Review: Srnicek and Williams, Inventing the Future Reply

By Kevin Carson

Center for a Stateless Society

Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams. Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work (London and New York: Verso, 2015, 2016).

I approached this book with considerable eagerness and predisposed to like it. It belongs to a broad milieu of -isms for which I have strong sympathies (postcapitalism, autonomism, left-accelerationism, “fully automated luxury communism,” etc.). So I was dismayed by how quickly my eager anticipation turned to anger when I started reading it. Through the first third of the book, I fully expected to open my review with “I read this book so you don’t have to.” But having read through all of it, I actually want you to read it.

There is a great deal of value in the book, once you get past all the strawman ranting about “folk politics” in the first part. There is a lot to appreciate in the rest of the book if you can ignore the recurring gratuitous gibes at horizontalism and localism along the way. The only other author I can think of who similarly combines brilliant analysis with bad faith caricatures of his perceived adversaries is Murray Bookchin.

I quote at length from their discussion of folk politics:

READ MORE

 

Where Do We Go From Here? 2

As with the Gillis article, I find the general tone of this Kevin Carson piece to be overly hysterical. Other than that, these are some damn good ideas. Why can’t the libertarian left exercise this level of revolutionary zeal all the time?

By Kevin Carson

Center for a Stateless Society

I confess my reaction on Election Night, when it first looked like Trump might get in the White House, was sheer panic. It was a bit like Philip K. Dick’s “Black Iron Prison” closing down. On a personal level, I was about as terrified as the night I was arrested and put in jail.

Now, a few weeks after, I still have a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach anticipating the next four years. But I’m a lot less terrified (although I never forget that for a lot of less privileged folks it’s always been a Black Iron Prison, and the downside possibilities of a Trump presidency are a lot scarier for them).

For one thing, it looks like there are significant structural constraints on a fascist power grab, no matter how authoritarian Trump is. The biggest single constraint is that (as Benjamin Studebaker points out), unlike Hitler, he can’t take advantage of Article 48 in the German Constitution to declare an emergency, criminalize the Democratic Party and remove court oversight of cases involving civil liberties.

And Trump didn’t get elected because either he, or the white nationalist ideas of his strongest supporters, were especially popular. In fact he’s probably going into office with the highest negatives of any new president in the past century. He got a minority of the popular vote, and was able to beat Clinton mainly because she was such a lousy candidate in her own right that Democratic voters stayed home by the millions.

So Trump’s starting out already as unpopular as Bush was on the eve of 9/11, when he was widely written off as a one-termer. And he’s only likely to drop further in popularity once he enters office. He’s no longer competing against another unpopular politician — he’s only running against himself now. With every gaffe, every display of incompetence or disorganization, every policy failure, he will only become more unpopular.

READ MORE