Category: News & Politics

The global politics podcast at the end of the End of History. From a left perspective.

April 18, 2019

/68/ Big Money Talk ft. Doug Henwood

On Modern Monetary Theory. Doug Henwood joins us to discuss whether MMT offers a fiscal alternative for Left governments. What is monetary sovereignty and do all states have it? What are MMT's prospects for states as different as the USA, Nigeria or Brazil? Is it a suspect economic remedy, too much of a quick fix? Are MMT proponents guilty of avoiding political confrontation? 

Readings

Modern Monetary Theory Isn’t Helping, Doug Henwood, Jacobin

MMT Is Already Helping, Pavlina R. Tcherneva, Jacobin

Modern Money Theory 101: A Reply to Critics (pdf), Éric Tymoigne and L. Randall Wray 

Modern Money Theory (MMT) vs. Structural Keynesianism, Thomas Palley

What Is Modern Monetary Theory and Why Is It So Important to the Green New Deal?, Jacob Weindling, Paste Magazine

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April 4, 2019

/67/ Legacies of Postmodernism ft. Catherine Liu

On whether we can salvage anything from postmodernism. Have we left postmodernity - and if so, can can we be properly dialectical about it: see it as progress and catastrophe all at once? Is there a moment of truth to postmodernism amidst all the falsity?

We discuss the left intelligentsia's abandonment of materialism; phoney cultural populism; the demolition of Pruitt-Igoe; Knausgaard's six volume 'Min Kamp'; and the end of cultural rebellion.

Readings:

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March 22, 2019

#BungaLive: Europe after Brexit

#BungaLive. Debate on the future of Europe, held at Queen Mary, University of London on 21 March 2019. 

Europe After Brexit: Internationalism or Transnationalism?

Until now, most debates about Brexit have only considered the question from the viewpoint of Britain itself and the shambolic process overseen by the Tory government. However, Brexit raises issues that go beyond the UK – and beyond the nation-state. How should Brexit be considered from the global vantage point, and what are its implications for Europe as a whole? Should left wing parties and progressive movements seek to remain in and reform the European Union, or is exit the better option?

The path to internationalism always led through the nation-state, but European integration seems to open the prospect of transnational solidarity at the continental level, mediated by EU institutions. Does the EU provide the infrastructure for a better, progressive Europe that can be captured and reformed by the left? How viable is the EU as a long-term political project? And if it is not viable, should European lefts seek to exit EU institutions in each of their own countries? What might European solidarity look like in an EU that is cracking apart under the weight of its contradictions?

Speakers:
David Adler, writer and researcher; policy coordinator for European Spring. Based in Athens.
Catarina Príncipe, political activist; contributing editor, Jacobin. Based in Porto.
Lee Jones, reader in international politics, QMUL; co-founder, The Full Brexit. Based in London.

March 18, 2019

/66/ An Economics for the Many ft. James Meadway

On 'Corbynomics'. We talk to James Meadway, former advisor to the UK's Shadow Chancellor, about what a Corbyn government could and should do. What is the scope for manoeuver of a Left Government in 2019? What does a British 'Green New Deal' look like? And we talk Brexit, because of course.

 

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March 7, 2019

/65/ Bunga Gets Ultra-Real ft. Steve Hall

On crime and the far-right. Prof Steve Hall explains what 'ultra-realism' in criminology means - and why we need to get beyond liberal idealism. We also discuss the rise of the English far-right, the EDL - and how a narrative of betrayal coheres it. Why do middle-class liberals have such a horror of authority - and why it's essential that the Left reclaim it. How are so many contemporary ideologies no longer fit for purpose? Also: what is 'special liberty' and how does it differ from entitlement?

Readings:

Interview with Steve Hall, Injustice-Film

The Rise of the Right: English Nationalism and the Transformation of Working-Class Politics (book)

Steve Hall's academic writing

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March 1, 2019

/64/ These Vests Don’t Yellow ft. Aurélie Dianara

On the Gilets Jaunes - again. They won’t go away. They won’t be subsumed by other forces or institutions and, after more than three months, they’re not exhausted yet. Have the Gilets Jaunes punctured France’s depression and drift? How has ‘respectable opinion’ demonised them - and is there anything to the anti-Semitism accusations? Now that they have linked up with trade unions, how far can they go? Macron is on thin ice and European elections are coming up. What next for the 5th Republic?

Readings:

A Season of Discontent, Aurelie Dianara, Jacobin

Forgotten France Rises Up, Le Monde Diplo

France’s Class War, Le Monde Diplo

Macron’s Selective Anti-Racism, Jacobin

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We are live in London on 21 March, to debate the future of Europe. Come join us: bungacast.eventbrite.com

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February 21, 2019

/63/ The Oscars Have Canceled Themselves ft. Maren Thom

On the 2019 Academy Awards. Maren Thom joins us again to see what we can learn from the Oscar nominations. We debate when exactly Hollywood's 'end of history' was, and take film criticism to task for its literal-minded desire for representation. Has Hollywood - like so many other liberal institutions - tried so hard to be relevant that it has made itself irrelevant? 

 

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February 18, 2019

/62/ Media Shitness ft. Amber A’Lee Frost

On #NOBS in the media. So many newspapers are inadequate these days, as they shift to publishing opinion and listicles instead of hard reporting. Why has this happened and how does it relate to the end of history? Amber discusses her forthcoming article on the crisis in the media and we explain why leftists should read the Financial Times.

Plus: Amber rates previous Bunga guests and also explains why it's Bernie, bitch.

Reading:

Why the Left Can't Stand The New York Times, Columbia Journalism Review

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February 14, 2019

/61/ Making Plans for Naija ft. Sa’eed Husaini

On Nigeria's elections. Sa'eed Husaini fills us in on the stakes of this election. President Buhari dismissed the country's top judge weeks before the election, but the former military dictator is meant to be an anti-corruption figure. His main opponent is a neoliberal privatiser. What's behind this contents between two faces of the Nigerian elite? What happens when politics is fought over the grounds of corruption? Can recent trade union mobilisations shake things up? Meanwhile violence associated with Boko Haram still festers... 

Readings:

Introductory

Nigeria’s Brutal Decision: Former Dictator or Alleged Kleptocrat, Bloomberg Businessweek

Thatcher-Loving Nigeria Candidate Plans to Overhaul Economy, Bloomberg Businessweek

Election overview by Brookings

More depth

The rebirth of the Nigerian left?, Sa'eed Husaini in Africa Is a Country

Democracy fading in Nigeria, Al Jazeera

On Sowore's programme, Marxist.com 

The struggle for a minimum wage, Africa Is a Country 

 

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January 31, 2019

/60/ Party Time, Online ft. Paolo Gerbaudo

On the rise of the 'digital party'. If politics has become distant from the people, what if a new model of party, leveraging platform technology, could bring the people closer to power? Paolo Gerbaudo talks to us about the various parties and movements innovating new organisational forms - 5 Star Movement, Podemos, the Pirate Parties. They bring in new members and more participation, but what if they also enshrine charismatic leadership? The digital party seems a step forward from the hollowed-out neoliberal parties of the past decades, but do they also reflect some negative tendencies of the tech economy?

Plus: Italy's M5S/Lega coalition, the sovereignty question, and Italians' contradictory attitudes to the EU. 

Readings:

The Return of the Party, Paolo Gerbaudo, Jacobin

Ruling the Void, Peter Mair, NLR

Senso Comune organisation, Italy

The Experiment Interview on 5 Star Movement, Jacobin

 

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