Capitalist realism - Mark Fisher

Mockup of London's future financial district

It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. After 1989, capitalism has successfully presented itself as the only realistic political-economic system - a situation that the bank crisis of 2008, far from ending, actually compounded. The book analyses the development and principal features of this capitalist realism as a lived ideological framework.

Using examples from politics, film (Children Of Men, Jason Bourne, Supernanny), fiction (Le Guin and Kafka), work and education, it argues that capitalist realism colours all areas of contemporary experience, is anything but realistic and asks how capitalism and its inconsistencies can be challenged It is a sharp analysis of the post-ideological malaise that suggests that the economics and politics of free market neo-liberalism are givens rather than constructions.

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Capitalist Realism - Is there no alternative? PDF5.18 MB

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Anonymous
Jan 1 2012 18:51

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sherbu-kteer
May 6 2019 13:26
R Totale wrote:
Do I need to know anything about what this means, or am I happier not knowing?[

I envy you if you don't know what Red Scare is

R Totale wrote:
Do you get the impression that many of these Fisher stans have read or paid attention to much other than the VC piece?

That's fair point, as I said I haven't read as much of his stuff as others so I will leave that judgement to them. But with that said, Frost spoke at the launch of an anthology of his writing which would imply that she at least has something more than a passing familiarity with his writing.

Mike Harman wrote:
They will rarely if ever actually engage with anarchism or any kind of anti-state communism, to do so openly would be to acknowledge that there are ideologies to their left. Similarly when it comes to left social democrats like Nathan Robinson they can't make an (ultra) left critique of him (like http://libcom.org/library/socialist-dog-catchers-or-presidents-won-t-sav... does), but have to give the appearance of doing so despite this. Therefore anyone who talks about both class and race/colonialism etc. becomes a race-first liberal and conflated with Hillary Clinton (or Deray) and the people who want you to (only) vote for Bernie, canvass for M4A and push business unions are the class warriors.

I agree 100%, you've hit the nail on the head with how they work.

R Totale
May 6 2019 15:07
sherbu-kteer wrote:
I envy you if you don't know what Red Scare is

Having now gone and looked it up, it definitely reinforces my impression that a lot of this stuff is not so much "class-based vs idpol" (and to be clear, that is a real division that will come up sometimes, there are all kinds of lines of argument that can be used against insurgent proles and sometimes people will use ones that rely on appeals to identity) and more "people who like to describe themselves as class-based vs people who they insist on describing as idpol". Like, the impression I get of them based on a quick read around is that it's pretty much Manhattan artworld people making fun of things, which I don't necessarily have a problem with as such, but I also really can't see as having any actual connection to class struggle as such.
Also,

Quote:
the Red Scare people in particular seem to have mainly arrived at their positions by being as cynical and contrarian as they possibly can towards what they perceive to be the mainstream left.

Hang on a second, I thought that was meant to be our job! tongue

Quote:
That's fair point, as I said I haven't read as much of his stuff as others so I will leave that judgement to them. But with that said, Frost spoke at the launch of an anthology of his writing which would imply that she at least has something more than a passing familiarity with his writing.

Ah, I'm not going to watch that whole video to check, but as a rule of thumb I'd say it's worth paying attention to whether/how much people cite or quote anything by him other than the VC piece. Also, I do have a bit more time for Frost than some of those other people - she seems genuinely dedicated to her version of DSA politics, which, while it's a position I disagree with, I can respect a lot more than someone like Nagle, who doesn't seem to be that interested in advancing any kind of collective project beyond their own career. I suspect I'd put Khachiyan in the latter category.

sherbu-kteer
May 7 2019 04:39
R Totale wrote:
Having now gone and looked it up, it definitely reinforces my impression that a lot of this stuff is not so much "class-based vs idpol" (and to be clear, that is a real division that will come up sometimes, there are all kinds of lines of argument that can be used against insurgent proles and sometimes people will use ones that rely on appeals to identity) and more "people who like to describe themselves as class-based vs people who they insist on describing as idpol".

I was trying to get that across by putting idpol and class-first in quotation marks in my original comment. I completely agree with you, it's not how the division plays out at all, but it is how the 'anti-idpol' people see it. I mean I think that some of the disputes appear just because of that framing alone, considering how vague 'identity politics' is as a buzzword and how more often than not it's just a pejorative.

R Totale
May 8 2019 18:49

Going back to the question of Fisher's legacy in general, I think Tom Whyman is someone who manages to use his ideas in actually interesting ways (and has obviously read a lot more of him than I have):
Operation Snowflake
Critique of Pure Niceness

Both pieces attempt to use Fisher's thinking to criticise some of the positions that are commonly held, implictly or explicitly, by the Nagle/VC fan crowd, and are quite worthwhile imo.

R Totale
May 13 2019 10:09

Another article on Fisher that goes beyond just "online social democrats trying to own people in arguments and wanting to cite someone who sounds more intellectual than Nagle": https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n09/jenny-turner/not-no-longer-but-not-yet (cw for suicide)