Volatility

September 30, 2012

Anecdote

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I still can’t get over all the ruckus our relocalization group’s innocuous little fundraiser stirred up, and all because there would be some wine there. Our mistake was to publicly advertise it. We should’ve communicated only with our e-mail lists and through word-of-mouth. The first sign of trouble was a cop calling one of our people, telling her she needed to talk to the town clerk. (I’ll mention that the cops have a nice little racket going in town, having their security services “required” for anything bigger than a lemonade stand, at exorbitant hourly rates of course. That’s probably why they ratted us out to the town, because if they weren’t going to get paid, an event shouldn’t happen at all.)
 
The clerk then regaled her with stories of all the permits and bonds that would be needed. Hearing of this, the wine supplier pulled out, on grounds of who needs the hassle. I can’t say I blame them. (They were basically donating the wine for a tasting, for community goodwill and to advertise themselves.) With that, the whole program had been gutted, so there was nothing to do but cancel the event. We’re scrambling to come up with an alternative on short notice.
 
But that wasn’t the end. At our most recent farmers’ market, two dirtbags in ratty-looking street clothes from the state alcohol bureau showed up to interrogate us about this upcoming event which had actually been canceled over a week earlier. Our guy was diplomatic with them but sent them on their way. They’d driven several hours from the state capital just to investigate this affront to the majesty of their authority. Afterward even liberals among us were griping like tea partiers about “our tax dollars” and nodded for once (instead of staring uncomprehendingly) when I used the word “thugs”.
 
I wouldn’t be surprised if we still haven’t heard the last of it. 
 
BTW, it’s not the same thing as, for example, a motorcycle track being built on farmland in a quiet rural neighborhood. Mass-produced machines are a creature* of big government, and so it’s a government responsibility to regulate them. (That it systematically abrogates this responsibility, as part of transferring nominally democratic government power to its anti-democratic corporate extension, doesn’t change the fact.) But people getting together on an ad hoc basis to drink wine and perhaps buy/sell some doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with government at all.
 
*For example, ORVs wouldn’t exist without big government, as mass-produced things. Sure, a tinkerer here and there could build one (if he had the fossil fuel to run it), but a handful of tinkerers aren’t a problem. Things become problems when they go onto globalized assembly lines, which can’t exist without big government.
 
Part of what’s sound about anarchism, how it’s intellectually and strategically elegant, is that not only does it want to abolish government/corporate structures on account of their intrinsic evils. Anarchism also recognizes that most of the bad features (and all the worst ones) of lots of other things are the result of corporate welfare and government thuggery. An anarchist never needs even to contemplate the question of “banning” something, or get bogged down in wonkery about how to “regulate” everything, because the answer is almost always, “without corporate welfare that thing would cease to exist, or wouldn’t be anywhere near as much of a problem.” In that sense anarchists are also the only TRUE “free market” believers. By definition a free market has no corporate welfare or corporate formation in the first place.

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September 19, 2012

Leviathan: Responsibility and Legitimacy

Filed under: Sovereignty and Constitution — Russ @ 10:32 am

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“Americans aren’t entitled to food, shelter, medical care”, says one of the thugs who’s the subject of this kangaroo election.
 
Human beings are in fact entitled to these things as the fruits of our work.
 
Under a hierarchical system, where the people and their work are separated, subjects are not “entitled” to these things unless they work. But they are entitled to work.
 
Hobbes himself would be the first to say that the Leviathan must provide access to work. If it denies this access, it forfeits its legitimacy. So wherever any significant amount of unemployment exists, the state is by definition illegitimate.
 
[Of course I’m not saying full employment would make it legitimate. I’m saying the lack thereof rules out legitimacy even according to the “social contract” theories so beloved by statists.]

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September 17, 2012

Occupy Anniversary

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I stand by my assessment that so far Occupy has not been a movement, but rather a set of tactics. As they’ve existed, Occupations could lead by moral and physical example in defying the enclosure of space and redeeming this space for humanity, obstruct specific corporate assaults, obstruct corporatist action in general, force a movement’s existence on the mainstream consciousness, provide an opportunity to publicly articulate a movement philosophy (but not with actual “demands” on the system), force the system to either back down and admit weakness or more openly display its might-makes-right nature and lack of legitimacy.
 
This set of tactics and instrumental principles could become part of a movement, but it’s not the movement itself. A movement needs a coherent philosophy, goal, and constituency. So far Occupy has lacked these, but has rather professed a vague suite of principles ranging from real rejection of the corporate system to standard “progressive” reformism. It hasn’t articulated an affirmative philosophy, goal, and strategy, nor is it clear for whom it’s taking action.
 
In the first place all this has to arise indigenously, locally. The constituency and goal will vary from place to place. This intuitive realization in the minds of most participants has served them well in rejecting attempted Democrat Party and NGO hijackings. But in the long run there has to be a comprehensive, organic movement philosophy. Given the facts of energy, ecology, and the proven practical failure and moral malevolence of corporatism, this philosophy can only be total anti-corporatism in its negative aspect, relocalization and positive democracy founded on Food Freedom in its affirmative. Another term for this affirmative is Food Sovereignty.

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September 13, 2012

Corporate Organic vs. Food Freedom

Filed under: Corporatism, Food and Farms, Reformism Can't Work — Tags: , , — Russ @ 10:23 am

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The corporate purveyors of many of the biggest credential-organic brands are among the biggest contributors to the attempt to use money to destroy democracy in California, the Right to Know ballot initiative.
 
Once again we see how corporations in themselves are humanity’s existential crisis, while reformism like the organic credential within corporatism is no solution at all.
 
The only solution is the complete eradication of corporatism and corporations as such.

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September 8, 2012

What to Do Now?

Filed under: American Revolution, Food and Farms, Peak Oil, Relocalization — Tags: — Russ @ 9:59 am

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If I had the power:
 
1. Restore the land to pasture and woodlot as quickly as possible.
 
2. Families and communities would grow Victory Gardens. What’s a Victory Garden? This term needs a rigorous definition, rather than continuing as just a vague slogan. A Victory Garden is the way you grow your vegetables and keep building the soil toward better vegetable growth, within the context of restoring the land in general to pasture and woodlot.
 
3. Soil-building. A. Pasturage will have to naturally, gradually do most of it.
 
B. We can focus on intensive soil-building for Victory Gardens.
 
C. Where necessary, for example in urban agroecology, or on toxified former orchard land in the suburbs, we’ll need to reclaim toxic soil.
 
In practice, what can people do right now?
 
For (1) and (3A). Gather knowledge and educate about the need for this.
 
For (2). Educate, help people start individual and community gardens within this philosophical/political framework, organize the cooperative distribution of the produce.
 
For (3B) and (C). Gather knowledge and start doing it wherever possible.
 
So what can we do right now?
 
*Help people start Victory Gardens.
 
*Distribute the produce.
 
*Do soil-building/detox, and teach people how to do it.
 
I intentionally left unclear the mix here between cash businesses and “non-profit” movement-building, because I think the way these responsibilities can and will be carried out is still to find itself through creativity and practice. Similarly, the imperative to get completely beyond money is for the time being in uneasy juxtaposition with the current need for cash. So I don’t want to start out with any prejudices other than doing everything in accord with natural rhythms and size, and the will toward Food Sovereignty as the end goal. 

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September 7, 2012

Food is Dead

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When Nietzsche wrote “God is dead”, he didn’t mean that if you polled people they wouldn’t avow belief in god, or that they don’t consciously think they believe in god when it occurs to them at all.
 
He meant that in people’s regular lives, their day-to-day actions, their day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute thoughts, god and religion play no role. God is no longer a significant part of the lives of people in general, as a guide to action or as a feature of our inner lives. Modern Westerners live as atheists, they think as atheists, so they actually are atheists. The fact that upon request they’ll consciously “believe in god”, like a dog salivating when it hears a bell, doesn’t change that fact.
 
We have the same decadent* phenomenon with food. Where does food comes from? Does it come from healthy soil and a stable farming culture, organic within a healthy ecology and socioeconomic environment? Or does it come from the supermarket? Most people, if specifically asked, would consciously agree that food comes from farms. But that’s not what people really think and do. In people’s regular lives, their day-to-day actions, their day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute thoughts, farms play no role. The possible existence (or extinction) of farms is no longer a significant part of the lives of people in general, as a guide to action or as a feature of their inner lives. People think and act as if food comes from the supermarket. The imminent lifting of New York’s fracking moratorium is a perfect example. Forget the committed fascists like Cuomo and Bloomberg – for people in general to have any doubt about fracking’s evil is to demonstrate their disbelief in farms and their compensatory faith in supermarkets.
 
We should see supermarkets as cult shrines. At the moment they do indeed seem to produce food (at least for those who can afford it and can physically get there). But to believe, in direct defiance of all the evidence of physical energy and the environment, that these totem plots will continue to bring forth food once the farms hidden behind them perish, is a nadir of pseudo-religious compensation for people’s lost connection with the Earth.
 
Cults have often called upon their believers to relinquish all their earthly possessions and gather passively awaiting the end. In this case, we’re to relinquish all human responsibility for our very food, its production and distribution, our human right to the land, our very presence on the land, and gather passively awaiting our next feeding.
 
But while the promised end never came for other cults, the promised bounty of the supermarket cult will indeed come to a brutal end. The common thread is the failure of the cult promise. This is because food does not in fact come from the supermarket, or from the car, or from wars for oil, or from government, or from the corporate form, or from “property”, or from any of the other things people try to psychologically and spiritually substitute for the farm. I fear that many will have to learn this the hard way, since for Western humanity at large, Food is Dead.
 
That’s why the Food Sovereignty movement must be, in all ways, a completely new beginning.    
 
[*This blog’s not about religious matters, so for now I won’t elaborate on what I mean by religious decadence. I’ll just say that part of the human condition is a spiritual and cultural life, which has to be an organic part of a human community. The mass functional atheism characteristic of modernity is inhuman. We see how desperately people strive to fill the void, with everything from consumerism to pseudo-religious ideology.]

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September 4, 2012

Occupy and Occupation

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It lately occurred to me (correct me if lots of commenters have already had this idea, but I haven’t seen it) that there’s a nice symmetry between the Occupy terminology and the use of occupation as a term for “job”, what one does.
 
Since we need to transcend and abolish the whole malign employment model, we have use for a term which can replace “job” (too laden with cash-seeking implications), connoting the entire scope of the human economy, the whole world of our natural, rightful work, and also adding how we must take back our work from those who stole and enclosed it, in the same way we must take back physical space. Occupy has become the seminal term for this physical campaign. So we could revalue and insist upon occupation as the plan to take back our work, the actions of doing so, and the sum of whatever meaningful work we now do, whether monetarily “paid” or not.
 
We must Occupy our Work, we must Occupy our Occupations. This is a core democracy value and practice, living and working one’s ideal, at the same time that one’s work seeks to fully attain this ideal in every realm including the political.

September 3, 2012

Our Labor Sovereignty and Birthright

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The fabricated world has, by design, alienated us from the natural world. But we’re also alienated from the artificial world since we remain natural beings. Nothing can debase us into the inhuman, anti-human caricatures of economists’ and technocrats’ nightmares. We can survive and thrive as human beings, if we purge ourselves of the corporate and government parasite; or we can be destroyed as slaves, and soon enough go physically extinct, if we continue on the corporatist path.
 
This is the physical existential dilemma posed by food corporatism (among other toxic sectors). Meanwhile corporatism in general poses history’s ultimate philosophical, spiritual, moral dilemma.
 
Our communion with our work is at the core of our humanity, essential to our happiness, dignity, and organic health and wholeness. Corporatism, in stealing the fruits of our work, and blocking us from free access to our work in the first place, alienates us from our work, and from our humanity. This emotional, psychological, and spiritual robbery practiced by economic elites is an even worse crime than the material deprivation and use or monetary value stolen.
 
Work is our human birthright. Productive work is necessary for hominid existence, but productive and fulfilling work is also necessary for human existence. It’s our right as humans and our responsibility as citizens. No institution can legitimately block us from our rights and prevent us from exercising (or, if you like, absolve us of) our responsibilities. Under the fraud of economic and political hierarchy, we’re supposed to substitute an increasingly fraudulent “opportunity” for work, property, hierarchical position, and an empty view of “rights” to these things, for the universal reality of them. The universal practice of humanity performing its natural work, rather than struggling against artificial barriers to gain access to it. Our universal natural presence on the land, fruitfully stewarding its resources, rather than struggling against artificial barriers to gain access to it and then, for a select few who are most talented at crime (or at being born out of the correct womb), dominion over it. Our universal position as full human beings in real natural communities, rather than struggling as desolate atoms to enter and ascend artificial hierarchies.
 
All this must be scoured from the stained Earth. We have to assert ourselves as food growers and scientific workers. We have to abolish corporatism. We have to tear down the barbed wire and toll booths which interpose between us and our birthright. We have to redeem our work and through it our humanity.
 
Our work, in itself, prior to the necessary distribution and use of its fruits by those who participated in the work, is our human sovereignty. This is the core principle of human economic sovereignty. Food Sovereignty, which for practical, strategic, and tactical reasons must be our number one focus, is still only one element of this human whole. The next stage of our human resurgence, whether it be a resurgence of Occupy, or another form (there shall certainly be many forms), must, if it is to be worthy of its goal, renounce all half-heartedness, all obsolete self-limitations and timidity, all the temporizations and compromises and sham “pragmatism” and utopian reformism, all of which have been empirically proven to be delusions, and are therefore by now nothing but lies.
 
The next stage of the American Revolution must demand (of itself) and seek nothing less than the full redemption of our human birthright, our full sovereignty over our natural work; the work itself, management and control of it, 100% of the distribution and use of its fruits. Nothing less is worthy of humanity. Nothing less could continue to render us human, as opposed to something far diminished.

 
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