Logistics and Counterlogistics in an Age of Walled Flows

Thursday, April 20, 19:00h @MaMa

The logistics revolution has facilitated a truly global restructuring of capitalist production and circulation, such that a single consumer good, broken down into component parts, may circle the globe many times before it reaches its final destination. But the logistics “revolution” should, in fact, be thought of a counter-revolution, as it was undertaken chiefly in order to remove from labor its chief weapon against capital, the strike. From pipeline to border wall, proletarian struggles increasingly shift to the sphere of circulation. In the new reactionary populism of the late 2010s, the contradictions of the logistics revolution – accelerating the commodity and value flows, while controlling the movement of proletarians – come to the fore, as right-wing movements and politicians put forward a putative program of protectionism and isolation bound to conflict with the imperatives of multinational capital. The social movements of our day themselves absorb these contradictions at the level of strategy and tactics, crushed between the flow and the wall, forced to blockade and to dismantle, to obstruct and to remove all obstructions.

Jasper Bernes is author of two books of poetry, Starsdown (2007) and We Are Nothing and So Can You (2015), and a scholarly book, The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization (Stanford, 2017). He is presently at work on a book about revolution in the 21st century. Poems, essays, and other writings can be found in Modern Language Quarterly, Radical Philosophy, Endnotes, Lana Turner, The American Reader, Critical Inquiry and elsewhere. Together with Juliana Spahr and Joshua Clover, he edits Commune Editions. He lives in Berkeley with his family.