Manifesto: Remarks on the Contemporary Politics of the Future

What the future will actually hold to those of us in the present, will always be a mystery. This does not mean, however, that a multiplicity of visions of the future will not clamour for dominance in the present—some explicitly and others implicitly drawing attention to their always hypothetical renditions of times to come. If anything characterizes our present stories of the future, it is the dominance of a concern for threat, crisis, collapse, and so on—stemming from the scientific and militaristic researchers and knowers—a hard science of a hard life to come. Surrounding this there seems to be a burgeoning attempt towards articulating a faith for change.

I contend that many of those in the first camp are comfortably supported in their efforts to understand and articulate a vision and a politics of the future, whereas many of those who retreat to faith, do so with the limited resources of time offered at the end of an 8 hour workday (or the confused and desperate daily grind of unemployment).

Where is the theory of change that does not involve the dissolution and disintegration of social relations, the militarization and securitization of our descent into climate change catastrophe and peak oil collapse, and the politics of an armed lifeboat?—namely, a theory of change articulated by the peoples of this world who are united by the sole fact of having been governed. Research of this kind is difficult to fund and support at the institutional level of the university or the think tank. There is no unified voice presenting a vision of the future which imagines the end of capitalism and militarism, but there are many which present the end of one world, and the securitization and stabilization of the world we know today. A poverty of imagination given the capital to blanket the future in its storied account of the future—its risks, strategizations and tactics—versus a clamoring attempt on the part of the many to give their wealth of imagination some foothold in the present.

We at The Wayward School are trying to create a feasible model for self-funded research and education propelled only by the financial support of individuals in the community—not the government, not the foundations, not the corporations. We feel that being grantedpermission to act, supports the notion that we, the governed, cannot act without the assent of our governors—be they politicians, philanthropists, bureaucrats, or ‘community leaders’. In no way are we against working with these all-too-often demonized members of society—we just don’t want to grovel for their support. No more waiting, we want to start doing something. Think of us as a teaching cooperative—attempting to break even at the door today, and dreaming of a time in the not-too-distant future when our cooperative members can support themselves, their research, and their community action entirely through fellowships. This is not the ivory tower. This is an attempt for the many to know much much more than the few, and to begin articulating and building a productive response to a world which forecloses all productive response in favour of something terrible—the contours of which can be seen here. And here. And here…….

Contra Dance photos coming soon!


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