The Japanese translation of Mark Fisher’s Postcapitalist Desire lectures has been out for a while now — and it’s just over two years since the book came out in English (no idea where that time has gone) — but I only recently came across this review by Satoshi Kizawa for Sayusha.
I wanted to share its opening paragraphs. Though a Google translation, which is always lacking, it reads beautifully:
It is painted with a sense of blockage.
Like being strangled with floss, the situation gradually deteriorated. It’s as if everything was decided from the beginning and that it’s impossible to change things.
The post-Fordist restructuring of labor that began in the late 1970s replaced fixed, permanent jobs with increasingly fluid and unstable non-regular employment. Workers, freed from the shackles of Fordism’s factories, are now left in the desert.
Indeed, in the era of neoliberalism, individual choices may indeed have increased. Now, you are free, choose what you like from this variety of options. But we cannot choose not to choose any option, nor can we choose to create new options. The individual is thus trapped in a prison of forced choice.
This sense of helplessness and despair is reflected in the zeitgeist. For example, the slang “parent gacha” can be considered one of them. Children cannot choose their parents, everything is determined from the beginning by family environment and genes. In this deterministic view of fate, of course, “society” does not exist. Life and class are fixed by family environment and genes, and there is no point in changing society if there is no possibility of lifelong change. Even if there is a parent gacha, there is no social gacha. If the parent gacha is a concept that can be established by assuming a family with better circumstances than oneself, it would not be surprising if the concept of a social gacha does not hold in a situation where it is impossible to envision a better society. But let’s not forget to dream…