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Thread by @PeterGelderloos on Ecological authoritarianism

August 10, 2021 | FvA

Though all states in history have been ecocidal, a growing chorus is spreading the claim that only strong states can solve the ecological crisis. Why is this so dangerous? In a word, colonialism. Read on...

Across the world, from Venezuela & Brazil to Kenya to India, the most effective experiences in reforestation and food sovereignty have been autonomous, territorialized, and decentralized. Allowed to develop, these movements would take care of the greater part of carbon emissions, carbon sequestration, and habitat protection, while also addressing food insecurity, environmental racism, Indigenous sovereignty, and global inequality, problems that ALL proposals focused on alternative energies and geoengineering or high tech sequestration only aggravate.

Meanwhile, strong states like Indonesia, India, China, and Germany reveal how much states tend to be the very organizers of environmental devastation and neocolonial oppressions.

The movements to block major ecocidal infrastructure projects or to recover land, from Cherán K'eri

to Standing Rock to le ZAD have tended to be decentralized and to work well that way. They have often relied on Indigenous leadership and assembly structures, whereas political parties and governments have been inimical to their work.

The calls for centralized movements and strong states is sheer opportunism coming from leaders who are looking for flocks, academics with little connection to actual movements, authoritarians estranged by the marked anti-authoritarian character of movements and social rebellions of the last 30 years.

The revolutions of the early 20th century taught us that authoritarianism can arise rapidly in moments of desperation within largely decentralized movements. The new leaders quickly side track these movements to serve their own interests, becoming the counterrevolution within the revolution, preserving altered versions of capitalism and the state.

Today, their work will be to preserve the technocratic "solutions" to the ecological crisis that maintain and accelerate neocolonial dynamics, that sit at the heart of academic and statist modes.

These people are careerists, opportunists, and closet white supremacists. We need to shut them out and organize our own responses.

"People who have not organized their own territory cannot lead a struggle for the territory" to paraphrase a comrade from Teia dos Povos in Brazil.

These critiques and the grassroots struggles I've mentioned are the focus of my forthcoming book with @PlutoPress that includes interviews with initiatives from Brazil, Venezuela, Indonesia, Chicago, France... and descriptions of other struggles from the Secwepemc fight against the Transmountain Pipeline to housing struggles in South Africa, anti-oil battles in Nigeria, migrant struggles from Exarcheia to the Canary Islands, forest squats in Germany, and commoning pastoralists restoring healthy forests in the Pyrenees.