Podcast: against space imperialism


In Episode 146 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg protests the unprovoked imperialist attack on the asteroid Dimorphos, and rants against the sacrosanct dogma of space expansionism. The much-hyped asteroid threat is clearly being used as a cover for militarization of space to achieve global hegemony on Earth—and for eventual corporate pillage of the heavenly bodies. Finally, a long-overdue voice of space skepticism emerges from academe, with the book Dark Skies: Space Expansionism, Planetary Geopolitics, and the Ends of Humanity by Daniel Deudney. But hubristic notions of “space communism” have also been seen on the political left, as discussed in the book I Want to Believe: Posadism, UFOs and Apocalypse Communism by AM Gittlitz.

Both utopian and dystopian visions of space colonization were explored by Ursula K. Le Guin—the latter providing likely inspiration for James Cameron‘s hit movie Avatar. The utopian vision was first charted by the early Bolshevik writers Yevgeny Zamyatin in We and Alexander Bogdanov in Red Star. It was generations later embraced in rock music of the hippie era—most notably the Jefferson Starship and Black Sabbath. The perils of looking to space for human salvation have been explored in fictional form from Out of the Silent Planet by CS Lewis (1939) to The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin (2007). The critique was also put forth by Lewis in expository form in his 1958 essay “Religion & Rocketry“—in which he paradoxically takes a Christian moralist path to an anti-imperialist position on the space question which is more truly progressive than that of many “leftists.”

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Production by Chris Rywalt

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Image altered from NASA