Volatility

September 27, 2018

A Cultural Crisis of the Climate Crisis

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

August 6, 2018

US Electoralism is No Difference

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

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

August 1, 2018

Science Has Abdicated

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Institutionalized “science ethics” always has been a contradiction in terms. The UK Nuffield Bioethics Council’s endorsement of genetically engineering human embryos for eugenic and designer baby purposes is one of the most grotesque examples.
 
This is typical of how genetic engineering has never been about anything but further concentrating wealth and power. In this case, both the fake “medical” rationale and the real eugenic rationale are reserved only for those with financial access to these extreme high-maintenance technological treatments. Indeed many erstwhile “anti-GMO” people believe the Heal the World lie, although this British eugenic gambit is so brazen that even the lukewarmists oppose this particular outrage.
 
Meanwhile the truth is that the Heal the World lie is identical in every way to the Feed the World lie which is universally refuted among GM critics. There’s far more than enough food for everyone on Earth to eat sufficient diets, but billions lack the money to buy sufficient calories and/or nutrition. This artificial Mammon condition is the only source of hunger and malnutrition. In the same way, good basic medical care easily could be available to everyone through a sane, humane economic system like single payer, which would deliver much better care at far less expense than the bloated parasite which is the private health insurance racket. Boutique high-maintenance “treatments” like gene therapy and this kind of eugenics could at most help a tiny handful. In both cases, “feed the world” and “heal the world”, the genetic engineering religion is based on nothing but lies. One of the main lies is that problems like hunger and disease aren’t socioeconomic problems with political solutions, but purely technical problems with purely technocratic solutions. That’s a gambit of corporate rule, and of neoliberal capitalism in general.
 
In the same way, it was always obvious that fantasies of genetic engineering, “transhumanism”, space colonization were about nothing but the power and depraved whims of the rich.
 
Chinese vaccine manufacturers make defective vaccines and lie about it. US manufacturers are no more trustworthy. Indeed the US system doesn’t even have the token fines the Chinese system does, only the subsidies.
 
Then we have the “eco-modernist” ideology, ardently embraced by the mainstream STEM cadre, which stems from mainstream “management”/sacrifice oriented corporate environmentalism. It hooks up seamlessly with both corporate power and the scientism religion. It flatters the consumerism of the Western middle class which always wants to “have it all”, total gluttonous license along with ecological and moral integrity. It promises that “growth” can continue. It promises that the Progress religion will come true. It promises all these things with a shiny techno-sheen, so attractive to all the retarded infants of this madhouse: GMOs (who cares that they’ve already proven to be an absolute fraud in every way), geoengineering, biofuels, fracking, the electric car, the “space” meme, all these genocidal-ecocidal frauds will turn magically into salvation at the ultimate moment of the Armageddon they’re currently generating, if only Homo domesticus stays the course, doubles down on the destruction, becomes ever more murderous and wasteful. Stalinist doctrine had it that the class struggle reaches its most extreme level of violence right before the complete victory of communism. Christian doctrine had it that the struggle of God vs. Satan reaches its most extreme level of violence right before the complete victory of Jesus over death. And now we have the terminal doctrine of the modern technocratic civilization, the same among all strains of its ideology, now including the “eco”-movement: The struggle of man vs. nature reaches its most extreme level of violence right before the complete victory of a suddenly sustainable and free civilization, where human lion will lie down with human lamb and civilization’s lion will lie down with the ecological lamb.
 
In reality, the evangelists of the “eco-modern” scam (such as the false prophet of “vertical farming” exposed in this piece) are speaking in code. Like the politicians and corporate CEOs they serve, they really intend for the vast majority of human beings to die of starvation and pandemics, most likely deliberately engineered. Biowarfare to produce pandemics goes logically with the entire technocratic ideology, and it’s the only explanation for the technocracy’s deliberate campaign to wipe out antibiotics as an effective medical treatment. Modern famines always are artificially and deliberately generated, without exception.
 
Just as agriculture is the basis of exploitative, destructive, wasteful civilization, so for the scientific establishment the number one purpose is to render agriculture as exploitative, destructive, and wasteful as possible. Thus the establishment’s absolute embrace, staking their entire future authority, of the GMO/pesticide regime. The poisoning is more slow and subtle, the repression is primarily economic rather than directly violent (though that’s increasing too), the forced mass expulsion from the land is primarily coerced economically. It’s all part of corporate neoliberalism’s strategy for domination, more refined than that of classical fascism. They realized they could attain the same results as the Nazis without generating similar resistance against themselves. (Indeed, via the EU Germany has attained something like the economic dominion in Europe which the Nazis sought.) As for scientists, today’s are the exact same type as those who served the Nazis and would do the exact same thing given the circumstances. Today’s Bayer is of course the exact same company which provided Zyklon B, its executives the exact same executive type. Monsanto should fit in just fine.
 
Science has completely abdicated, sold out, gone over. It is no longer trustworthy on any level and no longer there for the good of humanity. On the contrary science is completely encompassed by engineering imperatives and the corporate science paradigm. It seeks only profit and power, including its own religious will to power, and it’s an unequivocally enthusiastic participant in the productionist/consumerist/technocratic/corporate paradigm, the destruction of humanity and Earth purely for the sake of destruction and control.
 
Only some individual fugitives are working on a new ecological paradigm for science. The rest are fully committed to mechanistic reductionism, corporate science, science as waterboy for profit-seeking tech development, all the modes of boot-licking junk science.
 
What will have to die out isn’t a sclerotic generation of scientists in favor of a rising generation of ecology-minded scientists. This generation will not be forthcoming. Part of the reason for the STEM indoctrination onslaught in the schools is to foreclose this possibility.
 
What has to die out is the generation which still believes in “Science” as a religious idol. The scientism generation must die out and be replaced by a generation ready to go home to Earth, which recognizes that science in its modern form, irretrievably corrupted, distorted, demented, is toxic baggage we mustn’t take for the journey.
 
We can salvage and continue with ecology, agroecology, chaos theory, the purely intellectual aspects of physics, and related modes. The rest is malign and must be jettisoned.
 
 
 
 
 

May 2, 2018

Jesus is Coming Back THIS Time, Honest and For Sure!

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We’ll all be gods, we’ll all be billionaires, we’ll all have infinite cars and fast food and video games and porn, and we’ll do it all in perfect harmony with the Earth and all her waters and forests and species. The day is nigh.

 
 
We can assume automatically that anyone who says anything other than “stop emitting, stop poisoning, stop destroying sinks, start rebuilding sinks” is running a con. Often they’re explicit about it, as the wingnuts who actually call upon this deranged species to use more energy. As if the obscene amount hominids already use hasn’t already proven enough to massacre Gaia’s ecology and destroy the human soul.
 
The “ecomodernists”, like corporate environmentalists in general, are nothing but another kind of climate-denialist, eco-denialist liar, promising capitalism’s omelette will come tomorrow, and that the high-consumption civilization will become ecologically sustainable tomorrow. They really want nothing but continued mass murder and mass enslavement, and their only audience is those desperate to keep the party going while continuing to believe that the eco-capitalist version of Jesus will return tomorrow.
 
The false religion of scientism, technocracy, and Mammon is based on nothing but lies, greed, and most of all the will to kill and destroy. Its preachers in every form are nothing but false prophets. More mundanely, they’re nothing but another gang of paid liars.
 
 
The great crisis of civilization and ecology is civilization’s campaign to destroy Earth’s environment, Gaia’s water, air, soil, all life, including all human life, our bodies, our souls. Congenitally it drives only toward goals of disaster, profit, power, control, war. Its attitude toward human beings and the Earth as a whole is identical to that of the Nazis toward the Jews: Exploitation, persecution, death. The “environmentalists” who think it possible to enact reform and true conservation within the framework of the productionist civilization are exactly those Germans who, according to their post-war mea culpas, “joined the Nazi Party because I was hoping to be a moderating influence from within.” We see how moderate this influence has been. We see every day how moderate goes the destruction of rivers and forests and species and biodiversity. We see especially how thirty years of eco-signalling about climate change has moderated the emissions, moderated the destruction of the GHG sinks of forest and grassland and wetland. Their latest trumpet call hailing the millennium of moderation, the Paris Accord, is indeed the climax of all moderation and promises the consummation of all moderate policy.
 
Actually, the purpose of mainstream environmentalism is at best to manage ecological destruction, negotiating how much is to be destroyed at what rate, in much the same way the Judenrate negotiated with the Nazis over how many Jews were to be killed how quickly. In both cases the conscious end goal is total destruction.
 
Given this context the mainstream environmentalists have set up for us, this context of seeking a “better productionism” and doing it via technocratic “management” which assumes total destruction from the start, it was inevitable that there would arise a gang of false prophets who would preach ecological salvation directly through doubling down on the technosphere and its infinite rapacity.
 
This ideological campaign has many advantages: It hooks up seamlessly with both corporate power and the scientism religion. It flatters the slobbish consumerism of the Western middle class which always wants to “have it all”, total crapulence along with ecological and moral integrity. It promises that “growth” can continue. It promises that the Progress religion will come true. It promises all these things with a shiny techno-sheen, so attractive to all the permanently retarded infants of this madhouse: GMOs (who cares that they’ve already proven to be an absolute fraud in every way), geoengineering, biofuels, fracking, the electric car, the “space” meme, all these genocidal-ecocidal frauds will turn magically into salvation at the ultimate moment of the Armageddon they’re currently generating, if only Homo domesticus stays the course, doubles down on the destruction, becomes ever more murderous and wasteful. As Stalinist doctrine had it, the class struggle reaches its most extreme level of violence right before the complete victory of communism. As Christian doctrine has it, the struggle of God vs. Satan reaches its most extreme level of violence right before the complete victory of Jesus over death. And now we have the terminal doctrine of civilizationism, the same among all strains of its ideology, now including the “eco”-movement: The struggle of man vs. nature reaches its most extreme level of violence right before the complete victory of a suddenly sustainable and free civilization, where human lion will lie down with human lamb and civilization’s lion will lie down with the ecological lamb. Finally we have the true guarantee of when and how Jesus will return, and unlike all such previous promises, this one is honest and for true.
 
The environmental movement began with the primal alarm of many people at a level of destruction they no longer could dissonate away. Within a few years this movement began to professionalize and domesticate itself (institutions like the EPA and NEPA handed the movement the government’s directives for how to go about this) and to seek a management role alongside the captains of destruction, with whom the increasingly professional technocratic environmental cadre felt an increasing affinity (since they’re the exact same social type). By the time of the climate change era this transformation to Big Green was complete; productionist civilization now had its own in-house corporate environmental movement, its own version of the Judenrate dedicated to helping the corporations manage the murder of Gaia in the least culturally and politically dangerous way.
 
The next logical step has been to extrude a strain of environmentalists who preach that the only management needed is the most extreme and destructive technological deployment possible. Destroying the environment will save it. These are the “eco-modernists”. And although the Big Green groups run a modest spectrum of support or opposition to this or that campaign of destruction (the existence of this spectrum helps with the illusion that real opposition actually exists), the extreme pro-corporate side of this spectrum (the World Wildlife Fund, Nature Conservancy, EDF, LCV etc.) already meshes near-seamlessly with the eco-modernists themselves. Since the entire trend of establishment environmentalism has been toward greater identification with the total destruction imperative, we can expect that the “spectrum” will accelerate its movement in this direction.
 
 
Productionism wants the total destruction of the Earth. As the transhumanist apostle Frank Tipler put it, the Earth ultimately must be literally dismantled, every possible molecule put to use build to build a self-running space-floating machine which then will begin the dismantling of other planets. (Cf. his book The Physics of Immortality). Does this sound insane? Logically it’s nothing but the culmination of every aspect of productionist civilization’s actions. I defy anyone to name a counter-action within civilization.
 
Productionism wants total domination and control of people, land, resources, and genetics. It wants the total destruction of everything it doesn’t fully control, and eventually of everything it didn’t fabricate itself. It drives toward the permanent eradication of everything that makes us human: The questing mind, our existence as part of the ecology, our community life, our ability to perform meaningful work for ourselves, our families, our communities, our physical and psychological well-being as healthy symbiotic organisms. Along the way it afflicts us with cancer, birth defects, autoimmune derangment, and decimates our microbiome.
 
Like I said above, the new eco-modernists are mostly a gang of liars, with tints of religious fanaticism. They politically and culturally organize according to the exaltation of the idea of technology over conservation and socioeconomic actions. Not the reality; the fact that literally every technology they tout is proven not to work and to be purely expensive, wasteful, and destructive is meaningless from this perspective of militant religious consciousness and organizing. That’s why technospheric activists are so impervious to evidence, that’s why they’re so shameless about endlessly regurgitating hundred-times disproven lies, that’s why STEM culture as such is primarily a culture of the lie. Their core faith is that given enough deployment of money, lab time, and ideological militancy, they’ll empirically reach the point where, by brute force, they’ll be able to deploy enough technospheric force to completely subjugate the Earth and humanity. This goal, this religious fantasy, they christen “science”, “truth”. The only fillip the eco-modernists add is the promise that this subjugation itself will result in ecological well-being.
 
Like the GM cultists’ “feed the world” lie, eco-modernism is the cult’s version of the miracle of the loaves. It’s the idea of the miraculous bread amid an industrially scorched wasteland of poison and death, this idea rendered earthly, provided magically by technology.
 
This sacralizing of poison and murder is also their way of preaching that people should feed physical and spiritual poison to their own children, that poison isn’t poison, that poison is beneficial. They substitute destruction and death for heavenliness.
 
 
While eventually Gaia shall put an end to this biological infestation which toxifies its environment, as she does for all other such vermin infestations, this may not come soon or comprehensively enough to save humanity. If we wish for a human future for our children and grandchildren, we must become fully ecological in every way including religiously, culturally, politically. This necessarily includes organizing on behalf of humanity and the Earth to abolish the cult.
 
 
Meanwhile Gaia and her New City are here now, have always been here, as soon as we decide to stop wandering and come home.
 
 

March 20, 2018

The Exterminators Have Asked

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(Today is this blog’s ninth birthday. Covered some ground since I turned a Baseline Scenario comment into my first post. And yet on day two I was already writing about geoengineering, the climate crisis, and GMOs. So the whole thing has been along one trajectory.)
 
The New York Times, leading propagandist for every form of Earth destruction, does it again: “Should Some Species Be Allowed to Die Out?” (Magazine cover story)
 
The only rational and moral answer is, yes, Homo sapiens evidently must die out if Gaia is to survive. Certainly the NYT would insist it’s an either-or.
 
Actually, what needs to go extinct is not true humanity – free, leisure-loving, usufruct-based, part of the ecology – but the debased, depraved, “civilized” humanity, Homo civilis. Only this will save both humanity and Earth. Thankfully this infestation has almost depleted its food supply (its accessible fossil fuel energy and therefore its industrial food supply as well) and must imminently go the way of the dodo and the many other species it murdered.
 
As for the innumerable species being exterminated by civilization, for which the NYT and corporate environmentalists* cry such crocodile tears, even the lowest microbe is worth more than the entirety of this grinder “civilization”, which is worth nothing. That’s why the only way it can exist at all is by destroying humanity and the Earth. That’s why civilization feels such infinite hatred for the Earth and for free humanity and actively wants to wipe them out.
 
 
*The purpose of mainstream environmentalism is at best to manage ecological destruction, negotiating how much is to be destroyed at what rate, in much the same way the Judenrate negotiated with the Nazis over how many Jews were to be killed how quickly. In both cases the conscious end goal is total destruction.
 
 
 
 
 

November 17, 2017

Corporate Liberals Want to “Put You in the Ground”

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California’s Jerry Brown, liberal hero, speaks for climate-denying, car-worshipping corporate liberals everywhere:
 

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

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

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

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

August 30, 2017

Sea Shepherd, Exemplar of Real Action

Filed under: Civil Disobedience, Global War On Terror, Reformism Can't Work — Tags: , — Russell Bangs @ 8:04 am

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After a long run of incredible effort confronting whalers on the high seas, Sea Shepherd feels the need to take a break from its oceanic direct action campaign. Founder Paul Watson cites the need to reassess strategy and tactics in light of new Japanese “anti-terrorism” attainder laws specifically targeting Sea Shepherd’s actions against its illegal whaling fleet, and Japan’s threats to use its military as a thug arm of the whalers. Watson says, “We cannot compete with their military grade technology.” He extols the campaign’s acheivements to date.
 

Sea Shepherd has accomplished something absolutely remarkable over the last 12 years.

In 2005 we set out to tackle the world’s largest and most destructive whaling fleet. We were told it was impossible by some governments and a few NGO’s.

Hardly anyone even knew about Japan’s illegal slaughter in the Southern Ocean. It was out of sight and out of mind. They were targeting 1,035 whales a year including a yearly quota of 50 endangered Humpbacks and 50 endangered Fin whales.

We had few resources but we took our one battered and slow vessel, the Farley Mowat and we chased the whalers across the Southern Ocean, catching them only for a few hours at a time until they sped away from us…the tables began to turn as each year we became stronger and more effective.

Sea Shepherd was relentless in reducing the yearly quotas significantly and in 2012/2013 the Japanese whalers went home with only about 10% of their intended kills. We did this at the same time the U.S. Federal Court put significant legal obstacles in our path.

The results speak for themselves. Over 6,000 whales saved. Not a single endangered Humpback killed and only 10 endangered Fin whales killed in a decade where 500 were slated to die. In addition, the Japanese whalers lost tens of millions of dollars.

We exposed Japan’s illegal activities to the world with our TV show Whale Wars and our documentation.

We helped to push Australia into taking Japan to the International Court of Justice where their operations were ruled to be unlawful. Japan was ordered by the ICJ to cease and desist.

They did so for a year and then returned with a new program (also illegal) that reduced their bogus self-allocated kill quota to 333 each year. This means that since 2015 another 1400 whales were spared the lethal harpoons. This means that 702 whales will continue to be saved every year.

 
 
This testament is just part of the superb history of Sea Shepherd’s accomplishments, in action and publicity, while underfunded and persecuted by the governments of Japan, the US, Canada, Australia, and others, along with corporate goon squads in many countries. This proves what a small motivated group, driven by the right philosophical and tactical principles, can do. If only there were even a handful of people willing to commit to the anti-poison fight this way. By this I don’t specifically mean physical confrontation except where necessary or likely to work. I do mean following the evidence where it compels us and adopting the most bold and intrepid organizational principles, strategy, and set of tactics which are necessary to the historical, ecological, biological circumstance. There must be no bias.
 
The circumstance is the looming collapse of all life-sustaining civilizational structures, most of all the industrial agriculture/food system, and the totalitarian drive of corporate globalization and technocracy to drive out and destroy all of humanity, all of natural life. That’s why nothing short of the most aggressive boldness is sufficient to the need of the day.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

July 23, 2011

We First Say Grace, Then Enjoy the Meal

Filed under: American Revolution, Food and Farms, Reformism Can't Work — Tags: — Russell Bangs @ 1:21 am

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Years back, when I was primarily an environmentalist, I had an epiphany while considering how reformist environmental policy was always expected to meet a rigorous standard of “cost-benefit analysis” (it always did, and I didn’t use the term “reformist” back then although I was already temperamentally more inclined toward the old EarthFirst! than toward what I’d now call mainstream environmentalism). It was clear that capitalism itself, based primarily on corporate welfare, and with so many of its costs and destruction externalized on the environment, was never called upon to meet any CBA standard whatsoever. The more I thought about it the more I saw how this wasn’t unique to environmental policy, but was a universal feature of capitalism itself, in all realms. Capitalism is destructive, wasteful, inefficient, irrational, and is never expected to meet any standard of rationality or efficiency except for its own Orwellian definitions of those terms. All attempts to regulate or reform it, on the other hand, always had to meet the most severe standards, both according to capitalism’s definitions as well as English language definitions. This was, to say the least, a double standard.
 
(That reformism always tries to comply with and overcome this obstacle, in good Enlightenment Myth fashion, is another measure of its fecklessness. Agreeing to play a game which is rigged against you isn’t very smart and isn’t likely to have a winning outcome.)
 
I induced a rule: The more rational and practical a course of action is alleged to be, the more it’s held to that standard, while the more insane it is, the more it’s absolved of any concord with the reality principle. “I believe because it’s absurd.”
 
At first I agonized over this. Even though I was never a fetishizer of rationalism in politics myself, I still thought it ought to play a far bigger role than it actually did. More importantly, I didn’t see how environmentalism or other important causes could prosper in the long run unless politics became more rational. But I also realized that I had to at least hedge my bets, so I became more interested in the moral and psychological aspects of political struggle (what I’d then call the “irrational”). I gradually learned that these are not in fact the debasement of politics, but their human basis. A rationalist may deplore this and wish it weren’t so, but them’s the facts.
 
Better yet, as I accepted this, I felt more at home in my own skin, since by nature I’m a moralist and mythologizer myself . My “rationalism” was actually a transitional stage, an attitude arising out of my years-long self-education program which bled over into my advocacy. Now I was finding myself again, in the course of recognizing strategic and tactical truth. We fight first and foremost because our cause is right, and second because it’s rational and will have the best practical effect.
 
(But I always include both in my arguments. As I’ve written many times, food sovereignty is the only legitimate basis for the economy, morally and philosophically, while agroecology is proven to be the most productive mode of agriculture, and will become relatively even more superior post-oil and as climate change sets in. It’s also the only way to provide full employment at fulfilling work. That’s also both a moral and rational imperative.)
 
So in order to bring home to victory a rational and practical goal, one must also be on the side of the angels, and be able to communicate this feeling to others. This goes to the core of our psychology. As Eric Hoffer says, it’s less absurd to be willing to die for an ideal than for a material thing (for some small thing we already have), because if you’re going to measure things materially, “rationally”, then what could be more real and valuable than one’s life? Self-sacrifice becomes intelligible only when we measure things according to an ideal. This puts in perspective our common laments that so many among the non-rich have no sense of their material self-interest and so often act against it. The answer is that they have a sense, but don’t know how to rouse themselves to find it worth acting upon. They need to find the spiritual key which could liberate them for action. They wait for the trumpet call which is so clear and bright that their feet rush to answer the summons before their minds even think about it. That’s the state we’re all in. (Not every individual, of course, but every group, no matter who they are, no matter how ostensibly rational. Scientists as a group, for example, are the same.)
 
This moral/philosophical/spiritual appeal must evoke the sense of right, and it must conjure faith in the future. Self-sacrifice always involves some kind of idealized hope. People with no hope don’t fight, even in direct self-defense. Those who cling to the present, for example clinging to some diminishing material base, won’t fight. Those who live for the consummation of the future will. We’re more ready to fight and if necessary die for the great things we want than for the things we already have, even if these are being stolen from us before our eyes. We won’t resist the thief for the sake of preventing the theft in the here and now. But we’ll fight back with great ferocity for the sake of redeeming all thefts in a future which shall put everything back in joint.
 
I cited Jesus’ Parable of the Talents in my previous post. It applies to everything we’re discussing here. Forget the little bit to which you cling. Demand the moon and stars. Fight to get it all. Demanding the seemingly impossible is actually an excellent practical tool. We fight for morale itself, and surging morale then spurs the fight onward. The victorious fight is always counteraggressive and affirmative, not negative and defensive. Calls to self-defense and self-interest are only supplemental to the affirmative call to fight to achieve positive democracy and food sovereignty. (I’d still be calling for these even if kleptocracy didn’t exist.)

August 17, 2010

Eschatology (Peak Oil vs. Techno-Class War)

 

A big part of the consumer indoctrination program the kleptocracy is using to boil the frogs is to string them along with their faith in the cult of technology.
 
Today it seems both quaint and scary that anyone still believes in “progress”. If that terms means things get “better”, then we know there’s no such thing as progress, in any area.
 
Science and technology may accomplish lots of things that people consider good, but this has been accompanied by ever greater harms. Man has become more comfortable? He’s also become more harried and overworked and stressed. Medical technology had advanced? So has killing technology. We have this information cornucopia? Yes, and its core character is creeping totalitarianism. man’s technology has empowered him to remold the earth – yes, and destroy it.
 
And by now all of these things have become weapons of class war. Even advanced medical technology is an assault on the people if it’s available only to the people’s oppressors.
 
Modern tech is the destroyer of both the environment and the human spirit. There was a time, and perhaps post-oil there will come a time, where human beings walked the earth and not rump appendages of machines marking time for their existences in the ICU.
 
What does it even mean to think anymore? Given the fact that a necessary human attainment is the capacity for real thought, if from an early age one’s every moment is smothered in a bombardment of gadgets, electronic toys, idiotic texting and cellphone jabbering, when do you ever even learn how to think in the first place, let alone have time and peace for thought? What kind of ICU zombies is this “civilization” processing?
 
Then there’s the fundamentally totalitarian inertia of technology. This inertia is endemic to it and is operative even in the absence of bad faith on the part of corporations and governments (though as we know this bad faith is almost always present as well). Look at how today’s world accepts as the norm levels of intrusiveness and domination which would have immediately triggered a revolution fifty years ago. People stupidly say, “Orwell was wrong”, when we’re really 99% of the way there. All that’s lacking is for the elites  to intentionally use the technology that way. Today everywhere we look we see this will to use “progressing”.
 
9/11 only accelerated this process, which was already well advanced. To put it a different way, if a full-blown totalitarian system would be the car driving down the road, what we have now is: The road and the car are fully built, the tank is full and the engine’s running, and Bailout America is sitting at the wheel. All that’s lacking is to put it in drive and go.
 
Which is the salient step? If you wanted to go for a drive and nothing needed existed yet, what would you consider the most important, decisive step – to build the roads and the vehicle, and procure the fuel? or simply to get in and go once all that was done? Modern technology has already done all the real work. All that’s left now is the political mopping up.
 
Any lover of freedom hates a world of omniscient databases and omnipresent surveillance. It’s odd – in America we have so many who claim to revere things like the Boston Tea Party and the Underground Railroad, even as they celebrate technology which would’ve made those things impossible.
 
Technology implies that the will to freedom itself was only a passing mood. Who still loves freedom today? it has nothing to do with material luxuries, with “consumerism” (what most Americans evidently mean when they use the word “freedom”). Most of all you have to be free within yourself. But a slave to machines is the most condemned of all slaves, for there can never be even the thought of escape.
 
The craziest and most pernicious notion of the green cornucopians is that we’re somehow going to:
 
1. Transform the West’s entire automobile fleet to plug-ins.
 
2. Do the same for the putative auto fleets of the industrializing world.
 
3. Do all this with renewables.
 
4. Do it while at the same time renewables are also maintaining the accustomed energy consumption in all other sectors, again in both the West and the industrializing world.
 
They may claim that’s a caricature, but it’s implicit in everything they say. (Which is how we know that corporate environmentalism is an astroturfing campaign. None of this can ever help the people, but is only part of elite luxury concentration. But the green cornucopians want to string people along toward the false idol of a renewable utopia. That’s their designated role according to neoliberal resource fascism.)
 
 
As for genetically modified organisms (GMOs), here’s the two main points.
 
1. The reckless rush to deploy GMOs in the ecosystem without even the slightest idea what kinds of effects they’ll have, and the assault on all attempts to impose any sort of control and prudence, is a radical repudiation of the precautionary principle. Since this is one of the absolute core principles of environmentalism, it follows that it’s impossible to be a real environmentalist and yet support GMOs, at least the way they’ve been and always will be deployed. (So that’s one of the ways to recognize a sellout corporate environmentalist – support for GMOs, along with biofuels, nukes, cap and trade.)
 
2. With GMOs, whatever stupid rhetoric we’re subject to about prosperity and liberation, it’s really about patents, profits, and power. Monsanto has openly declared its goal is world domination of the food chain. Both morally and socially this is unacceptable. If the biosphere’s genetic code, upon which all biotech work has been done, belongs to anybody it belongs to humanity as a whole and can never legitimately be enclosed. The idea of a patent on an organism is on its face invalid.
 
What’s more, the food supply must be seen as first and foremost a social property. Even beyond moral considerations there remain the considerations of sociopolitical stability and national security. These demand that the integrity of the food supply not be held hostage by sociopathic corporations, that we not be reliant upon one strain of genetically modified monocrop, and that we diversify way beyond monoculture in general.
 
 
The human world view, while recognizing no bounds to imagination, also finds its freedom in self-control and in recognizing the physical limits of reality and the tyranny limits of power, unless we would wish to see freedom destroyed forever.
 
It may be a paradox to small minds, but the eternal struggle between freedom and power’s tendency toward tyranny, the core ideological precept of the Founding Fathers, decrees that if we would maximize freedom we must in turn harness it by restraining power.
 
So far the ideology which would place no limits at all on power and wealth accumulation has had its way. But their gains become ever more marginal and ever more expensive. Energy return on investment (EROEI) gets worse and worse. That’s Peak Oil setting in.
 
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So far we’ve managed to hold off the reaction, even as the sum of our action becomes ever more monumental.
 
The potential energy being stored up is astronomical. It can’t, and it won’t, be long before that energy is rendered kinetic.
 
Do we really think we can keep it up forever? Do we really think our Tower of Babel will make it to heaven?

June 24, 2010

Nothing Works Anymore

 

Obama’s offshore drilling exploration moratorium was typical of him – too late, too limited, anodyne, more talk than action, taken only under extreme political duress though he obviously didn’t believe in it, so he couldn’t achieve any goodwill from it anyway. Yet even in that meager way it’s still something worthwhile.
 
Or it was for a few days before a federal judge, at the request of a minor special interest, the ferries serving drill workers, overturned the moratorium, declaring it “arbitrary and capricious”. People are having trouble following the judge’s reasoning, since it’s self-evident that deepwater drilling cannot be done safely and with all the risk accounted for by voluntary market participants. In principle, not just an exploratory moratorium but banning it completely is exactly what the executive branch should do as steward of these waters and resources. The only thing which looks arbitrary and capricious is the judicial activism here. (Unless you look at the judge’s oil investments. Then perhaps the decision might not seem so arbitrary.)
 
Corporatist judicial activism has been on a roll since the Citizens United decision. The SCOTUS seems especially keen to smash all attempts to impose any sort of rational limits on election buying, no matter how modest. Now, there’s no doubt about the “supreme” court’s conscious malevolence; four of the cadre are hard-bitten corporate activists, while the other four including Stevens (leaving out Sotomayor on account of insufficient data as of yet) are at best passively corporatist*, with demented prima donna Kennedy flipping back and forth based on whatever lets him be the center of attention. 
 
[* I’ve previously proposed that the right classification of judges is not something phony like “strict” vs. “loose” construction, let alone idiocy like conservative vs. liberal.
 
Rather, since the struggle of freedom and humanity vs. tyranny as crystallized in the struggle vs. corporatism is the defining issue of our time, and since the courts are today a lawless no man’s land where the civil war is already being fought out with one judge ruling that 2 + 2 = 4, while in adjoining courtrooms on either side his “colleagues” are saying it equals 3 or 5, so it follows that the only meaningful classification of jurists is as: either corporate activists on the bench (like the Citizens United majority), or as passive corporatists (those who accept corporate personhood and the basic corporatist structure, but who oppose judicial activism on its behalf), with perhaps a diminishing few public interest advocates and even anti-corporatists here and there.]
 
The SCOTUS as a whole is by now firmly against the people and for the tyrants. We should always remember that just as we can never expect there to ever again be good legislation from the Congress, so we can’t expect any kind of systematic good from the courts, only evil.
 
But even though the court is malevolent, by now money is so entrenched in the electioneering process that these decisions will probably make little practical difference. Here as everywhere else extortion is institutionalized.
 
But even given this level of conscious malevolence and entrenched corruption, there are still those like Glenn Greenwald whose public interest good will seems strong enough, but who often remain mired in the process mentality, such as in Greenwald’s case his myopic fetishized version of the 1st Amendment. As I said in my post on Constitution and Process, this fetish of process over substance and result ends up betraying the substance and helps guarantee a result which makes a repugnant mockery of the original ideal. The 1st Amendment, like0 the Constitution itself, is not a suicide pact, but the process myopics seem intent on making it one.
 
So it’s not just malevolence, but process issues as well which congeal as a blockage in many minds to constitute an objective barrier to political transformation.
 
Every attempt at reform is always opposed by one or more selfish, sociopathic special interests. The result is always at least one versus zero (the atomized mass which today passes for “democracy” and the public interest equals zero). In the case of the upset drilling moratorium it wasn’t even Big Oil who brought the suit (though I suppose they financed it), but some rinky-dink boats which ferry oil workers to the rigs. So there will always be someone, no matter how small, ready to assert the aggregate corporate prerogative against any value no matter how critical, like the very life of the sea itself, or humanly majestic, like democracy and the public welfare. These are all helpless in the clutches of this system.
 
I’ve written plenty of times about malevolence, and that will remain my focus. But for today I wanted to point out how the problem runs even beyond malevolence. I especially reject the notion that if the problem is “just” the criminal intent of gangsters, we can simply undertake the “reform” of replacing them, but otherwise leave the structure intact, and everything will be fine from there. No. The problem is the structure. Once we have  this combination of outdated structures and longstanding organized crime having suffused the structure with its mindset for so long and so deeply that the structure has become a veritable kleptocracy, and all institutions and processes within it are systematically corrupt, hijacked and suborned, or just plain rotted, the whole thing is beyond reform and beyond redemption.
 
So for the sake of argument, for the rest of this post let’s assume no criminal intent but simply the “innocent” process mentality and the “just doing my job” mentality. We can see how, no matter where we turn, no matter what we try, there’s always a seemingly insurmountable impediment to reform. We are bottlenecked. Even leaving aside actual assaults like the health racket mandate or “austerity”, nothing can be fixed.
 
I was thinking about this as I pondered the moratorium overthrow when I read a fascinating chapter early in Tocqueville’s The Ancien Regime and the Revolution. In Book 1, chapter 4, Tocqueville describes how the institutions and laws converged in all European countries, especially France, Germany, and England. By the 18th century, although everyone still was acting in accordance with the same Middle Age forms which once used to be progressive*, these now constituted stagnation. They were blocking movement, innovation, freedom.
 
[*I’ll take this opportunity to introduce one of my basic ideas. I think all historical threads (forces, ideas, entities) follow at best a life cycle of four stages. These stages are those of discovery, or when it is first evolving and pioneering; the progressive stage, where it reaches the best combination of healthfulness and utility; the decadent stage, where although its “quantity” may still be increasing, its quality stagnates, its usefulness hits diminishing returns, and it becomes a drag on motion and health; and the malevolent stage where all its effects are actively counterproductive and harmful to the people as a whole. (Throughout I’m of course speaking of the welfare and vibrance of the people, not of racketeers; their “welfare” tends to improve as the life cycle becomes decadent and then malevolent. Indeed their toxic flourishing is inversely proportional to a thing’s existential benevolence.)
 
Some obvious examples of spent life cycles are those of oil-fueled industrialism, mass capitalism, oil-fueled technology. Even the corporation may have had its brief progressive period, when it was still restrained within the bounds of the Constitution, before it quickly skipped decadence completely and became malevolent. Mass democracy first became corrupted and decadent and now, in its hijacked “inverted totalitarian” form, pseudo-democracy, is actually malevolent because it continues to prop up faith in vain reformism.]
 
So let’s read some Tocqueville. In several places I find myself substituting “Founding Fathers” for “Men of the Middle Ages” and today’s kleptocracy for sclerotic 18th century European structures.
 

It is no part of my theme to relate how this former European constitution gradually lost its power and fell into decay. I simply state that in the 18th century it was in partial ruins everywhere. The disintegration was generally less pronounced in the east of the continent and more so in the west but every country manifested this process of aging and disintegration.

This gradual collapse of the institutions peculiar to the Middle Ages can be followed in their archives. We know that each manor owned registers of land ownership called “terriers” in which, through the centuries, they recorded the boundaries of the fiefs, the holdings paying rent, the dues payable, the obligatory feudal services and the local customs. I have seen the terriers of the 14th century which are masterpieces of drafting, clarity, precision and intelligence. They become obscure, ill-formed, incomplete and muddled as they move into more recent times, despite the general progress of knowledge. It would appear that political society drifted down into barbarism at the very time when civil society was finally achieving enlightenment.

 
(I interject, this sounds similar to the current disposition of mortgage notes, specifically that the MERS regime was set up to systematically hide and lose those notes while the mortgages themselves became discorporated quiddities meant to fictively constitute “securities”, MBS and CDOs.
 
It’s part of Hernando de Soto’s depiction of the collapse of the rule of law itself through the destruction of the paper files.)
 

Even in Germany, where the old European Constitution had maintained its original features more effectively than in France, some of the institutions it had created were already everywhere being destroyed. But we can best judge the ravages of time less by observing its losses than by viewing the state of its remaining features.

Those urban institutions, which in the 13th and 14th centuries had transposed the chief German towns into small, prosperous and enlightened republics, still existed in the 18th but offered nothing more than an empty show. Their legal conditions appeared to be as vigorous as ever – the magistrates they appointed had the same names and appeared to perform the same functions – but the activity, energy, shared patriotic feeling, virile and productive virtues which they inspired had vanished. These ancient institutions had inwardly collapsed without losing their original shape.

All the powers of the Middle Ages that still remained were attacked by the same disease and displayed the same disintegration and the same slow decline. Still more, everything which was associated with the old constitution and had retained an almost clear imprint of it, without exactly belonging to it, directly lost its vitality. From that contact the aristocracy became infected with senile decay. Political liberty itself, whose achievements had permeated the whole Middle Ages, appeared to be stricken by barrenness wherever it still bore the particular characteristics it had gained from the medieval period. Wherever provincial assemblies had preserved their ancient constitution in an unchanged state they halted the progress of civilization rather than fostered it. It might be said that they were alien and almost impervious to the new spirit of the time. The antiquity of these institutions had not made them respected. Quite the contrary, they lost any credit even as they grew old and, strange to relate, they inspired all the more hatred as they seemed less capable of causing harm through their increasing decay. “The present state of things”, said a German writer, a contemporary and friend of this old regime, “appears to have become generally painful for everyone and occasionally contemptible. It is strange to see how people now judge unfavorably everything that is old. New impressions come to light at the heart of our families and upset their orderliness. Even our housewives no longer wish to put up with their old furniture.” Yet in Germany, at the same time as in France, society was thriving and enjoyed a growing prosperity. But everything which was alive, active, and creative was recent in origin, not only new but in conflict with the past.

Royalty shared nothing in common with the royalty of the Middle Ages, possessed other powers, occupied another position, had another spirit and inspired other feelings; the administration of the state extended everywhere, settling upon the remnants of local powers; the hierarchy of public officials increasingly replaced the government of the nobility. All these new powers acted according to procedures and followed ideas which men of the Middle Ages had either not known of had condemned. These had their links in fact to a state of society beyond their experience.

 
Let’s look briefly at a few examples. Again, I’m trying to leave out the main factor, intentional gangsterism and greed, and just mention the underlying structure and process factors, as well as some “innocent” motivations.
 
We started out with Obama’s energy policy, if one wants to call it that. Really Obama has no energy policy other than continuing the doomed status quo of corporatism, the technology cult, and massive consumption. It’s these very prejudices, ingrained far beyond the imperatives of greed, which help set up such objective psychological barriers to a rational energy policy. There’s also the refusal to accept resource constraints like Peak Oil, this refusal bolstered by all the dogmas and delusions of economic ideology (as well as the delusion that economics is a science). There’s also the tremendous sunk cost of cars and suburbia and the mass-energy infrastructure, entrenched Big Oil and Big Coal (not referring to their greed but their silhouette on the cultural horizon) and the new ethanol racket, trying to become Big Ethanol through the nurturing of its father, Big Ag and its mother, corporate environmentalism.
 
All of these represent big chunks of existence whose gravity serves as a form of propaganda in itself. People look at the sheer size and media presence of structures and become resigned, even if they wish they could sweep the landscape clean. They end up passively embracing what they consider laws of being.
 
As for the legal laws, everywhere you look these are set up to put up massive passive resistance to change even where the enemies of change don’t actively attack. Thus the 2005 and 2007 energy bills massively entrenched existing rackets and set what are meant to be “accepted” levels of renewable energy development. Since these were bipartisan bills enacted with great media fanfare, they’re meant to encode the status quo energy regime in our very spiritual and political DNA. Obama’s would-be energy bill is meant to continue this totalitarian process, adding cap and trade to the racketeering mix. (Needless to say, it would do nothing to mitigate greenhouse gases nor is it meant to.)
 
The same enshrinement exercise played out with the Bailout, with the health racket bailout, and is now continuing with the sham finance bill. The way the bills have been negotiated is also meant to further entrench the new legislative paradigm (there was a time where majorities sometimes really did want to legislate as per their constitutional mandate; no more) where everyone commences in the full understanding  either that nothing in the Status Quo will be changed, or else its assault on the people will be escalated. Maybe nobody even knows which of these it’ll end up being; either way the process is to put on a political show, with various cadres either delegated or self-appointed to play doomed heroes or misdirectional villains, while in the end they try to smear out responsibility for the real villainy among themselves while the flacks call it all “progress”. I stress that although everyone’s intent may be villainous, they’re also enshrining a process whose mechanism is meant to be immutable. Even if you came into Congress sincerely seeking reform, you’re quickly made to understand that that’s not Congress’s business, and you can either fall into line or get out. So far they’ve all fallen into line.
 
A similar but cross-branch process boondoggle is the net neutrality mess, where nobody in the government can seem to figure out for themselves where the power should be – with the executive (the FCC)? or the Congress? or the lawless courts (as the DC appellate court recently claimed in its own piece of judicial activism)? The result, of course, is that the telecom rackets win. All this squabbling imprints people with the process notion that process is both inscrutable and critically important, thereby fogging their eyes against the fact that either the FCC or Congress can enforce net neutrality at will; who does it doesn’t matter much; the point is for someone to do it.
 
Those are a few examples of how the existing system, not only on account of the malign intent of the actors, but also on account of its own inertial processes and mindsets, is a pit of stagnation and obstruction where no constructive change can be accomplished. It’s the same existential congealment as that which confronted the rising people of France and Europe in the 18th century.
 
There’s one big difference between the world Tocqueville described and today. Writing of the days of the ascent of fossil fuels, the ascent of the Industrial Revolution, of mass democracy, of the aspirations of the Enlightenment, he described an ascending new vibrance running into a bottleneck. But today, in the time of Peak Oil, the collapse of exponential debt, the permanent stagnation of capitalism and its calcification into corporatist oligopoly, in our post-democratic, neo-feudal time, we’re more like fugitives who are bottlenecked as we try to escape.
 
Can we find our own vibrance? Something like the cooperative movement of the 19th century Farmers’ Alliance, and the political self-respect it engendered according to author Lawrence Goodwyn? Relocalization as a movement needs a focusing action which involves cooperative work toward real economic self-reliance and political rediscovery. Such a movement, flowing as water around and under the dead rock of the kleptocracy (in the best Sun-Tzu tradition), is clearly the only possible solution. But we need to find the ideas and actions to render it vibrant. 
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