December 15, 2017

Fool’s Gold


Golden rice is only about one kind of gold

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

December 9, 2017

Lessons of the Burkina Faso Bt Cotton Debacle


Cotton as part of a bizarre sculpture. It’s still better crafted than Monsanto’s Bt cotton.

I’ve written so much on GM cotton I’m sick of it, but I’ll point out two salient points brought out in this piece on Burkina Faso’s brief, disastrous experience with Monsanto’s Bt cotton.
1. As I emphasized previously regarding Bt cotton, it’s a rich man’s technology which assumes optimum conditions and highly expensive inputs of fertilizer, irrigated water, and pesticides in order to work.
Today one of the government stooges who touted Monsanto to the country’s cotton farmers is falling on his sword, loyal to the last:

Roger Zangre, a Burkinabe agricultural scientist who helped bring Monsanto to Burkina Faso, said Burkina’s technical shortcomings were partly to blame for the problems with the GM crops. “Before the introduction, our capacities should have been reinforced. But all of that fell by the wayside, and that’s on us … We can’t blame Monsanto alone,” said Zangre, who was employed by the state and said he had never been paid by Monsanto.

But this makes no sense. If you sell a technology to people who don’t possess the technical infrastructure to use it, like selling cars to people who have no roads, then you’re committing a fraud. Monsanto, and government shills like this one, of course waved off all such concerns in the beginning. Just as to this day Monsanto’s shills still claim that Bt cotton is good for small farmers, and still look for marks among small cotton farmers anywhere on earth it can find them.
Sure enough, “in Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria, growers have also been testing Bollgard II, but they say Burkina Faso’s experience has made them more cautious. “We are being very sceptical now,” said James Wiyor, executive secretary of Ghana’s Cotton Development Authority.” This proves that Monsanto will tout this shoddy, high-maintenance, extremely expensive product to anyone it can gull, and is telling them the same lies it told the Burkinabes, and the South Africans of Makathini Flats, and the Indians.

Wilfried Yameogo, the director of Sofitex, Burkina Faso’s biggest cotton company, said the decision to go ahead was based on a pledge from Monsanto that it would fix the quality problems ahead of the commercial launch.

“Monsanto made promises, and we continued to produce it. They said, ‘No, no, no. It will be okay.’” Yameogo said.

2. Also as I’ve discussed previously, Monsanto always has disdained every aspect of agriculture and plant breeding except for its transgenic traits (and of course its pesticides). In particular it had a grandiose notion that its traits would be the smart “software” which would be the key monopoly input for the stupid “hardware” of the natural and conventionally bred plant genome. Their idea was that they’d become analogous to Microsoft and Windows. (Cf. Dan Charles’s Lords of the Harvest for more on this.)
Under pressure of reality Monsanto was forced to accept that the transgene is worthless if it’s inserted into what one of its Australian affiliates called “dogshit germplasm”. One type of dogshit germplasm was the low-quality no-frills varieties Monsanto originally wanted to sell to farmers everywhere on a global one-size-fits-all basis. We see here a typical example of the scientific reasoning and general intelligence level of pro-GM activists.
A second type is where, even after Monsanto bowed to reality and bred its transgene into higher-quality varieties, it then brings one of these varieties to a place to which it is unsuited. In the case of Burkina Faso, Monsanto sent varieties bred for American cultivation to the African country, where country-based breeders under intense time pressure did a shoddy rush job of crossbreeding the American variety with Burkinabean varieties.

The Burkinabes knew from the start that American cotton varieties containing Monsanto’s gene could not deliver the quality of their home-grown crop, cotton company officials and researchers told Reuters. But they pressed on because Monsanto agreed to breed its pest-resistant genes into their native plants, which they hoped would protect the cotton and keep its premium value. That, they say, was a failure…

[Geneticist Jane] Dever, who has developed cotton varieties for companies including Bayer, estimated that carrying out three more backcrosses would have pushed back the release date of Bt cotton by at least a year.

Zangre said that if the Burkinabes had possessed the proper tools and technical knowledge to introduce the Bt genes themselves, they could have avoided the mistake.

Yves Carrière, an entomology professor at the University of Arizona who studies Bt crops, arrived in Burkina Faso in 2009 planning to set up a programme to monitor the introduction. He was worried, he said: The Burkina authorities had plans to head off potential problems, but the universities and state agencies that in the developed world would typically support such a biotechnology launch appeared weak.

“It was rushed. That’s for sure … It was rushed and far from optimal,” he said. “It shows the shortcomings of the largest corporations, which do not have the structure and the means to do everything that needs to be done in developing countries.”

For its part, Monsanto never based technical staff in the country, a former Monsanto employee who was involved in the process told Reuters. Instead, he said Monsanto developed the new Bt varieties in the United States, paid around $350,000 annually to fund research institute INERA’s work on the GM cotton, and flew in its own scientists when required…

For Monsanto, whose $13.5 billion in revenues in 2016 were more than Burkina Faso’s GDP, it proved uneconomical to tailor the product closely to a market niche.

The result was a steep decline in the quality and salability of Burkinabean cotton. (Note also how this is yet another example of foisting the technology on a customer lacking the infrastructure to use it effectively.)
“Geneticists like Dever say the problem was the process, not the Bt gene.” By “the process” they mean the technical backcrossing process, while by “the Bt gene” they mean the transgene, but also the entire paradigm of GM crops. But on the contrary the Burkina Faso fiasco is a microcosm of how GMOs don’t work, solve problems which don’t exist and make existing problems worse, and are deployed with zero concern for any context or value other than profit, power, and the religious commitment to the idea of genetic engineering as such. The problem is indeed the entire process, and the entire paradigm of genetic engineering.
Meanwhile: “Mali, Africa’s number two producer and Burkina Faso’s main local rival, says it stuck with conventional, high-quality strains; it says this decision gave it an edge over its GM rivals.”

November 19, 2017

Trickles and Blasts


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.

November 4, 2017

The Lies of the CRISPR/Gene Editing Media Campaign


The allegedly “new” GMOs are nothing but retreads of the old in every way. This is the case no matter whether the flacks call them by a technical name like CRISPR or Zinc Finger Nuclease, “gene editing”, “new breeding techniques”, or the more internet-colloquial GMOs 2.0 or what have you. The alleged novelty of these retreads is just the latest lie designed to rehabilitate all the same stale old lies.
GMO critics often have noted the self-contradiction between the original lie that genetic engineering was “precise” and the more recent hype touting CRISPR as “more precise than earlier methods”, thus conceding that these methods weren’t all that precise. This Wall Street Journal piece goes further, openly acknowledging that the GMO cartel wants simply to start over and “reset” all the lies. It doesn’t even say “more precise” but that “gene-editing technology…enables scientists to make precise changes to plants’ existing DNA”, thus admitting the complete lack of precision of the earlier methods. They’re also simply starting over with the lie equating genetic engineering with conventional breeding. The idea, evidently, is to pretend they never deployed these same lies for the earlier generation of GMOs, and that these lies weren’t all completely debunked.
Of course the same liars who tout the alleged greater precision of the retread GMOs still claim in other contexts that the old GMOs are “precise”. So we have two mutually exclusive versions of the “precision” lie being double-thought at all times by the same pro-GM activist liars. Then there’s the stealth version of the lie where a pro-GMO activist, pretending to be reasonable, concedes the failure of GM-based agriculture and pays lip service to emphasizing better farming practices over technological magic bullets, but in the very course of this smuggles in “gene editing” as “…a very different thing to GM [which] will change the whole picture.” This is the furthest I’ve seen a pro-GMO activist go in denigrating earlier GMOs while stealth-touting gene editing as something completely different and with completely different future prospects. In the same way as the more brazen liars he’s trying to get a do-over, a new beginning, for the products of genetic engineering. This fits with my analysis of agricultural GMOs as a stalking horse and preliminary experiment toward GE human eugenics, with animal modification a mid-point. And indeed pseudo-precise gene editing already is being used in human eugenic experimentation.
There’s more propaganda along those lines in these pieces, including a typical, indeed standard example of the reporter himself asserting “CRISPR is a far more accurate method of modifying genes than scientists have had access to before” instead of reporting this as a claim being made by the developers and sellers, the way a bona fide journalist would. This and other installments comprise a coordinated mainstream media propaganda campaign dedicated to ensuring the retreads are exempt from the meager, usually farcical regulation earlier GMOs were subject to, and to persuading the public to rescind its suspicion of GMOs as such by trying to convince them of all the same “precision” lies which were so evidently false the first time around.
This campaign also is a good example of a much greater confusion and lie. In principle science and technological development (engineering) are two completely different, although often related, things. I stress often but not necessarily related, since in the case of genetic engineering we have one of the cases where the technical deployment has nothing to do with the state of the science and indeed runs counter to it. Genetic engineering is based on nothing but determinist junk science and brute force empiricism (best symbolized by the fact that they literally shoot the transgenes into tissue cultured cells with a gun; read Lords of the Harvest for the image of how gene gun experimenters literally got splattered with onion gore; “precision” indeed!) and has almost nothing to do with science. Indeed, the more the actual science of genetics learns, the more geneticists realize how basically ignorant they are about how the genome works, and how impossible it is to attain any kind of “precision” with artificial genetic manipulation. Here’s a recent book (published in 2016) on the state of genetic science, written by a geneticist who is typically pro-GM. That is, no one could accuse her of slanting anything in an anti-biotech way. And yet the book completely demolishes any claim that genetic engineers could ever have the slightest idea what they’re doing and what the effects will be. (The author seems unaware of this; she’s an example of the double-think I described above.) Yet the propaganda of genetic engineering always systematically has conflated engineering with “science”. The media’s propaganda campaign touting gene editing is a typical example.
This leads to one of my basic points, that today’s establishment “science” is indeed nothing but the corporate science paradigm. (Cf. Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions for his use of the terms “science paradigm” and “normal science”.) Under the corporate science paradigm, “science” is indeed defined as nothing more or less than the development of profitable technologies. From that point of view, GMO deployment would be called “science”. But this has zero to do with the mythology of the scientific method like we were taught in school, and in fact directly contradicts it. Yet the professional liars depend upon the average pseudo-educated reader to conflate the two in their mind.
The CRIPSR media campaign boils down to one of the fundamental political lies: [Insert failed policy] had this-or-that problem the hundred times we touted it before, but THIS time we really promise it’ll work, so believe us again and keep submitting. The most amazing thing is that this self-evident mode of lying works, so long as there’s enough people who are still desperate enough to believe the lie. In the case of genetic engineering, the idea and its toolkit of canned lies comprise a proxy for the crumbling, ever more desperate religious faith of middle class Westerners in technocratic “progress”. As I’ve long said, GMOs are most of all a propaganda campaign. Until enough Westerners are willing to face reality and psychologically burn their ships, the GMO idea, and from there the real-world deployment, will continue to have traction. That’s why the “anti-GMO” people as well are so peculiarly ambivalent and modest in their prescriptions: Most of them too are pro-technocracy consumerists whose opposition to one facet of that system (GM/pesticide food) is more a personal fluke than anything based in a coherent opposition to the system of which genetic engineering and eugenics comprise the supreme idea and product.
Propagate the necessary new ideas.

October 19, 2017

The “Green Revolution” and the Food Weapon


From the IMF-imposed debt hole to the literal excavation of the continent for commodity soil mining.

1. Corporate agriculture’s global liquidation campaign must be seen in the overall neoliberal context. In the 1970s Western banks were shocked by the first realization that fossil fuels are finite and that the Extreme Energy Civilization soon will collapse for lack of sufficient fuel, if it doesn’t destroy itself sooner some other way. The first political manifestation was the OPEC crisis, which threatened both physical fuel stocks and the power of the petrodollar. The finance sector roused itself to offer cheap money across the global South to buy fossil fuel energy and the agricultural system based on extreme energy consumption. The Cold War political term for this agricultural strategy was “green revolution”. It really meant nothing but high-energy-consumption revolution, and the only green was the dollars it was designed to empower. US and Western corporate elites bribed and induced Southern elites into running up odious debts payable by “the country”, i.e. the people. To the extent anyone in the South actually believed the lies and false promises, it’s just like the US student debt scam.
2. Having attained this power position through predatory lending and the threat of military intervention, the US corporate state then ordered the countries of the South to eradicate food production and independent community farmers in order to earn currency via cash cropping. In huge numbers the people were driven off their land and into shantytowns. Southern governments were supposed to get dollars by exporting agricultural commodities. But the price plummeted because everyone was exporting the same commodities, including heavily subsidized Western dumping. Meanwhile the forced migrants could “be fed” only by importing Western food commodities. This opened up the range for more dumping, which destroyed the vast majority of Southern food processing and manufacturing. From every angle the agricultural globalization campaign of the US government, the agribusiness cartels, and rich ideologues from the Rockefeller brothers to Bill Gates who coordinate the whole onslaught, is designed and deployed to eradicate all food security of a society. This has been deployed most fully in Asia and Latin America, the main targets of the first “green revolution”. Today Africa is the main target of the “second green revolution” based on GM seeds. Eventually the same total liquidation process is slated to be brought home to the West.
3. This aggravates the target countries’ debt crisis. The intended result always was an even worse debt hole. The money was stolen by Southern elites (often parked back in the same Western banks which lent it, ergo the term “petrodollar recycling”), the alleged responsibility for the debt was imposed on the people. Then the IMF swooped in to demand a “structural adjustment” of the debt. Under the auspices of this sham, the criminal government of the country collaborates with the criminal Western globalization administrator to gut every public institution, every element of civil society, leaving nothing but scorched earth to be ravaged by Western corporations. This was never any solution but only a radical escalation of the predations of the Western finance and agricultural sectors, among others. The abstract structural adjustment (which can exist only because the minds of the people are so self-enslaved, they allow it to exist) has its exact physical analogue in monoculture commodity agriculture for globalized commodity export. The Western goal is the general liquidation of these countries as such. They work to turn the entire country into nothing but a scorched-earth “free trade zone”, a country-wide food desert. That’s the eventual end goal for America itself.
4. From the point of view of the corporate neoliberal system, the people of the targeted country are completely superfluous and can only be a danger. The globalized commodity agricultural system structurally is set up for maximum vulnerability. The elites have the ability, they have the motive. And while no acute genocide event, such as a directly forced mass famine, has been perpetrated yet, the chronic escalation of hunger, malnutrition, poison-induced illness is a long-running willful campaign. No criminologist would have any problem recognizing the latter as a deliberate crime against humanity, nor the fact that the systemic potential for the former is a state of things which is deliberately sustained and intensified, with the possibility of going into acute genocidal action always a possibility.
5. Leaving aside consciously evil motivations, corporate industrial agriculture guarantees mass famine, pandemics, and eventual complete collapse.
6. Humanity has only two possibilities for a future: We mammals can do our best to survive and keep for salvage some worthwhile things while the dinosaurs still dominate. Or, humanity can organize to build a cultural, spiritual, economic, eventually political movement to abolish corporate rule and deploy food sovereignty.

October 12, 2017

Calling All Mammals


In his essay on the story of the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, D.H. Lawrence expressed his belief that not everyone can look directly at the sun. Rather, humanity needs “nature-heroes” to mediate the overwhelming light. Thus Lawrence agreed with the Inquisitor’s credo of Miracle, Mystery, Authority. Plato, too, believed only a few were capable of rousing themselves from a bemused contemplation of the shadows on the wall of the cave in order to emerge into the full light of truth.
All our political struggles are more or less mundane manifestations of this circumstance. Everyone claims to want freedom, along with any number of alleged political desires. But almost everyone’s actions directly contradict this. On the contrary, almost all people seek Leaders. The Fuhrerprinzip is the most universal trait among all whose mode of social organization has ramified beyond the primal tribe. Authoritarian followership of every type, celebrity-worship and fundamentalist cults of scientism and technocracy, have almost completely replaced whatever once existed of politics in the true sense of positive community democracy. Politics is Dead. Instead the masses look for the hero who will mediate reality, which means help them escape from reality. This is the reality for which even the physical sun has become nothing but a post-modern metaphor. But the true political need is to Occupy the Sun.
The false version of the sun is to mediate it through fossil fuels and greenhouse gases. Humanity wants to warm the Earth, however ultimately destructive this is. The idea of physical warmth seeks psychological comfort, the simulation of psychological, spiritual warmth, just as poison-based junk food, and the idea of technocratically guaranteed food security, is superficial comfort food. This is how the desperate masses try to fill the void inside, where we’re sundered from our home the Earth.
(In the same way, via fraudulent notions of “democracy”, the people struggle to maintain the illusion of control and stability. Thus the corporate system’s indoctrination and propaganda entice regular Americans vicariously to feel part of the elite technocratic project. This is supposed to prop up the idea of security, stability, even as this same corporate neoliberal project eradicates all safety, security, stability, control, independence, freedom.)
Ecological destruction, such as the systematic and deliberate campaign of climate change, also is nihilism out of resentment. It expresses hatred of the home we abandoned.
All that’s left is the brain-dead lust for material stuff, and the vicarious ideal of control. For this vain pursuit we sundered ourselves from our home, ripping open the void we never can fill.
We struggle to use the worthless material stuff to fill the void, but this never can work.
Therefore we also try to fill the void with sanctimony and hypocrisy, which are the ways we try to maintain some sense of self-respect even as we vicariously live through dreams and fears of the uncanny power the corporate technocracy has amassed and will hold for as long as the cheap fossil fuels keep flowing.
This is what Marx called the alienation from our species-being. And today is any action beyond Mammon even possible? Or, like Lawrence also feared in his Grand Inquisitor essay, must all action and the very idea of action exist only within this Mammon framework? We see how almost all thought and action, even the most allegedly “radical”, is completely submissive and subservient to the productionist, extreme energy, high-maintenance technology, Mammon framework. It sure seems like all remaining “politics” is just attitudinizing and play-acting, nothing but a decadent consolation fetish.
Why is civilization infested with the climate crocodiles, to give the most typical example, those who cry false tears and wring false hands over the climate crisis even as they enact and avow the extreme energy civilization which drives all climate change and forcibly represses all attempts at mitigation and adaptation? They are rampant because of this ambivalent extreme. This is the most extreme example of the general hypocrisy and fraud everyone evinces toward all the environmental and socioeconomic crises, every so-called “progressive” cause and idea and value.
We have sundered ourselves, or let ourselves be sundered, from our home the Earth. This places us in decadent limbo where we have no peace and nowhere to turn, which results in the frantic restlessness and thrashing and wasting and destroying which is the typical day to day activity of “civilized” humanity. All the (corporate) king’s (technocratic) horses and men never can offer sustenance to fill the void. It’s all a bottleneck, all shoddy, all fake, all wicked. Inequality and organized crime erodes what gains civilization temporarily made, even for the rich. But since all are the equivalent of meth addicts, they can’t relinquish productionism/consumerism. Nor is any political action possible, as the system forestalls it in thought and deed. (An example of the masses’ being forestalled in thought is how I can find no one who even understands what I’m talking about when I call for movement-building, even though this was a standard concept in political writing just a few decades ago.) In this decadence the only thing left to try to fill the void is hypocrisy, the ultimate death of all human integrity.
Therefore we have:
*Climate change and the industrial food system = Decadent comfort and false warmth to fill the void inside where we threw away our ecological and spiritual holism.
*Climate chaos and poisonism = Destruction out of nihilistic resentment and denial of what we know we threw away.
Now we look at the eclipsed sun (but must wear glasses), want to look, but need the mediator, the “Leader”. We incarnate the ambivalence of finding the sun riveting and bearable only where mediated, only where eclipsed. We see only shadows and cannot distinguish good from evil.
All this is from the perspective of the false individual, the fake people who threw away all biological and social holism, all that’s ecological, artificial as well as natural; and embraced anti-ecological individualism amid totalitarian massification, all of which is humanly false and which doesn’t work from any practical point of view: Socially, economically, for public health, social stability, peace and safety, anything humans ever could truly want and need. This is the great bottleneck, the monumental dead end the human project has reached. All that exists today, including and especially everything touted as most “modern”, “progressive”, “scientific”, “hi-tech”, is antiquated, backward, cramping, derelict, the luddite province of the dinosaurs. None of it’s new, and none of it works. It’s all one bottleneck forestalling all human aspirations and attempts to think and build something new and constructive. The necessary first step for anyone, any individual, any group, any organization, any small mammal in the underbrush pondering the passage of geologic/historical periods, is to break completely in mind and soul with this bottleneck, burn your ships once and for all, and think only the necessary new idea.
In desperate decadence modern dinosaur civilizationists look everywhere for a replacement for what they threw away, the home they forsook. But there is no substitute. The only new road is the highway home.
The obscuring symbol crawls the sky
As if to abnegate,
Spots the blaze too bright directly to see.
Only plastic eyes mediate the light.
We want to see but cannot see direct,
The better to brush in evasion
The mystery the symbol fathoms,
The best to look most ardent just where we can’t.
Just as,
We work more frenetic than ants,
More angry and toxic than wasps,
To crank the blaze of the star’s heat.
We lust for the warmth we can’t survive,
Therefore invent mediating fantasies,
The confections and mirages of rhetoric and technology
To shield us from our yearning for warmth
And free us to stoke the inferno forever.
This ambivalent extreme,
Destruction we know and desire,
Scorch and poison, is to kill ourselves to feel alive.
What void do we strive to fill.
What did we throw away and now dream of darkly.
And now behind shields we yearn for that same ray
We throw up the shield against.
Our eyes strive to see what would blind us direct,
Our souls build an oven around ourselves.
We then encase us in asbestos,
And hope for: the best?
Hope for nothing.

September 7, 2017


Filed under: Climate Crisis, Dance of Death, Tower of Babel — Russ @ 8:24 am


1. For the most part, it’s a mass of drug addicts who would never give up the rock. Some complain that some of the dealers are nastier than others, others say the opposite, but they all want the rock and therefore want the dealers.
Does anyone actually want to quit?
2. We have a mass of drug addicts. Some defiantly claim there’s no problem: “There’s nothing wrong, and I enjoy this, so I’m going to keep doing it.” Others are incessantly remorseful and always promising to stop. They never stop.
Is there anyone who’s had enough of all these addicts and their addiction?

September 4, 2017

Labor Day, Not Grinder Day


This image is true, and is symbolic far beyond just agriculture.

We must celebrate real work done toward producing necessary and worthwhile goods and services for healthful, invigorating use for ourselves, our families, our communities. Insofar as Labor Day celebrates this kind of worthwhile work, it’s a worthy holiday. Every day must be the occasion of only such work, and the celebration of such work.
But this doesn’t apply to production of commodities which have nothing at all to do with usefulness to anyone, nothing to do with health and strength of bodies and cultures, more often actively harmful to these, actively destructive of them. The “work”, done according to elite enclosure of resources and access which is then portioned out as private property in the form of “jobs”, which produces only commodities whose only purpose is to increase the wealth and power of those elites, which produces nothing for the individual, family, and community, more often is actively destructive of these, which only uses up the Earth, which takes and takes and gives nothing back, which never creates and only destroys, which renders almost all of us nothing but parasite squatters on the Earth’s surface, fouling and poisoning as we go: This work is destructive and is not to be celebrated. Those who voluntarily participate in such fake work, those who drive and fuel and support productionism and consumptionism, are the grinders. They’re scabs.
(Of course I don’t mean those who truly are economically coerced, but the extent to which we want the universal Sodom.)
And so let us celebrate the true labor of humanity, our creative work which is part of the ecology, wherein we exercise our humanness in the same way every other animal exercises its own ecological nature. And let our work include purging the anti-ecological insanity of the commodity psychosis. This, too, is a milestone on the homeward road.

September 1, 2017

What Can Follow the Modern Age


“Post-modern”: This means that modern civilization is purely nihilistic in the full Nietzschean sense. In the human mind there is no longer any such thing as fact or fiction, truth or falsehood, no moral values, no aesthetic values, no spiritual values, no philosophical values, no political values, no version of what Nietzsche called an order of rank. No religious values; God is Dead.
The vast majority of people still claim to have such values, but all groups and almost all individuals are liars and hypocrites about this. In practice they cherry-pick, self-contradict, and flat out lie according to whim or perceived advantage.
This doesn’t change the physical facts. The main facts are that fossil fuels are finite, and there is no substitute for them; and that civilization cannot indefinitely rape the environment without inevitably provoking a severe correction of itself.
But no one believes in these facts. This collective unbelief is the one stable religious fundamental of modernity. Even those who identify themselves as environmentalists don’t really believe it, just as those who call themselves anti-capitalist aren’t really any such thing.
So then those academics who call themselves “post-modern” study this culture of elemental falsity, their study itself being an example of unbelieving, uncommitted pop culture trivia. Same as everything else in modern culture.
Meanwhile we few who believe in physical, biological reality, we primal mammals laying low in the underbrush while the doomed giant reptiles still lumber about, we know that the reality beyond the modern mass suicidal delusion will never be “post” modern, but the combined restoration of history’s natural course with what’s true and humanly useful from modern philosophy and science: Agroecology, and then a few things worth salvaging. This Renaissance is the only possible future reality, if there’s to be a human future at all.

August 29, 2017

Who Are the Purists?


It is clear that the world’s most fanatical purists are the ideologues of neoliberal corporate globalization. It’s clear that no amount of evidence, no amount of disproof and failure, will ever convince them even to question their totalitarian impulse, their deranged commitment to enforcing the most pure, extreme pro-corporate outcome in each and every situation. Purism never has been more distilled than this.
Among these extremists of purism, none is more fanatical and inveterate than the Democrat Party and its cult followers. In the face of the total failure of their entire paradigm they are paragons of purist defiance. They have doubled down, tripled down, have made it crystal clear that no aspect of reality will ever force them to compromise even one jot of their infinite pro-corporate purity. Never in all of history has it been more accurate to say of a group that they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. This is the ultimate measure of anti-reality purism.
Let’s survey just some of these campaigns of corporate puritanism:
*The purists insist that no amount of proven failure and criminality on the part of the finance sector should ever cost Wall Street one cent, nor should the taxpayers ever be absolved of having to bail out this sector, nor should its power and prerogative and dominion ever be diminished the slightest jot. On the contrary, the theocracy of finance should become ever more total in its domination over every human interaction This pro-finance purism is the most extreme purism possible.
*The purists will not tolerate the slightest infringement of the prerogative of the private health insurance racket or Big Drug. Although single payer is guaranteed to deliver vastly better health care at vastly less cost to society, and although society pays for all drug research and development, the purist extremists fight single payer and even the most modest constrictions on the Pharma racket with a medieval fervor. Hillary Clinton and her cultists expressed their extreme purist hatred for all rationality and morality in health care even at the cost of the election. This is an extreme metric of purism, where the pro-racket ideal is more important than winning.
*The purists insist that society must subsidize corporate industrial agriculture no matter how inefficient and destructive it is, no matter how deficient in quantity and quality of food production, no matter how unsustainable it is known to be, no matter how guaranteed to collapse and bring pandemic famine, no matter how its CAFOs are guaranteed to generate lethal pandemics caused by antibiotic resistant pathogens, no matter how much of a loss to society the operation of agribusiness has always caused.
*The purists will never be satisfied until all jobs which can support any kind of tolerable human existence are wiped out. They will never be satisfied until all human communities are gutted.
*The purists will never tolerate the existence of any ecosystem which has not been violated to the point of collapse. They will accept nothing short of the complete destruction of Earth’s capacity to sustain life. They intend to colonize other planets, which their purity drive would then also insist on destroying.
*The purists will never tolerate any constraint upon the imperial wars of the US government. Their purity will never countenance any limit upon the ramification of the US empire.
*The purists regard as anathema even the thought of any limit to corporate globalization, or the very idea that literally anything should be allowed to exist in any way other than as a corporate resource mine or waste dump.
*In their infinite purism these creatures are the fundamentalist theocrats of Mammon. Mammon is the totalitarian religion which would reduce all of human existence, literally all human interaction, to money exchanges. Specifically, these fundamentalists want to reduce all of human existence to eternally being forced through a corporate toll booth. This is the theocracy they have been building, and they have been substantially successful for the moment.
These most extreme purists of history have no thought and no action other than to continue to escalate the building of this Mammon theocracy, and to ensure that it will be the totalitarian coffin of all human aspiration and hope, for all of eternity. That’s why they’re also purists of eugenics, artificial intelligence, and the fantasy of nuclear war. These extremes of purity in action promise to “purify”, to cleanse and scour and disinfect, everything of humanity and life itself which is in any way diverse or complex or uncontrolled beyond the ken of the purists’ technocratic nightmare of total sterility and control.
Humanity and the Earth must fight to help impose reality upon this most impure of all “purism”, this literal cancer of the spirit and body, this infinite purism of evil and destructiveness.
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