Volatility

February 23, 2018

Today’s Inversion of Yeats

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The consummation of civilization

 
 
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
 
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of
Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
 
 
– William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”
 
 
This poem was written in the context of the turmoil and radicalism of the interwar era in Europe. Yeats saw rational, humanitarian values in full retreat while the will to violence and destruction surged.
 
Today’s good moderates solemnly read this as cry of anguish against the extremes of fascism and communism. I don’t know enough about Yeats to know if that’s exactly what he meant by it, but given the context of the times it’s an obvious reading.
 
The problem is that today the matching of action to the perceived “moderation” or “radicalism” of political positions has flipped completely from that of Yeats’s time.
 
For years I’ve written from the perspective of speaking to those who have some level of anti-corporate consciousness and commitment and sought to heighten, enhance, intensify these. Most specifically I’ve spoken to the anti-GMO/pesticide movement and sought to help it evolve from reformism within a pro-corporate context (a position doomed to failure, as I’ve argued in countless posts) to the agronomically and ecologically necessary position of total abolitionism, a position which would require a broader anti-corporate consciousness.
 
You could say I’m trying to do the same thing King was doing when he realized that the civil rights movement never could win unless it broadened its consciousness and action to a comprehensive position against capitalism and war, and spoke to his people exhorting them to this evolution.
 
Well, my call to build an abolitionist organization, let alone a broader anti-system movement, has met with crickets. The most direct reason for this is that no one who talks radical wants to do any work, while those willing to work are willing to do so only within the system’s officially allowed reform frameworks. It’s a depressing paradox.
 
And when we look at where the real fury is in this society, that’s where it occurred to me that today we have an inversion of Yeats wrote.
 
“The best lack all conviction”: Today there are no MLKs who want to move from particular struggles to the commitment to build a movement to break corporate power and overthrow corporate rule. And there’s no one who would follow them if they did exist.
 
“The worst are full of passionate intensity”: Where’s the only place one finds fire, fury, radical feeling? Only among the Dembots and Trumpbots, only among the most pro-status quo conformists and cheerleaders of kleptocracy who nevertheless really ready to tear one another to shreds over whose team is better. Never in history, not even in Gibbon’s depiction of the Council of Nicaea, has the narcissism of microscopic differences generated such strife. And in this case, the identical twins locked in a mutual death grip are fighting over who gets to be the most mainstream, the most conformist supporters of entrenched power, the most ardent corporate bootlicks, the biggest warmongers, the most loyal (vicarious) followers of warlords and crime bosses.
 
Since civilization has become completely engulfed in the Extreme Energy Civilization, and since this civilization is doomed because by its nature it must violate the limits of resources and ecology until these force its destruction, it follows that for the adherents of civilization there’s nothing left but desperation, insanity, and the final rampage of destruction which will strive to drag down all of humanity and the Earth to extinction with it.
 
It follows that there’s no place left for any kind of “alternative”. No cultural, political movement is going to be built. The proof of this is that no one who in theory wants alternatives is doing anything toward this movement-building work. Politics is Dead. “Leftists”, “radicals”, just as much as your standard glad-handing Republican, care first and foremost about their work life. And just as much, they desperately support the Extreme Energy Civilization and yearn for its permanent continuation with all the ardent faith of the most primitive idolator. What’s the difference between someone who says we need total drilling and fracking to power the hi-tech economy, and someone who says we can power the hi-tech economy with renewable energy? Nothing. It’s the same religion and the same delusion. And in the end even the greenest renewables-touting, Prius-driving Sierra Club member will support drilling the last drop of oil and fracking the last cubic foot of gas in order to keep the city lights on for one more minute. It’s a fundamentalist religious commitment.
 
 
For whatever few of us hate what civilization has done to destroy humanity and the Earth, who can’t wait to see the lights go out and who can only hope there’s something left to rebuild upon, we’re simply the primal mammals hiding in the tree-tops and burrowing under the shrubbery, waiting for the end of the dinosaurs. We know the time will come, and just have to hang on till it does.
 
So it follows that any way we mammals can come together, any kind of actions we can take and groups we can form, must be dedicated to preserving our humanity, our ability to live as human beings, and the feeling of what it is to be human. Certainly this is a hard task amid such a hostile civilization.
 
As for the civilization itself, the masses of furious conformists and inert skeptics, there’s nothing to be done since they’re all committed to the terminal ride, and the only actions they’ll ever take are homicide and suicide.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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January 9, 2018

Japan is Buying at the Peak of the Bubble

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In spite of the US having temporarily pulled out of the TPP negotiations, Canada, Japan, Australia, and several Asian countries are going ahead (obviously expecting the US to adhere later on).
 
For the sake of tilting at this windmill Japan is scrapping what’s left of its classical public agricultural infrastructure, the same way the US and other Western countries did over the course of the 20th century. In the 1980s globalization’s debt terrorism was used to force most third world countries to scrap their public agriculture systems, as part of the IMF’s “structural adjustments”. India dismantled its system in the 1990s, immediately triggering a suicide epidemic among small commodity farmers which rages to this day. (The US stanched the beginnings of a similar epidemic among American farmers at the same time by greatly increasing Big Ag subsidies, many of which are laundered through the farmers in the form of crop insurance and direct payments. Without this massive planned-economy program of corporate welfare, commodity farming in the US would be economically impossible for the farmers.) Today the corporate “New Alliance” project, spearheaded by the Gates Foundation and USAID for the benefit of Monsanto, DuPont, Cargill, Yara, Unilever and others, is targeting African countries trying to force them to scrap what’s left of their public agricultural systems.
 
 
This a particularly stupid and short-sighted move for Japan at this late date. As the extreme energy civilization enters the era of Peak Oil and energy descent, as climate chaos drives sea-level rise and hyper-destructive Pacific cyclones, and as ecological collapse avalanches, it becomes all the more imperative for every society to wean itself from globalization, especially from commodity industrial agriculture, and to restore its food security on an agroecological basis. This is sanity, while any other course of action is insane.
 
This is especially true for Japan, a country whose classical problem has been to make the most of a small amount of land. The US always has had tremendous leeway to be stupid and wasteful because it was blessed with such a vast abundance of land and resources. Japan has no such cushion. It needs to be smart or perish. So it doesn’t bode well for Japan’s future well-being that it’s choosing now of all times to dismantle its public seed programs and other agricultural programs for the sake of propping up its exports of consumer junk. On the contrary, of all industrialized countries Japan ought to be one of the first to detach its food production from the globalized system and restore it to its natural, rational condition. Food production and distribution naturally and logically is regionally-based, as a rule concurrent with a watershed. Historically only a few luxury imperishables were traded extensively over long distances.
 
The modern era of extreme energy consumption which made it physically possible to globalize food systems has been an ahistorical blip based on the one-time draw-down of the unique, non-renewable fossil fuel hoard. At the same time this era’s obscene insult to the ecology is reaching its breaking point, and wholesale ecological collapse will make all human activities increasingly difficult or impossible.
 
For both these reasons, resource limits and ecological limits, Babylon’s ahistorical binge is coming to an end and soon humanity shall be forced to return to historical patterns whether it wants to or not. That means the relocalization of food production and distribution. At this site I’ve long called for the necessary abolition of industrial agriculture and the transformation to agroecology. This transformation is physically and scientifically possible, right up to the global scale, and lacks only the cultural and political will to do it. Humanity still can choose the agroecological transformation.
 
But there’s no choice as to the ultimate destination. If humanity refuses the route of chosen abolition and transformation, which would be the least hard way, then nature will impose both by force. And this will be the very, very hard way. It looks like Japan is choosing the hardest of all ways, and given its weaker position to begin with, nature’s correction is likely to be hard indeed.
 
 
Propagate the necessary new ideas.
 
 
 
 
 

January 5, 2018

What’s Your Interest?

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It’s a lie when you aggressively extend yourself as an empire and then define your imperial interests as national interests. On the contrary, history’s unbroken evidence record proves that imperialism is harmful to the real interests of the home country, if we consider these to be the health, prosperity, security, and freedom of the people.
 
Every time the US political classes chatter about, for example, the Middle East, we hear lots about alleged American interests around the globe. Actually, America has no interest in the Middle East, if by “interest” we mean the well-being of the American people. Nor does America have significant interests around the globe. America’s interest, on the contrary, is to roll back the empire and roll back its insane dependency upon globalization.
 
On the contrary, the original Monroe Doctrine defined the limits, by any rational measure, of American interests. (Of course the Doctrine was imperialistic toward Latin America. This was immoral and by now is rationally obsolete as well. For purposes of this piece we’ll stick with a purely rational, morally dispassionate view of interests.)
 
 
Globalization brought benefits only to US corporate and government elites. All it did was maximize the power of the 1%. Therefore globalization has been a great harm to the American interest as defined by the interest of the American people, since the US elites are the worst enemies of the American people.
 
Stockholm Syndrome sufferers will claim that globalization brought one great benefit to the 99%: It enabled them to buy cheaply a tremendous amount of worthless expensive junk, since this binge could be done on the backs of the global South and by exporting the worst of environmental destruction.
 
As I said, for this piece we’ll leave aside the morality of living as a leech on the backs of slaves, and we’ll even leave aside what it means to purchase a momentary cheap luxury by destroying your grandchildren’s ecological world, dooming them to cancer and famine.
 
 
But was this binge in YOUR interest? Did all this junk make you happy, give you inner peace, cause you to feel more secure financially and physically? If you say Yes, odds are you’re lying. To give the most obvious example, everyone who argues about this, defending the alleged “American way of life”, always is clearly angry, unhappy, most of all very disturbed and scared, in spite of all their material junk. If that weren’t the case, why would they be out there, whether it be in politics or media or just as an internet commenter, expressing such rancor? Why wouldn’t they be off enjoying their utopia, which according to them they have in fact attained? Those who feel safe and at peace don’t go around quarreling.
 
I say it’s killing your soul. And I say the binge of addiction to worthless expensive junk also was never in the American people’s interest, just as it has never been in the interest of anyone else on Earth to imitate this derangement.
 
The fact is that the destruction of the American empire, the destruction of globalization, and the restoration of America’s original scope is in the interest of all the peoples of Earth, including the American people. Only a handful of criminal dinosaurs would be harmed. And this too would be greatly in the interest of humanity and the Earth.
 
 
 
 
 

December 16, 2017

Community Food Movement: Maine’s Food Sovereignty Act

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

November 19, 2017

Trickles and Blasts

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Life is complete right here

 
 
Picture a steady trickle of water from a faucet. Now picture this trickle, over hundreds of millions of years, filling a cistern whose walls gradually close in. Eventually the water would be so compressed that if you could insert a pipe the water would blast out with great force.
 
So far the analogy with an oil well is fairly direct. And for the sake of argument let’s go further and say the compressed water could be extracted and its force used in all kinds of ways. So we have an analogy with fossil fuels.
 
Now instead let’s say we want to go directly to the trickle and extract force from it. Immediately we see the problem. Yet the cultists of industrial renewables – industrial wind farms, concentrated solar panels, the whole notion of using solar power for consumerist electricity generation – think that the concentrated solar energy of hundreds of millions of years, compressed into fossil fuels (and of course it took vastly greater energy to concentrate fossil fuels in the first place than is contained in the fossil fuels themselves), can be replaced by tapping the present trickle. This is an example of the religious insanity of the modern ideological complex of productionism-consumerism-technocracy-scientism-progress-corporate rule.
 
It’s no wonder the apostles of a renewables-based “future” always support the fossil fuel status quo in the present. Just as almost all who verbally deplore climate change support this climate-wracking status quo. And as a Green Queen might say, it’s “fossil fuels today, renewables tomorrow, never renewables today!” Because deep down they know that the great renewables Millennium, like all utopian techno-hype, is a pipe dream. The idea of powering the extreme energy civilization on renewables is only that: An empty idea, a propaganda campaign. Like all other such propaganda, its purpose is to prop up faltering faith in the model of civilization based on fossil fuels, extreme energy consumption, productionism, and high-maintenance technology. Its purpose is to keep the gate against any thought of an ecological future. Keep “civilized” (i.e. technocratic) thought and action in, keep ecological thought and action out.
 
But the faith continues to falter, because deep down everyone knows fossil fuels are finite, these cannot be replaced, the Earth is not an infinitely disposable waste dump, Gaia shall impose its correction, there will be no technological savior and there are no “stars” to go to (i.e., no god will descend to save us, which is what both of these really mean). The extreme energy civilization, having bottlenecked all human potential and driven humanity into a socioeconomic and political dead end, now drives itself into its own terminal bottleneck.
 
Anyone who feels bottlenecked, whatever the surface reason seems to be, must understand that yours is a symptom of a global ecological crisis. You cannot solve your crisis within the bottleneck which causes it any more than the civilization can pull itself out of its own bottleneck.
 
There’s only one liberation, for all of us, for humanity, for the hope of an ecological civilization. This is to liberate ourselves from the decadent barbarism of the corporate-technocratic extreme energy Babylon. We must liberate ourselves first in thought, and propagate the necessary new ideas. Then we must organize, taking all actions possible within the existing framework, while preparing for the coming physical, political, and spiritual tribulations as the extremist civilization begins its collapse in earnest.
 
Renewable energy offers great benefits for the coming transformation. We must think in terms of passive solar heating, rebuilding and improving wind energy for pumping water and other on-site and local uses, small-scale electrical generation, and similar uses. In the same way many of us are working on agroecology, many are working on a truly rational theory and practice for renewable energy, starting with off-grid development today. These are thoughts and actions toward a human ecological future.
 
But typically extreme, gigantist, megalomaniacal notions of renewables powering vast cities floating on the sand are nothing but typical desert mirages, as often occur in the minds of those crazy from the heat. We must renounce such dinosaur notions ourselves and counteract them by propagating the necessary new ideas, the ideas of an ecological way of life, which is the only possible human way of life.
 
The trickle is indeed more than enough for all we need and all we could sanely want. For four billon years now it’s been more than enough for all life on Earth. All we need is to give up the insanity of thinking we need the blast.
 
 
 
 
 

October 24, 2017

Puerto Rico Amid Climate Chaos and Disaster Capitalism

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A great physical and geopolitical storm.

 
 
Puerto Rico is a typical victim of colonization. It exhibits all the usual symptoms, from political swaddling to cultural derogation to massive debt predation to total food insecurity and dependency.
 
Globalization is the fully consummated form of colonialism. It starts with the historically colonized “third world” but works systematically to reduce all people everywhere to total economic helplessness and servitude. Globalization acts to destroy all local production and distribution. It destroys this outright or seizes control of it in order to force it into the global commodity framework. It seizes control of indigenous land and resources. It dumps subsidized Western goods. It destroys any functional politics and democracy. It imposes the control of multinational corporations over every part of life it can. It does this purely in the power interests of Western elites. Any benefits it lets trickle down to locals are purely calculated payouts to accomplices. Much of the global South has been crushed under the corporate boot this way. Puerto Rico already has already been subject to the West’s debt indenture shock treatment (“structural adjustment”).
 
Hurricane Maria was the most recent major colonial assault on Puerto Rico. Maria is only the latest of the accelerating procession of extreme storms being driven by climate change, and the latest opportunity for corporate disaster capitalism to further ravage an already devastated target. The climate crisis is the direct result of extreme energy consumption and the industrial campaign to destroy all carbon and nitrogen sinks. Modern technocratic politics has attained consensus on the systematic ravaging of ecosystems, culminating in the rising climate chaos driven by the patterns of energy consumption, waste, and ecological destruction practiced and imposed by Western-style productionism and consumerism. The climate crisis is caused by these actions. Since the elites and their supporters have long known this and in spite of lots of lip service have refused to do anything to avert the worst of it, it’s long been true that climate change is an intentional campaign of aggression against the Earth and all vulnerable peoples such as the people of Puerto Rico. Thus climate change takes its place as the most extreme and far-reaching of the corporate campaigns designed to cause disaster, destruction, and chaos. The corporations then proceed to use the crises they intentionally generate as further opportunities for aggression and profit. All corporate sectors practice this. Corporate agriculture is the most aggressive and destructive practitioner of all.
 
Corporate control of agriculture and food has always been at the core of the globalization onslaught. The US government systematically uses its “food weapon” to wage economic, political, chemical, biological, and often literal shooting warfare. Throughout this history of war and sublimated war, globalized food and agriculture has been a constant weapon and battleground.
 
Puerto Rico needs to produce its own food on an agroecological basis. Only food self-sufficiency can help build political and cultural independence, while dependency upon commodity globalization can only reinforce every kind of dependency. Food sovereignty is the core and foundation, but the implications go much further.
 
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. (Same as the position of the average middle class American.) Until the neoliberal austerity system collapses, it will never wipe out any odious debt, only further “structurally adjust” it as the Obama administration just recently did. The one and only way for a people to free itself is to self-jubilate the debt*.
 
Of course, even if a people roused itself to do this and could make it stick against the escalated US aggression that would follow, it would be in vain if they went right back to the globalized Babylon. (You’re also then voluntarily contributing to the climate chaos and other environmental crises which will keep hitting you ever harder.) Consider how Argentina renounced its debt in 2001, but then turned right around and wiped out its previously self-sustaining food system in order to turn the country into one big industrial soy plantation, all in order to rejoin the globalized debt system. They just couldn’t help themselves. They still craved all the worthless expensive imported junk, exactly like an individual who could grow food to feed himself but just HAS to have a widescreen TV…
 
The 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 freedom, self-sufficiency, economic sovereignty and security, well-being, 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.
 
The people of Puerto Rico, just like the people of all historically colonized lands, and just like the people 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 corporate 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.
 
To recap the truth about the climate crisis: There is one and only one way to avert the worst consequences of climate change: Greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stop destroying carbon and nitrogen sinks, rebuild sinks on a massive scale.
 
All else is a lie. The same goes for all other ecological crises. And the same goes for the great spiritual and economic crisis of the terminal Oil Age. You cannot solve the crisis of mortality by suicide or murder. You can solve it only by changing your life, choosing what lets us live, renouncing what is killing us.
 
 
 
 
*There’s been lots of rhetoric about how the Jones Act, a typical example of how the strongest powers like the US still enshrine “protectionist” trade barriers even as they ruthlessly try to wipe out all protective measures on the part of weaker powers, has allegedly been standing in the way of food relief to Puerto Rico. (So-called “free trade”, just like “law”, “property”, “science”, and every other alleged value of modern corporate societies, really is no value at all but only a propaganda notion to be used and abused according to the contexts of corporate advantage.) The form of this rhetoric has often gone “repeal the Jones Act and wipe out the debt.”
 
But this is a self-contradiction, just as it’s a self-contradiction to say “we need to become self-sufficient in food, and the Jones Act must be repealed.” In fact the two items don’t have the slightest logical or practical affinity. Anti-imperialists want to wipe out the debt but recognize the scapegoating of the Jones Act as standard misdirection. (And of course the US government could waive the Act anytime it chose, as it did a week later. In fact the existence of the Jones Act had zero to do with preventing food deliveries, but rather was only a pretext for extortion.) Meanwhile pro-globalizers, especially among congressional Republicans, want to use the crisis as an opportunity to get rid of the Jones Act, destroy the maritime union, further fling open the frontier of corporate rapacity, and drive the people of Puerto Rico and everywhere else deeper into debt slavery. Any force to repeal the Jones Act certainly will not wipe out any Puerto Rican debt, but will only strive to compound it.
 
Therefore there’s zero reason for anyone who actually wants the good of the island’s people to fixate on the Jones Act. (Indeed, from this perspective anything like the Jones Act which possibly could hinder the full fury of globalization is a good thing. It would be similar to how the US embargo has been a great help to Cuban self-sufficiency in food.) But the globalizers are getting their usual help from confused “progressives”, many of the same who couldn’t understand why the Haitian food sovereignty movement destroyed a predatory Monsanto seed shipment in 2010. Monsanto was seeking to take advantage of another “natural disaster”, the 2010 earthquake and UN-caused cholera epidemic. They sought to render the man-made disaster far worse than any “natural” component. So it is with the infantile fixation on “food aid”. Yes, in a crisis immediate food aid often is necessary. But the US-controlled food aid infrastructure has no altruistic component. On the contrary it’s designed to serve as a disaster capitalist campaign of its own, using the opportunity of the crisis to crush any local food production and distribution that still exists and forestall any aspirations to build such food sovereignty systems.
 
There’s great immediate need in Puerto Rico. But there’s a much greater long run need for the people to break their many colonial dependencies and reclaim their ecological sovereignty, most of all their food sovereignty. Hurricane Maria is just the latest and most extreme demonstration that Puerto Rico’s colonial dependency, including its globalization dependency, is not sustainable. Any aid ideology or measure which would hinder realization of this truth and the work toward this necessary goal is counterproductive and ultimately harmful.
 
And to say again, this truth is truth for us all, everywhere.
 
 
 
 
 

April 29, 2017

Note on the Rising Ecological Science and Practice

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An example of the right idea and correct design.

 
 
In most cases where anyone talks about renewable energy it’s still completely in the service of the wrong idea: Extreme energy consumption toward general productionism and wasteful consumptionism. “Renewable energy” is merely supposed to replace (in reality, supplement) fossil fuels toward the goal of feeding the extreme consumption maw.
 
And then this wrong idea automatically drives bad design. Renewable energy is conceived in terms of concentrated solar panels and industrial wind farms, all of it of course under corporate control. (And all of it dependent on a foundation of continued fossil fuel extraction and burning.) Massive electricity production, massive electricity consumption, all to be used as wastefully and destructively as possible. They even want to continue with the personal car, even though this requires using the propaganda meme of “renewables” in the service of what are really fracking cars, coal cars, nuke cars. Social and engineering design doesn’t get more stupid and pernicious than wanting to use electricity to power such self-indulgent luxury transportation in the first place, and it was inevitable that the whole thing would be nothing but a pure fraud. A Prius is exactly the same product as a Hummer and exactly as ecologically and culturally destructive.
 
 
We know the corporate science paradigm generates only waste and destruction. What kind of science and engineering will be constructive for the human and ecological future? This goes with the question of what constitutes real science and in what way science can be restored to its proper, constructive role as a tool for the benefit of humanity and helpmate of human well-being.
 
Science and engineering must focus on the most constructive result within the framework of low energy consumption, low greenhouse gas emissions, low-maintenance technology, resiliency, robustness, and which does not destroy carbon sinks or in any other way harm the environment. Optimally, it’ll contribute to rebuilding sinks. This is the science which will be constructive and beneficial toward the necessary ecological human future.
 
These criteria are dictated by the finitude of fossil fuels, surging climate chaos, the acidification of the oceans, the mass eradication of biodiversity, the imminent collapse of the soils, and other looming environmental collapses. We must learn to live harmonious with the ecology or die. We’ve also learned that humanity cannot co-exist with corporations and therefore with any technological deployment which is inherently high-maintenance and hierarchical. Science and engineering which would benefit humanity would focus on inherently low-maintenance, decentralized, democratic technologies. As Auden wrote at the beginning of WWII, a war which never ended, “We must love another or die.”
 
Obviously these criteria rule out “hi-tech agriculture”, which is mutually exclusive with all of these, as well as any development or deployment of high-maintenance technology. It rules out anything which assumes globalization, since modern globalization is mutually exclusive with low energy consumption and low emissions, and as the most fully developed form of corporate domination it’s mutually exclusive with human innovation and freedom.
 
Agroecology is the gold standard for a fully developed science and set of practices which superbly fulfills all these necessary specifications.
 
 
I write about the future of agriculture and food as Peak Oil, climate chaos, environmental collapse, and extreme cultural and political volatility impend. Others must take up the corresponding tasks to propagate the necessary ideas for other essential sectors.
 
 
 
Help propagate the necessary ideas.
 
 
 
 
 

February 7, 2017

Food Sovereignty and Agroecology for Africa and the World

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As the great battle escalates in Africa, we must learn what agroecology is and why it’s the necessary and bountiful path forward for Africa and for all of humanity. I’ve written about it before many times, including here, here, and here. I’ve given basic account of the clash of corporate agriculture against humanity in my new pieces on the corporate plan to recolonize Africa.
 
Agroecology is the practice of agriculture in harmony with the overall ecology. It is agriculture as a constructive, contributing part of local and global ecosystems. The practice of agroecology is the only way humans can practice agriculture in a way which gives as much to the Earth as it takes. It’s roughly synonymous with organic agriculture in the original sense of the term. (Not the degraded sense of the US government and the industrial organic sector. Industrial organic is not agroecological, it’s industrial. It mines the Earth in a way similar to regular poison-based industrial. The only difference is it doesn’t use most synthetic poisons.) In philosophy and practice, agroecology works as a part of nature rather at war with it, in harmony with the rhythms of nature rather than against them, using natural features as reinforcements or remedies, keeping actions within the natural cycles of a regional ecosystem. All this makes for an agriculture which is most sustainable in producing the most nutritious food (and the most calories, acre for acre) using no artificial poisons, doing so in a way which enhances ecosystems, economies, and communities, rather than destroying all these the way corporate industrial agriculture does. Agroecology grows food for human beings. The more the practice spreads, the less hunger, food insecurity, and dietary disease there will be. In contrast, corporate agriculture has always increased hunger and always will increase hunger and cause famine, wherever it prevails. Agroecology provides the only way for humanity to live in a way not destructive, not parasitic, not a mere worthless squatting on the surface of the Earth. It’s the only way forward, if humanity is to have a future.
 
The term “agroecology” indicates its basis in the combined sciences of agronomy and ecology. It is scientific in the true sense of the term. Its practitioners are constantly applying theory to locally-based (i.e. real world) practice, and based on the results modifying and repeating theory and practice, all toward the goal of producing sufficient calories and nutrition. Combined with the political philosophy of Food Sovereignty, agroecology then distributes this food directly to human beings, more than enough for everyone, so that everyone actually gets enough to eat.
 
By contrast, science condemns the industrial agriculture experiment as having failed at everything it ever promised it would do. It did nothing but use the temporary fossil fuel surplus to produce more gross calories. But it distributes these calories in a grotesquely wasteful, inefficient, and inequitable way. The result is that even as food production goes up, corporate industrial agriculture invariably increases hunger. Corporate agriculture can never do anything but increase hunger and make famine more common. Hunger and famine are caused exclusively by poverty and inequality. They have none but artificial, socially caused reasons. Corporate agriculture inherently drives poverty and inequality, because it inherently drives concentration of control over the good land and the control of all resources including food, which must always be rendered artificially scarce. Artificial scarcity is the only way capitalist profit is possible. On the first day of Economics 101 students are always told, on the first page of the textbook, that economics is about allocating scarce resources. The course then tells the Big Lie that this scarcity is “natural”. But in truth the scarcity is almost always purely artificial. In the case of food, it is always artificial. The fact that governments, corporations, media, academia, and the parasite intelligentsia in general wish to continue the evil experiment, now extending it to Africa in a more virulent form than hitherto, is proof that the elites and the experimenters were lying about their proclaimed goals all along. Their goal always has been nothing but to enforce hunger, because their goal always has been nothing but to enforce power and control. We know these facts: Corporate rule is purely wasteful and destructive, does nothing for humanity, and accomplishes nothing but to enable a small group of criminals to further concentrate wealth and power and exercise domination. In the end power and domination are their only goals and their only reasons for being.
 
The core lie of capitalist civilization is that there isn’t enough food for everyone to eat well. In reality both industrial agriculture (for the duration of cheap, plentiful fossil fuels) and agroecology produce far more than enough food. This is true globally, it’s true in every region, it’s true in every country. Hunger is driven only by profiteering and aggression. Famine is caused only by economic aggression and war. The great lie of scarcity is told in order to justify these wars, justify the campaigns of economic and political aggression called “globalization”, justify centralized state power, justify corporate power and profit, justify the massive use of poisons, justify the development and deployment of technologies which are extremely expensive, usually destructive, and always wasteful and worthless. It’s told to justify forcing people to buy food with money according to a predatory commodity system. It’s told to justify forcing people into the framework of submitting to coercion and de facto slavery in order to obtain this artificially necessary money. It’s told to justify the fact that a billion people on Earth go hungry for no other reason than that they lack this money, even as there exists far more than enough food for 10 billion people to eat well, and even as astronomical amounts of food go to waste every day.
 
The “Feed the World” lie is told by elites and their parasite hangers-on and supporters. It’s told in order to justify all crimes of all institutions. It’s told to justify, absolve, normalize, exalt as “the good”, and turn organized crime into the normative measure of “civilization”. The whole abomination stands or falls with this malign religious belief which strives to erase the fact that the Earth is a world of abundance, that human labor coaxes a great bounty from the fruitful Earth. The corporate system exists to enclose, hoard, constrain, ration out, where necessary destroy this Earthy abundance, this human greatness. Food Sovereignty shall break all the chains and shatter all the bottlenecks the corporate “order” has forced upon humanity, liberating all of humanity’s creative forces. Agroecology is the great vehicle, the way.
 
Agroecology is highly skilled work. It requires intimate knowledge of the ways of the soil, weather, climate, plants (crops, other beneficial plants, potentially harmful plants called “weeds”), animals (livestock, other beneficial animals, potentially harmful ones called “pests”). Agroecology’s innovative and highly productive practices reject the straitjacket of monoculture, reject synthetic fertilizers and other poisons, include natural nutrient-cycling and soil-building, the use of manure, compost, and cover crops, crop rotation, intercropping, alley cropping with leguminous trees, infusion of free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria into the soil, biological pest control, agroforestry, better water management, rotation of livestock with annual crops, the whole art of integrating grass-fed livestock pastoralism with vegetable production. It requires the most efficient and effective use of energy and other resources. This knowledge is built primarily by the farmers themselves and shared among them. Agroecologically-inclined agronomists use this body of knowledge to build agroecological theory which the farmers then apply to their practices, with some help from agronomy schools and NGOs. All this is done with emphasis on the most appropriate specific application of general principles within a particular region/locality. This great work of knowledge and practice is fully developed and ready to be deployed globally.
 
This global deployment is necessary because the fossil fuel crutch, required for each and every part of industrial agriculture, from the inputs and financing to the growing to the processing and distribution and preparation, soon shall be removed once and for all. Fossil fuels are non-renewable, there is no substitute for them, nothing can provide even a fraction of this extreme, ahistorical level of energy consumption, and the age of cheap, plentiful fossil fuels therefore nears its predestined end. Corporate industrial agriculture is not sustainable, and proceeding with it is not an option. The two options are to stick with industrialism to the bitter end until it collapses once and for all, leaving in its wake universal famine, universal chaos and confusion, and the desperate struggle to find some new way to procure enough food under the worst practical and intellectual circumstances. Or, to undertake the great affirmative transformation to agroecology and Food Sovereignty, deploying the great body of science and practice we have built. This body of knowledge and practice, as it exists today, already is humanity’s greatest accomplishment. The only greater attainment will be the great transformation, the full global deployment of Food Sovereignty, which will comprise the redemption of humanity and Earth in socioecological concord. Any other path leads inexorably down to disaster.
 
 
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Agroecology is proven to be the most nutritionally productive form of agriculture as well as the most calorically productive, acre for acre. Peter Rosset testifies:
 

In fact, data shows that small farms almost always produce far more agricultural output per unit area than larger farms, do so more efficiently, and produce food rather than export crops and fuels. This holds true whether we are talking about industrial countries or any country in the third world. This is widely recognized by agricultural economists as the “inverse relationship between farm size and output.” When I examined the relationship between farm size and total output for fifteen countries in the third world, in all cases relatively smaller farm sizes were much more productive per unit area—2 to 10 times more productive—than larger ones.

 
A team at the University of Michigan surveyed hundreds of organic and agroecological trials and found that agroecological/organic/low-input production, using the same amount of land globally under cultivation right now, would outproduce industrial agriculture in caloric production for all significant food groups, and can do so while replacing synthetic fertilizers with natural nutrient cycling. They analyzed the data according to two models, one a best-case scenario and the other more conservative, and found that even by the conservative parameters organic agriculture would produce calories, including in grain production, comparable to today’s industrial output, and therefore more than enough to feed everyone on earth. By the best-case model, agroecology could produce over 50% more than the current industrial production.
 
The 2010 report on agroecology from the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food summarized a similar survey performed by a team led by Jules Pretty, with special emphasis on Africa.
 

17. Such resource-conserving, low-external-input techniques have a proven potential to significantly improve yields. In what may be the most systematic study of the potential of such techniques to date, Jules Pretty et al. compared the impacts of 286 recent sustainable agriculture projects in 57 poor countries covering 37 million hectares (3 per cent of the cultivated area in developing countries). They found that such interventions increased productivity on 12.6 millions farms, with an average crop increase of 79 per cent, while improving the supply of critical environmental services. Disaggregated data from this research showed that average food production per household rose by 1.7 tonnes per year (up by 73 per cent) for 4.42 million small farmers growing cereals and roots on 3.6 million hectares, and that increase in food production was 17 tonnes per year (up 150 per cent) for 146,000 farmers on 542,000 hectares cultivating roots (potato, sweet potato, cassava). After UNCTAD and UNEP reanalyzed the database to produce a summary of the impacts in Africa, it was found that the average crop yield increase was even higher for these projects than the global average of 79 per cent at 116 per cent increase for all African projects and 128 per cent increase for projects in East Africa.

 
These numbers prove that the US and British governments, the Gates Foundation, and agrochemical corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta are lying when they claim to want to “help small farmers” and “feed the world”. The fact that they ignore these numbers, and ignore the entire failed history of corporate agriculture and its “Green Revolution”, and instead persist in touting fertilizers, pesticides, GMOs, and the entire industrial monoculture commodity framework, proves that their conscious goal is to destroy all food-based community farming and replace it with export-based commodity industrial plantations. The vast majority of the people are to be driven off their land and into shantytowns to starve. This is the one and only purpose and goal of Green Revolution II, the “second green revolution for Africa.”
 
Subsequent sections of the UN report give more details on what agroecology has proven in demonstration and partial deployment.
 

18. The most recent large-scale study points to the same conclusions. Research commissioned by the Foresight Global Food and Farming Futures project of the UK Government reviewed 40 projects in 20 African countries where sustainable intensification was developed during the 2000s. The projects included crop improvements (particularly improvements through participatory plant breeding on hitherto neglected orphan crops), integrated pest management, soil conservation and agro-forestry. By early 2010, these projects had documented benefits for 10.39 million farmers and their families and improvements on approximately 12.75 million hectares. Crop yields more than doubled on average (increasing 2.13-fold) over a period of 3-10 years, resulting in an increase in aggregate food production of 5.79 million tonnes per year, equivalent to 557 kg per farming household.

19. Sometimes, seemingly minor innovations can provide high returns. In Kenya, researchers and farmers developed the “push-pull” strategy to control parasitic weeds and insects that damage the crops. The strategy consists in “pushing” away pests from corn by inter-planting corn with insect-repellent crops like Desmodium, while “pulling” them towards small plots of Napier grass, a plant that excretes a sticky gum which both attracts and traps pests. The system not only controls pests but has other benefits as well, because Desmodium can be used as fodder for livestock. The push-pull strategy doubles maize yields and milk production while, at the same time, improves the soil. The system has already spread to more than 10,000 households in East Africa by means of town meetings, national radio broadcasts and farmer field schools.

20. Agroecology is also gaining ground in Malawi, a country that has been at the centre of attention in recent years. Malawi successfully launched a fertilizer subsidy programme in 2005-2006, following the dramatic food crisis due to drought in 2004-2005. However, it is now implementing agroforestry systems, using nitrogen-fixing trees, to ensure sustained growth in maize production…By mid-2009, over 120,000 Malawian farmers had received training and tree materials from the programme, and support from Ireland has now enabled extension of the programme to 40 per cent of Malawi’s districts, benefiting 1.3 million of the poorest people. Research shows that this results in increased yields from 1 t/ha to 2–3 t/ha, even if farmers cannot afford commercial nitrogen fertilizers…An optimal solution that could be an exit strategy from fertilizer subsidy schemes would be to link fertilizer subsidies directly to agroforestry investments on the farm in order to provide for long-term sustainability in nutrient supply, and to build up soil health as the basis for sustained yields and improved efficiency of fertilizer response. Malawi is reportedly exploring this “subsidy to sustainability” approach.

21…One key reason why agroecology helps to support incomes in rural areas is because it promotes on-farm fertility generation. Indeed, supplying nutrients to the soil does not necessarily require adding mineral fertilizers. It can be done by applying livestock manure or by growing green manures. Farmers can also
establish a “fertilizer factory in the fields” by planting trees that take nitrogen out of the air and “fix” it in their leaves, which are subsequently incorporated into the soil. That, in essence, is the result of planting Faidherbia albida, a nitrogen-fixing acacia species indigenous to Africa and widespread throughout the continent. Since this tree goes dormant and sheds its foliage during the early rainy season at the time when field crops are being established, it does not compete significantly with them for light, nutrients or water during the growing season; yet it allows a significant increase in yields of the maize with which it is combined, particularly in conditions of low soil fertility. In Zambia, unfertilized maize yields in the vicinity of Faidherbia trees averaged 4.1 t/ha, compared to 1.3 t/ha nearby, but beyond the tree canopy. Similar results were observed in Malawi, where this tree was also widely used. The use of such nitrogen-fixing trees avoids dependence on synthetic fertilizers, the price of which has been increasingly high and volatile over the past few years, exceeding food commodity prices, even when the latter reached a peak in July 2008. In this way, whatever financial assets the household has can be used on other essentials, such as education or medicine.

 
The 2008 report from the World Bank’s own International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development, endorsed by all participating countries except the predatory globalists the US, Canada, and Australia, insisted on the sufficiency and necessity of agroecology. A 2013 report from the UN’s Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reinforced this consensus among all honest commentators.
 
Today we need to build new food systems in light of this knowledge. Where the age-old organic practices persist as in Africa, farmers need to sustain and enhance them in light of modern agroecological knowledge. Where these have been marginalized or obliterated, they need to be rebuilt. The people of Africa have a great opportunity. Instead of going further down the destructive and self-destructive corporate path, they have a golden opportunity to fully embrace agroecology. All of African agriculture has this opportunity to reject the evils of corporate poison-based agriculture and instead undertake the natural and rational transition from their traditional agriculture to scientific agroecology. This is the path to food security, economic stability and prosperity, human and ecological health, and political freedom. The same is true throughout the world. All the world must answer this great call to human and ecological necessity.
 
 
 
 

February 4, 2017

The Agricultural War in Africa

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The IDEA of food is the weapon.

The IDEA of food is the weapon.

 
 
Since the age of exploration sub-Saharan Africa has received almost zero benefit from its contact with Western imperialism, only harm. From the slave trade to the age of direct imperial domination to decolonization carried out amid a resentful Western campaign of vandalism and chaos to the West’s use of the continent as a Cold War proxy, we have an unbroken and unmitigated record of the purely exploitative attitude and action of the West.
 
Globalization has been as evil as the previous assaults. Globalization acts to destroy all local production and distribution. It destroys this outright or seizes control of it in order to force it into the global commodity framework. It seizes control of indigenous land and resources. It dumps subsidized Western goods. It destroys any functional politics and democracy. It imposes the control of multinational corporations over every part of life it can. It does this purely in the power interests of Western elites. Any benefits it lets trickle down to locals are purely calculated payouts to accomplices. Much of the global South has been crushed under the corporate boot this way, and Africa has already been subject to the IMF and World Bank’s debt indenture shock treatment (“structural adjustment”).
 
All this has been accompanied by the systematic ravaging of African ecosystems, culminating in the rising climate chaos driven by the patterns of energy consumption, waste, and ecological destruction practiced and imposed by Western industrialized productionism and consumerism. Climate change is caused by these actions. Since corporate state elites and their supporters have long known this and in spite of lots of lip service have refused to do anything to avert the worst of it, it’s long been true that climate change is an intentional campaign of aggression against the Earth and all vulnerable peoples. Thus climate change takes its place as the most extreme and far-reaching of the corporate campaigns designed to cause disaster, destruction, and chaos. According to this pattern of disaster capitalism the corporations then proceed to use the crises they intentionally generate as further opportunities for aggression and profit. All corporate sectors practice this, and corporate agriculture is the most aggressive and destructive practitioner of all. Today Africa is its primary new target.
 
Corporate control of agriculture and food has always been at the core of the globalization onslaught. In accordance with its food weapon the US government systematically has waged economic, political, chemical, biological, and often literal shooting warfare. Throughout this history of war and sublimated war, corporate agriculture has been a constant weapon and battleground as well as its aggrandizement being a constant goal.
 
Corporate agriculture has been by far the worst destroyer of local and global environments. Most of all, corporate industrial agriculture is the worst driver of the climate crisis which in recent years has been wreaking havoc on African farming and food harvests. Today, after years of widespread drought and collapsed harvests, large parts of sub-Saharan Africa are on the verge of famine. This famine, like all previous modern famines, is completely artificial, completely man-made, caused by corporate agriculture and now by the climate change driven by this agricultural sector.
 
The proof that all these outcomes are intended by the Western corporate system and its supporters is that they persist in the patterns of action which are historically proven to produce these outcomes. This is called Strict Proof of Strict Intent. It’s the moral baseline which sums up the modern age. What distinguishes modern crimes against humanity and the earth from all previous crimes, besides their sheer magnitude, is that with modern science, modern information systems, and modern communications, it’s no longer possible to be innocently unaware of these crimes. Today all ignorance is willful ignorance and therefore culpable. So philosophically we can dispense with the concept of “ignorance”. Climate change, other crimes against ecological and public health, the economic and political destructiveness of globalization, these all are no longer in question, nor is there any question about guilt. The one and only question left is the question of power, and the question of which judgement shall prevail, that of the targets who only now are beginning to fight back, or that of the criminals. Today everywhere only the judgement of the criminals prevails. Tomorrow it shall be different.
 
In spite of how grossly inefficient and destructive of actual food production it is, corporate industrial agriculture has attained domination over most agricultural land. It has been sustained only by temporarily plentiful and heavily subsidized fossil fuels, massive subsidies of other sorts, monopoly muscle, and where necessary direct political and military aggression. Corporate industrial agriculture could never have existed other than as this massive program of central planning and social engineering. The core propaganda campaign on behalf of this onslaught has been called the “Green Revolution”. Green Revolution propaganda has been nothing but lies, as proven by how it has done nothing but increase hunger in the core zones of its conquest, Latin America and India.
 
Unfortunately for this insatiable shark which must keep swimming or die, corporate industrial agriculture is reaching the point of physical, economic, and political saturation across most of its domain. GMOs, to give just the latest pseudo-“hi-tech” example of the same old oil-based, poison-based agriculture, reached market saturation several years ago.
 
Only sub-Saharan Africa largely has been spared full corporate agricultural Gleichschaltung. This was because during the heyday of Green Revolution I Africa was less accessible to global markets, globalization’s whole structure of subsidies and coercion hadn’t yet been fully developed, and the CAFO system as an artificial market for what are otherwise grotesquely overproduced grain commodities hadn’t yet fully been ramified.
 
These problems gradually have been solved, and since the 1990s corporate flacks have issued the call for Green Revolution II, a “second Green Revolution in Africa.” The goal of this second poison crusade is the same as that of the first: Seize control of the land, destroy all food production and replace it with industrial plantations to produce export commodities, and drive all the people off their land and into shantytowns. Globalization pacts will force African governments to construct all necessary export infrastructure and enforce all corporate prerogatives defined by the pacts, all at the expense of the people of Africa. All other subsidies will be provided by American and British taxpayers. The entire corporate profiteering project is being publicly financed, including via tax scams like the Gates Foundation.
 
The propaganda claims the goal is to “feed the world”, but we already know the real goal is to destroy food and increase hunger, as the Green Revolution already done for decades in Latin America and south Asia, as corporate industrial agriculture already has done everywhere it has prevailed. In reality the project does not intend to provide one calorie of food to Africans. The goal, as Monsanto repeatedly has assured its shareholders, is to turn Africa into one big grain plantation to send animal feed to Asian CAFOs producing heavily subsidized meat for the Asian middle class which allegedly soon will be rising. (It won’t, but that’s another story.)
 
The destruction of the African people, their starved immiseration in shantytowns and refugee camps, which the Western corporate system assumes will never have to be paid for by anyone but the targets themselves, is the most outrageous and horrific of these subsidies. But there are many, many others. And, as I’ll be detailing, this piper won’t long be paid only across the South so that the West and its parasite class can enjoy “cheap” albeit poisoned food at the retail checkout. Westerners already pay with their taxes and their own increasingly gutted economies and communities. The corporations see their way to taking far, far more, and thus they will do their all to take all in the end. That’s what totalitarianism is, and in case you didn’t notice, corporations are totalitarian organizations that will never stop and can never stop. Humanity cannot coexist with them.
 
Today Africans are fighting to preserve control of their lives and food, as they realize what’s at stake is their freedom and their very ability to eat. The people are organized into a coalition of hundreds of democracy networks, tribal alliances, and groups representing real farmers and pastoralists. These comprise the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and include the African Center for Biosafety, the African Biodiversity Network, the National Coordination of Peasant Organizations (a member of the worldwide Via Campesina, the Farmer Way), the NGO Federation of Collectives, the Coalition for African Genetic Heritage (COPAGEN), the Food Sovereignty Campaign, Comparing and Supporting Endogenous Development (COMPAS) Africa, the Participatory Ecological Land Use Management Association (PELUM), the Eastern and Southern African Small Scale Farmers Forum, People’s Dialogue, Rural Women’s Assembly, Food Sovereignty Ghana, GMO Free Malawi, and many others.
 
In direct contrast to the failure, destruction, and organized crime which is the proven pattern and intention of corporate industrial agriculture, the true way forward is already operating and achieving great things in Africa and around the world. This is the path of Food Sovereignty and agroecology. This is the way human beings produce abundant food for themselves and their communities without massive, expensive, destructive inputs of fossil fuels and poisons, in harmony with the greater ecology, toward the greatest freedom, democracy, security, and happiness. The Food Sovereignty movement must be based upon the great class of small community farmers who have always been the food producers for humanity and always will be, and upon agroecology, the fully demonstrated science and set of practices ready for full global deployment any time humanity wishes to embrace them. Agroecology is already accomplishing great things in Africa, and I’ll be going into far more detail about it. This is our first step toward understanding what must be done everywhere, and how we must bring it all home to the West itself.
 
There’s zero problem where it comes to the sheer amount of food produced. Humanity produces far more than enough food for everyone. This is true globally and it’s true in every region of the world. And that’s speaking only of the highly inefficient and wasteful industrial agriculture. Even during the fossil fuel era, decentralized low-input polyculture produces more calories and nutrition per acre than industrial commodity monoculture. Since the latter must fall with the end of the fossil fuel era, its production cannot be sustained regardless. Agroecology, already proven to produce enough food to feed everyone on earth even now, will then be not only the much better alternative but the only choice regardless.
 
Short of the ultimate unsustainability of industrial agriculture, the only problem anywhere is with the corporate distribution system. Anyone who truly wants to feed people has to want people to be able to feed themselves. We have to change the distribution of the food we have, not struggle to produce “more” within a framework which has already proven it won’t distribute that food to humanity. Food production and distribution naturally comprise a local/regionally based system. Only alien, artificial, unsustainable authoritarian systems can ever twist and contort these into a globalized framework. Anyone who truly wants the world to have food must fight to abolish corporate agriculture, abolish the enslavement of food production to the commodity system, rebuild socially and economically natural food systems, build and propagate the rising agroecology paradigm, build Food Sovereignty. This is the movement call to build the new era as the toxic old one is perishing. The call is binding upon us all.
 
The goal of corporate industrial agriculture, and the ultimate goal of all globalization, is to seize control of the land and drive the people out. This has always been the ultimate goal of all imperial conquest: To render all land terra nullius, empty space to be subjugated, exploited to the hilt, wrung out like an old rag, left for dead. Today is humanity’s last and greatest chance to halt this corporate campaign of total destruction of our agriculture, our environment, our society. We have our great chance to halt it and roll it back. This is what is necessary if we hope to have any agriculture and ecology, any human community, to build upon going forward beyond the fossil fuel age. The land is still there for us if we wish. We must save it and cherish it.
 
 
 

November 12, 2016

What is “States’ Rights”?

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And so once again we see lots of rhetoric about “states rights”. What does this term mean? I’ll begin by describing the principle of it, insofar as I can deduce any principle from the rather inchoate rhetoric of its proponents. Of course what it’s really supposed to mean in practice is something different, i.e. the usual collaboration with corporations.
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1. It makes a fetish of lines drawn on a map rather than any value derived from morality or reason.
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2. It does not want to be rational and base political units on watersheds or foodsheds.
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3. It is a form of pure statism which wants arbitrarily to centralize beyond rationally defined boundaries for no purpose other than to concentrate power.
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4. It differs from other pure statists in that it wants arbitrarily to halt the centralization at some point rather than expand this indefinitely. Lacking any other basis for where to call a halt, it chooses the arbitrary borders* of US states as the place to do this.
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[*There’s a few state borderlines which run along the crests of mountain ranges where streams divide, and thus in themselves are rational. But these are never organically part of any larger rational system of borders. Meanwhile far more common is the actively irrational practice of using rivers themselves as legal-political borders. This is worse than purely arbitrary; it aggressively splits reason in half.]
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So there it is. States rights ideology is based on two arbitrary leaps. First, it arbitrarily wants to centralize beyond rational boundaries and without regard for any rational or moral value. It has this in common with other forms of statism. Second, and contrary to conventional statism, it arbitrarily wants to halt the centralizing process somewhere short of however far power can concentrate itself.
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Some may say I’m leaving something out, that states rights does have a value, the value of constitutionalism. Allegedly, in exalting the tenth amendment this is trying to recapture the true spirit of the 1788 constitution.
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The most obvious refutation of this is that states righters, like everyone else who claims the constitution as a value, seem to care little to nothing about other core elements of the constitution such as those which would make the imperial army, the police state ,and the prison-industrial complex impossible, nor do they seem concerned to take back the constitution from corporate abusers. (For this, one must look to the community rights movement.) So in idolizing the constitution the states rights types are really just cherry-picking.
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And indeed, should the 1788 constitution, conceived by elites for the avowed purpose of quashing the American Revolution and building a continental empire (both Hamilton and Madison say so in the Federalist papers), be an object of idolatry in the first place? The fact is that constitution-worship is no value in itself for anyone, but rather is always a stalking horse for other, usually pro-corporate agendas. Of course the constitutional conventioneers accepted the Bill of Rights in the first place only under duress and only because they were confident that the authoritarian centralizing campaign enshrined in the main articles of the document wouldn’t unduly be hindered by what they saw as a pointless sop. And so it has been.
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Nor do I see any reason to think the states rights people have any greater respect than conventional centralizing statists do for the vastly more rational and morally coherent philosophy of community rights. If anything, the states rights types might be even more aggressive in wanting to allow/help corporations to devastate communities.
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Obviously in practice the notion of state rights is just like the constitution, or law, or property, or “free trade”, or “science”, or “the free press” or what have you. It’s propagated by corporate elites and meant to be used and abused, regarded and disregarded, in a purely cynical, tactical way according to whatever maximizes corporate domination.
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By fetishizing a purely arbitrary legally-defined border and caring zero for reason or any moral value, the “state rights” notion is especially useful for this corporate purpose. In this way it goes well with the most vile feral scam of all, “libertarianism”, which wants direct corporate dictatorship and uses the rhetoric of “freedom” to mean “freedom from all mutual responsibility, freedom from all human community, from all moral and rational values, license for total exploitation and theft, for those who are already rich.” Of course corporations are nothing more or less than creations and extensions of government, so to be for corporate power is by definition to be for big government, while to be against big government has to mean wanting to abolish government’s corporate power. That’s why it’s called the corporate state, a monolith. How in principle libertarians can be simultaneously for and against the most vile extremes of big government remains one of the mysteries of the universe. Of course the simple truth is that they’re liars. If they weren’t they’d be anarchists.
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Getting back to the state righters, I suppose many of them have the temperament which, among national groups, tends to manifest as nationalism. But, in spite of lots of idiotic rhetoric from conservatives and liberals alike, there is so far no such thing as an American nation, nor can a new nation ever cohere under the conditions of corporate globalization. Indeed, globalization’s basic thrust is to eradicate all human modes except that of the atomized individual, all alone in body and soul, facing the awesome might of the corporate demon. Never forget, anyone who in any way speaks against movement solidarity and organization as such is doing the work of the corporate Satan. (It should be needless to say that any political philosophy which explicitly or implicitly says voting is the be-all and end-all is part of this corporate assault.) Anyone who dreams of an American nation must commit to the total abolition of corporate rule as a prerequisite.
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It’s possible such an abolitionist movement itself can be a strong point where such a national consciousness can begin to cohere.
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Humanity and the Earth need a new movement based on a complete organic embrace of human values and reason, on the new idea necessary for a new beginning as natural history soon resumes after the berserk digression of the fossil fuel binge. And we need a movement basis which totally rejects and condemns all the lies and stupidities of the corporate global “order”. We must form the adamant core of the affirmation and the inexorable force of the negation. Anything which can be used toward these great goals may be used, but only in the right ways. The wrong ways also are for the flames.
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We have a long, hard road ahead. The necessary work is only beginning. It will continue at its necessary pace without regard for the idiocies of superficial “politics” and false “culture”. There we see nothing but decadent barbarism. The corporate age was always evil, and now it becomes ever more rancid. Sometimes it seems human beings need gas masks. It’s hard to tell what’s worse, the physical poisons or the spiritual ones.
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But the eternal wind, the wind of the spirit which nourishes and cleanses and carries us always between and through the home to which we’re heading and the home we never left, never stopped flowing. Briefly amid the din of Babylon we were unable to hear it and lost knowledge of whence and where it blows. But the strains of the new song are starting to come through.
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