I’ll be discussing my essay “Let Them Drink Blood” about Peter Thiel’s vampiric-futurism at the What Future anthology release panel November 3rd at Books are Magic in Brooklyn. The anthology, available from Unnamable Books, also features essays from Kim Stanley Robinson, Laurie Penny, and Elizabeth Kolbert.
More about the panel from the Facebook event:
What Future is a yearly anthology collecting the most compelling, most deeply thought essays and articles about the future of life on our planet. Whether it is automation or climate change, gender or race, space travel or non-human rights, What Future takes what is happening today, and asks: what next?
What Future’s co-editors Torie Bosch and Roy Scranton will be joined in conversation by contributors Sarah Aziza, David Biello, and A.M. Gittlitz.
Sarah Aziza’s longform writing has appeared in Harper’s, Slate, The New Republic, The Village Voice, and The Rumpus, among others. She reports on the Middle East, human rights, and mental health for a variety of outlets, and is working on a reported memoir about the cross-section of these subjects in the refugee experience. She currently divides her time between New York City, the Midwest, and the Arab world. She’s on Twitter as @SarahAziza1, and more of her work can be found at www.sarahaziza.com.
David Biello is the author of The Unnatural World: The Race to Remake Civilization in Earth’s Newest Age. He has been covering energy and the environment for more than a decade and is the science curator for TED as well as a contributing editor for Scientific American.
Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, New America, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies.
A.M. Gittlitz is a freelance writer and bike courier living in Brooklyn. His work focuses on counterculture and radical politics of the left and right. He is the author of several zines including Ruin Value, about backpacking through Europe’s dying leftist infrastructure,and KAMIKAZA, a biography of the late Yugoslavian chaos punk Satan Panonski. Both are available from Booklyn. He is currently researching the UFOlogy-obsessed communist sect of Posadism and Star Trek’s socialist vision of the future. For more of A.M.’s essays visit GITTLITZ.wordpress.com.
Roy Scranton is the author of the novel War Porn (Soho Press, 2016) and the philosophical essay “Learning to Die in the Anthropocene” (City Lights, 2015). He is also one of the editors of Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War (Da Capo, 2013).
This is a schematic of a talk I gave at the 2017 Left Forum about the intersections between science fiction and communism, specifically the left UFOlogy resurgence of neo-Posadism. The editor wanted the story routed in the history of socialism, so I began by talking about the sf-influenced Proletkult section of the Bolshevik party. More specifics about the “space comrades” and Posadas himself will come in a longer piece soon!
In the midst of the worldwide worker and student uprisings in 1968, the Argentine Trotsykist leader known as J. Posadas wrote an essay proposing solidarity between the working class and the alien visitors. He argued that their technological advancement indicated they would be socialists and could deliver us the technology to free Earth from the grip of Yankee imperialism and the bureaucratic workers’ states.
Such views were less fringe and more influential than you might think. Beginning in 1966, the plot of “Star Trek” closely followed Posadas’s propositions. After a nuclear third world war (which Posadas also believed would lead to socialist revolution), Vulcan aliens visit Earth, welcoming them into a galactic federation and delivering replicator technology that would abolish scarcity. Humans soon unify as a species, formally abolishing money and all hierarchies of race, gender and class.
“A lot has changed in the past 300 years,” Captain Picard explains to a cryogenically unfrozen businessman from the 20th century in an episode of a later “Star Trek” franchise, “The Next Generation.” “People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We’ve eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We’ve grown out of our infancy.”
A timeline and analysis of the @antiPCNYUProf affair, why (usually white male) leftists defect right, and what it says about the left.
Rectenwald recently called his followers, which include self-described White Nationalists, his “Twitter family,” while at NYU he felt like he was “being exiled.” Like many other defectors, he belongs to a movement that seeks to be for white men, in an ironic turn of which they are fully conscious, a safe space. For these defectors, perhaps hurt feelings and defensiveness could be said to have hijacked values and political convictions; the way this community made them feel about themselves became more important than what it stood for. Once they became embedded, stated convictions ceased to matter.
Nietzsche’s iconoclasm was central to the account. Perhaps, like Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, Rectenwald needed to create a character, speaking in vicious aphorisms, to transcend academic criticism and the echo-chamber of his milieu, taking struggle against both the identitarian rabble of campus politics and its cynical cooptation by Clintonian Democrats. For all his bluster, it’s worth remembering that Nietzsche referred to his bad faith followers in Genealogy of Morals sarcastically as “free thinkers,” who “hate the Church but love its poison.”
Read the rest of “The Learning Annex” at Real Life Magazine
My two most recent zines for sale online through Booklyn!
A look at Peter Thiel’s futurism through the failures of Bolshevism and the populist trope of the vampire in December’s Science/Fiction issue of the The New Inquiry:
Some of our futures are crappy reboots. After all, when considered in a historical light, Peter Thiel–with his vampiric investment in harvesting young blood and intergalactic ambitions–is less a figure of the future than he is a reboot of a failed Bolshevik past. Many of his aspirations, argues A. M. Gittlitz, were first disastrously attempted by early twentieth-century utopian socialists and writers who self-identified as God-Builders, Biocosmist-Immortalists and other retrospective losers.
Brief write-up of first (hopefully) annual Post-Punk festival happening this weekend in East Williamsburg:
While medical professionals agree there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues, those seeking group therapy-like commiseration can check out the Nowhere to Run Festival this weekend at East Williamsburg venue The Paper Box.
Featuring two stages and about 20 bands and DJs from the plurality of the dark styles huddled under the post-punk umbrella, the festival is appropriately located at The Paper Box on Meadow Street in the East Williamsburg Industrial Park, an area that resembles the post-industrial, shuttered, and factory-lined streets of Thatcher-era Glasgow where the genre originated.
Read the rest at Bushwick Daily
Brief write-up on a NYC Anarchist Black Cross-hosted event about Green Scare prisoner Eric McDavid:
In 2005, McDavid was convinced by an agent to purchase materials to make an incendiary device, allegedly for a plan to target cell phone towers. After serving approximately 9 years of a 20 year sentence, it was discovered the government withheld thousands of pages of evidence on the case, and McDavid, who maintains he was entrapped, was released.
Counterterrorism tactics are an issue on everyone’s mind these days, as recent episodes of American gun violence and other tragedies in the United States and abroad propel heated debates about the extent of the American government’s responsibilities to its citizens in terms of both freedom and security. The ongoing use of entrapment techniques to manufacture threats, in the case of McDavid and many others, achieves neither.
Read the rest at Bushwick Daily