[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. 

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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. 


[Patreon Tier 2 Exclusive]

On Corey Robin's Fear: The History of a Political Idea

This is March's Reading Club, the third in the Emergency Politics section of the 2022 Syllabus.

On class & material self-interest.

We talk to Vivek Chibber about his new book, The Class Matrix: Social Theory After the Cultural Turn, which seeks to answer why capitalism has proven remarkably stable. Vivek explains why classical Marxism does not need 'ideological supplements' to explain why there hasn't been revolution; instead, structural class theory already provides the answers. 

We go back to basics, looking at the role of interests, debate what the real role of ideology is (not 'false consciousness'), and look at why particularism, rather than the universal collectivism of class, now dominates. 

Part two of the interview, plus the After Party, is available over at patreon.com/bungacast

On Giorgio Agamben's State of Exception (2005). 

How did a darling of the left during the War on Terror become a resource for the right during Covid? Is Agamben right to blur the boundary between fascism and liberal democracy? And if we are in a 'permanent state of exception', what is the right response?

And we discuss your questions.

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On Carl Schmitt's Political Theology (1922).

We ask why people are scared of sovereignty – as opposed to state power per se, and analyse what is significant about the way in which Schmitt defines sovereignty. And what is the meaning of 'political theology'?

And we discuss your questions. 

This is an extended excerpt of the first 30 mins of the episode. For the full thing, go to patreon.com/bungacast

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How has the cold and hard world of bureaucratic, instrumental rationalism penetrated the intimate sphere of love and relationships? And how has open communication and emotional understanding been used to advance economic interests?
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On modernity's contradictions.
In this month's Reading Club, we discuss the introduction to Marshall Berman's marvellous All That Is Solid Melts Into Air.
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Can we revive, as Berman intends, the truly dialectical, 19th century attitude to modernity? What value is there in talking about "modernity" rather than “capitalism”? And how to we recognise possibilities for transcending today's impasses, where the question of "modernity" isn't even on the table?
The final Reading Club of 2021 will be on Eva Illouz's Cold Intimacies.
This month we discuss GM Tamas' essay "Telling the Truth About Class" published in the Socialist Register. Is Tamas' division between Marxist and Rousseauian socialism useful? Does it help us to understand the Left today? And is Tamas right that "authentic proletarian revolution... has never occurred in its anti-capitalist purity anywhere"?
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Additional readings:
We discuss Eli Zaretsky's essay, "Psychoanalysis and the Spirit of Capitalism" (also available as a chapter in his book Political Freud).
How convincing is Zaretsky’s idea that, as capitalism was becoming more organized and systematic, it also liberated relations between the sexes and enhanced a sense of individual subjectivity?
Was Freudianism a victim of its success? Did it ‘win’ and thereby make itself obsolete - socially if not intellectually? And what is today’s "spirit of capitalism"? Are we still within the spirit that was reshaped in the 1960s - the world of the New Left?
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We discuss Michael Lind's The New Class War.

Lind identifies new lines in the class war, between working class and managerial overclass, between those in the "heartlands" and those in the "hubs". How convincing is this account? What is his critique of technocratic managerialism and its symptom, populism? How convincing - and realistic - is his solution of "democratic pluralism"? And is this only achievable as a result of a new cold war with China?

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We discuss the second of Perry Anderson's three LRB essays on the making and unmaking of the EU: "Ever Closer Union?" 

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How to address the political problems of leftwing parties today?
Liverpudlian historian David Swift argues that the problem is hobbyism - people for whom politics constitutes their identity rather than expressing their interest in social and political change. He joins us to take us through his arguments about hobbyism, and how he thinks the Left might change for the better.

We discuss the first of Perry Anderson's new essays on Europe published in the London Review of Books, which focuses on Luuk van Middelaar - described as the EU's first organic intellectual. We discuss what that means, as well as the role of the "coup" in forming the EU.

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We've exceptionally unlocked one of our recent Reading Clubs. For access to all the monthly Reading Clubs - as well as our ~2 patreon episodes a month - subscribe at patreon.com/bungacast for $10. 


On Richard Tuck's The Left Case for Brexit, a book composed of essays written throughout the Brexit process, providing a diary of Brexit of sorts, as well as political and historical arguments around sovereignty.

We also take the opportunity to debate its global implications - what are the possibilities for popular sovereignty in a globalised world?

On the final deal and its implications, see: The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement: Minimum Brexit 

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