How to address the political problems of leftwing parties today?
Liverpudlian historian David Swift argues that the problem is hobbyism - people for whom politics constitutes their identity rather than expressing their interest in social and political change. He joins us to take us through his arguments about hobbyism, and how he thinks the Left might change for the better.
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On Richard Tuck's The Left Case for Brexit, a book composed of essays written throughout the Brexit process, providing a diary of Brexit of sorts, as well as political and historical arguments around sovereignty.

We also take the opportunity to debate its global implications - what are the possibilities for popular sovereignty in a globalised world?

On the final deal and its implications, see: The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement: Minimum Brexit 

We discuss Gilles Deleuze's short essay, Postscript on the Societies of Control and ask whether his understanding, according to which society has changed from one where discipline is exercised in institutions to one where control is implemented across society, holds water. 

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We respond to your questions and comments from the past two months. Plus a continuation of our chat with Catherine Liu (from 55mins onwards) - on PMC unions, PMC child-rearing and the culture industry.
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On the Professional-Managerial Class. 
Catherine Liu joins us to talk about the worst class in history (the PMC), and how and why they hoard all forms of secularised value. We discuss the development of the PMC as a class, figure out when it stopped being "heroic", and debate who the PMC'S leader might be. We conclude by asking whether the Left needs the PMC (or vice versa?). 
The discussion will continue next week – focusing on recent unionising in professional workplaces, how the PMC brings up its children, and whether the "culture industry" is still a thing – in a subscriber-only episode on our patreon
On the relevance of psychoanalysis.

In a continuation of our talk with Benjamin Fong, editor of Damage Magazine, we discuss the relevance of psychoanalysis today. What happened to the marriage of Marx and Freud – and what does the decline of both say about our times? We criticise social media as the latest instance of the culture industry as well as the growth of the US as a 'drugged society'. How can psychoanalysis be wielded against therapy culture, against a psychology that just helps us adapt to the world, and in favour one that makes us more free?

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On American breakdown.

Editor of Damage Magazine, Benjamin Fong, joins us to talk about the lack of shared narratives in contemporary America. We discuss QAnon and conspiracy theories, Biden's authoritarian liberalism, and "pro-worker" conservatives. 

We also interrogate the use of psychological analyses of politics and reaffirm the value of psychoanalysis, in a preview of a more detailed forthcoming discussion on our patreon.


On Uber, class war among the rich, and its political consequences
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If liberal democracy has been dethroned, what next?
Francis Fukuyama famously declared the "end of history" in 1989. Has he been misunderstood? Should we understand the declaration in a geopolitical sense - liberal democracy triumphant - or in a more philosophical sense? We discuss what capital-H History means and what Fukuyama's career trajectory can tell us about our times. Is it capitalism realism or the end of history?

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This month we discuss a book by leading German sociologist and public intellectual, Wolfgang Streeck. Critical Encounters is a compilation of book reviews, discussing neoliberal ideas, politics and economy.

We start off by discussing the value of reading books in today's noisy, social media-filled, locked-down climate, as well as what makes a good book review. Then we address five themes: the coming of post-industrial society; popular misconceptions about neoliberalism; German hegemony in Europe; Cosmopolitan delusions; and the future of capitalism.

Our interview with Wolfgang Streeck from November 2020 can be found here.

On the Biden administration and Trumpist reaction.  

We discuss the riot at the US Capitol and why it was not a (failed) coup attempt. How serious was the event, and what next for Trumpist reaction - will it lead to a split in the Republican Party?

Our guests - journalist Amber Frost and political science academic Daniel Bessner - help us preview what the Biden administration has in store for the US. With Democratic control of both houses, it should be able to pass legislation - but does it have any substantial plans to do so? In foreign policy, we can expect more foreign adventurism and at home, an ominous anti-domestic terrorism bill. Does the alliance of the Democrats with an increasingly domineering Silicon Valley signal the coming-out moment of authoritarian liberalism?



On the 'war communism' solution

As we enter the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic and its attendant turmoil, suffering and lockdown, inevitably the search for systemic causes and systemic responses grows more intense. Swedish ecologist and social theorist Andreas Malm joins us to discuss one possible response - a crisis communism modelled on the War Communism of early Soviet rule, as discussed in his new book ‘Corona, Climate Chronic Emergency: War Communism in the Twenty First Century.’ We discuss the nature of our contemporary crises, and how far the left needs its own distinctive form of emergency politics.



On freedom, authority and responsibility.


Theorist Todd McGowan joins us to talk about the End of History, what Hegel can teach us about emancipation, and why Slavoj Zizek’s reinterpretation of Hegel is so important. If contradiction is the basis of modern politics, what is its link to freedom? And what is the connection between freedom and authority? Are stable sources of authority even possible in modernity? We also put some listener questions to Todd, as we learn that the Right, just as much as the Left, evades authority and is unwilling to take responsibility.


On “culture”.
We discuss who produces culture and who consumes it – and what those inequalities reveal about culture today. Also, we ask what’s the ploblem with culture anyway and end up defending “low culture” from Red Hot Chili Peppers (well, sorta) to food guys.
Culture is Bad for You, Orian Brook, Dave O'Brien and Mark Taylor, Manchester UP

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We round off the year by previewing The End of the End of History and responding to your questions and criticisms, including Strasserism or left-conservatism, revolutionary memories, more on Covid and lockdowns, and other bits.

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