Make America Great Again: Romanticism In The Age Of Cosmic Pessimism

Like many people living in the UK, I woke this morning to news coverage and social media feed full of the initially likely victory of Trump, and then of Clinton’s conceding the U.S. election.

Status updates full of disappointment and fear over the now realised future of President Donald Trump. News reporters trying to articulate their amazement over this. The consensus seems one of shell-shock and horror.

If I’m honest though, while obviously – fuck Trump, his vile, sexist, racist, nationalist views and everything else about the man – the prospect of President Trump doesn’t really lead me to worry about the future and more than I was already horrified at what is to come.

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Trump doesn’t really mean anything substantially different, other than perhaps a more isolationist future in American foreign policy. He is simply a different face to the same leviathan we’ve known – corporatist-capitalist-industrialism, whose relentless consumption is destroying the world we live upon.

Yes he is likely to remove many of the “progressive” policies many Americans enjoy that Obama put in place. But placing these as the focus of our discourse is undeniably limiting our notion of political value to the first world and is entirely anthropocentric.

What has this “progress” really been? If we’re honest with ourselves, can we really call this “progress” any more than an act of recuperation and the institutionalisation of radical values into the insincerity of the techno-spectacle of hyper-modernity, to appease an insincere trendavist consumer-liberal first world culture – who out of the horrors they witness within the technologically induced hyper-reality they find themselves within, unable to discern between the real and the simulacra, have sought the quickest of fixes available to them?

Call me a cynic or nihilist, but can we really, in the now actualised Trumped up USA and Brexit Britain, call this anything else? If it were any more, why are we in this current situation? Please give me a reason why.

What is particularly revealing from all the election coverage is that quantitative methods of socio-political analysis – statistics, polls etc – actually don’t mean anything, and that living beings are far more subtle and complex than quantitative models – we meet environmental conditions as we find them, in a way that these models can never substantially account for. Will liberal-leftists put their faith in polls, like they have done this year, again?

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Ultimately Trump’s rise to power is the product of an upsurge in philosophical romanticism, nationalism and patriarchal-values, with nostalgia obsessed films and American Sniper serving as the aesthetic ideals. He is a last grasp at the American dream, in the age of cosmic pessimism and ecological collapse.

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So with no real change in our enemy, what do we feral beings who ally ourselves with the living world, in revolt and resistance against this culture, do?

The answer is simple and obvious. We see this for what it is – a nothingness. We see this as the nothingness it is and continue doing whatever processes/projects we’re engaged with as acts of revolt and resistance.

Whether it’s work on the ground, like hunt sabbing or those fighting to stop the Dakota access pipeline. Whether it’s learning and teaching wildcraft skills. Whether it is writing, media projects or campaigning. Whether it’s above ground or underground. Whatever it is food not bomb stalls or setting up info-shops. Whatever you’re doing, just continue and let this wash over you – and if you’re not engaged in acts of revolt or resistance, in the collapse of civilisation and amidst the horror that is the biosphere after 10,000 years of this culture, what else is there really to be doing?

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In iconoclastic fury and wild passion, the only thing to do at this stage is to defend what we love and to defy what we hate. We must be resilient and defiant to the end. Poetically creative and dynamic in all we do. Honest and cynical throughout. We must unleash all that domestication seeks to cage, in the actualisation of our wild-authenticity – a feral becoming in will to life.

To quote one of my anarchist heroes –

“Life — for me — is neither good nor bad, neither a theory nor an idea. Life is a reality, and the reality of life is war. For one who is a born warrior, life is a fountain of joy, for others it is only a fountain of humiliation and sorrow. I no longer demand carefree joy from life. It couldn’t give it to me, and I would no longer know what to do with it now that my adolescence is past… 

Instead I demand that it give me the perverse joy of battle that gives me the sorrowful spasms of defeat and the voluptuous thrills of victory. 

Defeated in the mud or victorious in the sun, I sing life and I love it! 

There is no rest for my rebel spirit except in war, just as there is no greater happiness for my vagabond, negating mind than the uninhibited affirmation of my capacity to life and to rejoice. My every defeat serves me only as symphonic prelude to a new victory.” Renzo Novatore

While there have been many defeats for those of us who ally ourselves with the living world, this is not one of them, and should not be thought of as one. To do so would only serve as to sap more of our energy.

Again, this is a nothingness. It is the same enemy with a different face.

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