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:

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 Freedom Convoy, the indigenous question, and 'anti-socialist socialism'(?)

Sociologist and commentator Ashley Frawley is back on the pod to talk about the situation in Canada. With family members involved in the protests, we asked her what she made of the truckers and the way demands were framed as 'anti-socialist'.

We move on to debate how to understand popular resistance to 'social engineering' today, as well as the uses of 'emotionalism' to undermine political agency.

Readings & 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 dovish conservatives, Trumpist coup-mongers and Canadian truckers.

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Live debate/book launch in NYC, Feb 22nd: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/live-debate-book-launch-the-end-of-the-end-of-history-tickets-261000468427

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We examine what arguments 'pro-worker conservatives' are making in an aim to rid the GOP of warmongers and what this says about their vision of politics. In that light we also look at the Trumpist wing and ask what they might have in common, if anything, with the former. And we debate the Canadian protests against vaccine mandates and the left's response to it so far. 

Three Articles:

 

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:
On Millennial homeowners, the USA falling apart, and restoration in the UK.

As better-off 30-somethings start to get on the property ladder, does this put paid to 'Generation Left'? Will American decline be accompanied by a second civil war - as China serenely watches on? And does Britain represent a return to the 'End of History'? Is everything becoming boring again?
 
This is an excerpt. For the full episode, subscribe at patreon.com/bungacast

Articles:
On the Jacobin & YouGov survey of the US working class.
 
A study (pdf) carried out by YouGov on behalf of Jacobin magazine and the Center for Working-Class Politics has learned that "working-class voters prefer progressive candidates who focus primarily on bread-and-butter economic issues, and who frame those issues in universal terms." What can we learn from the study, beyond the obvious? What are its limitations, who is it for, and what does the survey say about those who commissioned it?
 
Plus: does it make sense to frame your politics as 'anti-woke'?
 
Reading:

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?

See also:

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Buy our book: The End of the End of History

Subscribe to the podcast: patreon.com/Bungacast

 

On rising wages after the pandemic.
 
Workers are quitting their jobs and not going back. Restricted supply is seeing wages go up. Does this signal a new militancy, or are workers just deciding to make do with less? How has the pandemic shaped people's outlooks?
 
Articles:
 

The full episode is for subscribers only. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast

The third in a special five-part series on generational consciousness and conflict.
 
This is an excerpt. For the full 1h40min episode, subscribe at patreon.com/bungacast
 
In this episode, we examine the Baby Boomers – myth and reality. The revolt of the '60s has been misunderstood in many dimensions. Was it betrayed or did it always express capitalist ideology? Were the Boomers the ones who really did the 1960s anyway? And what world have the Boomers created as they passed through life – and institutions?
 
Guests include:
  • Jennie Bristow, senior lecturer in sociology at Canterbury Christ Church University
  • Helen Andrews, senior editor at The American Conservative
  • Josh Glenn, semiotician, author, and publisher of HiLoBrow
  • Jeffrey Alexander, professor of sociology at Yale University
  • Holger Nehring, chair in contemporary European history at the University of Stirling
  • Kristin Ross, professor emeritus of comparative literature at New York University
Original music by: Jonny Mundey
 
Additional music:
Other Clips:
  • American Pastoral Trailer © 2016 - Lionsgate
  • Mai 1968 © France 3 Paris Ile-de-France
  • Imitation de Daniel Cohn-Bendit © C'est Canteloup
  • Baader Meinhof Complex © 2008
This month's Reading Club is on Mike McNair's "Intersectionalism, the highest stage of western Stalinism?" from the journal Critique (pdf attached on Patreon).
 
How convincing is his genealogy in which he traces intersectionalism back to the 1930s Popular Front and 1960s soft Maoism? What function does intersectionalism play on the Left - and for the ruling class? And is McNair right that intersectionalism is self-defeating on its own terms? Or is it self-perpetuating?
 
Bungacast's monthly Reading Clubs are for subscribers $10+

On lockdowns, education, and the left.

California middle-school teacher and social critic Alex Gutentag (@galexybrane) joins us to talk about the depredations of lockdown in California and the wider world.

How has lockdown affected different segments of society, and how damaging have school closures been on education? Why has the professional middle class been so in favour of widespread restrictions – and how did the left go from backing Medicare 4 All to cheering on lockdowns in the space of a few months?

Readings:

On cash welfarism and state investment. Plus regionalism in Belgium & the UK.

Anton Jäger is back on the pod to discuss the emerging 'transfer state'. We examine Biden's massive trillion-dollar spending plans and ask if this means we're leaving neoliberalism. What are the limitations to the 'cashification of welfare'? Also comparisons with cash transfers or lack thereof in the UK, Brazil and Belgium.

Plus Anton talks us through recent Belgian history and why its immobilism and bureaucracy has actually prevented a full-on neoliberal assault. 

[Part 2 available at patreon.com/bungacast]

Readings:

On the Professional-Managerial Class. 
 
Catherine Liu joins us to talk about the worst class in history (the PMC), and how and why they hoard all forms of secularised value. We discuss the development of the PMC as a class, figure out when it stopped being "heroic", and debate who the PMC'S leader might be. We conclude by asking whether the Left needs the PMC (or vice versa?). 
 
The discussion will continue next week – focusing on recent unionising in professional workplaces, how the PMC brings up its children, and whether the "culture industry" is still a thing – in a subscriber-only episode on our patreon
 
Readings:

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