In the context of sustained economic and environmental crises, marked by extreme inequalities of wealth, rising xenophobia, racism and precarity, never has the need for a radical change of system been so pressing.
This book is an invitation to think the world otherwise. The author breathes new life into socialist thought through the deployment of an intersectional lens, bringing diverse struggles for emancipation both within and outside the Global North into dialogue with one another.
In doing so, he offers the kind of bold and holistic thinking the present situation calls for.
This chapter provides utopian insights into political life. It starts with the deployment of an intersectional lens for the critique of the state. Domination, it is argued, is integral to the modern liberal-capitalist state. For this reason, it must be replaced by an alternative socio-political institution. As an alternative is envisioned what anarchists and libertarian socialists called the ‘commune.’ This insight is complemented with a system of representation articulated around the notion of function – functional representation – on the basis of which representatives at local, regional societal, and governmental levels are periodically elected. This system, it is contended, is not only a more democratic and effective mode of representation, it is also particularly well-suited for bringing radical interdependence to life. This is why, finally, the chapter proposes to re-organize international relations away from the state and towards need/function by drawing on the work of international functionalists.
This chapter tackles the re-organization of economic life. It starts with reimagining work by grappling with the debate between the emancipation from work and emancipation through work thesis marking socialist thought. It is argued that instead of attempting to leave work behind, it must be collectivized and affirm radical interdependence by being re-orientated towards social value creation. It is also argued that such a conception of work presupposes a re-organization of the system of allocation of resources. An alternative to the market, which brings democratically organized associations of producers, consumers, and user groups into dialogue with one another is offered. Finally, the chapter tackles the issue of property, making explicit the reasons why a relationalized form is most suitable for affirming radical interdependence.
This chapter both further clarifies what the economic model drawn in the preceding chapter entails and provides utopian insights beyond those making up economic life. It starts by exposing the central role played by the sexual division of labour between production and reproduction in capitalist domination. More specifically, it shows that the separation of society into a private sphere of domesticity and public sphere of work is itself underpinned by divisive and hierarchizing binaries around which capitalist domination operates. Then, the task of envisioning an alternative to this division of labour is undertaken. Maria Mies’ (2014a) notion of ‘production of immediate life’ is shown to be central in understanding how to affirm the radical interdependence between production and reproduction in the dialogically coordinated allocation of resources. The chapter ends with insights into alternative kin relations that such a new relationship between production and reproduction paves the way for. Overall, this chapter aims to show that in order to move beyond the production/reproduction split marking capitalist domination, one must not only institutionalize caring practices within material production, but also treat reproductive life as a form of labour akin to the labour of care imagined in productive life.
This chapter explains that the intersectionalist utopia drawn in the book is informed by an approach to intersectionality predominantly influenced by the work of Global South scholars. This distinctively counter-cultural approach, known as ‘co-formation’ (Collins, 2019), will be shown to exhibit several parallels with the concept of pluriversality found within Latin American decolonial scholarship. The relationality presupposed by such a pluriversal approach to intersectionality, it is further argued, distinguishes itself from other relational approaches like actor-network theory in its attempt to analyse power by exposing the radical interdependence of diverse structures of domination. The chapter ends with a discussion of the affinity between pluriversal intersectionality and the libertarian strand of socialist thought and shows how, broadly speaking, the latter can provide a fruitful basis upon which to institutionalize radical interdependence.
The introductory chapter makes explicit the conception of utopia adopted in the book. It is shown that Ruth Levitas’ understanding of utopia as a ‘method’ heavily influenced the way intersectionality and socialism are brought into dialogue with one another. Then, intersectionality is defined and the way it will be deployed in rethinking socialism is presented. The chapter ends by situating the book within the contemporary scholarship on non-capitalist alternatives/utopias, highlighting the singularity of the utopia formulated here, and introducing the structure of the book.
The intersectional socialist utopia whose contours start being drawn from Chapter 3 aims to offer an alternative to such dispossessional practices. To this end, it is grounded in a conception of emancipation which is directed at large-scale structural change and articulates self-actualization with radical interdependence. In this chapter, then, the decision to choose the term emancipation is justified, and its use is clarified. A particular emphasis is placed on the relationship between difference/individuality and commonality/collectivity entailed by pluriversal emancipation. It is shown that pluriversal emancipation presupposes a distinctive form of identity thinking whereby difference is treated as a bond. The chapter ends with a discussion of the subject of pluriversal emancipation, whose mobilization emerges from the diverse struggles’ recognition of their radical interdependence. The key contribution of this chapter, then, lies in laying the conceptual groundwork for envisioning radical interdependence in an intersectional socialist utopia. The following three chapters clarify the institutional framework that could bring this radical interdependence to life.
The intersectional lens offered by pluriversal intersectionality is deployed in an effort to probe the operations of capitalist domination. It begins by engaging with the distinction Nancy Fraser (1995) makes between struggles for redistribution and those for recognition. Such a framework, it is claimed, serves as a useful starting point for thinking about pluriversal intersectionality. More specifically, contrasting it with Fraser’s conceptual distinction helps clarifying what pluriversality sets out to achieve in terms of analysis of power and domination. Then the importance of recognizing that the society/nature binary is not simply an outcome of capitalist social domination but predicates it is highlighted. It marks an attempt to clarify the relationship between social and environmental domination analysed through the prism of pluriversal intersectionality. Finally, the chapter presents the story of capitalist domination as a story of dispossession by exposing the different dispossessional practices capitalism has paved the way for.
The book concludes with reflections on the way intersectional socialism would be expected to tackle some contemporary issues like the cost of living crisis of the early 2020s. The chapter then turns to a range of important potential objections/criticisms of that utopia. Responses and clarifications are provided for each of those potential objections, those objections, all in an effort to clarify what the utopia in question consists of, as well as what it sets out (and does not set out) to achieve.