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Old Fictions and Possible Worlds by Julio Pattio

We will only be able to dodge the current state of exhaustion and fatigue, of fear and confusion-- and empower ourselves in order to gain access to other possible worlds--after old fictions are demystified, previous lessons inculcated in the existences of entire generations and counting are revealed for what they are: hushed lines inscribed onto the Western fictional narrative of modernity and civilization.

Walter Benjamin’s words that the only history is the one written by the winners seems to still be muffled by the sound of Western triumph, the trumpets of their multicultural apocalypse. The only books filling our shelves are those exalting the Western achievements and reasserting unilateral, male-white-patriarchal-able-bodied epistemologies. The only stories our archivists protect are those marked by blood, tears, and the gnashing of teeth. But in the end, the celebration of Modernity cannot avoid its dark side, its mortal eclipse, carrying on countless massacres since the dawn of Capitalism and mercantile maritime expansion.

If in the West some noise is being made now regarding the failure of a long-standing power matrix, its effects are still being lively felt in the bodies and minds of millions of female bodies, mestizos bodies... This multitude of an-other bodies is simply deemed as unfit for the modern campaign, the confused march towards the future. In this sense, those from outside of this machine are categorized as being too late to be included, and become rather simple peasants working from far away for a naked king. Therefore, just admitting the failure of a 500-year structure of control and domination is not enough. Old lies must be confronted and the nasty rhetoric of coloniality has to be flanked, accused and overturned.

The way forward cannot thus only be paved by new angry voices detached from previous historical and cosmological experiences, but should be grounded on history retold, history unlearned and history in potential. How do we dare to celebrate and romanticize the French May of 68, and dismiss struggles for freedom and self-organization that took place in Poland at the same time? How do we dare to celebrate the White French “Revolution” of May 68 and list as benefactors the white bodies of the likes of Marcuse and Debord, when history is organized so as to silence all other sources of inspiration and strength that still keep alive the nasty binary of WEST/REST? How dare we to blindly celebrate a character such as Greta Thunberg when non-Western voices have been trying to articulate the failure of the Capitalism system to deal with the environment for centuries already? When native knowledge, such as the ones proposed by Rigoberta Menchú, have been battling in order to revert the tragic consequences of the Cartesian scission between mind and body, and oftentimes dismissed as non-scientific, non-methodical and irrational? Young and old foreign bodies have been trying to fight from the very exteriority of this system for ages, without being granted access to the public discourse, their position attacked as uncivilized, superstitious--not having the same reach as Western abstract universalist values.

It is a daunting task, to sabotage 500 hundred years of world-system domination and imperialism, and at the same time to irrigate the colonized fields of being and knowledge with fierce, fresh and firm creativity, hoping for a supernova that would implode into a pluriversality of possible stories and untold narratives. Destroying old lies in order to seed new possible fictions should involve both creation and deconstruction, biography and history, future and past as strategies aimed at overturning Western canons of discourse, rationality and relationality, as well as to inflict a blow at the conservative, elitist and violent structure of Western mythopoiesis. This is, after all, a rehearsal for new protocols of being. It is precisely at the limits of all Western philosophy that the stigmatized difference can finally help foreign bodies to emerge, raising a multitude of local histories, that Western canons have so effectively suppressed in favor of the developmentalist fallacy.

In this sense, the effort is to effectuate two movements in a non-linear way. That is, through an exercise of embodied poetics, to mark the lines occupied by the Western narrative of modernity, to accuse its lies and perversions both of being and history. This should be confronted with and eventually dismissed by an-other forms of knowledge and existences that have been condemned to lurk in the dark side of the glorious narratives of technological progress, human advancement and civilizatory achievements.

This effort is motivated, among others, by the latest movements rehearsed by the West concerning the environmental collapse. It is moved by the Western privilege to determine what is the last global emergency. After centuries of Western monopoly on the discourse on knowledge, being, history and so on, now that species extinction feels very real, they want to share the toll of capitalist accumulation and their conquered hegemony based on race and class, by making everyone responsible for the collapse, thus finally allowing every subject to be included as the anthropos in Anthropocene, a buzzword diverting the attention from the collapse of Western’s capital accumulation strategies.

Thus, this is a utopian effort to find new temporary locations to be inhabited by the people of the future. Differently than what claimed Hegel, this march can only happen within a set of constant iterations, towards both, past and future. It is also strengthened by the certitude that no tabula rasa or accelerationism will save us, reinforcing the urgency to dedicate ourselves to discern the historical layers cemented by a strong rhetoric of modernity and civilization. In a way, it will constitute my biography, inseparable from other bodies and minds suppressed and diminished by one of the most effective structures of domination and exclusion to ever exist.

About the author

Julio Pattio: Born in Brazil at a time when Western pacificatory campaigns were helping latinxs to get rid of guerrilheiros and feeding them the price for help: huge amounts of American trash disguised as pop culture and functioning as an eternal reminder of our delayed condition, marking our nature as the promise of the future. Proving that the colonial matrix of power has very real structures, he has fallen for the discourse of liberté, fraternité et égalité and moved to France a few years into the new millennium in order to be catechized according to the humanist tradition, now rather on secular terms. It didn’t take long for him to realize that his body was from the onset marked as a foreign body. Since the failure of his project to join the Westerns in their march towards the future (intrinsically connected with the recognition of his accessory, dependent status), Julio has been developing strategies to disappear, from the landscape, from the bureaucratic system, from the Western imaginary, from himself. Besides his love for music and passion for Brazilian food he is the founder and editor of the Autogenesis.

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