“How the World Swung to the Right – Fifty Years of Counterrevolutions,” by Fracois Cusset, 2016 (2018 English Version)
Merci beaucoup France! Where they take philosophy seriously. The gilets jaunes are no accident.
|Time To Put Your Thinking Cap On|
This is part of a French philosophy series, Semiotext(e), that puts out slim volumes that usually adhere to a Marxist or anarcho-syndicalist perspective. Cusset himself seems to be part of the current of French philosophers that concentrate on new developments in capital. Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Badiou, Barthes etc. You know, more of the ‘cultural Marxists’ feared by the U.S. Alt-Right.
Cusset describes how the left was defeated world-wide in 3 separate decades. He tracks the rise of neo-liberalism in the 1980s; the victory of the market in the 1990s over state ‘socialism’ and lastly, the ‘clash of civilizations’ war/security lockdown after 9/11. Statistics and Cusset’s own optimism show that revolts, protests and resistance against capital are now statistically increasing across the globe. He indicates that if the gap between class-based ‘macro-politics’ and identity-based ‘micro-politics’ is bridged, along with the North/South divide, a world-wide upheaval against capital is only a matter of time.
He, like Zizek, stands up for the right to violence on the part of the oppressed. This right at present is reserved to the state and its minions.
Cusset looks at the ‘colonization of time’ and of ‘the mind’ that neo-liberal capital has successfully implemented, especially through the internet. Cusset also looks into the concept of ‘biopolitics’ and how capital has attempted to control the 5 general parts of the human anatomy on a micro level. These perspectives accelerate individuation and what he calls ‘culturalism,’ to the detriment of united political action. It is part a successful pacification program aimed at the world population.
That program is now breaking down. In the U.S., the waves of teacher, hotel, fast food and warehouse strikes indicate something is changing - even here in the land of conformism, complacency and fear. In India in 2016, the largest strike in history – 180 million workers – happened. A week ago another 150 million went out.
An enjoyable read, not too academic, some illuminating new concepts, shines a light on things we ‘know’ but have not thoroughly gone into, ‘named’ or understood in such an elegant way.
And I bought it at May Day Books! You can too…
January 15, 2019