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Outsider Publishing and Capitalist Realism Today


At the website of The Point, a left-leaning journal of politics and culture based in Chicago, Ben Jeffery interviews novelist and publisher Tariq Goddard. With Mark Fisher, Goddard founded Zero Books in 2009. Five years later they left Zero to found Repeater Books, which today publishes criticism, music writing, and fiction that is informed by radical theory but pitched at a general audience. In the interview, Goddard talks about what motivated the founding of Zero Books, the challenge of publishing serious intellectual fare, and the waning of capitalist realism as an ideology. Here’s an excerpt:

BJ: What does the term “capitalist realism” mean to you, these days?

TG: A state of affairs whose time has come and gone, I am relieved to say. Neoliberal free market fundamentalism—confused for common sense—has limited what we think of as possible in arts, culture and of course politics for the last thirty years. But it is teetering. I’m not idealistic enough to think that anything and everything is possible, but there’s a hell of lot more than what we’ve been encouraged to settle for and believe in. Capitalist realism has, I think, already struck its high-water mark. It is now just one point of view, rather than the horizon under which we all exist, and it’s increasingly associated with fading figures like Tony Blair and Hillary Clinton, who are close to becoming anachronisms in their own lifetimes. The doctrine’s greatest strength was always its sense of inevitability and finality. Having lost those, it will doubtless have to perform the same self-criticisms, and undergo the same efforts to moderate and reform itself, as all the leading ideologies of our age have had to. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of it, because fearfulness, which capitalist realism has always “positively” appealed to, will be a powerful political argument for as long as society exists. But as an ontology it’s on the back foot. And the more we talk about it ending, the more likely it is to expire.

Image: Tariq Goddard, head of Repeater Books. Via