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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

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May 16, 2019

According to some, politics as usual is being rejected across the globe and faith in neoliberalism is fracturing beyond repair. Leading political theorist Nancy Fraser, in conversation with Jacobin publisher Bhaskar Sunkara, dissected neoliberalism’s current crisis and asserted that we might be able to wrest new futures from its ruins. Fraser outlined the ways that global political, ecological, economic, and social breakdown—symbolised, but not caused, by Trump’s election—has destroyed faith that neoliberal capitalism is beneficial to the majority.

Fraser drew from her book The Old is Dying and the New Cannot Be Born to explore how this faith was built through the late twentieth century by balancing two central tenets: recognition (who deserves rights) and distribution (who deserves income). When these began to fray, new forms of outsider populist politics emerged on the left and the right. These, Fraser argued, are symptoms of the larger crisis of hegemony for neoliberalism, a moment when, as Gramsci put it, “the old is dying and the new cannot be born.” Join Fraser and Sunkara and learn about this unique opportunity to build progressive populism into an emancipatory social force, one that may claim a new hegemony.

Nancy Fraser is the Henry and Louise A. Loeb Professor of Philosophy and Politics at the New School for Social Research. She works on social and political theory, feminist theory, and contemporary French and German thought. She is co-author with Cinzia Arruzza and Ttihi Bhattacharya of Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto and with Rahel Jaeggi of Capitalism: A Conversation in Critical Theory. Other books include Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis, and Redistribution or Recognition: A Critical-Philosophical Exchange with Axel Honneth.

Bhaskar Sunkara is the founding editor and publisher of Jacobin magazine and publisher of Catalyst: A Journal of Theory and Strategy. He is a former vice-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America, and the author of The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality.

Recorded live at The Forum at Town Hall Seattle on May 10, 2019.