In a world (and book review pages?) awash with books that don’t even hint at anything original, John Holloway’s ideas are like a breath of fresh air. Guardian reviewer Steven Poole‘s dig at the prose of crack capitalism might be warning readers that Crack Capitalism will be a tad more difficult than the likes of Naomi Klein’s “Disaster Capitalism” or Hitchens most recent rant. But I’ve always found John’s writing to be lucid and accessible even while challenging readers with less familiar constructions; I can’t even count the number of times I’ve used “in-against-and-beyond” in normal conversation without skipping a beat.
It’s no surprise that Poole is is guarded but “infectiously optimistic” about scattered practice of using a car as a planter for planting flowers or carrots, but one only needs to recall the wave of Reclaim the Streets protests where jackhammers tore up the streets to plant trees and sod.
As with the book, I hope it gives teeth to the becoming popular idea of everyday/quotidian resistance. Sabotaging the line, taking sickdays because we’re ‘sick of working’, and scribbling insults to the boss on the bathroom stall all go without question. Why don’t these work with social conflicts that extend outside of the workplace? Obvious examples like Greek anarchists burning down banks or the Zapatistas reclaiming popular sovereignty are glamorous. But what about situations without such moral certainty, where the battle lines haven’t been so clearly drawn?
The idea is to invert Poole’s snark – if ‘over the rainbow’ of a communist revolution all the neighborhood girls are at the park reading books and playing on the swing set, why not start with it? No doubt, short circuiting the revolution with the challenge of “lived communism” might simultaneously improve the material conditions of day to day life while avoiding the rituals of traditional left protest.
I look forward to reading Crack Capitalism in a few months when I’ve plowed through my doctoral exam reading. Until then, I’ll have to settle with nourishment from the cracks that already starting to snake their way through my life.
Where the Sidewalk Ends
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.
Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.