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Philosophy, politics, and the left.

Philosophy, politics, and the left.


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Philosophy, politics, and the left.








Episode 239 - The State of American Socialism with David Duhalde

This time we've got David Duhalde, chair of the Democratic Socialists of America Fund and former DSA staffer, on to talk about his chapter in a new book Power Concedes Nothing: How Grassroots Organizing Wins Elections, which discusses the debate around DSA endorsing Biden and the problems the organization suffered during the 2020 campaign against Trump. We talk about the state of the socialist movement, why the left seems to have lost some of its broader cultural purchase, and what it should...


Episode 238 PREVIEW - American School Financing Is a Disaster

In this preview, Professor David I. Backer explains how school financing works in this country. Subscribe now to hear the full thing!


Episode 59 RERUN - The Case for Student Debt Cancellation

In this episode from the archives, we've got economist Marshall Steinbaum on to discuss his research on why it's necessary to cancel student debt, how to end segregation in higher education, and why the theory of "human capital" is a bunch of nonsense. Enjoy!


Episode 237 - The Politics of Time

Today we've got Professor Nomi Claire Lazar on to talk about her fascinating book Out of Joint: Power, Crisis, and the Rhetoric of Time. We discuss revolutionary leaders' habit of changing the calendar when they seize power (think Julius Caesar, the French Revolution, or the Bolshevik Revolution), what happens when someone locks themselves in a cave for weeks with no clocks, what time has to do with political legitimacy, and more. Enjoy!


Episode 236 PREVIEW - Towards a Better Identity Politics with Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò

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Episode 235 - Speech in the Academy

Today we've got Michael Bérubé and Jennifer Ruth on to discuss their book It's not Free Speech: Race, Democracy, and the Future of Academic Freedom. We talk about the key distinctions between free speech and academic freedom, why any defense of free speech on the merits must be rooted in democratic values, and why racist (or similarly bigoted) views have no place in today's universities. Enjoy! Also, check out Ryan's review of the book here.


Episode 234 - Shortages and Inflation with David Dayen

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Episode 209 UNLOCKED - On Popularism, with Alex Pareene

In this episode from the archive, we've got Alex Pareene on to discuss the recent controversy and articles about political theoretician David Shor and his "popularist" dogma. Then we move on to talk about subscription media, and the promises and pitfalls thereof for the left. Enjoy! Make sure to subscribe to Alex's newsletter. He's pretty much the best lefty writer in the business.


Episode 233 - The Politics and Culture of Video Games

Today we've got Trevor Strunk, host of the No Cartridge podcast, on to talk about his book Story Mode: Video Games and the Interplay Between Consoles and Culture. We discuss the political subtext of game genres, why Japanese games can be so different from American ones, how multiplayer games can build different kinds of community, and more. Enjoy!


Episode 232 UNLOCKED - The Amazon Union Struggle

We've got Labor Notes staff writer Luis Feliz Leon on to talk about his coverage of the Amazon Labor Union there and at The American Prospect. We discuss the union's wildly unorthodox tactics, what leadership really means in a left-wing context, and what their prospects are for the future. Enjoy!


Episode 232 PREVIEW - The Union Struggle at Amazon

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Episode 231 - Minneapolis Justice Reform with Mary Moriarty

Mary Moriarty is running to be county attorney of Hennepin County, where she was formerly chief public defender. We talk about her history in the area, what's been going in Minneapolis since the George Floyd protests, the general state of criminal justice reform, and more. Enjoy!


Episode 230 PREVIEW - Jeff Bezos, Welfare Queen

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Episode 229 - The Broken American Legal System, with Sparky Abraham

We've got attorney and podcaster Sparky Abraham on to talk about the latest Supreme Court news, why many liberals are foolish to prioritize court cases, and how utterly despotic courts can be at the local level -- it turns out in some county courts, fully half of cases are about small-dollar debt collection. Things mentioned in the episode: our episode with Brian Fallon, the Debt Collective, and "Do Courts Matter" by Stephen Carter.


Episode 228 - The Hapless Merrick Garland, with Jeff Hauser

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Episode 63 REVENGEANCE: Corey Robin on Clarence Thomas

Clarence Thomas is apparently in the hospital, so we thought we'd return to our old episode with political scientist Corey Robin. We first talked about how most workers experience a severe lack of freedom in the workplace, and then move on to discuss Clarence Thomas's history and peculiar brand of black nationalism. Check out Corey's book: The Enigma of Clarence Thomas.


Episode 227 - Lessons from Putin’s War on Ukraine, with John Ganz

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Episode 226 - Giorgio Agamben’s Antivax Ravings

Today we pose the question: how the heck did famed Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben turn into an anti-vaccine conspiracy nutcase? We've got Adam Kotsko, a leading Agamben scholar and translator of many of his works, on to discuss to what extent his goofball pandemic views emerge from his actual serious work. Enjoy! Check out Adam's Slate article on the topic here, as well as his books Neoliberalism's Demons and Agamben's Philosophical Trajectory.


Episode 225 EXCERPT: Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine, with David Klion

This is the first half of our episode with journalist David Klion on the background of the Ukraine crisis. Check out the full episode here!


Episode 224 PREVIEW - Normal World Much?? with Phil Christman

In this excerpt Phil talks about the weirdness of the norms of chivalry. Subscribe here to hear the whole thing! Also don't miss his book How to Be Normal.