Session 2: Saturday, June 2nd: 12:00 - 1:50pm
Our task today is not to imagine pies in the sky for a future that can always be postponed, but to think and act on what Andre Gorz called "concrete utopias". The possibilities for change are not in the distance; they are all around us and available. It’s a matter of breaking the spell of the crisis and seeing and seizing these useful, world-changing tools. For a long time it seemed as though the future would always look like the present, and imagining utopia was largely a theoretical exercise. Over the past 10 years, since the "Great Recession" of 2008, this situation has been changing, as the neoliberal global order that sustained the idealization of liberal parliamentarianism as "the endpoint of mankind's ideological evolution" entered into a prolonged and profound crisis. Today, homeless populations are exploding in major US cities, wages remain flat or are falling, and yet CEO bonuses have rebounded to pre-crash levels. But there is no legitimacy for this growing inequality. No one believes that a rising tide lifts all boats and the faith in capitalist realism (TINA) is losing ground. Today, more and more people are recovering the ability – and realizing the urgency -- of imagining life differently. How do we use this moment of the crisis of neoliberalism, only persisting now in a zombielike state, to repudiate the equation of markets with democracy? How do we shatter the fallacy of this central premise of neoliberalism to actualize resolutely concrete but radically utopian futures?