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.

Game writer & designer Jonas Kyratzes joins us to talk about the art of games, the culture of gaming, the gamification of society, and the identity politics of gamer culture. How far has Jonas’ own philosophy influenced his writing for games, such as “The Talos Principle”? We also talk politics in both Greece, focusing on Syriza failure. Plus, could Bunga co-host Philip Cunliffe’s book ‘Lenin Lives!’ ever be made into a game?

Readings:

 

On Germany, the hegemon of Europe.

We are joined by leading German public intellectual Wolfgang Streeck to discuss the role of Germany at the end of the End of History. How is it and the EU faring under the assault of Covid-19? We cover Germany’s economic miracles - postwar and post-2008 -, Merkel’s tactical brilliance and strategic ignorance, and how France retains more of a sense of history.

Also: why democracy sometimes needs an AK47.

Readings:

 
On why anti-fascism is a problem. 
 
The Trump presidency and the current protests in the US have led many to argue this is just like the 1930s. The implication is that fascism is rising and the Left must join up with liberals to oppose this evil. Why is this historical analogy so wide of the mark? Was the Left really culpable for the fascists rise to power? And anyway, our age is vastly different to interwar Europe. So what is the real function of calls to anti-fascism?
 
Readings:

Internationalism used to be a defining characteristic of the Left. Globalism is a defining characteristic of neoliberal capitalism. Both seem to be characteristic of Islamist jihadism. How did Islamist reaction become globalised? How far does Islamist globalism connect to radical legacies of Third Worldism, internationalism and radical solidarity? Political anthropologist Darryl Li, author of The Universal Enemy: Jihad, Empire, and the Challenge of Solidarity joins us to discuss the transnational history of jihad over the last 30 years. 

Reading:

The Universal Enemy - Book Forum, The Immanent Frame, Various Authors

On the country of the future.

Italy has stagnated for 30 years, becoming a neoliberal gerontocracy with crumbling infrastructure (sound familiar?). Worse, it's a country without a Left. How did the populist right come to triumph? What is the relationship between high emigration and hostility to immigration? And how were the seeds sown 30 years ago with the collapse of the First Republic, Europeanisation, and Berlusconi's rise? Is there now a possibility of 'Italexit'?

Readings:
First They Took Rome: How the Populist Right Conquered Italy, David Broder, Verso

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

On why anti-fascism is a problem. 

 
The Trump presidency and the current protests in the US have led many to argue this is just like the 1930s. The implication is that fascism is rising and the Left must join up with liberals to oppose this evil. Why is this historical analogy so wide of the mark? Was the Left really culpable for the fascists rise to power? And anyway, our age is vastly different to interwar Europe. So what is the real function of calls to anti-fascism?
 
Readings:

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