Volatility

October 14, 2019

Get Off Your Lazy, Happy and Healthy Asses and Be Productive (Columbus)

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I didn’t get around to writing anything for Labor Day, but I can recover by writing something for Columbus Day since there’s such an affinity between them. Along with shooting the natives and giving them diseases, Columbus and his fellow conquistadors brought moral sermons backed by force, preaching that the natives must cease from their unproductive way of life and get to work the European way. The character of this work was extractive and ecodical, the mode was based on slavery and cultural genocide.
 
As a later pro-slavery ideologue put it,
 
“The institution of Slavery is a principal cause of civilization. Perhaps nothing can be more evident than that it is the sole cause. If anything can be predicated as universally true of uncultivated man, it is that he will not labor beyond what is absolutely necessary to maintain his existence. Labor is pain to those who are unaccustomed to it, and the nature of man is averse to pain. Even with all the training, the helps and motives of civilization, we find that this aversion cannot be overcome in many individuals of the most cultivated societies. The coercion of Slavery alone is adequate to form man to habits of labor. Without it, there can be no accumulation of property, no providence for the future, no taste for comforts or elegancies, which are the characteristics and essentials of civilization. He who has obtained the command of another’s labor, first begins to accumulate and provide for the future, and the foundations of civilization are laid…Since the existence of man upon the earth, with no exception whatever, either of ancient or modern times, every society which has attained civilization has advanced to it through this process.”
 
(William Harper, 1837. H/T Derrick Jensen’s Endgame p. 107)
 
This describes well the rise and sustenance of civilization. And now we’ve entered the barbarism of modern civilization’s decline.
 
As fossil fuels, the ghost slaves of modernity as William Catton called them, upon which all of modern civilization is completely dependent; as fossil fuels become simply unavailable, the elites will try to prop up whatever they can of their zombie lifestyles and power by restoring institutional slavery. Their sense of entitlement and their will to violence will never stop short of that. I doubt they’ll stop short of nuclear weapons wherever they deem necessary, once they become that desperate.
 
I presented here a description of what the system will try to enforce. Read it and know what’s in store if we let it happen.
 
 
Getting back to the holidays of the moment, it’s ironic that the back-handed Labor Day (celebrating the willingness of workers to undertake their own destruction, all for the sake of worthless expensive unsustainable material junk) gives workers a day off from grinding and scabbing while on Columbus Day most go about “work” as usual.
 
Almost all of this work is worthless and destructive and shouldn’t exist at all. (Keep this in mind when you assess something like the Green New Deal which implicitly proposes to continue keeping most of the work force out of food production, and therefore proposes to continue with the omnicidal onslaught of poison-based carbon-hemorrhaging industrial agriculture while at the same time continuing to prop up the ecoonomy based on “work” that creates nothing and only destroys.)
 
Almost all of this work is worthless and destructive and shouldn’t exist at all. It kills the human soul while it kills the Earth and therefore destroys the very physical basis of our continued existence. As with every other core trait of modern civilization, the Protestant work ethic is an existential self-threat, a collective death wish, a mode of collective suicide.
 
 
The greatest religious irony is that Christianity, along with its offspring the modern scientism-technocracy-“progress” religion, has been the most malevolent purveyor of the Dominion theology, yet Jesus himself taught a message in line with ecological harmony as known and lived by traditional cultures. The Earth is a great cornucopia for those who want to live self-sufficiently and fully in the present. (By self-sufficiency I mean, sufficient individuals for species evolved to live as individuals, sufficient communities for species evolved to live socially. Humans evolved to live in tight-knit communities, while the modern liberal-Randroid-capitalist ideology of “individualism” is a psychosis that needs to be purged.)

 
Our true work expresses and enriches our humanity while helping to enable natural cycles. To the extent we’re still able, we who still perform our fruitful work retain this portion of the human birthright. But we who have been forcibly sundered from our human work and forced to “work” for an alien institution have been robbed of our birthright. Those who willingly embrace the Sunder have become traitors to the Earth, parasite squatters and vandals sliming Earth’s surface.
 
We who have been fated to live in this time of the worst perversion of the human endeavor and the most confused divergence from the true path of history face a twofold work requirement.
 
We must as ever do our human duty, fulfill our human responsibility, perform our human work. But today the core element of our work is the work of rejecting and resisting the false “work” of Mammon, the work of the grinder-consumer economy, commodity production, globalized false “trade”, corporate rule. This false work, this false buying and selling under the Mark of the Beast, is nothing but selling our souls and the purchase of perdition, enslavement, death.
 
Jesus echoes this as he speaks to the multitudes in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6) :
 
24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
 
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
 
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they?

 
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
 
28 And why take you thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
 
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
 
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
 
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, How shall we be clothed?
 
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: ) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.
 
33 But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
 
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
 
 
Mythology says we fell from the Garden of Eden and have been cursed with the need to toil ever since. The forces of evil have sought power over our very toil, turning us into slaves either directly in the formal sense or by monopolizing access to work and controlling the modes of work, so that only as robots can we function in the world of “work”.
 
Worse, although this exile was a primal sundering and alienation from the source of our being and soul, the gravid Earth, we have been taught falsely to view this exile as a journey toward freedom, toward prosperity, toward knowledge and transcendence. Never has a more obscene Orwellian inversion been performed than this version of “Slavery is Freedom” which has been shouted from every false pulpit for thousands of years, and never with greater omnipresence and volume than in the modern today, the moment of fossil fuels.
 
The myth really means the exact opposite. Adam and Eve were organic and ecological in the Garden. They were integrated, elemental, primal. They lived as the lilies of the field. But Satan seduced them to desire the alleged knowledge which would make them as gods. Thus they broke the unity, broke the integration. The Original Sin was scientism itself, though it took several thousand years for this sin to become conscious of itself and celebrate itself as a sublimated Satanism. The original curse was the sundering of humanity from nature, the exile from the trees, the alienation.
 
Since then this same Satan has taught us to believe we must replace the primal foraging and horticulture, living with the lilies in the Garden, with the gruesome and destructive toil of industrial agriculture and its epigones in every economic, political, and cultural sector. Destructive of the Earth, destructive of our bodies, destructive of our souls.
 
The meaning and truth of the words of Jesus are unchanged if you remove “God” and replace ki with “the Earth”. Even the most fundamentalist secularist must make the same choice between faith in the Earth’s natural bounty or faith in the godhood of the engineer’s technology to render what it calls the sterility of the earth fertile. The natural fruit is truth, the artificial is a lie. This is the same truth and lie confronted by every religion including the religion of scientism and technocracy. There’s no real distinction between modern “enlightenment” and medieval darkness. All modes of thought have equal potential for light or dark, depending upon how they embrace the truth of ecology or the lies of Mammon and technocracy.
 
The same is true of Jesus’ injunction to his disciples, as he sends them out to minister:
 
Matthew 10:9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,
 
10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
 
Mark 6:8 [He] commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:
 
9 But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.
 
These injunctions are addressed to us as well. We all need “take nothing”. If we lived in truth, true scientific knowledge, and moral good faith, nature’s bounty supplemented with agroecological knowledge and practice would feed us and sustain all desire for health and happiness. These passages refer to the true reclamation, healing the sundering breach and restoring humanity’s earthly connection. This is the true redemption and reunification. Agroecology and Food Sovereignty offer the promise of this revolution and restoration.
 
The true restoration and reclamation process is to be and live as ecologically as possible, in mind, soul and action. Expelled, we still can work in harmony with the Earth. This is the true imitation of the life in the Garden and also is the embodiment of the true science. Agroecology is the process of rendering agriculture and all of life more holistic, more organic, more integrated, more assimilated. Only through agroecology and its equivalents in every context can we overcome the alienation, imitate the Garden of Eden, present our work to God, history, or reason, however we envision, as proving we’ve learned the lesson, and in any case come as close as we can to paradise on Earth.
 
This does not mean lack of work, or especially lack of joy in the work we do for our own people. It means working only to guide Earth’s great abundance, to bring Earth’s profligate bounty, itself a free gift of the Earth itself, to a fruition most fruitful for a humanity who also is of the Earth and restores Earth even as we eat of it. The true productive work is the work of tending the natural abundance.
 
Do you want to produce food for human beings, or commodities and poison for corporate persons, a kind of demon? True work is the former, false perverted work the latter. The same is true in every other economic sector. Never has the very idea of food been so laden with symbolic religious significance as it has become in this modern age, because this is the most religious age of all. Food is literally and spiritually the core battleground and ground zero for the whole of the great climactic struggle for the soul of humanity, the realization of the future, the very existence of the past, and the question of whether there shall ever in the present be freedom and fulfillment. Shall we ever live as a natural one and whole in the present? The time has come where the only true work is the work of this great crisis.
 
As for the grinding conquistadors, they’re a pox.
 
 
 
 
 
 

July 23, 2018

This Civilization is Collective Murder-Suicide

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The end point for everything the extreme energy civilization is doing: The Earth nothing but a desert with ruins.

 
 
1. Civilization is destruction. For humanity and the Earth it is death. We’re bogged down in it. It’s driving us to the brink of nuclear war at the same time it’s giving us all cancer. Most civilized people want the missiles to fly, and most want cancer for themselves and their children. Their actions prove it.
 
“Growth”, the idol of fundamentalist worship by all the civilized, including “environmentalists” and the climate crocodiles, is physically unsustainable and must collapse with unfathomable consequences. It is cancer as well. Symbolically growth is directly analogous to cancer metastasis, and growth’s reality depends upon physically killing us with cancer, starvation, bullets.
 
Look everywhere Western globalization has spread, look at any government, any Leader, any journalist, any academic, any NGO, see what they unanimously say: If you’re not rich, then die.
 
It is self-evident that anyone who thinks this way also will think murderously, though few are as honest as the Canadian bankster who openly says, “There are some people that are going to die in protesting construction of this pipeline.”
 
What this means is, “We should kill anyone who is in the way of our tyranny, whether as activists or simply as obstacles.” This means the entire 99%. All system cadres think this way and intend to act on this. This is the intended consummation of modern civilization, the total murder of the Earth and murder-suicide of humanity.
 
Smash the bottlenecks.
 
2. Politics is dead. Electoral democracy is a proven failure and by now a fraud. We’re bogged down in it. Its partisans – “voters” – aren’t political at all but rather are rival mobs cheering on entertainers and wrestlers, like the Blues and Greens of ancient Constantinople. Most of all they’re chanting for the missiles to fly. Only the most cloddish and inertial still dream of “alternative parties”, which invariably turn out to be new glosses on the same scam. Humanity and the Earth need something vastly greater than paltry reforms. The need is a movement and spiritual way dedicated to joining Gaia in destroying the stale and toxic anti-culture and building a whole new vision, a whole new culture.
 
Smash the bottlenecks.
 
3. Ecological catastrophe is rampant, still gathering tremendous force, and accelerating. The consequences are unfathomable but will include mass starvation and mass cancer. The campaign of destroying the Earth and provoking Earth’s kinesis in response has been deliberate on the part of all governments, corporations, the entire political and media class, the scientific establishment, all of academia, all system NGOs. It’s the intended action and goal of globalization, capitalism, technocracy, scientism, productionism, the economic/commercial civilization as such.
 
The catastrophe deniers are merely witting or unwitting tools of these destroyers of the Earth. Worst are the de facto deniers with their crocodile tears and fake “solutions”. All deniers are peas in a pod.
 
The climate chaos driven by civilization’s greenhouse emissions and destruction of sinks is gathering momentum to destroy us all unless we take action against the monstrous machine itself.
 
Here most of all we see the affinity of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans (that is, identical Party-mongers). Both want humanity to sit still while the death machine devours us all.
 
Keep Shopping! That’s the prescription for the climate crisis propagated by liberals and scientists. This also is their prescription for all the other ecological crises. Keep Shopping. And of course Keep Driving.
 
Just shut up, sit still, stay the course. Keep voting when told. Believe your Party Leaders, and your media and academic betters. Yes, the two types of denier are peas in a pod. Just as the Dembots and Repbots are peas in a pod in every other way.
 
4. Democrat Party partisans are the most vile of all. Anti-ecology, anti-human, pro-destruction, pro-Mammon, pro-famine, pro-war, pro-police, pro-corporate, pro-technocracy – there’s not a single evil on earth the liberal Democrats aren’t doing all they can to drive to its worst.
 
That applies to America. A similar anti-political process has transpired in most or all other Western countries.
 
 
By now we have to give up on the Party people, the terminally inert, stupid, and malign. Those who even at this late date still receive their marching orders and their very ideas and words from Party Leaders, from corporations, from academic/scientific nabobs. These are nothing but purely inertial conformist non-entities.
 
 
The extreme energy civilization, having bottlenecked all human potential and driven humanity into a socioeconomic and political dead end, now drives itself into its own terminal bottleneck.
 
Do you feel ill, or your children or pets? Do you fear sickness? Do you feel financially secure? Secure in your job? Are you optimistic things will change for the better? Do you know who has destroyed all security? Do you know what’s making us sick? Do you feel safe when you look at the news from America and around the world? Do you know why the world is going insane?
 
You’re feeling the great bottleneck. Our health, our security, our peace of mind, our work, our culture, our spirit, our freedom, all are bottled up. You feel the fear, you sense our psychological, spiritual, cultural, economic bottleneck.
 
To anyone who feels bottlenecked, whatever the surface reason seems to be, you must understand that yours is a symptom of a global ecological crisis. You cannot solve your crisis within the bottleneck which causes it any more than the civilization can pull itself out of its own bottleneck.
 
All of this civilization’s bottlenecks boil down to the simple equation: Wealth and power accumulation must be accompanied by an equal level of physical, economic, spiritual, cultural, and ecological destruction. Modern civilization’s accumulation of wealth and power, which has not and will not trickle down to us even if we wanted it to at the price of murdering humanity and the Earth, equals our destruction.
 
Smash the bottlenecks.
 
 
 
 

June 27, 2018

Note on Movement and Party

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There’s a big difference between building a political, cultural, spiritual movement, and forming a political party, as proven by the historically proven relation between these. The point can’t be made often enough, especially these days when it really seems like every kind of dissenter has completely forgotten movement-building as the necessary strategy and the necessary basis of all future tactics. Mine is the only site I’m aware of which consistently has touted it year in year out. Most people never even heard of it and can think of no possible strategy other than electoralism and the whole tedious litany of proven-failure “reforms”, or else immediate spontaneous violent insurrection.
 
This latter is self-evidently absurd (at least in the US) and therefore people mention it only in order to underline how allegedly there is no alternative to electoralism. No doubt this is often a deliberate elision of the movement-building possibility, though I think more often the main objection to movement-building is that it’s long hard work. More horrific, in this society where almost everyone, including those who hold radical opinions, is fully indoctrinated and assimilated to the bourgeois system of individualism and the priority of private life (most importantly “the job”, if you have one; otherwise agonizing over the absence of one), is the proposition that one should dedicate one’s life to building a movement on behalf of an idea and a vision. Historically this is the way great revolutions happened, from Christianity and Islam to the Russian Revolution and beyond. These revolutions weren’t the work of part timers, and they weren’t the work of those who were hobbyists in their own minds. They were the work of those who were dedicated heart and soul. Those for whom “job” was at most a way to get the minimal sustenance necessary to carry on the real work. Those for whom even family was primarily a support structure for the great work.
 
That, I think, gets to the core of why no one wants to build a movement against the corporate technocratic system and to exalt the necessary ideas for the coming age of civilizational collapse and ecological cataclysm, and the great ecological way forward. As radical as these ideas are in themselves, and as unappealing to anyone who hasn’t burnt his luxury-materialistic ships, perhaps even more radical is the proposition that you should exalt this or any other self-chosen idea as the guiding star of your life and orchestrator of your actions. (Needless to say dedicating your life to carrying out the liberal-Randroid-capitalist Mammon idea is considered normal, since everyone was indoctrinated into it and no one had to choose it. It’s only choosing one’s guiding star which is unthinkable.)
 
All that goes to why every attempt to found an “alternative” political party runs aground or spins its wheels. We’ve had decades of fairly widespread and correct diagnosis of the situation, and many people have proclaimed their will radically to change it. So why has so little been accomplished against the worst of neoliberal corporate rule and imperialism? A major reason is this: Everyone always wants to put the party cart before the movement horse.
 
Trying to cobble together an “alternative” party (let alone a one-off presidential campaign) on the fly without having first put in the long, hard work of building a coherent cultural and ideological movement which then can serve as the solid foundation for a party, is doomed to failure. The failure may come through lack of a coherent political rationale, or lack of self-controlled publicity and organizational vehicles, or lack of institutional fortitude in the face of the inevitable set-backs and enemy attacks, or co-optation. Most commonly it’s all of these together.
 
This is reinforced when “alternative” candidates bring along as psychological baggage the assumption that they need to engage with every element of the system which the system itself insists is necessary – every agency, every “information” source, seeking to appease the corporate media – and to engage with these on the system’s own terms. This mistake is inherent in a party’s lack of a coherent movement-based world-view and the lack of an organizational foundation which itself is equipped to displace many of these system-demanded and -provided alleged needs.
 
Of course the “alternatives” on offer today aren’t offering much of an alternative at all. In America the likes of the Green Party offer little more than a proposed Democrat do-over, but honest and for true this time. If the likes of Jill Stein ever did attain high office they’d think only in terms of “getting things done” (“progressive” things, of course) according to the pre-existing rules of the system. And that’s where they’d get swamped and redirected and forced to cave in from day one.
 
The classical path of radical change is first to build a real movement, then to field a political party which seeks office in order to function as grid-locker and monkey-wrencher from within, in the service of the extra-legal action of the movement, which is where the real action is. But this remains unthinkable to today’s dissidents (at least in the West), which proves they’re not true radicals nor think radically at all.
 
 
 
 
 

June 26, 2018

To Cross the Bridge At All You Have to Burn It

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And if you don’t cross it you must burn the Earth

 
 
Another lament from a science-concerned liberal. Science ethics professor Sheldon Krimsky is typical of the breed, coupling the usual factual demolition of Monsanto’s lies with hand-wringing about the honor of “Science” which often spills over into attacking the people who really threaten to destroy the basis of the power of Monsanto and the technocracy as a whole, something the good liberal establishment could never do and doesn’t want to do:
 
“This short aphorism [a slogan on a button he saw*] brought into focus two unfortunate realities. First, there are growing segments of the population who have lost confidence in science and choose to act on un-scientific or pseudo-scientific truth claims. And second, other segments of the population view scientists as just another stakeholder group subject to the same market influences in the competition for producing credible knowledge.”
 
On the contrary, these are promising realities. They indicate one of the widening fissures in the corporate prison wall. It is of course nothing but plain truth that establishment scientists are nothing but another stakeholder group which cares about power, money, prestige, not “truth.” (They may or may not seek scientific truth insofar as they can do this within the corporate science paradigm. But this paradigm always dictates the limits of allowable “truth”, as well as dictating the research agenda in the first place.)
 
And it’s equally plain truth that the people are acting rationally and adaptively (in a Darwinian sense) when they reject the nostrums of corporate “science”. It was never any different, at least not since “science” became an institutionalized capitalist profession rather than the domain of independently wealthy generalists such as Darwin. (And even they usually theorized scientifically in accord with the dominant socioeconomic theories of their class. Thus Darwin framed his depiction of evolution in terms of competition and natural selection of individuals, not because the evidence demanded such framing – the evidence at least as readily supports depictions based on cooperation and group selection – but because he was thinking along the lines of a commercial animal breeder, and more broadly in terms of Smithian capitalist ideology.)
 
Let’s see who really acts according to pseudo-science: For example, in the first third of the 20th century who believed most ardently in eugenics? That’s right, it was almost the entire scientific establishment, and educated “progressive” types in general. Just as these comprise the vanguard of the resurrected eugenics movement today. (Meanwhile in the 1920s the opposition was led by the despised “un-scientific” churches. That’s not the only time the churches have been on the side of actual scientific truth while the institutional science cadre was anti-science. Today organized religion hasn’t done humanity all that much good in opposing today’s eugenics. But today as then the most virulently anti-science group on earth is the STEM establishment. It’s no accident that in both cases the most cherished notion of scientists is eugenic control over life, and especially over human beings.)
 
But Krimsky, as an establishment cadre, has far more in common with Monsanto than with the people, which is why his criticism must remain within technocratic elitist bounds. But this guarantees that the criticism never becomes more than criticism, never becomes total war to abolish those who are murdering us and would murder us all.
 
Krimsky may think he’s fighting Monsanto, like some knight errant rushing to save the honor of the fair damsel “Science” from the foul clutches of the evil wizard. But in reality anyone familiar with the history of scientists knows there was little honor to save in the first place, and none today. Krimsky, by continuing to propagate good civics fantasies like “independent science” and “peer review”, is really reinforcing the corporate propaganda line that what’s really a biological and socioeconomic war should be viewed merely as a technical dispute within technocracy which should be disputed only on Monsanto’s chosen fake battlefield, that of establishment-vetted “science”. He’s trying to help Monsanto stop the people from freeing their minds by rejecting the whole fake scientism ideology.
 
 
*The slogan: “Science is Peer Reviewed, Not Politician Approved.” This is ahistorical nonsense. Power always has chosen what research is done in the first place and what the allowable results are. By the time one gets to “peer review” the research already has jumped through several far more important hoops which have zero to do with any exalted notion of scientific “truth”.
 
No doubt the button is supposed to be worn especially at fake “climate” demonstrations put on by tear-shedding liberal climate crocodiles who actually oppose all meaningful climate action every bit as much as their bugbear Trump does. The de facto climate deniers are vastly more pernicious than the de jure ones, since they pretend to care about the crisis and pretend to have the solution, when in fact their fake “solutions” have zero purpose but to let them feel smug while they buy time for civilization to destroy the Earth completely.
 
Their alleged solutions all involve the continuation of productionism, capitalism, consumerism. Just as George Bush said the right response to 9/11 was to keep shopping, so our climate crocodiles assure us that the right response to the climate crisis is to keep shopping. Just like their Monsanto-critical counterparts like Krimsky say is the right response to the ecological catastrophe of poisonism: Keep shopping, and only in system-approved venues. Thus his despair over the plummeting legitimacy of corporate system science.
 
Sure enough, Krimsky has declared that he cherishes the fantasy of “a livable planet without setting limits on economic growth.”
 
Economic “growth”, of course, never has been anything but cancer, in every figurative as well as literal sense. It is one of the most evil psychoses humanity has developed, and by far the most insane and self-destructive.
 
To reprise what I’ve written innumerable times at this site, there is one and only one solution to avert the worst of the climate crisis:
 
Stop emitting greenhouse gases at anything close to an industrial level; stop destroying carbon sinks; rebuild sinks on a mass scale.
 
Anything short of this is a lie. (Needless to say, no room left there for “growth”.) The only answer to every other ecological and human crisis is the same kind of answer.
 
 
 
 
 
 

May 25, 2018

Death Juice

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Today they cut the coal barges loose. This is to poison the water, poison the river ecology, poison the people’s drinking water. Just as every step of the fossil fuel caldera, from its conception in psychotic minds to the emission of carbon dioxide and toxic air pollutants, is fully toxic in intent and action.
 
“The Department of Environmental Protection said coal does not post an imminent threat to downstream water intake or aquatic life, but it will continue to monitor the situation as cleanup begins. The DEP is assisting local emergency responders in the effort.”
 
We’ve heard that before. Just selecting one of the host of atrocities, they said the same thing about the 2014 coal poison dumping into the Elk River. The immediate result was an epidemic of acute sickness among anyone who drank the water. Months later the water was still so toxic even the government was still calling it undrinkable. The long term health effects can only be the subject of speculation until they manifest. Same for the massive destruction aquatic life, which also began immediately and whose long run ecocide we can only guess. As we know, we cannot look to science to give us accurate projections since establishment science is ideologically committed to productionism and technocracy, as well as absolutely corrupt in all the regular venal ways. For both reasons we know scientists are fundamentally dishonest where it comes to anything which could compromise these ideological and sordid commitments. No, science is no help to beleaguered humanity. Our only options are abolitionist action, or passive waiting for the collapse of the congenitally toxic civilization, tallying the destruction along the way. The one thing which is impossible is to find any sanctuary of health, well-being, peace, and humanity within the framework of a civilization based on total war at every point.
 
 
Back in the old days James Hansen denounced coal death trains. The whole basis of life on Earth is targeted for deportation. He was much lambasted, including among “environmentalists”. Perhaps with the increasingly frequent detonation of oil train bombs, Hansen’s comparison no longer looks so far-fetched even to them.
 
 
 
What are oil and gas pipelines? To convey the extracted product of massively genocided lands (for example, the Alberta tar sands extraction zone is one of the vastest deathscapes on Earth, a land which not long ago was one of the most bountiful and beautiful bases of life on Earth); to slash through forests, wetlands, communities (including militarized police assaults); then continually to leak with locally devastating effects; and on to the final usage of fossil fuels: To poison farmland and food, continue mass murder on the roads, and drive climate chaos on to its ultimate cataclysm.
 
The tar sands give death in so many ways. They too are dumped into rivers to poison the people and everything that lives in water.
 
 
 
 
 

February 8, 2018

One Thing the Scientism Cultists and Dembots Have in Common

Filed under: Civil Disobedience, Mainstream Media, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: , , — Russell Bangs @ 6:10 am

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The future of obsolete, malign structures. Their cultists feel it coming and react accordingly.

 
 
One of the most bizarre phenomena of the US electoral system is the way the Democrat Party and its more cultish adherents choose to revile anyone who is skeptical about voting for the Party instead of trying to persuade them. Of course, part of this is that they know they could never persuade anyone who isn’t already part of their cult, since they have nothing to offer anyone but the big corporations and the rich. Their 2016 campaign was even explicit about this.
 
But it goes deeper than this. The Dembots believe that the votes of certain groups – blacks, other minorities, anyone who identifies as “progressive” – are the private property of the Party, to be redeemed on demand of the Party. So their hysterical anger at anyone from these groups who rejects the Party is the anger of someone who thinks his rightful property is being stolen from him.*
 
In the same way, the scientism/technocracy cult is becoming increasingly unhinged as they sense how more and more people are becoming skeptical of them and rejecting their authority. Seeing themselves as great religious saviors, they regard the unquestioning submission and genuflection of the people, and the people’s unquestioning purchase of the products of the corporate-technocratic system, as their private property, or at least the property of the corporations who dominate the technocratic system and control the products of technology.**
 
Therefore they respond to even the most modest questions or criticism, not with rational argument, but with hysterical denunciations and insults. What’s at stake has nothing to do with “science” and everything to do with the religious authority of the cult and the power of the corporations who control it. (Of course just as with the Dembots, here too the cultists sense that they would lose any rational argument. That’s why they invariably resort to canned lies anytime they do deign to “argue” on behalf of the corporate technologies they fetishize.)
 
In both cases, we have a malign structure whose foundation is crumbling, which feels the ground shaking under its feet, and which has no rational or moral basis to justify its existence. In both cases humanity and the Earth will benefit tremendously when this structure ceases to exist. Therefore these two structures are reacting with all the desperation and rage of cosseted authoritarians whose authority is now being rejected on a mass scale, where all the signs point toward the eventual complete collapse of this authority. (We can add the mainstream media as another such dying structure lashing out at its rivals and at the people who are rejecting its legitimacy.)
 
That’s why they’re so deranged.
 
 
*In a similar way, cultists of the electoral religion in itself believe everyone’s vote is the property of the government, to be redeemed on the government’s demand, i.e. whenever it holds an election. Their outrage at non-voters is outrage on behalf of a government that, they believe, is the victim of theft. This also explains their frequent advocacy of mandatory voting, which from any conventional democracy point of view would seem to be an authoritarian contradiction of democracy. But then electoralism is only formally connected with just one form of democracy, the “representative” form, and doesn’t necessarily have any substantive connection even with this form. On the contrary, we know that today’s elections are nothing but a sham, the pseudo-democratic facade of neoliberalism.
 
**Another way of conceiving the cultist mindset is that voters owe a debt to the Democrat Party or the government itself, and that those who abstain are some kind of deadbeat. The scientism cultists are most explicit about this: One of their most hysterical talking points is that the rising number of people who are skeptical of technocracy and many of its products are “ungrateful”.
 
 
 
 
 
 

January 15, 2018

The Action Spirit of King

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In April 1963 Martin Luther King and his fellow Birmingham direct actionists sat in jail. They had expected such a response from the segregationist power structure. It was also predictable that they’d be hearing criticism and condemnation from most of the people who in theory should have been on their side. King anticipated this, and responded immediately with an eloquent refutation and exposure of this collaborator position. This was the Letter From Birmingham Jail.
 
In the letter King refutes those who object to demonstrations, boycotts, sit-ins, civil disobedience in general, those who reject anything but the most lukewarm, “civil” criticism which is guaranteed to remain impotent. He opens up with their standard objection to any real resistance, that it’s “unwise and untimely”. Today this could be the signature of all who are lukewarm.
 
Protest is always timely and wise in the broadest sense. As for the specific timing, we who want humanity and the Earth to have a future must recognize when the time has come, and when today is the day. Our task today isn’t the same as that of the civil rights movement. They sought a specific set of reforms. They were up against an obsolete set of attitudes and practices which for the most part were an embarrassment to corporate power, and the reforms the movement sought wouldn’t interfere with corporate imperatives. Indeed, the end of segregation was put to good political use by corporate power. It has helped render racially astro-turfed divide-and-conquer even more insidious and harder to counteract. It also generated the terrain for anti-political “identity politics”. This isn’t the fault of the civil rights movement, but rather these are crimes of the corporations and the rich and the fault of malingering racists and corporate liberals themselves. But we should be aware of this history of corporate domination.
 
Today we need to abolish poison-based agriculture and transform food production and distribution on the rational, scientific basis of agroecology and the social basis of food sovereignty. We must build this alternative to the corporate agriculture and food system, counter to it where possible, in resistance to it where necessary. This is a permanent necessity whose goal is the eventual complete replacement of this world of waste, bottlenecks, and destruction by a world of socioecological health, well-being, and freedom.
 
We’ll constantly be propagating the need for total abolition. Along the way we’ll encounter many opportunities for the kind of direct action and civil disobedience campaigns King led. We’ll likely have to engage in civil disobedience on behalf of the Community Food movement which the corporate system is trying to repress as an economic and political threat to its domination. Up against these assaults, we’ll often encounter the same sort of opposition, including the opposition King specifically addresses in his Letter.
 

I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds. You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.

 
When we speak of the global ecological and human network and the global corporate assault upon it, in particular the global onslaught of poison-based agriculture, we know that anyone who lives as part of Earth can never be considered an outsider anywhere upon it. Conversely, corporations and the hominid functionaries of corporations are purely alien to the Earth, nothing but parasite squatters on the planet’s surface. They never can be considered part of Earth or humanity. They themselves proclaim this with their ugly foreigners’ disdain for what they call “the rock” with its “messy nature”.
 

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham.

 
1. The injustice is clear.
 
There’s many reasons to abolish poison-based agriculture. It’s agronomically and environmentally totalitarian. It poisons the soil, all crops and the environment. It accelerates soil, water, air, and habitat destruction. Industrial agriculture is by far the worst driver of the climate crisis. The longer humanity remains in thrall to industrial agriculture, the more abject its dependency shall become, the worse the environmental destruction shall be, and the more profoundly the global ecology shall be chaotically wrought.
 
Poison-based agriculture also is destroying our health. All pesticides cause cancer, infertility, birth defects, organ damage, and autoimmune disease such as allergies, asthma, autism, disease of the gut, and gastrointestinal inflammation which leads to every other kind of disease. These are just the best documented effects. It’s likely GMOs themselves also cause these health harms. Glyphpsate-tolerant crops are nutritionally denuded, and eating the processed foods made from them merely adds to the nutritional deficiency already inherent in diets centered on such “foods” and the many diseases this can cause or exacerbate.
 
The most amazing thing is how all this is over such a pathetic, worthless product. Pesticides and GMOs are shoddy, antiquated, failure-prone products based upon the backward, luddite mental framework of dealing with crop pests and disease with poison. Agricultural poisons and GMOs don’t work for any purpose which could actually help people. GMO yield is poor, no improvement over non-GM conventional agriculture. They require far more pesticides than non-GM conventional agriculture. By helping weeds and insect pests build resistance to pesticides, they generate pest resistance against themselves, uncontrollable by the same poisons which were supposed to be the reasons for having these GMOs in the first place. The ”special” GMOs – those for drought resistance, vitamin fortification, nitrogen-fixing, etc. – are all media hoaxes.
 
These factors build the despair, anger, and the sense of social, political, and economic bottlenecks which are driving the rising global will to rebuild the community food system and abolish the industrial food system.
 
 
2. We the people owe don’t it to those who in principle are our public servants to negotiate with them, but nevertheless we have done so ad nauseum. Citizens have fought for and passed anti-corporate legislation at the local level. Citizens and farmers have filed lawsuits like OSGATA vs. Monsanto. Almost everyone involved with the rising Community Food movement has wanted to do so with the blessing of the power structure and has been appeasement-minded about it.
 
No, we’ve done all we can to negotiate. The fact is, representative democracy itself with its elections were supposed to constitute such negotiations. But this always was a sham. System politicians have done nothing but lie to the people and have never felt the slightest obligation to live up to their promises after the election. Indeed, ideologues of fake electoral “democracy” have explicitly argued that the “representative” has no obligation to his constituents at all after the election is over, but is free to “vote his conscience”. In this case conscience is a euphemism for corrupt personal interest.
 
The “negotiation” failed. We can never have a responsible, responsive, legitimate government in its current form. In his reform context Martin Luther King came to a similar conclusion.
 

As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community.

 
All that’s left to us is self-purification, and then to go out there and do it.
 

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.

The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

 
This is a direct rejoinder to those who want to keep we the people kettled inside a polity-wide “free speech zone”.
 
King goes on to discuss the change of governmental administrations which never constitutes a structural change. He agrees with the anarchists: Only direct action ever accomplished anything, and it did so with nonviolent force.
 

My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

 
We have not only the right, but the obligation, to disobey unjust laws:
 

One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I it” relationship for an “I thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.

 
Today things are even worse than Buber’s “I-it”. Mammon and the corporate technocracy seek to reduce all relationships to purely technical and money relationships. This system does not recognize the existence of human beings, only technology and money. It views all relationships as “it-it.” Corporate personhood and patents on life, two kinds of demon worship, represent the most clear distillations of this.
 
On the contrary, the only relationships are ecological relationships, most importantly to us the relations of human being to human being. Therefore the only just laws would be laws in harmony with ecosystems and interrelating constructively with them, since the only thing which biologically exists are these ecological relationships. Agricultural and ecological pioneers long knew this intuitively and empirically, and over the course of the 20th century science has confirmed it. By contrast, poison-based agriculture, genetic engineering, “intellectual property”, property in land, the corporate-held agricultural system, segregates we the people from our work, from our land, from our food, from our own bodies. The whole ideology of productionism, consumerism, scientism, technocracy, instrumental reason, arises out of a fundamental self-loathing and hatred for the physical earth and the physical human body.
 
The “I and Thou” invoked by Buber and King also signifies the human affinity with the Earth, its natural ecosystems, its soil, its crops, its food, and especially the earthly human labor which indelibly interacts with these. The “I and it” indicates our sundering from all that makes us human, our forced exile driven by corporate agriculture. Alien, anti-human corporations and all that comes from them render human society a destructive and self-destructive parasite squatter on the surface of the earth, no longer a constructive part of it. With every action corporate industrial agriculture expresses its contempt for the earth. It insults the soil as the cradle of all complex life, treating it as nothing but an inert medium. It insults the seed as the universal embryo, treating it as a commodity to be painted, pimped, and most of all controlled. It adds the obscene injury of its wholesale poisoning of the soil, air, water, crops, and environment.
 
Legally and ideologically also this is a surface squatter regime and an obscene alienation of humanity. The land, the soil, the very seed are “owned”, which word we must render in all corporate contexts as controlled and dominated by an alien, anti-human entity. Indeed, a patent on a seed is alienation squared, since the patent is an abominable segregation and sundering of we the people from our common heritage, and it’s “owned” by an alien, anti-human entity whose very existence is also an abomination.
 
Economically as well this is a surface squatter regime and an obscene alienation from humanity. Growing our food is the essential human labor, the core human economic activity, the primary economy, a deep cultural and spiritual endeavor. It’s the main form of our communion with the Earth and our thread of its harmony. We’re now to be alienated from this, driven off the land. For the Western middle class, into spiritual ghettos. For the global South, into physical concentration camps called shantytowns. And soon this bell tolls also for us in the West, as our economic liquidation proceeds and the capitalist era deteriorates to a more brutally direct mode of tyranny.
 
We’re all too familiar with this type today:
 

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

 
Today the “moderate” isn’t an outsider with a shallow understanding, but either a predatory collaborator or a willing part of the prey herd himself. His moderation and lukewarm stance are homicidal and suicidal. He sides with the oppressor against those who would fight.
 
King describes how the inertial mass deplores those who fight as “extremists”, as instigators of violence, and as being too impatient. But these charges are false. It’s the enemy who’s extreme, it’s the enemy who’s violent, and we’ve been far too patient for far too long.
 
But in all the things we do, we aren’t the ones generating the “tension” so unpleasant to conformists. Where it comes to that, we’re merely symptomatic:
 

Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

 
This is the only path forward.
 
King describes how the early Christians were sustained by their faith and their relentless will against long odds.
 

Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.” But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests.

 
The hardest thing is to overcome this feeling of astronomical intimidation. The mission is daunting, and existing institutions can play no constructive role.
 
 

Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world.

 
 
This will ring true for us today wherever we transpose it to any institution of the corporate-dominated system.
 
Today in the West the conflict isn’t over de jure slavery (but there’s still much of that worldwide) nor de jure segregation (but land policy is very effective at “segregating” out of existence small farmers who produce food for the community and do so without poisons; and in general we’re all being driven off the land and segregated into ghettos, shantytowns, tent cities, cemetaries), we are being economically destroyed and physically malnourished and poisoned. We are being given cancer. Ecosystems, carbon sinks, arable soil all over the world are physically poisoned and destroyed. New crop deployments based on massive upsurges in dicamba and 2,4-D will turn vast swathes of US cropland into the equivalent of Times Beach, while the “New Alliance” plan to recolonize Africa coupled with corporate-driven climate chaos threatens to turn all of sub-Saharan Africa into a literal desert. Does the Earth have the luxury of the “patience” King discusses here?
 

I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: “All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth.” Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

 
 
Time itself is neutral, and the flow of time itself has no characteristic independent of what we choose to do with it. Abolitionism is a way of life. It’s not just labor toward a goal, let alone the ideas contained in the goal itself. Most of all it’s a way of life. The goal is most realized in the here and now, every day. This way of life means not only exercising ecology and freedom in any way we can but also fighting for it everywhere we must. This adds to the challenge and striving, but this challenge is the challenge of being human at all. In the context of King’s struggle he was writing of direct action in the most literal sense. Abolitionists of agricultural poisons will certainly have all too many opportunities and needs for such direct action as well. But primarily we rise to the direct action of rebuilding our agricultural and food systems, building agroecology and food sovereignty, propagating far and wide the ideas of these while rejecting the poison systems on a personal and group level and propagating the demolition and condemnation of the ideas of these.
 
The essence of humanity is to take responsibility for oneself within the community and ecology, to achieve power over oneself, to exercise one’s responsibility, combining one’s personal strength in free cooperation with others to build a free and prosperous human community. Only in such a community can we then create the space for the essence of humanity, positive freedom. This is spiritual freedom, creative freedom, political freedom, participatory freedom, ecological freedom. These can exist only on the basis of the cooperative prosperity which affords the time and opportunity for this freedom. Only this deserves the name democracy, and only this can be called in the most profound sense civilization.
 
Today corporate-technocratic barbarians seek to destroy democracy, civilization, agriculture, the world ecology, humanity itself. These barbarians are the opposite of the original tribes raging out of Central Asia. Those were the vigorous barbarians of ascent toward a richer civilization. Today’s barbarians of decadence are rotted and malevolent, ugly and stupid, meanly wicked. Their technology and wealth renders them the most powerful ruling class in history, at the same time that their utter lack of any redeeming quality whatsoever renders them history’s nadir, history’s most degraded, nihilistic, parasitic, worthless ruling class. They represent not a stage of Western Civilization but its final self-cannibalization. This is the end of this pseudo-civilization, for better or worse. The corporate barbarians certainly intend the worst: The full reinstatement of a slave economy, through economic liquidation, debt indenture, and corporate domination of agriculture and food.
 
We can defeat this satanic plan if we redeem from the wreckage of the corporate industrial agriculture system the greatest treasure we’ve won: The consciousness that we the people can feed ourselves and rule ourselves. We can realize and fulfill our freedom, well-being, and strength through full ecological democracy.
 
All we need is to accept this fact, believe in it, take responsibility for it, take action upon it. The true Human Renaissance beckons. This is the same human evolution and salvation for which Martin Luther King fought, for which he sat in jail, for which he wrote a letter from that jail.
 
We shall live up to the standard he and so many other great fighters for humanity have set for us. It’s a very high standard, and the forces ranged against us are powerful and evil. But we can do it. Freedom is ours wherever and whenever we want it. The time is ours whenever we choose it. Our freedom will assert itself as soon as we freely choose to fight for it.
 
 
Propagate the necessary new ideas.
 
 
 
 
 

December 16, 2017

Community Food Movement: Maine’s Food Sovereignty Act

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“Certified organic” increasingly becomes a farce as it comes to equal industrial “organic”. The latest degradation: Hydroponics now can be certified “organic”. On its face that’s absurd and Orwellian. What could possibly be called organic about growing vegetables in fortified water? You might as well allow synthetic fertilizer of every sort. The industrial organic sector is industrial first, organic second.
 
The organic certification was never more than a second-best stopgap. The only real solution is the Community Food movement, the relocalization of food production and distribution. As much as possible, buy local from farmers you know. But just buying local as a consumer isn’t enough. Community food is a rising alternative economic sector. We need to continue building and defending this rising economic and agronomic movement.
 
Toward this goal, campaigners in Maine worked for years and finally attained a legislative victory as the state passed its Food Sovereignty Act in 2017. This Act makes Maine the first state in the country to have such an ordinance. The Act frees municipalities to regulate their own local food systems if they choose to pass an ordinance taking on such responsibility. The Act applies only to food produced and sold directly to consumers within the town. Anything produced for wholesale or retail distribution remains subject to state regulation (so Big Ag can’t use this as a loophole to find a corrupt town and set up shop there).
 
Since production and sale must take place within the town, the geographical scope is more narrow than the average farmers’ market. (Although many Maine towns are quite large geographically.) Nevertheless this is an example of the kind of act the Community Food movement must fight to enact in every state, as a way to boost local food production, processing, and distribution.
 
No surprise, the thugs at the USDA insisted that if the state relinquishes authority over meat and poultry to towns, that only means the feds will have direct authority over it. This forced Maine to enact an emergency amendment to the Act stipulating that meat and poultry remain under state regulatory authority. This power play gives a perfect example of what we’re up against.
 
 
It also demonstrates the limits of legislative action.* Campaigning for food sovereignty laws, just like campaigning for GMO labeling and/or GMO/pesticide bans, is at best a supplement to the work of building the affirmative movement. In the case of community food, this includes building the economic and physical infrastructure of relocalized food production and distribution.
 
There’s lots of people already doing good work toward that eventual goal. We need to scale that up, in tandem with escalating the campaign of ideas. As for our personal lives, the Earth’s call to anyone is to commit your life to the cause. That’s a very hard sell in this Mammon theocracy where even among the people who superficially have the right ideas and good intent, most still objectively adhere to Mammon in the way they view the world. Even fellow travelers of the necessary ideas fundamentally don’t understand the concept of subordinating one’s “private” existence and existing fundamentally as a political animal, a public citizen. All we can do for starters is to systematically propagate ideas which are fundamentally against the whole grain of this theocracy and try to find fellow atheists versus the superstitions of Mammon, technocracy, scientism, productionism, who want to work on that propagation project. This is one of the basic building blocks necessary to build a true cultural, spiritual, existential movement dedicated affirmatively to the necessary agroecology/food sovereignty transformation, negatively to the total abolition of poison-based agriculture. This campaign of ideas is the necessary counterpart to the intertwined actions of building agroecological science and food sovereignty practice.
 
That’s the ultimate need. What individuals and small groups can do right now:
 
1. Take on as much of the propagation work as you can.
 
2. Become active building up the community food sector as much as you can. Growing some of your own food in a garden is a good first step, and the actions quickly scale up from there. In my case, in addition to my intermittent market gardening I’ve worked at a farmers’ market, herbal medicine garden, and am director of two community gardens.
 
3. In your personal lifestyle get as independent of the system, as “off-grid” (using that term both literally and metaphorically) as possible.
 
4. To the extent you have to remain enmeshed in the system for the time being, at least be clear in thought and word that this is under duress. I still have to drive a car, but I never think or say anything other than that the car as such has to go. This is contrary to the climate crocodiles who wring their hands and then tout hybrids and electric cars (i.e. fracking cars, nuke cars, coal cars) as some kind of answer. No, that’s just a more pernicious form of climate denialism.
 
5. In general: Do the most good you can and never do evil. I have never once heard of an example of an evil action that was necessary in any way. That’s always a lie.
 
Much of this focuses on ideas and propagating ideas. I’m forced to be a writer since for now I lack any greater scope for action. In Eric Hoffer’s terminology, I’m an activist by nature who’s been forced into the role of the “man of words”. For now there really is no greater scope for action in America, since the necessary movement doesn’t yet exist in any tangible, coherent form. Or, any rudiments which may be cohering are not yet visible to the general culture of dissent.
 
So it follows that the first, prerequisite step toward building this movement is to propagate the necessary ideas for this movement. Not even at first to convince people, but to force the existence of truly alternative and practicable ideas into the public consciousness so that, when the cultural tipping point suddenly comes (history demonstrates that we have no idea when it will come or what proximate cause will trigger it) and lots of people are suddenly looking for a new idea, this set of ideas will be one of the sets laying around ready to be taken up.
 
Toward that great goal, the second necessary preliminary step is to form the skeleton of a future mass movement in the form of coherent organizations, of whatever size attainable, which will undertake whatever wedge actions are possible for the time being but whose primary action will be to propagate the ideas as far and wide as possible.
 
All this must take place in tandem with building up the community food sector. We especially need more local retail producers, and processing infrastructure, and political organization against the state’s repressive campaigns. The community food movement already exists as a vibrant movement with great scope for all the action one could desire. We need for the whole thing, from organic horticulture to market gardening to abolition of pesticides/GMOs to a global agroecology transformation, to evolve into one coherent cultural force.
 
 
Propagate the new and necessary ideas.
 
 
*As a general rule within-the-system action is worthless, especially at the higher levels of government and especially where people seek positive policy, as opposed to resisting bad policy. But there are some wedge issues which cut across the system’s calcified political lines, where especially at lower levels of government dedicated pressure groups can get action. I argue that food is one of these potential wedges, and that organizations dedicated to the right kind and mode of food action can get good results, both directly and in terms of driving a broader cultural wedge. That’s the wager I make with my writing.
 
 
 
 
 

December 15, 2017

Fool’s Gold

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Golden rice is only about one kind of gold

 
 
No form of “golden rice” has ever gotten past the test stage. The pro-GMO activists lie when they tout this hoax product. All lies: That the product exists, that it’s ready to go, that it’s only being held up by the likes of Greenpeace. The truth is that golden rice has never worked in reality and has never been anything but a media hoax. The lies are part of the hoax.
 
In its test form the original “golden rice 1” contained only a meager amount of vitamin A. To use it as a vitamin supplement would’ve required eating unthinkable amounts of it every day.
 
These days they’re working on “golden rice 2” which allegedly produces greater amounts of vitamin A so that people could eat it without turning into a big grain of yellow rice. But they’re having all sorts of technical problems back-crossing it from the japonica variety they first engineered to any kind of indica variety which is readily commercial. It’s not only a media hoax but a very expensive technical boondoggle.
 
And let’s say this hypothetical product ever did become ready for release.
 
1. By design it would be the first direct-to-eat Frankenfood which is meant to be consumed on a mass basis. Compare it to other direct-food GMOs: Virus resistant zucchini or papaya, Bt sweet corn, GM salmon, the “non-browning” apple, GM potatoes. As dangerous as these may be, none of them is designed to be a daily dietary staple. But the designers of golden rice want for the first time for a direct-food GMO to be a daily staple.
 
There’s only one place where significant numbers of people have eaten GMOs directly on a large scale, and that’s among the farm workers and rural population of South Africa who eat large amounts of the Bt corn from the farms where they labor. No funding being available, the effects haven’t yet been subjected to a scientific study, but many severe neurological and organ damage effects have been documented on an anecdotal basis.
 
Michael Hansen of Consumers Union has theorized that there could be a severe problem with retinoic acid oversignaling if a product like golden rice were to be eaten in large amounts, which is how the engineers intend for it to be eaten. This would be a pathway to cancer and birth defects. This is just one of the potential dangers of making a GMO the very basis of one’s diet.
 
2. Any deployed golden rice would also be engineered to be herbicide tolerant and/or to express Bt toxins. So this direct food will also be laden with endotoxins and herbicide residue. Not only is the idea of golden rice meant to distract from the fact that the only real-world GMOs are pesticide plants; any real world version of golden rice would itself be such a poison plant.
 
3. Syngenta’s promise to donate its patented golden rice transgene applies only to pilot “humanitarian” programs. It would not apply to any general commercial deployment. That’s why the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the organization in charge of actual development, has reserved the right to take out patents of its own. Beyond that, Syngenta wouldn’t give away the herbicide tolerance and Bt traits free of charge. So the alleged “humanitarian donation” aspect of the thing is also a scam. (We also don’t know how ChemChina’s imminent purchase of Syngenta will affect the disposition of the patent.)
 
 
The idea of golden rice is part of monoculture ideology. Vitamin A deficiency disease is the deliberate result of how corporate industrial agriculture has driven millions off their land and stripped them of their ability to grow nutritious food for themselves. Therefore both in principle and in practice the deployment of golden rice or any other “biofortified” GMO would be the disaster capitalist treatment of a symptom caused by the same system which deploys the “cure”.
 
This puts in perspective the 2013 direct action of Philippine farmers against the IRRI’s golden rice field trials. The people took action in self-defense against the corporate program to economically liquidate them, drive them off their land, and doom them to the same misery and illness which the “golden rice” slogan mocks with its fake solicitude.
 
So, ultimately, must we the people, everywhere on Earth, take all necessary action to abolish corporate agriculture and undertake the necessary transformation and renaissance of agroecology and food sovereignty. This and only this will solve vitamin A deficiency, and every other problem and crisis afflicting us.
 
 
Propagate the necessary new ideas.
 
 
 
 

November 17, 2017

Corporate Liberals Want to “Put You in the Ground”

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The banner-carrying protesters yelled, “Keep it in the ground” and other chants, referring to the governor’s strong support of fracking, both offshore and on land in California, and cap-and-trade policies that could prove catastrophic to the Huni Kui People of Acre, Brazil and other indigenous communities around the globe.

“I wish we have could have no pollution, but we have to have our automobiles,” said Brown as the activists began disrupting his talk.

“In the ground, I agree with you,” Brown said. “In the ground. Let’s put you in the ground so we can get on with the show here.”

 
This is the way all the liberal climate frauds think. The quotes could be multiplied, e.g. this typical corporate-environmentalist shill. They’re liars to the core. They’re corporate flunkeys and racists. They hate democracy (cf. Brown in the same piece describing critics of his Big Oil-written legislative collaborations as engaging in “forms of political terrorism that are conspiring to undermine the American system of governance”), they hate the people, and they especially hate indigenous peoples and food-producing communities who really ought to just surrender their lands and cultures and assimilate already: “Let’s put you in the ground.”
 
 
Here is one of the core truths of our time:
 
There is one and only one way to avert the worst of the climate crisis and adapt to the level of crisis already locked in: 1. Greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 2. Stop destroying carbon and nitrogen sinks. 3. Rebuild sinks on a mass scale.
 
Anyone who says anything different is a liar and denier. They want to poison and salt the ground, and put humanity in it.
 
 
The climate crisis cannot be confronted, the worst of climate chaos cannot be averted, through the actions or the politics that have driven this very crisis. Liberalism, like all modern political ideologies, is an ideology of climate crime and ecological destruction. (The same goes for “leftism”.) Nothing short of a new consciousness and a new human movement, different from and opposed to the pathologies of productionism, shall suffice.
 
 
 
 
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