Crisis/Anthropocene/Conditions of Existence

My mother wrote a pretty wonderful article for the Journal of Narrative Politics about recovering lost knowledges and forms-of-life that allowed folks in upstate New York to dwell, rather than just work, on the land. The following is a response I wrote on Facebook to a comment of someone who argued that joy rather than crisis should be the basis of recovering such knowledges.

I guess I would agree that both that joy can be a firm basis for reclaiming knowledges and practices and that there will not be a catastrophic collapse, a fall of industrial civilization, or a final crisis of capital. (Although I disagree about the usefulness of crisis, seeing as how the rhetoric of crisis seems to function only to call for technical interventions that shore up the state and capital) 

However, there is certainly an eschatological flavor to our time, one we have described ourselves as the anthropocene. We don't have to look to the future to see the dangerous times that we live in: hundreds of thousands of syrian refugees fleeing from a conflict that was exacerbated by a multi-year long drought; cities struggling to rebuild themselves after hurricanes or flooding; or the drought in California that threatens the entire agricultural system. 

Several years ago, a green anarchist/ nihilist publication was really popular in the radical environmental movement called Desert. It's thesis, which has been a touchstone for me as I think through these issues, is that instead a singular fall ushering in some sort of Post-Peak era, we will witness a world that becomes increasingly securitized as elites respond to climate induced events and migrations through military force aimed at preserving the functioning of the system. 

The response of this zine, mirroring the post-left pamphlet "The Call" that swept through radical communities in the mid 2000s, was that we should desert the current order, organizing instead the material means of survival/conditions of existence and using these autonomous spaces, newly (re)discovered forms of life and modes of inhabiting as the basis of our attacks on Empire.

I guess my point is that we need to renounce the idea of the end-times, the inexorable salvation of history or some sort of purifying collapse. However, this does does not mean that we shouldn't take seriously the future or present effects of climate change-- rather we must begin the work of divesting and deserting the current order and begin the work of organizing the very conditions of existence of another one. And in this work, we will (re/un)cover joyous and alternative forms-of-life, overcoming the pacifying isolation of capital and discovering something we hold in common which is worth defending. 

Further Reading:
Desert - The now classic green nihilist text mentioned

The Call - The marvelous piece of anonymous writing that opened many of our eyes to the post-leftist notion of organizing the conditions of existence

Nomos of the Earth - A great piece published by my friends over at Woodbine, which articulates, far better than myself, much of what I presented above

Learning to Die in the Anthropocene - Next up on my reading list! Very related.