Capital’s logistical fix: Accumulation, globalization, and the survival of capitalism by Martin Danyluk
Martin Danyluk explores how developments in logistics have underpinned globalisation and the reproduction of capitalist social relations into the 21st century. Danyluk uses David Harvey’s concept of the ‘fix’ to dissect the role of the logistics industry in offsetting capitalism’s crisis tendencies as shown by the succession of financial crises since the 1970s.
Logistics was paramount to counteracting the over-accumulation of capital, the central indicator of crisis, by attempting to match supply with demand. However, this swanky new system to manage global production networks has come at humanitarian and environmental costs. An essential read for anyone who wants to help deconstruct global systems of oppression and dispossession. Ellie Stainforth-Mallison
Postscript on the Societies of Control by Gilles Deleuze
In what has come to be a highly influential and prophetic essay, Gilles Deleuze explicates in Postscript on the Societies of Control the mechanisms through which power is mediated in neoliberal capitalist societies. The society of control represents a departure from disciplinary societies in which power is dispersed through enclosed structures, to a society in which methods of control are necessarily bound up with the exercise of our ‘freedom.’
Writing in the 1990s, Deleuze theorised our present state of affairs just as these new technologies of power were emerging. These ideas are more relevant than ever; willingly, we hand out our personal information, accept cookies and allow Google to use our location – all of which composes our new identities as ‘dividuals’. At only five pages long, this essay is well worth a read for anyone interested in the theorising of power. Aidan Cooke
1997: The Future That Never Happened by Richard Power Sayeed
Amidst the political chaos and division of recent years, 1997 has become a harmonious fairytale for some centrist commentators, in which New Labour ushered in an era of enlightened progress. In 1997, Sayeed questioned these conceptions. Analysing an array of cultural and political phenomena- from the Spice Girls to Stephen Lawrence, from Blur to Blair- he lucidly demonstrates that 1997 represented an opportunity to discard the dominant conservative agenda, but instead fostered a culture that adopted the inclusive politics developed by feminists, anti-racists and cultural critics, whilst sidelining their demands for structural change.
The result was an environment that tied social liberalism to ‘the elite’, and left material desires unfulfilled, setting the stage for right-wing populist movements in an age of austerity. The book could have spent more time discussing 1997’s non-English elements- this was the era of devolution and the Good Friday Agreement after all- but it is still a fascinating read, perfect for understanding where we are now. Alex Riggs
The Wind That Shakes the Barley by Ken Loach
Very little is known in the UK and I suppose England in particular, about the Irish republican movement. Even less about the specific events of the War for independence and the subsequent civil war. Having later been mired in the tragedy of the troubles and then glossed over in the good feeling of the Good Friday agreement, it is probably thought best to leave the events of coming up to a century ago, well and truly in the past. Ken Loach, however, in his 2006 Palme D’or winning, masterpiece The Wind That Shakes the Barley, as always with Loach, ventures upon the path least trodden.
Cillian Murphy, in a role shockingly dissimilar to that of Thomas Shelby for which he is best known, stars as a young doctor and republican fighter from County Cork who is soon engaged in brutal guerrilla fighting against the British. Ken Loach is known for his character building and The Wind that Shakes the Barley is no exception. No character is without purpose and you have to have a heart of stone not to be moved close to tears within the first three scenes. Loach creates his distinctive, realist style, leaving in speech where actors fumble a word or two in long monologues as one would in life.
Whilst it is hard to summarise this film in so few words it is sometimes said that a great storyteller can make you laugh as easily as they can make you cry, however, when the subject of a film gives one as little reason to laugh as this then all there’s left to do is cry. George Sullivan
Event by Slavoj Zizek
Zizek explores the essence of an event – what characteristics make an event ‘an event’? By looking at events from falling in love to cultural transformations to political revolutions. Ultimately, he argues that an event is not simply something that alters the future but also alters the way we perceive and understand the past. An example he gives is that when we fall in love, it is not that a person suddenly conforms to a list of criteria, but that, subconsciously, we have always loved them and we’ve only just realised it. What makes this significant is that it reveals that we can only fully comprehend the reality we inhabit after an event occurs, but once that has happened we exist in an entirely new reality. This presents the dilemma that we can never fully comprehend the world we subsist in.
In classic Zizek fashion, it is full of interesting tangents. One such tangent is his idea that modern multicultural Western Buddhism is not something progressive. Instead, it conforms to the ideology of hyper-capitalism because it allows oneself to transcend the suffering that results from the alienation and exploitation of the workplace and to feel apathetic towards the suffering of others. Biel Schreuder Obiols