Capital is currently cannibalizing every sphere of life-guzzling wealth from nature and racialized populations, sucking up our ability to care for each other, and gutting the practice of politics. In this tightly argued and urgent volume, leading Marxist feminist theorist Nancy Fraser charts the voracious appetite of capital, tracking it from crisis point to crisis point, from ecological devastation to the collapse of democracy, from racial violence to the devaluing of care work. These crises points all come to a head in COVID-19, which Fraser argues can help us envision the resistance we need to end the feeding frenzy.
What we need, she argues, is a wide-ranging socialist movement that can recognize the rapaciousness of capital – and starve it to death.
Preface: Cannibal Capitalism: Are We Toast?
Ch. 1. Omnivore: why we need to expand our conception of capitalism
Ch. 2. Glutton for Punishment: why capitalism is structurally racist
Ch. 3. Care-Guzzler: why social reproduction is a major site of capitalist crisis
Ch. 4. Nature in the Maw: why ecopolitics must be trans-environmental and anti-capitalist
Ch. 5. Butchering Democracy: why political crisis is capital's red meat
Ch. 6. Food for thought: what should socialism mean in the 21st century?
Epilogue: Macrophage: why Covid is a perfect storm of capitalist irrationality and injustice
Nancy Fraser is Henry and Louise A. Loeb Professor of Philosophy and Politics at the New School for Social Research. She is the author of Fortunes of Feminism and The Old is Dying and the New Cannot Be Born, and co-author of Capitalism: A Conversation and Feminism for the 99%.
"Nancy Fraser is a legendary radical philosopher grounded in the best of the Marxist and feminist traditions yet whose genuine embrace and profound understanding of Black, ecological, immigrant and sexual freedom movements make her a unique figure on the contemporary scene! Cannibal Capitalism is not only a singular gem – it is an instant classic for our bleak times!"
– Cornel West, author of Race Matters
"A brilliant synthesis of Fraser's many pathbreaking contributions to a Marxian theory of capitalism for the twenty-first century, beautifully written."
– Wolfgang Streeck, author of How Will Capitalism End?
"Cannibal Capitalism conjures up a monster that voraciously consumes the very land, labor and natural world upon which it thrives. With characteristically clear and inventive prose, Nancy Fraser unpacks capitalism's historically shifting, interlaced dynamics, revealing the interrelations between seemingly disparate crises and social violences. Throughout, we see the powerful potential of an anti-racist, eco-social reproduction critique. And we see why the future of the planet and humanity depend upon the socialist left building anti-capitalist struggles that reach across workplaces, streets, forests and oceans."
– Sue Ferguson, author of Women and Work
"Nancy Fraser has produced the most elegant theory yet of capitalism in our age – capitalism not in the narrow economic sense, but capitalism in the sense of a total omnivore, a system that cannot stop devouring everything around it, destroying the lives of people and nature. This is Marxist theory for our age of crisis – and, we shall hope, of reckoning."
– Andreas Malm, author of How to Blow Up a Pipeline
"Should serve to remind [...] that capitalism remains a guzzler of care, and this is an unsustainable position"
– Rachel Andrews, White Review, Best Books 2022
"An explicit plea for a political project. The parallels between care and ecology are instructive."
– James Butler, London Review of Books
"Fraser captures how gender oppression, racial domination, and ecological destruction are not incidental to capitalism, but structurally embedded in it."
– Rhoda Feng, The Nation