TNI’s State of Power podcast

Challenging the powerful

Let us introduce you to some of the fascinating people we work with to help you make sense of the world’s most complex challenges. In this podcast we share our research, explore alternatives to the status quo and give a platform to scholars and activists who are at the forefront of the fight against the current neoliberal order. We believe there are alternatives to this world and hope you do too.

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Episode 12 - Cashing in on the Pandemic: How lawyers are preparing to sue states over COVID-19 response measures

As governments take action to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent economic collapse, big law firms are watching the virus too. Yet, their concern is not to save lives or the economy. Instead, the lawyers are urging big business to challenge the social and economic emergency measures that governments around the world have taken to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. 2600 investment protection agreements worldwide have opened the door for transnational companies to sue States for billions of dollars In a parallel corporate justice system called Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

A new report, Cashing in on the Pandemic, takes a close look at how lawyers are preparing to sue states over COVID-19 measures.


  • Pia Eberhadt (researcher with Corporate Europe Observatory)
  • Cecilia Olivet (researcher with TNI)

TNI Covid Capitalism webinar series: Podcasts extracted from our weekly webinar series


Episode 11 - Silent Expansion: The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT)

This episode of State of Power, co-produced by CEO, SEATINI and TNI, is based on their latest briefing, Silent Expansion, which follows an in-depth report on the Energy Charter treaty published in 2018. The work on the ECT is part of the broader research and advocacy work that CEO, SEATINI and TNI have been carrying out during the last decade exposing the dangers of the international investment regime.


  • Faith Lumonya, Programme Officer, Trade and Investment Programme, SEATINI Uganda
  • Pia Eberhardt, researcher with Corporate Europe Observatory
  • Cecilia Olivet, Coordinator, Trade and Investment programme, TNI.

Episode 10 - Border Wars: Corporations

This episode (part 2/3 of the Border Wars series) takes a closer look at the military and security companies that have benefited from the refugee crisis. These companies provide, among other things, the equipment for border guards, the surveillance technology to monitor frontiers, and the IT infrastructure to track population movements. We will also look at how these companies grow their influence, and how they are implicated in a global restructuring of labour that has led to injustice, suffering, and death.


  • Nick Buxton, TNI
  • Brid Brennan, TNI
  • Harsha Walia, Author: Undoing Border Imperialism
  • Todd Miller, Journalist, Author: More than a Wall
  • Maren Mantovani, StopTheWall, Palestinian Land Defence Coalition

Episode 9 - Border Wars: Placing the ‘migration crisis” in perspective

This is episode one of a series on Border Wars: Placing the ‘migration crisis” in perspective.

It explores the rise of border walls particularly in the last three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and analyses some of the systemic reasons behind what has been termed the “migrant crisis”. Follow-up episodes will focus on the corporate interests that stand to gain the most from existing migration policies, and explore ways in which communities are reaching out and building bridges instead of walls.


  • Harsha Walia: Canada Antiracist activist, author Undoing Border Imperialism
  • Nick Buxton , TNI
  • Todd Miller, Journalist Tucson Arizona: More than a wall.
  • Brid Brennan, TNI, Transmigrant Platform
  • Mara

Episode 8 - Paper Dragons: China and the next financial crisis. (In conversation with Walden Bello)

Walden Bello is a TNI associate, a human rights and peace campaigner, academic, environmentalist and journalist who has made a major contribution to the international case against corporate-driven globalization. He is currently a senior analyst at Focus on the Global South, as well as an adjunct professor of sociology at the State University of New York, Binghamton. In our latest podcast he shares his thoughts about China and its role in the global financial system.

The discussion is guided by Walden’s latest book: Paper Dragons, China and the Next Financial crisis. Have a listen to this wide ranging discussion about the contradictions in China’s financial system, the ongoing trade war with the United States of America, and China’s impact on the global economy.

Episode 7 - Alternative approaches to drug policy

Instead of stemming the flow of narcotics, the global “war on drugs” has only managed to cause untold suffering to millions of people across the world. The voice of communities involved in illicit cultivation have long been excluded from national and international policymaking platforms.

What alternative approaches are there to current regime? Is it possible to put human rights first?


  • Martin Jelsma: Director Drugs & Democracy programme, TNI.
  • Nang Yon: Myanmar Opium Farmers Forum.

Episode 6 - The crisis in Venezuela, lessons for the left

There is a crisis in Venezuela. The country teeters on the brink of total economic and social collapse. There is civil unrest, hospitals and supermarkets are empty, and there is a very real possibility of an invasion led by the United States of America. The Bolivarian revolution, which is the political process initiated by the late president Hugo Chavez, has not borne its promised fruits.

What happened in Venezuela, and what is in store for the country and its people? What lessons are there for the left?


  • Professor Edgardo Lander, TNI Fellow
  • Daniel Chavez, TNI Fellow
  • Rachel Rumai Diaz, Venezuelan poet

Episode 5 - Extractivism and Pacification: The TAP pipeline in Salento, Italy

This episode of the State of Power podcast examines the case of the resistance against the TAP pipeline in Salento, Italy. Expected to bring 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year from Azerbaijan, the pipeline has been hailed as an impressive feat of engineering that will help solve Europe’s energy needs. However, there is no overstating how much the local populations along the pipeline detest this development.


  • Mark Neocleous: Professor of the Critique of Political Economy, Brunel University, UK.
  • Dr. María del Carmen Verdú: Lawyer, campaigner with Correpi: Coordinator Against Police and Institutional Repression), Argentina
  • No TAP activists, Salento, Italy.

Episode 4 - Fighting Corporate Impunity in South(ern) Africa

This episode of the State of Power podcast outlines some of the violations against people and the environment, perpetrated by Transnational Corporations in South Africa: Cases such as the massacre of protesting miners at the Marikana mine in August 2012, and ongoing attempts to evict rural communities in Pondoland from their land to facilitate titanium mining serve to underline the need for a binding international legal mechanism.

The episode shows some of the efforts by local activists to hold perpetrators accountable, and briefly outlines the history of The Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity.


  • Joseph Mathunjwa (President of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU))
  • Siyabonga Ndovela (Amadiba Crisis Committee)
  • Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute, Global Campaign)

“Public finance for the future we want”

These podcasts are a series of three, drawn from discussions around an upcoming TNI publication, on how we can build “Public finance for the future we want” curated and edited by Satoko Kishimoto and Lavinia Steinfort.

Episode 3 - On Public Banks

In this episode we explore what role public banks can play in building alternative finance and how they can be democratised; we hear about the case of Belfius bank in Belgium which is facing re-privatization pressures; and we explore the role that art and culture can play in helping people to understand finance.


  • Professor Thomas Marois (SOAS)
  • Frank Vanaerschot (FairFin)
  • Aline Fares ("Belfius is Ours" platform, Chroniques d'une ex-banquière)

Episode 2 - Wealth From the Ground Up: Cooperative Finance

In this episode we explore three examples of cooperative finance: how a Cooperative Bank in the Basque region of Spain fueled the local economy; how local employee-owned businesses in the United States are experimenting with democratic ownership, and leveraging existing “anchor institutions”; and how a state government program in Kerala, India, has enhanced economic prospects for more than four million women through support for cooperatives.


  • Professor Milford Bateman (Juraj Dobrila University at Pula, Croatia)
  • Thomas Hannah (Democracy Collaborative, Washington DC)
  • Benny Kuruvilla (Transnational Institute, India)

Episode 1 - Money for People and Planet: State Spending as a Source of Public Finance

As banks and other financial institutions lost their grip on financial markets across the world in 2008, governments stepped in and saved the system on the backs of their taxpayers. If they have the capacity to create public money to save the banks, why don’t governments use that same power to help solve problems like debt, poverty and the climate crisis? In this episode Professor Mary Mellor makes the case for governments to pay for public projects through their budgeting process.


Emeritus professor Mary Mellor (Northumbria University, UK)