The populist moment: how to respond? (14 Dec 2016)

Leeds Taking Soundings’ next Readers’ Meeting will examine the new populism, focusing on Brexit in the UK and Trump in the US, but other countries will no doubt come into focus too.

For the meeting, we will have read this article by Chantal Mouffe (on populism), this article by Paul Mason (on Brexit) and this article by Zymunt Bauman (on Trump).

We welcome anyone who would like to join in an open-ended discussion. No charge.

The discussion will start at 7.30pm and end at 9pm (or earlier if we dry up). Then anyone who feels like a festive drink will repair to a nearby hostelry.

It’s on Wednesday 14th December. The discussion will be at Leeds Becket University’s city centre campus, in the Portland building, room 408. [CC PD408] This is best accessed through the huge glass doors on Woodhouse Lane, opposite the Dry Dock pub. There should be a helpful security person at the desk on your right. If not, walk past the library and the Grumpy Mule cafe area, down two flights of steps to the lifts on your left. Up to the fourth floor, room 408. This web-page might help.

 

Zygmunt Bauman lecture is cancelled

We are very sorry to announce that Professor Bauman is too frail to give the lecture planned for Wednesday 30th November 2016 at LBU’s Rose Bowl.

Zygmunt has three new books in press and his brain is as sharp as ever. But, having just turned 91, even this dynamo is slowing down. He finds it hard to move about and is in a lot of pain. He is extremely sorry to have to call off his talk; he was looking forward to it.

Here are some of the photos taken by Guy Farrar at the event which launched Taking Soundings in Leeds in January 2007. You can see how spry he looked . . .

img_0005 img_0011 img_0015 img_0029 img_0030 img_0033

Making art against the Right: Is this Elvis Costello?

Carry On Up The Brexit

Roll over Napoleon, sod-off Adolf Caesar
You’re not grinning anymore Mona Lisa
Listen to the words of Mother Theresa
Brexit means Brexit

Shoot yourself in the foot, throw dust in your eye
Jump off a cliff, plucky Englishmen can fly
Smack yourself in the face with a custard pie
Brexit means Brexit

Flat-pack furniture without instructions
A vacuum-cleaner without any suction
Sherlock Holmes without deductions
Brexit means Brexit

Building sandcastles in the pissing rain
The people chose sandcastles – don’t complain
Bucket, spade, anorak – soak up the pain
Brexit means Brexit

Pull up the drawbridge, fortify the shores
Turn back the clock, lock all the doors
Spotted dick, scurvy, saloon bar bores
Brexit means Brexit

Give two fingers to the liberal elite
Make the cosmopolitan obsolete
Ignore expertise, idiocracy’s sweet
Brexit means Brexit

Repel the migrant armada, be prepared
Let their jungle burn, watch them running scared
Leave them all abandoned dans la merde
Brexshit means Brexshit

By Elvis Costello — according to an email, 17.11.16.

And then we find that maybe it’s not THE Elvis Costello https://twitter.com/ElvisCostello/status/799801632389152768

and then we receive this in another email (20.11.16):

Hi…
This parody lyric came to our attention and we hope you will not be too disappointed to hear that is most definitely not in Mr. Costello’s handwriting.

We believe it is the work of a former-Soviet mole or possibly the Seaford Mods.

Many Thanks
Steve

We say: great poem/song, anyway!

Zygmunt Bauman speaks in Leeds on 30th November

Taking Soundings is delighted to host Zygmunt Bauman on Wednesday 30th November 2016. (Venue details below.) The title of Prof Bauman’s talk is

“Some comments on current social and political tendencies”

img_0030

Zygmunt Bauman, launching Taking Soundings in Leeds on 16th January 2007. (Photo: Guy Farrar.)

“Some comments on current social and political tendencies”

Zygmunt Bauman will be offering his answer to these two questions:

  1. What do Brexit and Trump tell us about the state of society today?
  2. What does the moral panic about the “influx of immigrants” tel us about society today?

You can get a preview of his analysis in this interview (released on 14.11.16) with Social Europe.

Zygmunt Bauman, Emeritus Professor at the University of Leeds, is one of the world’s leading sociologists. He is the author of more than 70 books, translated into many languages. (Wiki’s version of Bauman’s biography, ideas and Bibliography is here.)

He is one of the most persuasive of commentators on the effects of what he has called ‘liquid modernity’, pointing to its rampant inequality and the transition it makes from a welfare state to a security state.

Bauman’s analysis, we suggest, should inform the new progressive, left-alliance politics that is emerging in response to the authoritarian populist movements of the political right.

After his lecture, Max Farrar, who was a student of Zygmunt Bauman’s, will offer an appreciation of his work.

Date: Wednesday 30th November 2016

Time: 6 – 8 pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre C444, on the fourth floor of The Rose Bowl, Leeds Beckett University, Portland Crescent, Leeds LS1 3HB

Free event: pay as you can afford.

 

 

Festival of Politics in Leeds (November 2016)

Apologies for not posting on this site since we announced the sad news of the death of our friend and Taking Soundings founder and stalwart, Matthew Caygill. We’ve been doing some re-thinking and are pleased to say that we have new committee members and plans for future meetings.

image005.png

Right now, we recommend these events organised by our colleagues at Leeds Beckett University

The annual Festival of Politics & International Relations involves a programme of talks, debates, workshops, films and other events providing opportunities for argument and discussion on a range of social, political and economic issues – contemporary and historical, national and global.

Full information/registration

Each year speakers include academics, politicians, campaigners and journalists and this year we are delighted to confirm the following visiting speakers:

  • Making Sense of the Syrian Conflict- Federico Venturini, Leeds Friends of Rojava & Javaad Alipoor, co-author ‘Khiyana: Daesh, the Left and the Unmaking of the Syrian Revolution’
  • Should universities be ‘Safe Spaces’?- Robert Sharp,  Head of Campaigns and Communications, English PEN www.englishpen.org
  • Responding to the Refugee Crisis. What can be done, locally and nationally?- Jon Beech.  Director, Leeds Asylum Seekers’ Support Network (LASSN) www.lassn.org.uk
  • Can Labour Win Under Jeremy Corbyn?- Richard Burgon MP (Labour, Leeds East) Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

All events are free and open to the public except for those indicated.

For more information and to register for events, please go to: https://pirfestival2016.eventbrite.co.uk

Please share with your networks and students.

The festival is organised by the Politics & International relations Group in the School of Social Sciences at Leeds Beckett University.

 

Matthew Caygill – an appreciation

image002

MATTHEW CAYGILL – AN APPRECIATION

It is with great sadness that we have to announce that Matthew Caygill has died. He was 60 years old. It happened suddenly and has taken many of us some time to digest.

Matthew was a founder member of Leeds Taking Soundings in 2007. He played a leading role in our events and activities: from chairing meetings to booking rooms; from his lively contributions to discussions to collecting donations; and from organising film shows to writing our leaflets and applications for funding… and much, much more. He was also deeply involved in the Leeds-based Ford Maguire Society which holds discussions on political history.

Matthew was an active trade unionist at Leeds Beckett University where he taught history and cultural studies with great imagination and energy. His lectures (for example, on the Vietnam and its effects on the counter-culture in the West) were particularly popular with students.

Matthew was also a fully committed socialist. In recent years he was involved in Left Unity. He was politically passionate but reflective, eager to learn and ready to argue, and warm and witty. He had a wonderful sense of humour, a twinkle in his eye and a ready smile.

Matthew was incredibly active, attending numerous academic conferences and often presenting papers.

He was working on a PhD on the cultural politics of the 1960s and had a wealth of knowledge about the subject. Over the years, he had amassed a vast library stored both at work and in his cluttered home. There were books everywhere.

He was also a ‘culture vulture’, a lover of opera, the cinema and the theatre and very knowledgeable about them. He travelled the length and breadth of Britain, from large cities to seaside resorts, from visiting art galleries to tucking in at chip shops.

We have lost a good friend but we did have the good fortune of knowing him.

Barry, Dave, Franco, James, Max and Zoe

Leeds Taking Soundings steering committee

Matthew’s funeral is on Friday 5 August , 2016, at 11.40am, Lawnswood cemetery, Otley Rd, Leeds, LS16 6AH. 

Matthew Caygill can be seen on film here, talking about his research on the Dialectics of Liberation conference of 1967. This link also includes a fine obituary to Matthew published in Socialist Worker.

Telling the Truth about Asylum, 15 June 2016, 6pm

The next meeting of Taking Soundings in Leeds:

Lorna Gledhill on the Refugee Crisis: ‘Telling the Truth about Asylum: Changing the Narrative’ 

Faced with the biggest refugee crisis since World War Two, how we talk about people seeking safety is incredibly important. However, certain messages have dominated public and political conversations about migration; some voices have been louder than others. This narrative has shaped the European response to the refugee crisis, with many countries shoring up their border rather than providing protection. Swarms, floods, and marauding migrants: we’ve all read the headlines.

We’ll be looking at how the language surrounding the refugee crisis has informed and influenced the way in which refugees have been welcomed and unwelcomed in Europe, whose stories have been heard and whose have been silenced, and think about what we can do to tell a different story. We will also discuss practical actions the Regional Asylum Activism Project and others engage in.

Lorna Gledhill is the Yorkshire and Humberside Activism Coordinator for the Regional Asylum Activism Project. She works with colleagues in the West Midlands and the North West to campaign for the rights of people seeking refugee protection in the UK. She is also a member of the David Oluwale Memorial Association’s Advisory Group.

Meeting information

At 6PM on Wednesday, June 15th at Leeds Beckett University, City Site

Calverley Building (CL) Room 211

Please note, this is not our normal venue. The Calverley building is best accessed through the huge glass doors opposite  opposite the Dry Dock pub, on grass Woodhouse Lane, opposite the multi-storey car park (which is probably the best place to park if you are driving).  Thought the glass doors, past the library on your left, past the Grumpy Mule café, then down the stairs until you reach the foyer. Use the lifts on the left of the foyer reception desk to get to the second floor, where you’ll find Room 211. Give yourself some extra time to find this if you haven’t been there before. Apologies for the inconvenience.

European Union: Should leftists vote Brexit or Remain?

Leeds Taking Soundings’ next meeting is a debate about the referendum on the European Union.

On Tuesday, May 17th at 6PM in Leeds Beckett University, Calverley (CL)211.

 Please note change of location: instead of Broadcasting Place, we are meeting on the other side of the road in the main complex of Leeds Beckett University City Site. Enter through the main Woodhouse Lane entry in front of the Sheila Silver Library, past the library towards the Grumpy Mule cafe. There will be signposts towards the Calverley Building. The meeting is on the second floor.

Arguing to leave the EU will be Neil Davidson.

image001Neil  lectures in sociology at the University of Glasgow and is a member of rs21, RISE: Scotland’s Left Alliance, and the Radical Independence Campaign. He is the author of several books, including the Deutscher Prize-winning Discovering the Scottish Revolution (2003) and How Revolutionary were the Bourgeois Revolutions? (2012) His most recent book is Nation-States: Consciousness and Competition (2016).

Arguing for ‘Remain’ will be Pete Green.

image002Pete is a member of Left Unity and was formerly a Left Unity national speaker, a retired FE lecturer and union branch secretary, now writing a book on ‘Marx, Keynes and the Austrians’.

As always we will be aiming at delivering a friendly and educational discussion about a vital issue. Please contact Matthew Caygill at m.caygill@leedsbeckett.ac.uk for further information.

 

Tuesday, May 17th at 6PM in Leeds Beckett University, Calverley (CL)211. (See above for directions on the venue.)

 

 

EU: In or Out? on Sunday 22nd May

The EU referendum is almost upon us. So: EU in or out?

If you’re turned off by all the talk and fed up with the facts and figures, join Unlock Democracy and Talk Shop on Sunday 22nd May. Come and meet with others trying to make up their mind, get the key info and talk through the issues.

Our event on 22nd will be practical politics in action: the chance to meet one another, debate the big questions and decide which way you’ll vote.

We’ll be joined by some speakers, but this is more about the participation than panel. After all, it’s your vote.

We are neutral on the referendum and we welcome all views.

The day is free and open to all, so sign up below to book your slot.

More about unlock democracy and event sign-up details are here 

More about Talk Shop here

Join the Leeds Summat 2016 on 23 April

Taking Soundings has supported all the previous Summats and this one (organised by Leeds for Change in collaboration with SenjaNet and the Economic Justice Project) looks as good as ever.

Speaker panels with Dan Glass from ACT UP London and Beautiful Trouble, Jess Bradley from Action for Trans Health and Andy Greene from Disabled People Against The Cuts
Workshops from Leeds Older People’s Forum, Frack Free Leeds, OPEN Economics and lots more
The brilliant choir workshop with Issi is back, and they’ve also got the children’s space open from 10am – 4.30pm.

More information here