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Book Reading – Troubling the Future
January 14, 2017 @ 10:00 pm - 12:00 am
It’s a new world out there, one in which we’re hearing terms like “resistance” and “rebellion” a lot more often–and not just when seeing Star Wars. Come spend the evening with local Newburgh authors Sarah Jaffe and Peter Frase, whose new nonfiction books illuminate the fights we’re in and the futures we’re facing.
Robin D.G. Kelley says of NECESSARY TROUBLE: Americans in Revolt (Nation Books, 2016), “Sarah Jaffe follows America’s new radicals, and in doing so, tells a far more consequential story—one that reveals our recent past and an alternative future. The most compelling social and political portrait of our age, NECESSARY TROUBLE should be mandatory for anyone who thinks justice is necessary.”
The United States is witnessing a moment of unprecedented political engagement and social activism. Pundits who once fretted about Americans’ apathy have, in the last few years, borne witness to uprisings and protests across the country: the growth of the Tea Party, the successful fight for a $15 minimum wage, #BlackLivesMatter, Occupy Wall Street, and the grassroots networks supporting presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders. In NECESSARY TROUBLE, Jaffe leads readers into the heart of these movements, explaining what has made ordinary Americans from Seattle to St. Louis to Atlanta become activists.
Peter Frase’s FOUR FUTURES: LIFE AFTER CAPITALISM (Verso Books, 2016) is an exhilarating exploration into the utopias and dystopias that could develop from present society. Frase argues that increasing automation and a growing scarcity of resources, thanks to climate change, will bring it all tumbling down. In FOUR FUTURES, Frase imagines how this post-capitalist world might look, deploying the tools of both social science and speculative fiction to explore what communism, rentism, socialism and exterminism might actually entail.
Could the current rise of real-life robocops usher in a world that resembles Ender’s Game? And sure, communism will bring an end to material scarcities and inequalities of wealth—but there’s no guarantee that social hierarchies, governed by an economy of “likes,” wouldn’t rise to take their place. A whirlwind tour through science fiction, social theory and the new technologies already shaping our lives, FOUR FUTURES is a balance sheet of the socialisms we may reach if a resurgent Left is successful, and the barbarisms we may be consigned to if those movements fail.