AQ: Australian Quarterly

Pre-empting Apocalypse?   Postcapitalism as an everyday politics

The term ‘postcapitalism’ signals the possibility that capitalism, both as an economic and geopolitical organisational form, might soon end. Or perhaps even that it has already ended and we are just now becoming cognisant of its demise.

What is significant is that attachments to postcapitalism are occurring across the political spectrum. On the left, the seeds of possibility were sewn in the early part of this century at the World Social Forum, as documented by Gerda Roelvink in Building Dignified Worlds. Here social and solidarity economy movements showcased experiments with non-capitalist forms of economic organisation of all sorts and at all scales.

The fear is that increasing inequality is slowing economic growth and unravelling the very basis of capitalism.

At the other end of politics, the ‘right wing electoral mutiny’ from Brexit to Trump represents a rebuke to forms of capitalist globalisation that do not serve the interests of ordinary people. A kind of militant nationalism is on the rise, a ‘me first’ mentality that may or may not imperil the capitalist class, but will certainly make it harder to respond to the 21st century’s many social and ecological challenges.

As founder of Democracy at Work, Rick Wolff observes, this is the most exciting moment in two generations for those of us interested in a world beyond capitalism. However, given the volatile and reactionary political climate in many countries it is also an incredibly dangerous

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