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State of Power

News & Politics Podcasts

Let us introduce you to some of the fascinating people we work with to help you make sense of the world’s most complex challenges. In this podcast we share our research, explore alternatives to the status quo and give a platform to scholars and activists who are at the forefront of the fight against the current neoliberal order. We believe there are alternatives to this world and hope you do too.

Location:

Netherlands

Description:

Let us introduce you to some of the fascinating people we work with to help you make sense of the world’s most complex challenges. In this podcast we share our research, explore alternatives to the status quo and give a platform to scholars and activists who are at the forefront of the fight against the current neoliberal order. We believe there are alternatives to this world and hope you do too.

Twitter:

@TNInstitute

Language:

English

Contact:

+31206626608


Episodes

S4 Ep7: Building a Just Energy Transition in an Age of Corporate and Imperial Power (Nick Buxton in Conversation with Thea Riofrancos, Ozzi Warwick, and Timothy Mitchell)

2/21/2024
The fossil fuel based energy system has shaped capitalism and our geopolitical order. On the 50th year of TNI's existence, the State of Power report unveils the corporate and financial actors that underpin this order, the dangers of an unjust energy transition, lessons for movements of resistance, and the possibilities for transformative change. How can we build a Just energy transition in the age of corporate and imperial power? In today’s episode, a special accompaniment to the 12th Annual State of Power Report on energy, Nick Buxton speaks to three interesting people who have unique perspectives on this question. Timothy Mitchell is a political theorist, historian and professor of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University. In 2012, his book Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil retold the history of energy in the Middle East, showing how oil weakened democracy, fuelled militarism and empire and created a dangerous myth of infinite growth. Thea Riofrancos is an associate professor of political science at Providence College and a member of the Climate and Community Project, a left-wing think tank. She works primarily on the politics of extraction, particularly in Latin America and the US. Her upcoming book is Extraction: The Frontiers of Green Capitalism. Ozzi Warwick is the chief education and research officer of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union of Trinidad and Tobago and the General Secretary of the national Joint Trade Union Movement. He is also a founding member of the Trade Unions for Energy Democracy South (TUED South), a new South-led trade union platform dedicated to a public approach to a just energy transition. Nick Buxton is TNI’s Knowledge Hub Coordinator and founding editor of the State of Power report.

Duration:01:20:15

S2 Ep35: Myanmar's fight for democracy: In conversation with Sai Sam Kham

1/1/2024
On Monday, 1 February, Myanmar’s military ended the country's decade-long experiment with democracy by launching a coup against the most popular political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), and its leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Now Myanmar’s people are on the streets, demanding the release of their leaders and the restoration of the 2020 election results. Many are also calling for the country’s 2008 constitution to be annulled and rewritten, as it explicitly acknowledges the military’s leading role in Myanmar’s politics. The military has responded with violence and used all means at its disposal to quash the protests, including the killing of protestors. But away from the news headlines what exactly is going on in Myanmar? How are we to understand the events that began when the military tanks rolled in front of the parliament on 1 February 2021? Myanmar’s political history is complex. There is no shortage of explainer videos, timelines and quick primers, but for those who have not been following the story closely over the years, it can be difficult to get a handle on what is going on. Here at the State of Power podcast we examine the ways coercive military power functions, how it mutates, how it is connected to other forms of power that shape the world around us. To help us understand events in Myanmar, we reached out to today’s guest on the program. Sai Sam Kham is an activist and scholar who left Myanmar in 2019 to begin his PHD studies in Land politics, food systems and climate change linked to Myanmar, at the Institute of Social Studies in the Hague. Before he left his home country, Sai Sam was the executive director of Metta Development Foundation, an NGO that focuses on assisting communities that have been ravaged by years of internal conflict. TNI Myanmar commentaries. Listen to our podcast on alternative drugs policy in Myanmar. Sign up to our South East Asia newsletter. Subscribe to our general newsletter, and keep up to date with TNI. Image Source: Ninjastrikers/Wikimedia Music: Aztec Sun Band/ In the name of everyone.

Duration:00:45:24

Breaking Big Pharma and Big Tech, Global Debt and Race Politics, and the End of Borders: In Conversation with Arun Kundnani

6/30/2023
Even a global crisis can provide opportunities for fairer, freer and better ways of organising our world. But too often they can simply become moments to further entrench power, hegemony and undue influence. Unfortunately, as history has demonstrated, global policy making has often shifted in undesirable directions because those in power use crises to push their own interests. Some commentators have made comparisons between the global impact of 911 on public policy, and the impact of the Covid 19 virus, because while the Covid pandemic may be over, just like 911, its impacts still reverberate. And they are likely going to stay with us for some time to come. Covid 19 had a fundamental impact on our economies, on global governance, and global policy making. Through a series of interviews with experts in their respective fields, TNI Associate, Arun Kundnani, set out to explore all the different facets of the pandemic’s impacts, from the growing role of major Pharmaceutical corporations in global healthcare, to the the response of global governance bodies such as the WHO and the UN, to the part played by Big Tech Companies, the impact on the global debt and on migration and race politics. We had a chance to sit with him and explore his findings, and to see what alternatives are available for us when the next crisis comes rolling in, something which is all but inevitable. Arun Kundnani is a TNI associate and author of The Muslims are coming, Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror. He’s also recently released a new book, is called What is Antiracism? and Why it means Anticapitalism. Related playlist: https://audioboom.com/playlists/4634744-talking-security-with-arun-kundnani Link to Arun Kundnani's work: https://www.kundnani.org/

Duration:00:45:35

S4 Ep5: Ecofeminism 1: A Powerful Vision (Lavinia Steinfort in Conversation with Dr. Vandana Shiva)

5/25/2023
In 1973, a group of women from Mandal village in the Himalayas in India “hugged” trees to prevent them from being felled. When the loggers came, the women, led by Gaura Devi, surrounded the trees and chanted: “This forest is our mother’s home; we will protect it with all our might”. This was the beginning of what came to be known as the Chipko movement, which put a spotlight on ecofeminism. Consequently, when many people hear the term ecofeminism, it is the image of those women hugging the trees and fighting to save the forest that comes to mind. But what exactly is ecofeminism and how and why is it such a powerful vision that may actually save our planet? Ecofeminism is a cross-cutting, multi-faceted, perspective that encompasses many issues, including food, climate and energy. It offers an alternative to the oppressive patriarchal capitalist system that has had devastating impacts on the planet and on human lives and livelihoods. Ecofeminist analysis explores the connections between women and nature in culture, economy, religion, politics, literature and iconography, and addresses the parallels between the oppression of nature and the oppression of women. It challenges the artificial division between the personal and the political, and the environmental or ecological. It seeks to show that “social justice, interspecies ethics, and environmental concerns” cannot be approached as separate issues. Moreover, a growing number of ecofeminists approach gender as a social construct, challenging the men-women binary and rejecting the idea that women are somehow closer to nature, as this is part of the patriarchal frame that subjects both “women” and “nature” to exploitation. Our guest on today’s podcast is a well-known ecofeminist, who is very well placed to deepen our understanding of ecofeminism, especially as it relates to our food system, and our relation with the land and with the environment. Dr Vandana Shiva is the founder of the research foundation for science, technology and ecology. She is also the founder of Navdanya a grassroots movement which promotes biodiversity conservation, biodiversity, organic farming, the rights of farmers, and the process of seed saving. Amongst the many books she has written, she co-wrote a book called Ecofeminism, written together with Maria Mies. She is here in conversation with Lavinia Steinfort, a political geographer and ecofeminist activist. Lavinia is a researcher at the Transnational Institute (TNI), where she is working on public alternatives such as (re)municipalisation of public services, a just transition towards energy democracy and transforming finance for the 99%. Episode Notes The seeds of Vandana Shiva

Duration:00:36:21

S4 Ep6: Ecofeminism 2: Towards an Ecofeminist Energy Future. (Lavinia Steinfort in Conversation with Shannon Bell, Cara Daggett, and Christine Labuski) )

5/25/2023
Energy is currently produced and consumed based on sexist, racist and classist power relations that favour the pursuit of private profits at the expense of the common good. Extractivist oligopolies and corporatised politics have imposed humiliating austerity measures, privatisations of public services, and excessive and growing socio-economic inequality, displacement and dispossession, and environmental destruction. These processes drive skyrocketing levels of energy poverty and a worsening ecological crisis. The most exploited and discriminated people are hit the hardest: from women in low-income households, women of colour and women with disabilities, to transwomen, single mothers and undocumented women. We need energy democracies and participatory politics in which a variety of ordinary women can influence tomorrow’s energy policies. Collective but diversified bottom-up power can ensure a new energy model is run by and services those who the current model exploits and discriminates against. But how do we get there? The growing call for the feminisation of politics – and energy politics for that matter – is about much more than merely increasing the representation of women in decision-making positions. We need to question the ways energy politics are shaped. We need to ask, energy for whom and energy for what? An ecofeminist perspective on energy offers an important and underacknowledged framework for understanding what keeps us stuck in unsustainable energy cultures, as well as a paradigm for designing truly just energy systems. In this episode of the State of power podcast, TNI researcher Lavinia Steinfort talks to Shannon Bell : professor of sociology, Cara Daggert : assistant professor in political science, and Christine Labaski, associate professor of women’s and gender studies in the field of Science Technology and society. They are all at virgina tech university in the United States, and are the co-authors of the brilliant article: Toward feminist energy systems: Why adding women and solar panels is not enough.They are also all members of the May apple energy transition collective. image source: Repowering and Banister House Solar Episode Notes: Ecofeminism: fueling the journey to energy democracy Toward feminist energy systems: Why adding women and solar panels is not enough

Duration:00:52:13

S4 Ep4: Why We Need to Abolish Borders: Arun Kundnani in Conversation with Harsha Walia

4/12/2023
Borders uphold a global system of apartheid—and we should demand nothing less than their abolition. In this interview, activist and writer Harsha Walia lays out how borders and citizenship maintain colonial axes of power. From Fortress Europe outsourcing border control far into the African continent in exchange for aid, to Canada securing the availability of cheap farm workers through its selective immigration system, she demonstrates how capitalism and border regimes feed off of each other. Harsha Walia makes a compelling case for abolition: No banks, no bombs, no borders, no bosses. Or, in her own words: “Why would we fight for anything less than the freedom of all people?” At the State of power podcast, we’re glad to once again host Harsha Walia, who is an activist and writer based in Canada. Her books include Border and Rule: Global Migration, Capitalism, and the Rise of Racist Nationalism (2021) and Undoing Border Imperialism (2013). Here she is Conversation with Arun Kundnani, a TNI associate and author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror.

Duration:00:34:27

S4 Ep3: Why we need to break Big Pharma's Power before the next Pandemic hits (Arun Kundnani in Conversation with Mohga Kamal-Yanni)

2/23/2023
How is it that drug companies can make huge profits from vaccines while people in the global south die from lack of access to medical care? How does the global regime of intellectual property rights enable this inequality? And what is the role of Bill Gates in defending this system? In this interview, Dr. Mohga Kamal-Yanni argues that vaccine inequality is not a market but a policy failure. From the HIV crisis in the early 2000s to the recent pandemic, the public has repeatedly shouldered the risk for the development of live-saving medicines while private corporations have reaped obscene profits. How can we break Big Pharma's power and develop an alternative health system? Dr. Mohga Kamal-Yanni is the co-leader of the policy group of the People's Vaccine Alliance. She is a senior health advisor with 40 years of experience in health policy and programming with international and national health and development agencies including multilateral agencies, NGOs and governments. Arun Kundnani is a TNI associate and author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror.

Duration:00:42:09

S4 Ep2: Seizing the Means of Computation – How Popular Movements Can Topple Big Tech Monopolies: In Conversation with Cory Doctorow

2/8/2023
An influential group of big technology corporations, commonly referred to as Big Tech has concentrated vast economic power with the collusion of states, which has resulted in expanded surveillance, spiraling disinformation and weakened workers' rights. TNI’s 11th flagship State of Power report exposes the actors, the strategies and the implications of this digital power grab, and shares ideas on how movements might bring technology back under popular control. Our guest on the podcast is Cory Doctorow, a brilliant science fiction novelist, journalist and technology activist. He is a special consultant to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy, standards and treaties. His most recent book is Chokepoint Capitalism (co-authored with Rebecca Giblin), a powerful expose of how tech monopolies have stifled creative labour markets and how movements might fight back. This interview is part of the 11th State of power report, which focuses on Digital Power. Please be sure to check out all the other essays, as well as the infographics that give a good picture of digital power today. You can also read an edited transcript of the interview.

Duration:01:06:28

S4 Ep1: Will There Be Another Debt Crisis? Current Economic Challenges Facing the Global South: Arun Kundnani in Conversation with Jomo Kwame Sundaram

1/26/2023
What are the economic challenges facing the Global South post-pandemic? What role have global financial institutions like the World Bank and the IMF played in worsening the economic situation for poorer countries? And what economic alternatives might exist? In this interview, Jomo Kwame Sundaram shines a light on the effects that decades of liberalisation policy have had on countries in the global South, including deindustrialisation, food insecurity, and another looming debt crisis. He argues that the recent refusal to waive international property rights related to vaccines as well as sanctions on China have worsened the situation, with the odds increasingly stacked against poorer countries. Jomo Kwame Sundaram is Visiting Senior Fellow at Khazanah Research Institute, Visiting Fellow at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, Columbia University, and has previously been the Assistant Director General and Coordinator for Economic and Social Development at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Arun Kundnani is a TNI associate and author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror. Keywords: Economic Justice, Trade, IMF, World Bank, Debt, Crisis

Duration:00:42:55

S3 Ep15: How the World’s Tax Havens became the Data Centres for the Digital Economy (In conversation with Sofia Scassera)

11/23/2022
As the various tax avoidance scandals such as the Panama papers, Paradise papers and Pandora papers have shown, tax havens are some of the most important instruments for reproducing social inequalities. The wealthy use countries with favourable laws to store their wealth, safely and away from public scrutiny. But tax havens are becoming an even bigger problem for social equity as the global economy becomes more and more digital. Big Data, generated by all of us all over the world through our interactions with technology, is the raw material for the digital economy, but is processed only in a few countries and by a handful of companies. Just as financial capital can be transferred across borders, which in turn has generated tax havens, so too is data stored in places where companies can exercise control. Tax havens are becoming data havens to hide away the raw material of the digital economy from states and communities, building digital monopolies that make fair competition impossible, and impede the improvement of digital products for the social good. Our guest on the podcast argues that it is no coincidence that financial power and digital power are gradually using the same places to hide. Sofia Scassera is an economist, and associate researcher at TNI working on issues of digital society and the digital economy. In this conversation, we discuss why data is an important raw material? Why is it important for data to be seen as a public good and not hidden away by corporations. Exactly why are tax havens becoming data havens? What is to be done? (Image: Evan Clayburg) Episode Notes: Banking on data: How the world’s tax havens became the data centres for the digital economy https://www.tni.org/en/publication/banking-on-data How Big Tech captured our public health system: Arun Kundnani in Conversation with Seda Gürses https://audioboom.com/posts/8086185-how-big-tech-captured-our-public-health-system-arun-kundnani-in-conversation-with-seda-gurses

Duration:00:30:33

S3 Ep14: Just Transition in North Africa (In Conversation with Hamza Hamouchene)

11/3/2022
The environmental and social effects of the industrial capitalist system have long been obvious to marginalised communities forced to live in the garbage dumps of production while their resources are pillaged for raw materials. However, today, the systemic effects are increasingly visible to all. It’s clear, to save humanity and complex life on our precious planet, we need a major course change. If we’re to survive, we need to figure out how to leave fossil fuels in the ground, and how to adapt to the already changing climate while moving towards renewable energies, sustainable levels of energy use and other social transformations. Billions will be spent on trying to adapt – finding new water sources, restructuring agriculture and changing the crops that are grown, building sea walls to keep the saltwater out, changing the shape and style of cities – and on trying to shift to green sources of energy by building the required infrastructure and investing in green jobs and technology. But whose interest will this adaptation and energy transition serve? And who will be expected to bear the heaviest costs of the climate crisis, and of the responses to it? Since the 1990s the alter-globalisation and food sovereignty movements have advanced large-scale critiques of neoliberal capitalism. In the 21st century a wide variety of movements have adopted a shared language of system change, arguing that human rights abuses, political and social harms, and the climate crisis can be addressed only by a transformation of our entire social, cultural, political, and economic system. However, whatever transition happens must not come at the price of the destruction of lives and livelihoods. Justice has to be a key factor. The movements often use an intersectional lens, arguing that sexism and patriarchy, racism, and other forms of violence and systems of oppression are fundamental features of the capitalist system, and must be addressed. Increasingly, these different calls are beginning to come together under the banner of Just Transition. But what do we mean by a Just Transition, and how do we orient ourselves and our social movements towards a such a Transition? On this episode of the SOP podcast, Hamza Hamouchene unpacks a vision for a Just Transition, with a specific focus on North Africa. Hamza has done research on extractivism, energy democracy, food sovereignty and environmental and climate justice in the North African context. He is also the coordinator for North Africa at the Transnational Institute, where he has recently put together a dossier, a collection of essays from multiple authors, focusing on different dimensions of the energy transition in North Africa. With this year’s UN conference of the parties, COP27 taking place in Egypt, there seems to be no better time to put a spotlight on the region. Episode Notes: Just Transition in North Africa https://longreads.tni.org/just-transition-in-north-africa From Crisis to Transformation: What is Just Transition?https://www.tni.org/en/publication/from-crisis-to-transformation Extractivism and resistance in North Africa https://www.tni.org/en/ExtractivismNorthAfrica

Duration:00:43:39

S3 Ep13: The not so hidden cost to “Mega” Energy deals : the Energy charter Treaty in West Africa (Nigeria)

10/5/2022
Nigeria has a terrible history with international oil companies like Shell, having a hard time getting compensation for environmental damage. Even with some legal wins, like when the Hague Court of Appeals found Shell Nigeria liable for damages from pipeline leaks in the villages of Oruma and Goi, the country is still a long way from achieving true justice. To add salt to the injury, the violators have themselves gone on to sue Nigeria, sometimes using domestic law, but in the greater number of cases, resorting to Investor State Dispute (ISDS) clauses in Bilateral investment treaties (BITs) that Nigeria is signed to. As a result of these cases, where costs to citizens have run into billions of dollars, Nigeria has become critical of the current international arbitration system, and has since announced that it will revise all bilateral investment treaties (BITs) signed between 1990 and 2001. They plan to re-negotiate 12 out of the 15 BITs that are currently in force. However, at the same time, Nigeria has already completed the first three steps of joining the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). This treaty is frequently used by fossil fuel companies to sue countries when they try to enact environmentally friendly policies. History shows that, though the Energy charter treaty makes many promises of burgeoning investment, the reality is that it doesn’t significantly improve investment prospects. Instead, the ECT’s Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions give foreign investors in the energy sector sweeping rights to directly sue states in international tribunals of three private lawyers, called arbitrators. Companies can be awarded dizzying sums in compensation for government actions that have allegedly damaged their investments. When you consider that nearly all ISDS cases against Nigeria so far are already linked to the exploitation and selling of oil or gas, and couple this with the importance of the energy sector to Nigeria’s economy, it's easy to see the risk the country could face. If Nigeria joins the Energy Charter Treaty, the effort to critically assess its current investment treaties seems rather futile. In many of the countries that are in the process of acceding to the ECT, hardly anyone seems to have even heard of the agreement, let alone have thoroughly examined its political, legal, and financial risks. And even with a supposed “modernization process”, which is supposed to deal with the problematic clauses in the treaty, it continues to threaten to bind yet more countries to corporate-friendly energy policies. Why are African countries like Nigeria drawn to the ECT, when the treaty has such obvious grave implications for their ability to determine their own internal policies? What is the broader context that informs this seemingly contradictory behaviour? To understand what is happening with the Energy Charter Treaty in West Africa, and particularly in the region’s biggest country by population and economy, Nigeria, I spoke to Oberko Daniel. Daniel works as a tax and trade organizer for Public Services International, which is the Global Union Federation of Workers in Public Services. Currently based in Accra, Daniel also coordinates PSI’s project on digitalization in the region Image: The retired Orlando Power station in Johannesburg, South Africa/ Wikimedia Commons. Episode Notes: ISDS in Nigeria https://www.tni.org/en/publication/isds-in-nigeria Busting myths around the Energy Charter Treaty: https://www.tni.org/en/ect-mythbuster Public Services International https://publicservices.international/?lang=en

S3 Ep12: The not-so-hidden cost to “mega” energy deals : the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) in East Africa (in conversation with Olivia Costa and Brenda Akankunda)

9/12/2022
Lack of access to modern energy services remains a major constraint to economic development in many regions, and perhaps in Africa most of all. According to the Africa development Bank, only 40 percent of the continent’s people have regular access to electricity. African governments are trying to expand their capacity to provide energy to their citizens, and this has seen a proliferation of “mega energy deals”, where governments sign deals investors, usually foreign, who pledge to work with the government to build energy generation facilities, upgrade energy grids and other such cost-intensive developments. However, this all happens in a context where we know what we have to do to solve the climate crisis. We must keep coal, oil and gas in the ground. What happens when African governments try to pass progressive policies to protect the environment, and to protect people from some of the harmful practices of these investors? The fossil fuel industry has a secret powerful weapon to keep countries locked in on fossil fuels: The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). The ECT is an International Investment Agreement (IIAs) that establishes a multilateral framework for cross-border cooperation in the energy industry. The treaty covers all aspects of commercial energy activities including trade, investments and energy efficiency, and it is currently on a massive geographical expansion into Africa, Asia and Latin America. History shows that, though the Energy charter treaty makes many promises of burgeoning investment, the reality is that it does not significantly improve investment prospects. Instead, the ECT’s Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions give foreign investors in the energy sector sweeping rights to directly sue states in international tribunals of three private lawyers, the arbitrators. Companies can be awarded dizzying sums in compensation for government actions that have allegedly damaged their investments, either directly through ‘expropriation’ or indirectly through regulations of virtually any kind. In many of those countries in the process of acceding to the ECT, hardly anyone seems to have even heard of the agreement, let alone have thoroughly examined its political, legal, and financial risks. And even with a supposed “modernization process”, which is supposed to deal with the problematic clauses in the agreement, the treaty continues to threaten to bind yet more countries to corporate-friendly energy policies. Here at the state of power podcast, we are concerned with power. How it can be generated in a fair and equitable manner, without endangering the planet or livelihoods. On this episode of the podcast, we take a specific look at East Africa, where five of the East African Community (EAC) countries have signed the non-legally binding International Energy Charter (IEC), which is a political declaration aimed at strengthening energy cooperation among signatory countries and international organizations, and does not impose any legal or financial obligation. The Governments of Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda signed the IEC in 2015, while the Government of Rwanda in 2016, and the Government of Kenya and the East African Community as an intergovernmental institution signed the charter in 2017. As a consequence of this political declaration, the ECT Secretariat, whose survival depends on continuation of the treaty, continues to lobby these countries to take additional steps towards acceding to the Energy Charter treaty, which , because of its ISDS clauses, is not as innocuous as the International Energy Charter. To get a better understanding of what exactly is going on, we speak to Olivia Costa, who is the executive director of Tanzania Trade and investment coalition, a grouping of thirteen Civil Society Organizations in the East African country. Joining her is Brenda Akankunda, who works with the Southern and Eastern Africa trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), and is based in...

Duration:00:44:12

S3 Ep11: Why anti-Asian racism is on the rise in the US: Arun Kundnani in Conversation with Tobitha Chow

8/22/2022
Why are US-China relations deteriorating? What are the impacts of growing anti-Asian racism on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) living in the US? Will the new Cold War with China replace the US War on Terror? In this interview, Tobita Chow argues that the rise of China as an economic power has become a clear threat to US hegemony. While the pandemic served as a catalyst for anti-Asian racism, it was not the root cause: Increasingly hostile foreign policy towards China leads to increasingly hostile domestic policy towards people perceived to be Asian. But AAPI communities are fighting back. Tobita Chow is the founding Director of Justice Is Global, at the People's Action Institute, a network of state & local grassroots power-building organisations united in fighting for justice. He is an organiser, a political educator, and a leading progressive strategist and critic regarding US–China relations and the rise of Sinophobia in the U.S. Arun Kundnani is a TNI associate and author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror.

Duration:00:29:39

S3 Ep10: India - How the government's pandemic response caused more deaths: Arun Kundnani in Conversation with Sulakshana Nandi

7/21/2022
Why did the pandemic spiral out of control in India? Why did some states see many more people dying than others? The central government's authoritarian measures, badly planned lockdowns, structural inequality and many forms of discrimination drastically increased the death toll, argues Sulakshana Nandi in this interview. She discusses India's unequal vaccination rollout and the roles of the public and private healthcare sector in pandemic management. Finally, she explains what a better health system in India could look like. Sulakshana Nandi is the co-chair of the Global Steering Council of the People's Health Movement in India. She is involved in research, capacity building, and advocacy on issues related to health equity and access, and public policy and programmes for health and nutrition, with a focus on gender and vulnerable and indigenous communities. Arun Kundnani is a TNI associate and author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror.

Duration:00:35:25

S3 Ep9: How Powerful Pharmaceutical Companies Shaped the Response to the Pandemic: Arun Kundnani in Conversation with Harris Gleckman

6/23/2022
During the pandemic, the World Health Organisation and governments took a back seat and power was centred on corporate interests. Health was viewed not as a right or a necessity, but as a product to be marketed and sold. Even in the midst of a global health emergency, companies treated the ill and the vulnerable as consumers and vaccines as commodities, setting prices and production rates that maximise profit. How has this happened and what, if any, are the alternatives? Harris Gleckman is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Sustainability and Governance at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and the Director of Benchmark Environmental Consulting. He was previously Head of the New York Office of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. He is here in conversation with Arun Kundnani, who is a TNI associate and author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror.

Duration:00:43:38

S3 Ep8: The Case for Community Supported Fisheries (Mads Barbesgaard in Conversation with Thibault Josse)

6/16/2022
New generations of technologically advanced, hyper efficient industrial vessels, have gotten too good at fishing. This limited number of vessels has a massive impact on the ocean. Fish stocks have largely declined since the 1980s, but not all fishers contribute to the problem to the same extent, nor are all fishing livelihoods impacted to the same degree. The crisis of overfishing, fuelled in large part by a small number of industrial vessels, is threatening the livelihoods of coastal communities and small-scale fisheries around the world who depend on the ocean as a source of food and income. Small-scale fishers around the world rely on traditional methods and practices, working in harmony with the environment to feed themselves and their communities. Around the world they are rallying around the idea of food sovereignty and the vision of a global food system with food producers and human rights at its center. At the State of power podcast, we are concerned with the ways in which power functions, on land and on the sea. With the United Nations Oceans Conference coming up between 27 June and 1 July, we thought this would be as good a time as any to take a closer look at the oceans that make up more than 70% of our planet’s surface. How are coastal communities dealing with the capitalist advance into the oceans, the so-called Blue economy? What are the challenges faced by small-scale fishers today? Who are the small-scale fishers today — from France to Indonesia? What social divisions exist within this category of "small-scale fisheries" , what roles do class, gender, and even race play -- and in this light, to what extent do "small-scale fishers" constitute a "political subject" that can fight for change? Thibault Josse works at Association Pleine Mer, a collective of fisher people and fish eaters working together for local, equitable and sustainable fisheries, through the development and strengthening of Community Supported Fisheries. A fisheries engineer, he works with coastal communities in France and in the Global South for social and environmental justice. Here he is in conversation with Mads Barbesgaard, who is a researcher with TNI working on struggles around the use and control of land and ocean resources in the midst of the energy transition. Mads is also an associate senior lecturer at the Department of Human Geography, at Lund University in Sweden. Image source: Pleine Mer This podcast has been developed in the course of the Deck-to-dish: Community-supported-fisheries advanced training project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union; the European Commission cannot be held responsible for the information presented.

Duration:00:49:01

S3 Ep7: Capitalism and the Sea ( Mads Barbesgaard in Conversation with Liam Campling and Alex Colás)

6/3/2022
Aside from occasionally popping up as a topic, for example in relation to plastics, oil-spills, or occasional references to melting glaciers, the oceans are often a "forgotten space" for many otherwise inspiring social movements. But the oceans have had a central and changing role across different moments. The global ocean has through the centuries served as a trade route, strategic space, fish bank and supply chain for the modern capitalist economy. While sea beds are drilled for their fossil fuels and minerals, and coastlines developed for real estate and leisure, the oceans continue to absorb the toxic discharges of our carbon civilisation—warming, expanding, and acidifying the blue water part of the planet in ways that will bring unpredictable but irreversible consequences for the rest of the biosphere. Here at the State of power podcast, we are concerned with the ways in which power functions, on land and on the sea. With the United Nations Oceans Conference coming up between 27 June and 1 July, we thought this would be as good a time as any to take a closer look at the oceans that make up more than 70% of our planet’s surface. What is the relation between contemporary social, environmental, climate, economic crises and the oceans? Also, who is benefitting from all of this exploitation of the oceans, and how? Who are the capitalists at sea and what are their strategies? What types of acts of resistance and struggle exist against these interests - historically and today? Liam Campling and Alex Colas, are the authors of the book, Capitalism and the Sea: The Maritime Factor in the Making of the Modern World In their book, which deals with the political economy, ecology and geopolitics of the sea, the authors argue that the earth’s geographical separation into land and sea has significant consequences for capitalist development. The distinctive features of this mode of production continuously seek to transcend the land-sea binary in an incessant quest for profit, engendering new alignments of sovereignty, exploitation and appropriation in the capture and coding of maritime spaces and resources. Here they are in conversation with Mads Barbesgaard, who is a researcher with TNI working on struggles around the use and control of land and ocean resources in the midst of the energy transition. Mads is also an Associate Senior Lecturer at the Department of Human Geography, at Lund University in Sweden. Image source: Pleine Mer

Duration:00:56:50

S3 Ep6: How Big Tech captured our public health system: Arun Kundnani in Conversation with Seda Gürses

5/19/2022
The privatisation of public services is a long-standing global trend. But in the wake of the pandemic and through the introduction of contact tracing apps, Big Tech has gone one step further: Large corporations like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are now set to control the very infrastructure that underlies our public health system. In this eye-opening discussion, Arun Kundnani interviews Dr Seda Gürses about the dangers of a system in which we depend on profit-oriented companies for receiving basic health services. How did we get to this point, and how can we imagine a different future? Dr Seda Gürses is an Associate Professor at TU Delft and an affiliate at KU Leuven. Her work focuses on privacy enhancing and protective optimization technologies, privacy engineering, as well as questions around software infrastructures, social justice and political economy as they intersect with computer science. Arun Kundnani is a TNI associate and author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror. Keywords Health Securitization, Algorithms, Big Tech, Mobile Technology, Privacy

Duration:00:48:56

S3 Ep5: The Problem with Global Trade 3. Investment Protection (In conversation with Luciana Ghiotto)

5/12/2022
Many poor countries sign trade agreements with the desperate hope of attracting investment from their wealthy counterparts. However, these agreements, or treaties, tend to have some very problematic clauses, which often lead to trouble down the road. Investors have used these treaties to sue countries for any actions, such as changes in policy, that they perceive to be a threat to their projected profits. And they don’t sue in the national courts either, but in a special parallel system that seems to always favour the foreign investors. Countries have had to use billions in taxpayer money, to pay these investors, at the expense of their own development. Our guest on this episode of the podcast, Luciana Ghiotto is a researcher at TNI on trade and Investment. Her Phd is in social sciences, and she has done a lot of research on these Free trade agreements. She is a researcher in CONICET-Argentina, and Professor of International Political Economy at Universidad Nacional de San Martín (UNSAM). Ms Ghiotto is also a member of ATTAC Argentina and coordinator of the Assembly Argentina Better Without Free Trade Agreements. Image source: B.S. Halpern (T. Hengl; D. Groll) / Wikimedia Commons

Duration:00:47:18