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Varn Vlog

Author: C. Derick Varn

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Abandon all hope ye who subscribe here. Varn Vlog is the pod of C. Derick Varn. We combine the conversation on philosophy, political economy, art, history, culture, anthropology, and geopolitics from a left-wing and culturally informed perspective. We approach the world from a historical lens with an eye for hard truths and structural analysis.

 

285 Episodes
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Join us for a thought-provoking exploration with our esteemed guest, Spencer Leonard, as we dissect the intricate connections between Bonapartism and Imperialism, using the French Revolution as the backdrop. We navigate through the complexities of the Bonaparte dynasty and Marx’s interpretations of this political era, drawing exciting parallels to modern politics. We also delve into the paradoxes of the old Tory gentry advocating for peace and commerce, while simultaneously analyzing the infl...
Is the millennial left crumbling under its own weight, or is it poised for a groundbreaking resurgence? Join us on VarmVlog as we dissect the intricate evolution and fragmentation of the millennial left post-Bernie Sanders. With insights from Alex Gendler, we reflect on the legacies of Mark Fisher, David Graeber, and Michael Brooks, and how their contributions continue to shape contemporary leftist politics. We compare the vibrant political ecosystems of New York and California, exploring how...
Curious about how the Professional Managerial Class (PMC) fits into today's leftist strategy debates? Join us as Dutch socialist Foppe De Haan takes us through his personal journey within the Dutch Socialist Party, his discontent with its approach to identity politics, and the transformative influence of Bernie Sanders' campaign. Fapa offers a critical perspective on integrating identity politics into leftist strategies, a topic that is both contentious and crucial in today's political climat...
Can local journalism survive in an age dominated by tech giants and algorithm-driven content? Join us as Joe Payne of Political Payne returns to Varn Vlog after a three-year hiatus to share his firsthand experiences and insights into the evolving landscape of journalism. From his humble beginnings at a community alt-weekly to his academic pursuits in history, Joe offers a compelling narrative on the critical role of local journalism and the challenges posed by corporate consolidation and elit...
Ever wondered why smaller Marxist groups are financially stable while larger organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America struggle? Our guest, Amogh Sahu, brings clarity to this and other enigmas within leftist movements by pulling back the curtain on the role of wealthy individuals and funding transparency in these organizations. Explore the ethical considerations of independently wealthy leaders in Marxist organizations and the impact this has on their credibility and operations....
Chirs and Jason of the regrettable century return. Is revolutionary optimism just delusional wishful thinking? Join us as we dissect the tension between revolutionary optimism and pessimism within Marxist theory. We scrutinize Maoist and anarchist influences on American leftist thought, revealing the struggle between human agency and material conditions. Reflecting on the 20th century, we challenge the idea of historical inevitability in Marxism and consider Marx’s nuanced perspectives ...
This audio episode is available on the youtube channel and was made available to patrons a month ago. Embark on an intellectual voyage with Jules Taylor, the esteemed podcast host and producer, as we dissect the enigmatic ideologies shaping our world. From the radical traditionalism of Alexander Dugin to the complexities of red-brown alliances, we navigate through the murky waters of political thought and their palpable effects on global affairs. With Jules's keen insights, we peel back...
Discover the fate of the global working class through the expert lens of communist geographer Field Neal, as we dissect the seismic transformations rippling through shrinking industrial sectors and spiking productivity. This episode traverses the historical legacies of industrial powers, such as the United States and Britain, to unpack the challenges faced by nations charting their developmental courses in today's economically concentrated landscape. Neal's insights provide a critical underst...
Uncover the surprising consequences of the Federal Reserve's interest rate decisions with Warren Mosler, a leading economist and the insightful voice behind Modern Monetary Theory. As we navigate the bewildering relationship between monetary policy and economic growth, Mosler debunks the expected slowdown narrative, revealing instead how higher interest rates and increased government spending have inadvertently bolstered the economy. This episode peels back the layers of fiscal strategy that ...
Embark on a journey to the heart of labor's battleground with Kellen Gildersleeve and Nurse John, as they unpack the electrifying atmosphere of the 2024 Labor Notes Conference. From the rousing victory of the United Auto Workers in the South to the diverse experiences of unionists across the country, this episode captures the pulse of a movement on the rise. Feel the energy as Kellen recounts their inaugural conference experience, and draw on Nurse John's seasoned insights to deepen your unde...
Join the intellectual odyssey with our guest, Justin Clark, public historian and director of digital initiatives at the Indiana Historical Bureau, as we weave through a labyrinth of political ideologies, historical narratives, and the evolution of secular humanism. Unlock the mysteries of midwestern republicanism, dissect the transformation of political legacies from Robert Ingersoll to the Clintons, and explore the intricate dance of ideas across the spectra of socialism and atheism. With an...
Embark on an intellectual exploration with Ridhiamn Balaji, whose insights into the welfare state and socialism challenge the status quo. This episode traverses the European origins of welfare policies, the cautionary stances of Marxists towards state intervention, and the contentious use of the term 'welfare state' in American politics. Balaji, an economist with a deep understanding of Marxology, invites us to reconsider the implications of welfare systems from Bismarck's Germany to FDR's Ne...
Embark on an intellectual odyssey with us and our esteemed guest, Amogh Sahu, a formidable doctoral candidate at Columbia University, as we traverse a decade's worth of leftist thought and its profound transformations. Reflecting on our shared history of dialogue and discovery, we delve into the nuances of leftist influence on culture and politics, challenging the myths surrounding their impact. Through a blend of nostalgia and critique, we revisit our interviews, particularly the poignant co...
Uncover the hidden narratives of the Euromaidan massacre with Dr.Ivan Katchanovski, a political scientist who dares to challenge the accepted story of the 2014 protests in Ukraine. Through a meticulous examination of evidence, Dr. Katchanovski proposes a controversial new perspective: the shots that rang out in Maidan Square may not have come from government forces, but from within insurgent-held areas such as Hotel Ukraina. This episode peels back layers of geopolitical intrigue and media he...
Embark on a captivating journey with Ralf Ruckus, esteemed author and co-founder of the Gong Chao Collective, as we dissect the complex tapestry of the Chinese Left and its evolution. Ralf's insights challenge conventional perceptions, revealing a shift from revolutionary fervor to a capitalist present, and the intricate dance between grassroots activism and state politics. We navigate through the seismic ripples of the Cultural Revolution, the post-Tiananmen birth of the 'New Left', and the ...
Join the profound journey into the heart of eco-socialism with Dr. John Bellamy Foster, a guiding voice in the discourse on the environment and socioeconomic systems. Our thought-provoking conversation peels back the layers of the metabolic rift, a concept that reveals the tension between capitalism's exploitation of nature and the delicate ecological balance we must preserve. Dr. Foster, a luminary in the field, articulates the vision of Marx in a contemporary light, offering listeners a pow...
As we wade through the turbulent waters of political advocacy, our latest episode brings to the forefront the passionate voices Clarissa Cunningham, Dr. Elektra Kosopoulou, and Maryam Syed. These dynamic women, whose lives are steeped in academia and activism, share their powerful narratives surrounding the Uncommitted Campaign and its crusade for Palestinian solidarity. Grappling with the profound complexities of the Israel-Palestine conflict, our conversation unearths the potential of grass...
Do you ever wonder what binds our society together in the pursuit of something greater than ourselves? Elijah Emery joins me on an intellectual expedition to dissect the layers of political philosophy, scrutinizing the enigmatic notion of the common good through the critical lens of Michael J. Sandel. Together, we venture into the historical intricacies of democracy, expertise, and the challenges that arise when professional politicians and a growing bureaucracy claim to represent our collect...
Prepare to have your views on meritocracy and society's fairness fundamentally challenged as Elijah Emery and I dissect Michael Sandel's "The Tyranny of Merit." We don't just skim the surface; we penetrate deep into the cultural and political implications of a system that rewards credentials over genuine talent. Our discourse ranges from the cultural weaving of meritocracy in different societies to the pointed issues of elite education and nepotism. By questioning the foundations of opportuni...
Embark on a historical odyssey with us as we host Michael Baysa, postdoctoral history scholar from Washington University in St. Louis, who meticulously peels back the layers of early American print culture. His compelling narratives bring to light the selective democratization of print and the hidden struggles of figures like Santiago de Puglia in disseminating progressive ideas. Together, we uncover the complex interplay of language, identity, and power that defined the nation's earliest day...
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