On the endgame to war in Ukraine.
 
Eminent Russian expert, Putin and Gorbachev biographer and ex-Sovietologist, Prof Richard Sakwa, joins us in advance of his imminent retirement from the University of Kent. We talk about the geopolitics of NATO expansion and the dynamics of the Ukraine war reaching back to 2014. How high is the risk of nuclear war now, and how might the Ukraine war play out?
Readings:
On the whatever decade.
 
People are turning back to reinterpret the 1990s. Clearly, they were peak End of History years. But does that mean that no politics actually happened? If it's the period of the cultural turn, does that mean we should seek to understand that decade culturally?
 
And what are the political consequences of how we interpret the 1990s?
 
Readings:

If the End of History was characterised by post-politics, and the 'populist decade' of the 2010s dominated by anti-politics, then how should we understand more recent phenomena? Are the following of a qualitatively different nature to anti-politics, namely: the intensification of culture wars, growing polarisation that does not always align neatly with class, of increasingly hysterical and personalised politics, and of the competition between escalating emergency politics? 

To commemorate the publication of the German edition of The End of the End of History, co-author Alex Hochuli was in conversation with historian of political thought, Anton Jäger at the Monacensia in Munich.

To commemorate the publication of the German edition of The End of the End of History, co-author Alex Hochuli was in conversation with David Broder, Europe editor of Jacobin Magazine at Spike Magazine, Berlin.
 
The crumbling of the liberal, technocratic order over the past decade has led to a variety of hysterical reactions from the establishment. Faced with new challenges to their authority, they have reacted by calling their opponents "fascist", blaming misinformation or adopting conspiracy theories of their own. How are we to understand these reactions and the apparent conflict between neoliberal technocracy and "populism"?
 
 

[Live events in Germany: Berlin / Munich]

On emergency politics today.

We talk to Geoff Shullenberger about competing emergency politics, left and right. Should politics be enjoyable and provide a frisson of transgression, or not? Is bare life all that's on offer? And is declaring the predominance of 'emergency politics' itself an emergency a problem?

Readings:

On crumbling state authority.
 
Benjamin Fogel is back on the podcast to talk us through how South Africa has gone from the hopes of post-apartheid to the Durban riots of 2021. How have corruption, criminal networks, Indian oligarchs, and political forces combined to shatter any sense of a national project? We also discuss the role of xenophobia and particularist and racial politics in today's South Africa.
 
Readings & Links:
 
On neoliberalism and biopolitics.
 
In the fifth session of the "Emergency Politics & Control" theme of the 2022 Reading Club, we take on The Birth of Biopolitics, Michel Foucault's 1978-9 lectures at the College de France (no's 4-6, 9-10).
 
How does Foucault trace a line between German ordo- and American neo-liberalism to biopolitics? What role does human capital play? Is 'biopolitics' a critique or a manual? And how useful a tool is it to understand the management of the Covid pandemic?
On the economic drivers and political choices of inflation.
 
In the absence of workers demanding higher wages, where is inflation coming from? Is there more to it than pandemic-related supply chain disruptions and the Ukraine war? How responsible is Biden's spending package? And how can generations who have never known serious inflation respond?
 
Three Articles:

[Patreon Exclusive]

On your comments & criticisms.

We tackle ideological realignments over the use of history; conspiracy theorising; a game-show called The Last True Marxist; whether we've had any progress over the last 50 years; and much more. 

On liberals' embrace of the past and history wars.

We talk to Matthew Karp about his essay, "History As End: 1619, 1776, and the politics of the past". It seems as if there's an ideological inversion going on, where liberals see history in terms of original sin and cycles of injustice, or at best, want to relitigate the past in order to fight battles of the present. Meanwhile conservatives have abandoned the past. What does this say about current attitudes to capital-h History and making the future?

Readings:

[Patreon Exclusive]
 
We analyse the French presidential election results, the country's geographical and class divides, and what a second term for Macron means for the EU.
 
Three Articles:
Other readings:

[Patreon Tier 2 Exclusive]

On Frank Furedi's How Fear Works.

Following on from last month's discussion of Corey Robin's Fear, we examine a differing attempt to demystify the politics and culture of fear. 

To join a local Reading Club where you are, email info@bungacast.com 

On Marxism & the Left.

We talk to Elena & Joshua about their new edited collection, The Conformist Rebellion: Marxist Critiques of the Contemporary Left. Who or what is "the Left" today – merely the left wing of Capital? And what distinguishes a specifically Marxist critique of the Left? How has Marxism and the question of exploitation been sidelined in favour of a libera concern with discrimination?

Over on Patreon you can hear the second part of the interview, plus our After Party debating the contemporary Left's connection to Marxism, the history of social democracy, and moral versus materialist critique. 

Readings:

The second part of our double ep on France's presidential election.

Ahead of the second round, we discuss how likely a Le Pen victory could be and the effect of Zemmour’s candidacy – which appears to have made her seem more centrist. We also debate how the French deep state and EU might react to a Le Pen victory.

We also ask Chris, co-author of Technopopulism, whether this is a classically 'technopopulist' election.

Reading:
On France's presidential elections.
 
We talk to Charles Devellennes to digest the first round, which saw centre-right Macron and far-right Le Pen come out on top, with leftist Mélenchon missing out. How similar are Macron and Le Pen's proposals actually? And has Macron's attempts to play statesman over Ukraine affected his chances?
 
With Le Pen and Macron both going after Mélenchon's 20% of the voter share, how will each approach this challenge?
 
Readings:
  
 

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