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Europe’s new Janus face

Between compassion and solidarity and how fighting for the commons can avoid an anthropological catastrophe.

Over the last three decades, the promise for a better environment and a better life turned from a collective affair into a private affair. When Bush, Blair, Sarkozy, etc. promised better environment, education, housing, and health for all, the real promise was one of enabling everybody to become deeply indebted in order to purchase their future welfare credits. It was a promise which enrolled livelihoods, bodies, and the future labour of whole nations into global financial speculative mechanisms, and turned millions of people across the globe into Indebted Wo/men (Lazzarato 2007),  a new bio-political subject whose future depends on the performance of global financial markets.  The paper focuses on two movements: the PAH (Barcelona, Spain) and SOSte-to-nero/136 (Thessaloniki, Greece) that questioned this process.  The movements instituted radical processes of subjectivisation which took citizens outside the cadre of defining themselves as indebted subjects whose sole option is to sell their commons to global speculators. This radical gesture opens up a politics against a pending ‘anthropological catastrophe’ (Castoriadis 1987), i.e.  of establishing the indebted wo/man as the inevitable anthropological category for financial capitalism.


Maria Kaika University of Manchester


17:30 > 19:30




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