The New Polis (2018)

Jonathan Morgan
Lone Star College
This paper challenges the notion that the only way to progress to a post-capitalist society is through the wholesale destruction of the capitalist economic system. Instead, I argue that Craft —an existential state and praxis informed by the creation and maintenance of objects of utility—is uniquely situated to effectively reclaim these systems due to its its focus on materiality over abstraction and its unique position as a socially aware form of praxis. This argument focuses not on competition, but on hyper-abstraction as the key driver of capitalist exploitation and its most glaring ethical flaw. Karl Marx's work on commodity fetishism is key to understanding this misguided form of abstraction which displaces commodities so far from their functional form that they feed into what Martin Heidegger termed gestell , or enframing. Postmodern attempts to destabilize capitalist influence in the fine arts, like the de-objectification of the 1960s described by Ursula Meyer, often fell victim to the same fetishistic mindset and simply increased the hold of capitalism within the arts. The enframing worldview that Heidegger warns us about is fed by hyper-abstraction, and while he directly offers up art as the remedy to this situation via poiēsis , key moments in his writings on the related notion of geschick support this new notion of Craft , rather than the fine arts, as a more capable system for the rehabilitation of modern society.
Keywords Craft  capitalism  de-objectification  enframing  materialism  Karl Marx  Martin Heidegger  Ursula Meyer
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