Postcapitalist Desire — Book Launch at Housmans Bookshop

I’m very excited to share the news that the launch for Postcapitalist Desire: The Final Lectures of Mark Fisher will be hosted online by Housmans Bookshop on 14th January 2021 at 7PM GMT.

I’ll be in conversation with James Butler, co-founder of Novara Media and easily one of the most interesting writers and speakers on the left today.

To book tickets, as well as pre-order a copy of the book from Housmans (if you live in the UK), follow the link here. [NB: Best viewed on desktop, as the ticket booking app tends to disappear on phone browsers.]

The Nightmare Before Socialism:
Mark Fisher Reading Group at Bristol Transformed

From October 30th to November 13th, the spooky folks at Bristol Transformed are organising a series of Goth Communism events that, frankly, couldn’t be any more up my street…

In 2020 every day is a horror. Join Bristol Transformed in a celebration of the dark and the macabre. But Goth Communism can show you the light in the abyss.

We’ll explore how leaning into the darkness can reveal a path forward for the movement.

You can keep tabs on the full lineup of events (with more to be announced) over on Facebook.

On Sunday 8th November at 14:00 GMT, I’ll be taking part in “Hauntology House”, a one-off reading group where we will look at the new Mark Fisher collection, Postcapitalist Desire, specifically the fourth lecture on “Union Power & Soul Power”.

You can book tickets for the event here and keep tabs on it on Facebook here. Every ticket comes with a free eBook of the collection so get involved! I’m very much looking forward to this — not least because it provides ample opportunity to talk about my two favourite if seemingly disparate interests: goth and disco.

You can read Bristol Transformed’s introduction to the session below:

In partnership with Repeater Books, we’ll be reading a new collection of lectures from the late Mark Fisher — Postcapitalist Desire: The Final Lectures. We will be joined in this discussion by Matt Colquhoun

Matt Colquhoun is the collection’s editor and author of Egress: On Mourning, Melancholy and Mark Fisher. He will be discussing a little bit about how the book came about before we dive into a discussion on the chapter titled: “Union Power & Soul Power”

People who register free for the event ahead of time using the link provided above will receive a free copy of the Ebook + a zoom link. The deadline to register is Friday 6th November and spaces are limited.

Postcapitalist Desire — Sneak Peek

My advance copies of Mark Fisher’s Postcapitalist Desire: The Final Lectures arrived in the post the other day. I’m not usually one for book fetishism but the finish on these is absolutely stunning. The photo nerd in me was genuinely blown away by how well the hardback holds the colours in Johnny Bull’s already iconic cover. Repeater Books have outdone themselves with this. It feels incredibly special and I cannot wait for you all to see it in the flesh.

If you want one, there is currently no pre-order but they will be out in January 2021, online and in bookshops. Keep your eye on the Repeater Books website here, where you can currently buy the eBook. (We’re also planning a bunch of online events around the launch so you’re unlikely to miss it once it’s out…)

“The Classroom of Postcapitalist Desire”:
Adam Harper for ArtReview

Adam Harper has reviewed the new collection of Mark Fisher lectures, Postcapistalist Desire, for ArtReview. It’s a lovely text, emphasising the fact that it “was not just his writing that was celebrated after Fisher’s death but his teaching, too, by the lucky few who got to experience it.” It also includes a nod to one strand I expected to be taken more heretically, commenting on Mark’s accelerationism — perhaps even more controversial (and misunderstood) now than it was back in 2016:

Fisher wanted to pose challenging questions about the possibilities of moving beyond capitalism such as: ‘is there really a desire for something beyond capitalism?’ To what extent ‘is our desire for postcapitalism always-already captured and neutralised by capitalism itself’? And, rejecting the idea that a critique of capitalism necessitates a complete rejection of modern life and everything in it, ‘is it possible to retain some of the libidinal, technological infrastructure of capital and move beyond capital?’

Fisher senses that it might be, and so for him, postcapitalism is ‘a victory that will come through capitalism… something that developed out of capitalism. It develops from capitalism and moves beyond capitalism.’ As both Fisher and Colquhoun observe, this hotly debated position has come to be known as accelerationism, and for Colquhoun, Fisher was ‘attempting to describe to his students, from the ground up, a new praxis for a left-accelerationism.’ The question of what can be salvaged from the enemy in the fight against it has been one of the most urgent and controversial in left-wing thought for well over a century.

The review is short and sweet but it is a much-welcomed affirmation of this project. I am so relieved that its strengths shine out beyond its fragmentary and unfinished nature. As Harper concludes:

Postcapitalist Desire is thus very much the course it was originally intended to be: a primer on the topic, with Fisher’s curation and guidance as strident and insightful as ever, but by no means sidelining the exploratory, improvisatory and indeed democratic dimension of the teaching process — as Fisher puts it towards the end of the first lecture, ‘far too much of me talking today’. It was not just his writing that was celebrated after Fisher’s death but his teaching, too, by the lucky few who got to experience it. And with this book, the growing number of readers Fisher has accrued since his death, many of them beyond academia and the theoretical left, have an incisive yet personable (and frequently humourous) introduction to writers as canonical and formidable as Herbert Marcuse, György Lukács, and Jean-François Lyotard as well as lesser known names such as Ellen Willis, Nancy Hartsock and Jefferson Cowie, and key but complex concepts such as the death drive, ressentiment, standpoint epistemology, reification, and even capital and capitalism themselves.

In one of the book’s most densely informative lectures, ‘From Class Consciousness to Group Consciousness,’ Fisher discusses the political strategy of consciousness-raising, its history, and how it gives groups of the oppressed a clearer view of their common struggles. As he talks so relatably through the frustration and absurdity of life under contemporary capitalism with his students, this is precisely what Fisher was doing in the classroom of postcapitalist desire.

You can read Harper’s review in full here.