The 2010 Cochabamba Agreement makes note of the estimation that “If this pace of over-exploitation of our Mother Earth continues, we will need two planets by the year 2030.” Indeed, research & development has been increasingly directed towards a future of off-world resource exploitation: virtually every known body within the solar system has been analysed & indexed according to what are only, for the time-being, hypothetical forecasts for industrial growth, based on the rate of resource depletion on Earth.

Accordingly, segments of the media have begun reporting on prospective extraterrestrial “mineral wealth” in counterpoint to the narrative of climate catastrophe. The logic of economic scarcity has led to claims of exorbitant “value” of space objects like the asteroids Davida, Psyche, Anteros, regularly assessed in unworldly denominations. (A NASA mission, incidentally, plans to arrive at Psyche in 2030.)

The Cochabamba Agreement poses the question underlying these dual narratives as one of practical, ideological intent: “Humanity confronts a great dilemma: to continue on the path of capitalism, depredation, and death, or to choose the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.” In contrast, off-world “resource extraction” — despite posing as a technological (i.e. “non-ideological”) solution to the resource crisis confronting global capital — offers the prospect of a “system of colonization” beyond the planet, enlarging the regime of exploitation that has given rise to climate catastrophe in the first place:

“The capitalist system has imposed on us a logic of competition, progress and limitless growth. This regime of production and consumption seeks profit without limits, separating human beings from nature and imposing a logic of domination upon nature, transforming everything into commodities: water, earth, the human genome, ancestral cultures, biodiversity, justice, ethics, the rights of peoples, and life itself.”

More than one world is precisely what capitalism wants. Yet in proposing “that we forge a new system that restores harmony with nature and among human beings,” in order not to obliterate the world that we have, the authors of the Cochabamba Agreement have been accused, by the evangelists of global capital, of “indigenous satanic rites” (in the words of Bolivian coup-leader Jeanine Áñez Chavez). Thus “indigenous satanism” becomes the latest cognate of “world socialism” as the hidden hand behind all crimes against (market) freedom.

And since “world socialism” was declared effectively extinct thirty years ago — with the exception of a handful of half-failed rogue states (forgetting China, of course) — the threat to neoliberalism has had to be rebranded as socalled “environmental terrorism” by the lobbyists of a not merely global but aspirationally cosmic capitalism, in its relentless pursuit of worldly — & otherworldly — power.




November 2019



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