2007 - 2022

Clear Bright Future: a Radical Defence of the Human Being

The current chaos contains the seeds of revolutionary change, argues Paul Mason the author of PostCapitalism. In Clear Bright Future a Radical Defence of the Human Being, Paul Mason calls for a radical, impassioned defence of the human being, our universal rights and freedoms and our power to change the world around us.

This is from Novara Media where James Butler interviews Paul Mason to discuss his new book. Mason talks about drawing on early Marx and his focus on “human life and its destiny”, he also draws on writers like Erich Fromm (Fear and Freedom); Hebert Marcuse (One Dimensional Man); Hannah Arendt; and CLR James to explore a humanist or Aristotelian Marxism.

Mason explores the fate of late-capitalist culture referencing Fromm’s talks of an “inner tiredness” in 20th C humankind and he explores Hannah Arendt to reflect on the rise of authoritarianism in the West, where she talks of the rise of the far-right as a “temporary alliance of the elite and the mob”.

Mason further argues that – citing the recent abortion ban in Alabama for example – that mainstream conservatism is losing its defences against fascism.

Mason is drawing on early Marxist and New Left theorists to try and resurrect the Left as a practical tool while shedding the dogmatic and narrowly ideological elements from its theories. It’s a brave, compelling and endlessly vital task.   “Man is a species-being,” Marx wrote, “because he treats himself as a universal and therefore a free being.” Mason believes we are on the brink of achieving what Marx wanted: “the alteration of human beings on a mass scale, in order to take advantage of such freedom”.

Clear Bright Future ends with a quote by the brilliant John Holloway, to “create cracks in capitalist domination, spaces or moments in which we live out our dream of being human”.

Clear Bright Future is published by Penguin, buy it from Lighthouse Bookshop here.


Comments (2)

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  1. Dougie Blackwood says:

    The ideals of the Left are admirable but in most iterations they are unable to accept any slight deviation from the one true path as seen by each individual. The result is that we never get more than a couple of dozen together before they argue and split. To the uncommitted observer their ideas are like the curate’s egg, good in parts but in the end useless.

    Long ago we had a good attempt with the formation of the early Labour party. This was made practical and, in my view fully acceptable, in the actions of the 1945 Labour government. Unfortunately over the years that party has been subsumed and split; we have the Tony Blair followers that are Tory in all but name and the useless and indecisive Jeremy Corbyn that talks a good game some of the time but couldn’t organise the proverbial piss up in a brewery.

    1. Jo says:

      “The ideals of the Left are admirable but in most iterations they are unable to accept any slight deviation from the one true path as seen by each individual.”

      Indeed, and anyone not on the one true path is a right-wing fascist.

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