02 Taking the Green Pill

Session 02 Taking the Green Pill

Contributor: @Melike

Overview of some of our global crises

  • Climate Crisis
  • Extreme Inequalities (gender, race & ethnicity, class/SES)
  • Mental Health Crisis
  • Pandemic
  • War

The link between our socioeconomic systems and societal problems

These outcomes can be thought of as emergent outcomes of complex systems that were not designed with the well-being of humanity and earth in mind, but were rather designed for infinite economic growth. So that’s what we get at the expense of everything else, except infinite growth is an impossible goal to achieve with finite natural resources. We get more and more stuff we don’t necessarily need by sacrificing the world we live in, and the people who get more stuff are not even the ones that have to suffer the most for it.

“The world is on fire and in country after country the arsonists are ascending to the highest office. This is utter madness.” - Naomi Klein

Better Worlds are Possible

Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?

The widespread sense that not only is capitalism the only viable political and economic system, but also that it is now impossible even to imagine a coherent alternative to it.

“It's easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.” - Mark Fisher

Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity

How have modern societies lost the qualities of flexibility and political creativity that were once common? How did we get stuck on a single trajectory of development and how have violence and domination become normalised within this dominant system? How have we lost our three basic forms of social freedom?

  1. The freedom to escape one's surroundings and move away
  2. The freedom to disobey arbitrary authority
  3. The freedom to reimagine and reconstruct one’s society in a different form

Invitation to imagine better worlds together

“If we start with the presupposition, striking perhaps but not totally far-fetched, that the contemporary world can be considered a massive design failure, certainly the result of particular design decisions, is it a matter of designing our way out?” - Arturo Escobar

We are the agents of change. It is our responsibility to take care of the world we live in. We can’t afford to wait around for “the authorities” to fix things. We can collectively imagine, design & experiment with regenerative alternatives.

“Either we embrace radical change ourselves or radical changes will be visited upon our physical world. The status quo is no longer an option.” - Naomi Klein

Introducing Protopia

But we’re not going for Utopia, we’re going for Protopias. Protopias are essentially ideal societies in practical terms. It is about moving our worlds towards an ideal with actionable steps to improve it on a day-to-day basis. If Utopia is infinity in mathematics where it exists in concept but never in reality, Protopia is a tangible result that we can actually create.

Here’s a more elaborate definition of Protopian societies:

‘A Protopian society, then, is one where people are free from such gridlocks and can thus work actively to improve life. It’s a more carefully stated form of a dream of societal transformation: It doesn’t say that “everything will be good for everyone”; it focuses not on the state-of-things-at-a-given-moment, but on the possibility — the shared capacity — to move in mutually desirable directions.’ —- Hanzi Freinacht

On one hand, human society as a whole has been continuously improving, creating more efficient technologies, better governance frameworks, higher social mobility and lower cost of basic infrastructure, more democratized knowledge, more active social justice movements and information sharing networks at lightspeed.

On the other hand, there are certain societal problems that seem to increase as technology progresses, wealth inequality, outdated bureaucratic world governments, over-saturated economical markets, the capitalist oligarchy, daunting natural resource extractions, ecological degradation and climate crisis.

Protopian societies are not here to solve all these societal problems, instead, they are alternatives to our current status-quo that are at least better for the people that inhabit them This course provides research and frameworks on how these problems can be addressed by building alternative societies, and how we can contribute to make a difference.

The Solarpunk Movement

🍲Food for Thought:

Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity - David Graeber & David Wengrow

Introduction to the Dawn of Everything - Melike Kaplan

Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? - Mark Fisher

A review of Capitalist Realism - Dr. Alfie Brown

What’s The Difference between Utopia, Eutopia, and Protopia? - Hanzi Freinacht

Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy and the Making of Worlds - Arturo Escobar

A review of “Designs for the Pluriverse” - Matt Thompson

Pluriverse: A Post-Development Dictionary - Collection of essays

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate - Naomi Klein

This Changes Everything (The documentary) - Avi Lewis

How to Change Everything: The Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other - Naomi Klein

Psychiatric Hegemony: A Marxist Theory of Mental Illness - Bruce M.Z. Cohen

Neoliberal Insanity - Melike Kaplan

Cannibal Capitalism: How Our System is Devouring Democracy, Care and the Planet –and What We Can Do About It - Nancy Fraser

Capitalism: A Conversation in Critical Theory - Nancy Fraser & Rahel Jaeggi

Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto - Cinzzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya & Nancy Fraser

The Care Manifesto: The Politics of Interdependence - The Care Collective

Verso’s Imagining Radical Futures Reading List

The Verso Book of Dissent: Revolutionary Words from Three Millennia of Rebellion and Resistance

The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for a Feminist Revolution - Shulamith Firestone

Caliban and the Witch: Women, The Body and Primitive Accumulation - Sylvia Federici

Witches, Witch-Hunting and Women - Sylvia Federici

Re-enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of the Commons - Sylvia Federici

Burn it Down! Feminist Manifestos fro the Revolution - Breanne Fahs

A Review of Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism - Melike Kaplan

The Great Transformation, Polanyi and Ancient Cities - Melike Kaplan

Decolonial Marxism: Essays from the Pan-African Revolution - Walter Rodney

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa - Walter Rodney

Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World - Arturo Escobar

Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life - Barbara J. Fields & Karen E. Fields

Hostile Environment - Maya Goodfellow

Less is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World - Jason Hickel

Inequality is Real, Expensive, Created and Fixable

Cosmic Anarchy - Bridging Science and Social Justice