Volatility

November 29, 2018

“Green New Deal”, Same as the Old Deal

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The Greens are right to point out to the history-impaired Dembots who suddenly have discovered the notion of a “Green New Deal” that the Green Party was touting it earlier. Of course it’s not a new idea at all, on the contrary it’s a hoary old theme. I think I first heard of it from Tom Friedman of all people, well over ten years ago, and I’m sure it wasn’t new then.
 
The Greens also are right that their public-oriented version is sound in a way that the fake “market”-oriented Democrat version is not.
 
But I don’t care who was there with this idea before whom, nor do I care which version is more superficially socialist. What’s more important is that the idea itself is a scam; that’s why the Democrat Party can embrace it, and why it so instinctively appeals to Dembots, and also to constructive critic, loyal opposition types like the Greens. It perpetuates the same anti-ecological onslaught under the fraudulent guise of ending this onslaught. As part of the general assault of the productionist cancer (“growth”) economy it’s part of the problem and cannot be part of the solution, since the solution can only be to end the assault, period.
 
As for the climate crisis, there’s one and only one way to avert the worst:
 
Stop industrial-level emissions; stop destroying sinks; rebuild sinks.
 
Anything else, including the pro-industrial “Green New Deal” meme, is a lie. The Paris babblers still fetishize 2 degrees Celsius as their red line; meanwhile the last time the atmospheric carbon concentration was above 400PPM global temperatures were 5-10 degrees higher than the present. So that amount of rise is already baked in; it’ll just take time for temperatures to catch up to the radical ahistorical speed of the atmospheric concentration.
 
And as we see, literally no one who’s part of the political class, including the UNFCCC-Kyoto-Paris crew, including climate scientists, including the Democrat Party and its “DSA” astroturf, has any intention whatsoever of ending industrial emissions, ending the destruction of sinks, or of committing to a global grassroots-based rebuilding of sinks. Nowhere are any of those necessary steps on the agenda at all, only the same old destruction, the same old death march of production and consumption, both of which boil down to nothing but destruction, waste, and pollution. (Including the social pollution of wealth and power accumulation, every bit as toxic as dioxin accumulation in the physical tissues, and ultimately every bit as much a biological war; the two modes of total war are inextricable.)
 
 
But as they say, when you’re in a hole, keep digging and blasting, just paint your shovel and sticks of dynamite green. “The American way of life is non-negotiable. Therefore the solution to ecological crises can only be More Capitalism. Keep Shopping! And Keep Driving.” That’s the necrotic essence of the “green new deal”.
 
So our climate heroes have no intention of holding any line at 2 degrees – that’s just temporary political theater. Nor are they satisfied with the 5-10 degrees already baked in. No, they join hands with their “conservative”, de jure denier counterparts in their determination to continue emitting and continue destroying. The real magic number of the ultimate global heating, for every apostle of the economic civilization, is far higher than 10 degrees Celsius. And since the accelerating warming will bring the great methane surges and other feedbacks, this ardently yearned-for heat surge may come much. much sooner than anyone in their system expects. They’ll get their Utopia of flame and die in ecstasy.
 
 
 
 
 
 

November 7, 2018

Same As the Old Boss

Filed under: Reformism Can't Work — Tags: — Russell Bangs @ 7:48 am

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“Now let me lead”

 
 
Well what do you know, the Democrat faction of the Corporate One-Party took back control of the House from the Republican faction. (It’s one hard-right party, of course; only liars and those ignorant of history call the Dems “centrist”. By any objective or historical standard they’re a right-wing party.)
 
It’s no big surprise. Last two years it’s been the normally self-assured Republicans who, because of their ambivalence about Trump, have uncharacteristically taken on the usual Democrat role of existential confusion and doubt. Meanwhile the Democrats, in a berserk batshit-insane way, have been more motivated and focused.
 
So what are these Democrats going to do with this control now that they have it?
 
I made no prediction on what would happen in this election, but I’ve long predicted that if/when the Democrats win control of either house they’ll do nothing with that control. Jack squat. Status quo all the way, embellished with more retarded Russia-Derangement stuff and similar nonsense.
 
If there really were a difference between these corporate factions, here’s the chance for the House to obstruct all Senate-passed legislation. And as for things which are technically only in the power of the Senate such as confirming appointments, here’s the chance for the House to put public moral pressure on Democrats in the Senate. And there’s plenty of back-door ways an activist House can influence Senate business. Only morbid pedantry, so typical of liberal Dembots, goes on babbling about what the technical powers of this or that body are. The real world doesn’t work that way. To the extent I pay attention at all to Senate affairs it’ll be to see what the House is doing about it.
 
So they claim there’s a difference between the two parties? And they claim Trump is an incipient fascist dictator? In that case there’s a lot at stake, and extreme action is called for. Let’s see what kind of action we get from their “different” party in control of the House.
 
But I predict this House won’t lift a finger vs. the Senate, and that it’ll strive to work with the Senate on legislation, and that it’ll fully concur with the Senate on war budgets, police state measures, anything and everything demanded by Wall Street, Big Ag, the fossil fuel extractors, and of course the corporate welfare state in general.
 
Nor will any of these new-fangled fake “socialist” types take any action to change things one iota. Within the House Democrat faction they could take action, form any and every kind of coalition, to obstruct the corporate-Pelosi leadership faction. They will not do so. There’s another prediction. This “new” progressive bloc will be just as fake as the old one.
 
Nothing I’ve talked about here is anything but what is possible, what is always implicitly or explicitly promised by Dembots, and what it would seem is the minimum necessary given what Dembots claim is the scope of the crisis and what is at stake.
 
 
 
 

November 5, 2018

Anti-Electoral

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You can vote for the One or the One

 
 
I was going to write yet another new anti-electoral piece but really I’ve said it all already: That American elections are fake; that Republicans and Democrats are merely two factions of the Corporate One-Party; that they only pretend to disagree but in practice fully agree on literally every significant point; that even where they believe they’re disagreeing it’s only the narcissism of infinitesimal difference within their cult, meaningless to anyone outside the cult (i.e. almost all of humanity); that in particular both are fully dedicated to the total destruction of the Earth and humanity; that both agree the Earth and humanity should be nothing but a resource mine and waste dump for big corporations and the rich; that there’s nothing within the system which offers any alternative whatsoever to this total destruction; that partisan voters aren’t political at all but rather are types of celebrity fan club or fans of a sports team; that partisan voters are criminals, every bit as much as their Leaders; that they willfully and deliberately vote for every crime of their Leaders; that for anything to be done there’s no alternative to building a radical cultural movement completely outside and against the entire existing system.
 
So instead of writing a new piece I’ll just list a few of the pieces where I’ve already elaborated these facts.
 
 
https://attempter.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/the-vote-was-unanimous-for-trump/
 
https://attempter.wordpress.com/2018/08/06/us-electoralism-is-no-difference/
 
https://attempter.wordpress.com/2018/06/15/more-electoral-foolishness/
 
https://attempter.wordpress.com/2018/06/27/note-on-movement-and-party/
 
https://attempter.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/why-would-one-have-anything-to-do-with-the-kangaroo-election/
 
https://attempter.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/on-bastille-day-the-idea-vs-the-leader/
 
https://attempter.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/no-place-to-go-with-your-vote/
 
https://attempter.wordpress.com/2018/10/22/the-vileness-of-progressives-on-the-climate-crisis/
 
https://attempter.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/the-cult-of-voting/
 
 
 
 

September 27, 2018

A Cultural Crisis of the Climate Crisis

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Climate chaos promises catastrophe. No one within the system is doing anything and no one will do anything. There is one and only one way to avert the worst of the climate crisis:
 
Stop emitting greenhouse gases; stop destroying sinks; rebuild sinks on a massive scale.
 
All else is a lie. Most of all, the Big Lie is that anything constructive can be done within the congenitally destructive framework of the economic civilization.
 
The understanding that catastrophe is inevitable has long been around among “fringe”, “doomer” types. The fact is so incontrovertible that by now it’s starting to trickle into academia and the mainstream media, triggering much shrill criticism from the climate establishment. These mainstream scientists, even as they sound the climate change alarm, have systematically dampened it.
 
The IPCC has been consistently lukewarm in its projections, which reality consistently has outstripped. This isn’t just because the panel needs to attain consensus on its reports, though this does automatically water things down. It’s primarily because the IPCC, and climate scientists in general, have an institutional ideology and personal temperament which inertially cause them to focus on linear projections, discount non-linear, chaotic effects, and in general water down their conclusions. This is hard-wired into their linear, gradualist ideology. In most cases they’re unable to comprehend evidence against this linear gradualism. And then of course they have venal, careerist interests.
 
All this leads them to sound the climate change alarm, but only in such a way as to set up another propaganda campaign on behalf of productionism, capitalism, the economic civilization. The problem has to be solvable within the capitalist framework. The answer to the climate crisis (and all other environmental crises) has to be: Keep Shopping! Keep Driving!
 
This propaganda is required by their ideological commitment to Mammon, technocracy, and productionism, and it’s required for their career and funding interests. That’s why climatologists and mainstream environmental groups have been so peculiarly ambivalent and lukewarm about the crisis: Sound the alarm, but not too loud. They must reject any implication that the crisis cannot be solved within the framework of capitalism, productionism, the economic civilization.
 
They reject this in spite of the self-evident fact that the crisis cannot be confronted that way, that this framework will never, can never, do anything but drive the crisis unto its ultimate worst. That’s why they howl at anyone who tells the truth: The truth nullifies their entire ideology, their entire corporate-capitalist power agenda, their entire technocratic-productionist religious commitment.
 
They try to conceal this by deploring how publicity of the truth will allegedly sow despair and lead to fatalism. But in doing this they only discredit themselves. Here we have the climate scientists, whose reputation in the eyes of the people was always shaky to begin with, openly saying they lie to us about the real catastrophic prospects, and that all scientists and journalists should lie. No wonder de jure denial is so rife even among those who cannot profit from denial and can only be harmed by it. It’s similar to the cultural reaction which generated the anti-Darwin movement in America: It’s a revolt of the disenfranchised against a faction of openly arrogant, supercilious elites. Much of the vaccine-skeptical fervor also has this root cause, though of course it goes far beyond that: We all know for a fact what congenital liars scientists are where it comes to any corporate product which is linked with the scientism religion. The most world-historical criminal example is the poisoner campaign on behalf of pesticides and GMOs, where literally every establishment word is a lie.
 
These elites claim that telling the truth about climate chaos will cause people to disengage? Their open contempt for the people and falseness toward us causes far more people to disengage.
 
By trying to engender false hope in capitalist-technocratic “solutions” which will enable business as usual to continue (Keep Shopping!), by trying to engender “hope” at all (in this and in most contexts “false hope” is redundant), they’re acting as agents of the climate-destroying civilization, another type of sheepdog. And then many of them are out-and-out corporate shills.
 
Perhaps some of them are sincere in revealing their own personal despair, if privately they realize the entire technocratic and economic paradigm to which they’ve dedicated their lives is a total failure, is purely destructive, and has no future.
 
As for their smug, patronizing pontifications about the alleged despair of the people, we can dismiss this with all the contempt it deserves. We the people don’t need fake hope, and we certainly don’t need lies. We need truth and we need action. The only real climate action is action against the economic civilization driving climate chaos and all other ecological crises. The economic civilization these establishment scientists and NGOs represent.
 
They’re proposing nothing and doing nothing. They’ll never do anything but destroy, since their civilization is capable of nothing but destruction. That’s why all their prescriptions, from industrial renewables to piggy-backing industrial recycling on the regular waste/destruction stream to electric cars to cap-and-trade to carbon taxes (taxes on ongoing waste and destruction), comprise nothing but scams and further environmental insults, in many cases (geoengineering, fracking, the escalation of poison agriculture under the Orwellian “climate smart” slogan, expanding nukes and/or CCS) adding or promising to add new ecological catastrophes on top of the climate crisis and all the other crises.
 
All of this is false and evil. There is one and only one way to avert the worst:
 
Stop emitting; stop destroying sinks; rebuild sinks.
 
All else is a lie. Most of all, the Big Lie is that anything constructive can be done within the congenitally destructive framework of the economic civilization.
 
Where does this leave the civilization consecrated to economic extraction and production? Where does this leave technocracy? Where does this leave Mammon? I think the answer is obvious, and the more people comprehend the truth of the great crisis of the age, the more will awaken to what’s obvious. This awakening is what our “scientists” and “environmentalists” want to prevent. “I shop, therefore I lie.”
 
 
 
 

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.
 
 
 
 
 

August 6, 2018

US Electoralism is No Difference

Filed under: Mainstream Media, Reformism Can't Work — Tags: , , , — Russell Bangs @ 1:02 am

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How can we explain electoral idiocy? To a significant extent it’s ignorance and stupidity. Years ago when I was masochistic enough to “debate” politics with Democrat partisans of my acquaintance, I was always amazed at how ignorant they were of almost everything their Party and their Leaders actually do. Thus for example they’d always be astounded to learn that Obama and Hillary Clinton are hard core supporters of Monsanto, GMOs and the whole regime of poison-based commodity agriculture, indeed that if anything Obama was even more aggressively pro-GMO than Bush was. And in truth they’d never learn any of this but forget it immediately.
 
But most of all it’s non-political egoistic perspective. If A and B agree on 99% and differ only on 1% of details, they may argue all the more fiercely over the 1% in dispute. But from the point of view of C, who completely disagrees (agrees on 0%), A and B are practically identical.
 
Thus both Democrats and Republicans are imperial war-mongers who support US wars of aggression. They disagree only on some details, which to them take on huge proportions.
 
But to those of us who are anti-imperialist, anti-war, they are identical.
 
In the same way, both Democrats and Republicans agree that America should be ruled by the rich and big corporations, that these should pay little to no taxes, and in fact that the purpose of society and the Earth is to serve the rich as a resource mine and waste dump. They disagree only on details, and that the Republicans “go too far”.
 
But to those of us who recognize that the rich are purely parasitic and destructive, who want to abolish the rich completely, who want to abolish concentrated wealth as such, Dembots and Repbots are identical.
 
They both agree on ecocide. They both agree that the living Earth should be nothing but a resource mine and waste dump for their worthless civilization. They only differ on details of how absolute the destruction should be, and how fast total destruction should be carried out. They argue about details like whether national parks should be privatized. They agree on the total destruction of everything not specifically “protected” in this formal way. (There we find the mission of the mainstream “environmental” groups: To help the destroyers of the Earth “manage” the destruction, which in practice means to carry it out somewhat more slowly. The role of NGOs is much the same as that of the WWII Judenrate (Jewish Councils) who helped the Nazis organize the deportations to the death camps.)
 
But to those of us who love, revere, cherish the Earth in all its beauty and mystery, we who recognize the absolute dependency of humanity on the only home we’ll ever know, the Democrat and Republican parties are identical in their insane and evil drive to murder the Earth and force the total murder-suicide of humanity.
 
 
 
 
 

July 31, 2018

Strict Mores

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The record is clear that the USDA and EPA intend and desire all the harms and failures of poison-based agriculture. Pretending to deal with the dicamba crisis the EPA explicitly endorsed part one of my corporate template with this quote: “We’re committed to taking appropriate action for the 2018 growing season with an eye toward ensuring that the technology is available, number one, to growers but that it is used responsibly.” Throughout the crisis the agency has provided Monsanto with its imprimatur, as per part three of the template. The EPA itself refused to perform or require volatility testing in the first place. Therefore both Monsanto and the EPA strictly admit the volatility of Monsanto’s XtendiMax. Such an admission is always implicit where those with the resources and responsibility to test refuse to do so and work to prevent anyone else from doing so. In the broad sense this is Strict Proof that the corporations and governments know or believe pesticides and GMOs to be harmful to human health. If they didn’t believe this they certainly would have performed legitimate safety tests instead of promulgating the religious lie of “substantial equivalence” along with a passel of methodologically fraudulent tests and rumors of “secret science”, a contradiction in terms. We know that the worst we can speculate is in fact true. The corporations and governments themselves admit this, proven by their consistent pattern of action.
 
In the same way, any consistent course of action on the part of those who can choose a different course proves their Strict Intent to cause all the consistent significant effects of their consistent course of action. Here we see the intent of Monsanto and the US government to wipe out all non-GM soy, as much of any other kind of farming, gardening, ornamentals, and wild plants as possible, and along the way to poison the soil and environment as totally as possible. Whatever human and animal health effects soon arise from the atmospheric suffusion of the dicamba zone also have been intended by these organizations.
 
Monsanto and the US government want to maximize dicamba use. The corporations of course want to maximize sales, from a mundane profiteering point of view. But far beyond mundane profits, maximal poison deployment is intended to masximize monoculture power and control. The corporate-technocratic system seeks this regardless of destructive effects, and intentionally to maximize the destruction. By Strict Intent there’s no practical difference between willful premeditated nihilism and the active will and premeditation to destroy. Therefore there is no moral difference, and there should be no difference from the perspective of the law or policy. This doctrine is necessary especially in a case like poison drift where it’s difficult to impossible to pinpoint responsibility for specific damage and where, even if this circumstance of non-responsibility hadn’t been anticipated and pre-planned, all the perpetrators rush to take advantage of it in a deliberate, systematic way.
 
Therefore it follows that abolitionist doctrine must be to impose Strict Liability upon all participants in the poison racket, from developers to sellers to users. It’s the same principle as for any other criminal conspiracy: The guy driving the getaway car is just as guilty of murder as the robber inside the bank who pulls the trigger, even though he never left the car. Everyone knows how toxic and destructive all these chemicals are, the corporations and regulators most of all, so no one can claim innocent ignorance. This is a core movement principle and the movement must promise to put this into effect wherever it gets the power. This principle follows practically from the principles of Strict Proof and Strict Intent.
 
The same principle applies to all programs of ecological and social destruction, all the actions of the economic civilization. If there was ever a time when anyone could claim to be innocently mistaken about the consequences of Mammon, of capitalism, of empowering corporations, most of all the consequences of treating our only home the Earth as a resource mine, waste dump, and subject of sadistic vandalism; if there ever was such a time (I doubt it myself), that time is in the distant past. No one has been innocent for a long, long time. Most of all, it’s beyond any dispute that the cadres of government, corporations, academia, and media are fully conscious, or willfully ignorant, of all the primary consequences of the system’s anti-ecological and anti-human assaults. They are all Nuremburg criminals to their rotted soulless core. We can no longer think in terms of questions or doubt. The crimes and the culpability are existential.
 
Everyone, abolitionists and reformers alike, should take up these doctrines, make them mainstays of philosophy and political communication, and promise to make them the law of the land.
 
 
To prevent confusion, I’m not saying there’s a master cabal somewhere consciously plotting out all the evils, though for example in the case of poison agriculture Monsanto certainly is conscious of much of it. I’m describing an existential inertia and a biological campaign. Therefore we’re only dealing proximately with conventional moral philosophy. Rather, we’re dealing with an elemental process whose morality we must view more primally in terms of its consistent action rather than foolish speculation about the “consciousness” of the creatures driving it. You might as well speculate about the consciousness of corporations, patents, and dollars while you’re at it. Anyway, in this case the primary organisms involved are Agrobacterium tumefaciens; soybeans, corn, and cotton; weeds like Palmer amaranth; pathogens like salmonella and botulins. The humans involved behave according to the same patterns. The technocratic propagandists who exalt corporate personhood, artificial intelligence, and robots are similarly disparaging their own role on the other, “post-human” end.
 
We see how inadequate conventional moralizing is to the crisis. Rather we need the strict morality of Strict Intent, Strict Proof, Strict Liability. We must apply it to the corporations, the regulators, the scientific establishment, academia, the mainstream media, the technocratic political class in general.
 
 
Adapted from part four of my series on the dicamba crisis.
 
 
 
 
 

July 30, 2018

We Need Renewable Ideas, Not Stale Ones About “Renewables”

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They may say I look like Don Quixote, but they’re the ones charging a mirage.

 
 
Industrial renewables are unsustainable because of their dependency on a foundation of cheap plentiful fossil fuels: Especially, they and the industrial economy they’re supposed to rescue would continue to be completely dependent upon fossil fuels for transportation. Industrial renewables also are bound up in ecological destruction: The destruction of arid ecosystems for CSP monocultures, the murder of rivers for hydroelectric, the straight extractionist rape from the metals mining it requires. And of course the wholesale massacre of birds by industrial windmills. It takes a special kind of depravity to call this “environmentalism”, and only today’s corporate environmentalists could reach such a level of depravity.
 
The main evil of the propaganda of a large-scale industrial renewables buildout is that it’s supposed to replace fossil fuels in powering what would otherwise be the same corporate globalization regime. This is no improvement. Centralization itself, gigantism itself, is at the core of the crisis. No one who would want a high-consumption grid based on CSP and industrial wind mega-farms would care about replacing fossil fuels anyway; they’d only want to supplement them. If the paramount imperative is to feed the monstrous consumption maw (and for the advocates of the industrial civilization this is the only imperative), then the climate crisis and all other environmental crises can’t have any importance at all, other than as propaganda gambits on behalf of further escalated destruction. On the contrary, if averting the worst of the crises was any kind of goal, then the goal of maximizing energy production automatically would be downgraded severely.
 
What’s most promising about renewables is their decentralized, non-grid potential to contribute to a decent life for human beings, such as the great potential of passive solar heating. Just as with agroecology, here we can provide warmth and comfort and sufficient electricity for family and community use, as opposed to the productionist mindset which only wants massive corporate-controlled electricity generation for its own sake. It’s the same as how growing food for human beings is vastly more productive and healthy in every way than producing agricultural commodities from which food is then supposed to trickle down as an afterthought. It’s true that acre for acre agroecology is far more productive in every way – calories, nutrition, biodiversity, every other ecological function – than industrial monoculture, whereas decentralized renewables would produce less gross energy quantity than any kind of industrial generation. But the better quality of life provided by a decentralized ecological society would more than make up for that.
 
Anyway, industrial-scale renewables never could be self-sustaining rather than dependent upon a fossil fuel foundation. Therefore the whole quantity-vs.-quality debate is moot since the quantity couldn’t be sustained anyway.
 
All this must be placed in the context of humanity’s great need to abolish the onslaught of industrial poisons. This is a more immediate and dire threat even than climate change, as pressing as that’s becoming. (But these two crises are completely intertwined and cannot be separated. What drives one drives the other, and the only solution for one is the only solution for the other.) Many of those who tout industrial renewables want to use this to prop up poison-based agriculture. Obviously it won’t be possible really to do that once the necessary cheap, plentiful fossil fuels aren’t available. But the idea itself is pernicious since it’s part of the “delayer” form of denialism, the de facto denialism of the climate crocodiles shedding their usual crocodile tears.
 
That too is a reason to reject any version of the call for productionist Business As Usual, including the version which would have it all powered by industrial renewables. Such a program, if it were possible and actually carried out, would continue destroying the Earth and would continue to drive the climate crisis since it would continue destroying the forests, grasslands, and soil.
 
No aspect of the modern technocratic-corporate system is redeemable. Productionism, capitalism in itself is the most evil of all ideologies and systematically maximizes all other evils because it can’t use or tolerate anything that’s good in people or the Earth, only the bad, destructive, and wasteful.
 
We must reject concepts of absolute production and consumption, but rather think and speak only in terms of what’s sufficient and desirable. This includes the social/community element. All the worthless high-maintenance material junk which has been available to the Western rich and middle classes and their apes around the world have not made them psychologically secure, content, happy. On the contrary, it’s evident how unhappy, insecure, insane and deranged the “modern” human type has become.
 
Conversely, and as a corollary, people still close to an indigenous or national way of life, or who faithfully seek such a life, don’t need more “stuff”. We can benefit from modern agroecological science (which is knowledge, not imported junk like commodified seeds and poisons) and some of the medical knowledge (there too, it’s basic knowledge and low-tech practice which helps most, not modern high-maintenance technology; the fact is that most of the modern medical gains were achieved by things like better sanitation, while hi-tech modern medical science has had a much smaller and diminishing-returns role, and in any event is increasingly impossible financially for most people even in the West). Agroecology is not a revelation to people still close to the Earth, but builds upon and modifies traditional knowledge.
 
For the physical reasons of Peak Oil, the climate crisis and the many other environmental crises, driven by the socioeconomic and spiritual evils of productionism and corporate capitalism, all our ideas about energy and technology must mean finding the level which is best for the most constructive and fulfilled human experience and interaction within the ecology, our only home. The workable political and economic level for the ecology is also the best level for human happiness and contentment, on an individual and community level. All the evidence says this level is low in terms of the physical technological sophistication and grossness, high in terms of knowledge. The best example is the extreme contrast of the technologically highly ramified, but intellectually and scientifically very stupid and retrograde poison agriculture regime, vs. the “low-tech” but intellectually highly advanced agroecological paradigm. The same is true for money and finance. The same is true for everything else. And the same is true for energy, where the low-hanging fruit of fully developing passive solar knowledge to provide adequate heating for home and community use, joined with the necessary social transformations, is far more promising than generating extreme amounts of electricity amid an ongoing consumer atomism while the civilization attempts to murder the Earth and commits suicide in the process.
 
 
 
 
 

July 29, 2018

Notes on the Industrial Organic Sector

 
 
1. A few years back there were some false rumors, which may have started as satire, that Monsanto was buying Whole Foods Market. This stemmed from the fact that Whole Foods Market, Stonyfield and others joined with Obama’s secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack to try to make a “co-existence” deal with Monsanto over Roundup Ready alfalfa. This was a backdoor way to try to water down organic standards. The USDA always has wanted to include GMOs within the organic standards, and the industrial organic sector, reliant as it is on the “natural” label scam, has no objections. Lots of rhetoric followed which eventually led to the false rumors. The prosaic truth is that industrial organic is industrial first and organic a distant second. The sector is not committed to anything beyond what it sees as effective marketing and profiteering. WFM’s CEO at the time Jeff Mackey openly said that WFM touts “organic” and “natural” purely as a marketing gimmick, and he explicitly repudiated any ecological or public health philosophy beyond that. This mirrors the USDA’s appraisal of its own organic certification program: According to the agency organic food is no better or healthier than poison-based food, but is merely a kind of lifestyle ornament.
 
What’s not a rumor is the fact that BASF and Cargill are members of the Organic Trade Association. Nor is this a surprise, as the OTA represents the industrial sector and shares the USDA/WFM view of organic agriculture and food as merely a branding device. That’s why the OTA consistently has worked to water down NOSB standards, and that’s why it supported the 2016 DARK Act which put a stake in the heart of the GMO labeling movement by co-opting it in a sham fashion, as I predicted for years would happen.
 
2. Many system NGOs are dedicated to performing a pro-corporate, pro-globalization triangulator role. Some oppose pesticides and GMOs but want FDA control of produce, or of GMO labeling. Some oppose pesticides and GMOs but support expanded use of synthetic fertilizers, themselves a major pollutant, driver of climate change, and basis of pesticide monoculture. In reality it’s not possible to support synthetic fertilizers and not effectively support the entire apparatus of agribusiness and poison-based agriculture. Even the USDA organic certification acknowledges this.
 
In the guise of debunking some pro-GMO lies they reinforce others and in general reinforce the lies of corporate industrial agriculture, commodity farming, and globalization. In the course of it they implicitly attack Food First and other organizations truly dedicated to fighting hunger, and who document and publish the truths of food production and economics. Just like how industrial organic’s lobbying arm Just Label It stressed labeling but supported GMOs on other points, as well as supporting corporate agriculture and food as such, with the eventual result I predicted for years: In 2016 the labeling strategy reached its logical end with the passage of what I called DARK Act Plan B.
 
This reflects the industrial organic agenda. This globalized commodity sector: 1. Opposes food-based agriculture, just as much as the GM cartel and any other commodity sector does. 2. Joins hands with Monsanto in trying to suppress the facts and propagate lies about food production, the environment, and hunger. 3. It diverges from the GM/pesticide cartel on some specifics regarding GMOs. (But not on fertilizer.) These seem to be chosen cynically, with an eye toward continuing to receive some corporate funding. Thus EWG refutes the “feed the world” lie where it comes specifically to GMOs but supports this big lie in general, while Just Label It supported the lie that GMOs have been tested and found to be safe.
 
All this is intended to serve a gate-keeping function, since any real abolition movement would be a threat to: 1. Industrial organic’s leadership of the food movement, 2. The sector’s very existence, which after all is just as dependent on corporate welfare, the parasite paradigm, the whole globalization system.
 
As far as the official certification, organic is nothing more or less than what the USDA says it is, by definition. When the USDA issued its original proposal for an organic certification in the 1990s, this proposed rule would have allowed GMOs to be certified “organic”. Only massive pressure from farmers and consumers forced them to back down and rewrite the standard to exclude GMOs. But the agency has not changed its mind about thinking they should be allowed, just as it has never changed its official opinion that organic agricultural practices and food are no safer or healthier but just add up to a set of “lifestyle” products. The USDA’s basic position on GMOs is that they’re not only safe but normative, and that the environment and food system should maximally be contaminated and transformed. (They would say “improved” or something similar; they call GM seeds “improved seeds”.) They’ve not only approved every GMO application without exception but are doing all they can to declare whole classes of GMOs to be outside their jurisdiction and unregulatable. It’s not every day you see a bureaucracy voluntarily giving up vast swathes of its power. Only extreme ideology could drive such a thing.
 
So much for the USDA. As for industrial organic, the likes of Jeff Mackey openly say that they subscribe to no organic philosophy but view the whole thing as a marketing ploy. Gary Hirshberg never misses a chance to try to euthanize activism, like with his endorsement of the QR code as an allegedly acceptable labeling compromise*. And although the Fabers were unable to reach a deal with Vilsack and the GMA in January 2016, they rushed out to justify the basic paradigm of secret elite conclaves toward some “compromise” which then can be handed down to the people. So there’s the basic attitude of the economic and cultural elites of the movement. As for standard practice, just look at the “natural” scam which is near-universal among them. If they’re willing to surreptitiously sell you GMOs and Roundup in your food (at a premium, no less!) while calling it “natural”, they’d certainly love to do the same by calling it “organic”. They’ve already slipped such poisons as gut-busting carrageenan into the certification standards.
 
Their most clear-cut political ploy was the attempted “co-existence” deal over GM alfalfa which Vilsack tried to broker between the industrial organic sector and Monsanto. The USDA itself in its Environmental Impact Review admitted that over the long run GM alfalfa cannot co-exist with non-GM. This means that legalizing the GM product is tantamount to rendering much of certified organic meat and dairy untenable – unless the standard is changed to allow some level of GM presence in the hay. Obviously Vilsack, WFM, Stonyfield, etc. knew this when they tried to make the deal. So unless one thinks they want certified organic meat and dairy to cease to exist, the only alternative is that they want to see the organic certification standard changed to allow GMOs.
 
Why would industrial organic do such things? In their perfect world, they could sell the same industrial junk but slap the “organic” brand on it and charge a premium. They already do exactly that with the term “natural” (which is why they’re hostile toward any labeling policy like Vermont’s which would end this terminological scam). They cherish the same desire as that of the USDA, to allow GMOs under the “organic” name. That’s why they always felt dissonance and ambivalence toward the idea of GMO labeling. They got involved only as a PR campaign. But as we saw with the history of JLI, AGree, etc., what they really wanted was to control and manage the labeling campaign, in the same way EPA “manages” Roundup and dioxins, and mainstream environmental groups help the corporations manage ecological destruction. They want to control it in such a way that they get the PR benefit while forestalling any reality of a strong, honest labeling policy. JLI, Hirshberg and the GMA are Roundup-burnt peas in a pod.
 
We’ve seen how in response to the Steve Marsh lawsuit there was a major propaganda campaign to the effect that Australia’s organic standards are too strict and need to be relaxed to allow some level of “adventitious presence”. The OTA and the industrial organic sector are leading same campaign in the US. Anywhere this relaxation is enacted, the level of contamination allowed under the standard then will begin a mechanical upward creep, in exactly the same way that pesticide “tolerances” are mechanically raised by regulators as more pesticides are used.
 
That exact same mechanical raising of the allowed level of GM presence also will occur with any labeling policy which is ever enacted, which is one of the reasons why labeling was the wrong idea in the first place. In Europe the 0.9% standard is under strong pressure from the industry to be raised.
 
*The whole attitude that “compromise” is possible and desirable is the same as to say that “co-existence” with Monsanto and GMOs is desirable, and that it’s physically possible at all.
 
3. Some people are more interested in premium niche marketing than in the food sovereignty and abolition imperatives. In many cases it’s obvious, as in the long and ongoing history of small organic companies selling out to big conglomerates. No doubt they’d often claim they were under financial duress and had no choice, and maybe once in awhile that’s true. The system is heavily stacked against healthy, ecological farming and food.
 
But far more often it’s simply taken for granted on an ideological level that a successful entrepreneur sells out at some point to a big corporation. Most entrepreneurs seem to regard this as a “natural” part of some kind of business life cycle, in the same way we physically go from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. But this conventional capitalist mindset cannot coexist with the ecological philosophy and imperative, any more than non-GM crops can coexist with GM for long in the most physical sense.
 
4. Is the USDA organic certification a decadence?** People with money are willing to pay more for what’s good (or at least better) while tolerating the general deterioration, rather than resolving to put an end to what’s bad so we can all have what’s good? I’m fighting to abolish poison-based agriculture and build food sovereignty. I regard the place of organics only from a strategic and tactical point of view. But I’m certain that the goal itself isn’t to expand organics alongside the poison system. That’s impossible anyway. Coexistence is impossible, and if the poison system continues, the organic sector must eventually cease to exist in all but name, if that.
 
Foodies and corporate executives and shareholders alike (often the same people) think humanity (at least moneyed humans) can co-exist with GMOs, pesticides, climate change, etc. For them organic food, electric cars, etc. add up to an island. Monsanto’s CEO thinks he and his people eat separate food, drink separate water, breathe separate air, inhabit a separate ecology. But Certified Organic is not an island, it cannot co-exist (physically or politically) with poison-based agriculture and a poisoned environment, steadily it will be eroded, degraded, corrupted, and soon will cease to exist except in name only, if things keep going the way they are.
 
**There are several attempts underway to promulgate non-governmental organic standards which improve upon the USDA certification. These include the Real Organic Project (designed to overcome many of the abusive features of the USDA standards) and Certified Naturally Grown (designed to be more affordable for small direct retail organic farmers; the USDA system is geared to the big industrial operators). Whether any of these is a big improvement depends on the good faith of all the participants, from farmer to certifier to customer.
 
5. I write mostly about a general mindset and strategy. Most of what I write is geared to organizational and philosophical matters, not as much directly to consumer matter. But for the kind of buying follows from that, I practice and recommend doing the best one can within that framework. Buy the best you can afford, the rules being that local is better than commodified, smaller better than bigger, committed to real values rather than mercenary (especially insofar as you can perceive the mentality and goals of a producer and/or seller – is it a way of life or do they have a mini-Monsanto mentality?), organic/agroecological better than not.
 
It’s true that big corporate buyers can help all producers of non-GM crops, for food and feed, scale up to the necessary level where the products are broadly affordable for the community food sector. In other words, the more non-GM corn is bought for a big retailer’s store brand processed stuff and for their CAFO sourcing, the more affordable it will also become for small direct retail farmers to use as feed. So if producers of non-GM grain etc. saw themselves as just using the corporate sourcing toward the real goal of community sector rebuilding and stuck with that goal without becoming corrupted, the corporate sourcing would be a helpful springboard. On the other hand the more everyone, including “organic” types, see themselves as part of the same commingled commodity economic paradigm as the corporate system, the more they’ll obey the dictates of the big buyers, and the more they’ll have the time-serving house-flipping mindset that they’re only doing this for a period before they get to sell out. In that case the corporate ideology and commodity practice will completely dominate, the community food sector’s development will be hindered rather than boosted, and in the end the quality of the organic consumer product will be degraded completely like I described above.
 
6. If there arose a real movement to rebuild healthy, democratic agriculture and food, the Community Food movement and economic sector as I call it, this sector could use corporate sourcing to help scale itself up to the necessary level where wholesome food became affordable for everyone, and non-GM feed was readily affordable to direct retail farmers. The sector could build out the input and processing infrastructure it mostly lacks and badly needs. I stress, the necessary level of scaling up and building out and no bigger, based on sustainability and distribution within its own watershed and foodshed. That’s a core measure of whether such a movement exists: Is the goal to produce affordable real food for human beings, while seeking revenue only in order to support this goal and support oneself? Or is it the same old capitalism, with profit and “growth” for their own sakes (and eventually cashing in, selling out to a big buyer) the real goal, while participants just pretend to do the best they can as far as the product?
 
Obviously the big corporate buyers don’t care about these goals and want to prevent all this from being built. Which leads to the corollary that if the movement I described above doesn’t exist, if people don’t have that mindset, then not only will corporate control of the organic sector (and of much of the organic movement’s politics as well) continue to escalate, but the depressing pattern of small organic producers offering themselves to be bought up will continue. In that case the big corporate controllers eventually will erode and then gut the organic standards themselves, and that will be the end of the whole thing. They’ll do that as soon as they’re able. We already know, for example, that industrial organic is industrial first and organic second, and that they share the USDA’s goal of allowing GMOs to qualify under the “organic” standards.
 
7. Therefore I’m also not sure about even the industrial organic brands. To the extent the mindset of Food Sovereignty and building the Community Food sector actually exists, and to the extent that the growth of the organic sector helps expand and render economically more viable non-GMO sourcing for animal feed and similar staples which can then be used to build the Community Food sector – its inputs, products, and processing infrastructure – to the extent these are true, industrial organic can be a stepping stone for us.
 
But this boils down to the first question, to what extent does the Food Sovereignty mindset, as part of the public citizen mindset, actually exist, as opposed to the same old private-individual-is-an-island mindset which, even where it comes to organic and localized agriculture and food, thinks primarily in terms of “growth” and eventually selling out to a buyer.
 
And since that’s the primary question, it follows that the first necessary priority of a Food Sovereignty movement is to build this mindset, propagate knowledge of it, encourage it, recruit to it, organize on the basis of it.
 
 
 
 
 

July 28, 2018

The Lying Media-“Political” Culture of the Climate Crisis

Filed under: Climate Crisis, Disaster Capitalism, Mainstream Media, Reformism Can't Work — Tags: , — Russell Bangs @ 5:49 am

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The corporate media has failed abysmally at preparing the public for a climate changed world, let alone reporting on it. According to a Media Matters survey:
 

Throughout the recent record-breaking heat wave that affected millions across the United States, major broadcast TV networks overwhelmingly failed to report on the links between climate change and extreme heat. Over a two-week period from late June to early July, ABC, CBS, and NBC aired a combined 127 segments or weathercasts that discussed the heat wave, but only one segment, on CBS This Morning, mentioned climate change.”

 
Ten years ago the mainstream media was full of stories about the real effects of climate change. They ran regular features summing up the science and the prognosis.
 
Today the coverage is very different. As the survey cited above demonstrates, the media has jettisoned most real-world reportage on the climate crisis. Instead they’ve gone back to reporting on “natural” disasters: (1) as if they actually were natural rather than man-made; (2) as ad hoc things that happen at random rather than part of a coherent trend.
 
The media’s coverage of climate change has departed from the real world and instead focuses only on certain fake political angles, such as “Trump” taking the US out of the sham Paris agreement, as well as the alleged virtue of the sham agreement itself. This normalizes the climate crisis, or more specifically having fervid opinions about it, as just another lifestyle ornament. Just another part of fake celebrity and culture-war pseudo-politics.
 
The main reason the media used to report on the climate crisis in a semi-serious way is that it took some years for the corporate sectors to reach a consensus on downplaying/denying the crisis. At first they left this to Big Oil, led by ExxonMobil. Other sectors were uncertain what it all meant for them. Wall Street seriously considered trying to blow up a bubble based on cap-and-trade, “offsets”, and derivatives based on such scams. The frackers took potshots at the coal industry. Monsanto and the biotech sector touted the scam of “climate-smart agriculture”, as well as fraudulently citing climate denial in their propaganda even though they themselves are climate deniers. Those are examples of why climate change used to get more play in the corporate media. But by now, although there’s still some of this exploitative propaganda, the corporations largely have decided they want to deny the whole thing. Some still engage in de jure denial, most have joined the liberals in de facto denial. This means expressing “right belief”, paying lip service, shedding crocodile tears, emitting sham proposals, but never really proposing to do anything but continue to emit and destroy.
 
The hand-wringing, virtue-signalling, and fake prescriptions of the climate crocodiles – Keep Shopping! Shopping Uber Alles! for example, replacing fossil fuels with corporate-industrial renewables; Keep Driving! hybrids and electric cars of course; never mind that most of the emissions and environmental destruction are bound up in the initial manufacturing process – fits in well with this since little of this is actually going to be done, and if it were done it merely would add to civilization’s consumption and destruction maw while doing nothing but making the climate crisis worse.
 
Meanwhile for as long as modern civilization staggers along, emissions will continue to rise and sinks will continue to be destroyed. All the other ecological crises will continue to get worse.
 
But it’s always been true that there is one and only one solution to avert the worst of climate chaos:
 
Stop emitting; stop destroying sinks; rebuild sinks.
 
All else is a lie. Most of all, the Big Lie is that that anything constructive can be done within the congenitally destructive framework of the economic civilization.
 
 
 
 
 
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