On Climate / Borders / Survival / Care / Struggle

I think something which has been the undercurrent to this conversation is the spectre of what has now quite openly and explicitly been called fascism. We have talked about it with Kingsnorth, and early on in relation to ‘Lifeboat Ethics’, and how it would be quite easy to imagine a response to climate change in which those at the top of systems of oppressive power, those empowered by capital, the state, gender, class, race, sexuality, do just basically live out a sort of super privileged version of what Rebecca Solnit is talking about. The classic vision of dystopian films recently has been that either the rich people go and live in the sky or a magic island etc, but that doesn’t seem realistic. Actually, what’s more likely to happen is that the city breaks up into increasingly small fragments in which extreme privilege and protected privilege is surrounded by a mass of those who don’t have the power to defend themselves, and that plays out around moments of disasters as well. There’s several accounts I remember reading after Hurricane Sandy of people watching the streets of New York, just as the hurricane was about to hit, filled with carloads of rich white New Yorkers going to the countryside or going to stay in hotels – they were being filmed by black and latino workers who had to stay at work. There’s something strong there about the nature of the disaster – some people literally in the absurd, nightmarish situation of not being able to escape the disaster because their boss wouldn’t let them.

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