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Battle for the Commons- From Fighting Neoliberal Privatization to William Blake! (E795)

On this special episode of Going Underground, we speak to senior curator at Tate Britain for pre-1800 British Art, Martin Myrone, about the new William Blake exhibition. He discusses the political leanings of Blake and how he is claimed by both left and right, his opposition to capitalism and much of the modern world, his disgust at problems observed in the Commons such as poverty, his pacifism and how these themes are expressed in his poetry and his art.

Next, we speak to American historian Peter Linebaugh about his new book ‘Red Round Globe Hot Burning’, whose title originates from one of William Blake’s poems on the Haitian slave revolt. Linebaugh goes on to discuss the importance of Catherine and Edward Despard, how Ireland was the first victim of English colonialism and became an experimental graveyard, how neoliberalism is a reaction against popular grassroots demands, and more! Finally we speak to economist and adviser to the Labour Party, Guy Standing, on his new book ‘Plunder of the Commons: A Manifesto for Sharing Public Wealth’, how Britain’s public resources have been systematically privatised and how harmful this has been for our society, the privatization of water, the NHS and public spaces and why this must be reversed.

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