Posted by <Societyiftextwall> on 2021-09-15
As the master science of desire in advanced capitalist nations, economics and its acolytes define the parameters of our moral and political imaginations, patrolling the boundaries of possibility and censoring any more generous conception of human affairs. Under the regime of neoliberalism, it has been the chief weapon in the arsenal of what David Graeber has characterized as 'a war on the imagination,' a relentless assault on our capacity to envision an end to the despotism of money. Insistent, in Margaret Thatcher’s ominous ukase, that 'there is no alternative' to capitalism, our corporate plutocracy has been busy imposing its own beatific vision on the world: the empire of capital, with an imperial aristocracy enriched by the labor of a fearful, overburdened, and cheerfully servile population of human resources. Every avenue of escape from accumulation and wage servitude must be closed, or better yet, rendered inconceivable; any map of the world that includes utopia must be burned before it can be glanced at.
- Eugene McCarraher, The Enchantments of Mammon, 2019
We live in the fallout of a failed revolutionary century which saw the complete reconstitution of everything we know into a new pecuniary nightmare of resilient, hegemonic capital. Our entire society has been restructured to facilitate mechanical efficiency and the upward flow of wealth and power. Dystopian imagery surrounds us, rooted deep in anxieties of impending climate collapse and in the impotence of capitalist futurism. It is often depicted in the near future, as if its trajectory can still be aborted with technological ingenuity. We’re shown cities in ruins and primal human bands balkanized into competing tribes. But haven’t they heard? We already are living in dystopia. It’s just been so hypernormalized that we don’t even realize it. Even as our newsfeeds fill up with natural disasters, human rights abominations, and state violence, there's something about this constant need for dystopia to be not yet here that feels pathological, symptomatic of a dark, subliminal malady infecting everything. What if I told you the real virus is civilization?
Technological society has fallen massively short of its liberatory promise. We live in antisocial communities designed for machines and commerce. Our built environment is subdivided into grids of asphalt and concrete to facilitate vehicular machines that pump out toxic fumes which, in turn, facilitate sprawling cities which, in turn, produce mountains of poison-leeching trash which, in turn, combine in the air and water with industrial waste from the very same factories that produce the tools we need to support this unsustainable way of life; and it’s all paid for by spending the vast majority of our days at jobs which contribute nothing meaningful to society—nothing but fake numbers for an elite few—and so we are left feeling, justly so, that our lives simply have no meaning. But it isn’t true. We must resist doom-poisoning ourselves into spirals of despair. TINA-fueled nihilism is exactly what the regime depicted by McCarraher wants. The trajectory to counteract it is not just utopian but anti-anti-utopian. As Kim Stanley Robinson reminds us in Dystopias Now,
“It’s crucial to keep imagining that things could get better, and furthermore to imagine how they might get better… ...it may be best to recall the Romain Rolland quote so often attributed to Gramsci, ‘pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.’ Or maybe we should just give up entirely on optimism or pessimism—we have to do this work no matter how we feel about it... ...This is the necessary next step following the dystopian moment, without which dystopia is stuck at a level of political quietism that can make it just another tool of control and of things-as-they-are. The situation is bad, yes, okay, enough of that; we know that already. Dystopia has done its job, it’s old news now, perhaps it’s self-indulgence to stay stuck in that place any more. Next thought: utopia. Realistic or not, and perhaps especially if not.”
We already know that utopia lies on the other side of collective political action. The question, however, is what the path looks like. What it will not look like is offshore venture capitalist-spawned eco-luxury resorts for the 1% to ride out the climate crisis with asset securities; it must be in militant, utopian realism. All that being said, I HOPE SOCIETYIFTEXTWALL ISNT JUST A MEME PAGE TO YOU GUYS BUT AN IDEOLOGICAL SEED PLANTER OF ALTERNATIVE FUTURES AND PUSHER OF THE OVERTON WINDOW, TOO!