Comrades in Extinction
Written in English by Radha D’Souza and Jonas Staal
This publication by the Court for Intergenerational Climate Crimes (CICC) consists of an ancestral ecology of species of animals and plants that have been made extinct due to intergenerational climate crimes. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, whose database we partially rely on, the causes of their extinction originate in the colonial period and subsequent mass industrialisation. Much conclusive data remains missing, so the full extent of extinctions is estimated to be far greater.
Modern law institutionalised the separation of people and nature turning the living world into property, subsequently inscribing mass theft, murder, enslavement, resource extraction and cultural genocide across living human and non-human worlds into the architecture of capitalist modernity. Racial-ecocidal capitalism drives species extinction, perpetrating fatal intergenerational climate crimes as it destroys ecologies of interdependent life-forms.
The CICC calls for an understanding of rights not as individual property, which lies at the foundation of the current ecosystem collapse, but of rights as a relationship between humans, between humans and non-humans, and between non-humans that is not proprietary. If the rights of a river are harmed, the rights of all animals, plants and humans living in interdependence with that river in present and future are harmed as well.
The CICC thus seeks to shift the language of rights from a proprietary to an interdependent way of being in the world by recognising and addressing our non-human ancestors as comrades and by introducing a spirit and practice of comradeship in prosecuting intergenerational climate crimes. It is for this reason the non-human ancestors in this publication are all named “comrade” in different languages.
The CICC acknowledges our non-human ancestors as fellow ecosystem workers. Rather than seeing them as ‘extinct’, the CICC recognises them as martyrs in the struggles for existence of all species and a biosphere for all. For the CICC, nature is a relationship that defines our shared struggle and collective work, and not an adversarial separation.
This publication consists of evidence. Evidence of intergenerational climate crimes in the form of the plant and animal martyrs of racial-ecocidal capitalism. It is also a document that honors comradely bonds with non-human ancestors: those we shared ecosystem work with, those in whose name we prosecute intergenerational climate crimes perpetrated by states and corporations, those in whose name we demand to be future ancestors to living, caring, comradely worlds.
Radha D’Souza and Jonas Staal, 2021
You can access the full project and see all the comrades and languages involved here
Published February 20, 2023
© Comrades in Extinction (2020-21), Radha D’Souza and Jonas Staal