New listener, really like the show in general, but I think the analysis of the political subtext of China Mieville's "Reports of Certain Events in London" is really lacking. Specifically there's a weird emphasis on the fact that Mieville doesn't think change is inherently good, and this is somehow in contradiction to him being a socialist. This was really confusing to me, because Mieville is clearly drawing from a long trend of Marxist writing about urbanism and the way that capitalism is constantly building and tearing down urban environments, and how that results in social dislocation. The idea that the response would be "well, don't you socialists think change is inherently good?" probably never even entered Mieville's head because it's such a nonsequitur. Marx himself based his ideas on seeing the changes wrought by nascent industrial capitalism and applying critical analysis to them. Socialists have long criticized the fact that everything, from our livelihoods to the very places we live, can be swept away by the whims of the market, and the idea that they should think that's good because they should belive change is abstractly good is just nonsense. This also leads to viewing the BWVF as conservative which is weird because they seem fascinated by the VFs, not frightened or hateful of them, and the idea that Mieville is somehow embracing horseshoe theory, which he absolutely does not. I think this comes from viewing politics as "progressive vs. conservative", when Mieville's view of politics is "capitalist vs. socialist". You don't have to agree with his views, but if you want to meaningfully analyze his fiction, you need to understand where he's coming from when he looks at politics.
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Thanks for a thoughtful post. In US political discourse the word Socialist has been so diluted as to be meaning meaningless. So, this is grounding. I don't know anything about Mielville's personal beliefs, so this may be a total non non sequitur. However, I remember Marxists in the 1970s describing how Communism was supposed to work and, when asked about the Communist governments in the world, they would go total "no real Scotsman" and say "Oh, you're talking about actually existing Communism, not real Communism."