Any democratic project must confront the geopolitics of the Eurocene because it challenges the very paradigm of equality . “In the Anthropocene,” Purdy writes, “environmental justice might also mean an equal role in shaping the future of the planet.” In fact, environmental justice will require unequal roles: significantly
constraining, even repressing, the powers of the Eurocene . On the eve of the creation of the United Nations at the Dumbarton Oaks conference , W. E. B . Du Bois saw the failure of a dream before it had even been fully formed: the vast new international body was little more than the institutionalization of the global “color line .” The great powers had insisted upon a Security Council, and the General Assembly would be subordinated to its nuclear authority. Purdy’s suggestion that the planet could be governed equally ignores the vast systems of injustice —settler-colonialism, primitive accumulation, and violent power politics—that stand in the way , upheld by great powers that use nuclear weapons to deter change and deploy swarms of drones to hunt down those too small for the nuclear option. I would like to be part of Purdy’s ecological democracy, but he is wrong to say “There is no political agent, community, or even movement on the scale of humanity’s world-making decisions.” We share a world governed by a few states with the capability of ending all life on the planet. At the international scale, these states are essentially authoritarian; they rule by economic violence and warfare . That some of those states are not authoritarian at the domestic level is of little consequence to the rest of the world. It should come as no surprise that the leaders of the food sovereignty and anti–fossil fuel movements Purdy describes belong to marginalized groups that see no future in our current geopolitical order. Indigenous, black, and brown people are at the vanguard of political struggle not because they are more natural but because they have had front row seats in the making of this crisis. The Eurocene is not perpetrated by all people of European heritage, many of whom oppose the existing geopolitical order—myself included. This distinction—between being European and being an agent of the Eurocene— only intensifies the need to rethink democratization as demanding a politics of inequality rather than a politics of incorporation . Such a remaking of justice is as complex and difficult as the climate crisis itself, and just as worthy a struggle, irrespective of whether we can succeed . As Sylvia Wynter has said, “we must now collectively undertake a rewriting of knowledge as we know it. . . . because the West did change the world, totally.” To do so means exiting the Anthropocene as an idea, and collectively—even if not equally —exiting the Eurocene as a failed epoch . As Wynter says, we need to consider other “genres of the human.” Wynter explains she will not miss the Anthropos because she, among so many others, was never considered human to begin with. To invent a new species is the task that must be undertaken before
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