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.  

Running Order:

  • 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):

 

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In this latest Three Articles, we discuss the durability or otherwise of right-populism in the UK, US and Brazil.

Reading:

On dollar hegemony.

 

Dutch disease has long been seen as the curse of resource-rich economies in which a currency appreciates and jobs are lost overseas. But what if the greenback is having the same effects on the US economy, the largest in the world? Many historians and economists have studied the global effects of having the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. But what is the effect on the US economy itself? The authors of an influential essay on this question join us to talk about the feedback effects of dollar hegemony. 

 

Readings:

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The protests in the US against police violence - and their globalisation - prompts us to discuss radical proposals for what to do about the police. We look at the US, the UK and Brazil, each in their own national contexts, and debate how policing is structure and what makes realistic responses to state repression a political priority.

Readings:
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This month we discuss Wolfgang Streeck's reading of Friedrich Engels which appeared recently in the New Left Review, which deals with the Marxian understanding of war and technology, how they relate to social development, and what this all means for our understanding of the state.

 

On British decline.

Much ink has been spilled over the Britain’s fate since the end of its empire. Could it be that decline has been overstated? And what will happen to Britain as it leaves the European Union? We discuss how the history of the Industrial Revolution and Cold War militarism still shapes British politics today, as David Edgerton joins us to talk about the his latest book, 'The Rise and Fall of the British Nation'.

Readings:

Singapore is held up as a free-market utopia: rich, orderly and clean. But the reality is quite different. Why does Singapore exert such a magnetism for neoliberals, when its reality strays from orthodox prescriptions? What and who made this model 'global city', and how does its communist and anti-colonial past lead to its hyper-capitalist present?

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Mailbag + bonus content ft. Corey Robin 
 
In this new semi-regular slot, we feature bonus recordings (here, 20mins of additional discussion with Corey Robin from episode 129) and respond to your comments and criticisms received over the past month.

This is a sample. For the full episode, sign up at patreon.com/bungacast 

The three of us discuss some of the themes that emerged from our interview with Krithika Varagur (ep.133) - the entanglement of the US state with Islamism, the Americanisation of the Middle East, and especially the Gulf States, and Wahhabism as religious justification for the Saudi state project.

On Saudi religious proselytism.

Saudi Arabia has actively sought to export Salafism. How has it done this - and what have been its effects, in countries like Indonesia, Nigeria and Kosovo? Why was fighting against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s such a formative experience for jihadists? And why has appeal of secularism faded?

Readings:

Aleksandar Vučić's coalition won the recent (21 June) Serbian parliamentary elections amidst a mass boycott. We talk to Balkanist editor Lily Lynch about what Vučić represents - violent ultranationalist or technocratic centrist? We also take time to discuss geopolitical rivalries over Kosovo. 

Plus: cigar socialism, Yugoboomers and the enduring appeal of Balkan orientalism. According to Julian Assange, the future always comes to Serbia first - what does this mean? 

Intro clip: Vučić's very creepy virtual rally | Outro clip: The Big Z 

Readings:

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On the Ehrenreich's re-evaluation of the Professional-Managerial Class. 

We discuss Barbara and John Ehrenreich's "Death of a Yuppy Dream". Also attached are the Ehrenreichs' analyses from the late 70s, also referenced in the discussion. 

Thanks again for all your questions! 

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On this latest Three Articles, we discuss the global Black Lives Matter protests. 
 
Reading:

On the left case for freedom.  

We talk to Corey Robin about how the left has sacrificed the realm of freedom to the right. And why the Left's weakness is also the Right's. Plus, why is it clear that Trump is not a fascist? And insight into the BLM protests in NYC and responses to the pandemic. 

Reading:

On culturally conservative critics of capitalism. 

Neoliberalism’s fragmentary and atomising tendencies have gone too far. In response, some right-wingers have turned against the market. At the same time, there’s a (marginal) tendency on the left turning against cultural liberalism. Are we witnessing a major political realignment underway? What is the substance of these "culturally conservative" critiques, and do they offer anything new, beyond what people like Christopher Lasch advanced decades ago?  

Readings:

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