". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cli-Fi - Climate Change SF

I'm not entirely convinced the author of "Climate change is so dire we need a new kind of science fiction to make sense of it" has stated the entire picture of what we need to change, slow and stop climate change's inevitable consequences, which will be dire for all of us, or at least anyone not of the 0.01%.

Changing a subset of science fiction classifications to Cli-Fi in which protagonists deal with the near future consequence of die-off due to lack of water and oxygen seems like expecting effective political and social changes happens by "tweets 'n likes". Nor may we have the luxury of thinking about how this will affect our distant descendants generations from now, because the impacts for so many are already here.  Even in places that aren't drought-tortured regions of Africa with booming birth rates nevertheless, how many 100-200-500 year disasters within a year or a decade can a nation handle effectively? (Or, perhaps, the author could have had more to say and propose, but due to space, the editor didn't allow that part?)

We need much more than a new name for fiction in order to explore, create and implement any effective change of route upon this headlong trajectory to self-destruction it seems we're on. Just think of how to rid ourselves of the oil dependency that is embedded and entwined in everything in all our lives, from our shampoos and moisturizers, our transportation, our cosmetics, our agri-biz, our communications -- everything.  It's like slavery -- it took a long and bloody war to burn that down, and in the end, due to federal indifference, the laws were no longer enforced other than there no longer was overt buying and selling, and ownership of babies, and calculating wealth and taxes via the bodies of human beings.* 

What will it take to rid ourselves of unsustainable extraction industries, including the wholesale destruction of the rain forests that provide our oxygen, and many, many ways, our water?  What will it take to stop the wholesale destruction of our oceans and the life they used to support?

Writing and thinking are essential. But don't we need more, including collective action that happens simultaneously with convincing people there is dire need for change?


*  That aspect of slavery was finished for good -- we hope! but then, there's this sort of thing by rightrightrightwinter talk show Jan Mickleson's frighteningly reminiscent of secessionist fire eater sublime, George Fitzhugh's Cannibals All! Or Slaves Without Masters, in which he proposes that anyone, whatever color, who isn't a wealthy white man, was a candidate for being enslaved. 

As to how easily and quickly what is enacted law, decided law, can be changed, by various means, think of  how impossible it is for women to get abortions even where abortion is legal in federal law as in the U.S. -- and even contraception -- even to save the life of the mother who is carrying a dead fetus.

When de facto abolition of abortion has happened here, why can't de facto slavery?  The Constitution has a built in loophole for slavery, i.e. criminals. Which is why our industrial prison complex is so lucrative.

This is what Mickleson is proposing with his outline that Iowa arrest undocumented people, imprison, put to work.  The precedent is the work gangs on the Jim Crow plantations.  Any time a nabob in the south needed a workforce the local sheriff rounded up any black man he could find, on the flimsiest of excuses, he getting paid a set amount for each "prisoner" he brought to the buyer.

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