why this election is about more than just the capital. Eoghan Gilmartin is a political journalist covering Spanish politics. He is a regular contributor to Jacobin Magazine and has written from many other publications such as Novara Media and Open Democracy. Caroline Gray…

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European Super League with Tommy Hay

This week, the European Super League launched but it hasn’t gone smoothly. In the UK all 6 big teams were forced to pull out by their fans, the media and even Boris Johnson. Here in Spain the reaction has been very different. Tommy Hay joins me to discuss the issues behind this league and the Spanish reaction to it. Tommy Hay is a football commentator here in Spain. He is the…

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The Treatment of Sexual Minorities in the Late-Francoist Period with Sonia Cuesta Maniar

Sonia Cuesta Maniar joins me to discuss the treatment of sexual minorities by the Spanish state during the late period of the Francoist dictatorship. Sonia Cuesta Maniar is a doctoral research student at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the relationship between Francoist repressive practices and accelerating socio-political change in the 1960s and 1970s Spain. More broadly, she is interested in the history of memory, violence, and…

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Gender Violence with Dr Deborah Madden

Feminism is huge movement in Spain, but why? Gender violence is a polemical topic in Spain. Dr Deborah Madden joins me to discuss how, in recent years, there have been several high-profile cases of rape that have brought about needed reforms to the Spanish law. This, along with a number of femicides in the country, has brought gender violence into the public domain. We also discuss how the feminist movement has…

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Spanish Feminism with Elia Romera Figueroa

In recent years feminism has boomed in countries such as Argentina and Mexico. Likewise, in Europe the movement has been most active in the south, mainly in Italy and Spain. Since 2018, when the first massively followed International Women Strike took place, the movement hasn´t stop growing, and its effects are beginning to be felt. What are some of today’s discussions in Spanish feminism? and where was Spanish feminism before 2018?…

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Spanish Start Ups with Joe Haslam

The Spanish government recently announced 11 billion euros for small, medium sized companies in the hard-hit tourism sector. Will it be enough? And what is the direction for the Spanish economy? In the longer term, Spain has seen the need to reform its economy as the current model, heavily reliant on tourism, is unreliable. Many in the country also want self employment red tape cut and costs reduced. Joe Haslam joins…

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Basque Nationalism: The Origins of Basque Nationalism and Anti-colonialist Rhetoric with Maria Reyes Baztán

Nationalism has made a comeback in the 21st century and Spain is not exempt. Often people mistake Spain for a large country, when in fact it is a large block of several regional identities. Famously, the Catalan independence movement has highlighted this fact and also caused a rise in the national Spanish identity. However this is not a new phenomenon. Spain’s regional identities have challenged Spanish nationalists desired unity since at…

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Catalan Politics 101 with Andrew Dowling

On Sunday the 14th February 2021, Catalonia will go to the polls, this time to elect a regional government. This is the second regional election since the October 2017 independence referendum. The first in December 2017 was called by then Spanish President Mariano Rajoy, in that election the biggest party Cuidudanos won the most seats but could not form an administration. A regional government was formed by independence forces JuntsxCats/ERC/CUP. Quimm…

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The Rise of Vox and Spanish Nationalism

Here is the second part of my interview with Vicente Rubio-Pueyo. Here we talk the rise in very visible raising of Spanish nationalism and how this also went alongside the rise of far right party Vox. To read Vicente’s report check out the link below:

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Spanish municipalism with Vicente Rubio-Pueyo

Vicente Rubio-Pueyo is a Spanish academic based in New York and member of Minim, a municipalism observatory. https://minim-municipalism.org/ He sat down with me to discuss modern day Spanish municipalism and the effect it has had on politics and the cities it governed. For further details on how the municipalism started in Spain, listen to my interview on 15M The second part of my interview, about the rise of Vox and nationalism,…

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Territorial Politics in Spain with Caroline Gray

When you first move to Spain you soon realise there are more than two national parties. Since the financial crash in 2008, regional politics have become a big matter (once again) in Spanish politics. The current coalition government has made them a key part of their program. How did this come about? For one thing, it is not new. In this episode of the Sobremesa podcast I interview Caroline Gray. Here…

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15-M, Ten Years On: In conversation with Cristina Flesher Fominaya on her recent book Democracy Reloaded: Inside Spain’s Political Laboratory from 15-M to Podemos

Events in America last week only remind us that democracy is fragile. Whilst the 90’s and the early 2000’s might seem like the ‘norm’, it was actually a bit of a red herring. We should try to remember that democracy has always been fragile and prone to crisis and threat. To use the worn-out Winston Churchill quote, “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” Here we…

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Keir Starmer: Labour Aristocracy

Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer: “I don’t think there is a case for re-joining the EU…that is not realistic” Originally tweeted by BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) on January 10, 2021. On Sunday 10th January, Keir Starmer turned his back on a large group of people that voted for him in the leadership elections. Remain-backing Labour members all over the country will be upset by the news that Labour will not be campaigning…

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Shove your ‘Hot Take’

Is anybody else tired? I certainly am. Following the threat to democracy, the ‘coup’, the backlash of populism (and any other over inflated name you want to give it) in the United States on Wednesday, all I have seen online so far are personal hot takes. These have mainly been poor interpretations of what was clearly a bunch of losers, to steal an insult from Trump, being allowed to storm the…

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Brexit Special: One Remainer, One Leaver. Both Live in Spain

In this one-off special episode, I discuss brexit with two Brits that live in Spain. One voted leave and the other voted remain. Here is why. Richard Thompson lives in Sant Joan in Mallorca. He is a business owner and local town councillor with Assemblea per Sant Joan. We talk about voting remain and the stereotypes of Brits in Spain. Timothy Appleton has lived in Madrid for 15 years. He is…

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Cultural Marxism, Covid-19 and a Broken Ideology

On the 17th December, Liz Truss, the Secretary of State for International Trade, who is also minister for Women and Equality, gave a speech announcing the government’s new approach toward equality. As part of this announcement, the Secretary claimed that recent governments had concentrated on ‘empty gestures’ such as anti-racism and gender equality whilst ignoring class and regional inequalities. She says that this fresh approach will be based on conservative values…

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After The Fall: An Interview with Tobias Buck

Here I got to interview author and former Financial Times Spain correspondent Tobias Buck. After The Fall: Crisis, Recovery and the Making of a New Spain is Tobias’ book documenting the country’s political, societal and economic response to the 2008 financial crisis and the territorial crisis that followed. You can get a copy here and in all good bookshops. We also talk about corruption, austerity, Rajoy, Podemos and Catalonia. He goes…

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