Much recent political and economic analysis has focused on the triumph of global capitalism or late capitalism, the collapse of structures of opposition and - as a perceived consequence - the impossibility of change. Other voices on the left argue that - far from triumph - capital is at a point of material and existential crisis and have begun to look at how Marx’s ideas can be applied afresh in the 21st century.
“The only true question today is: do we endorse the predominant naturalization of capitalism or does today’s global capitalism contain antagonisms powerful enough to prevent its indefinite reproduction?” (Zizek)
Terry Eagleton explores the ambiguity that capitalism provides the material resources to liberate us from material need but creates a world of lack and poverty. He explores the catastrophe of environmental damage and asks if the species of communism we will find will be Gonzalo’s comic superfluity or the catastrophic one of Lear’s destitution.
Zizek asks how communism can again begin at the beginning. And looks at agency, especially the role of the state. There are large debates on the communist left about the state and immaterial production. Zizek concludes by explaining that the working class has been - or become- split - into three separate components “...the ‘three main classes’ of today’s developed societies, which are precisely not classes but three fractions of the working class: intellectual labourers, the old manual working class, and the outcasts…” The task is to reunite them!
This book club is facilitated by Neil Lamont. Please visit the website for more information, to book and download the text.