Posted by jeff on Feb 01, 2011


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Socialism and Soul 001 (2)

Socialism and Soul – Tuesdays 5.30pm-6pm

Two Dunedin men have taken to the airwaves with a message: Unions have a place in the modern world.

Dairy Workers Union organiser John Howell and Maritime Union communications officer Victor Billot present Socialism and Soul on Otago Access Radio every Tuesday at 5.30pm, with the support of Unions Otago.

The programme blends interviews and discussion on matters of topical interest to working people with a selection of music tracks that reflect the socialist principles that inform the pair’s approach to life.

Mr Howell said music provided the “soul” element to the show, while not being exclusively of the soul genre.

It’s anything we think has a soul and has some resonance.”

The balance of the show featured discussion on local, national and international issues of concern to the “working class” and a plain-language explanation of union membership.

Victor and I realised that we have a whole generation in this country who aren’t even aware of what a union is,” said Mr Howell.

So we thought, let’s strip it back for the casual listener, hopefully a young worker who hasn’t really understood what a trade union is and what it can do for working people.”

Guests had included a union member active in the campaign against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a Unite union delegate battling zero-hours contracts, and an Israeli journalist recognised for her reporting on Palestinian affairs in the West Bank and Gaza, where she had also lived.

Mr Billot said the programme would include a mixture of interview guests involved in social change and trying to make the world a better place.

People often say unions don’t have a place in the modern world. As a union member myself, they deliver my great superannuation scheme, they deliver me better wages, they deliver me work security.

Obviously, those things are not regarded by some as being important any more.”

Socialism and Soul airs Tuesdays at 5.30pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, and live and podcast from and iTunes.

Photo: Soulful commentary: John Howell (left) and Victor Billot, co-hosts of Otago Access Radio show Socialism and Soul.



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