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Can We Count on Catastrophe? _on Ecoshock

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ECOSHOCK — Can We Count on Catastrophe?

Would a crisis benefit Left or Right? — Should we hope for a crisis as a way out? In-depth discussion with Eddie Yuen from Pacifica’s “Against the Grain” radio show, on book “Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth.”

Humans easily fixate on catastrophe, whether real or imaginary. Does the nation, the economy, or even civilization need to collapse in order to start anew? Who benefits if we think like that, and would things get better or worse?

The producers of the long-running radio program “Against the Grain” teamed up with others, to write an influential if controversial book about all that. It was published in 2012 with the title “Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth.”

Why bring that back now? Three reasons: some listeners suggest I’m too fixated on collapse, at the expense of solutions. Meanwhile, in America Donald Trump, and others in Europe, feed on creating public fear.

And finally, there are signs more people are afraid something awful is about to happen, or already happening behind the scenes. Not to mention the science of the rapidly developing climate catastrophe, which is all too real.

I’ve reached out to one of the authors, Eddie Yuen. Eddie teaches in the Urban Studies Department at the San Francisco Art Institute. He is the co-editor, of the book “Confronting Capitalism: Dispatches from a Global Movement.” He’s written about popular movements, the politics of Right and Left, and the role of apocalypse in environmentalism.

Along with Sasha Lilley, another author in the book, Eddie has been a radio producer for “Against the Grain” on KPFA, the Pacifica flagship station in Berkeley and the Bay area.

Speakers: Eddie Yuen, Sasha Lilley. Interview by Alex Smith for Radio Ecoshock. Clips of Sasha Lilley from “Against the Grain” KPFA archive, November 12, 2012. Background music by Alex Smith.

Show blog published Wednesday at http://www.ecoshock.info with all the links. Visit Radio Ecoshock here.


This show was broadcast on October 28, 2016.

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