This new edition includes an Afterword by Nnimmo Bassey: System Change Will Not Be Negotiated.
The author appeals to the energies of those engaged in a wide range of contemporary social justice struggles such as ecosocialism, antiracism, the women’s movement, LGBTQ rights, and antiwar forces. As the dialectical counterpart of Marcuse’s Great Refusal, the book, which culminates with the ‘EarthCommonWealth Project’ is keyed to what we are struggling for, not just what we are struggling against. The author argues that regressive political forces must be countered today, and this is best accomplished through radical collaboration around an agenda recognizing the basic economic and political needs of diverse subaltern communities. System negation must become a new general interest. The author discusses core ethical insights from African philosophical sources, indigenous American philosophy, and radical feminist philosophy. Humanity’s first teachings on ethics are to be found in ancient African proverbs. These subsequently served also as a critique of colonialism and neocolonialism. Long-suppressed indigenous American sources supply a philosophical and political critique of Euro-centric economic and cultural values. They also offer an understanding of humanity’s place in nature and the leadership of women and attest to modes of cooperative and egalitarian forms of community. Feminist anthropology furnishes an historical context for understanding the origins of patriarchy and how to move beyond dominator power to new forms of partnership power. The book envisions the displacement and transcendence of capitalist oligarchy as such, not simply its most bestial and destructive components. This is a green economic alternative because its ecological vision sees all living things and their non-living earthly surroundings as a global community capable of a dignified, deliberate coexistence. It is searching for a new system of ecological production, egalitarian distribution, shared ownership, and democratized governance, having its foundation in the ethics of partnership productivity with an ecosocialist and humanist commitment to living our lives on the planet consistent with the most honorable and aesthetic forms of human social and political fulfillment.
Left Alone brings together 15 authors and seven visual artists from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and North America to individually and collectively reflect – in words and images – on an urgent psycho-political issue that has not yet been explicitly addressed through a left-political lens, that is, Left Loneliness. Combining academic and more personal-political texts, including an interview, poetry, rap and a powerful short story, the book explores the contributors’ personally and/or vicariously lived experiences of Left Loneliness from a variety of genres and left political currents: Marxist, Feminist, Anti-/De-Colonial, Anti-Racist, Queer, Post-Soviet, Anarchist, Anti-Ableist and others. Says Feminist writer Sara Ahmed: “Loneliness might be what we are threatened with if we persist in being or doing what we are being or doing.” In this sense, Left Loneliness is neither a metaphor nor a secondary contradiction and definitely not a type of petty bourgeois ‘personalism.’ Rather, it might be considered one of the rank-and-file psycho-affective elements that both shapes and results from our myriad, intersecting, unremitting, yet always fragile and potentially shattering political attempts to revolutionise our inner and outer worlds. Given its (growing?) existence in our everyday left subjectivities, the book argues that Left Loneliness and related states of solitude, isolation and alienation, among others, have both debilitating and productive (epistemic) dimensions, with very concrete psycho-somatic repercussions for Left Mental and Physical Health and hence our capacity to persist and build on “being or doing what we are being or doing.” Given that continuing and deepening our multiple ongoing struggles for liberation will depend on our constant ability to (re-)create, sustain and care for both our individual selves and the communities that we are a part of, the aim of Left Alone is to contribute to the strengthening of these personal collectivities in action in-against-and-beyond capitalism, colonialism and heteropatriarchy by inviting comrade-readers into what we hope will be a deeply stimulating and enabling personal-political engagement with texts and images hailing from Argentina, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey/Kurdistan, Jamaica, Italy, Switzerland, the UK, Germany and the USA. In short, in the words of one of the book’s authors, Lena Grace Anyuolo from Kenya, “My sisters and brothers, Come, Let us gather, To lay the structures for a joyous existence.” Yes, let’s.
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