‘Why It’s (Still) Kicking Off Everywhere’ – In Conversation With Paul Mason

Paul Mason

I’m a week or two late to this but Novara Media have an excellent discussion with Paul Mason (Newsnight) on his new book ‘Why It’s (Still) Kicking Off Everywhere’ (Verso). Talk of technology (Printing Press, New Media), horizontalism, and geographical differences (OWS, 15M).

Some frank criticism of contemporary activism here. Can’t help but think the concept of scale is rather crucial, as much as I don’t want to say it.

Another reflective post on Latour’s 4th Gifford Lecture, including a nice little quote from Noel Castree.

Rain on Arrakis

In Lecture 4 of the Gifford Lectures, The myth and the destruction of the image of the globe, Latour began by affirming that pronouncements of the Anthropocene belie the “puzzling continuity” of Gaia’s metabolism, and that neither Nature nor nature, nor the human can enter the Anthropocene intact. As ever, lecture prosthetics available here.

Under what, then, can we unify during the Anthropocene? This lecture was, in essence, a restatement of Latour’s on-going multinatural democratic dream, a “thought experiment” that Noel Castree memorably called ‘as exciting and mad cap as cold fusion’. This involves at heart three steps: asking what sort of people are being called (demos); asking what entity they are being assembled under (theos); and ascertaining through what principles their agencies are distributed (nomos). It is a politics denuded of the cover of “what simply is”, a proper cosmopolitics in which the constitution…

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I wasn’t in a position to live-tweet Latour’s 4th Gifford Lecture (although I did watch it), so here’s a condensed version via Agent Swarm.


We are getting used to Latour’s rhetoric now. We know that Latour makes fun of the post-modern because “we have never been modern”. So this alolow him to rip off Lyotard by defining the secular as the absence of any universal arbiter, which is precisely Lyotard’s definition of the postmodern. So we need not be surprised by his ironic jibes at the post-humanists for failing to anticipate the “return of Anthropos”, now that we are entering the Anthropocene and that humans have become the most powerful geological, or “geostorical” force. But he is quick to notify us that Anthropos is not a “unified agent of history”. This is another unacknowledged debt to Lyotard, who made the absence of any unified subject of history another of the defining characteristics of the postmodern.

The link with the end of the last lecture is in the idea that Gaia is unlike Nature in…

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Walking the World’s Megacities (Seoul)

Another Megacities Guide via the Guardian, this time in Seoul. I’ve embedded the map of Jennifer Cox’s journey below. I seemed to have missed the previous guides to Mexico City and Shanghai, so here are links to those too. I’m a little dismayed only the New York instalment is an audio slideshow, it would’ve worked far better for all of them I think. Links to NYC and Tokyo via my previous Megacities post.