TOTW: Solarpunk Anarchism

What can you burn that is somehow related to this topic?

Topic of the Week: The sun still rises and with it a new conversation is shared over the wires. Over the years, here at Anarchist News we have posted topics discussing various tendencies within the anarchist space and this week we are talking about a rather new set of ideas on the block (but also old) related to solarpunk anarchy.

For those unfamiliar with solarpunk anarchism, according to solarpunkanarchists dot com it:

“is a new science-fiction and cultural movement dedicated to imagining a bright hopeful future powered by green energy, where technology is used for human-centric and eco-centric ends. It envisions moving us beyond artificial scarcity and toil while helping mend the rift between humanity and nature; looking beyond many of the dark and grim tropes so common in dystopian visions of the future. Artistically it takes influence from Art Nouveau, African and East-Asian art, and other attempts to blend the organic with the synthetic. It is a form of futurism which focuses on what we should hope for rather than on what to avoid.”

One of the main prompts of solarpunk anarchy, comes from the text “A Solarpunk Manifesto”. It asks “what does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?”

What is your perspective of solarpunk anarchism? What has been your experience in interacting with solarpunk anarchists (online vs offline)? What intrigues / annoys you most about the topic of solarpunk? Is there something we should be talking about instead?

There are 36 Comments

liberals come in the pessimistic variety too and they’re as much a part of the status-quo as the optimistic ones

There Is No Alternative = the alternative is progress, same thing

If there is a solar punk future I think it can be found in Bladerunner 2049. The opening scene already says so much. A planet covered in endless acres of solar panels, not allowing for any life in that space (except the maggots grown for human consumption) to power the artificial life of industry.

Even though at the heart of Bladerunner is the humanity of these machines a solar punk future is much more about the machinization of humanity and the artificiality of nature. Already we see artificial nature everywhere, tress planted in concrete, gardens in a concrete jungle. The synthesizing of the park and the city doesn't make civilization any more natural, but it makes nature ever more civilized.

The green dreams of solar punk questions the sustainability of civilization only enough to progress past its current limits. The CO2 crisis is averted for one of toxic metals. The dustbowl of farming is traded for the solar farm that destroys desert ecosystems. If for the green nohlist the desert is perhaps the last place of refuge, for the eco-optimist the desert is the final frontier.

It would be nice to be able to say solarpunk is unrealistic. A truly sustainable civilization is not possible, it is always decaying, but still too is it always finding new things to consume. Solar punk, green capitalism, even "Eco-Fascism" (meaning totalitarian state ecology) are not optimistic visions of the future, but horrifying realities of the endless march of progress.

If there is an optimistic view of the future it is that of a final collapse, that somehow climate catastrophe would be the final blow. But it seems much more likely, through crisis, civilization will march on, greener but just as artificial and just as crushing of its human machinery.

It's more what this society is headed towards barring a contraction and devolution. Mind you cyberpunk fails a lot of realism tests so a more accurate movie of the future(another Dick in the ass society projection story) would be Minority Report. Essentially these societies if they avoid collapse will be complex cybernetic energy substitution civilizations.

Mass use of solar is not what solarpunk is about. It is actually preferable even if it does have a civilized angle incongruent. It's got a metamodern thing going on from what I can tell. Some of it is very much greenan influenced. Here's an informative video.

My use of bladerunner is to point out how the optimistic veneer hides a horrific reality. That the optimism of solar punk leads to the pessimism of cyberpunk.

Though I don't think solarpunk is based on modern progressive optimism. A lot of the progenitors of it come out of a critique of progress and drunk optimism. The dick in the ass reality as sketched out by Phil as well as others adjacent to him like Huxley came out of reflections on things like fascism and corporatism and where these things were going.

It's as if these cybernetic progressive ideas have gone away. The current Covid crap that you're seeing right now is prepping the world for the eyescan stuff that you saw in Minority Report. You need to lube people up first before you put that Dick in the ass. Radicals have yet to break the corporatist capitalist statist world that we live in and things are not looking good as of right now. Solapunk could well be a good start providing that(as the video I linked mentions) there's actually people there and it's not just some concept art larp.

I just got done reading this book on the history of quarantines called "Until Proven Safe," and it left me feeling weird.

A chance to be so tracked in our movements so as to be more easily told and made to separate for whatever danger we pose to others real or excuse (as basic as organizing in the workplace). Whole behaviours and thoughts deemed health risks.

On the other side of this thought experiment is me wondering how such a status quo would be maintained in constantly changing extreme shifts in natural occurances. The technologies are so complex as to be systemically fragile. What happens to us when everything is automated? So far no one has any idea what the average person will do when out of work and unable to make the purchases needed to keep the economy going.

Even the terrible things aren't thought through. Maybe that's the worst about asserting human Thought onto a living planet.

Anyone here listen to these yet?

“A jaunty walk through the burning ruins of the old world, the one we all live in now, and a guide to avoiding the worst pitfalls along the road to a better world. It Could Happen Here season 1 ended with the possibility of a second civil war. It Could Happen Here Daily with Robert Evans, accepts collapse as a given, and tries to provide a roadmap to survival.”

Maybe the sloarpunk anarchists are interested in re-appropriating the Black Sun (Sonnenrad) symbol?
Or is that giving eco-fash ideas? Solarfash?
How is fash, liberals, conservatives or anarchists using solar power any different?
Same fuel and tech to power all politics. International solidarity with tech development, tech unity!
Makers unite!

Wait for large scale famine as the first significant indication of the unsustainability of the present human global presence. Other than that, nature will continue on until supernova in 4 billion years.

and I don't mean to throw shade at nihilists at all. More often than not I feel like just saying fuck it all too. At the same time, what is the point of tearing everything down if not to build something better. Once we tear everything down, life will go on one way or another. The question then becomes, do our lives go on in a way that is better or not? That's what solarpunk is all about. Imagining a better world and prefiguring that world whether its on the pages of a book with a story, in our architecture or fashion, or wherever. Prefiguring a better world, a more just world is always what anarchism has been about, at least for me. So personally, I think solarpunk is great. I don't know if I would label myself a solarpunk anarchist. But I definitely think the ideas of solarpunk are important.

The problem with non-nihlist anarchism is how this imagining of the world just reproduces the same hell w find ourselves in. You say "what is the point of tearing everything down if not to build something better". I would ask: what's the point if tearing everything down if you put up the same thing (just with a different aesthetic)?

"It asks “what does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?”"

Sustainable civilization is a contradiction in terms, as we know. We aren't going to get there. Or, the only way there is further enslavement of all that lives. Not my idea of a good time.

Sun doesn't rise on a plane(t). Take a plane to cross the plane. There are those who create false flags and climate is one of them. Be a rebel by smiling not snarling. They want you snarling; it's called behaviourism.

Solarpunk makes sense from an abolitionist perspective.
Solar-powered robots will automate all work. No need for people to work in mines, or as cops, or prison guards, or engage in sex-work.

The only justified hierarchies are those of logic, reason and morals. The scientific method can distill these and through many iterations and simulations by evolving A.I., the economy and society can be perfected to run smoothly like a well-lubricated machine, and we can expand post-human civilization throughout the universe, and even time-travel.

Primmies get to inhabit a perfect simulation of whatever geological era they prefer, paleolithic or something.

What is the point of ecologically destroying the earth with all this tech just to turn humans into robots?

Robots can be programmed to restore the environment.
Humans will be free to do non-robotic organic biological functions of the prefrontal cortex.
The earth will not be a the only precious habitat, terraforming will make our galaxy lush with flora and fauna.
This vitalist thrust was present in original futurism. The will to live, the force to expand, colonize Mars and conquer the stars!

I wanna iive in a simulation of the Carboniferous geologic period and system of the Paleozoic that spanned 60 million years from the end of the Devonian Period 358.9 million years ago, to the beginning of the Permian Period, then I can be the supreme dictator of all lants and insects without any other human political interference.

Machine Gun Kelly is very Solarpunk because he starred in that Netflix movie "The Dirt" about Mötley Crüe, and "Motley Crew" is the name of a song by Post Malone, and in the video of that song it features race cars, and in "The Futurist Manifesto" by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti mentions racing his car and wrecking it.

The manifesto also mentions anarchists:

"9. We want to glorify war - the only cure for the world - militarism,
patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas
which kill, and contempt for woman."

This is a fascist ideology!

"In article 9, war is defined as a necessity for the health of human spirit, a purification that allows and benefits idealism. Their explicit glorification of war and its "hygienic" properties influenced the ideology of fascism. Marinetti was very active in fascist politics until he withdrew in protest of the "Roman Grandeur" which had come to dominate fascist aesthetics. "

This is how the creeping fascism gets you, solarpunk is eco-fascism.

but it is largely eco-social liberalism with an eye on sustainable civilization which I think is oxymoronic. I think if you gear things towards a retro technic and-and this is the biggy-as long as you don't subsidize a given technology what you could see via solarpunk is what could be called an emergent dark age production process. As long as you avoid things like institutional building(this is where the critique of education comes in) and techno subsidies you could see something like what John Michael Greer talks about in regards to an ecotechnological retrofuture with pan polymorphic anarchic characteristics. It's growth and scale that you want to avoid.

solarpunk? more like solarpop, amirite
sunblock lotion
moonlight sonata

The major unforeseeable anomalies that frequently occur throughout history have not been and never are heeded by Empire who function on the delusional propaganda of optimistic eternal progress towards a perfect outcome. My vision is prophet-based, not profit-based, and I forsee some significant climate related atmospheric chemical reactions throwing a spanner into all the socalled ---sustainable--- technologies being introduced and hailed as Civ saving solutions.
When the ozone layer undergoes some unexpected reactions to CO2 and newly manufactured rare gas and micro-plastic soups in the ionisphere, a 1 in a million year event like a massive solar flare will allow for X. and Gamma radiation to pour onto the Earth's surface frying most life and micro-circuitry. There's also the rogue asteroid. Or it won't happen, but don't get all chirpy about the survival of human liberty, things are only going to get worse , brace for it.

MRNA promoter and mainstream puppet... not a punk, solar or whatever. With propaganda on the rise: corruption, capturing of so many through funding foundations with few independents... what can any of us rely on? The internet has served the controllers very well as the grunts flit from data to data. Dig the hole. Fill it back in. Progress is digging the hole wider, deeper and faster, then filling it in quicker. Hands up who wants to die?

no one's gonna post the solarpunk yogurt commercial?

"Chobani believes how we eat today has a direct and lasting impact on what tomorrow brings."

and here's the longer version apparently

"What if we created a future for ourselves that was full of optimism and positivity? “Dear Alice” is a love letter from a grandmother to a granddaughter and an optimistic vision of the future of farming. It’s a nostalgic look towards a new era of agriculture, with beautifully crafted backgrounds, delicate animation and a completely unique score by long-time Ghibli composer (and absolute legend) Joe Hisaishi. (Yeah, we can’t believe this happened either).

It’s not a perfect utopia, but a version of a future we can all reach if we just decide to put in the work."

A solarpunk anarchist, an afro-futurist and an afro-pessimist walk into a bar.
They order one drink, yogurt. They gulp it down and exit the bar and hops back on their hoverboard (the nerdy type that has two wheels and is a descendant of the segway, not one from Back to the Future) and heads towards the DSA convention as a representative of the Democratic Party Caucus.

PS. any good oi solarpunk bands out there? crusty solarpunks?

confused why afropessimism is lumped in here, isnt it entirely based around the idea there is no future utopia to be built?

Isn't anarchism anti-state and this caricature is also a Democratic Party politician?
Maybe you feel the label afro-pessimism as a label to have enough intellectual gravitas and philosophical profundity so as to not be taken up by someone in a shallow way as just another academic fad which fails to challenge the status quo.
Maybe it's an edgy pessimism, that prides itself as realism, which leads to imagining futures that are not much different from the present, like in solar-punk and afro-futurist visions.
Maybe it's a pessimistic outlook of no utopia to be built which leads this caricature to participating in mainstream politics.
Maybe the whole point of this absurd caricature is to point to the contradictions people may hold and represent, and I added afro-futurism and afro-pessimism (I should have added abolitionist, as another trending term among hip liberals) hoping to irritate someone who holds such labels dear to them, as I similarly am fond of anarchism, and it's often profaned by those who would like it to represent only that which contradicts any sense of it, but not knowing I would end up having to snidely spoon-feed the joke to someone.

Predictably, the techno-photosynthesis panel and digital circuitry and lithium storage systems are poised to draw even with and surpass the older analogue internal combustion carbon based ones and produce more plastics and waste product pollution into a failing ecology, The button and digital screen fetishism has relegated the truly efficient and sustainabe direct solar creations to the rubbish bin.
I made one of these out of recyced glass mirrors. The same parabolic modelling can be used on larger steam turbine generators or flywheels for turning mills or rotating saws, a beautiful melding of steampunk and solarpunk. Its about imagination, less extraction, enjoying minimalist simplicity with a few simple pleasures, or maybe just huddling around a fire in a cave, anything to avoid Empire.

I was merely pointing out the absurdity of placing all apples into one form of technology, because solar on its own, as the ---soot and dust commenter---mentioned, is not gonna cut it. Also this perpetuates the myth that high population density can progress and expand exponentially and actually shrouds the reality of the finite death-consciousness, a way of thinking all adults must ponder if their species wishes to live in a state of unhindered creative emotional balance.

Wild fires release greenhouse gasses sending soot and other aerosol particles such as carbon into the atmosphere. These particles do not reflect light, they absorb light, reducing the intensity of sunlight and thus reducing the power generation of a solar panel. The panels react to light, so as long as the sun was in the sky, they will produce power, but the intensity of the light is scattered by the smoke, so the power is reduced. Thick layers of ash and smoke in California have made it harder for solar panels to absorb sunlight, decreasing their energy output by as much as around 20% over the last few days, according to the California Independent Service Operator (California ISO), which oversees the state's electricity supply.

What a wonderful dream, an eco utopia where everyone gets along, no one goes without and we live forever in peace and harmony, sounds like ShangriLa, I've spent way too much time trying to find the answer and don't think this is it either, I think it's gonna take more than science fiction, or even science fact to save us, however, if I ever get the chance to start my own planet, this is a model I would consider to implement, lol, planet of the humans says it all, imo.

More and more anarchism becomes nothing else than the affirmation of all the disparate things that make a mockery of it.

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