On Argentina’s elections and Chile & Ecuador’s revolts.
Macri’s election was heralded by the right across the continent as the end to a sequence of centre-left governments in South America. Now only four years later, he is likely to be thrown out of office by the return of ‘Kirchnerismo’. Next door, the supposedly “stable and growing” Chile is in flames as protests and riots challenge the conservative Piñera administration and the country’s deep inequality. This follows on the heels of weeks of mobilisations in Ecuador against the ending of a fuel subsidy. What’s going on and what does it all signify?
[Chile & Ecuador discussion starts at 46mins]
A new format in which we each bring to the table a key article to unpick and unpack.
This week we take a sharp look at the crumbling US political establishment and its empire: impeachment and regime legitimacy; centrist rebels against their lefty parents; and the betrayal of the Kurds.
On environmental protest politics. Extinction Rebellion and the Climate Strike have brought eco protest back to the front pages. But it all seems a bit of a flashback to the 2000s. We examine the protests’ alarmism and post-political positioning. After inequality and class have been put on the agenda again, do these protests represent a step back? We also ask what might be done about climate change if we don’t go along with these groups’ interpretations and demands.
On UBI and social reproduction.
Following on from ep. 88 where we discussed post-work with Anton Jäger, we have Amber on to talk about her recent article in Jacobin on Andrew Yang’s proposals for a Universal Basic Income. Is a citizen under a UBI regime really assimilable to a mid-century American housewife? How free is either? Does fully automated luxury communism put too much emphasis on luxury and not enough on communism? And would UBI lead to a more or less alienated society?
On the Hong Kong rebellion. Four months of protests is forcing a confrontation with the Hong Kong authorities and the Chinese state. The demands are for civil liberties and some more democracy – but what are the social conditions underlying the protests? How important is colonial nostalgia and Hong Konger chauvinism? How is this playing with mainland Chinese – and what will be the CCP’s response?
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On post-work. We discuss Anton’s review of David Graeber’s Bullshit Jobs and why it seems to have such appeal, even amongst elites. There is a crisis in the work ethic, but is it an error to counterpose work and leisure and simply opt for leisure? Is leisure even ‘ours’ anymore, or has it been fully colonised by capitalism? Ultimately, is the problem today more about bullshit in jobs, rather than bullshit jobs per se?
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Syriza lost the last Greek elections after 4 1/2 years in power. What happened to a party that, for a time, represented the European radical left’s hopes? Did it achieve anything in power? Many talk about Tspiras’ “betrayal” – is that the right way to look at it? And what are the wider consequences of this defeat: is time up for this wave of “left populists”?
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