‘The global capitalist system is approaching an apocalyptic zero-point,’ Slavoj Žižek observes in Living in the End Times. For Žižek, the four riders are climate change, biogenetics, system imbalances (from intellectual property to water as a resource) and ever-increasing social divisions. Perhaps belief in the apocalypse is not only for fundamentalists: there are many moments one feels these might be the final days of capitalism. There are only so many billions of people it can exhaust, so many planets it can devour.
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Capital flows freely across the globe, picking the cheapest labour force it can; workers of different countries are pitted against each other in a race to the bottom on wages, working conditions and rates of tax on the operation of companies. It seems a quixotic venture to attempt to establish socialism — or even social democracy — in one country, when the benefits accruing to its citizens can be wiped out by currency devaluation, disinvestment and an exodus of industry to a country with lower (or to use the euphemism preferred by politicians, more ’competitive’) labour costs and tax.
Holding the Man is a tough narrative to summarise in a tweet, or on deadline for a six-hundred-word stock-format review. Certain themes predominate in critical and audience responses to the play and the film: the idea of a ‘faithful’ adaptation of the book, that is ‘really’, ‘above all’, or ‘fundamentally’ a ‘love story’ and ‘for all of us’.
Although to my current taste, Medieval Death Bot is one of the funniest things on Twitter right now, Corbyn Warnings is running a close second. Corbyn Warnings is a parody account playing on the drumbeat of hostile Warnings by MPs, Labour ‘grandees’ and former leaders who have spectacularly failed, if the polls are to be believed, to warn the UK party’s membership and supporters against the allegedly unelectable Islington North MP, Jeremy Corbyn.