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 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:

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 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.

The full episode is for $10+ subscribers. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast

Other links:

On class wars, new and old.

Michael Lind, Professor of Practice at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, joins us to talk about what it might take to restore working class power in Western states. He explains some of the arguments in his book The New Class War (2020) in greater depth, as well as discussing his intellectual debt to the ex-Trotskyist theorist turned Cold War conservative, James Burnham.

Plus, Michael talks about how his Texan background and upbringing shaped his outlook on industrialisation, national development and populism. 

Part two: https://www.patreon.com/posts/243-bureaucracy-62900197

Readings:

On the critique of egalitarian ideology.

We talk to writer Ross Wolfe about his essay "Marxism Contra Justice". Given that struggles for justice have been central to all sorts of radical movements, why is it important to cleave Marxist politics away from this notion? How are contemporary notions of 'social justice' already degraded versions of earlier egalitarian ideology on the left? Is it possible to conceive of any popular working-class movement that doesn’t begin with people’s sense of indignation and desire for redress?

Links:

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.
 
The full episode is available to subscribers only. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast
 
Readings:
 
On our current attention-deficit and hyperpolitical disorder.
 
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In our book, The End of the End of History, we discuss the move from post-politics to anti-politics; from consensus to rejection; from apathy to anger. In a new article, Anton Jäger argues we've now moved into a hyperpolitical age. Is everything being politicised...except the really important stuff?
 
We discuss some examples of hyperpolitics in Europe and North America and ask if what's going on is just a hot culture war, or something bigger. And what are the risks of an actual civil war in France or the US?
 
Reading:
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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This is a free sample. For the full episode, sign up at patreon.com/bungacast
 

On Thursday 9 November, George Hoare and Alex Hochuli took part in a conversation with Catherine Liu about their recent books – The End of the End of History and Virtue Hoarders, respectively. The focus was on the social and political role of the Professional-Managerial Class in historical context.

The webinar was hosted and presented by the UCI Humanities Center, as part of their Ideas with Impact series and we're reposting the conversation as a podcast here.

On the left outflanked.
 
We continue our discussion with Douglas Lain, formerly of Zer0 Books and now of Diet Soap Media. Has the left been overtaken by events - yet again? And we propose a typology of a left divided between progressives, populists and Marxists – progressives who are authoritarian, populists who are opportunists, and Marxists who are lonely.
 
Hey listener - why not tell us how you see Bunga and the world? Fill out our listener survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NN6SPD9
 
Links:

This is an excerpt. For the full episode, subscribe at patreon.com/bungacast.

On branding and the left. 

Douglas Lain, until recently publisher of Zer0 Books and now of Diet Soap Media, joins us to talk about what happened with Zer0. Mainly, we discuss the left at the End of History, revisit No Logo and the anti-branding stance, and compare Gen X and Millennial lefts - is it just a continual story of decline?

Links:

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.
 
This is an excerpt. For the full episode, subscribe for $10/mo at patreon.com/bungacast
 
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.

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