11. The legacy of the Cold War part 4: its influence today

11. The legacy of the Cold War part 4: its influence today

00:00 / 00:48:30

“One of the successful moves Western capitalism made in the Cold War was to so identify the Soviet Union with anything that was non-capitalist. Then once the Soviet Union fell, it obviated the possibility of any reality other than capitalist reality.”

-big mike

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In this episode:

00:00 How did the political climate of the Cold War—that is, an overwhelming rebuke to anything associated with the USSR, including any form of communism and socialism—influence supposedly objective and rational intellectual discourse, subtly or not? How does the legacy of its impact on the intellectual discourse of the time—particularly the splitting of the social sciences—remain with us today? How did this affect even cultural production, particularly literature?

13:45 Examining closely what the Marxist concept of class really is vs. how it’s perceived, how does Cold War anticommunism influence the terms of political discussion today?

22:38 In what ways is the broad association—formed deliberately during the Cold War—between the set of ideas called Marxism, the lived regime of the Soviet Union, and the ideas of communism and socialism misleading? How did that association influence political and intellectual discourse?

32:04 How did that association lead to the intense strengthening of capitalist ideology in the US, and how did its nature as an ideology conceal itself? More broadly, how does ideology come to seem natural, and how does this influence our thinking about how much we can change the world?

41:12 When the re-association of words—like ‘socialism’ and ‘Marxism’—with ideas and practices they did not originally contain becomes a political project in itself, how do we clearly and meaningfully articulate ‘democratic socialism’ in a way that is useful to us? Why is democratic socialism not just about the restructuring of society—the means of production, etc.—but also the way in which society is restructured? What does and doesn’t have a place in democratic socialism?

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