Above taken from The Red Nation’s Principles of Unity, ratified August 2018.
I write this at the beginning of the Global Climate Strike in the hopes of raising questions, provoking conversation, and perhaps bringing some clarity to a fight that has life or death consequences for untold millions of people as well as our non-human kin. The path we take means everything. While I am encouraged to see the mass mobilization of people around the environmental devastation capitalism has wrought upon this planet, I also have grave concerns that misdirection is taking place.
It is a moment when so many are wrapped up in the fervor of participation that they do not recognize there are two paths in the environmental movement. The first path is one that has been maintained by Indigenous peoples throughout the colonization and industrialization of their lands. They have been waging the battle for right relations among people, the land, and their non-human kin for centuries. Theirs has been a fierce resistance, one where the magnitude of sacrifice is simply incalculable. Few have been on their side. It has been a terrible struggle, and yet they have persisted. Thank god. Thank for the youth who ignited the water protector movement at Standing Rock. Thank god for the efforts of the Red Nation in drafting the Red Deal.
The second path is one built on carbon trading, Internet of Things, 5G, and innovative “pay for success” finance. It seeks to control nature and the global poor as “human capital.” It will ultimately kill the Earth, while pretending to “save” it, wringing the last drops of profit from a dying planet to pad the bottom line of Goldman Sachs, the Vatican Bank, MetLife, etc.
This path ends in pension funds being poured into outcomes-based, “pay for success” contracts that rely on data from sensors to prove the “success” of the deals. No one is talking about the fact that the rare metals in those sensors are mined by child slave labor in Congo or will require 5G whose EMF radiation may very well kill off invertebrate populations, including vital pollinators. No one is talking about e-waste.
This path is setting up young people to demand the creation of “smart” surveillance cities that will be controlled by militarized policing. This path leads to a future of device-based education, virtual reality training for gig jobs as robot wranglers, tele-medicine, and tele-therapy, where our behaviors are monitored for the “impact” data investors in privatized public services demand.
This second path follows the UN Sustainability Development Goals (UN SDGs) that center high-tech “solutions” intended to financialize life in all its forms. It is about turning nature into a data commodity and turning our social relations, especially those of the poor and dispossessed, into data commodities, too. That data will fuel a massive gambling enterprise catalyzed by social impact philanthropies on behalf of transnational global capital interests. This is the path envisioned by IXO Foundation. Let no global crisis go to waste when it can be harnessed for the benefit of financiers.
Will we allow them to put IoT sensors on all the trees to “count what matters?” Will we stand by as they create self-owning cyborg forests? And what are the tech-oligarchs’ plans for the global poor in this coming age, one defined by surplus labor and automation? What are we prepared to do to halt their plans? As AI intercedes in our lives in the most intimate and intrusive ways, will we give ourselves over to the borg, adopt Blockchain identities, and allow transhumanist technocrats to control us?
Or will we stand with the peoples of the world who have suffered under the brutal, extractivist conditions of colonization, advocating with them for their right to self-determination and land sovereignty? In that process, in solidarity, might we also begin to heal ourselves?
There are two paths. Know which one you are on. The correct one won’t come with branded logos paid for by social impact investors (I’m looking at you Tom Steyer).
More on the principles of the Red Deal here.
- What creates the crisis cannot solve it.
- Change from below and to the left.
- Politicians can’t do what only mass movements can do.
- From theory to action.