liberation ecology

Scaling to 46 years, humans have been here 4 hours, the industrial revolution began 1 minute ago, and in that time we’ve destroyed more than half the world’s forests.

This is NOT Sustainable.                                                               

On the one hand, I get really irritated with many modern “apolitical” hippies who have absorbed so much neoliberal individualism that they think all of the world’s problems can be solved with positive attitude and good vibes – they are removed from all socio-political reality and tend to float in a bubble of economic privilege. On the other hand, I’ve become kind of disillusioned with much of the left’s resistance to adapt to different material conditions – we are not going to win over the working class of today with 1917 larping and newspapers heavy with Marxist jargon (at least in much of the Western world, which is what I can personally speak for). I make these complaints both as someone invested in hippie/raver subculture and as a leftist committed to world transformation beyond class society; the merging of these two traits was a driving force behind this blog, as I wanted to help reinvigorate a cultural-political connection that’s been seemingly dormant for decades (and is only starting to revive as of recently with the solarpunk movement). 

It’s a real shame that Murray Bookchin came down so hard on what he described as the “mystical” elements of environmentalism and feminism, because I feel as though an aesthetics revival is overdue on the left – especially within social ecology. Not everyone gels with the “mystical” vibes that Murray was criticizing (most won’t, in fact), but to categorize all cosmic yearning into the same box as the aforementioned neoliberal hippies is a tad reductionist. There are those of us who crave story, purpose, color, and other such “mushy” shit in our worldviews; there’s nothing inherent to anti-capitalism that demands that we rid ourselves of these cravings. In fact, I can’t stress enough that they are intensely useful to the cause. 

I’ve gone into more detail on this topic in a @leftist-daily-reminders post that outlined my support for a “dual power” tactic – we need to create parallel institutions for the people of the world to pour their support into, adapting the language and aesthetic choices to the given area. I also support intentional communities that try to break away from society and consciously present an alternative to laypeople. The class struggle should always be firmly about putting power into the hands of the people, and that will mean diversity in the details. Diversity in the details, united in anti-capitalist purpose. I’m not suggesting that we revitalize a solarpunk/Starhawk aesthetic where it doesn’t apply – just that there are many places where it will apply and that we on the left need to be more open to a unified front with it. Rather than coldly refusing to engage with any positive visions for the future (”The socialist society of the future will be built by the people of the future; we shouldn’t anticipate the details.”), we need to be enthusiastic in our visions for the post-capitalist future. After all, how else are we going to get the people on the train without a clear picture of the destination? (or at least a relatively clear picture of the destination, beyond just “communal control over the means of production”)

Thoughts?

Our foresisters were the Great Hags whom the institutionally powerful but privately impotent patriarchs found too threatening for coexistence, and whom historians erase. Hag is from an Old English word meaning harpy, witch. Webster’s gives as the first and ‘archaic’ meaning of hag: 'a female demon: FURY, HARPY.’ It also formerly meant: 'an evil or frightening spirit.’ (Lest this sound too negative, we should ask the relevant questions: 'Evil’ by whose definition? 'Frightening’ to whom?) A third archaic definition of hag is 'nightmare.’ (The important question is: Whose nightmare?) Hag is also defined as 'an ugly or evil-looking old woman.’ But this, considering the source, may be considered a compliment. For the beauty of strong, creative women is 'ugly’ by misogynistic standards of 'beauty.’ The look of female-identified women is 'evil’ to those who fear us. As for old, ageism is a feature of phallic society. For women who have transvaluated this, a Crone is one who should be an example of strength, courage and wisdom.
—  Mary Daly, Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism
The fact that most gynecologists are males is in itself a colossal comment on ‘our’ society. It is a symptom and example of male control over women and over language, and a clue to the extent of this control. Add to this the fact, noted by Adrienne Rich, of 'a certain indifference and fatalism toward the diseases of women, which persists to this day in the male gynecological and surgical professions.’ And add to this the fact that the self-appointed soul doctors, mind doctors, and body doctors who 'specialize’ in women are perpetrators of iatrogenic disease. That is, soul doctors (priests and gurus), mind doctors (psychiatrists, ad-men, and academics), and body doctors (physicians and fashion designers) are by professional code causes of disease in women and hostile to female well-being. Gynecologists fixate upon what they do not have, upon what they themselves cannot do. For this reason they epitomize and symbolize the practitioners of other patriarchal -ologies, and they provide important clues to the demonic patterns common to the labor of all of these. In their frantic fixation upon what they lack (biophilic energy) and in their fanatic indifference to the destruction they wreak upon the Other – women and 'Mother Nature’ – the phallic -ologies coalesce. Their corporate merger is the Mystical Body of knowledge which is gynocidal gynecology.
—  Mary Daly, Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism

# leave nothing but footprints take nothing but pictures kill nothing but time anti-capitalism green anarchism anti-capitalist time pictures footprints forest jungle ecology green eco environmentalism radical environmentalism

Elsewhere I have discussed four methods which are essential to the games of the fathers. First, there is erasure of women. (The massacre of millions of women as witches is erased in patriarchal scholarship.) Second, there is reversal. (Adam gives birth to Eve, Zeus to Athena, in patriarchal myth.) Third, there is false polarization. (Male-defined “feminism” is set up against male-defined “sexism” in the patriarchal media.) Fourth, there is divide and conquer. (Token women are trained to kill off feminists in patriarchal professions.) As we move further on in the metapatriarchal journey, we find deeper and deeper layers of these demonic patterns embedded in the culture, implanted in our souls. These constitute mindbindings comparable to the footbindings which mutilated millions of Chinese women for a thousand years.
—  Mary Daly, Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism

Overcoming the silencing of women is an extreme act, a sequence of extreme acts. Breaking our silence means living in existential courage. It means discovering our deep sources, our spring. It means finding our native resiliency, springing into life, speech, action. Many years ago Rachel Carson published her book Silent Spring. She was an early prophet foretelling ecological disaster. Her book was greeted with noise and babel but despite the awards and praise, essentially it received the silent treatment. Like the mythic Cassandra, who was cursed by Apollo (‘the god of truth’) to be disbelieved when she prophesied truth, Rachel Carson, whose credibility was weakened by her sex, was greeted with superficial attention and deep inattentiveness. Ecologists today still deny her recognition, maintaining dishonest silence. Meanwhile the springs are becoming more silent, as the necrophilic leaders of phallotechnic society are carrying out their programs of planned poisoning for all life on the planet.

I am not suggesting that women have a 'mission’ to save the world from ecological disaster. I am certainly not calling for female Self-sacrifice in the male-led cause of 'ecology.’ I am affirming that those women who have the courage to break the silence within our Selves are finding/creating/spiraling a new Spring. This Spring within and among us makes be-ing possible, and makes the process of integrity possible, for it puts us in touch with the intuition of be-ing which Jan Raymond has called the intuition of integrity. This intuitive, dynamic integrity enables us to begin seeing through the mad reversals which have been our mindbindings. It empowers us to question the sacred and secular 'texts’ which have numbed our brains by implanting 'answers’ before we had a chance to question and to quest. Our dis-covery of the Spring within us enables us to begin asking the right questions. There is no other way to begin. The hope which springs when women’s deep silence – the silence that breaks us – is broken is the hope of saving our Selves, of delivering our Selves from the Sins of the Fathers and moving on from there. Since this Spring of women’s be-ing is powerfully attractive to our own kind (womankind), we communicate it even without trying. Thus by breaking the imposed silence we help to spring other prisoners of patriarchy whose biophilic tendencies have not been completely blighted and blocked. The point is not to save society or to focus on escape (which is backward-looking) but to release the Spring of be-ing.

—  Mary Daly, Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism

A guide to the “10 Signs of Greenwash”:

  • Fluffy language: Words or terms with no clear meaning (e.g., “eco-friendly”).
  • Green product vs. dirty company: Such as efficient lightbulbs made in a factory that pollutes rivers.
  • Suggestive pictures: Green images that indicate a (unjustified) green impact (e.g., flowers blooming from exhaust pipes).
  • Irrelevant claims: Emphasizing one tiny green attribute when everything else is not green.
  • Best in class: Declaring you are slightly greener than the rest, even if the rest are pretty terrible.
  • Just not credible: “Eco friendly” cigarettes, anyone? “Greening” a dangerous product doesn’t make it safe.
  • Jargon: Information that only a scientist could check or understand.
  • Imaginary friends: A “label” that looks like third-party endorsement — except that it’s made up.
  • No proof: It could be right, but where’s the evidence?
  • Outright lying: Totally fabricated claims or data.