Mistaken Identities – Kwame Anthony Appiah

Kwame Anthony Appiah says ‘race does nothing for us’. Photograph: BBC

Kwame Anthony Appiah says ‘race does nothing for us’. Photograph: BBC

Friday 3rd February, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

This Friday Room discussion meeting considers content of the four 2016 Rieth lectures, given by philosopher and cultural theorist Kwame Anthony Appiah, on the subject of creed, colour, country and culture.

Appiah argues that there is no such thing as western civilisation: “The values of liberty, tolerance and rational inquiry are not the birthright of a single culture. In fact, the very notion of something called ‘western culture’ is a modern invention”. He concludes the idea of “Western civilization” is a mistaken one, and that we should abandon it.

The debate is very relevant contempory politics. Some on the left have suggested there has been too much emphasis on identity politics – really? And deconstructing religion, ethnicity, nationality and culture might give insight as to how we perhaps could deal with the ascendency of the (far) right, and its attendent racism, nationalism, cutlural exceptionalism and relgious intolerance, in our day to day interactions?

You will benefit from a wee bit of preparation. A short summary is available in this Guardian long read article by Kwame Anthony Appiah. Hannah Ellis-Petersen discusses the relevance of the lectures to contempory politics in the Guardian here.

For those with more time, you can listen to podcasts each 1 hour long on the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00729d9/episodes/player)

You can also download all 75 pages of the 4 transcripts here 2016_reith1-4_appiah_mistaken_identies



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A Rebel Alliance – A New Hope?

Progressive Alliance

Progressive Alliance

Friday 6th January, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

This Friday Room open meeting will discuss the idea of the Progressive Alliance, which is supported by the Green Party Leadership, the Labour leaning pressure group, Compass, and many Liberal Democrats and SNP politicians, but not by any means all senior or grass roots activists from those parties.

Is a progressive alliance a good idea? What do its proponents hope to achieve; why are detractors so vocal in their opposition? And what should progressive activists in the constituencies do?

Is there hope for a progressive majority at the 2020 (or sooner) general election?  Or do we need a new hope?





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200 years of stuggle: a History of the British Left. Talks by Ray Sutton

200 yrs of struggle
The establishment

History of Art

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Meetings in 2017

We plan to have a discussion meetings on the first Friday of the month:

6th Jan: “Towards a Progressive Alliance”

3rd Feb: Discussion of 2016 Reith lectures “Mistaken Identities”

3rd Mar: TBA

The rest of the year TBA.

These meetings will held in Unity House at 7:30pm

There is closed facebook group: “Friday Room progressive discussion group Loughborough” where there is some discussion of topics of interest. It is easy to join if you do facebook, just ask at one of our discussions.

Otherwise we do occasionally meet informally to discuss plans, which is usually announced here.

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The Limits To Growth. What has happened since 1972?

Limits to Growth coverFriday 2nd December, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

Discussion to be introduced by Amanda Ure
The Club Of Rome produced its report ‘The Limits To Growth’ in 1972. What
conclusions can be drawn concerning its content and methods in the light of
developments over the intervening four decades?

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What’s next?

There will not be a meeting this Friday Nov 4th.

The next meeting is planned for Dec 2nd on the topic of Limits to Growth.

The process of planning Friday Room meetings has gone a bit wonky but there is a newly formed Friday Room progressive discussion group loughborough Facebook group.

I am hoping that Friday Room participants will sieze ownership and control from its current (rather fallable) dictatorship.

It is a closed group so you will need an ok from any of the 37 current members.

There is a view that meetings should be organised for the first Friday of the month.

I think it would also be a good idea to have intermediate informal meetings in the Swan to have a bit of chat and to include the technological refusniks in the planning process.

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‘A Very British Coup’?

A very british coupFriday 7th October, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

Discussion to be introduced by Liz Gray from Leicester, a Labour Party member, Quaker and Corbyn supporter

It’s 2020.  Jeremy Corbyn has swept to power as Prime Minister heading a Labour government committed to a radical socialist programme.  What obstacles might he face from the establishment and how might he and his supporters overcome them?

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