Bret Benjamin takes up the 1974 UN Declaration for a New International Economic Order in an effort to reconsider “the 1970s as a decade of transition in which the sharpening developmental aspirations of G77 nations in the global south come into conflict with structural transformations in the accumulation of capital.” Reading the NIEO as the “last gasp” of the Bandung era, Benjamin argues that the “developmentalist demands of the Bandung era run aground on the contemporaneous systemic crisis of capital.”.
Sourayan Mookerjea proposes a “Post-Western Marxism,” rooted in the insights of social reproduction and decolonization theory with the aim of thinking historically about exploitation as “the domination of inner and outer nature.” Class politics, he argues, is never immediately available and is thus “mediated by the accumulated violence of proliferating oppressions.”.
Malcom Read examines crucial distinctions between the “ideological unconscious” and the “political unconscious,” as they were “developed along very different, even contrasting lines in, respectively, the work of Juan Carlos Rodríguez and that of Fredric Jameson.” Drawing out the differences between how the two thinkers situate their work in relation to Althusser, Read invites us to take a deep dive into the world of structuralist Marxisms.
Stephen Shapiro and Neil Lazarus interrogate the importance of linguistic theory and translation to Antonio Gramsci’s Marxism and situate these concepts within ongoing debates about the world-literary system. Ultimately, they argue that the translatability of literary or political texts is, or should be, “a matter not of intellectual work, no matter how progressive, but of practical politics.”.
Brent Ryan Bellamy and Jeff Diamanti make the case for the critique of energy by arguing that “the core contradiction of today’s economic system is and always has been tied to its facility with energy.” A critical standpoint on our ongoing economic and ecological crises demands a new historical account of energy.
Taking up work from the 2015 Venice Biennale and Fredric Jameson’s Representing Capital, Amanda Boetzkes explores the intersection of the use of energies in both political struggle and the work of machines, arguing for reading the importance of Walter Benjamin’s concept of the “archaeomodern tool,” in which political energies can be gauged in their representation as petrified objects.
Turning to the ways immaterial forms of “accumulation and material forms of labor intersect” under postcolonial capitalism, Katherine Lawless maps the relation between cultural media and the flow of energy and asks: “What happens if we map the emergence of global memory cultures alongside the transition to nuclear energy?”.
Andreas Malm tracks a long history of capitalist expansion and crisis to make the case that its “contradictions and convulsions” are the moments that energy consumption and production do the most to “reproduce the fossil economy on ever greater scales.” Examining economic slowdowns or moments of depression might provide insights into the expansion of fossil fuel energy dependence.
Amy Riddle focuses on two novels, Oil on Water and Cities of Salt, to explore the “cultural logic of late fossil capital,” exploring the relation between oil as a commodity form and oil as part of nature, on one hand, and on the other, the distinction between realism and naturalism as argued by Georg Lukács in “Narrate or Describe?”.
David Thomas takes a close look at the United Kingdom during the 1970s to examine the emergence of “electroculture.” Mapping class struggle, dispossession, and state violence onto a history of oil, Thomas makes the case that labor politics and energy politics are deeply intertwined.
Through the dialectic of parasite and host, Oxana Timofeeva underscores the link between capital and energy, pressing this dialectic into a brief comparison of labor and oil to reiterate the importance of Marxist dialectics to the study and critique of energy.
Through a prolonged engagement with two indispensable works on the critique of energy — Fossil Capital and Capitalism in the Web of Life — Alberto Toscano develops a theory of universal exhaustion, positing a dialectics and tragedy of depletion and exhaustion that points to the limits to both nature and capital.