In the summer issue of Commune magazine, critical theorist and psychedelics scholar Emma Stamm explores how Mark Fisher’s notion of “acid communism” – the title of a book he was working on when he died – has been taken up and expanded by activists, fellow scholars, and cultural producers. As Stamm writes, “‘acid communism’ represents the idea that psychologically profound experiences – including the use of psychedelic drugs – should be used to galvanize anticapitalist movements.” Fisher thought that psychedelic culture could help revive a collective imagination that has been appropriated and strangled by neoliberal capitalism. Stamm shows how acid communism has animated a surprising diversity of recent cultural and political projects, from conferences and music festivals to radical scholarship and activist groups. Check out an excerpt below.
In the wake of Fisher’s suicide, several activist initiatives took up the Acid Communist banner. The 2018 transmediale festival, an annual arts and culture event in Berlin, included a workshop called “Building Acid Communism.” Workshop leaders gave the audience a series of prompts aimed at “unveiling and exploring the precise idea of freedom” that motivated left-wing activists. These questions inquired into how participants experienced boredom, whether fashion and style mattered to their political identity, and the last time they felt truly free from work, among other issues. Meanwhile, a spate of recent articles about Acid Communism reflect the multiple ways it might be interpreted. In one editorial, Jeremy Gilbert points out that the concept has taken on other names, including “freak left,” “psychedelic socialism,” and in the UK, “Acid Corbynism.” Acid Corbynism is referenced in the title for Gilbert’s new podcast, #ACFM (Acid Corbynism FM), which investigates “the links between Left-wing politics and culture, music and experiences of collective joy.” Although they are eclectic, these endeavors agree that the psychedelic sixties might make a reappearance in the political future. The work of Acid Communism, it seems, is just beginning.
Image via Commune magazine.