Theory Beyond Fukuyama-ism

The Implications of Kant's Writings on Theory and Practice for Contemporary Anti-Capitalist Resistance


  • Zachary Gan McMaster University



This essay argues that anti-capitalist resistance today is often strangulated by what I call “Fukuyama-ism”, or a widespread resignation to the hegemony of global capitalism at the level of the political and cultural unconscious. Using Kant’s famous text Perpetual Peace, I explore various dimensions of Fukuyama-ism and strategies to overcome its cultural pervasiveness. To this end, I consider Kant’s commentary on the relationship of theory and practice, and examine Kant’s defense of theory when set against practice or “practicality” in this manner. Similar to Kant’s concerns about the dominance of “practicality”, I argue that Fukuyama-ism powerfully relegates anti-capitalist resistance primarily to the realm of practice, thereby insulating Capitalism from systemic and theoretical critiques. I argue that Kant’s analysis of theory and practice has renewed relevance in the context of Fukuyama-ism in order to reinvigorate anti-capitalist resistance and shed the pervasive hold of Fukuyama-ism over our political and cultural imaginations. Presently, we must heed Kant’s call to dismantle the notion that theory and practice can be in any way antithetical, and re-assert the power of theory to imagine new methods of resistance to an environment of an all-encompassing cultural Capitalism.


Fisher, Mark (2009). Capitalist realism: Is there no alternative?. Zero Books

Kant, Immanuel (2006). Toward perpetual peace and other writings on politics, peace, and history. Edited by Pauline Kleingeld, Translated by David L. Colclasure. New Haven: Yale University Press.