News & Politics Podcasts

Weekly podcast offering 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.

Weekly podcast offering 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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Weekly podcast offering 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.




94. Engels on The Housing Question

What did Engels have to say about the housing crisis? Cramped homes. Extortionate costs. Rip-off landlords. Rising homelessness. Projects to upgrade areas just used to force workers and poor people out. Meanwhile, posh new houses lie empty. It could be any major town or city in the 21st century. But it was all described by Friedrich Engels back in the 19th century. Why does capitalism endlessly recreate this social crisis? Why didn’t increasing home ownership solve the problem? What can we...


93. Engels' Condition of the Working Class in England

What can the horrors of industrialisation teach socialists today? 175 years ago, Britain was the most advanced capitalist country on the planet. Leaps forward in industry created huge productive power and riches for the capitalists. Radicals looked to Britain as a way forward for society following revolutionary movements against the old feudal rulers in Europe. But despite massive economic progress, which lays the basis for socialism, capitalism came with terrible new social miseries. What...


92. The revolutionary life of Friedrich Engels

Who was Friedrich Engels and what were his ideas? Marxism, originally called ‘scientific socialism’, takes its name from Karl Marx. But Marx didn’t work alone in developing his ideas. His co-philosopher – and close friend – shares the credit for that historic work. How did these two giants of socialism come together? What led Engels to develop revolutionary ideas? What were his most important contributions to socialist thought? And what can we learn from his hands-on approach – not just to...


91. Universities in crisis

How can students fight back against rip-off Covid imprisonment? Universities have enticed students onto courses with promises of a learning experience that never materialised – then trapped them there under lockdown to suck out fees and rent. Overcrowding on campus and in housing is causing major material and mental health crises. Jobs and teaching quality have nosedived – after already suffering from years of marketisation. Meanwhile, the official student organisations have deserted the...


90. Uprising in Nigeria

What next for the uprising in Nigeria? Millions of youth have been out on the streets in response to the brutal repression and banditry of the Nigerian state’s so-called ‘Special Anti-Robbery Squad’ (Sars). They have the sympathy of millions of workers in this huge, resource-rich west African country. The scale of the protests shows this is about much more than just police violence. Appalling wages and living conditions, soaring fuel and food prices, and breath-taking levels of corruption,...


89. Trotsky, art and culture

How did Trotsky view revolution and the arts? Because art holds a mirror up to life, many revolutionaries have taken an interest its role. Leon Trotsky in particular wrote on art, literature, and its role in society and politics. Art can be insightful because of its politics, or despite them. So how does Marxism, a political theory, have any relation to art? The Russian revolution led to an explosion in artistic vision. Then Stalinism stamped it all out. Why? Why did Trotsky struggle to try...


88. Crumbling capitalism, revolution and counter-revolution

88. Crumbling capitalism, revolution and counter-revolution As the capitalist world tears at itself, who stands to gain? Global capitalism is in its deepest crisis since the 1930s, exacerbated by ‘the great accelerator’: Covid-19 pandemic and depression. There is turmoil on every continent; class battles and uprisings; rising authoritarianism; polarisation within and between nations. Meanwhile, the trade union and ‘new left’ leaders have more and more accommodated themselves to capitalism’s...


87. What is a 'transitional programme'?

How can socialists link day-to-day struggles to the need for revolution? Global capitalism is in a historic crisis, and offers no future to the majority of humanity. Socialism is the only alternative to bloated billionaires, mass unemployment and ruinous trade wars. On the one hand, the profit system is in such a mess that even defending existing pro-worker reforms can lead to colossal pitched battles. On the other hand, why would workers bother fighting for new reforms if it seems the...


86. World crisis and the second wave

What is the state of world capitalism as it heads into a second wave of Covid-19? Over a decade ago, the global capitalist system was shaken by a historic financial crisis. It still had not recovered when the coronavirus pandemic caused the worst economic contraction in history. Pandemic, depression, environmental catastrophe, political turmoil - capitalism is not well. And now a second wave of Covid is gathering pace. What does this mean for capitalism around the world? Will we see mass...


85. Britain's general strike of 1926

What are the lessons for today from the 1926 general strike? One of the myths about the British working class is that it’s too ponderous and conservative to have a serious fight with capitalism. Actually, centuries of bitter class struggle have shown the real potential again and again. But arguably the high point came in 1926, during a period of national and international crisis for capitalism not so different from today. Despite the hesitancy and treachery of the official union leaders,...


84. Trotsky on the trade unions

What was Trotsky’s advice for revolutionaries on unions? The trade unions are the basic organisations of the working class. Trotsky, like all who follow the ideas of genuine Marxism, believed the working class was the only social force which can lead socialist revolution. But the union leaders can be timid, or even hold back struggle by their members. And anyway, the working class today looks very different to working class in 1917. So how did Trotsky see the unions in relation to the...


83. Trotsky and the Fourth International

How did Trotsky help organise international socialist struggle? Capitalism is a worldwide problem. Since the days of Karl Marx, socialists have worked towards a worldwide solution. But there have been multiple attempts to organise international associations of revolutionaries. Each rose and then fell for different reasons. What can we learn from their successes and failures? What was Trotsky’s part in building ‘internationals’? And what are the prospects for building a mass, revolutionary,...


82. Trotsky, fascism and the 'united front'

What is fascism and how can we fight it? In the 1930s, mass fascist movements smashed the workers’ organisations. Today, far-right and right-populist forces are again growing in prominence. So what can we learn from history? What exactly is fascism? Is a fascist dictatorship possible today? What distinguishes it from other authoritarian regimes? Do these political differences mean tactical differences in how workers should fight them? What’s the difference between a ‘popular front’ and a...


81. Trotsky, Stalinism and the 'degenerated workers' state'

How did Trotsky explain the rise of Stalinism? The Russian Revolution began as a mass movement with democratic control of society by the workers and poor. But it ended as a brutal police state which collapsed under its own inefficiency. What caused this complete reversal? Do revolutions inevitably end in treacherous dictatorship? Was the Soviet bureaucracy the same as a capitalist class? What are a ‘degenerated workers’ state’ and a ‘deformed workers’ state’? And what can it all tell us...


80. Trotsky and the 'national question'

How did Trotsky fight for national liberation? Socialists aim for a world which doesn’t need borders and ends national divisions. But today, many national groupings are forced into larger states which repress their right to decide their own destiny. How do Marxists address the complexities of the so-called ‘national question’ - maximising international workers’ cooperation, while supporting the right to national self-determination? This led to multiple controversies during the lifetime of...


79. Trotsky and the revolutionary party

How did Trotsky view the relationship between the revolution and its party? Where countless other revolutions have failed, the workers of Russia succeeded in taking power in October 1917. The decisive factor was the Bolshevik Party. Leon Trotsky likened it to a “piston-box” which could channel the “steam” of mass revolutionary energy. Trotsky did not start out as a member of the Bolsheviks. But he came to see the role Lenin had played - preparing an organisation capable of leading the...


78. Trotsky's theory of 'permanent revolution'

What is Leon Trotsky’s theory of ‘permanent revolution’? In the early 20th century, Russia was still a mostly feudal country. Could it achieve socialism without passing through greater development of capitalism first? Even today, the economic and social advances promised by the capitalist democratic revolutions have not been fully achieved in any country. This is especially true in the ‘neocolonial’ countries, whose development is held by back by wealthier capitalist powers. What is...


77. Trotsky during the revolution

What was Leon Trotsky's part in the Russian revolution? The events of 1917, and the years which immediately followed, were a political furnace. Failed parties and leaders melted away as hardened political forces and inspirational leaders were forged in white heat of revolution. There were huge leaps forward, and crushing setbacks. Through it all, Leon Trotsky was one of the political figures most responsible for helping the workers’ movement to navigate a way forward. This episode of...


76. Trotsky's revolutionary ideas

80 years on from Trotsky’s assassination: can they kill his ideas? Lev Davidovich Bronstein, better known as Leon Trotsky, was killed on 21 August 1940. What was Stalin so afraid of? And why do capitalist commentators still try to bury Trotsky’s ideas today? This month, Socialism the Podcast will be answering those questions in a series on Trotsky and Trotskyism. What was his role in Russia’s revolutions? What is the theory of ‘permanent revolution’? How did Stalinism betray it? What is a...


Re-run: 18. Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

What is scientific socialism, and what can it teach us about the fight for socialist change today? Labour’s left leadership failed to fight for the urgent political and democratic reforms needed in the party - a missed opportunity for working-class political representation. In politics, mistakes in tactics begin with mistakes in ideas. That’s why Marxists take ideas so seriously. As Karl Marx himself said: “Practice without theory is blind, theory without practice is sterile.” In fact, the...