Salon Anyone?


On Friday October 23, 2020 five Haligonians came together to share a free-range organic chicken and discuss current events and future possibilities.

The event was largely inspired by the gentle souls attending — the recent passing of David Graeber (1961-2020) — and the work of Thomas Piketty, and Yanis Varoufakis.

A Halifax Salon

The gist was (and is) simple: A periodic gathering of people of social or intellectual distinction, to consider the implications of Graeber's Anthropology in action, Piketty's tomes describing inequality in modern civilization (and throughout history), and alternatives proposed by Varoufakis. While these three fit together neatly and powerfully in a timely fashion the focus is certainly not to the exclusion of related works by others.

...Capitalism is obviously on it's last legs
If there ever was a stupid time to give up on imagining what something better might be, this is it, because we're going to have something better or something worse, there's no two ways about it.
– Graeber, April 2020

The purpose of such a salon would be to unleash the collective imagination. We can engage in deep introspection, question the narratives we might be entangled in and build a vast understanding to better sail the ship of humanity over coming decades so all is not completely lost.


Debt: The First 5,000 Years

David Graeber
(follow the About link for a wealth of resources)
Articles, including How to change the course of human history

Debt: The First 5,000 Years hoopla audio

The theory of exodus proposes that the most effective way of opposing capitalism and the liberal state is not through direct confrontation but by means of what Paolo Virno has called “engaged withdrawal,” mass defection by those wishing to create new forms of community. – David Graeber, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology page 60
Trolleys - Banksy 2007

Capital and Ideology
Thomas Piketty
Capital in the Twenty-First Century Netflix
Capital and Ideology PDF extracts introduction and conclusions
“Every human society must justify its inequalities: unless reasons for them are found, the whole political and social edifice stands in danger of collapse. Every epoch therefore develops a range of contradictory discourses and ideologies for the purpose of legitimizing the inequality that already exists or that people believe should exist. From these discourses emerge certain economic, social, and political rules, which people then use to make sense of the ambient social structure. Out of the clash of contradictory discourses—a clash that is at once economic, social, and political—comes a dominant narrative or narratives, which bolster the existing inequality regime.” – Thomas Piketty
If Piketty has one core political and methodological belief it is in the emancipatory power of public data: that when people are given sufficient evidence about the structures of society, they will insist on greater equality until they are granted it. Amid the distraction and perpetual outrage of our dysfunctional public sphere, this enlightenment confidence in empirics feels beamed in from another age. It also makes for a unique scholarly edifice, which will be impossible to ignore. – Guardian Review
Another Now: Dispatches from an Alternative Present
Yanis Varoufakis
Another Now: Dispatches from an Alternative Present
Imagine if Occupy and Extinction Rebellion actually won. In Another Now world-famous economist Yanis Varoufakis shows us what such a world would look like. Far from being a fantasy, he describes how it could have come about - and might yet. But would we really want it? Varoufakis's boundary-breaking new book confounds expectations of what the good society would look like and reveals the uncomfortable truth about our desire for a better world... – Google Books summary
Book hard to come by in North America 2020-11-08


Comments? Inspired?
Would you like to take part in an upcoming salon?

Please email: with "Halifax Salon" in the subject line.

Thank you!
- Ken

Elephant in the room - Banksy 2006
If there's an elephant... maybe we should talk about it.