Report from Demand Utopia on their call for a wave of actions during Green June.
Last month, in June, Demand Utopia called for another wave of action titled Green June or Operation Rooted Seedling. This call to action was a follow up to our previous actions in solidarity with the Make Rojava Green Again campaign of the Internationalist Commune of Rojava.
The revolution in Rojava is anti-fascist and it is ecological. The ideology of democratic confederalism in Rojava has roots in the philosophy of social ecology. Social ecology stands as the original eco-anarchist and communalist perspective. It has from the beginning positioned itself as both sternly anti-fascist and ecological. Today, as the issue of climate change is increasingly being viewed with a sense of urgency we must demand that organizations tackle this issue holistically in order to not fall victim to the fascist creep.
— 🌸Demand 🐌🏴👽Utopia🌻🍉 (@DemandUtopia) June 28, 2019
As the reality of climate disaster continues to unfold it is imperative that we understand it as rooted in our social problems. Otherwise even more brutal forms of fascism are guaranteed to arise in the future, seizing upon societies’ highly problematic views of nature and future ecological disasters to justify even deeper Malthusian population reduction projects, especially as climate change denialism becomes increasingly impossible. Ultimately, for us there is only one solution, social revolution.
Two Threats, One Solution
Today our world faces two primary threats. The threat of global fascism and the threat of ecological cataclysm. As social ecologists, eco-anarchists, and communalists we understand the ecological crisis is rooted in a persistent social crisis. The domination of humanity over nature is rooted in the domination of human over human, therefore, if we ever hope to solve our ecological crisis we must first solve our societal crisis.
Fascism, then as now, is birthed via the mass alienation and individualization of millions of people from communal and pre-capitalist social structures as they are shoved towards a disempowered, uncertain, dream-like life within the capitalist machine. Capitalism has disempowered millions to live life subject to systems and structures we are told are too powerful to change, or too big to fail. Shut out of meaningful decision making over society, we begin a forced retreat from the world. As we are coerced by police, artificial scarcity of resources, and increasingly physically separated from society due to the enclosure of the commons, a self sustaining complacency takes hold: a surrender resulting in an eventual loss of any understanding of the meaning of life itself, and eventually the will to live.
The death cult of Fascism enters with the answer. Of collective surrender. It is a brutalistic embrace of the faulty Darwinian notion of “survival of the fittest” and claims that competition and conflict between difference are fundamental biological and spiritual facts. It peddles fictitious nostalgias of “the good old days” of cultural traditionalism and urban revanchism, which looks at cities as morally depraved melting pots to be destroyed while embracing competition and capitalist modernity before fellow humans. Hitler equivocated the “cosmopolitan” with semitic. It is within these mythological roots that the identity of whiteness evolved, the religious mythology of manifest destiny, and Hitler’s Lebensraum. Ultimately all of this comes together to envision a future, unchanging, self-sustaining, conflictless, functional social system that just needs to remove “the undesirables” to realize its happy dystopia.
We as social ecologists instead point to examples of symbiotic relationships, eco-communities, and interdependence within first nature (or the non-human natural world), to express the potential for cooperation as an underlying principle of evolution. This vision of nature is known both to modern ecologists and evolutionists, and has been well understood by the philosopher Pyotr Kropotkin as early as the late 1800s. Instead of overemphasizing our differences we prioritize what we have common. We understand that human animals are as natural as any other. Our unique attributes, as with all other species, are the product of natural evolution. Indeed, through these processes we have evolved great gifts of self-consciousness, the capacity to make ethical judgements and creativity to shape the world around us, that make us exceptionally unique when compared to other species. However, due to this we also possess unique abilities to be cruel and cause harm to others simply for our own pleasure. Today we understand humanity as trapped by its own creative destruction, its own bifurcation between it’s first and second nature.
For humanity to transcend this state society must bind itself to first nature, and not exploit it. Humanity, as a whole, must enter a form of social and biotic relations some call third or free nature. This will not happen on its own. We are rediscovering a common ecological ethic that recognizes humanity as a self-conscious manifestation of the natural world’s drive towards greater self-understanding, complexity, and diversity, as stewards of the land. Human nature, thus is only evolution and change. Being as constant state of becoming. We hope the persistent and constant appeal for a free society, for a new ecological life, will help to cast a relief for the utopias to come. We know only that the potential exists and that brute competition, fascism, and exploitation are aspects of capitalist society that can be rooted out by our resistance.
In this way, we understand fascism to always be ecocidal no matter what ideological veneer that it has taken in the past, or will take in the future. It is rooted in stasis, whereas life is rooted in change. It is a death cult in pursuit of phantasmal natural order and unchanging natural laws, whether Darwinian capitalist competition or the racial competition and struggle of Nazism. To avoid the stain of the fascist creep we all must understand there is nowhere to return to, there is no “purity” in the past we can emulate. Nature itself does not have some untouched beginning we should recreate, we have always only known nature through society.
Today the world is swept by cultural xenophobias. As people, we are coerced into becoming disempowered individuals. We are forced to develop static individualized identities in the spectacular avatar realm of online representations, selling ourselves as commodities in both the workplace and the inescapable social sphere. A world of expediency where there is little time for deep discussion, where the enclosure of the commons has forced us to live our lives in isolated wooden or concrete box like structures. Beyond the millions who die from pollution or human made disasters, we claim capitalism’s alienation has led to untold levels of deaths from despair, addiction, and suicide.
For life to continue, we must be allowed to leave our old static selves behind, yet in this process together discover what we always truly were, what so many in movements of past gave their lives fighting for us to freely become. We will not live satisfied, pleasurable lives until there is a free society, and a free humanity for all, for we are not separable from it. As Fred Hampton Jr. once extolled in his famous speech, we have to keep identifying ourselves with the revolutionary process of change while being simultaneously aligned with the people, against the death machine. Let’s say it together, “I am, a revolutionary!”.
What could be done?
As social ecologists we have a developmental view of humanity. Humanity is a process, our very existence is change. We call this developmental analysis of revolution dialectical naturalism. Because there is no predetermined course of history, revolution won’t come out of thin air and be instantaneously “sparked” within the masses. It also won’t inevitably arise due to environmental crisis or cataclysm. Revolution, rather than an event or moment, it is a process. It will only be built, and collectively willed into being by self-conscious people who have the aim to transform themselves, social relations, and structures towards actualizing humanity’s potentialities for freedom, cooperation, and self-consciousness.
The ecological crisis has the potential to unite humanity to realize a new free society, through a new Internationalist urgency to solve the problem. In taking this developmental view we have a long way to go. Through reclaiming and occupying commons from capitalism we can begin retaking space where we can enter into social life beyond capitalist alienation, through gardening together and practicing permaculture we can build a relationship with first nature in a way that shows us how humans can be beneficial stewards of the land that add to ecological diversity, rather than destroy it. We can also work towards local, municipal, and regional food sovereignty to build locally controlled and democratic material structures to sustain our communities’ ebbing revolution. There are multiple ways that we can begin experimenting to transform society.
In response to the political situation we are living through, Demand Utopia made its call for Green June. It is an attempt to, in our small way, begin experimenting with what an anti-fascist, pro-social, liberatory, environmental movement could look like. The month of action saw guerilla gardeners from across the world take action to expropriate land for the purposes of social and ecological uses. In Seattle meaningful solidarity was built with local indigenous tribes and in Portland we founded the DU Urban Farm, to recount only a few actions.
Green June Actions
Demand Utopia in Portland announced the creation of the DU Urban Farm. We inherited the farm from a past project and began by doubling its size with the addition of several new garden beds. We plan to use the produce for community mutual-aid with the houseless. Currently we are working with other groups in the are to begin building a radical network of urban farms towards sovereignty in the Multnomah Valley.
Neighbors from The Plant in Tallahassee, Florida joined the call by preparing seed bombs and dropping them around the area.
In Santa Cruz, utopians gave away seeds and live starts of beans and sunflowers during the Really Free Market at the Subrosa Community Space.
In Montreal, neighbors at a squatted community garden hosted a workshop around permaculture to promote food autonomy in an urban context.
The plot of land the garden is on, is privately owned by a speculator. Due to its negligent use it was occupied by the neighborhood gardeners. Today they are working towards full community control of the land there.
Demand Utopia – Seattle joined a work group at the Beacon Food Forest with comrades from Extinction Rebellion Seattle, Seattle Socialist Rifle Association, and Revolutionary’s Garden.
Comrades from the PNW Youth Liberation Front shared photos of the raised planter beds in their urban garden with little cucumber sprouts showing signs of life.
— PNW Youth Liberation Front (@PNWYLF) June 15, 2019
Make Rojava Green Again and the Internationalist Commune joined the call sending in a video in solidarity previewing the ecological restoration projects they are currently working on.
Inspired by the call to action, the New London Mutual Aid Collective from Connecticut expropriated the land in a neighborhood desolated and abandoned by capitalism. The collective started planting fruit trees and other fruit bearing plants.
Demand Utopia – Seattle were put in contact with members from the Duwamish tribe who asked them to organize a working group to prepare the area for gardening and to help develop it as a space for members of the community to reconnect with nature. The work group also included members of the Seattle Socialist Rifle Association and Revolutionary’s Garden.
Joining in a few weeks later, our friends from a democratic confederalist commune, the Vernon Area Green Council from Vernon Township, IL shared photos of their raised planter beds for their urban garden.