Down to Earth by Bruno Latour – 15th May 2019

As part of our summer series on climate and environmental crises, we will discuss Bruno Latour’s Down To Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime on Wednesday 15th May, 7.30-9.30pm at Black Book Cafe. Facebook event: Down to Earth-Bruno Latour – SRRG discussion.

The book is available for £12.99 from Stroud Bookshop (we can negotiate a small discount through bulk purchase if enough people want a copy) but we will focus our discussion on chapters 1-5 and 20 of Latour’s book – excerpts available as a pdf here (pages 1-21, 99-106).

From the publisher’s page about the book: “The present ecological mutation has organized the whole political landscape for the last thirty years. This could explain the deadly cocktail of exploding inequalities, massive deregulation, and conversion of the dream of globalization into a nightmare for most people.

What holds these three phenomena together is the conviction, shared by some powerful people, that the ecological threat is real and that the only way for them to survive is to abandon any pretense at sharing a common future with the rest of the world. Hence their flight offshore and their massive investment in climate change denial.

The Left has been slow to turn its attention to this new situation. It is still organized along an axis that goes from investment in local values to the hope of globalization and just at the time when, everywhere, people dissatisfied with the ideal of modernity are turning back to the protection of national or even ethnic borders.

This is why it is urgent to shift sideways and to define politics as what leads toward the Earth and not toward the global or the national. Belonging to a territory is the phenomenon most in need of rethinking and careful redescription; learning new ways to inhabit the Earth is our biggest challenge. Bringing us down to earth is the task of politics today.”

Chapter titles of the sections forming our focus for discussion:

Chapter 1: “A hypothesis as political fiction: the explosion of inequalities and the denial of climate change are one and the same phenomenon.”

Chapter 2: Thanks to America’s abandonment of the climate agreement, we now know clearly what war has been declared

Chapter 3:  The question of migrations now concerns everyone, offering a new and very wicked universality: finding oneself deprived of ground

Chapter 4: One must take care not to confuse globalization-plus with globalization-minus

Chapter 5. How the globalist ruling classes have decided to abandon all the burdens of solidarity, little by little

Chapter 20: “A personal defence of the Old Continent”

 

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