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Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene

Radical new critical theory for the twenty-first century
In Molecular Red, McKenzie Wark creates philosophical tools for the Anthropocene, our new planetary epoch, in which human and natural forces are so entwined that the future of one determines that of the other.

Wark explores the implications of Anthropocene through the story of two empires, the Soviet and then the American. The fall of the former prefigures that of the latter. From the ruins of these mighty histories, Wark salvages ideas to help us picture what kind of worlds collective labor might yet build. From the Russian revolution, Wark unearths the work of Alexander Bogdanov—Lenin’s rival—as well as the great Proletkult writer and engineer Andrey Platonov.

The Soviet experiment emerges from the past as an allegory for the new organizational challenges of our time. From deep within the Californian military-entertainment complex, Wark retrieves Donna Haraway’s cyborg critique and science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson’s Martian utopia as powerful resources for rethinking and remaking the world that climate change has wrought. Molecular Red proposes an alternative realism, where hope is found in what remains and endures.

Reviews

  • “A wonderful book … informative and moving … a great recovery of an instructive life and literary effort. The book makes the case for a kind of political vision and action we need to recognize and enact. A true pleasure to read.”
  • “A very imaginative, historically smart, politically generative thesis … that I think we urgently need.”
  • “A call to arms in which art and leisure, science and philosophy hack into each other in order to produce a way of thinking that works on both a pragmatic (proletarian) and a philosophical (bourgeois) level. It’s also his own version of Back to the Future, in which Wark comes across as a bit of a Marty McFly, dashing back to the past to proclaim new heroes and new solutions to problems in the present—principally climate change.”
  • Molecular Red seeks to put scholarship to work. The result is a playbook for the Anthropocene, a set of moves and strategies extracted from an unexpected canon of texts formed by a mash-up of the Soviet avant-garde and the Californian high-tech imaginary. Remnants of the two great empires of the twentieth century are pitted against the rapacious insurgency of their twenty-first-century progeny, playfully named by Wark as the Carbon Liberation Front.”

Blog

  • The Red Party: A Toast

    Held annually on the Saturday before Valentine's Day, the Red Party at Verso's Brooklyn office has become a ritual. At the Third Annual Red Party last Saturday, McKenzie Wark presented a tribute to the vision behind the pro-communism, anti-Valentine's Day party. 

    Check out our special Red Flash-Sale, 50% off selected books (with free worldwide shipping) until Feb 15, midnight (UTC).  




    So its Valentine’s Day weekend. You can already see the young straight couples. The boy holding the girl’s hand; the girl holding the genetically engineered long-stem rose. I feel like walking up to them and shouting: listen, I’m an old person so I know. This is never going to work! But then whatever does work out? Be monogamous, be polyamorous, be fuckbuddies, be alone with your cat. Being a human mammal is messy no matter what you do. Let’s face it, our species-being has issues. So whew are love, rituals, roses and the color red.

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  • Emerging Futures: A Bookshelf



    In this moment of wide-scale rejection of establishment politics and the global rise of a right wing populist movement, we need utopian and radical visions of society more than ever.

    This is not escapist wishful thinking but a reimagining of society as one that values people over profits, that rules democratically and collectively, that provides for the needs of all citizens. In this calamitous time, utopian thinking can inform our social movements and our strategies for building a better future.

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  • Climate Crisis Reading List



    With Donald Trump's nomination of climate change denialist Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, it's expected that any environmental gains made under Obama will be threatened and activists will be called on to more vigorously fight against the capitalists destroying our planet.

    It is becoming increasingly evident that global warming is fundamentally linked to the regime of capital accumulation - a fact that no major government is willing to confront. How then should we think through such looming climate catastrophe? Here we present a reading list which aims to tackle one of the greatest issues facing us today. 



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Other books by McKenzie Wark