Towards a post-Occupy world

Following yesterday’s post announcing our soon-to-be-published special issue ‘Anarchist Geographies‘, we’re pleased to plug an excellent essay by Richard White (co-author, with Colin Williams, of ‘The pervasive nature of heterodox economic spaces at a time of neoliberal crisis: Towards a “postneoliberal” anarchist future‘). ‘Towards a post-Occupy world‘ is available at Philosophers for Change – a website publishing some great articles on post-capitalism/noncapitalism by both academics and activists – and considers ‘the pervasive nature of non-commodified spaces in “capitalist” society’ and ‘the implications that this has for taking purposeful steps forward toward a “post-capitalist” society’.

Richard’s argument, to use J-K Gibson-Graham and Gerda Roelvink’s words, is that when it comes to thinking about what noncapitalism might look like, the classic question “what is to be done?” ought to be re-phrased, “what is already being done?” (see Antipode 41[s1]:331):  ‘…not only can we imagine better ways producing, exchanging, and consuming goods and services in society than through capitalism’, Richard argues, ‘…we are already practicing these forms of economics in society at the present time.’

There’s food for thought aplenty for anyone who’s ever asked the hard questions anthropologist James Ferguson forthrightly posed in Antipode‘s 40th anniversary special issue, The Point is to Change It: ‘…over the last couple of decades, what we call “the Left” has come to be organised, in large part, around a project of resisting and refusing harmful new developments in the world. This is understandable, since so many new developments have indeed been highly objectionable. But it has left us with a politics largely defined by negation and disdain, and centred on what I will call “the antis”. Anti-globalisation, anti-neoliberalism, anti-privatisation, anti-imperialism, anti-Bush, perhaps even anti-capitalism – but always “anti”, not “pro”. This is good enough, perhaps, if one’s political goal is simply to denounce “the system” and to decry its current tendencies…But what if politics is really not about expressing indignation or denouncing the powerful? What if it is, instead, about getting what you want? Then we progressives must ask: what do we want? This is a quite different question (and a far more difficult question) than: what are we against? What do we want?’ (Antipode 41[s1]:166-167).