Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth

Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth

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by David McNally, Eddie Yuen, James Davis
     
 

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Amid a global zeitgeist of impending catastrophe, this book explores the culture of fear so prevalent in today's politics, economic climate, and religious extremism. The authors of this collection argue that the lens of catastrophe through which so many of today's issues are examined distorts understanding of the dynamics at the heart of numerous problems, such as

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Overview

Amid a global zeitgeist of impending catastrophe, this book explores the culture of fear so prevalent in today's politics, economic climate, and religious extremism. The authors of this collection argue that the lens of catastrophe through which so many of today's issues are examined distorts understanding of the dynamics at the heart of numerous problems, such as global warming, ultimately halting progress and transformation. Arguing that catastrophic thinking results in paralysis or reactionary politics, the authors posit that the myths of 2012 have negative affects across the political spectrum and urge activists not to give up their beliefs and instead focus on working on issues now instead of waiting until society has ended and needs to be rebuilt.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Each of the four essays in this evenhanded volume examines a facet of the tendency in the “Global North” (i.e., North America and Europe) to view current events in apocalyptic terms. Yuen (Confronting Capitalism, co-editor) believes that “the ubiquity of apocalypse in recent decades has led to a banalization of the concept”; awareness of climate change, for example, has begotten apathy rather than action, and Yuen proposes a return to grassroots activism to solve this. Lilley (Capital and Its Discontents) traces the leftist history of catastrophism, as manifested in hopes of the demise of capitalism, while documentary filmmaker Davis comes at the concept from the right, exploring Judeo-Christian beliefs about disaster and how end-time ideologies tend “to shift the focus from essential questions of public policy... and onto abstractions.” In the final essay, McNally (Global Slump) pegs the recent popularity of zombies as arising from “catastrophic imaginings of everyday corporeal vulnerability.” The thread connecting these articles is a desire to strip the rhetoric of catastrophism from all sides so that society can confront and solve real threats, and while the prose veers from jargon to straight talk and back again, each author offers valuable contributions to the discourse. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

"The thread connecting these articles is a desire to strip the rhetoric of catastrophism from all sides so that society can confront and solve real threats, and while the prose veers from jargon to straight talk and back again, each author offers valuable contributions to the discourse." —Publishers Weekly

"Catastrophism is an important contribution to ongoing conversations about strategy and organizing on the left." —Scott Neigh, A Canadian Lefty in Occupied Land

"At its heart, Catastrophism states that fear-based politics are a dead end. Hopefully, this can be the spark for new discussions, more rational debate, and a collective change in direction for government." —www.CityBookReview.com

"According to the authors, catastrophism hinders, rather than hastens, political action on climate change or the development of a new economic system." —Brooklyn Rail

"Catastrophism launches a vital conversation for our crisis-laden era. In a time of real dangers and unreal cures, this is a book to read and savor with family and friends." —www.populist.com

"Posited as an intervention of sorts, Catastrophism is seemingly aimed to create debate on the Left." —www.LeftEyeOnBooks.com

"The author’s call for an environmental and left-wing politics animated by a faith in people’s ability to change the world is all the more timely." —Nicholas Beuret, Red Pepper

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604865899
Publisher:
PM Press
Publication date:
10/05/2012
Series:
Spectre Series
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
372,199
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.40(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"The thread connecting these articles is a desire to strip the rhetoric of catastrophism from all sides so that society can confront and solve real threats, and while the prose veers from jargon to straight talk and back again, each author offers valuable contributions to the discourse." -Publishers Weekly (January 26, 2013)

"This is a controversial book that challenges many of the unexamined assumptions on the left (as well as on the right). It is a warning not to abandon everyday anti-capitalist politics for a politics of absolute fear that inevitably leads to inaction."  —Silvia Federici, author, Revolution at Point Zero

"Definitive and momentous, this book should be mandatory reading for everyone who wishes to comprehend the world we live in and change it for the better."  —George Katsiaficas, author, Asia's Unknown Uprisings

"Posited as an intervention of sorts, Catastrophism is seemingly aimed to create debate on the Left." —www.LeftEyeOnBooks.com

"The book is certain to spark the debate its authors intended, and perhaps create conversations about the need for the kind of organizing that must happen to initiate the diverse social justice agenda many progressives profess to want." —www.MrZine.MonthlyReview.org

"Catastrophism launches a vital conversation for our crisis-laden era. In a time of real dangers and unreal cures, this is a book to read and savor with family and friends." —www.populist.com

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