Volatility

February 17, 2020

Political Ecology of Physical Ecocide

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A political campaign is not a movement. Only an enduring, coherent cultural and spiritual-psychological movement which is a permanent way of life at least for its more committed members can expect to be able to extrude a self-sustaining political movement that can sustain any level of integrity.
 
Beyond this common error, the greatest confusion is over the fact that for the duration of this system every institution is absolutely, irrevocably committed to maximum disorder, maximal ecocide unto collective suicide, and therefore significant reform of this system is impossible. This is existential and is prior to any actions by the system to co-opt or suppress attempts to reform it.
 
The economic civilization, especially US society as the most extreme consummation of it, is irretrievably committed to maximum production, consumption, waste, destruction. It couldn’t ameliorate itself even if it wanted to, which it demonstrably does not. For a showcase example look at how the impresarios of the “Green New Deal” are explicit that they want to save the economy, NOT the Earth. They want to save capitalism from itself, save productionism from itself, save the economic civilization from itself, most of all sustain the production and consumption of Extreme Energy for industrial, commercial, economic purposes. All the Leaders and professional cadres of the climate-industrial movement are explicit about this.
 
That’s just one example. Whether Bernie Sanders consciously wants to be Senator F-35 or feels “forced” to be makes zero difference, is another typical example. There will be no mitigation for the duration of this system’s existence.
 
We can renounce the doomed ecocidal/collective-suicidal system, we can try to build movements to prepare ark communities based on regional food sovereignty and conserving as much as possible of the regional ecology, and similar projects, we can work to help accelerate the system’s self-destruction. Those are meaningful movement options.
 
Or, one can remain within the status quo: Inherently anti-democratic, soul-killing, steadily liquidating everyone but the 1%, collectively suicidal, and 100% fake for the duration. In that case, fake-electoral “politics” is nothing but another superficial circus for the volunteer participants (for example partisans of any system party) and for the audience.
 
In the end, this is all simple ignorance of ecology.
 
 
 
 
 

January 25, 2020

Now Toward Where (A Note)

Filed under: Freedom — Russell Bangs @ 10:51 am

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I have zero expectations of the system. I’ve always said: The economic civilization will burn every last BTU’s worth of fossil fuels it can, and will destroy every last yard of the carbon-sinking earth it can. Big Green is on board with this. The NGO-industrial complex is on board with this.
 
So the only thing a sane human being could do is try to find fellow sane people and work to build some kind of communities where the people could help one another weather every kind of storm.
 
We can forget about the “Overton window”. That could exist only amid a feeling of abundance. But today, even though the empire nominally is still rich (but not for much longer), the entire “political spectrum” agrees on Mammon and specifically on how Mammon now dictates a zero-sum game.
 
 
I remember well the excitement at the econoblogs in 2009. I was an avid participant at Naked Capitalism, Baseline Scenario and others. Some of us thought it just might be a revolutionary situation. If there’s any fellow fugitives still out there, you could remember it too.
 
Well, obviously we were wrong about that.
 
Part of the reason we were wrong is that we underestimated the Democratic Party’s capacity to suck in all free-floating dissension and misdirect it back toward corporate imperialism’s goals.
 
 
 
 
 

January 24, 2020

2020

Filed under: American Revolution, Freedom, Peak Oil, Tower of Babel — Tags: , , — Russell Bangs @ 11:17 am

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I’ve been writing this blog for near eleven years now. Have I made any progress? It seems not. My personal life never got any real benefit from it. More recently I’ve totally shipwrecked and the blog seems to mean nothing. Nor are my modest prayers for personal life being answered.
 
Has the rest of the world gotten any better? Not on the surface, though we might have some hope that the final collapse is accelerating.
 
Let’s start over from the point of view: The civilized have credited the inculcation of the ability to make promises, to take responsibilities beyond the self-indulgent whims of the moment, as a great civilizing step.
 
But in reality it’s a mistake to think responsibility is a trait unique or endemic to civilized people. On the contrary, primate ancestors and early hominids, on through to “savage” tribal groups and societies, all had tight group cohesion and responsibility of each for all and all for each. They embodied this as part of their natural character. If they hadn’t, group primates and hominids never could have survived to evolve into modern humans. Ironically, it’s only amid the breakdown of natural tribal cohesion that the conscious idea of contracts had to become a thing, and “taking responsibility” had to become a conscious shibboleth.
 
Meanwhile, modern capitalist-productionist-consumerist ideology and its religious reflections, “Prosperity Theology” and the New Age cult, through their explicit denigration of the very concept of promises and responsibilities, through their explicit proclamations that each individual hominid is a Randroid island that should do nothing but indulge its whims of the moment in the most narcissistic sociopathic way, are working to destroy civilization’s capacity for contracts, promises, responsibility. Since there is no longer any underlying natural-tribal basis for these human traits, what this means is these ideologies and religions comprise a movement to render humans feral and savage in the worst sense of the term.
 
When Hobbes wrote that life in what he called the “state of nature” is “nasty, brutish, and short”, he wrote it as nothing more than myth. Hobbes never thought his state of nature really had existed anywhere. On the contrary, he considered this the state of civilized, tamed man where men are not kept brutally in line.
 
Hobbes took the modern “civilized” individual, one domesticated into fear and mercenary greed, or indoctrinated into liberal individualist ideology, and pictured this monster in the absence of the overawing state power. He envisioned how nasty and brutish such persons would be under those circumstances. Then he fraudulently called this the state of nature. But in fact such an atomized, distorted hominid has nothing in common with an organic human being living within a natural society. This fraud is at the core of the bogus “competition” ideology which is 100% artificial and requires massive propaganda, bribery, threats, fear and violence in order for it to make any headway against our natural humanity. In nature, organic human beings are cooperative.
 
Nietzsche composed a similar civilization myth in his Toward A Genealogy of Morals, Essay Two.
 
According to Nietzsche, humans first came to see themselves as social beings with social responsibilities through evolving a “memory of the will” and the capacity to make a promise. This had to overcome our innate faculty of active forgetting which is necessary for sifting the dross of sensation and thought. It rendered us “calculable, regular, necessary”.
 
How did man become calculable and necessary in his actions? According to Nietzsche it was only through the long process of what he called the morality of mores:
 
..the labor performed by man upon himself during the greater part of the existence of the human race, his entire prehistoric labor, finds in this its meaning, its great justification, notwithstanding the severity, tyranny, stupidity, and idiocy involved in it: with the aid of the morality of mores and the social straitjacket, man was actually made calculable.
 
This morality of mores is the primal world view centered on mystery, ritual, taboo, fierce adherence to the traditions or else the rains won’t come. It’s the time of obsession with an inscrutable supernatural, and the stark cause and effect reasoning which knows that only strict fealty to the rituals can appease the terrible forces of fate. Groups assume this first out of hope and desperation and later, as power grows, out of assertion and the feeling of power.
 
For thousands of years groups judged according to supernatural and ritualistic causes and effects, and the rituals were designed to render the effects calculable and necessary. In the process the human psyche was melted and hammered and bent and distorted until it took shape.
 
In a dialectical gyre the rituals tightened tribal cohesion and empowered tribal, ritual promising. These promises bolstered the individual sense of communal responsibility, first instinctual and then conscious, and made members more firm and reliable in their ritual promises.
 
Arising in prehistory from the primal ecology and later to pull itself upward from the post-industrial chaos of a collapsed mass, the free-as-a-bird individual becoming a reliable maker of promises represents the potential for a new communal coherence. To realize this social coherence, movement integrity is then the presupposition for individual integrity. That’s what Nietzsche wrongly thought happened before, when in reality Gaia was the craftswoman of this primal capacity.
 
But what if humanity staggers through the self-destruction and collective suicide of the modern economic civilization and then attempts to build new societies upon some remnant? At least in the short run, there seems no prospect that Gaia shall show the way. Rather, people will cling to whatever they recall of the devastation and try to reprise it. Perverse as people are, there seems to be no other way.
 
All we see today from political and media and intellectual Leaders is the call for slave conformity. The great revolutionary promise of the sovereign individual was supposed to be that freedom would transcend itself, that autonomous individuals, precisely because they so cherished this great gift of sovereignty, would assume the highest social responsibilities, since only this could preserve and augment the aggregate freedom. The public freedom, the highest form of politics, would be the consummation of the human condition.
 
What went wrong? Concentrated wealth, especially the concentrations afforded by fossil fuels, machine technology and the capitalist mode of organization allowed the slave mentality (enslaved to materialism, greed, power-lust) to hijack autonomy and debase it to sociopathy. Freedom degenerated to promiscuity. Liberty became license and the “right” to be a private vandal. Public, positive freedom was rejected and overridden by the libertine primacy of private indulgence and crapulence. The citizens debased themselves to consumers. The idealists prostituted themselves to materialism. Every promise became a lie. Everyone came to believe religiously in the primacy of worthless material junk over living as human beings.
 
The decadent economic civilization has lost the ability, the will or right to promise; it has squandered it. There’s no legitimacy left, no authority. God is dead; religion, government, law, business, ideology, nationalism, tribalism, all are dead insofar as they pretend to exist within this anti-human framework. This framework has eroded everything beyond recognition, leaving just hideous cackling caricatures in a haunted house of mirrors now burning down even as everyone still staggers about inside, drunken and cackling and crying and screaming.
 
If we’re ever to be able to promise again, we need complete renewal, Renaissance, Return. This has to start with a new moral world, complete rebirth.
 
The economic civilization is hollowed out by its rot as the ground erodes and slides from under its supports. Its dollar and predator drone delusions prop it up for the moment. But everything is decaying. That’s the only exponential curve still steepening. That’s the only debt curve still arcing. Resource depletion, ecological collapse, the destruction of the exponential cancer economy and worldwide war and civil war shall be the secular and physical confirmations of the great spiritual event: The immolation of the modern atomized tribe on the pyre of its own burning altar upon which it stacked far too many sacrificial branches, the apex victim of its own lust for extermination.
 
What will it mean to start anew as reawakened tribes? We can’t foresee the new forms in detail. These will be extemporaneous, decided by the tempo of the flames and the motions of those running through them.
 
As we emerge, we’ll emerge with a new ritual, a new credo, a new way of living. We shall sing the song of the next circle of society and promise, debt and delight, responsibility and right, family and freedom, law and liberty.
 
 
 
 
 
 

October 29, 2019

Green Disaster Capitalism

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1. There is one and only one set of three actions which can avert the worst of the climate crisis, if done in time. If not, and civilization certainly will not do them, then Earth’s kinesis will do its worst as it imposes all three by force. These three actions are:
 
End all industrial emissions; stop destroying carbon sinks; let all natural sinks resume their natural ranges.
 
Anything else is a lie.
 
2. A “Green New Deal” would be a massive boost and subsidy to extraction industries. It requires monstrous amounts of rare metals for solar panels and industrial windmills, it’ll probably include massive nuke subsidies and thus rake the Earth for uranium; and since all industrial fake-“renewables” depend completely upon a fossil fuel foundation, it will be another monster subsidy to fossil fuels. Judging by the history of proposed climate bills, it’ll probably also include coal subsidies (for “clean coal” scams).
 
3. What’s a fake renewable? It’s anything requiring a fossil fuel foundation; anything requiring hideously ecocidal mining; anything which will contribute to the pollution-poisoning of the Earth; anything designed to power an economy whose general actions are ecocidal. (GND plans always assume “green” generation of power for what’s otherwise business as usual.) These are just four leading ways any version of industrial “renewables” are not renewable, not sustainable, and will do their worst to render Gaia herself non-renewable. This includes industrial “biomass”, industrial wind, industrial solar, electric cars, and similar campaigns of earthly destruction in the name of the Earth. It also includes river-enslaving, riparian ecology-exterminating, salmon-massacring dam projects in the name of “hydroelectric”. Dams also require massive fossil fuel emissions for their construction and then cause a great spewing of carbon, as inundated soils hemorrhage methane.
 
4. Since the GND wants to perpetuate the high-production high-consumption industrial cancer economy (AKA “growth” economy), it therefore proposes to continue keeping the majority of the workforce out of food production. That means it proposes to perpetuate the framework of industrial agriculture.
 
Industrial agriculture itself, taken as a whole, is the number one driver of climate change, the number one emitter and destroyer of sinks. This is in addition to its horrific ecological afflictions, from habitat destruction to environmental poisoning to eradication of biodiversity and its replacement by a monoculture reduced to nothing but crops, livestock, the hominid tenders of these, specially privileged pests, weeds and diseases (since the massive poisoning of the environment selects for resistant strains of these and kills everything else), and the tremendously reduced bacterial community which presides over this.
 
I’ve written hundreds of times that the only possible way forward for any significant number of people to live at all post-fossil fuels is through agroecology based in the social system of food sovereignty. Indeed the data says this could produce enough food for even the number of people on Earth today, in an ecologically far less harmful way. But of course this would require all able-bodied people to participate in growing food. (Not in any way like agricultural laborers under the corporate industrial system, but as organic horticulturalists, essentially community gardening on a vastly larger basis than the community food movement has done so far.)
 
It’s a moot point since there’s zero chance that civilization will undertake this transformation. On the contrary civilization will hunker in the bunker like the one collective 1945 Hitler it is and make the end as hard as possible. The deranged-utopian “Green New Deal” and its industrial promises comprise part of this hunkering.
 
5. How bizarre that so many of the most acute analysts of disaster capitalism don’t see how Green New Dealism is the most extreme, thorough-going campaign of disaster capitalism yet. Unless of course they’ve consciously sold out.
 
6. One way to view industrial agriculture is that it is modern civilization’s campaign to maximize the conversion of atmospherically inert N2 to atmosphere-heating N2O and a big part of the civilization’s campaign to set loose all the stored carbon of hundreds of millions of years.
 
We can go further. Governments are best viewed as having their primary purpose in organizing the most ruthless exploitation of whatever can be turned into a “resource”, and the most ruthless destruction of everything else. The US military is a microcosm: It’s utterly incapable of achieving any of its affirmative goals, but it’s very successful at destroying and sowing chaos. So it has always been with governments, with civilization as such: Very good at destroying, generally a failure at any of the positive things it claims to seek: Human freedom, well-being, health, happiness, togetherness, peace. As a rule the “uncivilized” have enjoyed these to a far greater degree than the “civilized”.
 
It’s no wonder that starting with Cortes, European invaders of the Western hemisphere have felt far less need to guard against attacks from the indigenous, and far more need to prevent defections to the indigenous from their own ranks. As anarchists have long pointed out against the lies of civilization about allegedly sociopathic, competitive human nature: If this were human nature, then why after possessing total power for centuries now does modern civilization still need to expend on a daily basis such massive resources for indoctrination, propaganda, incentives, threats, and violence?
 
7. Today as Earth trembles on the verge of Gaia’s Kinesis, all the pent up energy of the equal and opposite reaction to the great war of omnicide civilization has waged against her, humanity faces its worst self-inflicted existential threat. But this also is humanity’s great new opportunity for liberation and re-membering with the Earth from which this deranged species never actually was able to sunder itself, in spite of all delusions.
 
If our biological species survives at all, we will do so only through restored accord with the Earth. In spite of the fantasies of the Green New Dealers, it will not be possible to save the death machine from itself. One way or another, with greater or less agency as opposed to under greater or less ecological duress, we shall resume our natural ecological role within natural limits. Whether this restoration of order is to be a Renaissance or a self-immiseration is up to us.
 
 
 
 
 

October 13, 2019

Green Globalization, A Temporary Measure to Buy Time

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The F18 “Green Hornet” flying on the fake-renewable “biofuel” of condemned arable land. It may soon escort biofueled billionaire jets to their island fortresses

 
 
Globalization is among other things the replacement of national and community sovereignty by corporate anti-sovereignty. Nationhood, democracy, community life are incompatible with the corporate pseudo-sovereignty. If you want corporate rule, as almost all Westerners do (proven by actions) you must destroy all the others. Nation, democracy, community as the triple targets of the “free trade” onslaught demonstrates how sovereignty itself can arise out of the people. We can deduce from this that the only way to defend either and maximize both is to eradicate corporations and elites completely. It’s democracy which must be maximized: Direct democracy.
 
The World Bank, IMF, WTO and so on, these are flunkeys, power launderers, stooge cadres. In America the real powers are Wall Street, the Republican and Democratic Parties, the weapons rackets, the agribusiness rackets, the IT rackets, and some other oligopoly players. These players concoct the “agreements” between “countries” which really are turf deals among gangster elites. (World War II is best seen as a gangland turf war where all the major participants were aggressors.) The politicians sign these agreements and set up special organizations like the WTO and IMF to serve as the enforcement arm. The WTO etc. as well as most of the Democrats and Republicans, are the hired goons. The “free” trade treaties are really corporate contracts written by the likes of Monsanto and Cargill. But these contracts aren’t actual agreements among free parties. They’re instruments of tyranny to be imposed by elite diktat from the top down, from the highest most concentrated power, as a hail of rocks, burning ash and poison upon the disenfranchised people below.
 
Globalization and corporate contracts are imposed through coercion. Where there’s a huge power and need differential between the parties, it’s impossible for them freely to contract with one another. Such contracts have no moral validity, and are supposed to have no legal validity. Freedom of contract is impossible under conditions of power or wealth inequality. But in practice the whole endeavor of corporate Mammon, corporate capitalism, neoliberalism, at every level from the basic employer-employee “negotiation” to the most global trade agreements, is to replace actual freedom of contract with these contracts-by-force. The very word “contract” implies coercion and violence. The goal is to destroy economic freedom and replace it with gangster-imposed and enforced protection rackets and direct plunder.
 
There’s the essence of globalization. The goal always has been to take what according to the capitalists’ own textbooks should be a small appendage of the economy and ruthlessly, recklessly, destructively impose its values and culture on all of life. Not just economic life, but political, social, cultural and private life as well. These values and culture really are psychopathy and decadent barbarism.
 
At the final stage of neoliberal corporate capitalism the elites impose financialization and manipulate it to amass all power and real assets. Their plan is to achieve total corporate dominion, the total surveillance state and militarized police state, the complete debt indenture of the population, and to maintain as much of their material luxury as possible under the conditions of fossil fuel depletion and ecological collapse. Their strategy has been to use the corporate form, the propaganda of “capitalism” and “democracy”, and the forms of representative pseudo-democracy, to monopolize ever growing portions of wealth and power. Having attained this position of dominance they now will use it to push the rest of us down into dark age shantytown police- and gang-afflicted conditions. Their preferred path for doing this will be debt slavery. If necessary they’ll try to use the police state whose skeleton they’ve already constructed, and even classical fascism.
 
As the climate crisis, mass extinction and general ecological collapse proceed, the political faction which pretends to want to do something about them will gain the upper hand with its “Green New Deal”, its promises of green capitalism, green metastatic cancer (AKA “growth”), green prodcutionism and consumerism, industrial-fake-renewables to continue to provide extreme energy consumption, and the rest of “the American way of life”. This will be sold as both the ecological and social panacea. The fact that it’s all a lie, that you can’t save the Earth by continuing to destroy it, that you can’t fix the socioeconomic evils of capitalism by doubling down on capitalism, won’t matter. The whole thing will be primarily a propaganda campaign, coupled with some temporary meager scraps thrown to the precariat and lumpenproles. The real purpose of this Green New Deal and any companion programs will be to buy time and perpetuate the global capitalist regime as long as possible while the elites consolidate their position for their plan to continue to rule as the rockslide of collapse gathers force and chaos. Just as the purpose of the original New Deal was to save capitalism, so today’s mainstream “green” proposals have only the purpose of saving capitalism and perpetuating the ecocidal binge. Big Green groups and progressive politicians are usually explicit about this.
 
And then the Green New Deal program also is sold within the framework of anti-human globalization, and as a way to preserve and intensify globalization. The globalization cadres and mechanisms such as the World Bank already have long been deeply immersed in the scam-mongering of “offset” regimes, the Clean Development Mechanism (“sustainable development” is just one of the many oxymorons we encounter), the REDD greenwash of ecocide, and others.
 
The mainstream climate-industrial movement will play a leading gatekeeper role here, doing all it can to ensure that the rising concern and fear and willingness among the people to take action for the Earth will remain kettled and controlled by astroturfs, will remain in the position of supplicating to the state (which is what all such “demands” on inherently ecocidal-genocidal governments boil down to), and will not break free of this domesticated reform mentality philosophically and in action in order directly to do what is necessary to assist Gaia’s Kinesis against these destroyers of the Earth while there’s still time and an ecological basis to sustain something of humanity as well as the more-than-human species now being driven extinct at an estimated rate of 200 a day.
 
While this general social misdirection is ongoing the elites will attempt the shift from direct fossil fuels to fossil-based alternate fuels, for the sake of maintaining their power and their luxury consumption. We’ve already seen a larger-scale version of this with the diversion of vast amounts of food from the already-hungry people of the world to the gas tanks of the Western personal car. This is the industrial agrofuel strategy. Just like all other liquidations, this one’s coming home as well. America itself already has ever growing numbers of the hungry while more and more corn is hijacked for agrofuels. Here we can see one iteration of the basic pattern I’ve called resource fascism. All notions of fake-industrial-renewables have the same basic goal. Picture a network of fortresses powered by the “smart grid”, biofueled private jets travelling between, while outside the walls permanently indentured debtors slave in the fields and sleep in shantytowns, their labor compelled by the draconian penalties dangling over the heads of all defaulters, their debt compounding every day. That’s the goal of the political and economic elites.
 
This is how is the barbed wire being strung around us.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

February 2, 2019

Venezuela, Russia, Britain, Greece…..America

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There is complete consensus on transforming the Amazon to this.

 
 
1. The US government openly is trying to overthrow the democratically elected government of Venezuela* for no reason other than because it’s nominally “socialist” (really a hybrid more capitalist than socialist) and simply for the sake of chaos and destruction, which are the primary values and goals of the late-stage Extreme Energy Civilization. The US government simply issued a diktat that Maduro is not the real president of Venezuela, while some geek who was never even a candidate, who has no broad political support at all, who a large proportion of Venezuelans had never heard of before, but who was brought to the US and put through one of its Chicago Boy-type stooge-training programs, is in fact the real president.
 
[*At any rate Maduro has more democratic legitimacy, in terms of the transparency of ballots and the percentage of votes received from the electorate, than US president Trump, prior US presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton and most others, UK prime minister May, French premier Macron, German premier Merkel, and most other Western executive officers. Electoralism is not a value at this site, but all these governments and political habitats starting with the US profess electoral “democracy” as the highest political value, so as always we hold them to their own standard. By the United States’ own standard, Venezuelan democracy is far more legitimate than that of the US, and Maduro is one of the most legitimate heads of state on earth.]
 
The US is heading up a coalition of anti-democracy regime changers. Like synchronized swimmers the EU and almost all Western governments issued statements recognizing Guano or whatever his name is as the legitimate president. In the US both halves of the Imperial One-Party and the entire political-cultural-academic-media class all rushed as one to condemn Venezuelan democracy and support the incipient US coup with the inevitable destruction of the country and its people guaranteed to follow. To be as symbolically explicit as possible, Trump dug up Elliot Abrams, overseer of the Nicaraguan “Contra” death squad campaign, to be architect of the terror campaign the US plans for Venezuela.
 
Although Democrats have a deranged personal hatred for Trump and oppose almost anything he does (almost all of which is substantively the same as Obama policy), including Trump’s announcement that he plans to withdraw US troops from Syria and Venezuela (I’ll believe it when they’re actually out; but in the meantime Trump gave the occasion for the liberals as a whole to demonstrate their rabid lust for maximal war), the one point of friendship where they’ll joyously join hands and sing with him is an incipient new imperial adventure, new war, new bloodbath.
 
The US already has been waging murderous war on Venezuela’s people for twenty years through economic sanctions. Democrats have all the same blood on their hands as Republicans already, but as we saw with their sanctions war on the Iraqi people which murdered over half a million children, there’s no amount of dead which can satisfy Democrat blood-lust. As one of their most respected and revered moral leaders has said of this genocide against children, “We think it was worth it.”
 
Now they want to escalate the war to total physical destruction. The Democrat Party speaks as one on this. The fake “insurgents” did their best to dodge any comment at all. Only when pressed did the likes of Bernie Sanders speak out, and when they did it was to regurgitate Trump’s lies. Only lamely at the end did some of them say “nevertheless the US shouldn’t interfere”. Of course the sanctions they’ve all supported have constituted massively interference all along. They’re the direct cause of most of Venezuela’s economic chaos and suffering. Of course, in standard disaster capitalist practice, US propaganda blames the victim for the disaster that the US itself directly caused. The entire US political class – both parties, their partisans, the entire media – mouths this lie as one.
 
The evidence record is that the US corporate state, both flavors of the Destruction One-Party, the entire US political-cultural-media class have no goal other than complete destruction in every way. I can’t think of a single way in which US policy, and the overall US culture, isn’t committed to destroying as much of humanity and the Earth as possible, for nothing but destruction for its own sake. It’s certainly not for any alleged benefits of power or wealth; it’s clear that none of these psychopaths could ever be satisfied in any way with anything less than the infinite.
 
The only thing they’re stopping short of, so far, is a nuclear first strike. But it a guarantee they’ll come to this as well if things keep going like this.
 
 
2. Part of the general situation today for globalization and empire:
 
“Of all areas of global power politics today, international finance and foreign investment have become the key flashpoint. International monetary reserves were supposed to be the most sacrosanct, and international debt enforcement closely associated.
 
Central banks have long held their gold and other monetary reserves in the United States and London. Back in 1945 this seemed reasonable, because the New York Federal Reserve Bank (in whose basement foreign central bank gold was kept) was militarily safe, and because the London Gold Pool was the vehicle by which the U.S. Treasury kept the dollar “as good as gold” at $35 an ounce. Foreign reserves over and above gold were kept in the form of U.S. Treasury securities, to be bought and sold on the New York and London foreign-exchange markets to stabilize exchange rates. Most foreign loans to governments were denominated in U.S. dollars, so Wall Street banks were normally named as paying agents.
 
That was the case with Iran under the Shah, whom the United States had installed after sponsoring the 1953 coup against Mohammed Mosaddegh when he sought to nationalize Anglo-Iranian Oil (now British Petroleum) or at least tax it. After the Shah was overthrown, the Khomeini regime asked its paying agent, the Chase Manhattan bank, to use its deposits to pay its bondholders. At the direction of the U.S. Government, Chase refused to do so. U.S. courts then declared Iran to be in default, and froze all its assets in the United States and anywhere else they could.
 
This showed that international finance was an arm of the U.S. State Department and Pentagon.”
 
 
At least as early as 1979 (when the Pentagon seized and re-sold weaponry Iran already had paid for) the world has known that the US government and international banks will engage at will in outright robbery of assets legally deposited within the US-dominated system. In spite of this knowledge Venezuela’s Bolivarian government has been unflaggingly in its desire to be part of this system and therefore has been victimized by it repeatedly. In December 2018 the Bank of England simply stole $11 billion worth of Venezuelan gold deposits. It refused to follow the Venezuelan central bank’s instructions to begin to transfer the gold and told them it would no longer respond to any communications from Venezuela. This is straight robbery, straight organized crime, straight gangsterism. But it’s neither new, nor surprising, nor unexpected. Obviously Venezuela was willing to run this risk for the privilege of participation in the global economy of total destruction.
 
As we’ve seen so many times, participation in globalization is a badly misguided commitment for any nation vulnerable to economic and physical aggression, or any nation who is merely one of the passengers along for the commodity globalization ride (often an extremely tempestuous ride) rather than one of the drivers.
 
I’ve written many times how it’s especially insane to relinquish one’s food security and self-sufficiency in food by subjecting food production to any commodity system. The national governments which have done this and all propagandists everywhere who have supported it are Nuremburg-level criminals.
 
It’s similarly insane for a nation to subject itself to colonial dependency by basing its economy on “resource extraction” (including the physical destruction of one’s own land), with these extracted materials then placed on the global commodity market. Thus a people willingly enslaves itself to the global finance system and the whims of Washington. Why not just offer to become de jure slaves on the estates of the banksters? (Libertarian ideology offers baroque justifications for voluntarily selling oneself into slavery.)
 
It would be bad enough to physically destroy your own country to extract oil for your own use. To do so in order to put the oil on the global commodity market is insanity. But then all modern governments, and all cultural-political elites among all peoples who have such elites, are insane.
 
Venezuela including its so-called “socialist” government is a willing, eager participant in the capitalist globalization system.** As are Russia and China, so often touted as alleged opponents of this system. In reality all the actions of Russia, China, Venezuela, and other officially designated “enemies” prove that these governments never wanted to challenge US-led globalization and don’t want to challenge it even now. All they want is to take what they see as their rightful place within the system and be treated accordingly. Only the flat-out totalitarian lunacy of US bullying and aggression is forcing these countries into the de facto position of challengers and therefore rivals if not enemies. In the same way that only US aggression has created Muslim terrorists, so only US aggression has created any opposition at all to US domination of the globalization system. And there’s still no systematic opposition anywhere on earth to globalization as such, other than the rising opposition and counterattack of the Earth itself.
 
Like anyone else, the people of Venezuela would be vastly better off if they had neither oil nor gold. That’s why it’s called the resource curse. Humanity as a whole would be infinitely better off if fossil fuels never had existed, and if nothing existed which could have been made to play the role gold has played.
 
People don’t eat oil or gold, they eat food, which they’re perfectly capable of growing for themselves if they choose. The problem of the Venezuelans, Greeks, and so on up to the Americans themselves, is that they want all the worthless Earth-destroying material junk instead of health, happiness, and freedom. I recall well how the people of Greece were targeted for economic destruction in order to bail out German banks, how they wailed and cried about this, how they voted to oppose the Troika’s austerity program, and yet how after all that they still opposed leaving the EU. They just couldn’t conceive of a world without merely the idea of “free trade” in allegedly-less-expensive worthless Earth-destroying junk. Never mind that they were dooming themselves to impoverishment and wouldn’t able to buy the junk anyway.
 
This is the self-enslavement of the production-consumption religious insanity which is the core psychic force driving globalization and modern civilization itself. That’s why all civilized masses (“nations”) are made up of slaves who wallow amid cancer-giving poison. That’s why the Greeks immolated themselves. That’s why the Russians still temporize. That’s why Bolivarian Venezuela practically poised itself for the war crisis it now faces. And that’s why all civilized peoples have shackled themselves to an unsustainable mode of agriculture where they are in fact eating oil, figuratively and physically (the diet is loaded with fossil-derived plastics and pesticides and other toxins) but which will soon collapse leaving them to starve in earnest. Because they chose slavery over freedom.
 
As for the American Mordor itself, the gaslight-pulsing glowing-plutonium core of the global psychosis, the American people are doing the same thing. They’re surrendering their lands as sacrifice zones to fracking and pipelines, to poison plantations and state-wide fire traps, all to produce globalized commodities usually earmarked to send to Asia or Europe. Mr. MAGA, of course, wants to destroy even more American land to send liquid natural gas to Europe at taxpayer-funded below-cost prices. Just as all US logging, mining, and fossil fuel extraction is done at a massive loss which the taxpayers make up. The voters vote for it unanimously every time. Nor does there exist any alternative within US electoralism. America has terminal cancer of the body and soul. This places the domestic political depravity I discussed above in its biological, existential context.
 
 
If you’re colonized, don’t have your own currency, and want to buy all the worthless expensive junk the colonial power is peddling, you’re going to be enslaved by debt and subject to imperial terror and aggression. The Venezuelans and Americans are colonized. The Venezuelan currency depends on its ability to sell dollar-denominated oil which is as good as having no currency. Of course the American 99% have no control over the dollar and therefore no native currency. The Greeks, Italian, Iberians, Irish, and the rest of the EU have no currency of their own. (Except Germany itself, which has transformed the euro into a de facto German-controlled currency. Thus by a longer and more convoluted route the German elites have attained the economic goals of WWII.) The one and only way for a people to free itself is to end their self-enslavement, end all their dependencies and addictions, and renounce the lust for junk, including the self-jubilation of all debts.
 
Self-enslavement scales well, from individual to the people of a country to the “New World Order” of corporate globalization fantasy: One can wish to live like a human being, which makes it possible to live within one’s means while enjoying health, happiness, freedom, and peace; or one can surrender to the productionist/consumerist derangement, renounce all human measure and hopes, set one’s desires at infinity and set out on the death march of rat-racing and debt, never attaining anything but increasing clutter, waste dumps, dependency, insecurity, ill-health, unhappiness, and fear.
 
All the peoples of all colonized lands, including the peoples of America and the West itself, will have to make the choice truly to free themselves if freedom and security is truly what they wish. All versions of the “we can have it all” fraud comprise the same lie, a symptom of the general pathology of Babylon. On the contrary, those who try to have it all, gamble for the infinite, guarantee themselves one terminal end. The global productionist system has one fated end for everyone on Earth from the colonized South to the gradually fading Western middle class: Debt slavery and the total destruction of food security, amid total ecological devastation.
 
We’re undergoing the great spiritual, economic, ecological, existential crisis of the terminal Oil Age. We cannot solve the crisis of mortality by suicide or murder. We can solve it only by changing our lives, choosing what lets us live, renouncing what is killing us.
 
 
 
**The fact that it’s still possible to use the term “socialist” for ecologically destructive, oil-extraction-dependent (therefore by definition colonial) systems is a perfect example of why I renounced “the left”. Just as it’s a fact that anything truly feminist, anti-racist, anti-imperialist has to be socialist, so it’s also true that ecological socialism is a redundant term. It’s not possible to separate ecological domination from social domination. The two invariably go hand in hand. Of course a capitalist hybrid system like that of Venezuela, or like what the Bernbots claim to want in the US, isn’t socialist even from a purely human-centric point of view. Meanwhile “the left” as a whole has renounced even anti-globalism, as we’ve seen with its complete dereliction on Brexit. Here was an opportunity to seize the controversy, to place the referendum in the context of anti-globalization and democracy vs. the technocracy represented by the European Commission, to put a socialist Brexit on the agenda, and the leftists all ran home to globalist mama. They did it for the same reason as the gilded youth of London, the same reason as always: In their indelible corruption they feared their worthless “stuff” might cost a bit more, or their swank weekends in Spain wouldn’t go as seamlessly, or that it wouldn’t be as easy to go job-hunting around the continent for parasitic global-corporate-system jobs. (Needless to say no real kind of human work, work which by its nature is bound up with a geographical region, was enhanced by EU-style globalization, quite the contrary.) In addition to allegedly opposing globalism and corporate rule, I also thought leftism was supposed to oppose the employer-“job” model as such.
 
No, the left offers no alternative, and no way out of the all-encompassing existential crisis of humanity and Earth.
 
 
 
 
 

January 28, 2019

Gaia and Consumer

Filed under: Freedom, Mainstream Media, Reformism Can't Work — Tags: , , , , — Russell Bangs @ 9:15 am

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At this stage of our existential crisis we have only the either/or: Ecological vs. consumerist. One’s primary thoughts and actions go one way or the other. (As for myself and anyone else brought up with the indoctrination to be a consumer, we who consciously have renounced this, I don’t know how likely it is we can be born again truly as of the Earth. But at least we can think and live as ecologists and help bring about a new way of living, and eventually a new way of learning to be human.)
 
Corporate production-consumption imperatives dominate all rhythms of power in modern societies. Corporate-Randroid “competition” ideology, corporate austerity, and corporate marketing dominate all modern culture, intellectual life, science, and the pseudo-politics of fake democracy. Consumerist politics is inherently non- and anti-political. This includes almost all aspects of modern political speech and campaigning, and all of electoralism. Fake-political ideas, attitudes, campaigns, are marketed exactly the same way as any other aspect of commodity culture. Those who consume these experience them and act them out in exactly the same way.
 
That’s why it’s usually impossible to have anything recognizably like a political discussion, let alone an argument (in the proper sense of that term). It’s almost always like an angry and childish dispute over which sports team or movie is better, because that’s exactly how most of the “politically aware” conceive and experience politics these days. That’s part of why Politics is Dead in just the sense Nietzsche meant when he wrote God is Dead: People still superficially “believe” in it, but it really means nothing to them except as a superficial identification. They don’t live it. The kind of movement or political party one joins, with membership as a core part of day-to-day life, no longer exists. Thus the term “identity politics” is, in the broad sense, redundant. At least in the West almost all politics is identity politics, no matter what its superficial ideology.
 
(In all this I’m talking about the West, and any strata anywhere which apes the political and cultural framework of the globalist cancer economy and society.)
 
This is the complete, though temporary, victory of the production-consumption ideology. Even those who identify as “radicals” see this as a hobby, while they see their “real life” as consumed by their private imperatives: Job; materialism of car, lawn, and “stuff”; maybe sometimes family. They don’t view ecological-political participation and the responsibilities of citizenship, even in a polity let alone an ecology, as being even a co-equal value, let alone the paramount one.
 
Electoralism always was driving politics inexorably into this pit, and at the latest under neoliberalism’s corporate rule has been deliberately designed that way. The focus on large-scale electoralism was an historical mistake for those who fought for freedom and equality. If these are attainable at all, it’s not by that path. God knows today’s alleged “alternatives” within electoralism do all they can to prove that electoralism doesn’t work. And by now only cultists of an electoral religion still believe in it. Thus today’s “radicals” and “progressives” are, ironically, a type of reactionary.
 
Some people eat to live, others live to eat. So it is with politics. A tiny few experience politics as essential to human life, if only because where subjugated health and happiness depend upon this, while most prove by their actions that they experience it as just another consumer product.
 
 
 
 
 

January 8, 2019

Indelibly Authoritarian

Filed under: Freedom — Tags: , , , — Russell Bangs @ 7:31 am

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The intensity on the left when a Supreme Court appointment – that utmost seat of authority – falls to a Republican president, while the actual ongoing multi-front evils of creeping neoliberalism continue almost unnoticed, may suggest an unconscious obsession with authority.
 
From.
 
Obsession with the “supreme court” is one of the litmus tests by which you can tell whether someone’s a true anti-authoritarian or just another kind of authoritarian. Anyone against “authority” as defined by capitalism would be at least skeptical of the court as such, and would understand that it makes little difference which party fronts the president, since any judge who could be a candidate for such a court automatically would have to be an authoritarian. Otherwise they could never have any respectability within this system.
 
The same goes for anyone who would be capable of saying something like, “Trump makes me ashamed to be an American.” That means the person identifies with the presidency as such, and with the US government as such. Only an authoritarian could hold such identifications.
 
By contrast, Trump doesn’t make me ashamed of anything. How could he? I despise the presidency as such, the government as such, and regard it all as a regime of occupation. Therefore I have zero identification with any of it.
 
This is just one of the many reasons it’s impossible to accomplish anything but self-destruction with the Democrat Party or with anyone who makes a cult of voting and elections: They are indelibly authoritarian and will never think or act against the corporate state in any but the most trivial ways. Their authoritarian bent is demonstrated by many things, but most obviously by their very fixation on such elements of the system as courts, presidents, elections.
 
 
 
 
 
 

September 20, 2018

Impeach the Economic Civilization

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Given the tightly limited resources available to dissidents, why should anyone invest these in seeking the impeachment of a fungible geek like a US president? Indeed, those fixated on impeachment seem never to have any rationale beyond Trump Derangement Syndrome. To replace Trump with Pence would be no improvement and likely would make things worse. Trump and Pence have shared corporate ideology and goals, but Trump’s more chaotic execution is more likely to lead to chaotic, perhaps system-destructive effects more quickly than a more disciplined execution. The same is true of any Democrat we could envision replacing Trump in 2020. That’s why it was a great thing that Trump won in 2016: He’s more likely to bring about a faster collapse of the US empire and of the globalization system in general. Not because these are his goals, but because his indiscipline adds a much-needed wild card to the deck. Needless to say, humanity and the Earth have nothing to lose, as we’re slowly but surely being exterminated once and for all regardless.
 
Of course, even among dissidents most are incapable of understanding this. Among their lamentations we hear the constantly reiterated chorus, action is necessary to “save civilization.”
 
How bizarre to see this anointed the great goal amid such hand-wringing about climate destruction and genocide. From the Fertile Crescent to the Amazon today civilization always has made a desert everywhere it can. Civilization always has been completely dependent upon slavery, genocide, ecocide, and every kind of massive extreme violence. These are inherent to civilization. This is true of modern civilization most of all. The climate crisis and all other modern ecological and socioeconomic crises are the logical results of the economic civilization. The one and only solution for humanity and the Earth is to abolish this civilization and restore the truly ecological and human way of living. The way we lived in happiness, health, and freedom for tens of thousands of years.
 
But then it’s not really bizarre in context, the context of the modern political class. This class, from corporate CEOs to self-alleged anarchists, has near-complete consensus on the need and desire to totally mine and murder the Earth. Their fanaticism is production for the sake of production, their fetish to build the biggest, deadest necropolis possible. This they call their “great works”. I’ve seen “anarchists” who still fantasize about space travel, which of course requires the most rigidly ramified and militaristic hierarchy of all. (NASA and the Pentagon have been inextricably entwined from day one.) But they fantasize you could go to Mars on the basis of direct democracy and a generalized rotating-task economy. This, I suppose, is the extreme infantile political manifestation which goes well with the general techno-infantilism of thinking you can go to Mars at all, let alone the stars. No wonder they all join hands in touting geoengineering, the most extreme assault on the Earth imaginable short of nuclear war, as their ultimate fake “solution” to the climate crisis.
 
This obscenity goes to the core of how all the prescriptions touted within the productionist framework are fraudulent, and how not just liberalism but the left as such offers no alternative to the productionist nightmare. Every bit as much as Trump, “leftists” like this will never stop until Gaia and humanity are completely exterminated.
 
Given this state of insanity and depravity, typical symptoms of the terminal decadent stage of the economic civilization, how absurd is it to engage with the kind of “politics” which is discussed on cable news and in the mainstream newspapers? That’s automatically a fantasy world and much worse. We are, quite literally, a handful of sane people in a continent-sized madhouse, a handful of atheists in a globe-sized fundamentalist church of Mammon and productionism. It follows that the only sane, rational, faithful thing to do is to acknowledge this, renounce engagement with the mass of insane atoms, and accept the path dictated by reality.
 
 
 
 
 

July 20, 2018

The Road Home to Ecological Freedom

Filed under: American Revolution, Freedom — Tags: , — Russell Bangs @ 9:15 am

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Our most precious gift is faith, trust in life and Earth, our spiritual self-confidence and self-respect. With these we can attempt and achieve the impossible. Without them we can do nothing. We have total confidence in Gaia’s future, whatever balance she finds after the great Kinesis. We’ll never attain this trust and confidence through rational deliberation, rational education, all the nostrums of the Enlightenment Myth. The movement must speak first to our souls in the language of our critical need.
 
Then we present the plan which inspires the will to sacrifice, fight, endure, and win. With this we can accomplish anything. Without it, nothing. Reason and science are on our side so we can enlist them as well. But in the end this is a biological and spiritual war, and it will be fought and won on those battlefields. All our efforts, all our words, all our actions, all our thoughts, must focus first of all on those fronts. This is essential to the movement discipline we must build.
 
As we understand the spiritual, moral, rational, practical truth of everything we know and do, the path laid out before us becomes wider, straighter, suffused with light. Our fatigue evaporates, our pain flees, our desire to stop and rest transforms to an eagerness to keep going faster. We feel ourselves walking the path of necessity. This is the paradoxical essence of the community which discovers itself, its true mission, and the way to carry out that mission, by living the way of positive freedom. The essence of positive freedom: The more we attain this freedom, the more we move with unfailing certainty, in accord with necessity, each step laid out clear before us.
 
Our great task is to overcome the anti-ecological sunder in ourselves and humanity, and prepare the way home from the wilderness of civilization to the hearth of Gaia.
 
We shall discover the necessary works of the spirit reintegrating with Gaia. Socially, our movement philosophy is the true democracy, human participation in the dedicated common space. Evolution crafted us to be spiritual community animals, not atomized individuals. There’s no way to break out of the sunder and stop destroying, to resume true ecological participation, giving to Earth more than we take, other than by breaking out of civilization as a group. The true ecological polity is the only participatory democracy, and the only participatory democracy is ecological democracy, the democracy of positive necessary freedom assimilated to the ecology.
 
On this basis we’ll work to resurrect ourselves from death, reintegrate ourselves with life. On this basis we’ll build food sovereignty based on agroecology, the only possible path forward for humanity, and redeem our work for the rest of our true human needs and wants. On this basis we’ll discover the necessary works of spirit.
 
There’s no truth left outside these works. Everything outside them is wickedness, falsehood, stagnation, blockage, destruction.
 
The regular possible, the pseudo-possible, what cowards and con-men call practical and “pragmatic”, is in fact impossible. It’s also an abomination to our ecological dignity. It offers no way out. Only a miracle can bring salvation, so we believe in the miracle and in that way produce it.
 
But our miracle is earthly as well, literally grounded in the soil. Our work awaits us. It won’t perform itself, but it will be both the catalyst and the vector of our trust in the Earth, our spiritual self-respect and self-confidence. That’s how we’ll find and create these most precious gifts, and that’s how we’ll use them: To liberate ourselves, and to build the true freedom and the true soul, amid ecological necessity.
 
 
 
 
 
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