October 3, 2018
Special episode in partnership with Jacobin: Brazil election preview - democracy at stake.
Who is Bolsonaro and why should Bolsonaro be understood as a neofascist? We discuss the #EleNão feminist resistance and the backdrop of 'antipetismo'. How has the political centre and the middle class so easily swung over to vote for such an extremist? The notion of 'ultra-politics' is explained and we look at what might happen should Bolsonaro win - and should he lose.
Essential Chomsky article: https://theintercept.com/2018/10/02/lula-brazil-election-noam-chomsky/
Jacobin archive on Brazil: https://jacobinmag.com/location/brazil
September 13, 2018
In which we ask whether political consumerism is still a thing. We chart its course from 90s Adbusters-style anti-branding, to 2000s ethical consumerism, through to today's woke outrage economy. Has commodification and cynicism overwhelmed all consumer activism?
Plus, we catch up with election results from Sweden and look forward to next month's Brazilian elections.
The Philanthropy Racket https://jacobinmag.com/2018/08/the-philanthropy-racket
August 16, 2018
In which we discuss the work of the late Domenico Losurdo, especially his brilliant Liberalism: A Counter-History. Part of an ongoing series on the contradictions of liberalism, we debate whether Losurdo is right to point to liberalism's complicity with slavery, racism and colonialism. Why were arguments for self-rule often accompanied by justifications for slavery? Why were some liberal abolitionist arguments in favour of despotism?
We tie these discussions into contemporary paradoxes of liberalism and ask why liberalism is unable to realise its own values.
Liberalism: A Counter-History (book) https://www.versobooks.com/books/960-liberalism
Obituary of Losurdo (Jacobin) https://jacobinmag.com/2018/07/domenico-losurdo-italian-marxism-counter-history
August 9, 2018
In which we lay the liberal establishment down on the shrink's sofa. It's a systematic analysis of liberal derangement: of the inability to accept, explain, or respond to the breakdown of the current order. Why can't the liberal establishment accept that the 2008 crisis would eventually have political consequences? Why can't liberals explain why they keep losing? Why can't they offer anything but more of the same?
- Incredulity and denial of political change
- Unwillingness to take responsibility
- No belief in political causation (things just happen)
- Fetishising disinformation
- Elite persecution complex
- Hysteria & catastrophism
- Nostalgia for a very recent past & rewriting history
- Repetition compulsion
July 18, 2018
In which we ask why the urban question become so pointed today - in the Global North as well as in the South? We look at contestation in urban politics - in São Paulo, Johannesburg, London, New York, and beyond. What are the social movement struggles around housing, rent, transport, and the right to the city? What are the limits to housing & transport politics -- are they just consumer movements at the end of the day?
- David Adler talks to us about rent in London and beyond.
- Ben Bradlow joins us to debate the big one: can municipal politics be sexy? And can city politics become national politics?
We conclude by returning to a recurring theme: is the Global North actually becoming more like the Global South?
Ben Bradlow, Let Them Occupy: https://africasacountry.com/2018/02/let-them-occupy-housing-struggles-in-brazil-and-south-africa
David Adler, Generation Rent: https://jacobinmag.com/2016/04/big-short-housing-loans-renters-affordability
Review of Justin McGuirk's 'Radical Cities' https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jul/11/radical-cities-latin-america-architecture-justin-mcguirk-review
Interview with Raquel Rolnik https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/2792-the-complete-subjugation-of-urban-policy-an-interview-with-raquel-rolnik
Steve Graham on vertical cities https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/2995-elite-takeovers-of-the-vertical-city
Cover image: 📷Claudio Edinger
July 4, 2018
In which we survey Turkey's election results in light of five years of tumult - Gezi, economic downturn, terrorist attacks, Syrian war, coup, repression. Are cracks beginning to show for Erdogan? He teamed up with ultranationalists, while opposition secularists and Islamists joined forces, but Erdogan held on. How demoralised are the Turkish people, and what are the prospects for the Left? We conclude by debating whether Erdogan represents a generalisable type of political leader today: initally moderate and neoliberal, but tacking increasingly authoritarian and socially conservative.
June 27, 2018
In which we discuss how the Right won this month's election -- in a country that has never seen the Left in power. Is Colombia an exception? The civil war there feels like part of the Cold War that forgot to end. We discuss the fragile peace, the militarisation of politics, and drug cartels.