Postcapitalist Desire Lecture #2 Footnotes

Session Recap

A great last reading group session before Christmas! We tackled the second lecture transcript of Mark Fisher’s final lectures captured in Matt Colquhoun’s latest book and spanned a wide array of topics. To name but a few: our changing relationship to the genuine radicalism of the 60s, and why the power of that has been so greatly obscured; the public vs private binary, the notion of the commons versus the publicly owned, and Fisher’s trouble with the term ‘community’; the literal and figurative role of the family, and how and why ideals of normative family units continue to endure; the potential of technology to liberate us from the drudgery of work that can be automated, and how this might transform the emotional and domestic labour typically carried out by women; and finally, intergenerational guilt, the demonisation of desire, and the plight of the “boomerang” generation, doomed to live at home with their parents.

If you didn’t manage to catch the session and any of this sounds interesting to you, join us on Discord, where the conversation continues.

Session footnotes are below, and the original reading list can be found at the end of this post.

Books

Bullshit Jobs: A Theory eBook: Graeber, David: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs: A Theory (New York: Simon Schuster, 2018) – yep, it’s still on our reading list!

The Politics of Legality in a Neoliberal Age - 1st Edition - Ben Gold

On the notion of the ‘British public’: ‘Thatcherism as an extension of consensus’, in eds. Golder and McLoughlin, The Politics of Legality in a Neoliberal Age, Routledge, 2018

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire | Waterstones

On pedagogy: Paulo Freire, ‘Chapter Three’, in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Continuum, 2005

Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (Harvest in  Translation): Amazon.co.uk: Hooks, Bell: 8601300263533: Books

For more on pedagogy: bell hooks, ‘Engaged Pedagogy’ in Teaching to Transgress, Routledge, 1994

Deschooling Society (Open Forum) (Open Forum S.): Amazon.co.uk: Illich,  Ivan: 8601300388793: Books

And some more, why not? Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society, Marion Boyars, 1995

Articles, Essays & Miscellaneous

Jo Freeman, ‘Tyranny of Structurelessness’, The Second Wave, 1972: https://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm

Nick Peim, ‘The Big Other: An Offer You Can’t Refuse – or Accept, in Some Cases. Education as Onto-Theological Principle (Empire): An Anti-Manifesto’, Other Education, Vol 1 No 1, 2012, open access: https://www.othereducation.org/index.php/OE/article/view/Peim_1_1_226238_2012

Dion Dublin of Homes Under the Hammer demonstrating that all houses have the same layout and aesthetics, because why not?

Session Recommended & Further Reading

  • Second chapter of Matt Colquhoun’s Postcapitalist Desire: ‘Lecture Two: “A Social and Psychic Revolution of Almost Inconceivable Magnitude”: Countercultural Bohemia as Prefiguration’
  • Ellen Willis, “The Family: Love it or Leave it”, in Beginning to See the Light: Sex, Hope, and Rock-and-Roll (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), pp. 149-168 (a version of this chapter was also recently published here: https://www.villagevoice.com/2019/03/08/the-family-love-it-or-leave-it/
  • Herbert Marcuse, “The Dialectic of Civilization” in Eros and Civilization (London: -Abacus, 1972), pp. 68-83

WTF #2 Footnotes

WTF did we talk about?

The idea that kept re-emerging in today’s WTF session was of “Christmas as an institution”, and the role of that institution, co-opted by capitalism, as a beacon of hope and reward for the drudgery of both pre-Covid life and now more than ever during the dumpster fire of a year that is 2020. After a prolonged discussion about the role of Christmas TV ads and the balance between sentimentalism and cynicism (see a good example below), we talked about the precarity of modern work and the broken financial system that perpetuates it.

Discussions were mainly inspired by Owen Jones’ recent interview with Yanis Varoufakis, which touches on austerity for the masses and socialism for the few, our lack of investment in the future, and how we tackle the threat of fascism during a crisis:

WTF are people reading?

Stolen: How to Save the World from Financialisation eBook: Blakeley, Grace:  Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

Grace Blakely, Stolen, 2019 – Increasing pools of labour diminish worker rights and power.

David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs, 2018 – Work as an end in itself, jobs you don’t believe in, and the lost promise of an automated future.

David Roth, ‘A Unified Theory of the Trumps’ Creepy Aesthetic’, New Republic, December 19th 2019 – Trump Christmas aesthetics.

Rupert Neate, ‘Billionaires’ wealth rises to $10.2 trillion amid Covid crisis’, The Guardian, October 7th 2020 – Amazon monopolising pandemic spending.

Karen Weise, ‘Pushed by Pandemic, Amazon Goes on a Hiring Spree Without Equal’, New York Times, November 27th 2020 – How Amazon is shaping the face of casual work as well as our spending habits.

J G Ballard, ‘The Subliminal Man’, 1963 – Ballard’s short story about a hyper capitalist future with nonstop competitive shopping.

WTF are people watching?

2020 Christmas TV Ads – “A Christmas you can believe in”, not even pretending anymore Christmas is anything other than a chance to bury your woes in spiced gin and cake. See Kevin the carrot get eaten in the Lidl Christmas ad 2020.

WTF are people listening to?

Sleaford Mods, ‘BHS’, 2017 – ‘We’re going down like BHS’

Our Voices podcast, ‘David Adler on the Progressive International launch’, October 5th 2020 – Internationalism and solidarity as infrastructure and action, not just sentiment.

WTF is next?

Our next WTF is Going On? session won’t be until January, but our 2nd Postcapitalist Desire session happens on December 15th. In the meantime, you can join the conversation on Discord.

Postcapitalist Desire Lecture #1 Footnotes

Session Recap

An excellent start to our Postcapitalist Desire reading group! We tackled the first lecture transcript of Mark Fisher’s final lectures captured in Matt Colquhoun’s latest book. We spanned a wide array of topics. To name but a few: the absence of the new in political and cultural production, and the lost promises of the future; the impossible desire of the left (see Wendy Brown’s ‘Resisting Left Melancholy’ and ‘Wounded Attachments’ below) and the obstacles presented by folk politics; the intersection of aesthetics and politics, and the necessary dialogue between the two to affect real change; and the role of semantics in forging what Fisher refers to in the lecture as a ‘positive political project’ for the left, particularly the (in)efficacy of ‘postcapitalism’ and ‘(acid) communism’.

Session footnotes are below, but the original reading list can be found here.

Books

From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network,  and the Rise of Digital Utopianism: Amazon.co.uk: Turner, Fred:  9780226817422: Books

Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism, 2006

Capital Is Dead: Is This Something Worse?: Amazon.co.uk: McKenzie Wark:  9781788735308: Books

McKenzie Wark, Capital is Dead: Is This Something Worse?, 2019

Steal as Much as You Can: How to Win the Culture Wars in an Age of Austerity  – Repeater Books

Nathalie Olah, Steal as Much as you Can: How to Win the Culture Wars in an Age of Austerity, 2019

Articles and Essays

Karl Ekeman, ‘On Gramscianism Of The Right’, CRITIQUE & PRAXIS 13/13, November 11 2018, http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/praxis1313/karl-ekeman-on-gramscianism-of-the-right/

Helen Hester, ‘Promethean Labors and Domestic Realism’, https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/artificial-labor/140680/promethean-labors-and-domestic-realism/

Wendy Brown, ‘Wounded Attachments’, Political Theory, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Aug., 1993), 390–410

Wendy Brown, ‘Resisting Left Melancholy’ boundary 2, vol. 26 no. 3, 1999, p. 19-27