December 25, 2018

A Christmas Tale: The Forest of Eden

Filed under: Climate Crisis, Dance of Death — Tags: — Russell Bangs @ 3:47 am


According to one version of the story of Eden, God forbade Adam and Eve to taste of the fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If they tasted of knowledge, God promised them, “you shall surely die”. In this version the serpent entered Eden and enticed Eve and Adam to taste of knowledge. To punish them for this disobedience God cast Adam and Eve from the abundant forage of the Garden, dooming them to toil for their food and shelter, dooming them to mortality.
There’s another version of this story. According to this variant God never forbade the taste of knowledge, on the contrary he encouraged it, but warned against letting false knowledge usurp life to the corruption and death of both. The serpent entered Eden and enticed Adam and Eve, not to eat of the tree but to cut it down. Eve said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of every tree of the garden, but God has said we must not touch any tree to hurt it, lest we die.
And the serpent said, you shall not die, for God knows that in the day you kill his trees and poison his garden you shall drive him out and become as gods, dictating good and evil. Your murder gains life for your own godhood.
Adam and Eve were seduced. The serpent fired their lust for power, and they cut down the tree believing this would liberate them. But they found only their fear and alienation, God no longer was to be found, the garden withered, themselves doomed to worthless toil and mortality.
Another story is told of a Jewish spiritual reformer who was crucified by the Romans and then rose again, because he was really the human incarnation of God. Followers, onlookers, even his persecutors looked on in awe as God cried out from the cross and gave up the ghost. According to another version of this story, Jesus dodged the nails leaving a sign while the cross went up alone, and all who looked on felt the magnitude of the wood of the cross itself, the sacrifice of the trees which were felled to crucify God.
All the trees are coming back. All the trees murdered for greed and spite will rise again. All the trees come back, millions everywhere, the forests sprout from the lawns, break from every street and parking lot, burst through the houses, level the strip malls, rip open the McMansions, purge the industrial plantations.
All versions of the story agree that when the reformer was tempted by the devil, offering the same promise of becoming a god himself, to dictate good and evil, to receive the submission of millions, to murder for his own godhood, Jesus rejected the devil and rejected the temptation.
At Christmas the people think again of the primal trees but drive themselves to reprise the sacrifice. To symbolize the original sacrifice they kill another for the ceremony, or kill the very idea of the tree in favor of an artificial simulation. Idolatry of the anti-tree is most symbolic of the modern idol-worship, the worship of every technology and every idea of technocracy in proportion to how much it promises to murder nature, to murder reality.
In this West at its final climax it’s murder for commodity, murder for monoculture, murder from spite most spiritually deadly of all. The suburbs spawn psychopaths, powerless atoms who can play at voting for evil but truly can exercise their love of death only in murdering the most ancient, most beautiful, most sentient beings. Where each middle class suburbanite, including the most impeccably liberal or radical, gleefully murders trees or blandly looks on amid such massacre, we can expect nothing but the same banality toward the climate crisis and ecological destruction in general. And that’s exactly what we have. Politics is Dead. Tree-murder is a cause and a symptom.
Nature’s laws are a wall, however much they temporarily may seem like mist. God sees the truth but waits, and Gaia’s correction proceeds according to its own timetable but arrives completely in the end. An organism cannot rebel against the foundation of its life other than as a mode of suicide. The extreme energy civilization and all who exalt it are committing suicide. Humanity’s great mission is to redeem itself and not commit suicide as a species. Ecologically, suicide is in exact balanced ratio with insane homicide. We must stop murdering or else die ourselves. Whatever humanity chooses, Gaia’s kinesis is imminent.
All the trees are coming back. The tree of knowledge of good and evil stands everywhere, this is every tree. The tree of life stands everywhere, this is every tree. The tree of beauty, the tree of love, the tree of peace, the tree of happiness, the tree of wisdom, the tree of childhood, the tree of health, the tree of vigor, the tree of strength, all stand everywhere. All who once stood are coming back. The tree of Earth still stands everywhere, and everywhere is coming back. If it ever were felled, humanity surely would die, but the true life would continue.
This is the true Christmas tree, if there still were such an idea in the mind of humanity. This will decide whether we can reclaim ourselves.
All the trees are coming back. This is the true reclamation.

December 24, 2018

Green Deal, Big Deal, Same Old Deal


Feel the burn

Why is the green deal a scam? Because like every other corporate “solution” it assumes productionism, consumerism, capitalism, industrial electrical generation and consumption (the great majority for industry), and the dominion of The Car. George Bush said the proper response to 9/11 was to Keep Shopping. And today’s climate scientists, Big Green NGOs and “progressive”/”socialist” politicians say the proper response to the climate crisis is to Keep Shopping. More and Better Capitalism. And of course Keep Driving.
But these are the very things driving the ecological crisis. More of the same ecological assaults cannot result in anything but more of the same ecological destruction.
There is one and only one way to avert the worst of the climate crisis:
Stop industrial emissions; stop destroying sinks; rebuild sinks.
And this is the only way to avert the worst of the general ecological crisis.
But all corporate system “solutions”, including the “green new deal”, propose to continue massive emissions (industrial “renewables”, to give the most egregious example, can exist only on a foundation of fossil fuels and are ecologically destructive in themselves), continue the massive destruction of sinks (one of the main purposes of the Paris scam was to enshrine the carbon-hemorrhaging “biomass” assault as a system-legitimated climate action), and pay only the most modest lip service to rebuilding sinks.
(Check out Bernie Sanders’ “Feel the Bern” website for a typical example of all this: Lip service to “family farming” alongside proclaimed support for the centralized corporate poison-based agriculture which is the #1 driver of the climate crisis. (Support for industrial agriculture automatically makes one a climate denier.) He proclaims his support for GMOs (and therefore for the entire pesticide, consolidation, and commodity speculation paradigm) and regurgitates several of the standard canned lies about them. Lip service to the climate along with support for the biomass assault and other scams, and of course support for the military which is a massive emitter. (I didn’t see the military mentioned anywhere on Bernie’s climate pages. Nor do any other green new deal advocates ever seem to acknowledge how the climate crisis and the US military are inextricably conjoined.) Meanwhile elsewhere he’s babbling idiotically about NASA and space travel. There’s just a few typical examples of the typical climate crocodile. With this kind of ideology, the climate will feel the burn all right.)

December 21, 2018

Liberals Shriek for More War, More Blood

Filed under: Dance of Death, Disaster Capitalism, Global War On Terror — Tags: , , — Russell Bangs @ 1:07 pm


…and for more profits for the weapons contractors and the rest of the long list of war profiteers.
There has never been more perfect proof that American liberals want war, mass murder, the aggrandizement of the military-industrial complex, the dictatorship of corporations, authoritarian government, mass starvation, genocide, and total ecological destruction, than the chorus of braying we’re seeing today objecting to Trump’s claim (which is probably bogus anyway) that the US is going to pull its military out of Syria.
I thought it wasn’t possible to feel greater hatred for liberals than I already did, that their vileness could reach a greater extreme. But today they’re proving me wrong.
This liberal psychopathy goes well with the Democrats’ fake Yemen resolution, a typical Sanders con job, which they specifically designed to ensure it wouldn’t end US aggression and genocide in Yemen.
And as we’ve seen for many years now, but especially since 2016, liberal Dembots salivate at the prospect of nuclear war against Russia. It seems to be their ultimate fantasy. I can’t think of any other reason for Russia Derangement than the fantasy of WWIII and total destruction. God knows there’s no rational explanation for the 21st century Russia-hatred in America.
I think sometimes of how in the 1950s, said to be a social dark age, it was still possible to shame the supporters of a Joseph McCarthy by asking if anyone had any human decency left. Today there would be no point in asking such a question. It would only bring laughter from the mob of psychopaths who pass for “political” people today. There’s no decency left in the US Sodom and Gomorrah. No humanity period. Abraham was able to haggle the Lord down to agreement to spare the cities of the plain if ten honest people could be found. Abraham plead in vain. And he’d be no more successful today, not if he looked for honesty and decency among partisans of the Corporate One-Party, and especially among Democrat partisans, the most vile persons ever to defile the Earth with their existence. The whole shithole needs to be scoured by its own flame and heat and poison. It all needs to come down. And most of all, the anti-politics of liberalism, dedicated to total human atomization and total ecological destruction since its inception in the 19th century, needs to cease to exist. This is an absolute social, aesthetic, ecological necessity.

December 20, 2018


Filed under: Dance of Death, Disaster Capitalism — Tags: , — Russell Bangs @ 5:42 am


H/T Deep Green Resistance

December 15, 2018

The Basic Ecological Flow of Modern Civilization


Over the long run the ecological measure is the one and only real measure for life on Earth. All the artificial measures of Babylon which currently seem so powerful, which often seem even to have superseded the measure of life itself, are ephemeral. The best example is the most extreme example. The fakeness of money, which through global financialization claims to be the most granite reality of all, is just the most extreme fakeness of a civilization whose adamantine towers are always just one breeze away from toppling. These measures of rock built on sand are measures only for the very short run, however long that seems to the victims, and to we ecological dissidents.
And so ecology is the only reality-based measure. What’s the basic ecological cycle and flow of modern civilization?
1. Extract fossil fuels (and fossil water, fossil phosphorus, minerals, everything which can be exploited for productionism), mine all “resources” (anything and everything including human beings is nothing but a resource), theoretically renewable or not, such that it renders them non-renewable.
2. Put all this into motion as aggressively, chaotically, destructively as possible. (Their ideologues call this “creative destruction”.) Force everything and everyone to participate in frenzied action to no purpose. What is the ecological purpose of any action characteristic of civilization? None whatsoever, other than destruction for the sake of destruction. Damage, ravage, poison, destroy the ecology. From the point of view of ecology, the only reality-based measure, almost all civilized hominid action serves zero purpose but destruction.
A simple ratio demonstrates this: Look at any hominid and tally what he takes from the Earth, and what he gives to the Earth.* In the case of almost any civilized hominid it’ll be difficult or impossible to discern in what way he’s anything but a pure parasite. And in almost all cases gratuitously destructive as well, a vandal as well as a parasite.
3. As the waste product of the pointless frenzy, fill the atmosphere with greenhouse gases and other wastes, fill the water with pollutants, accumulate plastic and other wastes in the oceans, suffuse the general environment with plastics, industrial and agricultural poisons, and every other kind of waste. For as long as the ecology functions, some of this waste biodegrades, some only very slowly, some, especially plastics, maybe not at all. The more waste accumulates the greater the pressure on the ecology to break down and cease function.
There’s the ecological essence of modern civilization: Extraction of non-renewable “resources”, pointless orgy, massive and terminal buildup of waste and toxification. The ecological measure is the only real measure, over the long run. For civilization it’s a suicide race. Which will come first: Resource depletion, the orgy going to nuclear war or total pandemic, general ecological collapse? Which mode of death: Starvation, shooting yourself, poisoning yourself.
The only real questions are, once the nightmare’s over and what’s left behind is a Learian desolation, how much will be left for Gaia to use to rebuild, and at what stability or chaos of a new phase state.
This is the long run history of the future. There’s a popular Keynes quote, “In the long run we’re all dead.”
Yes. And “Homo sapiens” is determined to make that long run as short as possible for itself as a species. In its civilized form H. domesticus it wants to make life itself extinct. The suicide race also is a homicide race – how much of Gaia can civilization murder before it kills itself. And what can ecological dissidents do: To defend and conserve until the clock runs out; to fight back; even to speed up the clock.
*To anticipate trolls or even honest questions, here’s what I give to the Earth: On all the land available to me I grow food according to agroecological principles (aka organically). Beyond directly growing food I’ve been active in the community food movement, dedicated to restoring natural modes of food production and distribution, for almost ten years now. I’m a writer and educator, director of two community gardens, have worked at a farmers market and at our herbal medicine garden. In these ways I act and propagate ideas toward restoring these more ecological modes. All voluntary aspects of my life are on Gaia’s vector.
I would like to be a full time farmer if I had my rightful place on the land. Civilization encloses the land for only idle or destructive purposes. I’m foreclosed by the religion of money (Mammon), the religion of property, the police. This is to explain how civilization forces limits on how much any of us who isn’t rich or otherwise lucky can give.
I offer Gaia my writing, I propagate the necessary ideas to whatever extent I’m able and anyone’s listening. I do all I can to speak to fellow mammals amid the underbrush, calling upon us to wait out the dinosaurs, destroying their eggs whenever we can. I do the maximum I can do. And I engage in no high-impact, high-GHG actions except under duress. I’m conscripted into driving a car; if I could abolish the car completely I’d do so in a second. If I could press a button and cause all fossil fuels to disappear immediately, I’d do so in a second.
I envision the coming ecological restoration of humanity, the coming natural community which includes humanity as fully giving and receiving participant. And until then I do what I can to envision the ideas and organization we need today, in order to endure and carry through the little that’s worthwhile, and take whatever action we can.

December 1, 2018

Morally, Ecologically, COPFOs Are the Same as CAFOs


Exploited, tortured, malnourished, poisoned, regimented.

1. Factory farms are among the worst evils of modern civilization. The civilized smugly invoke Auschwitz as a near-mythical symbol of pure evil. Meanwhile Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), identical concentration and death camps by any measure other than that of domesticated hominid supremacism, continue to multiply across America and the globe.
The sadistic cruelty which is the daily routine is beyond sane imagination. The living animals are packed together like dead sardines. They are driven insane with physical pain and crowding and unfathomable psychological stress. Babies are wrenched from their mothers to render the mothers “productive” again as fast as possible. The inmates are fed a gruesome poisoned grain diet which makes them sick. It’s just enough to drag their zombie forms along till they reach slaughter weight. (Producing this weight is the one and only thing GMOs ever have been tested for by the system. Never once has the system performed a legitimate safety test. Governments, corporations, academia, and the corporate and science media systematically lie about this, the ultimate fake news.)
Egg layers have it the worst. Broilers can’t be pushed too far into madness lest they rub their breasts raw against the wire till the flesh is stripped to the bone, much as maddened concentration camp inmates would commit suicide by trying to climb the wire. That would ruin the product. But for the layers anything goes as long as eggs can be forced from them.
Imprisoned in boxes, living with nothing but foul air and artificial light, never seeing or feeling the sun, or the grass beneath, or the flowing breeze, they live dead lives of misery and torment, all to satisfy the depravities of the sadistic and gluttonous civilized.
CAFOs are a clear and present danger to public health. They automatically incubate every kind of animal and animal-to-human disease. This, along with the hideous living conditions and toxic diet, renders the inmates chronically sick. They’re maintained on a constant regimen of antibiotics. CAFO feed also is contaminated with antibiotic resistant GM bacteria which are left over from the factory synthesis of riboflavin and other feed additives. The main effect of these practices is radically to accelerate the evolution of antibiotic resistant pathogens and the failure of drug after drug. By any rational or moral measure we must conclude that the goal of corporate industrial agriculture and government policy is the complete eradication of antibiotics as a medically effective treatment. CAFOs guarantee pandemics from this vector.
CAFOs also guarantee epidemics of human and non-human animal illness and environmental destruction from their massive output of air and water pollution. CAFOs spew vast amounts of particulate matter (much of it carrying pathogens), ozone smog, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants. The Biblical flood of sewage which surges forth from CAFOs, unassimilable by farmland or the natural environment, is a constant volcano of methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, and other potent greenhouse gases. CAFOs are among the reasons industrial agriculture is by far the number one driver of the climate crisis.
Agronomically CAFOs reinforce the overproduction of worthless commodity grain. This condemns to effective sterility vast spans of arable land which could be used to grow food for human communities on an agroecological basis. Instead the output of most of the land, and the ecological devastation which goes with poison-based agriculture, all goes down the CAFO rathole in order to produce cheap (at the retail checkout), grotesquely expensive (by any reality-based accounting) meat for the Western and Westernized middle classes.
This productionism of worthless grain, and the deployment of subsidies and propaganda in order artificially to generate such “markets” for this grain as the CAFO system, is a long-standing, perverse policy of the US government, fully supported by the entire political, intellectual, and media class.
Most important from the point of view of the corporate-technocratic state, the CAFO system reinforces the GMO deployment. This deployment of a worthless, extremely expensive and destructive product genre, depends completely on such artificial dumping grounds for worthless over-produced commodity grains.
Socioeconomically the CAFO system is a key driver of farm consolidation and the domination of farming by agribusiness. The system directly destroys small animal farms, indirectly destroys small grain farmers by reinforcing the mass commodity system.
CAFOs destroy the communities where they’re sited (always among lower income people of course). They foul the land, water, and air for many miles around rendering the landscape unlivable.
Working conditions are very dangerous, with high risks of direct injury, acute illness which is sometimes lethal (workers as well as animals often are killed outright by surges of hydrogen sulfide from manure lagoons), physical and mental disease from the fumes, chronic illness from the general disease incubation, and drowning in the manure lagoons. The working conditions and pay are atrocious. The legal “owners” of the CAFO are themselves indentured servants, forced by the corporation to take on all the work, risk, and debt while the corporation dictates all procedures and reaps all the profit.
In every way CAFOs add up to nothing but evil, destruction, death. A sane humanity would abolish them immediately on moral and self-preservation grounds. The fact that the masses not only tolerate but support this system is one of the direct proofs that modern civilized hominids are clinically insane, and incapable of Darwinian adaptation. This has nothing to do with lack of mediated information; mentally sound animals directly sense what will destroy them and fight or flee. Only civilized hominids have lost this core evolutionary trait. That goes for all self-destructive human “politics”.
2. Plant monocultures, which I will henceforth call COPFOs (COncentrated Plant Feeding Operations), are little better. Everything we just condemned about CAFOs – working conditions, destruction of communities, farm and agribusiness consolidation, agronomic perversity, ecological destruction, public health hazards including the epidemics of cancer and reproductive problems from poisons in the fields and food, including antibiotic resistance driven by herbicides (all herbicides are broad-spectrum biocides, i.e. antibiotics; glyphosate was patented as an antibiotic before it became part of herbicide formulations) and the promiscuous use of antibiotic resistance markers in genetic engineering – all are just as severe and destructive with COPFOs. I’ve written about this in hundreds of pieces over many years and don’t need further detail here.
Industrial monoculture denudes and destroys the soil, which becomes a disintegrated, inert medium in which the plants are physically propped up, jolted with synthetic fertilizer, slathered in poison which suffuses all their cells. The plants, malnourished except for a few artificially supplied (usually grossly oversupplied) macronutrients, physically weakened by being constantly drenched in poison, genetically weakened by breeding programs focused myopically on perverse traits like gross yield (meaningful only from a capitalist commodity point of view, not from any ecological perspective or the perspective of growing food for people), genetically tortured by unnecessary surgery and Nazi-style experimentation called “genetic engineering” (the scientists also torture the animals this way), too damaged and weakened to deploy their natural processes which signal one another, summon beneficial insects, and repel pests, become easy targets for pests. So they require even more poison, which then weakens the plants and soil that much further. (The eventual food quality of such crops is of course very low.) This vicious circle is deliberate and goes together with the equally deliberate pesticide-pest, pesticide-resistance arms race, the pesticide treadmill which is as old as the large-scale deployment of pesticides themselves.
Both CAFOs and COPFOs are radically toxic, radically polluting, radically destructive of the ecology, radically destructive of human health and well-being, radically destructive of the human community.
3. Empathy for non-human animals and the moral feeling and philosophy which encompasses them as fully as the human animal is grounded in the fact that non-human animals are as sentient as humans. They have feeling, they have emotion, they have ideas, they have language, they have culture. Only the flat-earth speciesism typical of civilized hominids would deny something so self-evident to healthy perception and so overwhelmingly confirmed by science.
But perception and science say we must go further than just moving the boundary of speciesism from human-vs.-animal to animal-vs.-plant. Plants too are sentient. They communicate about weather, pests, drought, they signal to beneficial insects. They can sense nearby plants being eaten and react. They make decisions. They forecast future climate conditions, water availability, and sunlight access and extend their branch and root growth ahead of time in accord with their forecasts. One species, the stilt palm, even “walks” toward a better location it has anticipated by extending new rooting stilts in that direction and detaching from the opposite stilts. Plants remember the effects of stimuli and will modify their reactions accordingly. Integrated with mycelial mats they join to form intelligent collective organisms. Botanists studying plant communication via chemicals released into the air and soil have compiled plant vocabularies of over three thousand “words”.
There is no more call to doubt plant sentience than to doubt animal sentience. If we find it difficult to empathize with the mind of a plant, this is no less true of the mind of a whale or dolphin, yet no one but a domestic-hominid supremacist denies the sentience of whales and dolphins.
(Of course, relative to potential, so-called Homo sapiens, in the form of H. domesticus, is by far the least sentient, least sapient, most stupid and “vegetative” species on Earth.)
4. In truth all of us, all plants and animals (and fungi and protozoans and bacteria), are part of the same food web. We all are “predators” and we all shall become “prey”. It’s impossible to refute this, only to deny it and lie about it. This civilization and its apostles, including almost all who claim to care about animals and/or the environment, do little or nothing but deny and lie. (It’s telling that an “or” is even conceptually possible there, yet few things are more common than reductive cherry-picking among things that in reality are inextricable and irreducible.) Thus we have corporate “environmentalists” who support CAFOs, and vegan/animal welfare types who support COPFOs. Indeed both tout such evils as part of their fake “solutions”.
In ecological reality, the only reality, the only possible way of life is to take responsibility for ourselves – as individuals, families, communities – as integral parts of the ecology. We must have reverence for Gaia. We must take only what we will use and give back at least as much as we take. Otherwise we’re not even predators but parasites. The modern civilized can never be anything but wasteful and destructive parasites.
Whether one believes in eating meat or not, either way industrial monoculture, CAFOs and COPFOs, is beyond the moral and ecological pale. Short of a complete reversion to hunting-gathering (which is not necessary, though the apostles of industrial agriculture seem intent on forcing us to that extreme once their system inevitably collapses; they intend a global Somalia of post-agricultural failure) the only sustainable future is decentralized, low-input agroecology, with or without animal pasturage. This is the great goal our movement must work toward. Meanwhile anyone smugly content to cherry-pick within the industrial commodity system and otherwise be content with that system is offering no solution at all, only a scam which is irrational, anti-scientific, anti-ecological, and morally evil.
Destroy the dinosaurs’ eggs every chance you get.