November 22, 2018
We discuss Nervous States with its author: How has debate became so angery!1!! and fractious? Why don't we trust institutions any more -- or better, which institutions do we still trust and why? How has war increasingly encroached onto peace? And maybe believing in stats too much means that we now don't believe in anything...
Nervous States (William Davies)
Postscript on the Societies of Control (Gilles Deleuze)
September 13, 2018
In which we ask whether political consumerism is still a thing. We chart its course from 90s Adbusters-style anti-branding, to 2000s ethical consumerism, through to today's woke outrage economy. Has commodification and cynicism overwhelmed all consumer activism?
Plus, we catch up with election results from Sweden and look forward to next month's Brazilian elections.
The Philanthropy Racket https://jacobinmag.com/2018/08/the-philanthropy-racket
August 16, 2018
In which we discuss the work of the late Domenico Losurdo, especially his brilliant Liberalism: A Counter-History. Part of an ongoing series on the contradictions of liberalism, we debate whether Losurdo is right to point to liberalism's complicity with slavery, racism and colonialism. Why were arguments for self-rule often accompanied by justifications for slavery? Why were some liberal abolitionist arguments in favour of despotism?
We tie these discussions into contemporary paradoxes of liberalism and ask why liberalism is unable to realise its own values.
Liberalism: A Counter-History (book) https://www.versobooks.com/books/960-liberalism
Obituary of Losurdo (Jacobin) https://jacobinmag.com/2018/07/domenico-losurdo-italian-marxism-counter-history
August 9, 2018
In which we lay the liberal establishment down on the shrink's sofa. It's a systematic analysis of liberal derangement: of the inability to accept, explain, or respond to the breakdown of the current order. Why can't the liberal establishment accept that the 2008 crisis would eventually have political consequences? Why can't liberals explain why they keep losing? Why can't they offer anything but more of the same?
- Incredulity and denial of political change
- Unwillingness to take responsibility
- No belief in political causation (things just happen)
- Fetishising disinformation
- Elite persecution complex
- Hysteria & catastrophism
- Nostalgia for a very recent past & rewriting history
- Repetition compulsion
May 16, 2018
In which we unpick the legacies of 1968 and all that: political fragmentation, the loss of authority, the cult of youth.
March 14, 2018
In which we debate the 'equal opportunities revolution': how race & gender has changed, in the workplace & beyond
February 28, 2018
In which we debate the upcoming Italian elections. Also corruption, bunga bunga, communism, migrants, fascism, & Europe.
February 21, 2018
In which we ask whether capitalism makes us mentally ill. Also, moral panics & why PC follows political defeats