Speaking Event: Catastrophism - The Politics of Collapse & Rebirth

When & Where
First Baptist Church - Social Hall
305 N. California Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94301
November 29, 2012 - 7:30pm - 9:30pm
650 321 4464

A talk and new book by
Host of KPFA's "Against the Grain"

Our times are riven by catastrophe. The world is reeling from the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression, with the threat of further meltdowns ever-looming. Global warming and myriad dire ecological disasters worsen—with little if any action to halt them—their effects rippling across the planet in the shape of almost Biblical floods, fires, droughts, and hurricanes. Governments warn that no alternative exists than to take the bitter medicine they prescribe—or risk devastating financial or social collapse. The right, whether religious or secular, views the present as catastrophic and wants to turn the clock back. The left fears for the worst, but hopes some good will emerge from the rubble. Visions of the apocalypse and predictions of impending doom abound. Across the political spectrum, a culture of fear reigns.

Catastrophism explores the politics of apocalypse—on the left and right, in the environmental movement, and from capital and the state—and examines why the lens of catastrophe can distort our understanding of the dynamics at the heart of these numerous disasters—and fatally impede our ability to transform the world. Lilley, McNally, Yuen, and Davis probe the reasons why catastrophic thinking is so prevalent, and challenge the belief that it is only out of the ashes that a better society may be born. The authors argue that those who care about social justice and the environment should eschew the Pandora’s box of fear—even as it relates to indisputably apocalyptic climate change. Far from calling people to arms, they suggest, catastrophic fear often results in passivity and paralysis—and, at worst, reactionary politics.

Sasha Lilley is a writer and radio broadcaster. She is the co-founder and host of the critically acclaimed program of radical ideas, Against the Grain, heard on KPFA 94.1 FM from noon to 1:00 PM, Monday through Wednesday. (Against the Grain website). Sasha is the author of Capital and Its Discontents: Conversations with Radical Thinkers in a Time of Tumult and series editor of PM Press’ political economy imprint, Spectre.

FREE and open to all. Contributions will be requested. Wheelchair accessible.
Copies of CATASTROPHISM will be available for purchase and autographing by the author.