“I think we need grit, responsibility and determination instead of hope.” An excellent, insightful interview with Wendy Brown by Jo Littler on the way neoliberalism is changing and what we need to be doing about it . . .
|Wendy Brown (photo source)|
You can read it at this link and I cannot recommend it strongly enough:
Where the fires are
It certainly speaks to my own situation as a minister in a small, local, radical and liberal Unitarian congregation (in Cambridge, UK) who is trying to articulate a shared political theology there that pushes back meaningfully and creatively against the excessive individualism that has not only allowed neoliberalism to get such a hold on our culture as a whole but which has been allowed to run amok through the modern Unitarian movement. It’s not that I’m trying to supress the individual — as a religious, communitarian anarchist inspired by people like Jesus, Winstanley, Tolstoy, Landauer and Critchley that is not an option — but rather I'm trying to find ways by which individuals can join together under some meaningful shared banner in order to encourage community solidarity from the ground up to challenge those whom we can still call “the ruling classes”.
If you read the interview (whether in it’s abridged or longer form) you’ll see that Brown is very keen to insist that this is a project in which the “experience of acting together in order to produce a difference in a certain political or economic setting is itself generative of hope” and that she goes on to say that “We can’t go looking for hope in the sky. We have to make it on earth. That’s the difference between a religious and a political attitude.”
It’s only at this point that I find myself disagreeing with Brown in any shape or form. Not with her point that we are wrong to look for hope in the sky — after all, as a kind of Christian a-theist I agree with her that we have to generate hope here on earth — but rather with her assumption that a religious attitude necessarily requires a person to look for “hope in the sky”. That’s just plain wrong as Ernst Bloch’s and Simon Critchley’s political theologies clearly show.
In the end, however, that’s a minor disagreement for Brown is, in my opinion, spot-on throughout.