Ep. 22: Voting… Power to the People?; Sayaka Murata; Poets: Fatimah Asghar & John Cooper Clarke
In our first ever podcast, as President Trump took office Stance explored the rise of the demagogue. Nearly two years on the bitter fight for control of congress is playing out in front of our eyes. From Manilla to Brasilia, strongmen swagger towards power with scant regard, for what was just a few years ago, accepted political behaviour. In this in-depth episode, Stance looks at how our relationship with civic activism and voting has changed and is shifting in a period of rapid technological and political upheaval.
2018 marks 100 years since some women were first granted the right to vote in Britain - an effort powered by the Suffragettes. Stance hears about Sophia Duleep Singh, a British Indian woman at the heart and forefront of the Suffragettes movement that most people have never heard of. Stance speaks with Anita Anand who has written a book about Sophia Duleep Singh.
But do votes by and for women count? The most recent country to give women the vote was Saudi Arabia, where in 2015, women were allowed to vote and run for office simultaneously. We speak to Saudi women’s rights activist, Samah Damanhoori and hear her take on whether women have any real say.
In America, the Midterms are looming and Stance investigates how voting across gender and racial lines is more critical than ever. We talk to A’shanti Gholar, Political Director for Emerge America, about the significance of women of colour voters and the barriers they still face in voting today.
From Russian collusion in the Trump election to the campaigning shenanigans of Cambridge analytica during the Brexit campaign, there is an impression that old political structures just can’t keep up with technology. Stance delves into how technology is impacting the democratic process and speaks to the director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power at King’s College London, Dr Martin Moore. He is also the author of Democracy Hacked: Political Turmoil and Information Warfare in the Digital Age.
Have you heard of the word Blockchain? Stance hears about the future of voting from Democracy Earth Foundation founder Herb Stephens, whose organisation is leading the way when it comes to blockchain.
Finally, in our extensive feature on democracy and voting, we explore how technology is playing a vital role in challenging autocratic governments with a look at the ‘White Ballot’ movement in Mongolia, which is only a few thousand votes away from up-ending the entire political structure. Stance interviews one of its founders, Human Rights lawyer, Bolorsaikhan Badamsamuu.
Stance profiles Sayaka Murata, a multi-award winning author who’s making waves with her recent novel Convenience Store Woman. We interview her about her first major novel to be translated into English that captures the atmosphere of a convenience store, that is so much part of life in Japan through the eyes of Kieko, a part-time worker.
(Please note, the translation of the interview is read by Convenience Store Woman Translator Ginny Tapley Takemori.)
In our Arts piece, we feature our favourite poetry collections which have just been released. One poet stateside is Fatimah Asghar, an artist and screenwriter based in Los Angeles. She is the writer of Brown Girls, an Emmy-nominated web series that highlights friendships between women of colour and is being developed for HBO. Stance speaks to Fatimah about her recently published and highly acclaimed debut collection of poems, If they Come for Us.
And finally, we jump across to the other side of the pond and speak with artist and poet, John Cooper Clarke. Rising to prominence in the 70’s, ‘the punk poet’, became a symbol of a transatlantic counterculture, where visual artists, poets and musicians exchanged ideas and made waves politically and culturally. He talks to us about his early days growing up in Salford, Greater Manchester to his hugely anticipated new collection of poetry, The Luckiest Guy Alive, which is his first in over thirty years.