Ecological Distributional Conflict

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Ajay Singh Chaudhary:

"Exhaustion outlines the historical bloc, the mass political subject of this conjuncture.

Spread out a map of the world and push pins into every location that is figuratively or literally on fire. Just as these are zones of extraction, exploitation, and expropriation, these are zones of exhaustion. And like wildfires, they proliferate. Connect each pin with a wire and suddenly you see the outline of the world of exhaustion, the extractive circuit, capitalism in its full socioecological expression: it quite literally crisscrosses the world. In a necessarily expanded understanding of value extraction, the extractive circuit extends from geophysical realities to psychosocial “optimizations.” It organizes a global human ecological niche for maximal profitability—no matter how difficult to maintain and at whatever cost.

By recent counts there are well over three thousand “ecological distributional conflicts” in the world right now. The concept of ecological distributional conflict attempts to capture the incredible range of social conflict—in terms of class, race, gender, and more—that occur around the production and distribution of material, ecological goods. Far from the shockingly persistent image of environmentalism as a principally “middle-class,” “elite” (or, in the bowdlerized cant of the know-nothing left, “PMC”) concern, looking at these actually existing conflicts reveals a picture in which struggle is widespread, more frequent in the Global South and among the poor, North or South."