22 Theses on the Interspecies Interface, Written on November 2016


1. The interspecies interface reaches not across languages, but across language itself, as it is humanly understood.

2. There is a difference between agency and consent. A nonhuman species has agency in its relations to humans and other species, but it cannot consent to these relations, in the sense that consent involves verbal affirmation.

3. Whether or not some nonhuman animals have language or humanlike cognitive capacities is an open question.

4. Ethics cannot depend on whether or not animals are like humans.

5. Ethics is a matter of life and death.

6. If ethics cannot depend on whether or not animals are like humans, it must depend on something else.

7. Donna Haraway argues that our interspecies politics must reject the gesture of making a species “merely killable.”

8. Nonhuman animals are not the only beings who get made merely killable.

9. Colonialism and genocide hinge around the gesture of making people merely killable.

10. “Dehumanization” is a word for making beings merely killable.

11. Fascists like Hitler and Donald Trump incite and organize violence by dehumanizing groups and thus, making them merely killable.

12. Biologically speaking, all Homo sapiens are in the same “human” species. Politically speaking, we are not.

13. The category of the human is subject to historical and political forces, in the exact same way that the changing boundaries of nation-states are the products of historical and political forces.

14. “Sovereignty” is a word for momentary forms of species affiliation.

15. Sovereignty is an incitement to kill the Other.

16. Whether or not fascists should be considered human is an open question.

17. That fascists must be opposed is without arguing. Whether or not this opposition must be based on dehumanization is an open question.

18. Solidarity is not the same as sovereignty.

19. Dehumanization is a filthy trick meant to prevent solidarity among the oppressed.

20. It is a historical tragedy that likening people to animals has long meant making them merely killable.

21. Fascists and colonists are worse than animals, not least because animals are never in charge on whether or not they are, in fact, animals. Fascists, however, are always in charge on whether or not they are fascists.

22. Only fascists can consent to fascism.