On modernism and its end. 

We're joined by 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner Benjamin Moser to discuss the tensions between hating your national culture and wanting to leave it behind, and the effacement of national culture by postmodern homogenisation.

We talk about his biography of Susan Sontag, plus a range of other questions: Brazil, USA, literature, architecture, sex, imperialism, Freud, the image and representation, and contemporary wokeness.

Moser's Books:

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On class.

Class as an idea and an identity is now supposedly redundant. It’s been replaced by conflicts between generations and transcended by more up-to-date identities linking people together through common experiences of victimhood and inequality, rather than along lines related to production or power. Or is it? We discuss these questions with Ben Tippett, author of Split: Class Divides Uncovered to find out whether class still has any place in society and theory (spoiler: it does).

Reading:

 

On political decline and realignment.

The editor of American Affairs joins us to discuss the decay of conservatism and we ask whether this decay doesn't apply to other parts of the political spectrum too. Is today's 'class struggle' really just between the upper-middle class and the elite? And we discuss the 'late-Soviet' USA - the sense of decline embodied in the gerontocracy of the ruling class. 

Readings:

 
This episode is for patrons only. Subscribe at patreon.com/bungacast 
 
We discuss a chapter taken from James Heartfield's "The 'Death of the Subject' Explained", which was recently republished in Damage Magazine as The New Social Movements Against the Old Left
 
Thanks for all your questions and points, we address them in the last third of the episode.

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:

On the end of Left Populism.
 
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Friend of the podcast Anton Jäger joins us to discuss the fate of Left Populism, investigate the response of the Left to the ongoing Coronacrisis, and question whether we're really witnessing the end of neoliberalism. We refer to his recent piece in Damage magazine, in the readings below.
 
Did Left populism ask the right questions but get the wrong answers? Are the next three years going to see the blossoming of the 'Well, Actually' Left? Or is the stage set for the triumph of covid corporatism?
 
Readings:

On freedom in coronavirus times.

John McAfee joins us to address the lockdown, privacy and armed insurrection. Plus: why he prefers Fidel to Che, and how it came to be that his US presidential campaign HQ is in Havana, Cuba.

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This episode is for our $10 and up patrons. Go to patreon.com/bungacast for access.

On the end of the Age of Imitation.

We discuss Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes' The Light That Failed: A Reckoning and their arguments for why liberal democracy stopped being the model to follow - in Eastern Europe, Russia and even the USA.

Thanks for all the questions, they are addressed in the last third of the episode. 

On political conflict over the next decade

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We debate what ideological contestation is going to look like in the next 2/5/10 years. Will liberalism adopt Silicon Valley solutionism? Does the centre-right become fully nationalist? And the far right have a future if that happens? And where does the left go next?

In this latest Three Articles, we discuss American democracy and those who pretend to save it or undermine it. 

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Readings:

This is a sample. For the full episode, subscribe at patreon.com/BungaCast

On ecofascism.

Both the shooters in the Christchurch and El Paso massacres were declared 'ecofascists'. Now, a new governing coalition in Austria brings together Greens and the hard right in an unconventional union.

How does Malthusianism link the far right and ecology? What are the dangers of 'lifeboat politics', and how can the Left resist this logic? Is the Green New Deal a solution?

Readings:

On The Economist and the contradictions of global liberalism.

Alexander Zevin joins us to discuss his work on the 176 year history of the magazine that has accompanied liberalism's global expansion. Has it just reflected the world or has it actually influenced politics? How has The Economist balanced democracy against the interests of finance and the needs of empire? And is the magazine suffering from N.O.B.S.? 

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Running order:

  • (06:02) Overview & early days
  • (29:52) 19th century & empire
  • (34:18) 20th century, esp 1930s and '40s
  • (48:08) End of the Cold War and NOBS
  • (01:02:19) Liberalism & its enemies

 

This episode is for Patrons only. Go to patreon.com/bungacast for access.

On forecasts for the next decade.

 
In this month's 'Three Articles' - in which we each bring to the table a key article to unpick and unpack - we take apart mainstream predictions of the future, over the next decade, the next couple of years, and 2020.
Readings:

On the 30 years since 1989.

For our 100th episode, we invited our favourite guests to reflect on the question: “What one event, personal or political, most captures for you the past thirty years, since 1989?” 

Are we still living in the death throes of the 20th century, or is something new emerging?

Guests:

  • (00:07:42) - Maren Thom
  • (00:14:14) - David Broder
  • (00:21:33) - Ashley Frawley
  • (00:26:11) - Catherine Liu
  • (00:33:05) - Angela Nagle
  • (00:40:49) - Benjamin Fogel
  • (00:46:25) - Alex Gourevitch 
  • (00:51:31) - BungaCast hosts
  • (00:59:22) - David Adler
  • (01:04:05) - Amber A’Lee Frost
  • (01:08:48) - James Heartfield
  • (01:16:17) - Anton Jaeger
  • (01:23:24) - Leigh Phillips
  • (01:30:25) - Lee Jones
  • (01:36:03) - Karl Sharro

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