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Poetry from the Future: Why a Global Liberation Movement Is Our Civilisation's Last Chance

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'A compelling vision, an urgent necessity, and not beyond reach' Noam Chomsky The past is forgotten, and the future is without hope. Dystopia has become a reality. This is the new normal in our apocalyptic politics - but if we accept it, our helplessness is guaranteed. To bring about real change, argues activist and political philosopher Srecko Horvat, we must first transfo 'A compelling vision, an urgent necessity, and not beyond reach' Noam Chomsky The past is forgotten, and the future is without hope. Dystopia has become a reality. This is the new normal in our apocalyptic politics - but if we accept it, our helplessness is guaranteed. To bring about real change, argues activist and political philosopher Srecko Horvat, we must first transform our mindset. Ranging through time and space, from the partisan liberation movements of Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia to the contemporary culture, refugee camps and political frontlines of 21st century Europe, Horvat shows that the problems we face today are of an unprecedented nature. To solve them, he argues in this passionate call for a new radical internationalism, we must move beyond existing ways of thinking: beyond borders, national identities and the redundant narratives of the past. Only in this way can we create new models for living and, together, shape a more open and optimistic future.


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'A compelling vision, an urgent necessity, and not beyond reach' Noam Chomsky The past is forgotten, and the future is without hope. Dystopia has become a reality. This is the new normal in our apocalyptic politics - but if we accept it, our helplessness is guaranteed. To bring about real change, argues activist and political philosopher Srecko Horvat, we must first transfo 'A compelling vision, an urgent necessity, and not beyond reach' Noam Chomsky The past is forgotten, and the future is without hope. Dystopia has become a reality. This is the new normal in our apocalyptic politics - but if we accept it, our helplessness is guaranteed. To bring about real change, argues activist and political philosopher Srecko Horvat, we must first transform our mindset. Ranging through time and space, from the partisan liberation movements of Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia to the contemporary culture, refugee camps and political frontlines of 21st century Europe, Horvat shows that the problems we face today are of an unprecedented nature. To solve them, he argues in this passionate call for a new radical internationalism, we must move beyond existing ways of thinking: beyond borders, national identities and the redundant narratives of the past. Only in this way can we create new models for living and, together, shape a more open and optimistic future.

30 review for Poetry from the Future: Why a Global Liberation Movement Is Our Civilisation's Last Chance

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    A wonderfully inspiring book carefully builds a case for "hope without optimism" by emphasizing the many ways in which better futures are already available to us: we just need to learn to recognize them. A wonderfully inspiring book carefully builds a case for "hope without optimism" by emphasizing the many ways in which better futures are already available to us: we just need to learn to recognize them.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tamar

    Hope without optimism. Brilliant.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Em Laurent

    Imaginative (the kind of Left-Wing Promethean that we need, urgently), erudite, contradictory... this is a compelling book by the Croatian philosopher Srećko Horvart, who is one the most interesting European intellectuals writing today. This book takes up the genre of a revolutionary pamphlet, yet it isn't entirely consumed by an air of seriousness (there are Zizekian hums of irony throughout--). Poetry is broadly defined, more so as a verb than a noun, drawing from the Greek conception of poies Imaginative (the kind of Left-Wing Promethean that we need, urgently), erudite, contradictory... this is a compelling book by the Croatian philosopher Srećko Horvart, who is one the most interesting European intellectuals writing today. This book takes up the genre of a revolutionary pamphlet, yet it isn't entirely consumed by an air of seriousness (there are Zizekian hums of irony throughout--). Poetry is broadly defined, more so as a verb than a noun, drawing from the Greek conception of poiesis. Horvat urges us to create new forms, for there is no end of history, only new forms of control. . . and so imaginative resistances are needed.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bernardo

    Srećko Horvart, a philosopher from Croatia, is one of the most interesting thinkers in Europe today (don’t take my word for it: the German magazine Der Freitag has called him as “one of the most exciting voices of his generation”). He is also a political activist, involved in many causes across Europe and co-founder of the pan-European Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (Diem25). His new book, “Poetry from the Future: Why a Global Liberation Movement Is Our Civilisation’s Last Chance” is a passio Srećko Horvart, a philosopher from Croatia, is one of the most interesting thinkers in Europe today (don’t take my word for it: the German magazine Der Freitag has called him as “one of the most exciting voices of his generation”). He is also a political activist, involved in many causes across Europe and co-founder of the pan-European Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (Diem25). His new book, “Poetry from the Future: Why a Global Liberation Movement Is Our Civilisation’s Last Chance” is a passionate — yet historically-grounded — call for bold political action. He puts current events into historical context, and cogently argues for radical democracy, internationalist approach. Written in a clear, straight-forward style and making ample references to literature and history but also pop music, punk culture, cinema and TV series, the book is very accessible — contrary to what its somber subject could lead one to expect. Written from the perspective of a privileged white, cis male European — like myself and, I suppose, most of his readers — he is constantly challenging us to think beyond our immediate reality: “We have to ask why all this — the refugee crisis, terrorism, the militarization of our cities — wasn’t normal in Europe until this point. Or, to put it another way, why was it normal in all other parts of the world, but not in the West?” (p. 62). Significantly, Horvart makes us confront our own responsibility in the current abysmal state of affairs — “our task today is to be aware of the steps we are taking: to realize that the real question is not how did all this — Donald Trump, the disintegration of the EU, refugee camps, walls, climate change and new wars — come about, but what were the steps we ourselves took during all this” (p. 74). He talks about the importance of “acquiring a political subjectivity through the experience of organizing and protesting, of confronting the system and one’s own contradictions, and last but not least, of sharing comradeships, and friendships across identities and borders, this feeling of togetherness” (p. 33) and for that “we need news songs” both “metaphorically and literally” (p. 34). In order for this to be achieved, we have “to create the conditions for our own future, not to follow the already written script from the past: it means to produce a crack in the present, a disruption in the imposition of capitalist temporality, the rhythm of power” (p. 137). Importantly, Horvart formulates a constructive way for activists and grassroots movements to frame the defeats of the past: “it is out of these defeats that we must learn and build something different: a stronger movement. And so, the struggle goes on: from protests to general strikes, from refugee solidarity movements to cooperative markets. It is this hope without optimism that can carry us into the future, because it salvages what has passed not as something that has to be repeated, but as a potential that might lead in new directions and that can still — if we keep constantly in mind the lesson that there is no final defeat — change the present” (p. 100). In sum, this book manages to find hope (albeit a “hope without optimism”) in our desperate times, grounded in history and in activism. It is a timely reminder that nothing is set in stones, destiny is in our hands, the future is ours to make — but it requires political engagement. It is a great antidote to the feeling of impotence and incapacity that so many in the Left feel today.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andrija

    Srećko Horvat's new book offers a decent analysis of the failed projects while at the same time urges us that we learn from our past mistakes but aim towards something much more radical (what would draw its strength from the future rather than from the past). However, it is only in the last two chapters that Horvat discusses what he calls global liberation movement and how it may be constructed, while the preceding chapters deal with the promising movements and events from the recent history that Srećko Horvat's new book offers a decent analysis of the failed projects while at the same time urges us that we learn from our past mistakes but aim towards something much more radical (what would draw its strength from the future rather than from the past). However, it is only in the last two chapters that Horvat discusses what he calls global liberation movement and how it may be constructed, while the preceding chapters deal with the promising movements and events from the recent history that nonetheless failed to bring a change (Greek Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Arab Spring, Gezi Park, etc). The book consists of narrative segments in which Horvat retells his personal experiences (his journeys, activism and interviews), descriptions of the important historico-political events (apart from the recent ones Horvat pays much attention to the Partisan movement from the WW2) and theoretical discussions of the concepts such as state of exception (G. Agamben), machinic enslavement (M. Lazzarato), hope without optimism (T. Eagleton) and others. While Horvat isn't inventive in the way that would suppose creating new concepts (he rather borrows from other authors), what he tries to do instead is to connect concepts with particular historico-political events (thus we get analysis of hope without optimism in the context of Syriza). By doing that, Horvat enables readers to recognize specific (philosophical) importance of a particular event - its Truth - while at the same time he makes philosophical concepts more concrete, so to say. To summarize, this is not a work of original (inventive) thinker (many of Horvat's thesis can also be found in the recent books by Slavoj Žižek) but it is a fairly good introduction into our global predicaments with few important points regarding "the global liberation movement" which need further elaboration.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alerk Ablikim

    Read this book in one go. Manifesto of our age. Must read for everyone. A vector for left and the world towards the future, with hope but without optimism.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Vaggelis

    Εξαιρετικά εύπεπτο καί ξεκούραστο ανάγνωσμα. Δεν ξέρω πως μπόρεσε ο Horvat να ξεκινήσει από τον β π.π καί νά φτάσει στον Trump καί τά drones μέσα σέ 190 σελίδες,αλλά τά κατάφερε. Παρόλο πού μέσα σέ ένα τόσο σύντομο έργο τίποτα από όλα αυτά δεν μπορεί νά αναλυθεί σέ βάθος, καί είναι πολύ εύκολο νά ρίξει ένα βιβλίο στα σκουπίδια, εδώ βλέπουμε μία από τις ελάχιστες φορές πού δεν έγινε αυτό. Οι ιστορικές παραπομπές τού καί όι αναφορές/παραλληλισμοί τού σε έργα τής pop κουλτούρας ( μουσική, ταινίες), Εξαιρετικά εύπεπτο καί ξεκούραστο ανάγνωσμα. Δεν ξέρω πως μπόρεσε ο Horvat να ξεκινήσει από τον β π.π καί νά φτάσει στον Trump καί τά drones μέσα σέ 190 σελίδες,αλλά τά κατάφερε. Παρόλο πού μέσα σέ ένα τόσο σύντομο έργο τίποτα από όλα αυτά δεν μπορεί νά αναλυθεί σέ βάθος, καί είναι πολύ εύκολο νά ρίξει ένα βιβλίο στα σκουπίδια, εδώ βλέπουμε μία από τις ελάχιστες φορές πού δεν έγινε αυτό. Οι ιστορικές παραπομπές τού καί όι αναφορές/παραλληλισμοί τού σε έργα τής pop κουλτούρας ( μουσική, ταινίες), σέ συνδιασμό με τον τρόπο πού χρησιμοποιεί τα Αγγλικά ο συγγραφέας -πού δεν είναι η μητρική του γλώσσα- κάνουν αυτό τό βιβλίο πολύ ευχάριστο, σαφές και σύγχρονο. Οι περιγραφές γεγονότων πού ήταν παρών (π.χ στο δημοψήφισμα τού 2015 στην πλατεία Συντάγματος) είναι συναρπαστικές, όμως καμια από τίς ιδεες πού προτείνει δεν είναι"δικια" του. Σάν ποιότητα γραφής απέχει αρκετά από το επίπεδο των Chomsky,Greaber ή Agamben π.χ, αλλά είναι μία αρκετά αξιοπρεπής απόπειρα από έναν νέο πολιτικό συγγραφέα νά ενώσει μία πληθώρα ιδεών καί ιστορικών συμπερασμάτων για νά εμφυσήσει "ελπίδα χωρίς αισιοδοξία" στόν αναγνώστη, χωρίς νά κουράζει με ψευτο-διανοουμενισμους καί άχρηστη φλυαρία.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Adara Maza Ruiz

    Interesante para entender el presente analizando el pasado.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paz

    Horvat debate sobre el sentimiento apocalíptico que, supuestamente, rodea a Europa y que se debate en no hacer nada porque todo está perdido o que se prepara para el Apocalipsis “que viene en el futuro”, negando las posibilidades del presente. Es un libro interesante, supongo, pero me pareció tremendamente centrado en las disquisiciones políticas del varón blanco de cierta elite, incluso usando mucha teoría de varones blancos del siglo XX. No sé. Me parece que ahí mismo, en Europa, hay mucho más Horvat debate sobre el sentimiento apocalíptico que, supuestamente, rodea a Europa y que se debate en no hacer nada porque todo está perdido o que se prepara para el Apocalipsis “que viene en el futuro”, negando las posibilidades del presente. Es un libro interesante, supongo, pero me pareció tremendamente centrado en las disquisiciones políticas del varón blanco de cierta elite, incluso usando mucha teoría de varones blancos del siglo XX. No sé. Me parece que ahí mismo, en Europa, hay mucho más vida teórica -y practica- desde el transfeminismo, el posthumanismo, incluso desde el decrecimiento. El debate apocalíptico me parece una lata, sobre todo cuando hay millones de personas donde la pregunta política que se plantea Horvat no es ni una posibilidad pues su praxis -y la poiesis que rescata Horvat- es la única vía de supervivencia.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Frieantpieaggio

    "Another term for this inversion of future and present, this kind of enlightened doom-saying – which unlike our two fetishes discussed earlier has an emancipatory potential, able to free us from otherwise unavoidable future catastrophe – would be what the German philosopher Frank Ruda calls ‘fatalism’. Ruda’s work aims to abolish freedom and re-establish fatalism, but not in a deterministic sense: rather in a dialectical transformation of fatalism into the precondition of freedom itself. This fa "Another term for this inversion of future and present, this kind of enlightened doom-saying – which unlike our two fetishes discussed earlier has an emancipatory potential, able to free us from otherwise unavoidable future catastrophe – would be what the German philosopher Frank Ruda calls ‘fatalism’. Ruda’s work aims to abolish freedom and re-establish fatalism, but not in a deterministic sense: rather in a dialectical transformation of fatalism into the precondition of freedom itself. This fatalism involves trying to imagine ‘the very comet that may devastate the earth, not by imagining it as coming from outer space some time in the future’, but as an event that, ‘although unacknowledged, has already occurred’. Through such an inversion we may be able, according to Ruda, to imagine another form of freedom." "If we’re going to avoid this Eurocentric liberal trap, our thinking has to evolve. We have to ask why all this – the refugee crisis, terrorism, the militarization of our cities – wasn’t normal in Europe until this point. Or, to put it another way, why was it normal in all other parts of the world, but not in the West?" "The only way to really take responsibility consists in rehabilitating hope – a much more radical hope than the naive notion of optimism. What we need more than ever today is hope without optimism. This is the only path from resistance to liberation." "The message here is clear. We already have to be the very society that we are aiming to build. There is no ‘day after’ when the new society will be built. It must be built even before it can exist; it has to exist before it can be built. This is what we could call the ‘concrete universality’ of true resistance." "A historical materialist cannot do without the notion of a present which is not a transition, but in which time stands still and has come to a stop. For this notion defines the present in which he himself is writing history. Historicism gives the ‘eternal’ image of the past; a historical materialist leaves it to others to be drained by the whore called ‘Once upon a time’ in historicism’s bordello. He remains in control of his powers, man enough to blast open the continuum of history" -Walter Benjamin, Illuminations: Essays and Reflections "Blanchot’s main argument is that the threat of the ‘Bomb’ (the master signifier) and its potential of total annihilation led to the birth of the idea of a whole (of the world), as the whole, precisely, that can be lost, or disappear for ever." "Instead of accepting or denying the idea of the apocalypse, it is precisely its inevitability that lays the foundations for a predictable revolution (in the sense that only revolution can prevent the apocalypse, turning it from an unavoidable future event into something that is no longer inevitable)" "If mere presentism (the fake now or the nowness of the fake) consists in the reproduction of the present by instant news, real-time politics, society of spectacle, then the Jetztzeit, the here-and-now, consists in a deconstruction and destruction of the temporal totalitarianism which imposes and enforces a notion of time that necessarily narrows possibilities and potentialities. To act now means to create the conditions for our own future, not to follow the already written script from the past: it means to produce a crack in the present, a disruption in the imposition of capitalist temporality, the rhythm of power."

  11. 4 out of 5

    La Central

    "Nuestra parte de noche, ubicada en la Argentina de los años 60, emana un contexto de duras represiones, controles policiales y un recorrido de fuertes imposiciones sociales. En ella, se entrelazan aspectos más próximos, como bien, el poder, la violencia familiar o la promiscuidad con elementos fantásticos, la existencia de una Orden basada en la maldad, cuyo único objetivo es la supervivencia por encima de cualquier impedimento humano. En ella, Gaspar, protagonista principal de la novela, se ve "Nuestra parte de noche, ubicada en la Argentina de los años 60, emana un contexto de duras represiones, controles policiales y un recorrido de fuertes imposiciones sociales. En ella, se entrelazan aspectos más próximos, como bien, el poder, la violencia familiar o la promiscuidad con elementos fantásticos, la existencia de una Orden basada en la maldad, cuyo único objetivo es la supervivencia por encima de cualquier impedimento humano. En ella, Gaspar, protagonista principal de la novela, se ve con la necesidad de madurar y afrontar situaciones como la relación de un padre enfermo, la carga de una bárbara herencia o escenas donde la malicia cobra el mayor de los aspectos humanos. La narración es fuerte, directa e, incluso, incansable. Mariana Enríquez pretende disolver la línea que separa lo real de lo irreal. De entender la potencia de unas palabras como ahora el poder, la maldad, la violencia, el terror o la repugnancia. Trata de desdibujar mitos con el fin de hacerlos próximos. Enríquez cree en la necesidad de hacer ver al lector que la muerte o lo macabro puede estar más presente de como nosotros mismos nos pensamos. De ver, en primera persona, la dureza de unos cuerpos torturados. Mentes violadas con la única voluntad incesante de encontrar un hilo de esperanza o una supuesta felicidad marcada." Laura Sala

  12. 4 out of 5

    Symon Vegro

    First of all, this took me a long time to finish, mainly because I only read it intermittently e.g. a chapter between finishing each work of fiction. This was because a) I much prefer reading fiction, and b) I found it very hard going ... That said, it’s probably me not the book. It was well written, but more importantly contains a key message about how we survive and prosper in the future, and how capitalism (as understood and functioning in the West) just isn’t working. I met Srećko at an event First of all, this took me a long time to finish, mainly because I only read it intermittently e.g. a chapter between finishing each work of fiction. This was because a) I much prefer reading fiction, and b) I found it very hard going ... That said, it’s probably me not the book. It was well written, but more importantly contains a key message about how we survive and prosper in the future, and how capitalism (as understood and functioning in the West) just isn’t working. I met Srećko at an event in London on 14.5.19 - where I bought the book - top man. I’d be delighted if he was the UK’s elected Head of State (instead of our ridiculous Queen).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Zoran Relic

    There something fresh about this book. It gives another perspective for figuring out time. The time that has passed while watching how some systems disintegrated (communism, social democracies..), and the rise of capitalism that got us to the brink of the inevitable Apocalypse in the future. The book somewhat gives hope that there are things that need to be focused on such as the constant struggle for the better cause and wellbeing on a micro-scale. There are several interesting examples and quo There something fresh about this book. It gives another perspective for figuring out time. The time that has passed while watching how some systems disintegrated (communism, social democracies..), and the rise of capitalism that got us to the brink of the inevitable Apocalypse in the future. The book somewhat gives hope that there are things that need to be focused on such as the constant struggle for the better cause and wellbeing on a micro-scale. There are several interesting examples and quotations that I can really agree on. In my personal opinion, some issues could be more elaborated.

  14. 5 out of 5

    rabble.ca

    Review by Raluca Bejan: Author and activist Srećko Horvat's new book is billed as a guidebook for building "a new radical internationalism" that can help us transcend our current moment of "apocalyptic politics." Horvat's claims to radical novelty are ironic, however, since his work seems to be a poor imitation of the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek. Continue reading: https://rabble.ca/books/reviews/2019/... Review by Raluca Bejan: Author and activist Srećko Horvat's new book is billed as a guidebook for building "a new radical internationalism" that can help us transcend our current moment of "apocalyptic politics." Horvat's claims to radical novelty are ironic, however, since his work seems to be a poor imitation of the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek. Continue reading: https://rabble.ca/books/reviews/2019/...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cathryn

    To preserve civilisation, we need to build a new community. And to build that community, we can to look to examples from recent history and around us today. Yugoslavia in World War II, when the resistance was probably the most effective in Europe. Communes in Catalunya, finding ways to live after the 2008 crash. The G20 protests in Hamburg two years ago. Melancholia is an indulgence. We must have hope, even if we lack optimism.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anja

    "What if the coming apocalypse opens up a chance, maybe for the first time, not only to understand humanity as the whole, as totality, but to create a totality in the sense of a global community that would be structured in a radically different way from the one we are inhabiting now?" As paradoxical as it might sound, COVID-19 is our chance. "What if the coming apocalypse opens up a chance, maybe for the first time, not only to understand humanity as the whole, as totality, but to create a totality in the sense of a global community that would be structured in a radically different way from the one we are inhabiting now?" As paradoxical as it might sound, COVID-19 is our chance.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Preston Price

    An inspiring and hopeful analysis of why the future must create our desires presently. Srecko is a wonderful person and it comes across the page, especially his desire for change in the midst of terror on all sides. We need poetry now, and we need it more than ever,

  18. 4 out of 5

    Frank Karioris

    A stunningly clear, and open-eyed book that lays out in simple terms and with great perspicacity the core issues of our time, and, more so, the statement that we must - for all the issues - maintain a statement towards the future, as it is both ever present but always forthcoming and possible.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tabs

    An outline of some of the world's problems, some examples of counter-capitalism movements the author is in favour of, and a message of hope without optimism that is formulated by a confusing description of a relationship to the present moment. An outline of some of the world's problems, some examples of counter-capitalism movements the author is in favour of, and a message of hope without optimism that is formulated by a confusing description of a relationship to the present moment.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ietrio

    The drama of a Christian White male who feels he does not receive all the entitlements he decided he deserves.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Geybels Arne

    A book for all the people who don't want neoliberal or neofascist politics ruling the globe. There is a third option for all the creative and humanistic comrades out there. Let us make the future together in the now. A book for all the people who don't want neoliberal or neofascist politics ruling the globe. There is a third option for all the creative and humanistic comrades out there. Let us make the future together in the now.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amid

  24. 5 out of 5

    Judith

  25. 5 out of 5

    Luka

  26. 5 out of 5

    Стефан Гончаров

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mairi

  28. 4 out of 5

    Erdinç

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  30. 5 out of 5

    Iva Miholic

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