25 April 2003


Ecosocialism is an objective rebellion. What this means is that the negative infrastructure of protest and boycott, the rebellion of the subject against authoritarian subjectivity, is bound to evaporate once the causes that brought it about disappear. The rebellion of the subject against authoritarian subjectivity always stands in danger of being replaced by the authoritarian consciousness that failed to rebel. Necessary, then, are what Joel Kovel calls "prefigurations," which means (in its most organized form) socialist forms of human existence (everything from sharing in Kindergarten on up) and also ecologically-sustainable practices (organic gardening, recycling, conservation, intentional communities), growing to the extent that it is possible for them to grow in the shadow of capitalist domination while at the same time revolting against all capitalist barriers to its growth. If the eco-dwelling were just another co-opted institution, the capitalist Establishment would not be working so hard (today) to pre-empt its existence with a war against nature.

Web articles everywhere are reiterating the message that today's objective reality is one of class warfare. Norway's Indymedia site offers an example: we realize, today, that there's a war going on by corporations against everyone and everything. In light of such a war, then, it's only fair to discuss what tactics the people can use in the "rebellion phase" of such a war. The militants among us will advocate an "objective" armed revolution, but the battle on the field has already been won by those with the most guns. That is of course, the US, with its spending habits. The real possibilities of rebellion, then, exist in the objectively-rebellious qualities of those things that resist corporate domination, in all of that which is in the object which itself puts up a barrier to its being assimilated to the cancer of capitalist "development."

The people must side actively with the land itself (and the rebellious things upon it) as it resists being a pawn of capitalist domination. The people should stand with bio-diversity against commodity, for instance, but it goes beyond that into cultural diversity, ideological diversity, and diversity in human relationships as we struggle to fracture the capitalist trend of standardization. The complaint that all rebellions are themselves subject to co-optation without a revolution is itself too tied to the rebellion of the message to see the real site of anti-capitalist resistance. Anticapitalism must also be found in the resisting object if it is to be effective, since (as Bill Readings showed so persuasively in The University In Ruins) the message that carries anticapitalist meaning is itself even more subject to co-optation in non-revolutionary conditions than is the object itself. To co-opt the message, the capitalist Establishment merely needs a mass media; to co-opt the object, a global army of bulldozers will be needed at minimum.

The fact that you are here reading this article signifies your prior resistance to the media spell that accomodates itself to corporate hegemony. In order for you to have been attracted to a site with a subversive name like "ecosocialism," you will have previously "seen through" the mythology that promotes socialism as The Bogeyman, thus I can address you as an audience by assuming that you are already no longer a mere follower by virtue of having gotten here.

On a global level, the one main accomplishment of the resistance to corporatist mythology, beyond its mere presence in your thoughts, is to have alienated the population against the "mainstream media" -- the carriers of this mythology. One can see this even through the authoritarian reaction, dialectically. In the US, for instance, the television set with its authoritarian line and fearmongering can be seen as indications that the corporate Establishment fears the freedom to think that you have acquired through Net research. Huge antiwar protests occuring against media blackouts serve as evidence that the "mainstream media" are losing their grip upon the popular imagination. Dialectically, the media respond by being even more authoritarian. Think, for instance, about how recently it really has been that MSNBC fired Phil Donahue and hired Michael Savage. Eventually, the mainstream response is bound to fail, for the viewers will lose interest. But what will exist in its wake? Will the resulting opening for free thought, the one you already have experienced, be filled with another Establishment mythology? In the absence of any material "prefigurations" of ecosocialist society, it's likely.

The point is that thinking freely, against the mass media, is good, but it's not enough. Everyone should try to get "linked," materially, to a community that seeks to incarnate resistance in co-operative institutions. Food, water, medicine, shelter, belief, community, all this must be de-commodified and made into incarnate possibilities for all of us, as we drift in a capitalist sea with no sight of solid land.


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