In the past month, we have seen: two of the biggest storms ever recorded, one of the largest earthquakes seen in decades, wildfires consuming enormous portions of the Western US and other parts of the world, heat waves hitting the West Coast, and many other disasters that haven’t made it into the news. A new report says that global ocean currents could be collapsing due to climate change, and that article contains the most honest quote I’ve seen in weeks:
While geologists have studied events in the past similar to what appears to be happening today, scientists are largely unsure of what lies ahead.
In addition to all of these “natural” disasters, we’ve got two nuclear-armed world leaders playing a game of chicken with one another. We have a fascist in the White House and Nazis proudly roaming the streets. All of this was impossible to imagine just a year ago, but here we are, and we have no idea what’s going on anymore.
Paul Stoler suggests we take a lesson from the Songhay of Niger and slow down, rebuild some of the “harmony” we have lost. I would say the idea of slowing down is incredibly inane right now. The harmony Stoler calls for was only ever localized and never involved the kinds of globalized geopolitical processes underway today.
At the same time, the accelerationists don’t really have a response to these kinds of threats to life and livelihood except to say “fuck it and we’ll see what happens.” It’s not a position I find very helpful or useful, but maybe total resignation to the inevitable flux of global events is the only response we really have anymore.
Or maybe it’s a question of what exactly is accelerated. Maybe we can start accelerating care and compassion. Maybe we can accelerate the process of building alternatives to the extractive and accumulative economy of Capitalism. I guess that’s a kind of left-accelerationist position, but I’ve not been convinced by any of the social-democrat plans I’ve seen so far. Maybe a more radical kind of left-accelerationism is needed to really confront the horrors of climate change and the violence of Capital accumulation.
We really have no idea what’s happening anymore. No idea what to do about any of it. I’ve written three blog posts in the past few days, and none of them seemed worth posting. I’m posting this one because sometimes “we are unsure what lies ahead” is the only thing anyone can really say…