Revolutions in Reverse
Essays on Politics, Violence, Art, and Imagination
Capitalism as we know it appears to be coming apart. But as financial institutions stagger and crumble, there is no obvious alternative. There is good reason to believe that, in a generation or so, capitalism will no longer exist: for the simple reason that it’s impossible to maintain an engine of perpetual growth forever on a finite planet. Yet faced with this prospect, the knee-jerk reaction is often to cling to what exists because they simply can’t imagine an alternative that wouldn’t be even more oppressive and destructive. The political imagination seems to have reached an impasse. Or has it?
In this collection of essays David Graeber explores a wide-ranging set of topics including political strategy, global trade, debt, imagination, violence, aesthetics, alienation, and creativity. Written in the wake of the anti-globalization movement and the rise of the war on terror, these essays survey the political landscape for signs of hope in unexpected places.
At a moment when the old assumption about politics and power have been irrefutably broken the only real choice is to begin again: to create a new language, a new common sense, about what people basically are and what it is reasonable for them to expect from the world, and from each other. In this volume Graeber draws from the realms of politics, art, and the imagination to start this conversation and to suggest that that the task might not be nearly so daunting as we’d be given to imagine.
“TINA, they say, there is no alternative. The essence of neoliberalism, David Graeber suggests, is its systematization of depression, its exclusion of all alternatives to an obviously catastrophic system. These stimulating essays rupture the wall of enclosure, push forward, and open paths that lead in hopeful directions. So important.” – John Holloway, author of Change The World Without Taking Power
“I find the practical politics tendentious, but the theoretical elements provocative and intriguing” – Kanellos the Greek Riot Dog
Bio: David Graeber is an anarchist, an anthropologist, and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World. He teaches anthropology at Goldsmiths. He is the author of multiple books including Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value and Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire.
The Shock of Victory
Hope in Common
Revolution in Reverse
Army of Altruists
The Sadness of Post-Workerism
Against Kamikaze Capitalism