Post-Apocalyptic Resistance

Last week during our CMRC seminar we discussed post-apocalyptic resistance within Black and Indigenous communities. We explored Afrofuturism in an article by Mark Bould, a chapter by Gerald Horne, and an episode of the podcast Faith Uncut. We read about Indigenous resistance in articles by Nick Estes for Dissent and Julian Brave NoiseCat for The Nation. Below are reflections on that conversation and some media we discussed.

It is difficult to discuss Afrofuturism without mentioning the inimitable avant-garde jazz artist Sun Ra. This profile from the New York Review of Books is a nice introduction to Sun Ra and includes some discussion of how and why his work is so closely aligned with Afrofuturism. Sun Ra passed away in 1993 but his longtime ensemble, the Arkestra, released a new album Swirling this week (October 30th) which the New York Times has already praised as “a fabulous introduction for newcomers to the Arkestra’s sonic universe.

–– Art Bamford

Sun Ra Arkestra’s Tiny Desk Concert at NPR
(click to watch video)

We saw this week what the apocalyptic in Black and Native imaginations has in common with the European apocalypse we read about earlier from Silvia Federici: the revelation at hand is an enclosure of what previously could not be owned—such as land or human bodies. As migratory land animals, buffalo cannot survive under a regime of fenced-off private property, and that is part of the radicalism of the Ghost Dance’s prayers for the return of the buffalo. For the buffalo to return, the settlers’ fences would have to come down.

–– Nathan Schneider

This cut skit from SNL explores Afrofuturism in the context of Lovecraft Country.

*Featured Image is the cover for Janelle Monae’s album ArchAndroid.