Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth

Sasha Lilley, Author, David McNally, Author, Eddie Yuen, Author, James Davis, Author, Doug Henwood, Foreword by
Sasha Lilley, David McNally, Eddie Yuen, and James Davis. PM/Spectre (IPG, dist.), $16 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-60486-589-9
Hardcover - 163 pages - 978-1-77113-030-1
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Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-60486-804-3
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-85036-632-7
Hardcover - 978-1-77113-031-8
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Each of the four essays in this evenhanded volume examines a facet of the tendency in the “Global North” (i.e., North America and Europe) to view current events in apocalyptic terms. Yuen (Confronting Capitalism, co-editor) believes that “the ubiquity of apocalypse in recent decades has led to a banalization of the concept”; awareness of climate change, for example, has begotten apathy rather than action, and Yuen proposes a return to grassroots activism to solve this. Lilley (Capital and Its Discontents) traces the leftist history of catastrophism, as manifested in hopes of the demise of capitalism, while documentary filmmaker Davis comes at the concept from the right, exploring Judeo-Christian beliefs about disaster and how end-time ideologies tend “to shift the focus from essential questions of public policy... and onto abstractions.” In the final essay, McNally (Global Slump) pegs the recent popularity of zombies as arising from “catastrophic imaginings of everyday corporeal vulnerability.” The thread connecting these articles is a desire to strip the rhetoric of catastrophism from all sides so that society can confront and solve real threats, and while the prose veers from jargon to straight talk and back again, each author offers valuable contributions to the discourse. (Mar.)
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