When governments (and companies) officially recognize that the realms of ecology and economy intertwine in increasingly disastrous ways, they promote ostensibly “sustainable” measures, but in fact advance mostly variants of the dominant capitalist mode as solutions to these problems.
However, isn’t said economic mode key to the problem? Does deploying it as part of the supposed solution not only reinforce and sustain disastrous tendencies? Thus, shouldn’t organizing transitions into a better world be inseparable from fundamentally questioning the dominant economic mode organized around the pursuit of endless growth, energy-hungry profit coercion, and, last but not least, resource-devouring extractivism?
Wishing to explore these questions, the BG 2022 project proposes we learn from the last big transition – the post-Cold War transition from “communism” to capitalism – and raise the question of transition justice. This means tackling what is usually denied in official accounts of post-1989 transitions: class struggles and the immense, long-lasting political, social, and, ultimately, environmental costs of transitions.
The detailed outline of the BG 2022 project – conceived and published before Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine – is available in German and English. Written by Magdalena Taube and Krystian Woznicki, the organizers of the project, this text is indebted to the collective findings from previous BG projects, including “More World” (2019), “Silent Works” (2020), and “Black Box East” (2021). It serves as an introduction to the text series that BG is developing in this context in cooperation with activists, researchers, and cultural workers. Read more about it in the column on the right.
In short, the BG 2022 project proposes combining just transition claims with claims for environmental justice. Conceived thus, transition justice last but not least echoes indigenous concerns and makes room for the interests of laborers not (yet) represented by unions, e.g., migrant workers or social reproduction workers. Consequently, raising the question of transition justice in the face of man-made natural disasters (such as pandemics or the climate catastrophe) and greenwashed neoliberal responses to it means calling for accountability and responsibility for ecocide, as well as demanding that transition measures must not reproduce existing power structures (which have caused the destabilization and outright destruction of lifeworlds in the first place), but rather forge new paths into a just world.
Undoing the power structures in question when, e.g., working towards an energy transition and other climate catastrophe adaptation measures requires decolonizing climate production and removing it from capitalism’s grip. Such a multi-layered endeavor can crucially contribute to transition justice for our planetary inter-species community. The BG project 2022 challenges activists, scholars, and cultural workers to research, think, and imagine how we might go about this in solidarity.
How can we wager our future on the legacies and claims of those who – yesterday as today – have been plunged into existential hardship by the ecological-economic complex? And how can we make such struggles a source of inspiration for a common cause?
Searching for answers, the BG will create a hybrid platform for cooperation and exploration. In addition to a text series, published in BG and its international media partners, the project will encompass a multimedia website, partner events, and an international three-day conference in Berlin.
The BG has created a space for the project within its online newspaper. Here, around 50 essays, reports, and interviews will be published in the course of 2022. While the texts are appearing in German in the BG, English (and other language) versions are being published in cooperation with the BG’s international media partners. If you would like to contribute a text (1,500 words) and/or subscribe to our newsletter, mail us at info(at)berlinergazette(.)de
The text series is tentatively partitioned into three sections (as detailed in the project outline): The Ecological-Economic Complex, Green Capitalism, and Transition Justice.
The BG conference “After Extractivism” will take place on October 13, 14, and 15, 2022 at the Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte (House of Democracy and Human Rights). Workshops will be bringing together activists, researchers, and cultural workers. Registration required. The public talks program is open to the general public. More info below.
A program of short experimental documentary films by the (X)-trACTION collective that engage with histories from the US American West will have an in-person screening at the Arsenal in Berlin on July 29, 2022. Their manifesto is published as part of a collaboration between Harun Farocki Institut and BG’s “After Extractivism” project.
Empire & Ecology
This talk will take place at Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte (House of Democracy and Human Rights) on Thursday, Oct 13 at 7:30 p.m. Free entry. FFP2 masks obligatory. See for directions here.
This talk will take place at Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte (House of Democracy and Human Rights) on Friday, Oct 14 at 7:30 p.m. Free entry. FFP2 masks obligatory. See for directions here.
This event will take place at Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte (House of Democracy and Human Rights) on Saturday, Oct 15 at 7:30 p.m. Free entry. FFP2 masks obligatory. See for directions here.
All workshop guests will be invited to join a hackathon-style collaborative process. The goal is to come up with collective projects, ranging from multimedia stories to utopian scenarios. The resulting resources will be made available online. For reference and inspiration, take a look at projects from recent BG conference workshops: CAPTCHA Factory, Dull, Dangerous + Dirty, The Wretched of the East, and Shouldering the West.
The workshops will feature a number of selected guests who have been invited by the conference organizers. Additional participants are able to apply. Details see here. The maximum number of all participants per workshop is 7.
Facilitators: Nina Pohler + Sotiris Sideris. Guests: Juan Francisco Donoso, Jade Lindgaard, Lira Ramadani, Stoyo Tetevenski, Manuela Zechner.
Facilitators: Jose M. Calatayud + Cassie Thornton. Guests: Aslı Dinç, Lenka Hamosova, Katrin Kämpf, Julia Molin, Cristina Pombo.
Disarming Resource Wars
Facilitators: Sabrina Apitz + Max Haiven. Guests: Julio Linares, Mirko Nikolić, Andrea Vetter, Gabriele Schliwa, Dzina Zhuk.
Climate and Tech Politics
Facilitators: Ela Kagel + Claudia Núñez. Guests: Katharina Höne, Gosia Jagiello, Jaron Rowan, Nicolay Spesivtsev, Alexandra Ștefănescu, Niloufar Vadiati.
Facilitators: Adriana Homolova + Holger Kral. Guests: Mika Bulevic*, Katarina Kušić, Zoran Pantelic, Mihajlo Vujasin, Juliane Rettschlag.
The Ecological-Economic Complex
Berliner Gazette (BG) is a nonprofit and nonpartisan team of journalists, researchers, artists, and coders, analyzing and experimenting with emerging cultural and political practices. Since 1999 we have been publishing berlinergazette.de under a Creative Commons License with more than 1,000 contributors. In dialogue with our international network we create annual projects, exploring the issues at hand not only in the form of text series but also conferences and books. Our latest projects include Black Box East (2021), Silent Works (2020), More World (2019), Ambient Revolts (2018), Signals (2017), A Field Guide to the Snowden Files (2017), Friendly Fire (2017), Tacit Futures (2016), UN|COMMONS (2015), BQV (2012), and McDeutsch (2006).
The curators of the AFTER EXTRACTIVISM project are Magdalena Taube and Krystian Woznicki. Magdalena is editor-in-chief of the internet newspaper Berliner Gazette and professor of Digital Media and Journalism at the Macromedia University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. She is the author of “Disruption des Journalismus” (2018) published by Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam and co-editor of numerous readers, including “Invisible Hand(s)” (2020) published by Multimedijalni institut, Zagreb. Krystian is a critic, photographer, and the co-founder of Berliner Gazette. Exploring the common(s) at the intersection of globalization and digitalization, he has created books that blend writing and photography, including “After the Planes” (2017), “Fugitive Belonging” (2018), and “Undeclared Movements” (2020).
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