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Mark Fisher was the name of a British philosopher of capital, community, experience, and weirdness.[]

Author of «Capitalist Realism», «The Weird and the Eerie» 16.

 In a 2014 essay entitled “Postcapitalist Desire”, Fisher defines accelerationism as follows: "Capitalism is a necessarily failed escape from feudalism, which, instead of destroying encastement, reconstitutes social stratification in the class structure. It is only given this model that Deleuze and Guattari’s call to “accelerate the process” makes sense. It does not mean accelerating any or everything in capitalism willy-nilly, in the hope that capitalism will thereby collapse. Rather, it means accelerating the processes of destratification that capitalism cannot but obstruct."

Depression[]

He often experienced his depression as a “sneering” voice inside his head. That voice felt deeply personal, to be sure. But Mark came to see that voice as “the internalized expression of actual social forces.” And those forces “have a vested interest in denying any connection between depression and politics.”

Those social forces were tied, no doubt, to the concept he was most famous for: “capitalist realism.” Capitalist realism, he wrote in his book of the same name, is “the widespread acceptance that there is no alternative to capitalism.” It’s not an enthusiastic embrace of neoliberal capitalism — that embrace has long passed, if it ever existed. Rather, it’s a widespread sense of resignation over the foregone conclusion that neoliberal capitalism is the only game in town.

“Neoliberalism now shambles on as a zombie,” he writes, “but as the aficionados of zombie films are well aware, it is sometimes harder to kill a zombie than a living person.”

Mark saw that resignation to neoliberalism everywhere he looked. [...]

He saw it in the music of Flo-Rida, Pitbull, and will.i.am, about which he wrote: “It’s hard not to hear these records’ demands that we enjoy ourselves as thin attempts to distract from a depression that they can only mask, never dissipate. A secret sadness lurks behind the twenty-first-century’s forced smile.”

He saw the rise of Donald Trump and Brexit as a reaction to that resignation: both represented a “fantasy of nationalist revival,” and however absurd that fantasy was, it at least suggested there is an alternative to capitalist realism.

He saw that resignation in the Left, in its stubborn commitment to anarchist and anarchist-inspired styles of action and organizing. Reflecting in 2013 on the “exhilarating outbursts of militancy [that] recede as quickly as they erupt, without producing any sustained change” since the financial crash, he observed a sense of “anarchist fatalism” throughout the Left. Activists’ refusal to adopt tactics that could actually vie for power in the state and transform mass media narratives was, he argued, an unwitting reflection of depressive resignation.

“Neo-anarchism,” he wrote, “isn’t so much of a challenge to capitalist realism as it is one of its effects.”

And he saw that resignation in how leftists communicated with each other, describing, in one of his most famous essays, “Exiting the Vampire’s Castle,” how leftists have abandoned solidarity, shared experience, and common purpose in favor of essentialism, individual turf-guarding, and brand-building, often weaponizing identity to bludgeon each other rather than build an effective movement. Tragically, the approach paralyzes these movements, making them unable to take up the urgent task of fighting oppression or much of anything else.

— «The Beginning of the End of Capitalist Realism» by Micah Uetricht, 30 Jan 2019, in Jacobin magazine

 

Media[]

  •  «Mark Fisher», Wikipedia.
  •  «The Beginning of the End of Capitalist Realism» by Micah Uetricht, 30 Jan 2019, in Jacobin magazine
  • «Capitalist Realism (almost) ten years on» by George Hoare, Aug 29, 2018, at Medium.com 

Bibliography[]

  • Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? is a 2009 book by British theorist Mark Fisher, published by Zero Books. 
  • «The Weird and the Eerie» 2016

Rhizomata[]

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