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 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 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 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:

We discuss the second of Perry Anderson's three LRB essays on the making and unmaking of the EU: "Ever Closer Union?" 

Our monthly Reading Club is for patrons $10+. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast

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 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:

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

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:

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 

This is a sample. Reading Clubs are for patrons $10+. Sign up now at patreon.com/bungacast 

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.

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