“As major agriculture and oil multinationals set their sights on emerging markets for agrifuels, Carlsson describes caravans of veggie oil powered vehicles, smelling of popcorn and French fries, taking to the streets to spread inspiration and know-how about sustainable, small-scale biodiesel production… [This book is] a timely and valuable contribution to understandings of the myriad ways in which creative resistance operates always and everywhere.”-WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society
Outlaw bicycling, urban permaculture, biofuels, free software, and even the Burning Man festival are windows into a scarcely visible social transformation that is redefining politics as we know it. As capitalism continues to corral every square inch of the globe into its logic of money and markets, new practices are emerging through which people are taking back their time and technological know-how. In small, under-the-radar ways, they are making life better right now, simultaneously building the foundation—technically and socially—for a genuine movement of liberation from market life.
Nowtopia uncovers the resistance of a slowly recomposing working class in America. Rarely defining themselves by what they do for a living, people from all walks of life are doing incredible amounts of labor in their “non-work” time, creating immediate practical improvements in daily life. The social networks they create, and the practical experience of cooperating outside of economic regulation, become a breeding ground for new strategies to confront the commodification to which capitalism reduces us all.
The practices outlined in Nowtopia embody a deep challenge to the basic underpinnings of modern life, as a new ecologically driven politics emerges from below, reshaping our assumptions about science, technology, and human potential.
Chris Carlsson, executive director of the multimedia history project “Shaping San Francisco,” is a writer, publisher, editor, and community organizer. He has edited four collections of political and historical essays. He helped launch the monthly bike-ins known as Critical Mass, and was the longtime editor of Processed World magazine.