Are we Moderns or Terrestrials?

Tongue Point, Astoria, Oregon. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair

We, in the United States,are accustomed to discriminatory segregation, accustomed to those excluded, and to those left behind. Brian Stevenson notes, in a New York Times interview, 01.20.19, “Slavery didn’t end in 1865; it just evolved.” It evolved through the sabotaging of Reconstruction, through lynching, through institutionalized segregation, and through mass incarceration (as is made explicit in the Equal Justice Initiative’s permanent museum exhibit, ‘From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration’in Montgomery, Alabama). It has also evolved through a deliberate program of mass immiseration conducted by the government’s withholding of adequate education, social services and living-wage work – with the notable exception of impressment into military service on behalf of the nation’s imperial juggernaut. And it has evolved, in this broadened notion of slavery, which might reasonably include all servitude to the economic benefit of rich and powerful, mostly white-male elites, to encompass peoples of color and the white underclass, the white working class and the white middle class. A similar process of division, of segregation, between the exploiters and the exploited, has, since the advent of colonization, separated the Global North from the Global South.

In Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime, 2018, Bruno Latour, the French philosopher and sociologist, writes, “To the migrants from…

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