A case against despair

I personally go through a great deal of sadness and despair when I think about the state of things on this planet. Ecocide, specicide, colonialism and society that glorifies its own perpetual abusive culture through things like: technologies that are destroying the very systems that enable life on this planet, pornography that mirrors the rape this culture enacts on the living world and many other examples. Like many born into this culture, I am saddened by the increasing levels of distraction and mediation within the spectacle of technological hyper-reality.

The occupying government here in the UK has revealed its budget towards the development of a high speed railway. What stuns me though (and leaves me thinking of Henry David Thoreau) is that, we can already on our current railway lines travel at stunning speeds. I can travel by train from Exeter to London in a morning, spend a couple hours in London and then catch another train to Exeter and be home in time for dinner. Do we really need (in the survivalist sense of the term) high speed railway that is faster than this? Because for many it is a matter of survival. It’s a matter of survival for the habitats and wildlife threatened by this development plan.

“New rail line threatens 350 unique habitats, 50 irreplaceable ancient woods, 30 river corridors, 24 Sites of Special Scientific Interest and hundreds of other important areas.”

Last night when talking about this with an activist friend we shared in a mutual sense of despair. We’re both very active in our mutual areas of focus. Her despair is over new areas to the expanding cull zone in the scientifically invalidated badger cull. Her focus is on direct action and active resistance; mine is on supporting and creating a culture of resistance. She is on the ground a lot, doing hands on necessary ground work; I’m on my local high-street, working on the social media team of an international group and writing my first book on radical environmental political philosophy. We can both feel the tiredness and heaviness of it, as this stuff often comes into contact with other areas of life and getting the balance right is often difficult.

With the government handing out fracking licences across this small island in the north sea, things are undoubtably getting worse. They’re getting worse and it’s quite disheartening the lack of presence. I met earlier in the month with a couple other activist friends to discuss organising and the future, and we shared in the acknowledgment that there is an active presence in the UK that challenges stuff that needs resistance, like fracking and specicide. The thing, though, that we also mutually feel is that, what is the current active presence is – despite what the spectacle would like to present as the case with Corbynites #feelthebernism trendonymous etc – drastically insufficient and ineffective. I’m hugely disheartened by pro-capitalist sustainability warriors of the liberal green left, by dogmatic Marxist leftists unable to accept the historical truth of the horrors of their ideology and patriotic right-wingers who are more concerned with brown people living and praying near where they live than the destruction of the land they supposedly love.

This though is not a case for despair. This is a case against despair.

Something that brings me cause for optimism is the increasing likelihood of systemic collapse of this industrial civilisation that is enacting a daily war against the living world. While this is likely to bring a short term horrific situation for human lives, in the long term it is in the best interest of humans, as we need a living planet to survive (and I don’t put my faith in our moving to Mars). There exists active resistance cultures, making a stand against and creating a way of life that is non-destructive. In those cultures being ravaged by colonialism, there exists active resistance groups, performing direct action to resist this culture. These resistance groups differ from continent to continent, land to land and community to community. The common factor is solidarity towards the living world and a mutual desire to risk the occupying force that is this culture.

It’s not just human life that is resisting. As one of my favourite radical environmentalist writers, (who has been a support with my writing my own book), articulates in the video this link opens, the living world is resisting this culture. Thats not claiming Gaia theory romanticism, but a material fact, as this way of life has to enact a daily assault on the living world to keep itself going.

I’m not arguing for hope, as hope involves trusting in a power outside of ourselves. I’m arguing that we place power in our unique individual selves and the communities of resistance we form as unique individual selves united in solidarity against this culture and its war against the living world.

This blog is something I plan to do alongside my writing my book, that I’m working on with a radical book publishers, my work on the social media and news team of the international group and my grassroots culture activism in my local community, where I am going to write about the writers, groups, campaigns and situations that motivate me.

I’m going to now state some quotes from writers who brought me to environmental activism, which aren’t ones associated with environmentalism (but in my opinion articulate positions relevant to the struggle) –

“Metaphysical rebellion is the movement by which man protests against his condition and against the
whole of creation. It is metaphysical because it contests the ends of man and of creation. The slave
protests against the condition in which he finds himself within his state of slavery; the metaphysical rebel
protests against the condition in which he finds himself as a man. The rebel slave affirms that there is
something in him that will not tolerate the manner in which his master treats him; the metaphysical rebel
declares that he is frustrated by the universe. For both of them, it is not only a question of pure and simple
negation. In both cases, in fact, we find a value judgment in the name of which the rebel refuses to
approve the condition in which he finds himself.” Camus

We […] want to love because we feel love, because love pleases our hearts and our senses, and we experience a higher self-enjoyment in the love for another being. – Max Stirner

“True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness.” Nietzsche

The struggle to resist this culture and to support the living world is not split between left or right, individual or collective, between nations, religions, nor any other illusion that separates one life from another. If we love in the most completely selfish sense of the term, empowering life and resisting this culture is the most complete sense of the word. This is a case against despair and for love. Love is not passive. Love is more than a feeling. Love is an action, whereby we do not accept that which we love being harmed, destroyed or in any way treated in such a way that we find undesirable, should that which we love desire it – real love is mutually respectful of personal boundaries and aesthetics.

This love is not a idealistic romance, but a passionate bodily sensation of real connection.

This is a case for love.

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