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in policy, Politics

Time for a UK-based Next System Podcast in 2018?

I’m writing this post at my in-laws during some down time between Christmas and New Year. I’d love to say it’s been a relaxing break but unfortunately my father-in-law has been in hospital over Christmas, and this has added a fair amount of extra driving and worry on top of the usual holiday stresses.

With everything that’s been going on, I’ve had to take a break from my daily diet of political podcasts and stick to safer topics of conversation such as the weather, holiday plans and Christmas television. This enforced absence has made me realise what I miss most about my podcast habit, namely the opportunity it gives me to learn about and critically consider alternatives to politics as usual.

Imagining (and building) the Next System

One of the podcasts I’ve newly discovered in 2017 that has helped expand my thinking is The Next System Project.

Based in the US, the Next System Project brings together a broad group of researchers, theorists and activists to promote visions, models that point to a “next system” radically different in fundamental ways from the failed systems of the past and present and capable of delivering superior social, economic and ecological outcomes.

For the many

While the whole premise of The Next System Project is that there’s no single blueprint to get us from ‘here’ to ‘there’, all of the contributors share a set of common values. These include a commitment to building a society that puts meeting people’s needs before profits, transferring power from the few to the many and averting environmental destruction. If you’re interested in public ownership, co-operatives, workplace democracy or alternative economic perspectives, The Next System Podcast is for you.

Favourite episodes (so far)

Since August, the Next System Project has been releasing regular podcast episodes. Each episode takes the form of a conversation with a leading thinker/activist and many of the episodes focus on a particular policy area as well as ‘big picture’ social transformation.

I highly recommend you subscribe to The Next System Podcast and listen to the series from the very beginning. If, however, you’re pushed for time, I’ve embedded below a few of my favourite episodes so far.

Time for a UK-based The Next System Podcast?

After listening to the Next System Podcast and so many other US-based progressive podcasts this year, I’m crying out for UK-based podcasts which cover similar ground. So far, the closest I’ve got is the Novara Media Podcast, which mixes discussion of current political developments with more in-depth examinations of longer term political trends and systems-thinking.

This year, a friend also introduced me to the Solidarity Economy Association (SEA), an Oxford-based co-operative which is striving to support the growth a ‘solidarity economy’. Here’s what they say about themselves on their website:

Our vision is a thriving Solidarity Economy for the UK – an economy that embodies the values of economic and social justice, diversity and pluralism, co-operation, self-management, and ecological sustainability.

Looking at their news page, SEA appear to be fairly active and have done interesting work around developing a people’s food policy. I’m looking forward to seeing how this organisation develops. I’d love to see SEA or a similar organisation host a podcast and help more people learn about and support progressive policies.

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