Thursday 19 May 2022, 10am–1pm
Wherever we are, we find ourselves choking, trapped in a world we feel we don’t belong to, that is built against us. A world that is going down the drain.
The idea, first formulated by Fredric Jameson and popularised through Mark Fisher’s ‘capitalist realism’ maxim, that ‘it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism’ has for a generation summed up the limits of the radical imagination. We are then, seemingly at the end of the world rather than the end of capitalism. Unable to stop it, as if its history has surpassed us, we seem to have missed our opportunity to do something... anything effective… about it.
Struggles around race, gender, the environment and climate change each articulate the systems they struggle against: the anthropocene, white supremacy, patriarchy etc., as total, yet finite and mutable, systems. Meanwhile new currents of fascism, authoritarianism and nationalism respond in bad faith to the implausible coexistence of both oppressive conspirational totalities and the breakdown of established forms of belonging: the nation, family, binary gender roles or the traditional workplace. At this point, we must ask ourselves: why are fatalistic and totalising narratives so prevalent in our times? And, how can we keep alive the possibility of thinking systematically while understanding and contributing to rapid and radical change?
The appropriate response, we think, is not a call to order, or a return to rightly questionable ‘universals’, rather it is to reach into and probe the historical mediations which structure capital’s very motor of incorporation and completion, its ability to subsume. In this workshop we will begin to discuss these questions drawing on arguments developed from the book we have been working on the last eight years, Abolishing Capitalist Totality.
Suggested reading from the book (pdf):
False Totalities Don’t Have Exits: Introduction to Error by Endnotes