Zero Squared #2: The Option that No Longer Exists

John Medhurst is a Trade Unionist and activist and we discuss his book That Option No Longer Exists: Britain 1974-’76. We also consider the possibility that the Labour party’s industrial policy was a real solution to economic crisis of the 70s.

Comment on the murder of the staff of the French comic magazine Charlie Hebdo:

As a radical publisher I am compelled to stand in solidarity with these French comrades and announce that “Je Suis Charlie.” More than that I’d want to point out that standing with liberty means precisely standing with the satirists and whether it’s Stephen Colbert, Stewart Lee, Jonathan Swift, or the Charlie Hebdo twelve the obligation is the same. Drawings of monkeys, prophets, or assholes should not stifle our outrage at religious terrorists any more than the crimes these reactionaries should push us into the arms of Le Pen.

The music and voices you’ll hear in this podcast include an amateur string quartet covering the 1979 hit “Funky Town” by Lipps Incorporated, the voice of Brendan Cooney, Esai Morales performing the Internationale on the piano, and Harry Partch’s “And On The Seventh Day Petals Fell In Petaluma,” and Chris Isto White’s “Six Composition in Pastel”.

Jasun Horsley’s first bout of liminalist musings closes out this episode.

Zero Squared #1: Seen and Not Seen

Jasun Horsley is the first guest. His book Seen and Not Seen: Confessions of a Movie Autist is coming out from Zero Books at the end of this month.

Also in this episode: the voice of TJ Clark, the music of Dan Lett, the Zero Books manifesto as written by Tariq Goddard, my call for submissions of books written about Marx’s peculiar materialism, and a brief recap of the event that led to my landing in the publisher’s seat and a veiled call for peace.

Credit goes to Lucinda Horan for the Zero Squared logo and to the Art of Flying’s “Song for my Peeps” for providing the introductory music.

Jasun Horsley will be recurring feature of this podcast with updates from what we’re tentatively calling his “Liminalist Corner.”

zero books and diet soap


Starting in January of 2015 I will be the new publisher for zero books. Despite the drama that precedes me, this is a task I’m taking on with real excitement. Tariq Goddard and his crew have built a great imprint and while I expect that some substantial part of what was zero books will follow Tariq to Repeater, I look forward to making zero my own.

If you’ve got a book on left theory, post-Kantian philosophy, aesthetics, or radical history please go to the zero books submission page and make a pitch.

The news for Diet Soap listeners here is that the old podcast is changing but not quite ending. I’ll be continuing interviewing authors and others on left/philosophical subjects just the same as I’ve always done over the last five years, but from now on many more of those authors will be from zero. Still, I do promise to keep talking about Value theory and Slavoj Zizek as much and as often as possible.

Here are the changes that are coming:

1. I’ll be changing the opening theme music and saying goodbye to the voice of Rick Roderick.

2. I’ll be shying away from sampling pop music in my audio collages and tending to use music in the public domain.

3. I’ll be sticking to a weekly schedule like clockwork.

Here’s what’s staying the same:

The sound of a tape cassette player being opened and closed.

Last note: The Titanic Factoid will not be returning.

Soap Zero 2: Enlightenment Interrupted

German Idealism and the Enlightenment are the subjects this week as Michael Steinberg discuss his book “Enlightenment Interrupted.” Steinberg is an independent scholar and practicing attorney with a PhD in intellectual history from the University of Rochester. His book “Enlightenment Interrupted (The Lost Moment of German Idealism and the Reactionary Present)” came out from Zero Books in July of this year.

Previous books from Mr. Steinberg include The Fiction of a Thinkable World and A New Biology of Religion.

Professor Andrew Nash at the University of Cape Town praised the book. He wrote, “Michael Steinberg’s “Enlightenment Interrupted” is a master class and a rollercoaster ride, all at once. The pitfalls of abstract individualism have been pointed out since Hegel, and explaining them has been central to radical political thought for fifty years by now. But it’s never been easy to grasp concretely how that separation of self and world came about, and what the alternative to it could have been.”