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Is the environment now a better anti-capitalist argument than class?
Speaker: Paddy Shannon
The world has endured class society and rampant inequality for thousands of years, leading many people to see it as an inevitable and indeed sustainable cost of civilisation. But the same cannot be said of climate change and in particular the paradox that capitalism requires infinite growth on a finite planet. There’s no question of abandoning class politics, but is the environment now a better route into the socialist case?
Friday 9 July 19.30 (GMT + 1)
Speaker: Paul Bennett
Poverty need not mean destitution: it can be described as people being excluded from what others take for granted, such as decent living conditions. In this talk, we will look at the extent of poverty both in the UK (homelessness, food banks, etc) and globally. We will also examine the consequences and causes of poverty. And we will argue that the world can produce enough goods and services for poverty to be completely unnecessary.
General discussion on current affairs
Friday 16 July 19.30 (GMT + 1)
The Highland Clearances
Speaker: Alwyn Edgar
Thanks to Marx’s mention of it in Capital, the Duchess of Sutherland’s clearance of her vast estate in the first part of the 19th century is notorious. But it wasn’t just her. This talk explains how the Scottish Highlands came to be depopulated in the 18th and 19th centuries and why.
The tragedy of the digital commons: On the expropriation and commodification of social cyberspaces
Speaker: Tristan Miller
Public discourse today is dominated by commercial social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as a plethora of smaller “walled gardens” that individual media companies provide for the discussion of their published content. These forums are tightly controlled, and their participants are shamelessly exploited for commercial gain. But the Internet was not always like this: in the 1980s and 1990s most online conversations took place on Usenet, a worldwide discussion network that was open to everyone and had no centralized structure, ownership, or control. Far from being an anarchic Wild West, Usenet succeeded in coalescing its millions of diverse users into a functional, thriving online society, united through shared culture, conventions, and values. In this talk, I discuss the developments between then and now that led to the free-access “public good” of Usenet being supplanted by privately owned discussion venues, the consequences of this transformation, and what these lessons can teach societies of the future, both online and in the
Friday 30 July 19.30 (GMT + 1)
For and Against Anthropocentrism
Speaker: Mark Z
“In religious fantasy, God made man the centre of the universe. In material fact capitalism has alienated him from it.” (Ted Wilmott, Socialist Standard, October 1959). The concept of a human-centred world is a double-edged sword: it can be an inspiring vision of a society of true equality (contra the claims of religion and capital), but it can also neglect the needs of other sentient beings and the planet itself.
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