On class reductionism, commodity fetishism, and value theory.

To discuss Covid, the state as 'PMC leviathan', and the politics of value theory, we’re joined by philosopher Elena Louisa Lange, who also explains why class reductionism is not a theoretical position or a mere mistake, but a social reality. We also address the value of 'going back to school', take on the new Leftist 'holy trinity' of class-race-gender, and hear from Elena why we need to theorise the world before we change it.

Readings:

On memes and the counter-culture.
 
Theorist and curator Mike Watson advances the argument for "acid leftism". What is this, and why do we need a new counter-culture? Is contemporary leftism lacking a utopian imaginary?
 
Plus: slow memes and fast memes; the democratisation of art and media; and generations: which ones became conservative, which might not?
 
Running order:
  • (00:04:15) - Interview with Mike Watson
  • (01:02:00) - 'Afterparty' discussion on what a counter-culture might look like today
Readings:

On Latin America's progressive wave and its discontents.

A new book on Latin America argues that 'pink tide' governments tried to treat the symptoms of neoliberal capitalism while allowing the underlying situation to worse. We talk to the author, Fabio Luis, about cases across the region, including the election in Ecuador and Venezuela's disaster, to Bolivia's coup and Argentina's "path of least resistance". How important is regional integration and what does an alternative socialist vision entail? And we ponder a sad question: is the dream of development and modernisation over? 

Readings:

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.
Readings:

On the end of the End of History and neo-feudalism.

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

In a continuation of our discussion on the emerging transfer state, we ask whether the end of neoliberalism entails the end of the 'End of History'. What are the determinate features of the End of History that we are leaving behind? Which are still with us?

Also, what to make of arguments that our future is neo- or techno-feudal? Do these terms make any sense? Or is it better to think of two alternate futures: Japanisation or Brazilianisation? 

 

On cash welfarism and state investment. Plus regionalism in Belgium & the UK.

Anton Jäger is back on the pod to discuss the emerging 'transfer state'. We examine Biden's massive trillion-dollar spending plans and ask if this means we're leaving neoliberalism. What are the limitations to the 'cashification of welfare'? Also comparisons with cash transfers or lack thereof in the UK, Brazil and Belgium.

Plus Anton talks us through recent Belgian history and why its immobilism and bureaucracy has actually prevented a full-on neoliberal assault. 

[Part 2 available at patreon.com/bungacast]

Readings:

On Covid state failure + responses to listeners. 
 
The full episode is for subscribers only. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast
 
We start off by discussing listener points and criticisms – e.g. is PMC a useful category? Is a counterculture a terrible idea? Were we wrong on Deleuze? More on the lockdown debate... – before featuring the second part of our discussion with Lee Jones on the coronavirus and state failure (from 45:30).
 
We look in depth at what went wrong in Western state responses to the pandemic, why they didn't follow their own plans, and compare this to South Korea's relative success.
 
Readings:

On the uprising in Myanmar, plus Covid state failure.

Southeast Asia scholar (and Bunga recidivist) Lee Jones joins us to talk about the coup in Myanmar (and why the word “coup” can be misleading), and explains the nature of the forces opposing the military, in the context of the country’s recent transition to civilian rule.

Then, from 40mins, we discuss how the UK failed in dealing with the pandemic, and how this applies across the West. Lee's recent work looks at the neoliberal "regulatory state" and its incapacities, so we compare the UK's failure with Korea's relative success.

Readings:

We discuss the first of Perry Anderson's new essays on Europe published in the London Review of Books, which focuses on Luuk van Middelaar - described as the EU's first organic intellectual. We discuss what that means, as well as the role of the "coup" in forming the EU.

Reading Club episodes are for subscribers $10+. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast

On memes and the counter-culture.
 
This is a sample. For the full episode, subscribe at patreon.com/bungacast
 
Theorist and curator Mike Watson advances the argument for "acid leftism". What is this, and why do we need a new counter-culture? Is contemporary leftism lacking a utopian imaginary?
 
Plus: slow memes and fast memes; the democratisation of art and media; and generations: which ones became conservative, which one might not?
 
Running order:
  • (00:04:15) - Interview with Mike Watson
  • (01:02:00) - 'Afterparty' discussion on what a counter-culture might look like today
Readings:
In this latest Three Articles, we examine the rise of 'techno-populism', look at the EU's vaccine debacle, and question whether cinema - and popular culture in general - is being desexualised and pornified at the same time.
 
This episode is for subscribers only. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast
 
Readings:

On the socialist case for Scottish independence.

David Jamieson and Cat Boyd, writers and hosts of Conter, the Scottish anti-capitalist website and podcast, join us to to talk about the prospects for Scottish independence in advance of the Scottish parliamentary elections in May. Would an independent Scotland within the EU be a contradiction in term? How would an independent Scotland fare - and what would it mean for the "national question" across Europe? And what's up with the factional strife among Scottish nationalists?

Readings:

On gay liberation and sexual politics.

After big advances over the past decades, we can now ask, did the gays win? And if so, so what? Mark Simpson in the UK and River Page in Florida join us to discuss whether something was lost in that victory. 

We ponder whether gay politics was the original identity politics and what happens when a narrow focus on equality triumphs over liberation. Do sexual liberation politics have any future? Plus: how Blairism was the biggest drag act of all. 

Readings:

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

Readings:

We've exceptionally unlocked one of our recent Reading Clubs. For access to all the monthly Reading Clubs - as well as our ~2 patreon episodes a month - subscribe at patreon.com/bungacast for $10. 

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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 

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