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A Short History of Necropunk Philosophy
Decided to move this from my last post on my work-in-progress Savage Nights.
Thinking of Capitalism as a necropunk invasion from the future, driven by death-drives, cannibalizing through crisis, collapse, catastrophe is at the core of what Bataille and Nick Land after him would term “base materialism” converging on the closure of history into a posthuman future. Or, what my friend Scott Bakker would term the ‘crash space’ of the Semantic Apocalypse.
Chronicles of the High Inquest by S.P. Somtow
Working a new near future Grunge or Necropunk Noir Science Fiction I began collecting information regarding past uses of this notion. For me the master stylist of this genre remains Richard Calder with his Dead Girls/Dead Boys/Dead Things trilogy. (see review) He lived in Thailand 1990-1996 and later in the Philippines until returning to London in the first years of this century – who began publishing sf with “Toxine” in Interzone. Yet, there is also S.P. Somtow whose works may or may not have influenced Calder’s fusion of decodence, decadence, and necrotical politics and socio-cultural inflections, yet have at their bases the necropunk style and philosophy that seems to infect, contaminate, and corrupt this genre through its hyperstitional, memetic, and egregore enactments and disclosures of the was in which the future infects and bleeds into the past through slippage.
What can, then, today be the function of so ambiguous an entity as Utopia, if not as a forecast of political and empirical possibilities? Can this function also be sought and identified formally without adducting this or that local content? … Utopias are also very much wish-fulfillments, and hallucinatory visions in desperate times. …….– Fredric Jameson, Archaeologies of the Future
We do live in desperate times, and few and far between have men or women seen more change for the worse than in our world today. What to do? Where to turn when leaders of nations have sold us out to the economic overlords of globalism? Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams inInventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Workoffer us a glimpse of what they term the future of a post-neoliberal world: using ‘folk politics’, they offer a diagnosis of how and why we lost the capacity to build a better future.1 Against the bunker mentality and retrenchment of outworn micro-politics, anti-capitalist rhetoric, and failed Occupy movements across the world they believe we must envision a new post-capitalist future drawing from the “utopian potentials inherent in twenty-first-century technology” that cannot remain bound to a “parochial capitalist imagination; they must be liberated by an ambitious left alternative” (IF, KL 87-88).
But what is this alternative? After 2007 many believe Neoliberalism and the economics it spawned were collapsing, but not in 2016 we see that global capitalism is as strong as ever. In fact that it has instituted forms of austerity, and governance on a global scale unseen before in history. How does the Left believe it can offer any alternative to such imperialism? In fact in their first chapter they admit we are in bad straits, the world sinking fast under austerity and capitalist programs that divide and conquer everywhere, and leave nothing but despair and destitution in its wake all for the profiteers of a small .01% of the World population. An Oligarchy of financiers, stock-brokers, and entrepreneurs who hold the monetary funds on nations in their grips. As they admit “failure permeates this cycle of struggles, and as a result, many of the tactics on the contemporary left have taken on a ritualistic nature, laden with a heavy dose of fatalism” (IF, KL 103-105).