VIDEO: Faster Slower Future #3
Despite the extreme crises that the capitalist system has recently undergone, a post-capitalistic alternative seems more unthinkable than ever. We simply thunder on at an ever-faster pace. What we describe as ‘the left’ is breathlessly searching for ways out. New social, grassroots movements are increasingly calling for things to slow down. On the other hand, in recent years a new way of thinking about this speeding up has arisen – why not destroy capitalism using its own methods? Why not allow society to go into overdrive and pass into a new order?
During a two-day programme, we will be taking a detailed look at this Faster-Slower contradiction. Central to this is the philosophy of a recent political-philosophical movement: left accelerationism. This movement is part of a larger (abstract) philosophical movement: speculative realism. We give both supporters and opponents the chance to speak, but above all seek out challenging suggestions as to how to rethink the future.
The central guests are Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, who together wrote the #ACCELERATE MANIFESTO for an Accelerationist Politics and the book Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work.
17:00 – Helen Hester: Never Done?: Feminized Reproductive Labour and Post-Work Politics
Helen Hester will explore the suggestion that post-work positions neglect to address domestic and caring activities or to include reproductive labour within their political purview. It will attempt to both support and query such criticisms with reference to one of the foundational thinkers of the contemporary challenge to work, Andre Gorz. Gorz demands to be recognised as one of the key post-work thinkers of the twentieth century, with Farewell to the Working Class exercising a substantial and continuing influence upon later critics and activists. Yet, his attitude to reproductive labour (and hostile stance towards certain feminist positions) renders this influence problematic. Today, I want to sketch out Gorz’s framing of ‘autonomous labour’ and the domestic sphere, arguing that, whilst he undoubtedly positions unwaged reproductive labour at the centre of his project, he does so primarily in order to exclude such labour from his conception of work. In fact, he not only argues that it is a privileged sphere of activity that should be upheld, but does so in such a way that he naturalizes both this work and the existing gender roles that underpin it. In doing so, Gorz runs counter to a materialist feminist refusal of work, wrongly characterizing this refusal as a celebration of the work ethic (and thus failing to absorb all the insights this position has to offer).
• Helen Hester is Head of Film and Media at the University of West London. Her research interests include technofeminism, sexuality studies, and theories of social reproduction, and she is a member of the feminist working group Laboria Cuboniks. She is the author of Beyond Explicit: Pornography and the Displacement of Sex (SUNY Press, 2014), the co-editor of the collections Fat Sex: New Directions in Theory and Activism (Ashgate, 2015) and Dea ex Machina (Merve, 2015), and series editor for Ashgate’s ‘Sexualities in Society’ book series.