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On modernism and its end. We're joined by 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner Benjamin Moser to discuss the tensions between hating your national culture and wanting to leave it behind, and the effacement of national culture by postmodern homogenisation. We talk about his biography of Susan Sontag, plus a range of other questions: Brazil, USA, literature, a…
 
This is an excerpt. For the full episode, sign up at patreon.com/bungacast On class. Class as an idea and an identity is now supposedly redundant. It’s been replaced by conflicts between generations and transcended by more up-to-date identities linking people together through common experiences of victimhood and inequality, rather than along lines …
 
On political decline and realignment. The editor of American Affairs joins us to discuss the decay of conservatism and we ask whether this decay doesn't apply to other parts of the political spectrum too. Is today's 'class struggle' really just between the upper-middle class and the elite? And we discuss the 'late-Soviet' USA - the sense of decline…
 
This episode is for patrons only. Subscribe at patreon.com/bungacast We discuss a chapter taken from James Heartfield's "The 'Death of the Subject' Explained", which was recently republished in Damage Magazine as The New Social Movements Against the Old Left Thanks for all your questions and points, we address them in the last third of the episode.…
 
The full episode is for patrons only. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacastIn this semi-regular slot, we respond to your comments and criticisms received over the past month or so. Discussion features whether we're right about the "end of the End of History", social conservatism, policing in America, British declinism, the use and misuses of Islamism, a…
 
On US foreign policy. Following on from our episode on the political-economy of dollar hegemony (no. 139), we turn to look at how the dollar underpins American empire. Is 'permawar' a product of structural factors, rather than merely the result of poor policy decisions? And how is this related to the global financial architecture? We also discuss h…
 
On Lebanon's crisis. We call up Rima Majed in Beirut to talk us through the aftermath of the enormous explosion and ensuing protests. How has Lebanon's history since the civil war created such a profound, multi-layered crisis? We cover the desperate economic situation and the October 2019 revolt, before going deep on the politics of sectarianism, t…
 
The full episode is for patrons only. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacastIn this latest Three Articles, we discuss the durability or otherwise of right-populism in the UK, US and Brazil. Reading: Conservatives’ grip on ‘red wall’ holding firm, Sebastian Payne, FT Lawmakers ‘Alarmed’ by Reports U.S. Envoy Told Brazil It Could Help Re-elect Trump, Ernes…
 
On dollar hegemony. Dutch disease has long been seen as the curse of resource-rich economies in which a currency appreciates and jobs are lost overseas. But what if the greenback is having the same effects on the US economy, the largest in the world? Many historians and economists have studied the global effects of having the dollar as the world’s …
 
The episode is for patrons only. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacastThe protests in the US against police violence - and their globalisation - prompts us to discuss radical proposals for what to do about the police. We look at the US, the UK and Brazil, each in their own national contexts, and debate how policing is structure and what makes realistic …
 
Reading Club episodes are only available to patrons $10+. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacastThis month we discuss Wolfgang Streeck's reading of Friedrich Engels which appeared recently in the New Left Review, which deals with the Marxian understanding of war and technology, how they relate to social development, and what this all means for our unders…
 
On British decline.Much ink has been spilled over the Britain’s fate since the end of its empire. Could it be that decline has been overstated? And what will happen to Britain as it leaves the European Union? We discuss how the history of the Industrial Revolution and Cold War militarism still shapes British politics today, as David Edgerton joins …
 
Singapore is held up as a free-market utopia: rich, orderly and clean. But the reality is quite different. Why does Singapore exert such a magnetism for neoliberals, when its reality strays from orthodox prescriptions? What and who made this model 'global city', and how does its communist and anti-colonial past lead to its hyper-capitalist present?…
 
This is a sample. For the full episode, sign up at patreon.com/bungacast The three of us discuss some of the themes that emerged from our interview with Krithika Varagur (ep.133) - the entanglement of the US state with Islamism, the Americanisation of the Middle East, and especially the Gulf States, and Wahhabism as religious justification for the …
 
On Saudi religious proselytism. Saudi Arabia has actively sought to export Salafism. How has it done this - and what have been its effects, in countries like Indonesia, Nigeria and Kosovo? Why was fighting against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s such a formative experience for jihadists? And why has appeal of secularism faded? Readings: The…
 
Aleksandar Vučić's coalition won the recent (21 June) Serbian parliamentary elections amidst a mass boycott. We talk to Balkanist editor Lily Lynch about what Vučić represents - violent ultranationalist or technocratic centrist? We also take time to discuss geopolitical rivalries over Kosovo. Plus: cigar socialism, Yugoboomers and the enduring appe…
 
This episode is for patrons $10 and up. Please sign up at patreon.com/bungacast On the Ehrenreich's re-evaluation of the Professional-Managerial Class. We discuss Barbara and John Ehrenreich's "Death of a Yuppy Dream". Also attached are the Ehrenreichs' analyses from the late 70s, also referenced in the discussion. Thanks again for all your questio…
 
Full episode is for patrons only. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast On this latest Three Articles, we discuss the global Black Lives Matter protests. Reading: The Triumph of Black Lives Matter and Neoliberal Redemption, Cedric Johnson, NonSite ‘As soon as I saw the slaveowner’s statue being toppled in Bristol, I knew the real anti-racism protest was…
 
On the left case for freedom. We talk to Corey Robin about how the left has sacrificed the realm of freedom to the right. And why the Left's weakness is also the Right's. Plus, why is it clear that Trump is not a fascist? And insight into the BLM protests in NYC and responses to the pandemic. Reading: What People Power Looks Like in a Pandemic Demo…
 
On culturally conservative critics of capitalism. Neoliberalism’s fragmentary and atomising tendencies have gone too far. In response, some right-wingers have turned against the market. At the same time, there’s a (marginal) tendency on the left turning against cultural liberalism. Are we witnessing a major political realignment underway? What is t…
 
Why did Bernie Sanders fail?In the third in an occasional series on the US presidential election and the Left, we talk to Angela Nagle and Michael Tracey about their analysis of Bernie Sanders' campaign. We put to bed some bad arguments as to why Bernie didn't win the nomination, and examine some better ones: was the campaign was too establishment-…
 
This is a subscriber-only episode. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacastIn this latests Three Articles we discuss power, money and the power of money - in a post-Covid world. Readings: The Death of the Central Bank Myth, Adam Tooze, Foreign Policy Why the Neoliberals Won’t Let This Crisis Go to Waste, Philip Mirowski, Jacobin Plan A for the coronavirus,…
 
In the second in an occasional series of episodes on the US presidential election and the Left, we talk to Nicholas Kiersey, a volunteer with the Bernie Sanders campaign in Texas and host of the Fully Automated podcast. What were things like on the campaign trail, and what went wrong for Bernie? Will Biden go the distance, and are there more shenan…
 
On the end of Left Populism. Friend of the podcast Anton Jäger joins us to discuss the fate of Left Populism, investigate the response of the Left to the ongoing Coronacrisis, and question whether we're really witnessing the end of neoliberalism. We refer to his recent piece in Damage magazine, in the readings below. Did Left populism ask the right…
 
On The Jakarta Method. We're joined by Vincent Bevins to discuss his new book on the 1965-66 mass killings in Indonesia, Cold War anti-communism, and the destruction it wrought around the world. The mid-60s proved pivotal, with US-backed coups in Indonesia and Brazil setting the template. What was their effect on the Left worldwide? How did it alte…
 
On the end of Left Populism. This is a sample. For the full episode, subscribe at patreon.com/BungaCast Friend of the podcast Anton Jäger joins us to discuss the fate of Left Populism, investigate the response of the Left to the ongoing Coronacrisis, and question whether we're really witnessing the end of neoliberalism. We refer to his recent piece…
 
On whether new tech can help build decentralised socialism. Reading Club episodes are for $10+ patrons. Sign up: patreon.com/bungacast We discuss Evgeny Morozov's New Left Review essay, Digital Socialism? The Calculation Debate in the Age of Big Data. A useful companion to this (mentioned by George in the episode) is a lecture given by Morozov, tha…
 
This episode is for subscribers only. To hear the full thing, go to patreon.com/bungacast In this latest Three Articles, we discuss responses to Covid-19. Articles Virus lays bare the frailty of the social contract, Editorial, FT Herd Immunity is Epidemiological Neoliberalism, The Quarantimes We’re on the Brink of Cyberpunk, Kelsey D. Atherton, Sla…
 
In the first of an occasional series of episodes on the US presidential election and the Left, we talk to Nick Frayn, a volunteer with the Bernie Sanders campaign in New England. How have things gone on the campaign trail? What is next for the Democratic primaries delayed by the corona outbreak? Can Bernie regain ground in the primaries against Joe…
 
This is a sample. The full episode is available by subscribing at patreon.com/bungacastSingapore is held up as a free-market utopia: rich, orderly and clean. But the reality is quite different. Why does Singapore exert such a magnetism for neoliberals, when its reality strays from orthodox prescriptions? What and who made this model 'global city', …
 
This episode is for our $10 and up patrons. Go to patreon.com/bungacast for access.On the end of the Age of Imitation. We discuss Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes' The Light That Failed: A Reckoning and their arguments for why liberal democracy stopped being the model to follow - in Eastern Europe, Russia and even the USA. Thanks for all the questio…
 
On global cities. Global cities flaunt themselves to global capital and are shaped by it. They are self-conscious and eager to transmit 'globalness'. But why? And how has the city under globalisation been reshaped? What is the role of money and power - not to mention sex and culture? And does the sameyness of global cities now mean that medium and …
 
On political conflict over the next decade This is a subscriber-only show. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast We debate what ideological contestation is going to look like in the next 2/5/10 years. Will liberalism adopt Silicon Valley solutionism? Does the centre-right become fully nationalist? And the far right have a future if that happens? And whe…
 
Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) has been hailed by some and scorned by others as offering a new framework to understand the financial system. But what is specifically 'modern' about MMT, and how does it differ from rival accounts of the financial economy? We talk to Bill Mitchell, one of the leading proponents of MMT, who gives us an introductory rund…
 
In this latest Three Articles, we discuss American democracy and those who pretend to save it or undermine it. Sign up for access to the full episode: patreon.com/bungacast Readings: It’s time to give the elites a bigger say in choosing the president, Julia Azari, WaPo Michael Bloomberg: Smirking Id Of America’s Elites, Matt Purple, The American Co…
 
On Applied Ballardianism. Is it J.G. Ballard's world? Bunga talks Ballard with Simon Sellars, author of a new book on the great British sci-fi novelist J.G. Ballard. Urban decay, social breakdown, consumerism as social control and the Interzone. Opening passage is taken from Ballard's 2000 novel 'Super-Cannes'. Reading: Applied Ballardianism, Simon…
 
On pandemics, panics, and China. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus is yet another new epidemic to appear on the scene this century. What accounts for their increasing frequency, and who decides if an epidemic is classed as a pandemic? More importantly, what governs that choice? The WHO and the whole intergovernmental management of health has 'securitised'…
 
On Ireland's elections. With Sinn Fein riding high in the polls, are we looking at an upset? Is this a populist upsurge in Ireland, finally, more than a decade after the start of the crisis? We discuss what Ireland's 'end of history' was like and how the 'Celtic Tiger' economy sustained it; and look at how the country was the EU's "model prisoner" …
 
On film in 2019/20. This is a sample only. For the full episode, sign up at patreon.com/BungaCast We saw yet more sequilitis the past year, the endlessness and onwardness of contemporary cinema. So what were the worst films of the year and did their badness represent something wider? If 2018 saw the arrival of Trumpian cinema, what did 2019 bring? …
 
This is a sample. For the full episode, subscribe at patreon.com/BungaCast On ecofascism. Both the shooters in the Christchurch and El Paso massacres were declared 'ecofascists'. Now, a new governing coalition in Austria brings together Greens and the hard right in an unconventional union. How does Malthusianism link the far right and ecology? What…
 
On The Economist and the contradictions of global liberalism. Alexander Zevin joins us to discuss his work on the 176 year history of the magazine that has accompanied liberalism's global expansion. Has it just reflected the world or has it actually influenced politics? How has The Economist balanced democracy against the interests of finance and t…
 
This episode is for Patrons only. Go to patreon.com/bungacast for access.On forecasts for the next decade. In this month's 'Three Articles' - in which we each bring to the table a key article to unpick and unpack - we take apart mainstream predictions of the future, over the next decade, the next couple of years, and 2020. Readings: 25 Ideas That W…
 
On drugs and mental health. In part two, we chat about recreational drugs and mental states in a Hollywood bar with friends of the podcast, Amber A'Lee Frost and Alex Gendler. But mostly, we delve deeper into capitalism and depression with the 'States of Wellness' group at UC Irvine (Catherine Liu, Thomas Williams, Michael Mahoney, Benjamin Kruger-…
 
On how Labour lost. Was it Brexit that did for Labour? In what sense? What now for the British Left - and for democracy? Running order: (02:40) Opening chat (05:15) The electoral map, the generational divide (21:46) Class (33:52) The leadership and the media (48:10) Holding our prediction to account (53:30) Reaction of various Labour factions (01:0…
 
On the 30 years since 1989. For our 100th episode, we invited our favourite guests to reflect on the question: “What one event, personal or political, most captures for you the past thirty years, since 1989?” Are we still living in the death throes of the 20th century, or is something new emerging? Guests: (00:07:42) - Maren Thom (00:14:14) - David…
 
UK general election preview. Go to patreon.com/BungaCast for the full episode Is is really the Brexit election, if Labour doesn't want it to be? We survey the parties' positions, and promises, and ask some big what ifs. Could there be a major realignment in the offing? And we make some predictions - which you can hold us to account for later on...…
 
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