End of the End of History, The
The 'End of History' is over. How did it end - and comes next?
The “End of History” is over. The idea that Western liberal democracy was the “final form of human government” has been exposed as bluster: the old order is crumbling before our eyes. Angry anti-politics have arisen to threaten political establishments across the world. Elites have fallen into hysteria, blaming voters, “populism”, Putin, Facebook… anyone but themselves. They are suffering from Neoliberal Order Breakdown Syndrome.
Emerging from four years of interviews and debates on the popular global politics podcast Aufhebunga Bunga, The End of the End of History examines how the political consequences of the 2008 financial crisis have come home to roost. If Trump and Brexit shattered the liberal-democratic consensus in 2016, then the global pandemic of 2020 put a final end to the “End of History”. Politics is back, but it’s stranger than ever.
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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Politics in the 21st Century seems to make no sense and this excellent read at times is a welcome antidote to the echo chamber that is presented by the (anti)social media companies. The best thing about this book is that those from the left and right will find things to agree with and also disagree with. As with many excellent non-fiction books this makes you think and could be cause for despair. With the incredibly inept leadership currently on display in England and recently in the United States of America you could be forgiven for giving up. However, this book shows that the only certainty in relation to the future is that there is no certainty. ~ Steven Pipe (Reviewer) , NetGalley
5* Rating. Highly recommend analysis of the last 30 years. Aufhebungabunga has presented an insightful analysis of politics after the End of History. Definitely recommend to anyone who seeks to understand the present political mess and wants to design the future. ~ Benkei333, Amazon
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. The sheep skin has been cast aside and the bared fangs of the neo-liberal wolf snarled in contempt at the feckless populace. The villagers, pitch forks in hand stood up to their tormentor and the wolf was forced to slink away. How to hide the wolf again? Well while the left is still tripping over whose rights are more right than the others’, the wolf has cleverly secreted himself behind a smokescreen of Trumpian triumph, Johnsonian jingoism, pseudo-nationalism and anti-social media bots peddling the old elixir of hate and them-ness. All of this to distract from who they really represent - the ultra-rich, neo-liberals that had never really gone away, just retreated to the their plush lairs in the hills, watching and waiting for the next chance. And like the pandemic virus, they just morph into another more adaptable variant to continue to suck the life out of normal working class people, destroy the environment in their endless profiteering and increase their hold on the world's wealth and power. Everyone should read this. The distractions of social media and regular media are many, this book reminds us to keep focussed on the real issues. Kudos to the authors. Thank you to NetGallery for providing an e-copy of this fearless novel in exchange for an unbiased review. ~ Anneke Kingsley (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. A politically charged and ideologically set book that examines the ways capitalism has failed humanity in the past three decades. The title is a nice pun on Fukuyama's idiotic pronouncement after the fall of Communism. Totally worth reading!! ~ Martin Lukanov (Reviewer), NetGalley
5* Rating. Wonderful introduction to current global politics. Great short summary of today’s political context written in clear prose. I’ve been giving people copies. ~ Graeme, Amazon
5* Rating. Superb, thought-provoking analysis from the Bunga boys. Politics is back, but bloody hell, it sure is a mess! For those of us on the left who had spent years dreaming about the breakdown of neoliberal order, I think it's safe to say not many of us expected its gradual demise to be quite so bleak, contradictory, and just plain weird. The End of the End of History provides an insightful and highly readable look at the nature of political change since the end of the Cold War. It explains what exactly is new about contemporary politics, and what the implications of those developments are for political change, both now and in the future. The analysis of Italy, and Berlusconi as the archetypal politician of our age, is especially compelling. I also loved the discussion of anti-politics, which does a superb job of explaining why so many seemingly radical (perhaps even revolutionary) global political movements over the past decade ultimately failed to bring about meaningful change. Having listened to the authors develop some of these arguments on their equally superb podcast (Aufhebunga Bunga) over the last three years, it's terrific to finally see all their key ideas available here in one place. I'm confident I'll be returning to this book again and again over the coming years. ~ Richard McCulloch, Amazon
5* Rating. Great explainer of why politics seems to have gone haywire. From Brexit to Trump, the last five years have been filled with doom-laden headlines and tweets telling us we're in the end times (or at least on the brink of fascism) This book, and accompanying podcast, is a vital corrective to the panic. Drawing on a global view of contemporary thinking from the fringes of left and right (and beyond!) it offers an important context to the mainstream views on a variety of topics. For anyone who enjoys alternative left media like Red Scare, Chapo Trap House or Jacobin it will offer a more thoughtful (and less US-centric) view that also isn't scared to question some major left orthodoxies It doesn't offer quick fixes or instant solutions - and you will probably spend a lot of time shouting back at it - but it will give you a great deal of context and understanding about the road from 1989 to now. And if you find yourself despairing at both contemporary politics and its radical alternatives, it will give you some comfort that there a lot of sharp-minded people working through some of the problems of today rather than fight the battles of yesterday (or just give up!). ~ David Bowden, Amazon
5* Rating. A fascinating and important book. This book grows out of the best politics podcast available, Aufhebunga Bunga (aka Bungacast). It distills the thinking from nearly 200 episodes, dozens of guests and book clubs into a punchy, provocative and enlightening text that helps to explain the contours of contemporary Western politics. As the title suggests, the book proposes seeing recent events as the end of the "end of history" - that period after the end of the Cold War when it seemed fundamental political conflict had ended with the triumph of liberalism. Since the global financial crisis, the authors argue, liberalism has increasingly been under attack, while its defenders have succumbed to neoliberal order breakdown syndrome, madly lashing out as they fail to understand, explain or respond to political change. Yet perhaps the most important argument of the book, which distinguishes it from the podcast, is that all of the challenges to neoliberalism remain species of anti-politics, driven by disgust at and rejection of the political system as a whole, and core democratic processes like representation. This means that the end of history is over, but politics is not back. A fascinating and important book - a true must-read for anyone interested in contemporary politics. ~ Lee Jones, Amazon
5* Rating. Aufhe-standing. Highly readable, bold and clarifying – this book situates the current, disorienting political moment in its proper context – the end of the deadening post-Cold-War neoliberal stranglehold on politics – and makes sense of things like no other analysis. What forms will mass re-engagement with politics take? Read this and you will feel less politically isolated and less alienated. ~ Alex Dale, Amazon
5* Rating. Incisive commentary on contemporary politics. There's definitely this feeling that politics are changing but it's not clear what's next. Like the podcast, "The End of End of History" discusses this politics of the interregnum between what was (The End of History) and what might come next with the Brexit, Trump, etc political shocks presented as symptoms of this changing of the guard. The book is entertaining and really well written and helped me to understand these odd times we live in. Recommended for anyone with even a passing interest in politics. ~ Drew, Amazon
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. At times it can be difficult for a book to reflect on the recent history and give it the necessary light and attention. This book does a great job of placing historical context and trends and applying it to today and the future. Well done. ~ Kim Johnston (Reviewer) , NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. An excellent short primer of the current state of Western politics in a post-post-Fukuyama world, particularly good on the UK. The chapter on the collective "Neoliberal Order Breakdown Syndrome", or NOBS as the book wittily puts it after Trump/Brexit was excellent - I've read similar takes on Twitter about the failure of the Op-Ed #FBPE writing classes to understand our current politics, but to have it in a cogently written book was very refreshing. ~ Ben Hart (Reviewer), NetGalley
It's been a long time since a text was so useful in helping me think through our present moment and my role within it. The End of The End of History is a clear, powerful and panoramic analysis of our world at the dawn of the 2020s. The authors have written an excellent work of contemporary history, but very surprisingly for a theoretically sophisticated work informed by Hegel, they have also written a page-turner. I picked it up one morning and finished it in less than a day. The End of the End of History is a valuable tool for deciphering our very messy political condition. ~ Vincent Bevins, author, The Jakarta Method
Without exaggeration, the best left book I’ve read in years. Everyone on the left must read this, especially amidst the persistent refusal to face up to our many, punishing defeats of the last 20 (40?) years. A genuine marvel of a work of political theory. ~ Leigh Phillips, journalist and co-author, The People's Republic of Walmart
It’s rare to find a book that gives us a total picture of the recent history of global politics, but the Aufhebunga Bunga boys have produced just such a text. The authors take us through a series of political upheavals and popular protests, populism, post-politics and anti-politics, and the defeats of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, in eight short bracing chapters. We also find original and critical insights into the campaigns against corruption in countries around the world, from Hungary to Brazil, to the case study of Silvio Berlusconi in Italy. Engaged, informed, ordinary and discontent, self-educated, puzzled, disgusted and even a little angry, the reader for whom this book is written will be able to engage with the authors’ project of conceptual mapping and left-wing self-critique. Despite the darkness of the times, the book will give you a sliver of hope. It’s a page turner as one wonders how the authors will lead us to that tiny ray of light: socialist Enlightenment. ~ Catherine Liu, Professor of Film and Media Studies/Visual Studies, UC Irvine
Suddenly we find ourselves thrown into a time of chaos and confusion, breakdown and decline. This short, smart book navigates a terrain of ideological mystification and encourages us to take a sober look at the balance of forces going into this tumultuous period, waking from the boredom of the end of history. ~ Angela Nagle, author, Kill All Normies
In this provocative volume, the crew behind Aufhebunga Bunga podcast surveys the political landscape at “end of the end of history”. Looking at the triumph of neoliberalism and its tug-of-war with its populist Doppelgänger in different countries – from the US to the UK, from Italy to Brazil – the authors vividly demonstrate that, while neoliberalism’s contradictions are plainly visible, the Left is incapable of responding to a profound crisis of authority. A must-read for all those willing to gaze into the depths of contemporary ideological and cultural wars. ~ Paolo Gerbaudo, Director of the Centre for Digital Culture, King's College London; author, The Digital Party
Aufhebunga Bunga is one of the best leftist podcasts around, and rather unique in consciously developing a historical and sociological framework for understanding the present political conjuncture. Regular listeners will be happy to see some of the ideas developed on the podcast - post-politics, anti-politics, and the eminently useful Neoliberal Order Breakdown Syndrome (NOBS) - formalized in The End of the End of History. As the authors argue, contemporary anti-politics could lead to democratic renewal, or it could clear the way for authoritarian rule in a political vacuum. In pursuit of the former and avoidance of the latter, the authors are developing an indispensable orienting theory in conversation with some of the best minds on the Left. ~ Benjamin Y. Fong, Editor, Damage Magazine
We live in disturbing times: the old order is crumbling, but nothing better is waiting in the wings. Mainstream and even critical political science is too wedded to the status quo ante to make sense of these changes – so it falls to others to do so. In my view, the “end of the End of History” framing is the best way to understand what is happening, and you can find few better guides to the wasteland than Hochuli, Hoare and Cunliffe. This book is essential reading for anyone hoping to understand, and ultimately to transcend, our contemporary crisis. ~ Lee Jones, Reader in International Politics, Queen Mary University of London