In his book Carbon Democracy (Verso, 2011), Timothy Mitchell traces the history of oil from the perspective of oil itself. Mitchell will discuss this ontology-centered history, to present not only the story of how oil constituted a centralized energy system capable of disrupting labor struggles and reconfiguring workplaces, but also of how it defined the understanding of the economy as a global system of endless growth without limits.
In his talk, Alberto Toscano will address how the material conditions for the accumulation and circulation of capital are increasingly perceived as pressure points for political action—from military strategies for ‘switching cities off’ to port blockades that revisit the tactics of class struggle in carbon democracies. Where the traditional patterns and mediations of political conflict have given way, the interruption of circulation appears as the sole way to act upon increasingly intangible, or indeed abstract, forms of domination, whose most recent emblem can be found in the automation of finance. What kind of politics emerges when circulation gains primacy over our practices and imaginaries, rather than production, or distribution?
Thursday, Oct 31
311 East Broadway
New York, NY