Who can save us from the future?
Today, the very act of thinking about the future has become a problem. What both capitalism and ‘really existing socialism’ had in common was the belief in a future where infinite happiness would spring from the infinite expansion of production: sacrifices made in the present could always be justified in terms of a brighter future. And now? The socialist future has been dead since the fall of the Berlin wall. After that we seemed to live in a world where only the capitalist future existed (even when it was under attack). But now this future, too, is having its obituaries composed, and impending doom is the talk of the town. The ‘crisis of the future’ – that is, of our capacity to think about the future – is born out of these twin deaths: today it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.
With this in mind we’ve assembled a collection of articles that, in different ways, speak to us about futures. As much as we didn’t want people’s ten-point programmes when, in June 2007 we asked ‘What would it mean to win?’, our interest here has nothing to do with futurology. There are no grand predictions. No imminent victory, because comfort-zone wishful thinking is the last thing anyone needs now; but no apocalyptic doom either. Neither are there any forward-view mirrors where capitalism recuperates everything and always gets the last laugh. We must have the modesty to recognise that the future is unknown, not because today is the end of everything or the beginning of everything else, but because today is where we are. What we do, what is done to us, and what we do with what is done to us, are what decide the way the dice will go. This requires the patient and attentive work of identifying openings, directions, tendencies, potentials, possibilities – all of which are things that amount to nothing if not acted upon – and of finding out new ways in which to think about the future.
PDF available here.
To get hold of a copy, click here.
Translations are being made available here.
Introduction: Present Tense, Future Conditional by Turbulence
Today I See the Future by Turbulence
1968 and Doors to New Worlds by John Holloway
Starvation Politics: From Ancient Egypt to the Present by George Caffentzis
Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast by The Free Association
Global Capitalism: Futures and Options by Christian Frings
There is No Room for Futurology; History Will Decide by Felix Guattari, with an Introduction by Rodrigo Nunes and Ben Trott [read as a PDF here (recommended)]
This is Not My First Apocalypse by Fabian Frenzel and Octavia Raitt
The Movement is Dead, Long Live the Movement! by Tadzio Mueller
Network Politics for the 21st Century by Harry Halpin and Kay Summer
Inside art work by Octavia Raitt.
Cover art by Kristyna Baczynski.