On sectarianism & identitarianism.
Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) is back on Bunga to talk to us about his essay "The Retreat from Universalism in the Middle East and the World".
Lebanon has been used as a model for other Middle Eastern countries, even though its confessional system is a disaster. But Lebanese-style sectarianism isn't a form of 'feudal' backwardness – in fact it represents a precursor of the multicultural and identitarian politics in the West.
Who are the enemies of universalism today, East and West? And what sort of political projects are capable of rejuvenating secular universalism?
Buy our book: The End of the End of History
Subscribe to the podcast: patreon.com/Bungacast
On world history, 1900-2020.
For our 200th episode special, we pose the question: "If you had to study the history of only one country from 1900-2020, and thereby understand the history of the whole world, which would you pick?"
We invited 10 contributors to each pitch one country, whose particularities capture the universal sweep of world history from the start of the 20th century till now.
Vote for which you think is best, and we'll have the top 3 back on to discuss in more depth: Link to voting page
- (18:20) Germany - Dominik Leusder
- (23:02) Greece - Jonas Kyratzes
- (27:57) India - David Adler
- (33:46) Indonesia - Vincent Bevins
- (38:25) Iraq - Liam Meissner
- (44:03) Italy - David Broder
- (49:19) Mexico - Roger Lancaster
- (54:01) Taiwan - Nic Johnson
- (59:44) Turkey - Arash Azizi
- (01:04:32) Yugoslavia - Lily Lynch
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Come to our London book launch! Event link
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, the regional scenario impacting Lebanon, the legacy of the Arab Spring, and the risks of foreign intervention.
- Beirut explosion and protests - (07:04)
- Lebanese history 1990-today - (23:53)
- Economic crisis - (38:05)
- Sectarianism - (51:16)
- Regional scenario and foreign intervention - (01:04:54)
- International solidarity - (01:24:38)
–> For donations & help for local organisations other than the Red Cross: Google Doc
Readings (all Rima Majed):
Rojava offered the hope that a progressive, multiethnic politics might be salvaged from the ashes of Syria’s civil war. Now the Turkish assault on northern Syria looks set to crush the Kurds and a radical experiment in the region.
We talk to two British volunteers in Rojava about the prospects that the political structures set up there might be saved.
- Dani Ellis (@lapinesque): engineer; civil defence volunteer, International Commune (@communeint)
- Alexander Norton: deputy features editor, Morning Star; revolutionary volunteer, International Freedom Battalion
- (05:27) - Dani interview
- (41:39) - Alexander interview
- (01:27:51) - Final discussion
Readings & Links:
- YPG: Yekîneyên Parastina Gel (People's Defence Corps); PYD’s armed wing in Syria
- YPJ: Yekîneyên Parastina Jin (Women's Protection Units); all-female militia
- PYD: Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat (Democratic Union Party); Syrian Kurdish affiliate of the PKK
- SDF: Syrian Democratic Forces; alliance composed primarily of Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian/Syriac militias, led by the YPG
- PKK: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (Kurdistan Workers' Party); Kurdish party in Turkey founded in 1978 by Abdullah Öcalan. Started armed insurgency in 1984, thousands of fighters in northern Iraq and Turkey
- IFB: International Freedom Battalion; armed group of foreign leftists fighting for the YPG in support of the Rojava Revolution
- MLKP: Marxist-Leninist Communist Party, Turkey
- TEV-DEM: Movement for a Democratic Society; umbrella organisation in northern Syria, aims at organising Syrian society within the democratic confederalist system
In which we learn the extent to which the protests challenge the Islamic Republic itself. Also, why such little support from the Western Left?
In which we chat new alt-media, the US left, and Trump's Middle East policy
Episode Six: In which we consult the orb for insight into the roots of jihadism. Also too much talk about fantasy bots.
Episode Three: In which we ask what's up with the new 'International Brigades' joining the Kurds, and venture a Spanish pronunciation of 'Rojava'.