Thanatos Triumphant

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Mike Davis
New Left Review - Sidecar, 2022
Level: beginner
Perspectives: Ecological Economics, Marxian Political Economy
Topic: Capitalism, Crisis, social movements & transformation
Format: Essay
Link: https://newleftreview.org/sidecar/posts/thanatos-triumphant

Drawing on Gramsci's Marxist Political Economy, Mike Davis situates the War in Ukraine within the general condition of a crisis of capitalist hegemony. The key argument is that the pathological and violent situation that we are finding ourselves in today is an expression of the inability of both global ruling and subaltern classes to develop a (working) strategy for a post-neoliberal future. As forward-looking solutions to the present-day crises cannot be found, ruling class strategies are deeply infused with (imaginary) historical visions. As Davis concisely puts it: "The present must be smashed in order to make an imaginary past the future."


Comment from our editors:

Mike Davis text is very useful for thinking about the war in Ukraine and its global ramifications. The essay captures the irrationalities and pathologies manifesting themselves in the War in Ukraine, while being grounded in a materialist/economic framework. While being deeply pessimist that the ongoing "time of monsters" will end ("Everyone is quoting Gramsci on the interregnum, but that assumes that something new will be or could be born. I doubt it"), Davis still - even if ex negativo - points to the formulation of a post-capitalist vision of the future as the a central antidote to the current tragedy.

 


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