Bruno Latour: “The rich abandoned the idea of a common world”

L Obs: the Presidential campaign in France is in full swing, however, the question of the climate practically does not rise at the three leading in the polls candidates: marine Le Pen, françois Fillon and, to a lesser extent, Emmanuel Macron. You for ten years thinking of the Paris Institute of political studies on how to make the environment a real political topic. What, in your opinion, the reason for such silence?

Bruno Latour (Bruno Latour)
: the Error lies in the use of the word “climate”. It is associated with something far, what do not worry. Need to find a closer definition to associate it with the notions of territory and land. Environmentalists are doing to the environment as if we are talking about standing outside of the policy object. It is difficult to form a policy with what they call “nature”, though politics is always intertwined with issues of territory, resources, wheat, city water. In fact, the policy is environmentally friendly by definition.

This silence is all the more remarkable that we all feel the impossibility of globalization. However, all behave as if we can continue on the upgrade, and the Earth will bring this out. Only here for such a political project is no more spaces and resources. It would take five or six planets like our own. Political consequences that we see in the French villages, as, indeed, worldwide, are turning to the national state.

Give us Poland, says “law and justice”. Return to Italy, says “the Northern League”. Give us India, says Prime Minister modi. Give us back America, trump says. Logic is everywhere the same. If globalization is no more space, let’s return to ourselves. The most extraordinary event in this respect was Breaksit. England is a tiny island without resources, who in 1820 gave up the idea on their own to feed its population, and then imposed on Europe with a globalized version of the market, now wants to return to the island state. From a historical point of view it is a startling regression. But at the same time stupid such a move is not called.

So you condone supporters of Breccia?

— In absolute terms they are wrong. However, it is possible to understand those who say: “Give us at least our national government, since you have abandoned and betrayed”.

Who betrayed? The propertied classes?

— I have the following hypothesis. There is no direct evidence, but there is some confirmation at some point, somewhere in the late 1970’s-early 1980-ies, the most sagacious representatives of the dominant class realized that globalization may not be viable in environmental terms. Whatever it was, they decided not to change the economic model and to abandon the idea of a common world. This has resulted in the 1980-ies of the policy of deregulation, which resulted in we see today a striking inequality. This economic brutality (against the background of increasing stiffness in the policy) became a kind of message to other classes: “Sorry, but we don’t want to live with you in one world.” The dominant class has created an immunity from the environment, simply cutting off ourselves from the world.

My colleague the historian Motley, Dominique (Dominique Pestre) has shown how in the 1970s, years after the call of the club of Rome about the future of the planet, the OECD economists underplayed or even denied the issue of environmental limits. I think the current level of inequality can only be understood in the framework of a global project in which it is assumed that all will not be able to achieve the development, and the rich are concentrating in the hands of exorbitant profits and hiding in their gated community.

In a recent article in the New Yorker describes how billionaires are preparing for life after the disaster. They buy land and build a luxurious refuge in the three areas that will be least affected by climate change: New Zealand, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka. Early survival was obsessed weirdos in camouflage uniforms. Today, the world is thrown to the richest. In such circumstances, no wonder people say: “If globalization is our common horizon, at least let us rescue the boat.” And the first such boat becomes a national state.

Some politicians talk about “populism”. You don’t. Why?

— Populism is an accusatory term that actually says nothing. It used to not to think about the reasons people do not notice fell to their share of tragedies. In the name of globalization they have been asked a lot of victims. They had to abandon protection for certain benefits, which are still not visible. The accusation of populism tragic. In the desire to protect, there is nothing strange, it doesn’t make you ultra-right.

— What do you think about the phenomenon of trump?

In historic terms, the US is the second country after England, which had benefited from globalization. More remarkable that they choose Donald trump right after Breccia and tell others: “We build the wall, and the rest of the world is no longer our problem.” Trump is interesting because it moves back (“Re-make America great”) and at the same time, continues the vision of globalization, albeit only in the scale of one country, even of half of it.

What he did after moving into the White house? The resumption of coal production in Appalachia! The dream of globalization, limited social group is based on the concept which represents the industry and not Finance, and the mixture of real estate and reality TV.

— Is there some connection with the attitude of Donald trump to the scientific truth and facts?

— Love trump to the “alternative facts” can be linked with the denial of the climate crisis. In 1992, Bush stated that the issue of changing the American way of life is not worth it. Trump has taken a step further, refusing to consider the human responsibility for climate change.

My hypothesis is that without this denial, he could not hold back any of his promises. Hence the formation of completely negating the warming of the government, where a representative of Exxon was aware of the existence of the problem. Explain this “post-truth” for statements about the possibility of preserving the American way of life in the future, well, unusual attitude to the truth…

— What do you think about the statement that tranism akin to fascism?

In transme, perhaps, is the fascist component in the most banal perception of the concept, that is, the tendency to authoritarianism. But further comparison is not. Fascism was an original invention, which had for many years created a belief in the possibility of simultaneous archaism and modernization. The story brought the Europeans to the rejection and criticism of such a non-viable mixture.

Trump also represents a new and more difficult to decode the phenomenon. How to charge billionaires task of protecting the middle class, abolishing the welfare state? Fascism was the absolute state, while trump wants to disband the Federal system. In some ways, he’s still a vicious fascism.

— The proposed trump already exist, such as Erdogan in Turkey and Putin in Russia, or fundamentally different?

Today there is a Zeitgeist that could be described as follows: although we are faced with going beyond the limits of nation-States with issues like climate, migration, and Finance, let’s still go back to national States. This is a clear contradiction. We don’t want to admit that do not belong to any nation-state, and to a common ground, whose components should be considered, with the assistance of scientists. Thus, it all rests on the negation of science, which can be seen in Russia and other countries.

— Do you see any echo in the political debate in France?

— France still remains within the classic confrontation of left and right. To raise an environmental issue only after the departure from this section, however, it is important not to be in a situation of “neither right nor left”. It is necessary to change the belonging to a territory. Current events are of interest because they question the territory. There are new practices that do not rely on traditional political positions and new forms of territorial belonging.

Political positions reminiscent of the arrow of the compass: to get them to budge, you need a certain magnetic mass. For a long time this role was played by the confrontation between right and left, but it got demagnetized, and now the arrow spinning in all directions. If we succeed to make the question “What conditions are needed so that the world was habitable?” a new magnetic ground, it will arise again on a fruitful section of the progressives and the reactionaries. Whatever it was that French political life is still not reached.

— If the national state is not suitable to change our belonging to the earth, then you need?

— Chance — Europe. Europe is a space that refused Imperial dreams and went beyond the national state. This is the most advanced experience from the point of view of political innovation.

— The impression of her is not always…

— As a non-public Institute Brussels works not so bad. In any case, in addition to the European Union is the Europe to which we belong, Europe-homeland. It is at such an angle it was necessary to consider the migration issue. We Europeans themselves are in a state of migration in our territory.

For example, I come from a family of wine merchants. Climate change is forcing us to find other locations for planting grapes to make Burgundy outside of Burgundy. My family migrates, buying land. This is the case with many other businesses around the world. This, of course, cannot be compared with the tragedy of those who cross the Mediterranean sea in inflatable boats. Then there are the beginnings of the necessary brotherhood of migrants. Europe considers itself a fortress, although is actually it is — shelter.

— It goes the other way…

— As an institution it has progressed much farther than any nation state. It is much smarter and thinner, offers a lot more opportunities, rights and innovations. Legal innovations, moralization of political life, the organization of scientific activities — all these gave us it. Need to be English, to forget about it. But Europe does not see itself as a territory. Anyway, I saw in Florence the first European flag. It was six stars and two horizontal bands, black and blue, meaning coal and steel. After the war we build Europe from below, i.e. coal and steel.

Today we need to rebuild Europe, drawing on the ground. We managed to get over the question of sovereignty, to realize our responsibility. We have a lot of different areas and cities. European homeland has legendary power, and rare scientific and environmental capabilities. I was very surprised that presidential candidates almost do not speak.

— You see a grain of hope?

— There are examples of this everywhere, from the film “Tomorrow” to support associations of peasant farms and the return of the concept of “General”. The question of class struggle, too, returns, but is territorial. Nevertheless, it often is confused with ideas about the local level. Globalization has introduced the opposition of global and local, and we felt that relocalization enough to solve the problem. In fact, the relationship of global and local on our land look different. The task of clearly marking lies with the parties, but those so nothing was done. The ecological approach would be the basis for exactly the same intellectual work, as that in due time gave birth to socialism.

This involves working with scientists, movements of social innovation, as well as with those who are called “populist”, that is, those who seek protection. We all need protection: Sloterdijk says that we need “bubbles”. Globalization sought to get us out of them, but it is deadly. Leftists must not speak about ecology, and about the territory and geo-social classes, protection, tradition, transmission, accessories.

— What do you mean by “social class”?

— Today the class struggle includes the struggle for territorial belonging. Of course, andré Gorz (André Gorz) and the utopians of the nineteenth century have already asked these questions, but now the situation has changed. In 1989, when at the same time socialism collapsed and capitalism, and really up the environmental question, it was necessary to combine a social issue with the territorial. In this respect we have lagged behind. We, of course, to catch up in this respect I am optimistic, but until the system is screwed up and so will last a long time. Says anthropologist Anna Tsing (Anna Tsing), “you have to learn to live on the ruins of capitalism.”

— Because it’s too late?

— To learn to live in the ruins never too late! But time to dream about globalization, of course, passed.