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LAVA: From Global Insurrection to Covid-19

by Mitra Azar & Hugo Sir

Introduction

LAVA – Letters from the Volcano is an experimental zine developed by Mitra Azar, Hugo Sir, and a small group of agitators from the four corners of the world. LAVA emerged from a desire to understand the recent wave of social movements starting in autumn of 2019. These movements involved a number of people from countries with very different sociopolitical and cultural conditions who nevertheless displayed certain common dispositions: the desire to break free from the psychic and economic impoverishment engrained into surveillance-oriented computational neoliberalism, and strategies developed both offline and online towards the achievement of this goal.

LAVA believes that the inevitable is always superseded by the unpredictable.

Issue #1 of LAVA – Letters from the Volcano, entitled “Be Water,” can be read here.

Until the beginning of 2020 it seemed that the volcanic explosion in the form of the unpredictable and simultaneous appearance of radical and direct forms of resistance was taking over the global political scene. Then, all of a sudden, this human-unpredictable was replaced by a nonhuman-unpredictable: the virus COVID-19. The human lava was swept away by a nonhuman lava, and the explosion of the volcano turned inward, imploding.

The virus COVID-19 has taken over the stage of human unrest and has opened the door for a meltdown of the global capitalist economy. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic opens space for rethinking politics from scratch: on the one hand, it allows a profound questioning of the structural dysfunction of global capitalism; on the other, it risks turning the cadaver of capitalism into a zombified techno-fascist limbo of total surveillance, ultimately killing civil society. This political conundrum will be the center of issue #2 of LAVA – Letters from the Volcano, entitled “Be Earth.” The forthcoming issue will deal with nonhuman agents such as COVID-19, melting ice, pollution, and the nonhuman forces that more and more turn into political vectors in ways that, paradoxically, go beyond politics.

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