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:

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 Iran at the End of History.

When the US assassinated Iran's 'shadow commander', Qassem Soleimani, everyone thought WW3 would break out. What happened instead? We talk to the author of a new book on Soleimani about the "local boy who made it", and look at how Soleimani masterminded Iran's interventions all over the region. 

We also discuss how the Iranian Revolution represented a degradation of universalism, as it marginalised secular nationalism, socialism and communism. Would the Shia-Sunni conflict, with Iran as leader of the Shia faction, therefore be yet another step away from universalism? And what role did the US play in fomenting sectarian conflict?

Readings:

 

On US foreign policy.   

Following on from our episode on the political-economy of dollar hegemony (no. 139), we turn to look at how the dollar underpins American empire. Is 'permawar' a product of structural factors, rather than merely the result of poor policy decisions? And how is this related to the global financial architecture? 

We also discuss how the current period fits into US history, how US foreign policy might evolve over the next four years, and what a left-wing alternative foreign policy might look like.

Readings:

The full episode is for patrons only. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast

In this latest Three Articles, we discuss the durability or otherwise of right-populism in the UK, US and Brazil.

Reading:

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

The three of us discuss some of the themes that emerged from our interview with Krithika Varagur (ep.133) - the entanglement of the US state with Islamism, the Americanisation of the Middle East, and especially the Gulf States, and Wahhabism as religious justification for the Saudi state project.

On The Jakarta Method.

We're joined by Vincent Bevins to discuss his new book on the 1965-66 mass killings in Indonesia, Cold War anti-communism, and the destruction it wrought around the world. The mid-60s proved pivotal, with US-backed coups in Indonesia and Brazil setting the template. What was their effect on the Left worldwide? How did it alter developmental trajectories across the Third World? What lessons can we take from these historical experiences?

Running Order:

  • Indonesia - (10:43)
  • Brazil & application of Jakarta Method - (36:14)
  • Themes of anticommunism - (43:55)
  • Global consequences - (53:03)
  • Anticommunism today - (01:14:39)
  • Bonus stuff - (1:21:18)

Reading:
The Jakarta Method: Washington's Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World

This episode is for our $10 and up patrons. Go to patreon.com/bungacast for access.

On the end of the Age of Imitation.

We discuss Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes' The Light That Failed: A Reckoning and their arguments for why liberal democracy stopped being the model to follow - in Eastern Europe, Russia and even the USA.

Thanks for all the questions, they are addressed in the last third of the episode. 

On pandemics, panics, and China.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus is yet another new epidemic to appear on the scene this century. What accounts for their increasing frequency, and who decides if an epidemic is classed as a pandemic? More importantly, what governs that choice? The WHO and the whole intergovernmental management of health has 'securitised' these questions. Are they privileging the free flow of capital over public health? And what of China's draconian response and lockdown of Wuhan - is it effective? And who will bear the blame if things go wrong? Might Coronavirus become a threat to Xi Jingping and the Chinese regime?

Readings

Guests' books:

Mark Honigsbaum: The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria and Hubris

Lee Jones (& Shahar Hameiri): Governing Borderless Threats: Non-Traditional Security and the Politics of State Transformation

Running order:

  • (00:44) Introduction
  • (06:21) Mark Honigsbaum
  • (38:48) Lee Jones

 

 

This episode is for Patrons only. Go to patreon.com/bungacast for access.

On forecasts for the next decade.

 
In this month's 'Three Articles' - in which we each bring to the table a key article to unpick and unpack - we take apart mainstream predictions of the future, over the next decade, the next couple of years, and 2020.
Readings:

On the 30 years since 1989.

For our 100th episode, we invited our favourite guests to reflect on the question: “What one event, personal or political, most captures for you the past thirty years, since 1989?” 

Are we still living in the death throes of the 20th century, or is something new emerging?

Guests:

  • (00:07:42) - Maren Thom
  • (00:14:14) - David Broder
  • (00:21:33) - Ashley Frawley
  • (00:26:11) - Catherine Liu
  • (00:33:05) - Angela Nagle
  • (00:40:49) - Benjamin Fogel
  • (00:46:25) - Alex Gourevitch 
  • (00:51:31) - BungaCast hosts
  • (00:59:22) - David Adler
  • (01:04:05) - Amber A’Lee Frost
  • (01:08:48) - James Heartfield
  • (01:16:17) - Anton Jaeger
  • (01:23:24) - Leigh Phillips
  • (01:30:25) - Lee Jones
  • (01:36:03) - Karl Sharro

Subscribe: patreon.com/BungaCast

Rojava offered the hope that a progressive, multiethnic politics might be salvaged from the ashes of Syria’s civil war. Now the Turkish assault on northern Syria looks set to crush the Kurds and a radical experiment in the region. 

We talk to two British volunteers in Rojava about the prospects that the political structures set up there might be saved. 

  • Dani Ellis (@lapinesque): engineer; civil defence volunteer, International Commune (@communeint) 
  • Alexander Norton: deputy features editor, Morning Star; revolutionary volunteer, International Freedom Battalion

Running order

  • (05:27) - Dani interview 
  • (41:39) - Alexander interview
  • (01:27:51) - Final discussion

Readings & Links:

Glossary:

  • YPG: Yekîneyên Parastina Gel (People's Defence Corps); PYD’s armed wing in Syria 
  • YPJ: Yekîneyên Parastina Jin (Women's Protection Units); all-female militia
  • PYD: Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat (Democratic Union Party); Syrian Kurdish affiliate of the PKK
  • SDF: Syrian Democratic Forces; alliance composed primarily of Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian/Syriac militias, led by the YPG
  • PKK: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (Kurdistan Workers' Party); Kurdish party in Turkey founded in 1978 by Abdullah Öcalan. Started armed insurgency in 1984, thousands of fighters in northern Iraq and Turkey
  • IFB: International Freedom Battalion; armed group of foreign leftists fighting for the YPG in support of the Rojava Revolution 
  • MLKP: Marxist-Leninist Communist Party, Turkey
  • TEV-DEM: Movement for a Democratic Society; umbrella organisation in northern Syria, aims at organising Syrian society within the democratic confederalist system

In which we laugh at The Times' hatchet job with one of its targets & wonder what the West's endgame is in Syria

In which we chat new alt-media, the US left, and Trump's Middle East policy

In which we learn about Burmese Buddhist nationalism, escalating violence against Muslims, and what happened to the West's liberal hero

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