Symptomatic Redness: A Critique of Pankaj Mishra’s Age of Anger

The Symptomatic Redness podcast presents conversations on political economy and history. Hosted by C. Derick Varn and Amogh Sahu, the program was an independent project for several years but is now hosted by Zero Books on the Zero Squared podcast feed.

This episode features a critique of Pankaj Mishra’s Age of Anger.

From the book jacket:

How can we explain the origins of the great wave of paranoid hatreds that seem inescapable in our close-knit world―from American shooters and ISIS to Donald Trump, from a rise in vengeful nationalism across the world to racism and misogyny on social media? In Age of Anger, Pankaj Mishra answers our bewilderment by casting his gaze back to the eighteenth century before leading us to the present.

Zero Squared #59: It’s Not Over

Pete Dolack has been published on a variety of political and literary topics, mostly pertaining to contemporary issues. He has been published multiple times in the peer-reviewed academic journal Working USA: The Journal of Labor & Society, and currently is published regularly by the online popular magazines CounterPunch and ZNet. His book, It’s Not Over: Learning from the Socialist Experiment was published by Zero Books in February of 2016 and he is the guest on this week’s podcast.

Rick Wolff, author of Capitalism Hits the Fan, blurbed Dolack’s book this way: As Cold War taboos on honest discussions of capitalism and socialism lose their force, important books like this are emerging. They ask why capitalism keeps provoking movements to go beyond it, why they have not yet achieved that goal, and what we must learn from them so the next efforts prove more effective. Dolack here contributes to the vital emerging answers.

In this episode you’ll hear clips from Brendan Cooney’s youtube video “Manufacturing Consent” and Coco Briaval’s cover of the Internationale.

Zero Squared #39: Land of Hunger


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Wayne Holloway is a writer director, working in commercials and movies in London and in LA. His first book, Land of Hunger, is out from Zero Books and is the subject of our conversation this week.

Land of Hunger is a collection of short stories, that interconnect, loop and return upon each other despite their seemingly disparate subject matter. Fragments that resonate across time and place, from the Ukraine during the Russian Civil War, to the miners’ strike, to the world of animal rights protestors.

It’s Wednesday, the 7th of October, 2015 and I’m Douglas Lain the publisher of Zero Books and the host of this podcast.

In this episode you’ll hear an excerpt of a cover of the Beatles’ Sexy Sadie by Joe Goldmark, a monologue from My Dinner With Andre, archival clips of advertising from the year 2000, the ’84 Miner’s Strike, the Bolshevik revolution, and Cyndi Lauper’s cover of John Lennon’s hit Working Class Hero.

The music you’re listening to right now is an astro funk hit by the Earons. This is The Land of Hunger and in just a moment you’ll hear Wayne Holloway and I discuss his book by the same name.

Zero Squared #31: Dialectic of Defeat

Russell Jacoby’s Dialectic of Defeat: Contours of Western Marxism is the subject this week and C Derick Varn is the guest. Varn is a poet, teacher, theorist and a reader at Zero Books. This is the second time we’ve spoken about Jacoby’s book. We’re taking it one chapter at a time.

Russell Jacoby asks us to reexamine a loser of Marxism: the unorthodox Marxism of Western Europe. The author begins with a polemical attack on ‘conformist’ or orthodox Marxism, in which he includes structuralist schools. He argues that a cult of success and science drained this Marxism of its critical impulse and that the successes of the Russian and Chinese revolutions encouraged a mechanical and fruitless mimicry. He then turns to a Western alternative that neither succumbed to the spell of success nor obliterated the individual in the name of science. In the nineteenth century, this Western Marxism already diverged from Russian Marxism in its interpretation of Hegel and its evaluation of Engels’ orthodox Marxism. The author follows the evolution of this minority tradition and its opposition to authoritarian forms of political theory and practice.

In this episode you’ll here a list of moder political philosophers set to Life is a Rock by Reunion, Frederic Jameson set to music from the Manson Family Opera, an excerpt from an old episode of Diet Soap wherein I discuss Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit with my son Benjamin, and Glenn Gould playing Bach’s Partita #2.