The election has come and gone, yet the sad yard signs remain. Trump channers cope about losing their savings on /pol/, while the tears of Brooklyn are finally mended over the return of brunch. A massacre seems to have been averted, although not for lack of trying. Witness the President’s half-hearted coup, censored by the powers-that-be in Silicon Valley. Reactionary crowds storming election centers, jacked-up radio hosts calling for civil war, police roughing up BLM demonstrators—all amounting to a long news cycle where in the end, nothing happens.
Whatever mandate claimed by liberalism, the faultlines of America have not shifted or disappeared. The election has not magically transformed the underlying situation in this country. We live in a broken society. The institutions are crumbling and no longer hold sway. Fragmentation is everywhere, consensus reality splintered into a thousand incommensurate bubbles. The intense polarization between right and left has not been subdued or settled. There is no guarantee we are experiencing anything but temporary reprieve, deferral rather than resolution.
The conflict is still with us. Or rather, we still live within the conflict. It takes many forms, with armed violence between factions demarcated as left and right claiming its most extreme and also most regrettable expression. The culture war is still in full swing, threatening to turn hot, hotter than anything we’ve seen this year. Neoliberal progress and nationalist conservatism are vying to steer us all on their respective path to hell.
It’s not an advantageous polarity, when we survey the arrangement of forces, the complexity and contradictions within our society. Is it really so heretical to say that we are repulsed by Biden as much as Trump, and that we hate Musk and Bezos even more than them both? Politics defines the overall situation, but it can overshadow where real power lies.
We’re subject to the same economy, run by the same jackasses. This subservience remains unbroken no matter the regime. A supposedly more competent administration doesn’t inspire confidence either, as the pandemic stages its horrific resurgence. The right—selfish and paranoid as ever—claims the mantle of popular resistance to lockdowns, while the left pleads for the total administration of life. It goes to show that nothing is obvious or predestined in our moment, that the reigning paradigm is already senseless.
How do we make a break with this failed order? How do we disentangle ourselves from an economy of general equivalence, absorbing everything into its slow collapse? On this point the future is perfectly clear, the election no more than a sedative. We will have to fight for a life of meaning. But the form this fight takes, the terrain it moves on, the polarities defining it, can still be up to us. Against who, alongside who, against what, for what—how and why we are present to the conflict of our epoch, which is none other than a war over the meaning of life. You have to choose.
Friends in the Midwest have debuted their new radio show and podcast Partisan Gardens. Tune in for excellent discussions about alternatives to the current food system, in conversation with those already building it.
We can't wait any longer, for a tech breakthrough, climate apocalypse, the revolution, or a reform of the USDA loan system. We know climate catastrophe is here—and it's our food system's dead end. We see sustainable fine dining and ecological destruction, hunger and obesity, extreme wealth and immense poverty. We must be frank about reality to reckon with our options. We must choose sides and become partisans of a new way to live and grow food. This alternative path is already under construction. Through the experiments and struggles of food service and agricultural workers, we are figuring out how to create food systems that will nourish a livable world for us all. We feature stories from kitchen staff, new small farmers, undocumented slaughterhouse organizers, agroecology researchers, Black farming cooperatives, urban gardeners, indigenous land stewards, permaculturists, and countless others exploring this field of experimentation. Let those of us who refuse to wait proceed together. The current food system has failed. We are on the side of nourishment and care.
“Contemporary revolts adopt positions not simply regarding widespread inequalities or corruption, but against the terms of life itself, of what lives matter, of what is worth dying for.” Vitalist International on life after the George Floyd Rebellion.
“The car, commonly understood as one of the defining symbols of American capitalism, has been repurposed as a weapon of Black liberation.” Shemon & Arturo on vehicular tactics.
“No campaign of racial reconciliation has so far proven capable of dissuading this country from pursuing the most unshakable of its anti-Black traditions.” Yannick Giovanni Marshall on the post-Trump moment.
“The coronavirus, the rise of authoritarianism, and the looming ecological collapse all mess with our sense of ontological security, the feeling of continuity in the order of our lives.” Britt Wray on eco-anxiety.
“Real innovation isn’t all sleek technology, but rather found in the everyday, living processes of caregiving and collaboration.” Laura Mauldin on care work & automation.
"The system became smarter with every new suspicious face or name logged in the database, every piece of information time-stamped, geotagged, and synchronized with the surveillance camera network." Darren Byler on working for the surveillance state.
“The infrastructural components of telecom autonomy are the first steps we must take to secure the Internet’s earlier promises and take it out of the hands of its corporate and governmental owners.” Tech Learning Collective on building local networks.
“L’Amassada, along with so many other struggles for autonomy, are efforts to defend habitats and stop industrial and cybernetic infrastructure from consuming territories and, together, the world.” Alexander Dunlap on recent land occupations in France.
We'll be back in December with more original content. We're lining up some exciting things for the new year too.
You're on Path B,