Online seminar on Revenge Capitalism (weekly April 19-May 10)

Brought to you by Pluto Books, ROAR Magazine and the ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL)

This four part seminar explores Max Haiven’s newly published Revenge Capitalism: The Ghosts of Empire, the Demons of Capital, and the Settling of Unpayable Debts. Join the author and a limited number of participants from around the world every Sunday (6-9pm GMT) for three hours by Zoom to discuss themes, theories, and implications.

A mix of author and participant presentations, this short course aims to build a temporary community of creative and critical minds. The first 45 minutes of each session, in which the author answers questions posed by the participants, will be webcast. The rest will be open to registered participants only.

About the book and author

From the publisher’s website:

Capitalism is in a profound state of crisis. Beyond the mere dispassionate cruelty of ‘ordinary’ structural violence, it appears today as a global system bent on reckless economic revenge; its expression found in mass incarceration, climate chaos, unpayable debt, pharmaceutical violence and the relentless degradation of common life. In Revenge Capitalism, Max Haiven argues that this economic vengeance helps us explain the culture and politics of revenge we see in society more broadly. Moving from the history of colonialism and its continuing effects today, he examines the opioid crisis in the US, the growth of ‘surplus populations’ worldwide and unpacks the central paradigm of unpayable debts – both as reparations owed, and as a methodology of oppression.

For more information, and for chapter summaries, visit

Max Haiven is Canada Research Chair in Culture, Media and Social Justice at Lakehead University and also co-director of the RiVAL: the ReImagining Value Action Lab. His previous books include Crises of Imagination, Crises of Power: Capitalism, Creativity and the Commons and Art After Money, Money After Art: Creative Strategies Against Financialization. He has been a social movement organizer for many years.

About the seminar

Participation is limited to 16 (there will be a waiting list)

Sessions will take place on Sundays at

  • 7-10pm, Berlin (CEST)
  • 6-9pm, London (BST)
  • 1-4pm, Toronto/NY (EDT)
  • 10am-1pm, California/Vancouver (PDT)

The first 45 minutes of each seminar, in which the author responds to questions posed by the participants, will be webcast and archived (only the author will be visible to those not enrolled in the seminar). There will follow a half-hour of conversation with participants (not webcast), then a break.

In the second half of each seminar four registered participants will each make a 10 minute presentations, followed by a 10minute discussion. Participants may present their reflections on the book or a project or topic of interest to them related to the book’s topics. A sign-up sheet for presentations dates will be sent our after registration closes.


All humans and post-humans are eligible. No special qualifications are needed. Revenge Capitalism is a book of critical theory, but written in a fairly accessible style.

Schedule of readings

  • April 19. Theme: Revenge politics
    • Preface
    • Introduction: We Want Revenge
    • Chapter one: Towards a materialist theory of revenge
  • April 26. Theme: Unpayable debts
    • Interlude: Shylock’s vindication, or Venice’s bonds?
    • Chapter 2. The work of art in an age of unpayable debts: social reproduction, geopolitics, and settler colonialism
    • Interlude: Ahab’s coin, or Moby Dick’s currencies?
    • Chapter 3. Money as a medium of vengeance: Colonial accumulation and proletarian practices
  • May 3. Theme: Political and others sicknesses
    • Interlude: Khloé Kardashian’s revenge body, or the Zapatisa nobody?
    • Chapter 4: Our opium Wars: Pain, race, and the ghosts of empire
    • Interlude: V’s vendetta, or Joker’s retribution?
    • Postscript: After the pandemic: Against the vindictive normal
  • May 10. Theme: Dead zones and the radical imagination
    • Chapter 5: The dead zone: Financialized nihilism, toxic wealth, and vindictive technologies
    • Conclusion: Revenge fantasy or avenging imaginary?
    • Coda: 11 Theses on revenge capitalism

Weekly agenda (BST)

  • 6:00-6:45pm – Haiven answers questions/provocations posed by participants (webcast)
  • 6:45-7:15pm – Discussion with registered participants (not webcast)
  • 7:15-7:30pm – Break (15 mins)
  • 7:30-9:00pm – Presentations from four participants in response to the readings (not webcast)

Requirements of participants

  • Read approximately 70 pages per week prior to the seminar.
  • Post one question/provocation by 3pm BST (10am EDT) each Sunday
  • Prepare one 15-minute seminar presentation (sign up sheet will be distributed once registration closes). This presentation could take up or reflect on a theme in the book, or relate it to the participant’s ongoing work or struggles.


  • Purchase of a book from Pluto Press
    • ebooks are available for £9.99 or equivalent (a special advanced ebook will be sent to you by email)
    • paperback (plus free ebook) is available for £17.99 or equivalent (physical object will be sent upon official publication in May – advanced ebook will be emailed to you)
  • Sliding scale registration fee (we do not want anyone to be inhibited from participating for lack of funds):
    • Regular: £25
    • Unwaged or precarious: £0
    • Solidarity: £35 (helps cover the costs of others)
  • All proceeds will help Pluto Press maintain their half-century long tradition of radical publishing in a moment of profound crisis. The author will donate royalties to mutual aid efforts.

How to sign up

To sign up, please follow these three easy steps

  1. Go to the Eventbrite page and register (once the course is full, registration will be waitlisted)
  1. Purchase a “preorder” copy of the book in ebook and/or paperback format from Pluto. An official one will be available upon publication.
  1. IMPORTANT: please email your book receipt to Emily Orford emilyo [at] who will send you a special advanced copy of the ebook.

If something happens and we have to cancel the seminar, we can’t refund book sales.

Please note that, as the recipient of an advanced copy of the ebook you are bound not to share it as otherwise it will diminish future sales. Pluto Press is a small independent radical publisher struggling to survive the current moment. It’s vital that we support them!

Once registration closes and participants are confirmed RiVAL will send you an email:

  • You will be asked to sign up for a 15-minute seminar presentation in one of the four weeks of the course (on first come, first served basis)
  • You will be sent information on how to access the Zoom meetings and the seminar’s collaboration space
  • We look forward to seeing you in the seminar!