On the meaning of Gorbachev.
 
 
Mikhail Gorbachev continues to be lauded in Western circles for overseeing the collapse of the Soviet Union without much bloodshed. But given the historic societal disaster that followed, is this status unmerited? How naive was Gorbachev about the wolves at the door? And to what extent was the writing on the wall by the late '80s – was there an alternative path not taken?
 
Readings:
 
Listenings:

On the Brothers of Italy.

We talk to Mattia Salvia, former Rolling Stone Italia politics editor and author of Interregno, about Italy's election last weekend in the context of a Europe in crisis. The big question to start: is Meloni a fascist - and will her government be fascist?

With very low turnout, it seems like the working class has deserted politics, with 5 Star being the last gasp of proletarian participation. Does Meloni try to appeal to this constituency at all? Her low-tax anti-welfare policies don't seem like it.

And what of Meloni's pro-NATO politics? And what does this mean for the EU - will a FdI-ruled Italy weaken the union, or strengthen it? 

Readings:

In Italian:

 

On La Macronie, or Macronistan

Is France in perma-crisis? We talk to Nathan Sperber, independent researcher on political economy based in Paris and the author of a recent piece on Macronistan in American Affairs.
 
Does Macron evince a neo-statist turn, away from the entrepreneurial, neoliberal rhetoric of 2017? And what about the anti-establishment forces, left and right – how much of a chance do they have to shake La Macronie, or will they be co-opted?

Readings:
Listenings:

 

On the death of Queen Elizabeth, a 20th century figure
 
To our own surprise, we are doing an episode on the Queen of England. How will her death impact the UK when she was basically the only institution that still retained popular trust? Will Britons be made to face up to the question of what kind of country they want?
 
We revisit the Nairn-Anderson theses about how and why Britain had so many seemingly feudal remnants, and ask whether there is still something to bourgeois modernisation. And we look globally at the response to the Queen's death and ask why so many people care?
 
Readings:
On Communism's historic role.
 
We talk to renowned Serbian-American economist Branko Milanovic about growing up in Yugoslavia and how, in much of the world, History never ended. We then dedicate much of the episode to discussing Branko's claim that communism was essentially an engine of economic convergence, allowing developing countries to haul themselves into the industrial age.
 
We also talk about Branko's work on inequality and why growth still matters. 
 
Readings:
With European liberals waving Ukraine flags, how might the war and escalating geopolitical tensions between major power be prompting a return to nationalism and patriotism? Is it just a means for elites to extract sacrifices from the people? And how 'real' are nations anyway?

Articles:

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:

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"?
 
 
[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:
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:
  
 
On US proxy wars, Russia's elite, Ukrainian neutrality.
 
'Three Articles' aims to provide serious political discussion on current affairs that we feel is lacking elsewhere, drawing out the logical conclusions of the three pieces' arguments.
 
Articles:

On the fusion of technocracy & populism.

Carlo Invernizzi Accetti talks to us about his book, Technopopulism, co-authored with Chris Bickerton. This is the "new logic of democratic politics". How are all politicians today effectively technocratic and populist at the same time? How does this distinguish our age from a more ideological age in the past? And what can be done to make politics ideological again?

Part 2, which includes the rest of the interview, and the After Party where Alex, George and Phil debate why politics are toxic today, is available here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/64729183/

Readings:

On the German Greens' shady history.
 
Journalist Lily Lynch, editor of Balkanist, joins us to talk about her recent investigations into the Green Party, who are now back in power in Germany.
 
The 68ers attempted to combat authoritarianism and Nazi legacies through sexual liberation, building on the work of Wilhelm Reich. How did this lead some small groups associated with the Greens to advocate paedophilia – and even to accept former Nazis into their ranks?
 
Later the Greens would fully embrace war. We discuss how their emphasis on "maturity" and multilateral humanitarianism became the means through which they justified their new hawkish stance and adoption of NATO's cause.
 
 

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