glimpses of the lucid-young in the spun-out disaster world of adultism
Occasionally there emerges through the celebrity-scape someone who can display outer edge qualities of inspiration and it feels that way somewhat with Greta Thunberg.
Its been difficult not to admire her poise and resolve from everything that I’ve seen and read, a reminder of the inestimable possibilities of will and thinking, as in there is knowlege and strategy involved necessarily to the clarity of her action.
The venality of in-grown self interest in the actions and mindset of state-capital servitude, when considered alongside the lock-step blandalism of corporate message – makes it rare for those counterthetically unseduced to be able to speak and have the momentum of coverage. But Greta Thunberg (during school holidays and Fridaysforfuture strikes at least) has with a stratospheric effectiveness, bucked that trend.
And I found a number of reasons why I was really quite struck, while reading this piece in the Guardian today. Partly in awe at her tweeting her thanks to OPEC for its recent conclusion that people such as herself and other young climate activists are the main threat to the fossil fuel industry. But what really sent me cracking was when she’d said on instagram (about the school children strikes) ‘The grown-ups have failed us.’ I was hit by its resonance immediately, being as how it struck such a chord…
It should also be noted how it is evident in some very subtle things, that there is an adaptation of thinking going on. She describes climate impact in terms of the effects on the ‘Global North’ and the ‘Global South,’ an echo of thinking I noticed that had been adopted in later writing by Mark Fisher. The idea of ‘the West’ needs to be re-addressed, and Mark made this identification in terms of broadly socio-capitalist terms, being echoed in the demarcations picked up by Thunberg as to the disproportionate relative impacts of burgeoning ecological disaster on the planet.
At one stage in the piece, she is asked (basically) whether right wing neo-liberals can be redeemable in any environmental sense, which she immediately disowns as a question she should answer and yet signs that question off by saying ‘But I think we can safely say that all ideologies have failed. If some have failed more than others then that is for others to say.’
Recurrent to her narrative though, is a separation-move which I think speaks with profundity and gives power. As a side note, I think it has taken me many years to understand that giving/creating separation, the making-separate generates a power, often this becomes a demagogic power, but not necessarily, which for me, is something Thunberg is demonstrating.
Bjork’s song Declare Independence often made me think that it was a valliant freedom cry that turned back towards a state mode (‘create your own flag’) and thus had a kind of doomed feel as of the re-creation of the state at a point of potential departure. But I recently realised a kind of two-foldedness to this, first that it can be a valuable tactic to appeal to the name or form of a locally supercedent power (in Bjork’s Declare Independence, this being something required to move toward freedom for a group of – presumably land-tied people). The counter-proposition in Deleuze and Guattari to the mode of the state, is the nomadic, which suggests that second fold of declaring for the power of the locally supercedent, that this is a strategy towards becoming-imperceptible, an idea from the chapter of the same name in a Thousand Plateaux (becoming-intense, becoming-animal, becoming-imperceptible). In this sense that the imperceptible might involve an ongoing intensification of a group apparently becoming an independent state-like entity of some kind.
In effect it might be the flag, the terrain (be it explicitly also intensive terrain or not) that gains the space, the freedom, the cover to escape the systematicity of active, oppressive structurings. And although escaping these things is not explicitly the same as following an intensification of being alive – there is a necessary co-existence there for much of the early composition of both – necessary because it is difficult to live such a life while being one’s own self-regulator of inherited trans-scalar conformances, socially mirrored and co-emplaced across the process of subjectification and its corresponding macro-structuralities (the de-intensifying activity of the strata).
There is a similarity at work when thinking about the Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin, about a group of utopian anarchists who form their own colony on a nearby moon from their world (which ressembles in its effete corruption much of the rich, capitalised states of our world). Theirs is a tough new terrain, requiring intense work to create the materials of living from among a desertified, rocky topography – and they quickly re-emplant new forms of stratification even within their definitely radicalised system of organisation. Some of these could be understood as committee-sludge and anti-exceptionalism, as well as a kind of punitive severity against (and reactivity to) the rejected (and old) modes of governance and social-morality. All the while still showing it to be a system of comparably more significant honesty and integrity (and in this respect ‘seeing’) than that from which it came. In fact, the whole thing (The Dispossessed) as a seeing is incredibly honest, so too as a story birthing the fictional reality of a group making this extraordinary and bold revolutionary move (having had to fight tooth and nail to escape) then falling into its own micro-despotisms on the basis of the abstract-distances yet to be evolved/arrived at by those whom are part of the radical movement.
The political tradition generally seems to be that children are marginalised to more or less an argumental tool, giving no participatory capital in the state-social group – and largely the recipients of an ongoing socialisation process of ‘educational’ discipline, industrialised in organisation and now more and more subject to rule under a ‘business ontology‘ ethos. They are given status as ‘goal-worthy’, in that they are worthy of occasional consideration for being those that will form the future constituents of the socium, and also as being children who should themselves form socially constructive (and presonally satisfying) future goals, when they graduate into society-proper as adults.
And this for me is where some of Thunberg’s most powerful actions are evident, in creating a new level of activism in children and in giving them an identity overall (a form of difference) as relevant and prescient, a new estate and in the form of the activism – a definable locus and area of power as well as creating a new terrain of difference from which to speak. Thereby being able to claim a vantage and to use lucid reflection from outside the stratificatory boundaries of state-capital socio-normativity and its occupying activity within people, now explicitly (most) adults.
In fact, it shifts the emphasis onto adults as being entirely the responsible party and entities of the ongoing planet wide catastrophe, which is only a few steps away from understanding it is the socialised, individuated, modal predisposition of the habitually instanced subjectificatory mode of our consciousness in its full and reactive form. And yet Greta’s is a voice which can be coming from outside this and recurrently is.
‘I started my activism at home, changing my parents’ and relatives’ habits and ways of thinking ‘
And yet when questioned by someone who relayed the continual age-discrimination used to silence them, her response is unequivocal, showing that she simultaneously estates the voice of children while not accepting that separation as valid when coming from the other direction (i.e. independence of voice, connectedness of responsibility).
‘I don’t care about age. Nor do I care about those who do not accept the science. I don’t have as much experience, and therefore I listen more. But I also have the right to express my opinion, no matter my age. Also, being young is a great advantage since we see the world from a new perspective and we are not afraid to make radical changes.‘
Some of which serves also to remind of this really remarkable moment of music from the wonderful maker of sound Arthur Russell – ‘Calling all kids’.
Released in this form as the ‘Walter Gibbons Remix’ on the album ‘Calling out of context’ in 2004, the (unbelievably) still largely unknown Russell delivers a weirdly bombastic, uplifted and light beat-song with squelchy bass stabs that has the chorus refrain:
‘Calling all kids…
Calling all kids…
Grown ups are crazy… crazy… crazy… crazy’
On one occasion listening to it with a friend under particularly conducive circumstances, we both had odd dreamy experiences of it in different ways and contexts. One of which was the image of an eight year old girl sitting her six year old brother down to explain to him that she’d worked out that grown-ups are crazy, but that even though it was inevitable that they would both become grown-ups eventually – they would need to work together to not forget and get sucked into entering the grown-up world (of overall insanity).
This reminds me a little of Greta Thunberg, except of course her lucidity and intent as they are expressed, make her more grown-up than virtually all of the power-crats she is in some key senses attempting to deal with.
Also, this Guardian piece recently, detailing Treesisters; a largely feminist intensive tree planting movement operating in the developing areas of the world. I have become a modest financial contributor since reading it, as my welcome said – I am now a Treesister.
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