‘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.
According to Žižek, we must move through Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance; after that, we arrive at enthusiasm for our own emancipation from capitalism.
This special extended edition of Overland is a record of urgent moments, pieces that read like messages from Žižek’s four riders – Luke Stegemann on Europe’s inevitable disintegration, Jason Wilson on coming to terms with the planetary changes humans have wrought, Anwen Crawford on ageing residents struggling to keep their community, Jennifer Mills on what happens to a city post apocalypse, Ken MacLeod on utopias and dystopias, and David Lockwood on life under surveillance. There is also the essay that catalogues the recent mass killings of women; the writer remains anonymous because we live in a time when it’s dangerous to be a feminist.
There are more personalised views of worlds ending in the fiction by Omar Musa and Zahid Gamieldien, while the poetry bends language to make new realities.
In this issue, it is a great privilege to be publishing the winners of the Overland National Union of Workers Fair Australia Prize, which asked entrants to imagine a more equitable society. Congratulations to the winners.
Lastly, thanks to all the contributors, editors, designers, volunteers, and the National Union of Workers and its members for their support of this issue.