US Indymedia Global Indymedia Publish About us
Printed from Boston IMC :
IVAW Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier
Brad Presente

Other Local News

Spare Change News
Open Media Boston
Somerville Voices
Cradle of Liberty
The Sword and Shield

Local Radio Shows

WMBR 88.1 FM
What's Left
WEDS at 8:00 pm
Local Edition
FRI (alt) at 5:30 pm

WMFO 91.5 FM
Socialist Alternative
SUN 11:00 am

WZBC 90.3 FM
Sounds of Dissent
SAT at 11:00 am
Truth and Justice Radio
SUN at 6:00 am

Create account Log in
Comment on this article | View comments | Email this article | Printer-friendly version
Announcement :: Politics
Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War
11 Jun 2005
social historian, writer and activist reads from his new book

(Verso Press 2005)

7 PM

549 Columbus Avenue
Boston’s South End


Afflicted Powers is an account of world politics since September 11, 2001. It aims to confront the perplexing doubleness of the present—its lethal mixture of atavism and new-fangledness. The world careers backward into forms of ideological and geo-political combat that call to mind the Scramble for Africa, and the Wars of Religion. But this brute return of the past is accompanied by an equally monstrous political deployment of (and entrapment in) the apparatus of a hyper-modern production of appearances. Capital is on the move again. In the Middle East and elsewhere it is attempting, nakedly, a new round of primitive accumulation and enclosure.

Now, however, it is obliged to do so in unprecedented circumstances. Never before has imperialist victory or defeat depended so much on a struggle for hegemony in the world of images; never before has the dominant world power been subject to real catastrophe in the realm of the spectacle. The present turn to empire and enclosure—what Retort terms military neo-liberalism—is confronted not only by various forms of radical Islam but by a new kind of vanguard armed with the toolkit of spectacular politics. This book attempts to rethink certain key aspects of the current global struggle within this overall perspective, and to provide some critical support for present and future oppositions. Its main themes are the spectacle and September 11, blood for oil, permanent war and illusory peace, the US–Israel relationship, revolutionary Islam, and modernity and terror.

"This provocative and wide-ranging inquiry -- part analysis, part manifesto -- brings to light a new phase in the historical process of primitive accumulation, a form of bitter class war and social reconstruction now proceeding in the guise of what the authors depict as 'military neo-liberalism'. The conclusions and analysis are brought to bear incisively on central events of the contemporary world, and . . . on how its serious threats can be confronted." - Noam Chomsky

“A comprehensive analysis of America’s relationship with the world. No stone is left unturned. The maggots exposed are grotesque.” - Harold Pinter

IAIN BOAL was a member of the Pumping Station Collective, a 1980s Boston-based group of writers, artists, builders and teachers. He is a social historian of science and technics, and director of the Environmental Politics Colloquium at the Institute of International Studies at UC Berkeley. He is associated with Retort, whose new book Afflicted Powers has its origins in an anti-war broadside, Neither Their War Nor Their Peace, composed for the demonstrations of Spring 2003. He was co-editor of Resisting the Virtual Life: The Culture and Politics of Information (City Lights) and author of The Long Theft: Episodes in the History of Enclosure (forthcoming). He has just been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to research the bicycle in world culture.

RETORT is a gathering of antagonists to capital and empire, based for two decades in the San Francisco Bay Area. The present book arises from the group’s efforts to confront the current political moment and some of the main forms of resistance to it. Involved in the writing were Iain Boal, T. J. Clark, Joseph Matthews, and Michael Watts.
See also:

This work is in the public domain
Add a quick comment
Your name Your email


Text Format
Anti-spam Enter the following number into the box:
To add more detailed comments, or to upload files, see the full comment form.


What you really mean
11 Jun 2005
"Now, however, it is obliged to do so in unprecedented circumstances. Never before has imperialist victory or defeat depended so much on a struggle for hegemony in the world of images;"

--In other words, Never before has the Soviet Union been so dead and gone that Americans could roll on thru the world and do what we do best. Mother Russia cannot stop we Imperialists anymore.
Re: Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War
12 Jun 2005

I'm pretty sure that (like me and most radicals reading this site) Situationists hated the Soviets and counted them as a major imperialist power

YOU LOSE trollypoo
an unkind reply to RETORT (Iain Boal, TJ Clark et al)
13 Jun 2005
the HTML function doesn't work (see block of text and coding above).

Just click this link:
for a situationist critique of RETORT's sub-situationist Leftism