Presentation and readings of NUNATAK n°7, magazine of stories, cultures and struggles of the mountains La Parole Errante, November 10, 2022, Montreuil.

Presentation and readings of NUNATAK n°7, review of stories, cultures and struggles of the mountains Thursday November 10, 7:00 p.m. La Parole Errante

In an Inuit language, the term nunatak designates a mountain rising above the frozen expanses, where life takes refuge to endure during the ice age.

The Wandering Word 9 rue françois debergue, 93100 Montreuil Montreuil 93100 Seine-Saint-Denis Île-de-France

The Nunatak magazine aims to be a support to develop and share our criticisms, from the mountainous regions where we live. We also want to look for ways to concretize our opposition to the world as it presents itself to us, to deviate from the marked path of the flows of merchandise and authority, to attack what separates us from each other, to immerse ourselves in the stories told by streams, beings, trees or rocks…
After many postponements due to unfavorable conditions for such an ascent, Michèle Firk finally and with joy welcomes the famous review of the heights, for a moment of readings and discussion around the touristification of the summits, between mass industry and challenges for billionaires, from “detached work”, a modern form of the exploitation of the international agricultural worker under-proletariat, martially promoted during confinement, or even from the arrival of a cable car in a village in the Austrian Alps before the war.

Among those climbers who, each year, during the fine season, try to carve some high and difficult peak, there are some, it seems, who climb for the love of the vainglory. They seek, it is said, a painful but sure means of having their name repeated from newspaper to newspaper, as if, by a simple ascent, they had done a work useful to humanity. Arrived on the summit, they write, with their hands stiffened by the cold, a report of their glory, noisily uncork bottles of champagne, fire pistol shots like true conquerors and wave flags with frenzy.. »
Elisée Reclus, History of a mountain, 1880


Editorial of NUNATAK n°7

We want to make Nunatak, a magazine of mountain stories, cultures, and struggles, a support for the dissemination of emancipatory ideas and a tool to provoke discussions, debates and exchanges in places where we are not necessarily expected. All with what really drives us: to take an offbeat look at things without ideological preconceptions or political formulas to sell.

The current situation complicates the emergence of these meeting spaces. Like everywhere, the covid has had an impact on the Nunatak team. Presentations and meetings around the journal have become rare and we have been slowed down in the publication. All this necessarily has a consequence on our desire to stimulate discussion around the texts that are proposed in order to bring out in-depth and collective reflections. Finally, these 64 pages represent only half of the review!

That being said, the publication of number 7 cheers us up because it will have nevertheless allowed us through the discussions and the weekends of writing to name what we did not like in the current mess. In the rest of this editorial, we propose to share some of these reflections.

There is a lot to be said about the government’s management of this health crisis. The repressive nature of confinements reduces us in an authoritarian way to something that we threaten then we reassure, that we confine then that we deconfine, to the rhythm of decisions that evade criticism, while giving new powers in the state. Absurd decisions on the health plan are taken repeatedly, juggling between danger of the virus, safeguarding the economy and maintaining social peace.

The fact of having to reduce one’s freedoms was experienced as a constraint, especially since confinements or the health pass are presented by the public authorities as “acts of solidarity for the benefit of the most fragile populations”, thus separated from the rest. of the able-bodied population. The opposition between young and old has been reinforced, while still widening the gap between rich and poor.

Starting from this observation, and since Nunatak wants to be a journal falling within the vast field of social criticism, one could imagine that any movement opposing the authorities to demand more freedom would attract our support, or at least our benevolent gaze. But this is not the case.

The movements of “resistance” to the measures imposed by the State to deal with the pandemic combine both the feeling of injustice provoked by measures of deprivation of individual freedom, a nostalgia for the “world before” where all shops were open, and the relativization or even denial of this pandemic. For us, refusing to take into consideration the consequences of an exponential circulation of the virus amounts to ignoring the dead, the overcrowded hospitals, or even the degraded working conditions for workers.

These desires for “resistance” seem to us to be compatible on the one hand with the neoliberal evolution of capitalism (letting the weakest die or isolate them so as not to impact the course of the economy), on the other hand with a certain tendency in the discourse of social criticism to overvalue forms of individual emancipation to the detriment of the perspective of a common world. The subversive aspect of these movements conceals for us only a raw expression of the ambient everyone-for-his-mouth, which does not date from yesterday.

If we do not propose any way forward to overthrow this world of inequality and suffering, we find worrying the promotion of individual – not to say individualistic – solutions which would allow one to escape, for oneself or for one’s restricted group, constraints that weigh on everyone. Finally, this context can lead to a favorable view of the most outlandish theories, from the moment they validate the legitimacy of a hedonistic I don’t care; it seems to us more than problematic that conspiracy theses abound, especially when some and some are organized around these ideologies. These are based on putting forward simplistic explanations to understand a complex health reality, incriminating, for example, an elite conspiring against the vast majority of the population in its own interests. This discourse, in addition to being fertile ground for far-right ideas, feeds the belief in an occult and hidden power against which only insiders – with access to knowledge or information – could resist. However, it would be presumptuous to reduce it to mere wacky or irrational theories: conspiracy is a modern political ideology in which the enemy is not so much capitalism or power but “those who manipulate it behind the scenes2”. As if we didn’t have to fight against the social relationships that govern the world – and our lives – but only against the bad intentions of the “elites”. As if exploitation and domination were not the result of complex power struggles that order social relations but were due to an intentional plan that only revelation – in the religious sense of the term – could defeat.

Criticizing this way of looking at things often turns out to be counterproductive, consolidating a feeling of enlightened superiority! There is therefore a real challenge for us in proposing a critical understanding of this world, which does not deny its complexity. The question is then “how to reconnect today with perspectives of collective emancipation? In short, upsetting class relations…

If this editorial seems to neglect the summits somewhat, let us emphasize all the same that the geographical specificities of the regions we inhabit have not offered any notable mountain particularism in the light of this crisis (both in the management of the latter, and in the confused theories floating around). Which encourages us to repeat this formula from the editorial of number 0: the oases have long since been absorbed by the desert.

1 As stated in the editorial of issue 5 of the review.

2 Whether they denounce the Jews or the pedosatanists, the great replacement or the gay lobby, political movements of all persuasions seize on these scarecrow figures to assert their theses.

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