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February 2013

Catastrophism Book Launch (Sasha Lilley, Eddie Yuen, Jim Davis), San Francisco, CA

When: Thursday, February 07 2013 @ 05:00 PM - - 07:30PM
Contact: San Francisco Art Institute
Where: 800 Chestnut Street
Main Lecture Hall
San Francisco, CA
Description:

Join Sasha Lilley, Eddie Yuen, Jim Davis and PM Press for a fantastic event featuring their new book

Catastrophism:The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirthat The San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco. Come for a challenging talk that looks at the passivity, paralysis and reactionary politics of the exploitation of catastrophic fears and where it has led us.

Catastrophism:The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth explores the politics of apocalypse—on the left and right, in the environmental movement—and examines why the lens of catastrophe can distort our understanding of the dynamics at the heart of these numerous disasters—and fatally impede our ability to transform the world. Lilley, Yuen, Davis, and David McNally, probe the reasons why catastrophic thinking is so prevalent, and challenge the belief that it is only out of the ashes that a better society may be born. The authors argue that those who care about social justice and the environment should jettison doomsaying—even as it relates to indisputably apocalyptic climate change. Far from calling people to arms, they suggest, catastrophic fear often results in passivity and paralysis—and, at worst, reactionary politics.

Catastrophism comes at the right moment: 2012, the year of The End proclaimed across the political spectrum from deep ecologists to the Mayan Calendarists. Instead of concentrating on the merits of the claims of the various apocalypticians, Jim Davis, Sasha Lilley, David McNally, and Eddie Yuen examine the political function of these claims and find them to be deeply reactionary. This is a controversial book that challenges many of the unexamined assumptions on the left (as well as on the right). It is a warning not to abandon everyday anti-capitalist politics for a politics of absolute fear that inevitably leads to inaction.” —Silvia Federici, author of Revolution at Point Zero

"Here you have it, a forceful rejection of that gleeful, adolescent paranoia that masquerades as hardcore realism. As the essays in this excellent book show, ‘catastrophism’ is a wish expressed as a fear, a masochistic cop-out that postures as bravery. Welcoming the end of the world as the catalyst of political deliverance is one of the most irresponsible positions on offer. This book is a superb antidote to the unproductive politics of fear.” —Christian Parenti, author of Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence

“Bravo! This is the book that has been sorely needed for so long to reveal the dead-end that a politics founded on catastrophic predictions must lead to in terms of either preventing them or actually changing the world. Essential reading for all those on the left who are concerned with the question of strategy today.” —Leo Panitch, coauthor of The Making of Global Capitalism and In and Out of Crisis

About Eddie Yuen and James Davis: Eddie Yuen teaches in the Urban Studies Department at the San Francisco Art Institute. He is the co-editor, with George Katsiaficas and Daniel Burton-Rose, of Confronting Capitalism: Dispatches from a Global Movement. James Davis is an Irish documentary filmmaker based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His works include "Safety Orange" and "Meeting Room."

Free and Open to the Public Presented by the Urban Studies Program, SFAI




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