James Ball is a journalist and the current Global Editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. He worked with WikiLeaks on the Iraq War documents leak in 2010 and was part of The Guardian team that helped published the Edward Snowden sneaks about the NSA.
Last week I sat down with James in a London heatwave to reflect on Boris Johnson becoming PM, stockpiling for a no-deal Brexit, the way bullshit works in today's politics, the anti-Semitism scandal in the British Labour Party and the plight of Julian Assange.
Cause of the Week: Overgate Hospice (overgatehospice.co.uk)
Corey White is a comedian and writer with a pretty remarkable personal story. His memoir The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory is a funny, dark and brutally honest account of being raised in a violent working class home, being put through the harsh foster care system, struggling with issues of sexual identity and drug addiction and eventually becoming the comedian and man he is today.
Here, Corey and I compare notes on our very different childhoods and discuss issues of class, being a member of the lumpenproletariat, the welfare state, outrage, the case for a UBI and "fusionism". We laugh a lot throughout.
Cause of the Week: The Pyjama Foundation (thepyjamafoundation.com)
Former Greens senator and lifelong campaigner Lee Rhiannon has been fighting on the Left since she was fifteen years old.
Almost a year on from stepping down as a Senator for NSW after losing preselection to Mehreen Faruqi, Lee talks to me about being spied on by ASIO from the age of seven, being raised by socialist parents, the state of the union movement, just how badly neoliberalism has knocked around the Left, the tensions that continue to frustrate the Australian Greens and how the party can find a better way to reach out to working people.
Cause of the Week: Frontline Action on Coal (frontlineaction.org)
Playwright, commentator and activist Van Badham is back on the podcast after she joined me in July of 2015.
Since then Van has been a passionate advocate for the re-election of a Labor government and a scathing critic of The Australian Greens. I was keen to dig further into her thinking on that and ask her what she thought went wrong in the 2019 federal election (the answer might surprise you). Van mounts a vigorous defence of Labor's policies here and explains why she sees it as the major hope for the socialist Left in Australia.
Plus also you will hear her dog barking in the background.
Van's opinion pieces:
Cause of the Week: The Australian Labor Party (alp.org.au)
Josh Bornstein is an employment and IR lawyer at Maurice & Blackburn and the director at the Australia Institute.
He's been increasingly concerned about the level of control that Australian employers have gained over their employees' freedom of speech and expression. So when it comes to the case of Israel Falou, he's been (controversially) outspoken about the legal ramifications for workers if we accept that your boss can fire you for saying the wrong thing.
Here Josh and I take the time to flesh out his argument on this, how one can unequivocally condemn what Falou said but still object to him losing his job and what the implications for this saga might be for anti-discrimination protections moving forward.
Cause of the Week: The Centre for Future Work (futurework.org.au)