Disposable Futures: Dystopia the Neo Liberal Reality

5 Aug


DISPOSABLE  FUTURES by Brad Evans and Henry Giroux

DISPOSABLE FUTURES by Brad Evans and Henry Giroux

Dystopia is the dominant imaginary for neoliberal governance and its narcissistic reasoning—Henry Giroux

DISPOSABLE FUTURES The Seduction of Violence in the Age of Spectacle by Brad Evans and Henry A. Giroux (cover illustration by Isaac Cordal)

I am going to risk assigning the valence of “importance’ to this book as its conclusions leap past the news cycle’s reportage on state sponsored war on minorities, jarring statistics on gun deaths, the dissonant revelations on the incarceration industry in the World’s leading jailor and the USA’s exceptional death merchantilism and explores the undercurrent of violence that allows for such dystopia

Etienne Balibar (Violence and Civility) opines

Beginning with Primo Levi and ending with Deleuze, Evans and Giroux map the radical transformation that has affected the representation of cruelty between the 20th and the 21st century: from ‘exceptional’ status, associated with the ultimate figures of state sovereignty, it has passed to ‘routinized’ object of communication, consumption and manipulation. This is not to say that everything is visible, only that the protocols of visibility have been appropriated by a different form of economy, where humans are completely disposable. To counter this violence in the second degree, and preserve our capacity to face the intolerable, a new aesthetics and politics of imagination is required. This powerful, committed, exciting book does more than just evoke its urgency. It already practices it.

From Disposable Futures, “Beyond Orwell “Pp.  209-210

Obama’s recent speech on reforms to the NSA not just serves as a text that demands close reading but also as a model illustrating how history can be manipulated to legitimate the worst violations of privacy and civil rights, if not state and corporate-based forms of violence. For Obama, the image of Paul Revere and the Sons of Liberty is referenced to highlight the noble ideals of surveillance in the interest of freedom and mostly provide a historical rationale for the emergence of the massive spying behemoths such as the NSA, which now threaten the fabric of U.S. democracy and collect massive data on everyone, not just terrorists. Of course, what Obama leaves out is that Paul Revere and his accomplices acted “to curtail government power as the main threat to freedom.”Obama provides a sanitized reference to history in order to bleach the surveillance state of its criminal past and convince the American public that, in Michael Ratner’s words, “surveillance is somehow patriotic.” Obama’s surveillance state is just the opposite, and the politicians such as Representative Mike Ford and Senator Dianne Feinstein are more than willing to label legitimate whistle-blowers, including most famously Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and Jeremy Hammond, as traitors while keeping silent when high-ranking government officials, particularly James Clapper Jr., the director of national security, lied before a senate intelligence committee.

In case it has escaped your notice the histories of violence project is currently developing a series of visual histories on key thinkers and their important concepts on violence.





If you are observing or at least acknowledging the anniversary of that sorrowful day in 1945, consider these remarks by Henry Giroux

The 20th Century is often termed the “Century of Violence.” And rightly so, given the widespread devastation of an entire continent during the two Great Wars; the continued plunder and suppression of former colonial enclaves; the rebirth of extermination camps in the progressive heart of a modern Europe; the appalling experiments in human barbarism that decimated Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the torture and symbolic acts of disappearance so endemic in Latin America; the passivity in the face of ongoing acts of genocide; the wars and violence carried out in the name of some deceitful humanitarian principle. This legacy of violence makes it difficult to assess this history without developing profound suspicions about the nature of the human condition and its capacity for evil.

One of the particular novelties of this period was the emergence of dystopia literature and compelling works of art that proved integral to the lasting critique of totalitarian regimes. Indeed, some of the most appealing prose of the times was not put forward by recognized political theorists or radical philosophers, but the likes of Yevgeny Zamyatin, H.G. Wells, George Orwell and Aldus Huxley, among others, who managed to reveal with incisive flair and public appeal the violence so often hidden beneath the utopian promise of technologically driven progress.(1) Dystopia in these discourses embodied a warning and a hope that humankind would address and reverse the dark authoritarian practices that descended on the 20th century like a thick, choking fog.

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