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Distributed for Black Rose Books

Common Futures

Social Transformation and Political Ecology

Distributed for Black Rose Books

Common Futures

Social Transformation and Political Ecology

What does the future hold? Is the desertification of the planet, driven by state and corporate authority, the final horizon of history? Is the dystopian future implied by the systemic degradation of nature and society inescapable? From marginal activist groups to governments and interstate organizations, all appear to be concerned with what the future of our shared world will look like. Yet even amid the ongoing global crisis caused by capitalism, the potential of a different, radically rooted future has also appeared.
Common Futures explores the global emergence of twenty-first-century social movements, opposed to capitalism and state authority. These movements, Yavor Tarinski and Alexandros Schismenos show, transcend traditional political forms of organization and try to form autonomous networks premised on direct democracy and solidarity. The authors identify the importance of grassroots movements, which can bring radical change and create a more democratic and ecological future.

Common Futures examines the social and political roots of the environmental crisis and the relationship between ecology and direct democracy. But Tarinski and Schismenos go beyond the analysis of crises, contemporary struggles, and social movements: Common Futures also clarifies the conditions for the re-creation of free public time and space and point to practical steps that we can take to alleviate the problems of our future.

200 pages | 5 x 7

Political Science: Urban Politics

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"This is a timely book that seeks to break our present asunder, opening up the possible future of direct democracy and political ecology. Drawing force and inspiration from recent social movements which enact and agitate for a world beyond nationalism and alienated representation, the authors flesh out the political projects of direct self-institution, radical political ecology and social self-limitation, which promise to break with the 'eternal present' of (non-) representative democracy, nation-states and the unsustainable economics of growth. This is a future of life, freedom and real democracy that we can create together, equally, collectively and rhizomatically from the grassroots, in order to overcome the present dead-ends of elite rule, consumerism, ecological devastation and global injustice."

Alexandros Kioupkiolis, author of 'Common and Counter-Hegemonic Politics'

"Tarinksi and Schismenos capture our unnervingly discordant experience of time. We are, on one level, stuck in the déjà vu of capitalism, where the presents just repeats itself and nothing changes, in fact nothing is allowed to change, despite surface appearances. But on another level we are hurtling blindly towards global ecological catastrophe, fearing a future that approaches with frightening speed. To change this ‘futureless present’, something else is needed, something that is not enmeshed in the same mind-set that it seeks to transcend."

Mat Little, author The Disobedient Society

"The authors argue forcefully that direct democracy and social ecology are intrinsically connected as they both involve collective self-determination and self-limitation. Confronting the environmental disaster and projecting energetically common futures requires the coordinated action of social movements. Mobilizing many voices of radical thought and events of rebellious practice of the last two centuries, Tarinksi and Schismenos outline a timely autonomist political ecology. Its readers will be challenged and inspired."

Vassilis Lambropoulos, author of The Rise of Eurocentrism

"How do we replace the figure of  homo economicus and his cut-throat world with that of the steward, caretaker to the living? Common Futures makes the compelling case that Cornelius Catstoriadis' notion of 'self-limitation'—at the heart of his thinking about ecology, democracy, and the necessary relation between the two--is where we begin."

Kristin Ross, author of Communal Luxury

Table of Contents

• Prologue – Preface - Introduction
Chapter 1 (by Yavor Tarinski): Political Ecology and Social Change
• Introduction
• Roots of the Contemporary Crisis
• Domination and Oppression
• The Fallacy of Economic Growth
• The Overpopulation Myth
• Ecology Beyond Narrow Technoscience
• Interconnectedness of Ecology and Democracy
• Theoretical Outlines
• Democratic Traits of the Early Cities
• Towards Democratic and Ecological Cities
• Political Ecology in Practice
Chapter 2 (by Yavor Tariski): Theoretical Outlines of Direct Democracy
• Democracy as a Regime of Self-Limitation
• Forms of Social Limitation
• Democracy and Self-Limitation
• On the Contamination of the Revolutionary Project
• Self- Limitation and Education
• Ecology, Degrowth and Self-Limitation
• Conclusion
• Political Parties: An Obstacle to Democracy
• Ideology and the Saturation of Time and Space
Chapter 3 (by Alexandros Schismenos): The temporality of social movements
• What is to be done? Lenin’s question
• The question before us 
• Lessons from the past: The legacy of May ’68.
• Lessons from experience: The brief summer of the anti-globalization movement.
• The 2007-07 Greek student movement
• Rural movements towards social ecology
• The rebellious event of December 2008
• The Occupy movement in Greece
• The rise of the xenophobic Right
• The Yellow Vests against capitalist temporality.
• Modern technology and digital movements.
Chapter 4 (by Alexandros Schismenos): Conceptual Challenges
• The paradoxes of nationalistic discourse.
• Representative oligarchy and democracy.
• The temporality of autonomy.

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