Weekly Update: 22 May
We have a great lineup coming up next week, starting off with a guest post by Brian Johnson on “Revolutionary Spirits and Occult Strategies of Resistance.” We also have scheduled a review by Lorna Smithers and essays by Rhyd Wildermuth (on colonialism and decolonization), Dr. Bones (on the precariat), and Christopher Scott Thompson (on the history of anarchism).
Links and News
Last weekend wrapped up almost 2 dozen climate change protests held around the globe known as Break Free. The Wild Hunt has an article covering the involvement of two pagans in some of these events, Margaret Human and John Halstead. Halstead – one of Gods&Radicals’ writers – was one of about 40 people arrested during the protest in Whiting, Indiana, and also has a series of posts up at Patheos discussing his path to environmental activism.
A victory in the works since 1975: The Munduruku, one of Brazil’s largest indigenous groups, have achieved legal recognition of their traditional territory, which grants them the right to “free, prior, and informed consent before the government can use their land.” As a result, a mega-dam project that would have submerged their land has been halted.
Lastly, two articles on animism:
- Let the System Complicate Itself: Animism “…if you start simple and let the system -ie the ‘physical and spirit ecosystem of place’ complicate itself, then you are on better footing. … All things being equal, in natural systems (which would include the spirit world in an animist model), increasing complexity is a sign of health. Initial complexity is a collapse risk.”
- And Reflections on Bioregional Animism, Consent and Power Dynamics (Raven’s Knoll 2015), about negotiating boundaries with other-than-human-beings.
Quote for the Week
Here’s an interesting quote I found on Tumblr, from a book by Gastón R. Gordillo: Rubble: The Afterlife of Destruction:
Hollywood insists in presenting the image of a capitalist world in ruins as ominous and terrifying. But as Rebecca Solnit argues in A Paradise Built in Hell, the scholarship on disasters conclusively shows that it is the powerful who usually panic amid the rubble created by catastrophes. She shows that the Hobbesian Hollywood nightmare of hysterical masses panicking in wild stampedes and creating a war of “all against all” scenario is an elite fantasy. Most people are certainly shocked and disoriented at first but soon afterward generate forms of solidarity and cooperation and see the possibility of collective transformation and rebirth. In fact, the very fact that sites of power have been destroyed makes people less fearful of the powerful.
History is full of examples of fields of rubble that awakened emancipatory sentiments, even if this effervescence was eventually contained. After the burning of Moscow in 1812 by the Napoleonic armies, for instance, Tolstoy wrote that the rubble of the city opened “unique possibilities of moral regeneration”. In the case of Argentina, Healey shows that the rise to power of Perón in 1946 was inseparable from his role in the plans to reconstruct the city of San Juan, which had been reduced to rubble by an earthquake two years earlier. Perón turned the rubble of San Juan into a collective invitation to build a new, better, more inclusive Argentina. Henry Cobb noted in 1947 a similar enthusiasm for change amid the rubble of Warsaw, which made him realize, “in a strange way,” that “because of the destruction you could remake the world.” And this is at the core of the elite fear of rubble in moments of unrest: that the rubble, indeed, could be an invitation to remake the world differently