Solidarity

Continuing the discussion from Diffracting + Decentralisation: exploring collective asymmetry:

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notes-stef.webp (478.3 KB), notes-stef.mp4 (2.3MB), notes-stef.gif (6.5MB)

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https://www.wienmuseum.at/en.html

Red Vienna
1919 to 1934

Here are some notes on yesterday morning’s discussion on solidarity with non-humans (machines and nature):

From a scientific perspective, the distinction between living and non-living is not clear. There is no clear definition of ‘life’ or ‘consciousness’.

Discourses on solidarity in capitalism can be easily coopted for extractive and neocolonial goals:

  • How technology is increasingly part of humans’ empathic circle (Lanier), masking the power relations that are inscribed in protocols and interfaces, for instance with AI, personal computers, phones, online personas
  • How a lot of agrotech and techno-veganism (Soylent, Nonfood, Impossible Burger) reinforce the rhetoric of making food without nature, purely chemistry. “Agriculture is a sin”

These approaches are built on an assumed separation between human/machine/nature - and therefore that nature can be exploited.

How to acknowledge and rearticulate the affective and empathic relations with machines and nature beyond the instrumentalization and manipulation that already happen today?

Alternative conceptualisations of solidarity as responsibility (response-ability):

  • solidarity as ‘being in common’ - the opposite of ‘comprehension’ but instead, being comprehended by something else (Tristan Garcia), or ‘doing in common’
  • responsibility as accountability - making discourses on solidarity accountable for their actions
  • “solidarity is running the same risk” (Che Guevara/Zapatistas) - unless you are in the same situation as the people you want to be in solidarity with, you are not. Questions of privilege and recognition
  • solidarity as responsibility is perspectival - mind asymmetries!
  • solidarity as solid - coalescence
  • solidarity as empowerment

The border between responsibility and extraction when talking about solidarity is very delicate and fragile.

Can we think of any practical positive examples of solidarity as responsibility, apart from the many counter-examples we already have?

  • In tech:
    • gendersec in Latin America
    • there are a lot of examples of online solidarity but these often occur on centralised and extractive platforms, so maybe it becomes again a question of infrastructure and the means of organization that these structures afford
  • In the social (example: migrant crisis in Paris and Bruxelles):
    • knowledge exchange between independent groups and other forms of solidarity can be useful and necessary but the underlying causes also need to be addressed: military-industrial complex
    • need for strategic use of resources

We ended the session talking about the relation between capitalism and democracy and whether the EU has been effective in implementing a culture of solidarity as responsibility.

the beautiful worriers, by cornelia sollfrank428592456-The-Beautiful-Warriors-Technofeminist-Praxis-in-the-Twenty-First-Century.pdf (2.7 MB)

food for thoughts (i’m interested in the responsability of consciousness)

http://faculty.philosophy.umd.edu/pcarruthers/Responsibility%20and%20consciousness.pdf

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