On Brazil's containment of the crisis.

We talk to members of the Unbridled Possibility Collective (Fabio Luis B. Santos | Thais Pavez | Daniel Cunha) about their intervention, trying to look beyond this week's election in Brazil.

What does establishment support for Lula this time round represent? Is Lula guilty of "unrealistic pragmatism"? How will Brazil react to a potential coup attempt by Bolsonaro? 

And we look at the deeper social and structural context: what are the features of the Brazilian "war of all against all"? How does Bolsonaro accelerate these tendencies?

We conclude by looking at the possibility of a new 'Pink Wave' in Latin America and examining the state of the Brazilian left. 

Readings:

 

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 your questions and criticisms.

[Patreon Exclusive]

We discuss the Chinese Dream, speculation and horizontal politics, foreign fighters and spies, Dune, and killing Phil.

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:
On Brazil's elections and the military.
 
A month away from the first round showdown between former president Lula and current president Jair Bolsonaro, lawyer, podcaster and communist Alcysio Canette joins us to look at the features that have shaped the past years.
 
How did Bolsonaro's response to the Covid pandemic – denialism, essentially – tarnish his image? What role is the military playing in Brazilian politics and what is its history of political interference since the 1964-85 dictatorship?
 
Part two available at: patreon.com/posts/71560313
 
Readings:

On Anthony Giddens' The Consequences of Modernity (ch.3)

[Patreon Tier 2&3 Exclusive]

In the second episode of the Cynical Ideology section of the 2022 Reading Club, we look at what trust is and why it has declined so precipitously in recent decades, especially in relation to institutions. 

Is the opposite of trust mistrust, or is it existential angst? What's the link between the absence of trust and a sense of impending apocalypse? Is money or the market the only abstract entity we still trust? And what about the state?

Reading:

The Consequences of Modernity, Anthony Giddens (1990), ch. 3

August 30, 2022

Bunga Holiday

Just a short announcement about what's coming up, while we're off on summer holidays.

Subscribe to the podcast to support us and get two new, original, paywalled episodes a month ($5/mo). For $10/mo you also get access to the Reading Club. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast

On Rojava and Ukraine.

We talk to Stefan Bertram-Lee, former volunteer fighter for the the YPG in Rojava, about whom a Hollywood movie is being made. We ask him about the type of person who volunteers, and how this compares to those who have gone to Ukraine. How does this stop you "being a teenage nihilist"? And who would win in a fight: ISIS, Azov or the YPG?

Part two of this episode is available at: https://www.patreon.com/posts/70597308 

Reading:

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 our financialised world. 

We talk to Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou about his new book, Speculative Communities. How has speculation become the very practice around which modern societies coalesce? And how does speculation actually give voice to the  waning legitimacy of neoliberalism? 

Do dating apps, Tik Tok and other social media give birth to 'speculative communities'? And is populism a speculation on the future, a leap into the unknown?

 
On Zizek's "How Marx Invented the Symptom" from The Sublime Object of Ideology.
 
We kick off the second phase of the 2022 Reading Club, on Cynical Ideology, with this selection from Slavoj Zizek's landmark first book in English. How does he supplement Marx's conception of ideology? Are we post-ideological or trapped in cynical ideology? How would we go about breaking free of it?
 
Reading:
The Sublime Object of Ideology (ch. 1), Slavoj Zizek 
On the end of the Cold War and the rise of neoliberalism.

Fritz Bartel talks to us about his new book in which the 1970s crisis and its aftermath takes centre-stage. How did the response to this global crisis differ in Western democratic capitalism versus Eastern state socialism? And why did this determine which side won the Cold War? How did the twin factors of global finance and energy emerge then, to the extent they still seem so determining today?

We discuss Bartel's striking claim that democracies, rather than authoritarian systems, were better able to 'break promises' – that is, impose economic discipline. And we conclude by discussing whether it could have been otherwise, whether neoliberalism and the collapse of the 'really existing socialism' were inevitable.


Readings

On the climate emergency.

We are specially unlocking this episode of our monthly Reading Club – the concluding episode of the first half of the 2022 syllabus (download it here). If you'd like full access to all of the Reading Club, go to patreon.com/bungacast

We discuss Andreas Malm's Climate, Corona, Chronic Emergency and Adam Tooze's review essay, "Ecological Leninism". How convincing is Malm's call for Soviet war communism as a model for responding to climate change? 

We also approach these readings in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the knock-on consequences for energy politics. And what should we make of Tooze's  contrast of social democratic time-frames with the eco-Leninist one? 

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