Various Authors – Black Seed: Issue 6
The Anarchist Library
Title: Black Seed: Issue 6
Subtitle: Songs of Creation & Destruction
Date: 2018, summer
Notes: We will copy edit submissions for wording, punctuation, and typing errors. Editors: Dominique Ganawaabi, Ramon Elani, S0ren Aubade, Aragorn!, dot matrix http://blackseed.anarchyplanet.org / Cover photo by Ben Cody / Thanks! / Deadline for submissions for next issue: September 1, 2018 / email@example.com
Source: OCR’d via PDF
The sixth issue of Black Seed continues an effort to challenge and expand the meanings of both Green and Anarchy. As editors and contributors, we not only wish to reject notions of the state and capitalism, but seek perspectives that are earth-focused, unexpected, or inhuman.
The binary of the Fearsome Sky God and Sweet Mother Earth is a historical fallacy. If we seek to speak of the earth, let it not be in language perverted and twisted by narrow-minded gender ideals, but in language that rejoices in the cruel glory of the natural world.
The preceding is from the call for submissions to this issue. Even beyond this issue and this theme, this callout stands as a marker for our continuing efforts to live and imagine differently in a world that has seen and foiled many previous such efforts.
Ambiguity is one word for the reality of things that cannot be said to be good or bad, or even good and bad, but that exist orthogonal to that polarity. Is a mother who kills her child bad or good? Can you call her good or bad if she’s a slave and her child will be a slave too? What if she’s attempting to keep older children alive by killing her most recent? These are only a few examples of real decisions that real women (and families) have made and will make, and they point to the two branches of this issue’s theme; one that reflects on earth as a mother, and the other on mothers as primarily nurturers.
Our cover image for this issue, a photo of one of the two destroyed dams on the Elwha River, speaks to some of the ambiguous terrain we’re exploring. At face value, the destruction of the Elwha dams is an incredible and rare success story. Decades of struggle through legal and less- or not-legal means were finally successful. Dams are one of the most significant interventions in indigenous subsistence practices, and the removal of these two has meant a remarkable resuscitation in the ecosystem of the river, with birds, salmon, native plants, all coming back with almost unbelievable speed. And yet, there are more complicated ramifications. First, it signifies a struggle that was successfully pushed through the apparatus of the state. For those of us who recognize the structural and perspectival limitations of fighting by the rules of the current system, this step towards a balanced ecosystem will be two steps back if it’s seen as a reason to use the tools of the system.
As significantly, one reason to build dams is for energy production. Given the scale of the (ever- increasing) demand for energy, there are no good options—to the extent that sincere and passionate environmentalists have promoted nuclear energy, despite the toxins lasting for thousands of years, because everything else is worse.
We celebrate the victory of the Elwha River, while keeping clear in our mind that that victory, that ecosystem’s return, can only come at the cost of other ecosystems. That is the way of the civilization that surrounds and informs us. That victory is both real and not real, in a world in which floating continents of plastic and miles of fishing nets denude the oceans, in which ongoing oil-spills in Africa have no one even attempting to clean them up, in which toxic waste is buried or dumped offshore by the multi-ton load, etc. The very real successes happen in a context of overwhelming poison, misery, and extinction, and cannot be said to offset them.
The goal of Black Seed is to look at all of it, not to hide from or over-emphasize the bad or the good, or the things that are neither or both, to see humans, to see ourselves, as small, overly-loud parts of a whole that was doing better when we were quieter, and to consider how we can loudly remember, or learn, to be quieter again, in a civilization that promotes the equation of silence with death.
by Ramon Elani
It was because the children of the Empire were not suckled by the wolf that they were conquered and displaced by the children of the Northern forests who were.
To speak of green anarchy, to attack or denounce civilization and industrialism, without speaking from a mystical place, a sacred place, is to speak with a mouth full of ash. Proper reverence for the gods, spirits, and forces of the earth is at the very heart of our critique. To re-emphasize and strengthen this connection, to re-affirm that what we are about is in essence a religious crusade, is to lead the green anarchist position forward. Do you deny the gods? Guess who else does that? The engineers of the state, the capitalists, the industrialists, the humanists, the ones who will sacrifice the world itself to serve their own ambitions toward godhood. As soon as humanity, in the infancy of the Enlightenment, declared its independence from the gods and the world of so-called superstition, technoindustrial society was born. Those who seek to define a sense of the world in which humanity does not occupy the sole position of power without basing their position in the nature of the sacred are grasping at straws. It is an incoherent position because it has no foundation on which to stand. In this regard, technoindustrial society is correct: if there is no god(s) than why should humanity not exploit the cosmos as it will?