The Dissonance of Things #6: Logistics – Violence, Empire and Resistance

EXODUS-IV-Hong-Kong-China-2010
Source: Marcus Lyon

This May, The Dissonance of Things switches out British accents for those of the vaguely North American variety, as I serve as host for our sixth podcast on the topic of logistics and its role in the making of military, capitalist, and imperial relations. I’m joined by our very own Laleh Khalili of the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the wonderful Deborah Cowen of the University of Toronto. Together, we take a look at the increasing ubiquity and prominence of logistics as a mode for organizing social and spatial life. We discuss how this seemingly banal concern with the movement of goods is actually foundational to contemporary global capitalism and imperialism, reshaping patterns of inequality, undermining labor power, and transforming strategies of governance. We also ask: what might a counter-logistical project look like? What role does logistics play in anti-colonial and anti-capitalist struggles across the globe?

Listen via iTunes or through the Soundcloud player below.

As always, listen, enjoy, argue, share, and leave us your thoughts below the line. You can also follow our past and future casts on soundcloud.

 

Further reading:
– Deborah Cowen’s The Deadly Life of Logistics
– Laleh’s blog on maritime logistics, The Gamming

Capitalism: A History of Violence

Alexander Anievas and TDOT resident Kerem Nişancıoğlu introduce their new book How The West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism.


‘For the last two decades, challenges to the inequalities and injustices of capitalism have been casually dismissed by a status quo swimming in hubris. From Margaret Thatcher’s infamous proclamation that ‘there is no alternative’ to Francis Fukuyama’s declaration of the ‘end of history’, the study and critique of capitalism has been relegated to margins of public discourse. More recently, Mark Hunter argued that any attack on capitalism is ‘an attack on human nature’, thereby reaffirming the now centuries-old conceit that capitalism is as ‘natural and organic’ as living and breathing.

However, as stock markets came crashing down in 2008, the force of history reasserted itself in a series of revolutions, square occupations, anti-austerity protests, strikes, riots, and anti-state movements taking place from London to Ferguson, Athens, Cairo, Istanbul, Rojava, Santiago and beyond. Such movements have torn at the certainties of ‘capitalist realism’ and started sporadically – if inconsistently – challenging such long-held ‘common sense’ truisms and the power structures that bolster them.

howthewest

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