Topic of the Week: Anarchist Fiction and Futures
Fiction holds a certain allure in its capacity to spark our imaginative visions of the sort of lives or worlds we could be living and interacting in if we weren’t quarantined to the reality of our present. How stable is this presumed reality of the present that seems so counterintuitive in contrast to worlds dominated by the anarchist idea—worlds relegated to the imagination? What power or importance does fiction have in fomenting anarchist ideas? Does fiction have to be explicitly anarchist to be in-line with or contributory towards anarchist thought? What are some examples of authors or stories that have inspired or aroused the anarchist idea in ways you may have subsequently come to envision yet may not have otherwise? How do utopian visions of what one may call an anarchist world, such as that described in P.M.’s bolo’bolo, alter our desire for something different compared to darker visions of the future such as that presented in Orwell’s classic 1984 (though neither author is/was an anarchist)?
How can we conceive worlds with different settings and ways of life that don’t fall into the liberal consumer trap by simply offering new markets to sell such ways of living (or the techno-industrial advancements offered by speculative science-fiction or futurism)? Is it dangerous to attempt to imagine a so-called better world, or is it safer to present fictional scenarios that highlight the horrors of the world we’re already in, or dark visions of what our world may become? How do scientific visions of the future, such as those presented by global warming theorists, or Christian-based apocalyptic visions of the future differ from a potentially anarchist vision of what may lie ahead?
Can mainstream media break through its consumer-driven package to present anarchist ideas, delivering anarchistic messages in the Trojan Horse vessel of mass-distribution afforded by Hollywood, or are such formats doomed to the forces of recuperation from the start? If mass media is hopeless, how do we present our stories to the audiences we desire, and how do we choose our audience (or otherwise let go of that control over who we are able to reach)?