This feat, the “terraforming” of Mars from its current lifeless or near-lifeless state to a living, breathing world supporting multitudes of diverse and novel life forms and ecologies, will be one of the greatest and noblest enterprises of the human spirit. No one will be able to contemplate it and not feel prouder to be human.
Life in the initial Mars settlements will be harder than life on Earth for most people, but life in the first North American colonies was much harder than life in Europe as well. People will go to Mars for many of the same reasons they went to colonial America: Because they want to make a mark or a new start, or because they are members of groups who are persecuted on Earth, or because they are members of groups who want to create a society according to their own principles. Many kinds of people will go, with many kinds of skills, but all who will go will be people willing to take a change to do something important with their lives. Out of such people are great projects made and great causes won. Aided by ever-advancing technology, such people can transform a planet and bring a dead world to life.
- Robert Zubrin, Entering Space: Creating A Spacefaring Civilization
you know movies like avatar where they travel to another planet and colonise it and terrorise the natives
what if there was a movie where a bunch of explorers landed on another planet
but it was more advance and they instantly got dragged to an immigration office and shouted at in a language they didnt understand and made to fill out a bunch of forms for like 6 hours and had their ship impounded until they jumped through a bunch of legal loops
A rat done bit my sister Nell. (with Whitey on the moon) Her face and arms began to swell. (and Whitey’s on the moon) I can’t pay no doctor bill. (but Whitey’s on the moon) Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still. (while Whitey’s on the moon) The man jus’ upped my rent las’ night. (‘cause Whitey’s on the moon) No hot water, no toilets, no lights. (but Whitey’s on the moon) I wonder why he’s uppi’ me? (‘cause Whitey’s on the moon?) I wuz already payin’ ‘im fifty a week. (with Whitey on the moon) Taxes takin’ my whole damn check, Junkies makin’ me a nervous wreck, The price of food is goin’ up, An’ as if all that shit wuzn’t enough: A rat done bit my sister Nell. (with Whitey on the moon) Her face an’ arm began to swell. (but Whitey’s on the moon) Was all that money I made las’ year (for Whitey on the moon?) How come there ain’t no money here? (Hmm! Whitey’s on the moon) Y’know I jus’ ‘bout had my fill (of Whitey on the moon) I think I’ll sen’ these doctor bills, Airmail special (to Whitey on the moon)
“Whitey on the Moon” by Gil Scott-Heron
Just heard this for the first time today. Thanks, Kym!
Have you heard about Attawapiskat? If you’re in Canada, probably; if you’re in the US, probably not. In a nutshell: a Native community in Northern Ontario declared a state of emergency over third world living conditions a few weeks ago and the Canadian government’s response was, “We gave you $90 million, what’s your problem?”
Now there’s an investigation into where federal funding has gone, the reserve is being run by a third party and there are all kinds of batshit racist comments flying around because many people who are unfamiliar with how Native reserves function (and the history of their creation under colonial rule) think it’s ridiculous that anybody could receive federal funding and still suffer.
You can find information on Attawapiskat here and the topic more generally here. A google search will also lead you to a jillion news links where you can sort the wheat from the chaff on your own if you like.
Native issues tend to make it into the news in Canada more than in the US, so while I find this all to be horrible, I also see this as an opportunity for people to learn more about living conditions on reserves and, more importantly, the system that led to them in the first place.
I could rant about this forever but instead I’ll just encourage you to listen and witness and think about the social, economic, political and legal frameworks that led to this situation in the first place. Do some research. Learn about the Native history of the place you call home and about who those people are today. Don’t erase Native history from the landscape and don’t allow the Canadian and US governments to continue to make Native issues invisible.
I find this very interesting—just thinking about borders and their enforcement. I’m really only familiar with the U. S. and Canadian borders, so that’s what I’m thinking of, but our border enforcement seems to be fundamentally based on violence. I. e., it’s not just that enforcement is often violent, but that it came from violence and if you took away the violent parts, the whole thing would collapse. I’m not just thinking about things like the Mexican-American War or Angel Island or Grosse-Île, but about today—the Minutemen and Herman Cain’s “electrified border fence” and just the little things, like how the last time my sister and I went to Detroit our bus got held up because U. S. Customs had to question the one black guy on the bus for ages.
What would happen if the astronauts returning from the Moon weren’t clean-cut “all-American” white men, but brown?
If there was space travel all over the Solar System, what would it look like for non-white and/or foreign people? What about refugees? What about people with “fantasy passports” (science fiction passports :P)? E. g., what if you are coming back from the Moon with a Haudenosaunee passport and you left from Palestine but Texarkana won’t let you back in?
How would future right-wing demagogues use the whole spacey-wacey thing to build on people’s xenophobia and racism? How would it tie into existing stereotypes of Latinos as dirty, Chinese as alien, etc.? What about white fears of “anchor babies”? Given that it is easier for white bodies to travel, would there be “white flight” (and how would this affect indigenous land claims)—or would white people rather ship undesirables off the planet, as in “The Space Traders”? Would there be incentives for racialized people to settle offworld, as with Liberia or Birobidzhan?
I don’t think you can just “scale up” existing power dynamics. Space isn’t just somewhere far away—it’s something totally unlike anything we’ve ever known.
As always, wondering what bfp/mmm thinks of all of this.