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CHAPTER 10 The Ecolegal Revolution

Capra, Fritjof Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The Scientific Revolution introduced the concept of nature as a machine and human reason as superior to natural processes. The subsequent Industrial Revolution produced great “progress” in terms of technological development and efficient production, and the institutional transformation of some commons into concentrated capital served a real social need to overcome a brutal subsistence way of life. Concentrated capital meant industry, scientific and artistic development, better medicine, and eventually more hygienic conditions for many.

However, capital concentration also required the “commodification” of land. Toward that end, the landed class allied with government institutions to defeat the resistance of people who were living communally with subsistence agriculture and limited specialization. Their traditional productive processes were transformed into modern capitalist food production and manufacturing. This effort was aided by a theory of unlimited property rights, based on an ideology of freedom, improvement, and productive labor, which John Locke provided, and by a theory of unlimited state sovereignty, offered by Thomas Hobbes.1

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Medium 9780253018168

15. The Hidden God of Revolution and Apocalypse

Marius Timmann Mjaaland Indiana University Press ePub

The decisive role Thomas Müntzer played during the German Peasants’ War of 1525 and his prophetic statement about the people being free later did encourage Friedrich Engels to see him as a precursor of all later revolutionaries. Engels’s interpretation is deeply influenced by the Left Hegelian historian Wilhelm Zimmermann, himself a politically radical scholar who first identified Thomas Müntzer as a revolutionary figure.1 Engels sees the incidents during the revolution of 1525 and the following counterrevolution as paradigmatic for the historical dynamic of revolutions in general. Indeed, this also allows him to relocate the historical origin of the communist revolution to the heart of Germany and discuss the relationship between revolution and religion, history and ideology in a context that he finds similar to the events of 1848–1850. Müntzer becomes a revolutionary hero and the first martyr of Marxism. According to Engels, he resisted the temptation to let the Reformation end up with a bourgeois reactionary settlement under the old rulers and instead risked his life for the ideas he believed in: justice for the oppressed, improvement of their material conditions, a total revolution of the established power structures, and eventually the liberation of the entire people. Engels sees in Müntzer, for the first time in modern Europe, a political expression of the secular realization of the utopian vision of a “kingdom of God,” including freedom, equality, and peace on earth.2 Hence, before we conclude this analysis of early modern political theology by comparing the thought of Luther, Catharinus, and Müntzer, let us take a short view behind the curtains to the stage prepared for a second volume on the hidden God in modern philosophy, where political theology is analyzed from various perspectives, including the question of Marxism and the utopias of the Apocalypse.

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Medium 9780253011671

4. “The End of Revolution Is the Foundation of Freedom”

Kathryn T. Gines Indiana University Press ePub

4 “The End of Revolution Is the Foundation of Freedom”

HANNAH ARENDTS On Revolution offers an in-depth study of the concept of revolution, including two of the most influential revolutions of the eighteenth century, the American Revolution and the French Revolution. But Arendt’s evaluation of the American and French Revolutions in this work is full of inconsistencies.1 On the one hand, she identifies similarities, for example noting that the early stages of the American and French Revolutions suggest that they initially sought reforms in the direction of constitutional monarchies and that both were eventually driven to the establishment of republican governments (OR 134). She explores how the American and French Revolutions were formed and influenced by almost identical traditions, but with different experiences and preparation (119). Both revolutions were concerned with freedom, in America with the notion of “public happiness” and in France with the notion of “public freedom” (ibid.). On the other hand, Arendt describes the French Revolution as a failed one that “ended in disaster” and seems disgruntled that it has had a greater place in our memory and in world history than the “triumphantly successful” American Revolution—perhaps another incorrect assumption on her part (56).

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Medium 9780253354839

1. Eluding Capture: The Science, Culture, and Pleasure of Queer Animals

Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands Indiana University Press ePub


We’re Deer. We’re Queer. Get Used to It. A new exhibit in Norway outs the animal kingdom.

—Alisa Opar

Biological Exuberance is, above all, an affirmation of life’s vitality and infinite possibilities: a worldview that is at once primordial and futuristic, in which gender is kaleidoscopic, sexualities are multiple, and the categories of male and female are fluid and transmutable. A world, in short, exactly like the one we inhabit.

—Bruce Bagemihl

[W]e are acting with the best intentions in the world, we want to add reality to scientific objects, but, inevitably, through a sort of tragic bias, we seem always to be subtracting some bit from it. Like a clumsy waiter setting plates on a slanted table, every nice dish slides down and crashes on the ground. Why can we never discover the same stubbornness, the same solid realism by bringing out the obviously webby, “thingy” qualities of matters of concern?

—Bruno Latour

“Nature” and the “natural” have long been waged against homosexuals, as well as women, people of color, and indigenous peoples. Just as the pernicious histories of Social Darwinism, colonialism, primitivism, and other forms of scientifically infused racism have incited indispensable critiques of the intermingling of “race” and nature,1 much queer theory has bracketed, expelled, or distanced the volatile categories of nature and the natural, situating queer desire within an entirely social, and very human, habitat. This now compulsory sort of segregation of queer from nature is hardly appealing to those who seek queer green places, or, in other words, an environmentalism allied with gay affirmation, and a gay politics that is also environmentalist. Moreover, the question of whether nonhuman nature can be queer provokes larger questions within interdisciplinary theory regarding the relations between discourse and materiality, human and more-than-human worlds, as well as between cultural theory and science. In short, we need more robust, complex ways of productively engaging with materiality—ways that account for the diversity and “exuberance” of a multitude of naturecultures, ways that can engage with science as well as science studies. Queer animals—“matters of concern” for queer, green, human cultures—may foster such formulations.

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Medium 9780253012722

Six Against the Philosophy of Limits: Installing a Culture of Hope

Táíwò, Olúfémi Indiana University Press ePub

A culture of hope is tied to a horizon of time, an ontology of time in which the future is dominant, the past and the present are mere way stations on the path to a future that always promises more and better for both the self and the many groups and contexts in which this self unfolds and operates to realise its goals.

IN THIS chapter, I propose to explore the last tenet of modernity that is of moment in this discussion: the open future. We started out with the idea of individualism. We showed that the individual is the core piece of the modern age. Almost everything is geared towards ensuring the flourishing of the individual. It is not that the group does not matter; it is that the relationship between the individual and the group does not privilege the group and is expected to be contingent, a product of negotiation. This is the only way that the idea of governance by consent has meaning and relevance. Beyond that, we saw that the individual was not tethered to the circumstances of her birth, that is, to the social station of the family into which she was born. On the contrary, whatever situation she was born into, the promise of the modern age is that this individual is called upon or made to realise and routinely reminded that her life is hers to make, her biography is not a closed book the chapters of which could pretty much be read out of her family background. Rather her life is always ahead of her; it is for her to make of it what she will. In other words, she is not captive to her past and, as long as she is willing to strive, the future is hers to shape, design, and realise. She could be whatever she wants, limited only by her talents and how hard she is willing to work for her future. This is what the idea of the open future stands for.

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