our mission

We are already in the early stages of an era that can only be described by that which it succeeds: we live in postcapitalist times. They may turn out dystopic, utopic or anything in between. Through art and research, argument and poetry, mέta (the abbreviation of our Centre for Postcapitalist Civilisation) works to break with a dystopic present to imagine the world anew – to grasp our present historical moment so as to help radical progressive movements find a path from the emergent dismal postcapitalism to one worth fighting, and living, for.

Announcing a New Progressive, International Art & Research Centre 

Why postcapitalist? 

Because capitalism has already undermined itself with extraordinary force spawning a new historical phase that is at once postcapitalist and barbaric. 

From its inception, capitalism was driven by “a universal energy which breaks every limit and every bond and posits itself as the only policy, the only universality, the only limit and the only bond.”[1] What was that universal energy? Profit – the sole passion that replaced all other forms of greed. Today, this is no longer true. 

Today, zombie megafirms and bankrupt megabanks enjoy power in inverse proportion to their profits, courtesy of endless injections of public monies. When external shocks, like Covid-19, infect the massive bubbles supporting socialism-for-the-oligarchy, sinister exploitation deepens, insufferable inequalities skyrocket, and climate catastrophe beckons. And as our stunted democracies are further poisoned, electrified border fences, xenophobia, and new forms of barbarism rise up. 

Capitalism is, silently, being replaced by a technologically advanced feudalism. Neoliberalism is now what Marxism-Leninism used to be during the Soviet 1980s: an ideology utterly at odds even with the regime invoking it. Following the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1991, and of financialised capitalism in 2008, we are well into a new phase in which capitalism is dying and socialism is refusing to be born. 

What happens next will depend on whether an effective progressive movement can emerge to counter both faces of barbarism: the Oligarchy-Without-Borders and the New Fascists who promise to make the disenchanted “proud again” by turning them against each other. Set up by Greek parliamentary party MeRA25 (a branch of the transnational European movement DiEM25, and a member of the Progressive International), mέta‘s mission is to become a unique international intellectual, artistic, scholarly and cultural hub for radical progressive movements across Europe and the world: a centre not only for researching postcapitalism but also for working toward its… civilisation.

Why civilisation?

In 1916, Rosa Luxembourg warned[2] that “bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism.” However, in 1940 Walter Benjamin cautioned progressives never to forget that every piece of culture is saturated in barbarism.[3]

To defeat barbarism, rather than to give it a new spin, mέta acknowledges the dual role of both theory and art: emancipatory and oppressive. Culture and analysis can liberate just as powerfully as they can support new tyrannies. Luxembourg’s and Benjamin’s invocations shall therefore remain central to mέta work as we break with the dystopic present and imagine the world anew. 

Through art and research, argument and poetry, mέta will strive to help progressive movements break with a dismal present to imagine the world anew – to grasp our present historical moment so as to pave the way to a world worth fighting, and living, for. 


NOTES

[1] Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, 1844.

[2] Quoting Karl Kautsky.

[3] “In the historical materialist they have to reckon with a distanced observer. For what he surveys as the cultural heritage is part and parcel of a lineage [Abkunft: descent] which he cannot contemplate without horror. It owes its existence not only to the toil of the great geniuses, who created it, but also to the nameless drudgery of its contemporaries. There has never been a document of culture, which is not simultaneously one of barbarism. And just as it is itself not free from barbarism, neither is it free from the process of transmission, in which it falls from one set of hands into another. The historical materialist thus moves as far away from this as measurably possible. He regards it as his task to brush history against the grain.”

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