If liberal democracy has been dethroned, what next?
If liberal democracy has been dethroned, what next?
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:
- Why Did YouTube censor us? Doug Lain's blog post
- Censored YouTube video: Christopher Lasch, Paul Sweezy, and the Great RESET
- Bungacast ep 103 on ethical capitalism
- Bungacast ep 112 on ideology of Silicon Valley
- Alex Hochuli on Zer0 Books podcast
Part 2: Three Articles
- Azerbaijan’s drones owned the battlefield in Nagorno-Karabakh — and showed future of warfare, Robyn Dixon, WaPo
- How can Big Tech best tackle conspiracy theories?, Gillian Tett, FT
- The Covid-19 blunders drive home a harsh truth: the state has failed us, Larry Elliott, The Guardian
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.
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?
- Book: The Shadow Commander: Soleimani, the US and Iran's Global Ambitions, Arash Azizi, OneWorld
- Qassem Soleimani and How Nations Decide To Kill, Adam Entous & Evan Osnos, New Yorker
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.
- To End Forever War, End the Dollar’s Global Dominance, David Adler & Daniel Bessner, TNR
- Trump’s America may be declining in global soft power—but US empire rolls on, Daniel Bessner, Prospect
- The coronavirus crisis is an opportunity to finally move past the post-WWII era, Daniel Bessner, Responsible Statecraft
In this latest Three Articles, we discuss the durability or otherwise of right-populism in the UK, US and Brazil.
Conservatives’ grip on ‘red wall’ holding firm, Sebastian Payne, FT
Lawmakers ‘Alarmed’ by Reports U.S. Envoy Told Brazil It Could Help Re-elect Trump, Ernesto Londoño, Manuela Andreoni and Letícia Casado, NYT
“Imagine the damage a president could cause”: What would happen if Trump refused defeat?, Emily Tamkin, New Statesman
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?
- 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)
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?
- ‘Rumormonger’ Doctor Who Raised the Alarm Says He Has Coronavirus, Sixth Tone
- 'Hero who told the truth': Chinese rage over coronavirus death of whistleblower doctor, The Guardian
- The Free Market Isn’t Up to the Coronavirus Challenge, Leigh Phillips, Jacobin
- Locked-down Wuhan and why we always overplay the threat of the new, Kenan Malik, The Guardian
- Coronavirus: nature fights back, Michael Roberts blog
Lee Jones (& Shahar Hameiri): Governing Borderless Threats: Non-Traditional Security and the Politics of State Transformation
- (00:44) Introduction
- (06:21) Mark Honigsbaum
- (38:48) Lee Jones
On forecasts for the next decade.
25 Ideas That Will Shape the 2020s, Various, Fortune
Boris Johnson is reinventing one-nation Conservatism, Bagehot, The Economist
Forecasting the world in 2020, Various, Financial Times
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?
- (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
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
- (05:27) - Dani interview
- (41:39) - Alexander interview
- (01:27:51) - Final discussion
Readings & Links:
- Internationalist Commune
- Rojava Information Center
- America abandons the Kurds, Tom Stevenson, LRB
- Russia and Turkey reach deal on Syrian border, Financial Times
- European leftists are rejecting the Kurds over their reliance on the US. It is just another disgusting betrayal, Slavoj Zizek, The Independent
- "Turkey Is Reviving Islamic State in Rojava", Rosa Burç & Kerem Schamberger, Jacobin
- 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