Myth of Modernity

The colonizer’s model of the world shows us a freight train running in the night. On the train everything and everyone has departed from Europe, or, better yet, ancient Athens. Outside the train: the visible-invisible races, the void-beings, terra nullius, an astrological wilderness. It is this colonizer’s model of the world underpinning the myth of modernity that gives rise to the deepest mystification of the relationship between the past and the present. Progress, development, civilization, the taming of the dark. What makes this lie appear to be as self-evidently true as the speed of our lives is the enclosure of fossil-fuel derived energy by Herculean class power. Aesthetic glamourization of this enclosed and entrained speed is itself an attribute Herculean class power through which an examinable judgement is rendered as an unquestionable fact that our contemporary global socio-economic system is better in all ways than everything that came before. Historical injustices that are the actual and agentive foundations of our present modes of being are thus buried without a thought. The acceleration of accumulation, growth, then becomes a tautology where the ends always justifies the means. But this is only the colonizer’s model of the world which is now coming apart at every seam. Our task is to get out completely in order to delink from the toxic, crisis-prone war economy we are currently enclosed in. We can because we remember otherwise. And because everywhere, despite everything, there is always the reproduction of common wealth. But at the bottom-less depth of the accumulated violence of the present, a solidarity economy has been set against every life-time like a time-bomb. We can only sense our way into the heart-beat of this contradiction that links and divides social classes. We cannot find the rhythms of common power without regenerating common-being. Beyond the “aesthetic regime of art” lies the regenerative hydra poetics of intermedia research-creation.

Liberal Panic

World Economic Forum Global Risks Map, 2012 7th Edition

Delink To Regenerate

So how do we delink from fossil capitalism’s crisis-prone world-economy? My research examines two just transition strategies that circle around each other into a double bind. One strategy involves defending commons from enclosure and regenerating them and thereby reproducing common wealth through solidarity social economies and cooperatives. But this strategy faces several major pitfalls: It is very difficult for the solidarity social economy sector to flourish in the absence of a critical mass of different kinds of cooperatives and in the absence of a supportive policy environment. Moreover, when cooperatives do succeed, they face aggressive competition and political interference from corporations, or, as a consequence of their success, they themselves become cooperatives of shareholders and become absorbed into corporate sector, as is the case with the biggest cooperatives in Canada. All of these pitfalls can be avoided, in principle, through an appropriately decolonized, feminist constitution and with democratic political institutions at different scales that can manage strategically important sectors of the production of goods and services, including energy, education, healthcare, finance, transportation etc. But such an eco-socialist transformation of the global-colonial system of nation-states is impossible, given the vested interests and the power asymmetries, without an autonomous domain of subaltern politics that can build durable mass political movements because they are rooted in a robust solidarity social economy. The two strategies then need to lean on each other but neither can support any weight without the other being in place. This is the double bind, or historical social contradiction, I argue, that any feminist and speculative energy future now embodies. When one is caught in the snares of a double bind, the Canadian communication theorist Anthony Wilden recommends a policy of “strategic envelopement”: decolonize to delink and delink to regenerate.

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