Left Anchor

By Ryan Cooper & Alexi the Greek

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Philosophy, politics, and the left.

Episode Date
Episode 23 - Interview with @ThePlumLineGS

This time we interview the Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent, who has a new book out called An Uncivil War. We discuss how to save American democracy, the fecklessness of Democratic Party elites, and much more.

[Also, check out Ryan's review of Greg's new book] 

Dec 15, 2018
Episode 21a: Patreon Announcement

Folks have been asking about this, and here it is: patreon.com/leftanchor.

We'll be publishing two episodes per week, one for patrons and one for free. If you feel like that's worth $5 a month, or want to support ad-free lefty media in a dark time for journalism, we'd be much obliged if you could pitch in to support the show.

The first Patreon episode is already here, so you can check it out right now! Also feel free to send us feedback at leftanchorpodcast @ gmail, or on Twitter or Facebook.

Again, thanks to everyone for listening and for the support!

Dec 12, 2018
Episode 21 - Interview with Brad Evans ( @HistofViolence ), Part II: Fascism

In the second part of our interview with University of Bath philosopher Brad Evans (don't miss part I!) we discuss the characteristics and functions of fascism, and how it may or may not apply to current political developments.

Dec 10, 2018
Episode 20 - Interview with Brad Evans ( @HistofViolence ) Part I: Political Violence & Neoliberalism

This is the first of a two-part interview of Brad Evans, a philosopher and critical theorist who specializes in violence at the University of Bath. We discuss the politics and the spectacle of violence, and how they have evolved under neoliberalism. Stay tuned for the second part, coming soon!

Dec 04, 2018
Episode 19 - Is Democratic Socialism TOO Democratic or Not Democratic Enough?

In this episode from the archive, we discuss dueling takes on whether the rise of democratic socialism in DSA and elsewhere is Taking Democracy Too Far (from friend of the pod Conor Friedersdorf) or is Actually, Harming Democracy (from other friend of the pod Sheri Berman).

Apologies for the holiday break, but we've got another special interview coming up this weekend, keep your eyes peeled!

Nov 30, 2018
Episode 18 - Interview with @franklinbynum

Today we have a very special episode! It's entirely dedicated to an interview with Franklin Bynum, the Judge-elect of Harris County Criminal Court #8, a Houston DSA member who walloped his Republican opponent in the 2018 midterms. We discuss how he came to run for the office, what it's like being a socialist in Houston, how leftists can use elected office to improve the country, and his tips for people considering following in his footsteps.

This is probably our best episode to date, and even pretty funny, so please tune in and share!

Find Franklin on his website, on Twitter @franklinbynum, and on Instagram @franklinforjudge.

Nov 20, 2018
Episode 17 - Kant, Jonathan Haidt, & Feckless Liberalism

In this episode, we discuss Immanuel Kant's views about the Enlightenment, how they have come down to us today in a bastardized form with Jonathan Haidt's atrocious book The Righteous Mind, and the ongoing relevance of Robert Frost's quote "A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel."

Nov 18, 2018
Episode 16 - Immigration, Open Borders, & Rights, feat @jeffspross

This time we bring back Jeff Spross to talk about immigration, why conservatives and capitalists whip up anti-immigrant paranoia, the value of open borders as a policy and as a utopian demand, and close up by discussing Hannah Arendt's ideas about the right to have rights.

Image credit: Haskell Border Library

Nov 14, 2018
Episode 15 - 2018 Midterms

This episode we discuss the midterms. We start off with Ryan flagrantly botching the state Claire McCaskill is from (Missouri, not Iowa), then move into a broader discussion on What It All Means: live, unfiltered, raw insight from start to finish. 

Nov 10, 2018
Episode 14 - Anand Giridharadas on Big Philanthropy & Antonio Gramsci

This time we discuss Anand Giridharadas's book Winners Take All about the ideological underpinnings and functions of elite philanthropy. Then (about 30:00) we discuss how the book illustrates the basic insights of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci on ideology, hegemony, and the role of intellectuals in politics.

Nov 06, 2018
Episode 13 - Karl Polanyi

In this episode (recorded some time ago) we discuss the ongoing insight and relevance of Karl Polanyi, whose brilliant work The Great Transformation continues to shed light on modern political economy.

Nov 03, 2018
Episode 12 - Fascist Violence, David Hume, & Judith Butler

In this episode, we consider the grim news of the #MAGABomber, the synagogue shooting, the election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, and what Hume and Butler might teach us about this.

Unfortunately, Alexi had a technical malfunction, so the audio quality is somewhat below par on his end.

Oct 30, 2018
Episode 11 - Leftist Foreign Policy & Francis Fukuyama

In this episode, we welcome new guest Emma Steiner to talk about Bernie Sanders' recent foreign policy speech, how leftists should think about the issue, David Klion's recent review of Obama adviser Ben Rhodes' new book, and finally the group blog Fellow Travelers (which just published a piece by Representative Ro Khanna). 

Then at about 31:00, we turn to Mr. End of History Francis Fukuyama's surprising support for socialism in a recent interview, and an atrocious apologia for the bank bailout he gave on another podcast.

Keep your ears open for a special guest appearance from Ellie the cat at about 34:00.

Finally, as listeners pointed out, we made a factual error in the last episode. It was not Franz von Papen who supported Hitler only to be assassinated in the Knight of the Long Knives, it was actually Kurt von Schleicher.

Oct 23, 2018
Episode 10 - Fascism & Capitalism

The Republican Party has basically developed a quasi-paramilitary wing in the form of the Proud Boys, which went on a violent rampage in New York City after celebrating the 58th anniversary of the assination of Inejiro Asanuma at the Metropolitan Republican Club. Worse brawls happened in Portland, Oregon.

So for this episode we discuss the links between the business class and the extreme right, and how the dysfunctions of capitalism can enable the rise of violent fascism. 

Oct 17, 2018
Episode 9 - Champagne Ecosocialism & Jon Chait Join DSA, feat @jeffspross

This time we discuss the structural requirements of de-carbonizing the world economy, and whether it will be necessary as a practical matter to live an austere lifestyle or stop economic growth. Then (37:30) we turn to Jonathan Chait's latest pro-socialism manifesto

Image credit: Leaflet - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Oct 14, 2018
Episode 8 - How Should the Left Think about the Judiciary? Feat. Bajeera McCorkle

For this episode we have our first guest, legal and political theory scholar Bajeera McCorkle. We discuss the abysmal history of the Supreme Court, the rise of neo-Lochnerism on the right, and try to work out how the left should think about the legal system.

Oct 11, 2018
Episode 7 - Saudi Arabia & Machiavelli

This time we discuss the astonishing news that Saudi Arabia may have sent assassins to murder a Washington Post journalist, and how that illustrates the (often misunderstood) thinking of Machiavelli.

Oct 09, 2018
Episode 6 - #MeToo, Hierarchy, & Inequality

In this shorter episode (also recorded some time ago) we take a look at the unusual case of Avital Ronell, the female critical theory professor who was credibly accused of sexual harassment, as well as the case of Asia Argento, who was allegedly both victim and perpetrator. We also discuss how hierarchy and inequality enable sexual harassment and abuse generally.

Oct 05, 2018
Episode 5 - Kavanaugh, Kennedy, & Aristotle

For once we have a timely episode! We dedicate the whole thing to Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation controversy, especially the late-breaking news from Monday evening. But towards the end we still sneak in a discussion of Aristotle's views on aristocracy and the healthiness of political cultures.

Oct 02, 2018
Episode 4a - Housekeeping

This is just a quick housekeeping episode, detailing how to subscribe to the podcast and how to contact us. Thanks for listening everyone! We're delighted at the response so far.

Check the links on the right side of the site for links to those things as well.

Oct 02, 2018
Episode 4 - Russia, Hobbes, and Locke

In this episode (which was recorded some time ago), we discuss the Trump-Russia story. Then at about 32:00, we discuss Hobbes and Locke, especially their theories of property.

Sep 28, 2018
Episode 3 - Jon Chait, socialist semiotics, and political demographics

This time we discuss democratic socialism versus social democracy, Jon Chait's slippery definitions thereof, and how political coalitions might be constructed.

Sep 26, 2018
Episode 2 - New York state primaries, Hurricane Florence, and climate change

Here we discuss the controversies around Andrew Cuomo, the IDC in the New York State Senate, and the successful Julia Salazar campaign.

Then at about 37:00, we turn to the self-harming North Carolina legislature, and why they passed a pro-flooding bill six years ago.

Sep 19, 2018
Episode 1 - Steven Pinker & Rousseau

Here we discuss the panglossian psychologist Steven Pinker, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and how their clashing perspectives influence modern politics. 

Sep 16, 2018
Episode 0 - Introduction

In this short introductory episode, we briefly explain the idea of the podcast.

Sep 16, 2018