What country best captures 20th and 21st century history? 

For our 200th episode special, we posed the question: "If you had to study the history of only one country from 1900-2020, and thereby understand the history of the whole world, which would you pick?"

You voted on the ten submissions and now we invited the top 3 back on the pod to discuss in more depth: Dominik Leusder on Germany; David Broder on Italy; and David Adler on India.

Then Phil and Alex choose a winner (it's a "managed democracy").

 

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On Chinese investment, Swiss democracy, and fleeing from Afghanistan.

In this Three Articles, we discuss flight or departure in various ways: China opening the gates for its huge savings to spill onto world markets; Switzerland leaving (or remaining outside) the EU; and the US's sudden departure from Afghanistan, without telling anyone. 

'Three Articles' episodes are normally for subscribers only - but this one's free. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast for regular access.

London book launch/bunga party: Register here

Articles:

On pandemic & post-pandemic politics.
 
We talk to Benjamin Bratton about his new book, The Revenge of the Real, and its argument for a "positive biopolitics". What does an "epidemiological view of society" look like, and why should we let go of the idea that unmediated social relations are the most authentic kind? We touch on the work of Foucault and Agamben and why they are or aren't relevant to our conditions and critique "boomer theorists".

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

 
Come to our book launch in London.
 
Readings:
 

In our latest 3A, we discuss "the clerisy" and how it relates to the PMC; how the EU is doing forever war just as much as the US; and the hyper-commodification of football.

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

Articles:

We discuss Michael Lind's The New Class War.

Lind identifies new lines in the class war, between working class and managerial overclass, between those in the "heartlands" and those in the "hubs". How convincing is this account? What is his critique of technocratic managerialism and its symptom, populism? How convincing - and realistic - is his solution of "democratic pluralism"? And is this only achievable as a result of a new cold war with China?

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On world history, 1900-2020.

For our 200th episode special, we pose the question: "If you had to study the history of only one country from 1900-2020, and thereby understand the history of the whole world, which would you pick?"

We invited 10 contributors to each pitch one country, whose particularities capture the universal sweep of world history from the start of the 20th century till now.

Vote for which you think is best, and we'll have the top 3 back on to discuss in more depth: Link to voting page

Running order:

  • (18:20) Germany - Dominik Leusder
  • (23:02) Greece - Jonas Kyratzes
  • (27:57) India - David Adler
  • (33:46) Indonesia - Vincent Bevins
  • (38:25) Iraq - Liam Meissner
  • (44:03) Italy - David Broder
  • (49:19) Mexico - Roger Lancaster
  • (54:01) Taiwan - Nic Johnson
  • (59:44) Turkey - Arash Azizi
  • (01:04:32) Yugoslavia - Lily Lynch

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Come to our London book launch! Event link

We take your questions, comments & criticisms.
 
This episode is for subscribers only. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast
 
On this Aufhebonus Bonus, we discuss whether unions are still capable of fighting for their members; the Arab-Israeli conflict at the End of History; a lot more on the 'PMC debate'; plus: whether Phil is "reductionist in the service of his own prejudices".

On secularism, nationalism and identity politics. 

India is held up as a model developing country: liberal, democratic, multicultural. Renowned Indian writer and activist Achin Vanaik joins us to examine how India has turned away from universalism and secularism. 

How did Gandhi, Nehru and the Congress as a whole lay the seeds for today's Hindu chauvinism? What are the consequences of defining secularism as merely 'tolerance'? And how has caste come to function a bit like identity politics in relation to the state?

Readings:

In the lead-up to our 200th episode later this month, we're exceptionally re-releasing our 100th episode special this week.

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

We discuss the third and final in the series of Perry Anderson essays on the EU in the London Review of Books, "The Breakaway", and wonder if the EU can - despite its crises - just carry on indefinitely.

Reading Clubs are for monthly subscribers $10+. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast

On atrocity and sovereignty.

This episode is for subscribers only. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast
 
The disasters of Iraq, Libya, Syria and beyond are there for all to see. Why hasn't an emphasis on Human Rights led to fewer atrocities? How has Western intervention made the world a less safe place?

We discuss Philip's book Cosmopolitan Dystopia: International Intervention and the Failure of the West and discover that no one really defends sovereignty today. What's behind the concept of 'Responsibility to Protect' (R2P)? And should we understand it as a form of "liberal imperialism"? 

On China, economic reform, and the future.

While Russia famously succumbed to destructive neoliberal "shock therapy", China managed to avoid it. How and why? Isabella Weber, author of How China Escaped Shock Therapy, tells us about China's opting for gradual reform instead. 

What did reform mean for understandings of socialism? Do communists make the best capitalists? And is the pursuit of growth and development at any cost China's own version of the End of History?

On global insurrection and identity politics. 

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

We discuss an essay by the ultra-left collective 'Endnotes' that deals with the same political questions as we do, but comes up with different answers. Are the fragmented and ephemeral movements that have taken to the streets in France, Chile and the US, for example, the future of politics? Anti-political rejections of the establishment seem radical, but can they overcome their own negativity? And are identity politics the necessary form that re-politicisation has taken? 
 
Readings:
Essay discussed
Background

On liberal idealism and imperial overreach.

Why did the winners of the Cold War turn 'revisionist', undermining their own order? How has utopianism come to dominate the discipline of IR, such that we have lost the means to critique power?

We discuss Philip's recent book, The New Twenty Years’ Crisis 1999-2019: A Critique of International Relations, which is both a revisiting of EH Carr's international relations classic The Twenty Years' Crisis as well as an account of the contemporary crisis of the liberal international order. 

Reading:

The New Twenty Years’ Crisis 1999-2019: A Critique of International Relations, Philip Cunliffe, McGill-Queen's UP

On consequences of the pandemic + important local election results in Spain & UK.
 
We start off by discussing the telling results of some recent local and regional elections: in the UK, Labour continues its drift to becoming a middle-class party; while in Spain, Madrid goes to the right. Podemos flops, while voters seem to endorse an anti-lockdown stance.
 
Then we get to our three articles on the consequences of the pandemic: is live-streaming complicit with power? Are liberals now anti-science? Will inflation return?
 
Three Articles:

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