Manifesto for the Gynecene – Sketch of a New Geological Era
Intro > At this point in time we believe a radical change in politics and the world socioeconomic system is needed in order to achieve a new balanced ecology and this radical change should start with a shifting of agency: we ask for the main agency to be shifted to the feminine principle – which we do not understand as excluding masculinity but as referring to a history of incorporating it and mobilizing it in a different way than the traditional patriarchal mobilization for violence: an emphasis on complementarity rather than antagonism, on resolutions of peace rather than militarism, on efforts directed towards construction, care and emancipatory exploration rather than destruction.
We declare the imperative necessity for a new geological era to be commenced, before the Anthropocene is even officially admitted on that scale (it might be that by the time it gets fully acknowledged, it will be too late). Rather than continue to contemplate our annihilation, contributing to it or declaring hopelessness in front of it, we should at least try another approach – and this approach has to exclude patriarchy in all its expressions and institutionalized forms of violence: domination, exploitation, slavery, colonialism, profit, exclusion, monarchy, oligarchy, mafia, religious wars.
The Gynecene: This new geological era can be thought of as the Gynecene. Understanding the term does not mean thinking of a “women’s world” which excludes virility but as a world which mobilizes it towards humanist and animist goals rather than oppressive, violent and colonial enterprises. We see the feminine as equivalent not to a gender but to a condition, not a “natural” condition but a cultural one. The feminine is the first stage towards a transgressive humanism and the Gynecene is the first global and simultaneous transfer of the feminine imprint onto the physical and political strata (deeply connected as they are today) of the Earth.
Moreover, trying to imagine a future ecology for the whole planetary assemblage, not only a future for the human race, we support the idea that any desirable mode of existence connected/integrated into nature-culture or constituted of equally important organic and inorganic life-forms (including an animistic perspective) cannot be separated from the human subject’s struggle to overcome oppression based on gender, race and class within the species. Insofar as we cannot speak of “man” – the human species – as a unity, we have to support these struggles as interconnected and fight them simultaneously, we need to imagine and constantly discuss the connections and similarities as well as the contradictions arising.
1. The female body has to cease functioning as a battlefield. The brutal reality of the female condition in general is its intrinsic physical vulnerability. Whatever soft power, it cannot be backed by hard power as usual. We support an empowering of women that is founded on a desired change of paradigm, where weakness is understood and respected as a valuable condition in itself, and at the same time on the possibility, accepted and de- tabooed, of technological transformations of the human body towards hybrid forms such as the cyborg. We are fighting the normalized body and the ideologies that marginalize “imperfections” or “deviations” from this norm. We support preservation of difference as a choice but without an obligation of difference, feminism as a fight for real freedom of choice. We believe in the possibility of infinitely expanding and shifting bodily configurations and consciousness. As our physical and chemical limits also limit our perceptions and our experiencing of the world, we embrace transhumanism or expanded humanism as a possible solution to the challenge of belonging to the human race.
2. Only a radical left can oppose a growing radical right and recover the territory that remains to the forces of reaction. Only a strong belief – with universal ambitions – in equality of races and gender, in equal rights for women, queers, the poor and the disenfranchised, in negotiation with animal rights and the rights of inorganic entities – all linked together – can stand against and oppose an expansive and interconnected politics of exclusion, capitalist exploitation, religious fundamentalism, racism, sexism and brutal anthropocentrism.
3. A radical left has to oppose physical violence in conjunction with the opposition to economic or symbolic violence. Jobs in the arms industry or trade are feeding several families while destroying thousands others. Domestic violence is not depending on the degree of wealth or education. Hunting for pleasure or destroying natural and cultural monuments that are part of humanity’s patrimony are not class-related. Therefore the new, truly radical left has to rebuild itself on a different type of revolution, which takes us beyond the traditional class antagonisms and can face the neo-tribal reality of today in which violence breeds violence, justice is used as a tool for revenge and critique of power is increasingly powerless. While the world peace has been a goal of many states, attempted at through different international treaties, it has always failed into more arming and lately it has completely degenerated into the obsession of security, enforced through the militarization of the police force and the increasing surveillance of every aspect of our existence. Any form of justice in a future sustainable society has to be imagined and exercised in another realm than that of retaliation, deprivation of basic human rights and brutality..
4. We consider the analysis of capitalism and its catastrophic consequences is complete and time has come to move on. Any time spent on “revealing” the more subtle or more flagrant inconsistencies of this system’s adepts is a time lost in achieving a better present and future. We must spare energy and unite forces in providing for this better future as of now. “We have more important things to do than to try to get you to come around. You will come around when you have to, because you need us more than we need you. . . .”
5. (Shulamith Firestone)
6. Also, capitalism in itself cannot be extracted and separated from discussions around all conservative politics and conservative views, as we have understood that neoliberalism is not truly liberal but a rather paradoxical mix of advocacy for economic “freedom” and racist, sexist and conservative extrapolations of nuclear family/dynasty values. It is not an external, malignant, alien entity but a set of historic conditions and current practices, which instead of introjecting we have to learn how to live without.
7. In order to achieve a truly pluralistic society where possibilities can be enacted, we support the universalism of basic human rights as a common ground for a broader, inter- species and inter-objective politics of inclusion and true respect for difference. The Earth is no longer a big and ungraspable planet, but a shared living room (a shrinking one, moreover) in which we have to coexist by negotiating and conciliating our different views and practices, while recognizing we can only do that through a reciprocal process and towards the un-negotiable goal of equality of gender, race, class and sexual orientation, with no second class citizens. Also, the instrumentalisation and use by double standards of the concept of “freedom” is by no means a reason to abandon it altogether, but a reminder that we must constantly fight for it.
8. Natural resources are a common good. Everyone should have equal access to them. Economic equality should be the basis of society and therefore we strongly support the universal basic income. Equal and free access to healthcare, lodging, education and culture should be granted for everyone, at any time of their life. Communities should be self-governed, in the interest of the communities (as well as of all the individuals that are part of them). Everyone should have the right of free movement, in the spirit of a universal citizenship. We also support a certain ambition to overcome the imperative to work through technological advancement (see point 8).
9. Pluralism is possible only on the ground of a universal, secular frame which allows for a certain relativisation of belief. We can only respect and support religion that is compatible, in its majoritarian practices and interpretations, with the right to a secular education (which can at least guarantee a minimum freedom of choice in matters of religion), that embraces equal rights for women, queers and non-believers and a politics of freedom rather than a politics of submission and interdiction, apart from protecting basic human rights. We can only respect and support religion that is based on a freedom of experimenting and observing, not on a prescriptive set of rules, interdictions and punishments proclaimed by a patriarchal, self-asserted authority perfectly mimicking the structure of a monarchy or a dictatorship. Providing easy and simple answers for the complexity of human existence might fake the offering of a “meaning” and help some survive, but it will never help us evolve.
10. We also believe the emancipatory use of sustainable technology has to play an important part in any future ecology, including the protection and preservation of “nature”, just as much as a needed change in our position towards nature and its exclusive understanding as resource for endless consumption. Our ability to negotiate between the two will be of crucial importance for constructing a future ecology. Development of technology must be pursued in agreement with the respect for nature and its limits and it must not be submitted to private interests or corporate profit. Technology is a cultural asset and together with the rest of culture, it must be made public, open and free, put to the benefit of emancipating humanity while not destroying everything else around it.
We declare the beauty of the world has to be enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of kindness. Instead of directly escaping into the dream of a still far-fetched machinic future that could masterfully end the limited perspective of our species or into the conservative retreat to a past which is impossible and not desirable to bring back to life, we believe the Gynecene can be the gateway to a true pluralistic and expanded humanism, one which is compatible with machinic desires and existing forms of life, which is inhuman in its break with human history as much as it is human in its enactment of our current possibilities. We believe the endless quest for meaning can be momentarily satisfied by recognizing each other as individual instants in a collective, fragile, subjective time, facing the vastness of our cosmic surroundings and bound by imagining together our future extensions. It is this togetherness, in its most abstract form that should be capable of creating a sense of unity across our seemingly incompatible histories and a total break with History, after extracting its most emancipatory moments, and that could propel us from the “Man” made Anthropocene to the true collective existence of the Gynecene.
Alexandra Pirici and Raluca VoineaJanuary 2015, Bucharest and Bologna.