The age of austerity has brought a new generation of protesters on to the streets across the world. As the economic crisis meets the environmental crisis, millions fear what the future will bring but also dare to dream of a different society.What We Are Fighting For tries to answer the question that the mainstream media loves to ask the protesters. The first radical, colleThe age of austerity has brought a new generation of protesters on to the streets across the world. As the economic crisis meets the environmental crisis, millions fear what the future will bring but also dare to dream of a different society.What We Are Fighting For tries to answer the question that the mainstream media loves to ask the protesters. The first radical, collective manifesto of the new decade, it brings together some of the key theorists and activists from the new networked and creative social movements. Contributors include Owen Jones, David Graeber, John Holloway, Nina Power, Mark Fisher, Franco Berardi Bifo and Marina Sitrin.Chapters outline the alternative vision that animates the new global movement – from 'new economics' and 'new governance' to ‘new public’ and 'new social imagination'. The book concludes by exploring 'new tactics of struggle’....
|Title||:||What We Are Fighting For: A Radical Collective Manifesto|
|Number of Pages||:||224 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
What We Are Fighting For: A Radical Collective Manifesto Reviews
One of the charges made against the Occupy movement (if we can go so far as to call it a movement) was that its demands were unclear – or according to some critics, non-existent. Occupiers responded in a range of ways, from the horizontalist ‘we will work out our demands by living, working and talking together’ through the prefigurative ‘the occupation itself is the demand’ to the almost nihilist ‘the system is broken so why would we make any demands of it’, and many other positions along this continuum and elsewhere. One of the consequences of this lack of demand has been an openness of discussion, at least outside the rough and tumble of occupying and of those heightened moments of action. This openness has contributed to what seems to a lessening off sectarian position-taking on the Left (seems because much of the Left still seems to lapse into or fall back on doctrinaire spaces of security when it comes to analysis or action) – but there does seem to be a willingness to discuss, debate and adapt positions and outlooks. Associated with this sense of openness (and notwithstanding some of the problems of celebrity leftism we’ve seen in the era) there has also been the re-emergence of the manifesto, not of the vacuous set of election ‘promises’ kind we so often see from electoral politics, most seen in their breach, but of a more contemplative kind outlining a set of principles or proposing a direction for the Left. Part of these developments has been what seems to be a set of propositions for discussion. This collection of short essays is one of the better examples of this approach. The editors have an orientation towards autonomist and anarchist (of the libertarian communist kind) outlooks, but have called on a set of some of the more interesting although primarily English language with a few Italian writers on current activist and alternative politics. The book is organised around four analytical strands – economics, governance, politics and social imagining – with a fifth section exploring tactics. There are many ways that we could approach thinking about this collection in all its diversity, but the thing (for me) that holds it all together is each of the authors, in various ways, explores aspects of a step beyond what Mark Fisher (one of the contributors) has called Capitalist Realism when he suggested, in that book, that there is a "widespread sense that not only is capitalism the only viable political and economic system, but also that it is now impossible even to imagine a coherent alternative to it". One of the strengths of the collection is that each of the essays is fewer than 10 pages and tightly focussed so none try to pose a grand theory or solutions; this is however also a weakness in that each of the essays barely scratches the surface of its complex area. For instance, Michael Albert and others associated with the Z-Net have written widely on participatory economics, reduced here to a 7 page sketch of some aspects of the approach while Dan Hind’s essay on media reform draws on his recently published work on the public sphere. Other essays explore much less well developed approaches to new ways of ordering the world – such as Milford Bateman’s paper on local financial systems or Shaun Chamberlain’s on transition towns.Whereas Chamberlain’s paper is practice focussed, others are more explicitly conceptual or even theoretical, such as Peter Hallward’s discussion of dictatorship and democracy or Zillah Eisenstein on intersectionality. Some of the essays demand that we rethink some of the takens for granted of much of outlook let alone work on the left – Alberto Toscano’s ‘Reforming the Unreformable’ is provocative while David Graeber’s ‘Revolution at the Level of Common Sense’ is a helpful reminder about the need to focus struggle on the ordinary in an effort to make alternatives seem achievable; it is at the level of ‘common sense’ that we experience the limits of the social and political imagination. I have to confess to a particular soft spot for Owen Jones’ challenge to maintain a sense of class politics without homogenising class and Hilary Wainwright’s argument in favour of close study of the movements of the past to find the foundations of the movements of the now as well as the limits of those of the past; both a marvellously materialist while rejecting doctrinaire notions of materialism. The collection reminded me the need we have on the left to maintain a nuanced sense of utopia; only one author (Mark J Smith) is all that explicit about utopia but, and here I draw on work by Erik Olin Wright, the notion of ‘real utopias’ is a useful framework. Wright’s distinction between the desirable, the viable and the achievable helped me identify aspects of this eclectic manifesto – what we’d really like, what can survive at the interstices of the existing order and what we can achieve in the current conjuncture. Wright’s approach, or something like it, might have helped give the contributions to this manifesto a little more shape – at present the thematic framing does little more than suggest an aspect of social and political experience that each essay addresses. Some essays have end notes, most don’t; a short list of further reading by each author would also have helped.Despite these problems, the collection is engaging, provocative and demands revisiting. It is not set up as the answer and should not be read as such, but it contains a bunch of good ideas to help us reconfigure the Left, our work and where we think we’re going. For that alone, this is a valuable and important contribution and introduction to the currently vibrant debates on the Left.
Some of this went over my head but there are lots of compelling and coherent arguments here that make we want to know more and has sparked the desire to get involved in making the world a bit more fair.
A real mix, but well worth dipping in and out of.