The global politics podcast at the end of the End of History. From a left perspective. Join us as we chart a course beyond the age of 'bunga bunga'.
Excerpt: /227/ Reading Club: All That Is Solid
On modernity's contradictions.
In this month's Reading Club, we discuss the introduction to Marshall Berman's marvellous All That Is Solid Melts Into Air.
This is an excerpt. For the full episode, subscribe for $10/mo at patreon.com/bungacast
Can we revive, as Berman intends, the truly dialectical, 19th century attitude to modernity? What value is there in talking about "modernity" rather than “capitalism”? And how to we recognise possibilities for transcending today's impasses, where the question of "modernity" isn't even on the table?
The final Reading Club of 2021 will be on Eva Illouz's Cold Intimacies.
Excerpt: /226/ Science Says: No Woke
On the Jacobin & YouGov survey of the US working class.
A study (pdf) carried out by YouGov on behalf of Jacobin magazine and the Center for Working-Class Politics has learned that "working-class voters prefer progressive candidates who focus primarily on bread-and-butter economic issues, and who frame those issues in universal terms." What can we learn from the study, beyond the obvious? What are its limitations, who is it for, and what does the survey say about those who commissioned it?
Plus: does it make sense to frame your politics as 'anti-woke'?
Jacobin executive summary
Full report (pdf)
/225/ Wokeistan & Lebanonworld ft. Karl Sharro
On sectarianism & identitarianism.
Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) is back on Bunga to talk to us about his essay "The Retreat from Universalism in the Middle East and the World".
Lebanon has been used as a model for other Middle Eastern countries, even though its confessional system is a disaster. But Lebanese-style sectarianism isn't a form of 'feudal' backwardness – in fact it represents a precursor of the multicultural and identitarian politics in the West.
Who are the enemies of universalism today, East and West? And what sort of political projects are capable of rejuvenating secular universalism?
/141/ Oh Lebanon, What Now? ft. Rima Majed
/198/ Universal India ft. Achin Vanaik
Buy our book: The End of the End of History
Subscribe to the podcast: patreon.com/Bungacast
Excerpt: /224/ Three Articles: Labour Revolts?
On rising wages after the pandemic.
Workers are quitting their jobs and not going back. Restricted supply is seeing wages go up. Does this signal a new militancy, or are workers just deciding to make do with less? How has the pandemic shaped people's outlooks?
Wages are surging across the rich world, The Economist
The Revolt of the American Worker, Paul Krugman, NYT
US Workers Are in a Militant Mood, Alex N. Press, Jacobin
The full episode is for subscribers only. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast
/222/ Nukes 4 Kids ft. Emmet Penney, pt. 1
On the global energy crisis.
Nuclear energy advocate Emmet Penney (@nukebarbarian) joins us to discuss the growing energy crunch in Europe, the US and beyond. Nuclear power is opposed by an unholy alliance of environmentalists and neoliberals - yet it seems the best solution for providing plentiful, reliable, and clean energy. As a demand, it seems an open goal for the left - so why are so many resistant?
Part 2 is available here for patreon subscribers.
Links & Readings:
Nuclear Barbarian - pro-nuclear podcast & newsletter
ex.haust - Emmet's other, co-hosted pod
Undeveloping America, Emmet Penney, The American Conservative
Political Life in the Lottery of Babylon, Emmet Penney, The American Conservative
How we happened to sell off our electricity, James Meek, LRB
A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations, Robert Bryce, Public Affairs (book)
Excerpt: /221/ Reading Club: Truth About Class
This month we discuss GM Tamas' essay "Telling the Truth About Class" published in the Socialist Register. Is Tamas' division between Marxist and Rousseauian socialism useful? Does it help us to understand the Left today? And is Tamas right that "authentic proletarian revolution... has never occurred in its anti-capitalist purity anywhere"?
Reading Clubs are for patrons $10+, sign up at patreon.com/bungacast
Why the left must abandon the myth of British decline, David Edgerton, New Statesman
Ellen Meiksins Wood on the Nairn-Anderson thesis and the Bourgeois paradigm, Verso Books blog
I really appreciate this podcast, as a well informed, engaged dialogue. It embraces nuance in global politics that is often ignored in other political conversations at the moment. The guests are also really well chosen, offering intelligent responses and a variety of opinions. Thank you, guys. You make long journeys more enjoyable and edifying :)