Climate disaster is here. Capitalism can’t fix it, not even with a Green New Deal. Our only hope against hope is disaster communism.
We are told we are living in the middle of a climate crisis of unprecedented proportions. As doomsday scenarios mount, hope collapses. Even as more and more people around the planet experience climate disaster as immediate and urgent as ever, our imagination and programs for transformation lag. The disasters are already here, and the crises, longstanding, are ongoing.
In Hope Against Hope, the Out of the Woods collective investigates the critical relation between climate change and capitalism and calls for the expansion of our conceptual toolbox to organize within and against ecological crisis characterized by deepening inequality, rising far-right movements, and—relatedly—more frequent and devastating disasters. While much of environmentalist and leftist discourse in this political moment remain oriented toward horizons that repeat and renew racist, anti-migrant, nationalist, and capitalist assumptions, Out of the Woods charts a revolutionary course adequate to our times.
At the center of the renewed political orientation Hope Against Hope expounds is an abolitionist approach to border imperialism, reactionary ecology, and state violence that underpins many green solutions and modes of understanding nature. It reminds us of the frequent moments and movements of solidarity emerging in the ruins all around us. Their stunning conclusion to the disarray of politics in our seemingly end times is the urgency of creating what Out of the Woods calls “disaster communism”—the collective power to transform our future political horizons from the ruins and establish a climate future based in common life.
About the Authors
Out of the Woods is a transnational political research and theory collective, a loose grouping of decolonial, small-c communist, antiracist queer-feminist thinkers working together to think through the problem of ecological crisis.
Out of the Woods began in 2014 as a collective investigation into the various historical, contemporary, and future relationships between capitalism and climate change. We are exhausted by the way in which hegemonic ecological politics in the so-called Global North oscillates between a return to a romantic naturalism with reactionary tendencies and a pragmatic green capitalism. We are also inspired by and seek to amplify real movements abolishing the present state of things: survivors of Hurricane Katrina, Indigenous water protectors opposing transnational pipelines, migrants fighting border imperialism, struggles for Black lives in Ferguson and safe water in Flint.
We recognize the need for a much wider lens on both the breadth of ecological crisis and the historical forms through which it perpetuates exploitation, dispossession, exhaustion, and maybe insurrection. Out of the Woods is evolving with the intention of further multiplying our positions against homogeneity. We invite you to contact us, and to think, write, and struggle with us. As disaster engulfs spaces and times around us, what will it take to get out of the woods, together?
What People Are Saying
“The global ecological crisis is not going to happen in some distant future, in 2050 or 2100 or when computer projections tell us the glaciers may have melted. It is happening now, all around us. And it builds on and intensifies long histories of extraction, exploitation, extinction, and genocide. How do we fight despair, nihilism, and an eco-fascist politics of the armed lifeboat in the face of this gathering but unequally experienced storm? In this collection of urgent essays, the Out of the Woods collective argues that hope emerges from the acts of solidarity in the face of crisis that they term ‘disaster communism.’ Surveying four key terrain of social struggle around the ecological crisis—borders, nature, futures, and strategies—Out of the Woods plot an environmental politics grounded in antiracist, decolonial, and anticapitalist movements and solidarities. There is no better guide to building a future of collective possibility out of the ruins of the present than Hope against Hope.” —Ashley Dawson, author of People’s Power: Reclaiming the Energy Commons and Extreme Cities and Extinction: A Radical History
“This collection from Out of the Woods represents some of the most refreshing thinking on the politics of climate change and ecology. It is also the record of a collaborative project that arose from the dynamic conjunctures of radical theory and social movements, written for understanding and worldmaking rather than clicks or commerce. As climate change emerges as an undeniable fact demanding of solutions, Hope Against Hope is an important contribution to an honest examination of the interests, desires and futures which might be served by the range of answers offered across the political spectrum.” —Angela Mitropoulos, Contract & Contagion: From Biopolitics to Oikonomia
“Hope Against Hope is an experimental book that shares important initiatives and dreams to work against the hell of current capitalist climate catastrophe and the worlds beyond that this hell will create. In doing so, it brings hope back from the future. It encourages and nourishes, through friendship and courage, a revolutionary present badly needed today. Oh, yes, Out of the Woods claims, a new world already exists and is set to abolish the present state of things!” —Gustavo Esteva, author of Grassroots Post-Modernism: Remaking the Soil of Cultures and The Future of Development: A Radical Manifesto and founder of the Universidad de la Tierra, Oaxaca