Padkos No 94
Join us for the final session this year exploring another central theme in the work of John Holloway. We kicked off the 2nd half of the year’s padkos with readings focused on “the revolt of doing against labour”. All societies requires lots and varied forms of productive & creative activity (‘doing’). But under capitalism, this activity takes the form of ‘labour’ that separates and alienates us from the products of our doing, and that frustrates our freedom to collectively choose and enjoy what we do. This alienation and un-freedom is at the heart of the outrages and injustices against which so many struggle around the world. These conditions arise from the relations required by the logic of money, exchange and profit. Capitalism then, is utterly dependent on our (alienated) labour – but at the same time, our dignity and humanity also rebel against it and refuse to fit in completely. Our hope lies in this rebellious opposition to that logic of money, of property, of profit. Our resistance & opposition is expressed in refusals, experiments, and struggles for ways of ‘doing’ that we determine for ourselves, and that follow a different logic. In this way we create cracks in the system where our dignity and creativity is expressed and can flower. Fittingly then, in this last session, our readings and discussion centre on how Holloway thinks about hope and creativity. As Holloway puts it in another essay (“Capital Moves”): “Capital without labour ceases to exist: labour without capital becomes practical creativity, creative practice, humanity”.
Don’t be intimidated by the fact that we expect you to get through three readings! Two of them are just three or four pages of text, and even the ‘long’ one is just ten pages – and anyway, they’re all really enjoyable, lovely reading taken from two of Holloway’s most important books – Crack Capitalism and We are the crisis of capital: A John Holloway Reader. In the chapter called “We are the forces of production: our power is the power of doing”, Holloway is pointing to “the development of our creative power in-against-and-beyond capital”. He notes that “it is our doing here and now that produces capitalism and destruction, or else produces a world fit for human and non-human life”. In his “Opening Speech” Holloway playfully says that “an opening talk (a talk that opens), walks in the wrong direction. It moves against the closing of the world. … Money presents itself as a world of freedom, as an opening of possibilities for all. In fact it is just the opposite. The logic of money is the logic of closure”. He quotes Ernst Bloch saying “Now is the time to learn hope,” and then outlines the contours of learning hope in our current situation – “in the millions and millions of us who say: No”. Finally, in the chapter “Stop Making Capitalism”, Holloway draws out the logic such that, if capitalism depends on our labour remaking it, but at the same time our very life depends on ending “the misery, oppression, and violence that surround us”, then: “Stop making capitalism: refuse”! This is not ‘Revolution’ as some future event replacing one totality with another, but rather “a process that is already under way and may take some time, precisely because revolution cannot be separated from the creating of an alternative world”.
While we are together, we will also watch two short animations. The first of these, called “El Empleo – The Employment”, is a moving (& award-wining) reflection on the deadening impacts of these relations of alienation on our humanity. The second, “Life beyond Capitalism” animates the ideas and voice of John Holloway himself. He beautifully points to the hope, the necessity, and the reality, of “the world beyond capitalism. A playful place, a place of fun. … A world … [that] already exists as potential; as rebellion; … in countless struggles against capitalism; countless cracks in the texture of capitalist domination”.
The palaver session takes place at CLP on 28 November kicking off at 10.30. Please let us know whether you can join us by calling calling Cindy on (033) 2644 380 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . As before, you need to have read the relevant material beforehand.