10/7 How The 2008 Financial Crash Ended “The End of History” w/ Alex Hochuli

October 7, 2021

Emma hosts writer Alex Hochuli, co-host of the Aufhebunga Bunga podcast, to discuss his recent book The End of the End of History: Politics in the Twenty-First Century that he co-authored with George Hoare and Phillip Cunliffe, taking on the establishment and breakdown of complete neoliberal hegemony over the last three decades. Alex and Emma situate our current moment at the end of decades of neoliberal consensus that have failed to give us the tools to comprehend actual contestation over what society should look like. Jumping back to the ‘90s and George H.W. Bush, they explore the birth of the neoliberal world order in the shadow of the end of the Cold War, built on complete hegemony in the West, and complete submission to hegemony for the rest. They take on this view of neoliberal politics and globalization as a “force of nature,” rather than policy choices, with the few forms of counterculture focused on carving out their own spaces in society rather than genuine social change. Hochuli then looks at the 2008 financial crisis as the breaking point of a building lack of confidence and disillusionment of neoliberalism and capitalism, and the response of Occupy as an important movement of the left from taking on a minoritarian approach to speaking for and with the 99%. However, the return of politics came without the tools to understand and analyze our moment as it built towards the victories of Trump and Brexit (among other right populist wins), resulting in a complete breakdown of the neoliberal media and elites, focusing on conspiracy theories about Russia rather than actually dealing with the rejection of neoliberal hegemony. Next, they touch on cultures of anti-politics (“oh they’re all corrupt”) and how the neoliberal hegemony and supposed “end of history” gave political disgruntlement no place to go, before Alex dives into the case study of Brazil over the last decade or so, with their 2013 uprisings for social policies actively being detached from party politics, and giving rise to a complete distrust of democracy and politics in favor of judicial and technocratic rule, ultimately seeing the election of Bolsonaro. He and Emma jump from this back to the US and our handling of COVID, looking at Biden’s presidency as a form of technopopulism, giving Trump’s agenda a professional sheen while actual policy discussion is drowned out by culture war. Emma also takes on Manchin’s hypocritical “entitlement society” objections, as well as Bernie’s pitch-perfect response.

And in the Fun Half: Brandon runs through his official review of the “comedy” (term used loosely) of cultural miscommunication that is CBS’s “the United States of Al,” and he, Emma, Matt, and Matt discuss the passing of the “spectre of dickishness” from AZ Senator to AZ Senator as Sinema finally responds to questioning by only correcting her designation as a “Congresswoman.” Antoine from LA calls in about the difficulties of discussing leftism with a close victim of the Khmer Rouge, Yang and Tucker bond over their exploit-hate relationship with the immigrant workforces, and Zach from Missouri calls in regarding his unsuccessful attempts at converting his anti-vax mother. They also discuss Ben Shapiro, from his “cultural” race science to his inconsistent bowel policies, Hamish from Tahoe takes on Emma “Veganland” (not a vegan) and her vegan-superiority-complex, plus, your calls and IMs!

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