'Talks' series: Riot. Strike. Riot.

Joshua Clover in conversation about his recent book Riot. Strike. Riot.

Thursday 6 April, 18.00, at SixtyEight Art Institute, Gothersgade 167.

Joshua Clover, poet and professor of literature, will discuss his recent book Riot. Strike. Riot., which seeks to provide us with a theory of riot and strike within a new history of capitalism. Tracing the history of the riot from the village marketplace to the global city and the freeway via the strikes of the industrial era, he finds a transformation of capital from circulation-based to production-based and back again, with a difference. Focusing on the United States and Britain, which have been the loci of much popular revolt in the industrialized era, Riot. Strike. Riot. addresses the re-emergence of riot in the twentieth century and up to the present, investigating the ways in which it is similar to price-setting in the seventeenth century marketplace, while also uncovering the characteristics which are unique to its most recent iterations.

The talk will address several of the book’s most crucial ideas, such as the respective links between strike and production and riot and circulation, capital’s creation of a ‘surplus population’ of workers whom it does not require for work yet are in need of employment, the racialization of people surplus to capitalism’s requirements, and as a corollary the recomposition of class distinctions. Why is that the strike is no longer an effective form of protest, and what does a rioting crowd signal by occupying places of circulation? The talk will also speculate on the role riots and revolt may or may not play in the near future, as capital undergoes further changes due to the pressure of new forms of commerce, as robots begin to replace people in certain fields of labour, and some states begin to consider the idea of the living wage as a viable form of social organization.