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After the Apocalypse →

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Published by Owen Hatherley

This, on those all-too-common historical “everything had to change, so that everything could stay the same” moments, and how we deal with them, resonated with me.

Responses include nostalgia (sometimes for grotesque forms of communism, I suspect), esotericism, melancholy, religion, apostasy and even fascism.

In 1936, Walter Benjamin spotted this impulse in Italian Futurism’s love of war and the destruction of towns and cities, which eventually fed into Italian Fascism – Fascism was a sign that capitalist culture’s ‘self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order.’

Hatherley ends on a suitably pessimistic note, but argues that all these sometimes understandable – and even pleasurable – responses don’t necessarily stand in opposition to action and organising.

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