“I saw the agony of capitalism and the dismantling of social civilization from a very particular point of view: crime and suicide.”
Berardi is a member of the Autonomia collective & the founder of Radio Alice…danged if I know? – but he operates composed but excoriating critique of the dystopification-fast-track that capitalism, technocracy, celebrity & virtual vapidity is rapidly unveiling from the same kind of angle as the Invisible Committee (most probably simplified under the identity of the ‘radical left’).
He claws huge amounts of history, spectacle, theory, rumination & opinion over a perceived (& I am definitely not disagreeing) collapse, or major deformity, of civilization & the phenomenon driving & resulting from this on-air melt-down. A central fixation of his work (certainly for this book) is mass shootings, & therefore particularly the United States of America, as that’s overwhelmingly where people feel so compelled to gun-down their fellow citizens in fatal exclamations (an atrocity that the country insists on remaining readily available if not elementary due to the ubiquity & ease of gun possession). James Holmes, Sueng-Hui Cho, Eric Harris, Aaron Alexis, Anders Breivik & many variant casualties of futility, alienation, diminishment & despair fall onto the examination table. The second topic of concentration (often combined with the shooting sprees) is suicide, another phenomenon which finds its highest frequency overwhelmingly in developed western cultures. Berardi just lets rip! Dashing between interconnecting mediums, source & events along with manifestos, statements, written material & communiques extracted from blogs, forums, chat-rooms, newspapers, film & connecting medleys (perpetrators, victims, commentators, witnesses etc). He is all over the place (as is necessary for such a subject) but steadies a consistent & withering momentum of coherency & focus. The merciless nihilism of Neoliberalist butchery is his prime culprit with a lot of attention given to its suffocation of anything of value, even to it’s own detriment.
“Similar effects of submission, impoverishment and exploitation are produced by the imposition of an all-pervasive system of debt over the body of society, transforming money into blackmail.”
His final assessment is pretty damn bleak, & one a disagree with in its full totality (yet completely understand the deciding logic in such a conclusion & prognosis). But the book heaves with writing, analysis, information & exegete that are certifiably excellent, as is his pronounced clarity on the nidus of the destruction running amok & vitiating all – “capitalist absolutism” which is creating an entirely new nightmare terrain with its own insane & anomalous atmosphere & flaws of gravity.
Verso Futures, 2015, Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, 226 pages.