A new leftist critique of power and money.
Srećko Horvat is a Croatian philosopher and activist. With Yanis Varoufakis he started the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025. In Poetry from the Future, Horvat provides a critique of modern capitalism and the policy trends it has created from a leftist point of view. Most of the world's major ills – the overreach of information technology, increasingly authoritarian governments, climate change, the phenomenon of Donald Trump – all get examined in detail.
While Horvat's style can be dense and wordy at times (he is a philosopher after all, so can be forgiven for the many references to Hegel, Marx, etc.), he still manages to put across his point in a succinct manner. The basic takeaway of the book is that we all need to do our bit in chipping away at the seemingly impenetrable capitalist fortress that keeps our lives in check. Traditional activism, Horvat argues, is tired and isn't working particularly well. More is needed. That means individuals need to take more action in their daily lives if climate change and rampant capitalism is to be successfully tackled.
The sheer power that business and government wields against the everyday citizen, as grimly outlined in the book, can often be daunting. A feeling of helplessness often overtakes the reader. Nevertheless, for those seeking new ways of confronting establishment power, Poetry from the Future is informative and thought provoking.
Poetry from the Future: Why a Global Liberation Movement is our Civilisation's Last Chance, by Srecko Horvat. Penguin. $19.99
Review by Chris Saliba
North Melbourne Books