Manifesto for the Gynecene – Sketch of a New Geological Era

http://ro.tranzit.org/files/MANIFESTO-for-the-Gynecene.pdf

Alexandra Pirici & Raluca Voinea

2015


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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.


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 detabooed,

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 of” 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. . . .”

(Shulamith Firestone)


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.


5.


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, interspecies

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.


6.


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 to

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).


7.


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 guarantee the least 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.


8.


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.


Alexandra Pirici and Raluca Voinea

January 2015, Bucharest and Bologna.