Received on 16.02.2020:
FIVE AFFIRMATIONS FORMED IN SMOKE AND FIRE
1. In these fires we see the ongoing violence of more than two centuries of colonisation on this continent. In attempting to eradicate the sovereignty of First Nations people and their connections to country, so much long-held knowledge about taking care of this land has been dismissed. Instead of a holistic and interconnected relationship with the environment, there is a relationship based on domination and possession.
A colonial society is not capable of establishing a nourishing relationship with the environment.
2. In these fires we see the devastation that is arriving due to climate change. While mining and the fossil fuel industry should be targets of our anger, they do not speak to the entirety of the devastation. Industrial farming of water-hungry crops like cotton and rice while rivers run dry. Livestock churning through the soil as erosion leads to desertification. The logging of old-growth forests. The links in the chain connect to our whole way of life.
The scale of devastation is systematic, and so the entire system becomes our target.
3. In these fires we see the outcome of a complete disregard for life beyond generating wealth. And we know that there is no changing course within capitalism, with its endless drive for the next source of profit. The destitution that it inflicts upon all life and the environment through insatiable resource extraction has been noted. We won’t be fooled by desperately staged attempts at green-washing.
Capitalism will get no further chances.
4. In these fires we see that there is no way forward in rebuilding back to the way things were. This might not be the end times or the apocalypse – it might simply be the new normality. Catastrophe, followed by catastrophe, followed by doing the best we can to recover. But if ‘recovery’ means desperately trying to return to a way of life that is untenable, we’d rather not. Colonised people have been living and fighting through catastrophe for a long time. Do the rest of us feel that we have enough skin in the game now to join them?
There is not much positive in this disaster, but from these ashes we can build something different.
5. In these fires we see that those who govern us – no matter what party they represent – will never provide for us, even in the hardest of times. Just ask one of the volunteer firies fighting the flames. If it wasn’t Scotty from marketing, it would be some other insufferable fuckwit. They protect wealth and the economy, while playing on anxiety and fear. They do nothing to sustain us.
In these times of crises, we can only turn to each other in solidarity and mutual aid.
This country now has its own climate refugees, joining millions of others from all around the world. We have seen people risk everything to assist each other, sharing resources and caring for others. This kind of humanity need not be reserved for extreme situations. While it might start with the people immediately alongside us, the alliances we build and the mutual aid we enact will have to cross borders and reflect the global scale of what we are facing.
As the extreme becomes normal, so can our solidarity.