What’s the Buzz about The Ministry for the Future? Join us and Find Out!

The Portland Rising committee of Portland Jobs with Justice is excited to announce that it will host a six-session reading group, starting in February 2022, to discuss the recently published novel The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. We hope you will join us!

This is a big, powerful, and exciting novel that directly confronts the climate crisis and the ways in which people, movements, countries, and international institutions might well respond to it. It is ultimately a hopeful book in that humanity survives, but it doesn’t downplay the difficult decisions and complex
processes involved in achieving that outcome. It is, in large part, a novel about our lives. And we believe that a collective discussion of the issues and challenges it raises will help us all become more effective fighters for a better world.

If you are interested in joining the group or just learning more about our plans, please send your name and email address, with “Reading Group” in the subject line or body of the message, to portlandrisingprograms@gmail.com.

Here are our current thoughts:

  • The six discussion sessions will be held on the second and fourth Wednesdays
    in February, March, and April, starting Wednesday, February 9 th —although
    Thursdays are also a possibility.
  • The sessions will be one hour long and start at 6:30 pm—although an earlier or
    later start time is also a possibility.
  • We’ll read 100 pages for each session (every two weeks).
  • The first session will be on zoom, but we will consider in person gatherings for
    later sessions if we think it safe.
  • Each session will have a moderator or moderators who will send out discussion
    prompts in advance. The moderator(s) will also try to make sure that participants
    who have read beyond the agreed pages don’t give anything away.
    Those who email us will get to help make the final decisions on meeting structure, days
    and times.

    Finally, if you need more enticement, check out the material below:

Here is Robinson himself:
“When [Fredrick] Jameson said it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism, I think what he was talking about is that missing bridge from here to there. It’s hard to imagine a positive history, but it’s not impossible. And now, yes, it’s easy to imagine the end of the world because we are at the start of a mass extinction event. . . But I would just flip it and say, it’s hard to imagine how we get to a better system. Imagining the better system isn’t that hard; you just make up some rules about how things should work. . . but the story of getting to a new and better social system, that’s almost an empty niche in our mental ecology. So I’ve been throwing myself into that attempt. It’s hard, but it’s interesting.”

Here are a few reviews of the book:
https://www.vox.com/2020/11/30/21726563/kim-stanley-robinson-the-ezra-klein-show-
climate-change
https://jacobinmag.com/2020/12/kim-stanley-robinson-ministry-for-the-future
https://www.ecoequity.org/2020/10/read-this-book-the-ministry-for-the-future/
And here is an interview with Kim Stanley Robinson in which he discusses his
background and aims for the book.

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