“Direct action always returns us to basic questions of politics.” argues James Butler in a harsh critique of Andreas Malm: A Coal Mine for Every Wildfire (2021). The text offers a nice recap of Malm’s thinking and illustrates their attempts to dismantle fossil infrastructure as a borderline techo-utopian fantasy. The article provides a thorough summary of a recent book White Skin, Black Fuel co-written by Malm and the Zetkin Collective. I agree with Butler that activist-gestures are pedagogical: “There will be no flashpoint in the climate crisis, no moment with a self-revealing logic so clear as to be incontestable. Direct action can be a form of pedagogy, but it requires allies in press and politics” but I think they are reading Malm too literally; manifestos (and activist performances) are for building momentum, they are not intended to steer political movement. Also investigating climate change as a weapon of mass destruction is a potent approach.

They [Malm and the Zetkin Collective] see ‘fossil fascism’ as an emergent political formation, linking ‘primitive’ fossil capital – direct extractors, which can’t survive divestment – with racist politics. Aware of the slipperiness of definitions of fascism, they stick with the term because their new postulate has many of its hallmarks: fantasies of a nation purified of parasitical degenerates and outsiders; an indifference to mass death; emergence in an emergency where significant established economic powers are threatened.

[…] If only we knew, we would act in the right way. But there is no obvious point at which knowledge tips into action; in an increasingly mediatised political sphere, spreading awareness ends up as a substitute for action itself.

Trackers: The Sound of the 16-bit (2021) Ahoy is an entertaining mini-documentary detailing how music programming for games developed into DAWs. Plug-in Capitalism (2021) Michael Terren builds a compelling case against corporations that offer standardized tools for music production.

Any historian of technology will tell you that a technology that purports to increase productivity, under neoliberal capitalism and the atomized ‘creative industries,’ will only ever redistribute or delegate labour to other technical concerns.