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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Readings:

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. 

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

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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Readings:
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
 
Readings:
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?

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

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.

Readings:

On Uber, class war among the rich, and its political consequences
Articles:
This episode is for subscribers only. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast
 
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?

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.

Readings:

On censorship, platform capitalism and the Left.

We talk to Douglas Lain of Zer0 Books about YouTube taking down their video as a result of the algorithm flagging its content – and what this means for free speech.

Then, this month's Three Articles on war, conspiracy theory, and Covid (patrons only - sign up at patreon.com/bungacast

Links for part 1:

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

In this latest Three Articles, we discuss cosmopolitanism, the end of austerity (maybe?) and social control in the pandemic. 

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:
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:

On class.

Class as an idea and an identity is now supposedly redundant. It’s been replaced by conflicts between generations and transcended by more up-to-date identities linking people together through common experiences of victimhood and inequality, rather than along lines related to production or power. Or is it? We discuss these questions with Ben Tippett, author of Split: Class Divides Uncovered to find out whether class still has any place in society and theory (spoiler: it does).

Reading:

On modernism and its end. 

We're joined by 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner Benjamin Moser to discuss the tensions between hating your national culture and wanting to leave it behind, and the effacement of national culture by postmodern homogenisation.

We talk about his biography of Susan Sontag, plus a range of other questions: Brazil, USA, literature, architecture, sex, imperialism, Freud, the image and representation, and contemporary wokeness.

Moser's Books:

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